Ecosystem services are the benefits that people derive from nature. Some benefits, such as crops, fish, and freshwater (provisioning services), are tangible. Others such as pollination, erosion regulation, climate regulation (regulating services) and aesthetic and spiritual fulfillment (cultural services) are less tangible.

This briefing note is the first of a 3-part series on the subject of pollution monitoring in India. The note will support the thematic online map on

The European Commission has written to 23 member states to request information on what action they are taking to comply with the EU

EU Backs Plan To Clean Up Air, Cut Lung Disease BELGIUM: April 15, 2008 BRUSSELS - The European Union approved a plan on Monday to clean up air quality in the bloc, setting limits for the first time on fine particles that cut eight months off the life of the average European citizen. "The European Union has today taken a decisive step in tackling a major cause of environmental and health problems," European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said.

Group Seeks E.P.A. Rules on Emissions From Vehicles By FELICITY BARRINGER Published: April 3, 2008 In a new push to get the federal government to act on global warming, a coalition of states, cities and environmental groups took its fight to federal court on Wednesday. The coalition, led by Massachusetts, is seeking to force the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate emissions of heat-trapping gases from new cars and trucks or show that such regulation is unnecessary.

Last month, The Washington Post reported that President George W. Bush had personally intervened to weaken new regulations to control smog just as they were about to be announced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In response, advocates of tighter standards predictably charged that the president had overturned a scientific judgement. Carol Browner, who headed the EPA under President Bill Clinton, put the matter starkly, telling the Post that the Clean Air Act creates "a moral and ethical commitment that we're going to let the science tell us what to do'.

For many researchers, the Bush administration will be best remembered for the way it has manipulated scientific advice for political ends.

In December 2005, Stephen Johnson dunked himself in hot water. Johnson, the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), decided to discard advice from a scientific advisory committee when he set a major air-quality standard for soot. Scientists and environmental groups were outraged. This time Johnson did it again with ozone, the main component of smog and the hand of the White House was plain to see.

THE US Environmental Protection Agency is in trouble again. Already under fire for failing to get tough on carbon dioxide emissions, the agency has now had its scheme for dealing with mercury pollution ruled illegal.

A major attempt to streamline-or, critics claim, politicize-the revision of important air-quality standards has run into trouble. One year ago, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) overhauled its lengthy process of updating the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), which have far-reaching impacts on many regulations. Some critics feared the move would allow politics to trump science by giving agency appointees more say and sidelining external scientific review.