quinta-feira, 3 de fevereiro de 2011

Amazon has 135 square kilometers of area cleared in two months

Associated Press: February 2, 2011 | 15h 24
Agency Brazil
The System of Deforestation Detection in Real Time (DETER) recorded during the months of November and December last year, a total of 135 square kilometers (km ²) in area deforested in the Amazon. The data are based on satellite imagery from the National Institute for Space Research (INPE).

The system records shallow cut, when the satellites detect the complete removal of native forest, and also areas classified as gradual, showing the process of deforestation in the region.

Deter works since 2004 as an early warning system to support surveillance and control of deforestation and detects only deforestation polygons with an area larger than 25 hectares. The results are sent biweekly to the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Natural Resources (IBAMA), responsible for overseeing the areas of warning.

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Using Economics to Understand and Address Environmental Challenges

February 15, 2011
by Doug Gavel
The power of markets to affect society may be most evident on Wall Street, but that is only one example of their immense capacity and influence. In a new article titled “The Problem of the Commons: Still Unsettled after 100 Years,” Harvard Kennedy School Professor Robert Stavins argues that the application of economic principles to environmental policy has over the past century greatly enhanced human understanding of the most serious challenges facing the planet today. The article appears in the 100th anniversary edition of The American Economic Review.

“Within the realm of natural resources, there are special challenges associated with renewable resources, which are frequently characterized by open-access. An important example is the degradation of open access fisheries,” Stavins writes. “Critical commons problems are also associated with environmental quality. A key contribution of economics has been the development of market-based approaches to environmental protection.”

In the article, Stavins traces the evolution of environmental policy over the past one hundred years, and concludes that modern-day economic theory and related policy instruments may hold the key to overcoming the “ultimate commons problem” of the 21st century – global climate change.

“Problems of the commons have not diminished, and the lag between understanding and action can be long. While some commons problems have been addressed successfully, others continue to emerge. Some—such as the threat of global climate change—are both more important and more difficult than problems of the past,” he writes. “Fortunately, economics is well positioned to offer better understanding and better policies to address these ongoing challenges. As the first decade of the twenty-first century comes to a close, natural resource and environmental economics has emerged as a productive field of our discipline and one that shows even greater promise for the future.”

Robert N. Stavins is Albert Pratt professor of business and government at Harvard Kennedy School, and serves as director of the Harvard Environmental Economics Program. He is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, a University Fellow of Resources for the Future, former Chair of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Economics Advisory Board, and a member of the editorial councils of scholarly periodicals. His research has examined diverse areas of environmental economics and policy and has appeared in a variety of economics, law, and policy journals, as well as several books.