We’re #2! We’re #2!

Sure enough, here’s a new study out of the University of Adelaide in Australia, naming the Top 10 Countries Ruining the Planet, and the U.S. isn’t even the leader.  It ranks second behind Brazil, followed by China, Indonesia, and Japan.  The research focused solely on environmental impact, using seven indicators of ecological damage: natural forest loss, habitat conversion, marine capture, fertilizer use, water pollution, carbon emissions, and species threat.  But while they deliberately avoided human health and economic data, the researchers did make a discovery about the relationship between a nation’s wealth and its environmental impact. 

Says lead scientist Corey Bradshaw,  “There is a theory that as wealth increases, nations have more access to clean technology and become more environmentally aware so that the environmental impact starts to decline. This wasn’t supported.”

Trust us, eh?

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Given the debacle unfolding a thousand or so miles south, Canadian legislators had plenty of questions for the head of BP’s Canadian operations when they met with her Thursday. 

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Unfortunately, she didn’t have many answers. 

Like their U.S. counterparts, Canadian legislators seemed exasperated by the responses of the BP exec — Anne Drinkwater, president of BP Canada — particularly when she said it would be “inappropriate” for her to comment on the differences between Canadian and U.S. regulations governing offshore drilling.

Some experts believe an oil blowout in the Canadian Arctic could damage the environment much more than the Gulf disaster because it would be in such a remote location and face severe weather conditions.  Get more from Canwest News Service

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Hate when that happens

A new report says India’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions rose by almost 60 percent between 1994 and 2007, and the country’s energy industry was responsible for more than half of that increase. This comes a week after news that China just experienced the largest six-month GHG rise ever recorded by a single country.

Based on 2007 estimates, India ranks fifth in GHG emissions, behind the United States, China, the European Union, and Russia.  But U.S. and Chinese emissions were each four times higher than India’s.

Grain Drain

Singapore’s desire to literally keep growing is having a bad ripple effect across Southeast Asia.  The densely packed country’s strategy to keep getting bigger — another 7 percent more land by 2020 — requires bringing in sand from neighboring countries.  It’s now the world’s largest importer of sand, shipping in more than 14 tons in 2008 alone.

All that dredging is being linked to damage of coastal ecosystems and fish stocks, so much so that Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam have now attempted to limit exports.  So Singapore is now looking to neighboring Cambodia to slake its thirst for sand.  The Ecologist has the story.

Meanwhile, at the North Pole

Scientists for the first time have been able to get samples of ocean water from beneath the North Pole, Adam Vaughan reports in the Guardian.  And that will give them a much better idea of how fast the Arctic Ocean is acidifying due to rising CO2 levels.

After a brutal two-and-a-half-month trek across sea ice, during which, among other trials, they had to deal with ice cracking under their tents, the researchers managed to drill through the polar ice to collect Arctic water.  That’s significant because cold water tends to acidify more rapidly than water in warmer regions. Globally, oceans have seen a 30 percent increase in acidity since pre-industrial times.

The Green Medal Goes to …

… Rio, if it can pull off its goal of being the first zero-carbon footprint Olympics in 2016.  The showpiece, according to early plans, will be a Solar City Tower featuring a dazzling energy-generating waterfall.  See more at Gizmag

And the Cut to the Chase” Award Goes to …

… the German solar energy company Solon, which has, as its tagline, the phrase “Don’t Leave the Planet to the Stupid.”   Thanks, Triple Pundit.  

You had me at stupid.