Palau’s marine sanctuary backfires, leading to increased consumption of reef fish

Palau’s marine sanctuary backfires, leading to increased consumption of reef fish

SOURCE: The Guardian DATE: February 26, 2020 SNIP: Palau’s much-touted marine sanctuary has backfired, with the fishing ban leading to an increased consumption of the reef fish in the western Pacific country – such as grouper, snapper and parrotfish – that the marine sanctuary promised to protect. Palau introduced a new 500,000 sq km (193,000 sq mile) marine sanctuary on 1 January to much fanfare. The establishment of the sanctuary, which is twice the size of Mexico and is the world’s sixth-largest fully protected area, saw Palau close 80% of its economic exclusion zone to commercial fishing as well as activities like drilling for oil. While the closure of the EEZ to commercial fishing aimed to reduce pressure on the reef by encouraging sustainable domestic fishing of fish like tuna, the ban has actually led to a shortage as commercial fishing vessels have moved out of Palau’s waters. As a result, shops and restaurants in Palau are serving up vulnerable reef fish instead of pelagic fish like tuna. “It will be the opposite of what we wanted,” said Yimnang Golbuu, chief executive of Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) and administrator of the marine sanctuary, of reports of increased consumption of reef fish. Surangel Whipps Jr., the owner of one of the biggest supermarkets in Palau, said he had been forced to stock more reef fish due to the shortage. “We were selling tuna, filleted tuna, and then now that there is no tuna, they are buying more reef fish, so we’re putting more pressure on resources we are trying to protect,” he said, adding that the marine sanctuary...
The Ride-Hail Utopia That Got Stuck in Traffic

The Ride-Hail Utopia That Got Stuck in Traffic

SOURCE: Morningstar DATE: February 14, 2020 SNIP: Five years ago, Travis Kalanick was so confident that Uber Technologies Inc.’s rides would prompt people to leave their cars at home that he told a tech conference: “If every car in San Francisco was Ubered there would be no traffic.” Today, a mounting collection of studies shows the opposite: Far from easing traffic, Uber and its main rival Lyft Inc. are adding to congestion in numerous U.S. downtowns. Officials in San Francisco, Chicago and New York have cited congestion as the main rationale for new fees they recently enacted on Lyft and Uber rides in each of the cities. Other regulators around the country are considering similar fees. Uber and Lyft no longer pledge ride-hailing will reduce traffic, acknowledging that they add to congestion, though they say some studies overstate their role in the problem. The app makers initially thought their technology would create seamless trips, with four strangers forsaking their own cars for a shared ride. Cutting-edge algorithms, they believed, would steer behavior through pricing and route-matching, letting drivers spend little time between trips. Riders leaving their cars at home would then increasingly hop on buses, bikes or walk in a gridlock-easing ripple effect. That utopia hasn’t come to pass. Most users take their own private Lyfts and Ubers, shunning pooling even though it costs them more. Rather than the apps becoming a model of algorithm-driven efficiency, drivers in major cities cruise for fares without passengers an estimated 40% of the time. Multiple studies show that Uber and Lyft have pulled people away from buses, subways and walking, and that...
Obama helped make cars more efficient, but now they spew black carbon

Obama helped make cars more efficient, but now they spew black carbon

SOURCE: Grist DATE: February 3, 2020 SNIP: If you’re getting more bang for your buck at the gas pump today than you were a decade ago, you can thank the Obama administration. Obama’s 2012 updates to the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards, or CAFE standards, made new cars more fuel-efficient and reduced their carbon dioxide emissions. But a study published this week casts a dark shadow over that success story. Researchers found that the path we’ve chosen to better fuel economy could end up costing the U.S. hundreds of lives each year. “I think this was a classic case of unintended consequences,” said Rawad Saleh, an assistant professor at the Air Quality and Climate Research Laboratory at the University of Georgia and a co-author of the study. Here’s what happened. To get in line with the CAFE standards, automakers leapt at a technology called the gasoline direct injection, or GDI, engine. In 2008, GDI engines were in a mere 2.3 percent of new vehicles sold in the U.S., but by 2018, that number jumped to 51 percent. The EPA expected it to rise to 93 percent by 2025 under the rules set out under Obama, which the Trump administration is trying to roll back. Before GDIs came along, most cars had port fuel injection engines, or PFIs. With a PFI engine, gasoline mixes with oxygen from the air, forming a vapor, before reaching the engine. In a GDI engine, the liquid fuel is injected directly. GDI engines produce more power for every drop of fuel, but the fuel burns less uniformly. The result is a car that emits less...