Business in a changing climate, pollution loopholes, fishing bans: 3 big stories you might have missed

Bangladesh

A local man pulls his boat to shore in Bangladesh. (© Rod Mast)

Editor’s note: News about conservation and the environment is made every day, but some of it can fly under the radar. In a recurring feature, Human Nature shares three stories from the past week that you should know about.

  1. The best and worst countries for business: Global upheaval edition

A resilience index that assesses the risk of doing business in different countries has  included climate change in its data for the first time.

The story: This is the first year that the index included environmental resilience in its analysis — a nod to how climate change is already impacting the global economy, Eillie Anzilotti reported for Fast Company last week. The countries that offer companies the most resilient business environments are Norway, Denmark and Switzerland thanks to their low natural disaster exposure, low government corruption, high business transparency and strong and productive workforces.

The big picture: Rwanda, Thailand and several other countries drastically improved their index ratings over last year, mainly due to urban development and increased  supply-chain transparency. Although countries such as Thailand are at a high risk for natural disasters, they can bolster their index score by putting systems in place to respond to climate impacts.

Read the story here.

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  1. EPA plans to get thousands of pollution deaths off the books by changing its math

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is planning to change the method it uses to calculate the health risks of air pollution.

The story: The agency would no longer consider any health benefits that come from making the air cleaner than federal regulations require, Lisa Friedman reported for The New York Times last week. By changing the way health risks are measured, the EPA is able to claim there will be 1,400 fewer predicted deaths each year — but those deaths will likely still happen.

The big picture: Currently the EPA takes into account the health impacts of particles in lower concentrations than what is deemed “safe,” because even low concentrations can cause harm. The planned change would no longer take those health impacts into account; it would change the data they use to predict the number of deaths, but not the actual safety laws.

Read the story here.

  1. Bangladesh bans fishing for 65 days to save fish

The government of Bangladesh has banned all types of fishing vessels in the Bay of Bengal.

The story: The ban is in effect from May 20 through July 23, the breeding season for most fish species in the bay, the BBC reported last week. Fish populations in the bay have been rapidly declining in recent years due to overfishing and government officials hope the ban will encourage long-term recovery. The ban will be reinstated every year during the same time frame.

The big picture: Local fishers are concerned that the ban will leave them with no source of income for two months. In response, the government is asking fishers to weigh the long-term benefits over the short-term costs: “These resources will deplete one day if we do not use them sustainably,” fisheries and livestock minister Ashraf Ali Khan Khasru said. “We should let fish grow and breed. Otherwise, we will have to suffer in the future.”

Read the story here.

Olivia DeSmit is a staff writer for Conservation International. 

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