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Butt out

Think tank accused of being front for big tobacco

A group of international development and health organizations launched a pressure campaign in November against the International Tax and Investment Center (ITIC), a Washington, D.C.-based think tank that has been criticized as a mouthpiece for the tobacco industry.

The coalition took particular aim at the ITIC’s extensive list of companies and organizations it claimed to have an association with on its website, contacting each entity to confirm the state of their relationship. This resulted in demands from Nestlé, the World Bank and law firm Pinsent Masons, among others, that the ITIC immediately remove all references to them from its website. The ITIC has since removed all references to organizations that complained.

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Making an impact

District of Columbia rolls out first environmental impact bond in U.S.

The D.C. Water and Sewer Authority signed a deal in September to set up an environmental impact bond, the first of its kind in the United States.

Goldman Sachs’ Urban Investment Group and the Calvert Foundation purchased the $25 million (U.S.) bond, which will pay for the construction and maintenance of green infrastructure intended to reduce storm water runoff during periods of heavy precipitation. At present, overflowing drainage infrastructure leads to over two billion gallons of sewage flowing into the Anacostia and Potomac rivers each year.

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Water spotter

By CK Staff
First new invasive species found in Great Lakes since 2006

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) confirmed the presence of a new non-native species in the Great Lakes in November, first spotted by a team of researchers from the U.S. agency and Cornell University.

The microscopic zooplankton species, Thermocyclops crassus, was identified after careful analysis of samples collected between 2014 and 2016 in Western Lake Erie. It becomes the first invasive species found in the Great Lakes since 2006, when the bloody-red shrimp Hemimysis anomala was discovered. Native to Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia, Thermocyclops crassus is commonly found in warm, nutrient-rich waters.

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Water waste

By CK Staff
Sewage plans generate more CO2 than expected: study

Wastewater emissions could be responsible for up to 23 per cent more emissions than currently estimated, according to a new study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that three per cent of the world’s emissions come from wastewater treatment. To calculate this figure, it uses a model that assumes these emissions only come from natural sources like methane from human waste. These assumptions are now being challenged by researcher Linda Tseng at Colgate University, who used radiocarbon analysis at three separate test sites around the world.

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Up in the air

By CK Staff
France gripped by urban gondola fever

A familiar sight in the French Alps, gondolas are beginning to emerge as a popular addition to the mass transit systems of cities across the nation.

France’s first urban cable car entered service last fall in Brest, providing transportation for 1,200 passengers over the Bug River in an attempt to relieve congestion on the city’s two main bridges. Toulouse is constructing a line slated for completion in 2020, while Paris is moving forward with a 4.4 km gondola route that will service a transit-starved corner of the city by 2021. Paris’ Téléval gondola will connect up with five transit stations, helping to bridge the gap between the commuter RER rail service and the subway system. The region of Ile-de-France is also studying the possibility of adding an additional 12 cable cars throughout its transportation system.

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