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UNDP: Poverty down in Latin America and the Caribbean - BBC News

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More than 56 million people have been lifted out of poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean in recent years, according to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

A new UNDP report says poverty levels in the period from 2000-2012 fell from 41.7% to 25.3% of the population.

But despite the progress, it warned that some 200m people, or 37.8% of the population, remained vulnerable.

The UNDP has called for more investment in social protection programmes.

It calculates poverty as living with less than $4 (£2.40) a day. ... Read more about UNDP: Poverty down in Latin America and the Caribbean - BBC News

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New research highlights pipeline of investment opportunities in sustainable infrastructure across C40 cities

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C40 Blog
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Today, the C40 Financing Sustainable Cities Forum is being hosted in London by the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and the Greater London Authority, with the support of the Citi Foundation and WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities.

The forum brings together cities, investors, national governments, academics, private sector experts, NGOs and technology providers to identify the key barriers in financing sustainable urban infrastructure. These partners will discuss and develop shared solutions for unlocking finance for low-carbon investments in cities. ... Read more about New research highlights pipeline of investment opportunities in sustainable infrastructure across C40 cities

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An Ancient Tool Holds Promise for Modern Water Problems

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Columbia Water Center
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A large cistern in the ancient city of Resafa, Syria, was filled by channeling periodic floods from a wadi west of the city. The use of complex systems for directing and harvesting water dates back thousands of years. Photo from '€Ancient Water Harvesting Methods in the Drylands of the Mediterranean and Western Asia,'€ Brian Beckers et al., eTopoi, 2013.

By Paulina Concha Larrauri ... Read more about An Ancient Tool Holds Promise for Modern Water Problems

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This device pulls drinking water straight out of the air — and it runs entirely on the sun’s energy

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Chelsea Harvey
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A solar-powered water harvesting device, constructed with a metal organic framework. Unlike other types of water capture devices, this design is able to work under low-humidity conditions. (Hyunho Kim, Evelyn Wang)

A new kind of water-capturing device could be a game-changer for some of the world'€s driest places. It can pull water vapor out of the air at humidity as low as 20 percent €- conditions that may be seen in the Sahara desert during its hottest months €- and it can operate entirely off-grid, just using the ambient power of the sun. ... Read more about This device pulls drinking water straight out of the air — and it runs entirely on the sun’s energy

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UN Secretary-General Issues Second SDG Progress Report

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Nathalie Risse, Ph.D.
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7 June 2017: The UN Secretary-General has issued the 2017 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) progress report, providing an overview of global progress towards the 17 SDGs on the basis of the latest available data related to the global SDG indicator framework. The report notes that tracking progress on the SDGs requires an unprecedented amount of data and statistics at all levels.

... Read more about UN Secretary-General Issues Second SDG Progress Report

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Cheap Phones Churn Out Big Data

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David Talbot
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At a computer in her office at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, epidemiologist Caroline Buckee points to a dot on a map of Kenya'€s western highlands, representing one of the nation'€s thousands of cell-phone towers. In the fight against malaria, Buckee explains, the data transmitted from this tower near the town of Kericho has been epidemiological gold. ... Read more about Cheap Phones Churn Out Big Data

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In threat to food security, Bangladesh moves to burn grain for fuel

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Syful Islam
Bushel of corn with hand in it
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Bangladesh plans to begin turning some of the grain it produces into ethanol to make its fuel greener – but economists and experts warn the move could hurt food security in a country that is already a grain importer.

Energy ministry officials said in a gazette notification early this year that the country will begin using maize, broken rice grains and molasses to produce ethanol to mix with petrol fuel at a 5 percent ratio. ... Read more about In threat to food security, Bangladesh moves to burn grain for fuel

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Achim Steiner: shale gas rush 'a liability' in efforts slow climate change

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Suzanne Goldenberg in Half Moon Bay, California
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Shale gas could turn out to be "a liability" to global efforts limit climate change, the United Nations' top environmental official has warned.

Supporters of the shale gas boom, which has spread across America and more recently to Europe, claim the fuel could help wean economies off the more carbon-intensive coal,.

But Achim Steiner, who heads the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), said there was a far greater risk that the switch from coal to natural gas would only delay the much more critical energy transition from fossil to renewable fuels. ... Read more about Achim Steiner: shale gas rush 'a liability' in efforts slow climate change

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Ma Jun: China has reached its environmental tipping point

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Tom Levitt
People wearing surgical masks on a smoggy day
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It was almost 20 years ago that Ma Jun sat and watched the rainbow-coloured River Fen, in Shanxi province. As he turned to the skies in this coal and industrial heartland of north China he could see dozens of chimneys bellowing out their fumes.

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Dutch government ordered to cut carbon emissions in landmark ruling

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Arthur Nelson
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A court in The Hague has ordered the Dutch government to cut its emissions by at least 25% within five years, in a landmark ruling expected to cause ripples around the world.

To cheers and hoots from climate campaigners in court, three judges ruled that government plans to cut emissions by just 14-17% compared to 1990 levels by 2020 were unlawful, given the scale of the threat posed by climate change. ... Read more about Dutch government ordered to cut carbon emissions in landmark ruling

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