The Stream, November 18: Climate Funding Needed To Stop Encroaching Deserts, Sudan Says

The Global Rundown

Reforestation projects that preserve water and soil are necessary to curb desertification in Sudan, but officials warn the efforts require more climate funding. A new global initiative seeks to stop the drainage of peatlands to limit carbon emissions. The European Commission has recommended that Spain pay millions of dollars for failing to adequately treat its wastewater. Unstable ground was the cause of a pipeline rupture in Canada that spilled oil into the North Saskatchewan River. Researchers in Wisconsin are examining if gypsum from coal plants can be used to limit phosphorus runoff on farms, while the state’s governor has called for anaerobic manure digesters. In Georgia, the state government imposed water restrictions in response to a drought.

“Water quality is a top priority for us. This joint effort is important progress, and we will continue working toward a sustainable solution to ensure our natural resources remain viable for generations to come.” –Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, in a statement accompanying a call for proposals to build anaerobic manure digesters to reduce water pollution from dairy farms. There have been a number of problems related to previously built digesters, however, and environmental groups say regulations on manure spreading would be more effective. (Wisconsin State Journal)

By The Numbers

15 percent Proportion of peatlands globally that have been drained. A new initiative led by the United Nations Environment Programme aims to protect peatlands in order to preserve their ability to store carbon and prevent the release of greenhouse gases that occurs when they are destroyed. Reuters

$49.41 million Amount the European Commission has proposed to fine Spain for its failure to correct wastewater treatment problems in 17 cities. Reuters

2 days Number, per week, that residents in Georgia are allowed to use water outdoors after the state imposed water restrictions to deal with an ongoing drought. Atlanta Journal Constitution

Science, Studies, And Reports

Heavy rainfall may have caused the ground beneath a Husky Energy pipeline in Saskatchewan to move, buckling part of the line in July and triggering an oil spill that reached the North Saskatchewan River, according to company reports. The spill killed wildlife and temporarily shut down drinking water sources used by two cities. Reuters

Mixing gypsum with fertilizers could ensure more phosphorus remains in the soil, rather than washing off into rivers and lakes where it can cause harmful algal blooms, according to researchers in Wisconsin. Test farms in the state are using a form of gypsum created as a byproduct from coal-fired power plants, which is cheaper than mined gypsum. Science

On The Radar

Droughts, deforestation, and climate change are pushing deserts in Sudan farther south, burying some communities. Public education and reforestation initiatives could help stem the loss of farmland, but funding for the projects is a major concern. Guardian