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Former Tory minister to head Alberta environmental monitoring agency

EDMONTON - A former Alberta Tory environment minister has been named to lead an agency intended to help monitor the impacts of rapid oilsands and other industrial development. Lorne Taylor will be the first chairman of the Alberta Environmental Monitoring Evaluation and Reporting Agency, which was set up in response to criticisms that provincial monitoring conducted when Taylor was minister was scientifically indefensible. "Only in Alberta would the government not get the irony of that," New Democrat critic Rachel Notley said Thursday.

World population to shoot up to 9.7 billion in 2050

The world's population will rise to 9.7 billion in 2050 from the current level of 7.1 billion and India will overtake China as the world's most populous nation, a French study said Wednesday. A bi-annual report by the French Institute of Demographic Studies (Ined) projected there would be 10 to 11 billion people on the planet by the end of the century. The projections ran parallel to forecasts by the United Nations, the World Bank and other prominent national institutes.

5,000 new species catalogued in Costa Rica

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – Research for the updating of Costa Rica's National Biodiversity Strategy has detected roughly 5,000 new species in the Central American country, officials said. The number of documented species grew from 87,000 in 2009 to around 92,000 this year, the executive director of the National Commission for Biodiversity Management, Marta Jimenez, told Efe. But the study also highlighted threats to biodiversity, including the expansion of human settlement, pollution, overexploitation of resources, invasive species and climate change.

Pesticides slash water life by 42 percent

Pesticides may kill off water insects and other small aquatic life by as much as 42 percent, according to an analysis of German, French and Australian rivers and streams published on Monday. The study in US journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is the first to compare regional biodiversity in polluted versus less polluted water, said scientists at the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres.

Use seabirds to monitor chemical contamination of oceans: scientist

A father-and-son team of biologists say flocks of environmental monitors are the best way to keep track of the increasing chemical contamination of the world's oceans. But these monitors aren't lab-coated scientists — they're seabirds, whose wide-ranging flights make them a cheap and effective way to gather information over vast stretches of ocean that would be prohibitively costly to visit.
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