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[en] Some behind-the-scenes developments from the climate change meeting in Buenos Aires in November 1998 are discussed. It is pointed out that reducing carbon dioxide emissions is only half the problem when it comes to climate change; capture and storage and trading of permits are also very important. One key issue not discussed in formal sessions was caps on carbon trading. The extent to which countries will be allowed to offset their Kyoto obligations is at issue. Another key issue not covered formally was the extent to which countries will be allowed to offset their obligations by investing in carbon sinks (e.g.forestry) rather than in new technologies which reduce emissions. These two issues will determine what the Kyoto agreement means in practice for industry in general and the energy industry in particular. With regard to offset mechanisms, many questions remain unanswered. The Carbon Storage Trust aims to create high quality carbon offsets for sale to both consumers and companies. The debate on trading caps and the inclusion of sinks may not have made the formal sessions in Buenos Aires but it did gain momentum which will last until the year 2000 when the IPCC reports on forestry and land use. (UK)
[en] A recent iteration of fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS), z-scan FCS, has drawn attention for its elegant solution to the problem of quantitative sample positioning when investigating two-dimensional systems while simultaneously providing an excellent method for extracting calibration-free diffusion coefficients. Unfortunately, the measurement of planar systems using (FCS and) z-scan FCS still requires extremely mechanically stable sample positioning, relative to a microscope objective. As axial sample position serves as the inherent length calibration, instabilities in sample position will affect measured diffusion coefficients. Here, we detail the design and function of a highly stable and mechanically simple inverted microscope stage that includes a temperature controlled liquid cell. The stage and sample cell are ideally suited to planar membrane investigations, but generally amenable to any quantitative microscopy that requires low drift and excellent axial and lateral stability. In the present work we evaluate the performance of our custom stage system and compare it with the stock microscope stage and typical sample sealing and holding methods.
[en] Highlights: • Analysis of REDD+ processes in Uganda and Nepal as forums for localising equity norms. • Intermediaries perceive major procedural barriers inhibiting realisation of equity. • Actors polarised based on role of recognition of local community values, institutions. • Procedural flaws imposed internationally, exacerbated by constrained political space. • Future support of civil society organisations for REDD+ far from guaranteed. - Abstract: A national interpretation process involving diverse actors and interests is required to transform global environmental initiatives into policies appropriate to the national or subnational context. These processes of localising norms are critical spaces to formulate equitable pathways to environmental conservation, yet have received limited attention from policy makers and researchers. We explored national policy processes for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) in Uganda and Nepal from the perspectives of ‘intermediaries’, state and civil society actors at subnational and national scale who promote the interests of various stakeholder groups. Through think-tank meetings and semi-structured interviews with a range of intermediaries, we uncovered that REDD+ implementation processes in both countries are dominated by international actors, applying a demanding administrative agenda and restricting space for deliberation. Consequently, social aspects of policy were compartmentalised, reduced to technical exercises and local equity concerns inadequately addressed in national REDD+ policies. For example, social safeguards approaches were perceived to lack substantive guidelines to promote equity. Limited national political space to criticise government policy and lack of attention to relevant evidence further restricted ability to address entrenched injustices such as status inequalities faced by marginalised groups. Although civil society organisations choose to maintain official involvement with REDD+, many expressed a possibility they would oppose REDD+ in future, or serious doubts about its design and expected outcomes. Concerns centred on lack of recognition of indigenous peoples’ and local communities’ values, identities, practices and institutions such as customary tenure systems, alongside possible detrimental impacts to decentralised forest governance regimes, well established in Nepal and emerging in Uganda. We suggest features to be enshrined in REDD+ policy for adapting national interpretation processes to become more effective spaces for empowering diverse intermediaries to negotiate and influence localisation of international norms, ultimately to promote more equitable pathways to reduced deforestation and degradation.
[en] Cobalt exposure is increasing as cobalt demand rises worldwide due to its use in enhancing rechargeable battery efficiency, super-alloys, and magnetic products. Cobalt is considered a possible human carcinogen with the lung being a primary target. However, few studies have considered cobalt-induced toxicity in human lung cells. Therefore, in this study, we sought to determine the cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of particulate and soluble cobalt in human lung cells. Cobalt oxide and cobalt chloride were used as representative particulate and soluble cobalt compounds, respectively. Exposure to both particulate and soluble cobalt induced a concentration-dependent increase in cytotoxicity, genotoxicity, and intracellular cobalt ion levels. Based on intracellular cobalt ion levels, we found that soluble cobalt was more cytotoxic than particulate cobalt while particulate and soluble cobalt induced similar levels of genotoxicity. However, soluble cobalt induced cell cycle arrest indicated by the lack of metaphases at much lower intracellular cobalt concentrations compared to cobalt oxide. Accordingly, we investigated the role of particle internalization in cobalt oxide-induced toxicity and found that particle-cell contact was necessary to induce cytotoxicity and genotoxicity after cobalt exposure. These data indicate that cobalt compounds are cytotoxic and genotoxic to human lung fibroblasts, and solubility plays a key role in cobalt-induced lung toxicity. - Highlights: • Particulate and soluble cobalt are cytotoxic and genotoxic to human lung cells. • Soluble cobalt induces more cytotoxicity compared to particulate cobalt. • Soluble and particulate cobalt induce similar levels of genotoxicity. • Particle-cell contact is required for particulate cobalt-induced toxicity