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Climate Change Misconceptions Common Among Teachers, Study Finds
Recent studies have shown that misconceptions about climate change and the scientific studies that have addressed climate change are pervasive among the U.S. public. Now, a new study by Benjamin Herman, assistant professor in the Department of Learning, Teaching and Curriculum in the University of Missouri College of Education, shows that many secondary school science teachers also possess several of these same misconceptions.
El Salvador becomes the first country to ban mining of metals for environmental protection
El Salvador on Thursday became the first country in the world to ban the mining of metals in what campaigners called a landmark move for environmental protection. The law bans "prospection, exploration, exploitation, extraction or processing of metallic minerals in El Salvador," according to the text published Thursday in the official journal. "This is more than just a novelty," the president of the Salvadoran Ecological Unit, Mauricio Sermeno, told AFP.
Bio-inspired energy storage: a new light for solar power
Inspired by an American fern, researchers have developed a groundbreaking prototype that could be the answer to the storage challenge still holding solar back as a total energy solution. The new type of electrode created by RMIT University researchers could boost the capacity of existing integrable storage technologies by 3000 per cent.
Does Killing Birds Make Airports Safer?
After a flock of Canada geese knocked out the engines of a US Airways jetliner in January 2009, pilot “Sully” Sullenberger was famously able to safely land the Airbus A320 on the Hudson River. What became known as the “Miracle on the Hudson” was happy news, especially for the 155 passengers whose lives Sullenberger saved.
Corals die as global warming collides with local weather in the South China Sea
In the South China Sea, a 2°C rise in the sea surface temperature in June 2015 was amplified to produce a 6°C rise on Dongsha Atoll, a shallow coral reef ecosystem, killing approximately 40 percent of the resident coral community within weeks, according to a study published in Scientific Reports this week. Wind and waves churn the sea, flushing shallow-water coral reefs with seawater from the open ocean to help them stay cool. But according to new research from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), when the weather turns still and these natural cooling mechanisms subside, just a few degrees of ocean warming can prove lethal to the corals that live there.
Climate policies alone will not save Earth's most diverse tropical forests
Afocus on policies to conserve tropical forests for their carbon storage value may imperil some of the world’s most biologically rich tropical forests. Many countries have climate-protection policies designed to conserve tropical forests to keep their carbon locked up in trees. But a new study suggests these policies could miss some of the most diverse forests because there is no clear connection between the number of tree species in a forest and how much carbon that forest stores.
Migratory birds prepare for early return as temperatures soar
Onset of early summer has triggered early return of migratory birds from the region. Birdwatchers have observed that the winged visitors have begun to assemble at Ganga Barrage here in preparation for their flight owing to the sudden rise in temperature. Met officials said northern parts of the country are witnessing onset of an early summer. December and January were found to be the warmest months in the past few years. According to an official, before their long flight back home, these birds first assemble at a common location and take off together- a process which normally begins in March-end.
Iron dissolved by air pollution may increase ocean potential to trap carbon
Iron particles generated by cities and industry are being dissolved by man-made air pollution and washed into the sea – potentially increasing the amount of greenhouse gases that the world’s oceans can absorb, a new study suggests. Scientists have long believed that acids formed from human-generated pollution and natural emissions dissolve iron in airborne particles - increasing the amount of iron to the ocean – but have lacked direct evidence to prove this theory.
Cavefish May Help Humans Evolve to Require Very Little Sleep
We all do it; we all need it – humans and animals alike. Sleep is an essential behavior shared by nearly all animals and disruption of this process is associated with an array of physiological and behavioral deficits. Although there are so many factors contributing to sleep loss, very little is known about the neural basis for interactions between sleep and sensory processing.
Despite few taste genes, honey bees seek out essential nutrients based on floral resources
Despite having few taste genes, honey bees are fine-tuned to know what minerals the colony may lack and proactively seek out nutrients in conjunction with the season when their floral diet varies. This key finding from a new study led by Tufts University scientists sheds light on limited research on the micronutrient requirements of honey bees, and provides potentially useful insight in support of increased health of the bee population, which has declined rapidly in recent years for a variety of complex reasons.
World's smallest porpoise vaquita marina close to extinction, 30 left
Mexico's vaquita marina is edging closer to extinction as scientists warned Wednesday that only 30 were left despite navy efforts to intercept illegal fishing nets killing the world's smallest porpoise. "The already desperate situation has worsened, despite existing conservation measures and current enforcement efforts," said the report by the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita (CIRVA)."At the current rate of loss, the vaquita will likely decline to extinction by 2022, unless the current gillnet ban is maintained and effectively enforced."
Battling corrosion to keep solar panels humming
People think of corrosion as rust on cars or oxidation that blackens silver, but it also harms critical electronics and connections in solar panels, lowering the amount of electricity produced. "It’s challenging to predict and even more challenging to design ways to reduce it because it’s highly dependent on material and environmental conditions,” said Eric Schindelholz, a Sandia National Laboratories materials reliability researcher who studies corrosion and how it affects photovoltaic (PV) system performance.
Turbine Breaks World Record for Wind Power Generated in Just One Day
A 722-foot tall, 9-megawatt wind turbine operating at an offshore testing site near Østerild, Denmark has set a new world record for wind electricity generation. The V164 turbine, built by Danish energy company MHI Vestas, produced 216,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity in just 24 hours, enough to power 240 U.S. homes for a month.
In a first, greater flamingoes spotted in Himachal's Pong wetlands
More than 125,000 birds of 93 species have been spotted in Himachal Pradesh's Pong Dam wetlands. Among them, greater flamingoes, a common migratory species in India's coastal areas, have been recorded for the first time here, an official said. A total of 52,530 bar-headed geese, the world's highest-altitude migrant and a rare winter migrant in other Indian wetlands, were also recorded. They are regular winter migrants here.
Massive sea lion, fur seal hunting in the Patagonian coasts is altering Southern Atlantic Ocean ecosystems
Sea lion hunting by the Europeans at the Atlantic coasts of South America -it started in the 19th Century and continued up to the second half of the 20th century in Argentina and Uruguay- changed its nutrition guidelines of these pinnipeds as well as the structure of the coastal trophic network, according to the studies by the team codirected by Lluís Cardona, from the Department of Evolutionary Biology, Ecology and Environmental Sciences and the Biodiversity Research Institute of the University of Barcelona (IRBio), and Enrique Crespo, from the Patagonian National Center and the National University of Patagonia (Argentina).
Trees supplement income for rural farmers in Africa
Trees may be easy to spot on the plains of Africa but they are often overlooked as a source of income for farmers. A University of Illinois study shows trees on farms may help reduce rural poverty and maintain biodiversity. "Trees on farms in Africa often fall through the cracks—they’re not forests and they’re not agriculture," says U of I’s Daniel Miller, who studies environmental politics and policy. "In our study, we found about one third of all rural farmers across five study countries have and grow trees on their farms. Among those farmers, trees on farms contribute 17 percent to their annual household income, so they’re very important for generating economic benefits for households."
How Climate Change Impacts Our Water Supply
The water cycle, the process by which water circulates through the planet’s atmosphere and waterways, helps make life here on Earth possible. Climate change, however, caused by excessive greenhouse gas emissions, is disrupting that process. It’s creating a vicious cycle in which higher temperatures, changes in rainfall and water contamination cause environmental consequences that make global warming worse and damage the health of the planet further.
E-Waste Rising Dangerously In Asia: UN Study
Manila, Philippines: Electronic waste is rising sharply across Asia as higher incomes allow hundreds of millions of people to buy smartphones and other gadgets, with serious consequences for human health and the environment, according to a UN study released Sunday. So-called e-waste in Asia has jumped 63 percent in five years, the report by the United Nations University said, as it warned of a need for most nations across the region to improve recycling and disposal methods.
How the darkness and the cold killed the dinosaurs
Sixty six million years ago, the sudden extinction of the dinosaurs started the ascent of the mammals, ultimately resulting in humankind's reign on Earth. Climate scientists now reconstructed how tiny droplets of sulfuric acid formed high up in the air after the well-known impact of a large asteroid and blocking the sunlight for several years, had a profound influence on life on Earth. Plants died, and death spread through the food web. Previous theories focused on the shorter-lived dust ejected by the impact. The new computer simulations show that the droplets resulted in long-lasting cooling, a likely contributor to the death of land-living dinosaurs. An additional kill mechanism might have been a vigorous mixing of the oceans, caused by the surface cooling, severely disturbing marine ecosystems.
E-Waste in East and South-East Asia Jumps 63% in Five Years
The volume of discarded electronics in East and South-East Asia jumped almost two-thirds between 2010 and 2015, and e-waste generation is growing fast in both total volume and per capita measures, new UNU research shows. Driven by rising incomes and high demand for new gadgets and appliances, the average increase in e-waste across all 12 countries and areas analysed — Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Province of China, Thailand and Vietnam — was 63% in the five years ending in 2015 and totalled 12.3 million tonnes, a weight 2.4 times that of the Great Pyramid of Giza.
Bacteria recruit other species with long-range electrical signals
Biologists at UC San Diego who recently found that bacteria resolve social conflicts within their communities and communicate with one another like neurons in the brain have discovered another human-like trait in these apparently not-so-simple, single-celled creatures. Bacteria living in diverse communities called "biofilms" create what are essentially electronic advertisements, the scientists report in a paper published in this week's issue of the journal Cell, by sending long-range electrical signals to other bacterial species that can lead to the recruitment of new members to their biofilm community.
Climate change and farming: let's be part of the solution!
What with rising rainfall in the west, and hotter, drier summers in the east, British farmers place plenty of challenges from global warming, writes Anna Bowen. But there are also positive opportunities for agricultural innovators to adapt their farming systems to changing conditions, make their operations more resilient and sustainable, and make themselves part of the solution.
Bacterial mechanism converts nitrogen to greenhouse gas
Cornell Unviersity researchers have discovered a biological mechanism that helps convert nitrogen-based fertilizer into nitrous oxide, an ozone-depleting greenhouse gas. The paper was published online Nov. 17 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "The first key to plugging a leak is finding the leak," said Kyle Lancaster, assistant professor of chemistry and chemical biology, and senior author on the research. "We now know the key to the leak and what's leading to it. Nitrous oxide is becoming quite significant in the atmosphere, as there has been a 120 percent increase of nitrous oxide in our atmosphere since pre-industrial times."
Scientists: Strong evidence that human-caused climate change intensified 2015 heat waves
Human-caused climate change very likely increased the severity of heat waves that plagued India, Pakistan, Europe, East Africa, East Asia, and Australia in 2015 and helped make it the warmest year on record, according to new research published today in a special edition of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. The fifth edition of Explaining Extreme Events from a Climate Perspective presents 25 peer-reviewed research papers that examine episodes of extreme weather of 2015 over five continents and two oceans. It features the research of 116 scientists from 18 countries analyzing both historical observations and changing trends along with model results to determine whether and how climate change may have influenced the event.
Studying the distant past in the Galapagos Islands
The Galápagos Islands are home to a tremendous diversity of plants and animals found nowhere else in the world. But why this is, and when it all began, remains something of an open question. Now scientists may have at least one more piece of the puzzle. According to a new study out today in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters, the geologic formation of one particular part of the archipelago--the part responsible for the huge biodiversity--formed, approximately 1.6 million years ago.
Ozone levels elevated in presence of wildfire smoke
For those living with the threat to life and property from wildfires, Colorado State University scientists have some more bad news: Wildfire smoke seems to elevate levels of ozone, a nasty air pollutant with proven adverse health effects. The influence of wildfire smoke on ozone levels during summer months in the United States is not well understood. CSU atmospheric science researchers took a comprehensive, multi-year look at this secondary, insidious effect of raging wildfires. Published in Environmental Science and Technology, the new study quantifies what wildfire smoke does to ozone levels over a nearly 10-year span, integrating data from hundreds of monitoring sites dotting the country.
Wind turbines may have beneficial effects for crops
A multi-year study led by an Iowa State University scientist suggests the turbines commonly used in the state to capture wind energy may have a positive effect on crops. Gene Takle, a Distinguished Professor of agronomy and geological and atmospheric sciences, said tall wind turbines disbursed throughout a field create air turbulence that may help plants by affecting variables such as temperature and carbon dioxide concentrations.
Just 3% forest area under community governance: Study
Millions of forest dwellers in the country still do not have rights to conserve forests or access to forest resources. Ten years after the forest rights act 2006 was passed by parliament—a law that secures rights of forest dwellers and empowers them to protect forests, only about 3% of the potential forest area for community governance has been recognised according to a new study. The "Promise and Performance: Ten Years of the Forest Rights Act" to be released on Tuesday finds that the rights to manage, conserve and use forest resources by forest dwelling tribes could have been recognised over an area of 34.6 million ha—an area larger than Madhya Pradesh but has only been recognised in little over 1.1 million ha or only 3% of the potential.
To Fight Air Pollution, Four Cities Announce Ban on Diesel Cars By 2025
Four of the world’s largest cities announced Friday that they will ban diesel cars by 2025 in an effort to cut air pollution. Leaders from Paris, Madrid, Athens, and Mexico City made the declaration at the C40 Mayors Summit, a biennial meeting of civic leaders concerned about climate change.
Toxic air is responsible for an estimated 3 million premature deaths each year, according to recent research by the World Health Organization. While diesel engines burn fuel more efficiently and therefore release less carbon dioxide, they do produce nitrogen dioxide and particulates that can inflame and damage people’s lungs.
Increasing tornado outbreaks — Is climate change responsible?
Tornadoes and severe thunderstorms kill people and damage property every year. Estimated U.S. insured losses due to severe thunderstorms in the first half of 2016 were $8.5 billion. The largest U.S. impacts of tornadoes result from tornado outbreaks, sequences of tornadoes that occur in close succession. Last spring a research team led by Michael Tippett, associate professor of applied physics and applied mathematics at Columbia Engineering, published a study showing that the average number of tornadoes during outbreaks—large-scale weather events that can last one to three days and span huge regions—has risen since 1954. But they were not sure why.
Indias total solar capacity crosses 10 GW-mark
India?s total installed solar capacity, including rooftop and off-grid segments, has crossed the 10 GW mark, a consultancy said. India is expected to add new solar capacity of 5.1 GW this year, which is a growth of 137 per cent over last year, consultancy Bridge to India said in a statement. It expects average annual capacity addition of 8-10 GW per annum from next year onwards.
"The pace of sector activity has picked up tremendously in the last two years because of strong government support and increasing price competitiveness of solar power. India is expected to become the world?s third biggest solar market from next year onwards after China and the US," it added.
Storing carbon dioxide underground by turning it into rock
In November, the Paris Climate Agreement goes into effect to reduce global carbon emissions. To achieve the set targets, experts say capturing and storing carbon must be part of the solution. Several projects throughout the world are trying to make that happen. Now, a study on one of those endeavors has found that within two years, carbon dioxide injected into basalt transformed into solid rock.
Experts call on international climate change panel to better reflect ocean variability in their projections
A commentary on what should be included in the next IPCC special interdisciplinary report on oceans and the cryosphere has been released today in Nature by Daniela Schmidt, Professor of Palaeobiology from the University of Bristol and Philip Boyd, a professor of marine biogeochemistry from the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania. The IPCC is an international body which was set up in 1988 to assess the science related to climate change.
Why do seabirds eat plastic?
Heartbreaking stories of seabirds eating plastic — and the accompanying horrible images— are everywhere, but now scientists are an important question: Why do seabirds eat plastic in the first place? And why are some more likely to have bellies full of plastic than others? The answer, it turns out, lies in a compound called dimethyl sulfide, or DMS, which emits a “chemical scream” that some birds associate with food. When seabirds find chunks of plastic bobbing in the water, they gobble them up, not realizing that they’ve just consumed something very dangerous.
Inspections report reveals 60 per cent non-compliance rate under B.C. environmental law
Sixty per cent of operations inspected across B.C. in 2015 failed to comply with a key provincial environmental law, a new Ministry of Environment report reveals. Of 632 inspections under the Environmental Management Act — undertaken in sectors ranging from mining and forestry to sewage and hazardous waste management — only 40 per cent were deemed to be compliant, while 55 per cent required a low-level response such as an advisory or warning. Stronger action was required for the remaining five per cent, ranging from orders to rectify environmental problems, violation tickets and penalties, restorative justice forums, and court action in the most serious cases involving threats to the environment or human health and safety.
Trump taps climate-change skeptic to oversee EPA transition
President-elect Donald Trump has made no secret of his disdain for the Environmental Protection Agency, saying the regulations it has put out under President Obama are “a disgrace.” He has vowed to roll back Obama’s signature effort to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, known as the Clean Power Plan, and to scrap a litany of other “unnecessary” rules, especially those imposed on the oil, gas and coal sectors. The man planning how a Trump administration can obliterate Obama’s environmental legacy is Myron Ebell, a Washington fixture who has long been a cheerful warrior against what he sees as an alarmist, overzealous environmental movement that has used global warming as a pretext for expanding government. Ebell has argued for opening up more federal lands for logging, oil and gas exploration and coal mining, and for turning over more permitting authority to the states. And he has urged the Senate to vote to reject an international climate accord signed last year in Paris.
Young birds less honest when competing against siblings
Chicks that are competing with siblings or whose parents are likely to die or switch partners tend to be less honest when begging for food, research into sibling rivalry in birds by Oxford University scientists has found. That's because these events introduce conflict into the family group. Analysis of more than 100 studies across 60 species of bird also found that chicks are more likely to exaggerate their need for food if their parents are likely to breed again in the future -- backing up existing evolutionary theory about natural selection.
Study: Carbon-Hungry Plants Impede Growth Rate of Atmospheric CO2
New findings suggest the rate at which CO2 is accumulating in the atmosphere has plateaued in recent years because Earth’s vegetation is grabbing more carbon from the air than in previous decades. That’s the conclusion of a multi-institutional study led by a scientist from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). It’s based on extensive ground and atmospheric observations of CO2, satellite measurements of vegetation, and computer modeling. The research is published online Nov. 8 in the journal Nature Communications.
Seeing Fewer Butterflies? Blame Extreme Weather
Have you noticed fewer butterflies floating this year? Researchers in the UK think they know the culprit for the population decline: extreme weather conditions. It’s not exactly new news that climate change has an impact on butterflies. In the past, Care2 has detailed the kind of danger global warming poses to the beautiful insects:
New biochar model scrubs CO2 from the atmosphere
New Cornell University research suggests an economically viable model to scrub carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to thwart global warming. The researchers propose using a “bioenergy-biochar system” that removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in an environmental pinch, until other removal methods become economically feasible and in regions where other methods are impractical. Their work appeared in the Oct. 21 edition of Nature Communications.
Globally Averaged CO2 Levels Reach 400 parts per million in 2015
Globally averaged concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached the symbolic and significant milestone of 400 parts per million for the first time in 2015 and surged again to new records in 2016 on the back of the very powerful El Niño event, according to the World Meteorological Organization's annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin. CO2 levels had previously reached the 400 ppm barrier for certain months of the year and in certain locations but never before on a global average basis for the entire year. The longest-established greenhouse gas monitoring station at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, predicts that CO2 concentrations will stay above 400 ppm for the whole of 2016 and not dip below that level for many generations.
Project to increase wild tiger population in India, Bhutan
In order to protect and increase wild tiger population, nearly one million acres of protected habitat in India and Bhutan will be covered under a new private conservation efforts. The 'Project C.A.T - Conserving acres for Tigers' by Discovery Communications and NGO World Wildlife Fund (WWF) aims to conserve the wild tiger population, which has dropped by 96 per cent in the last century alone to only 4,000 left in the wild due to habitat loss and pervasive poaching.
Reforesting Kilimanjaro could ease East Africa's severe water shortages
There is a need to reforest Africa’s highest mountain to help protect vital water supplies that are under threat across large parts of East Africa, a UN Environment report urged today. The loss of Mount Kilimanjaro’s forests could trigger water crisis as rivers begin to dry up, notes the report, entitled Sustainable Mountain Development in East Africa in a Changing Climate, which was launched at the World Mountain Forum in Uganda today.
Methane muted: How did early Earth stay warm?
For at least a billion years of the distant past, planet Earth should have been frozen over but wasn't. Scientists thought they knew why, but a new modeling study from the Alternative Earths team of the NASA Astrobiology Institute has fired the lead actor in that long-accepted scenario. Humans worry about greenhouse gases, but between 1.8 billion and 800 million years ago, microscopic ocean dwellers really needed them. The sun was 10 to 15 percent dimmer than it is today -- too weak to warm the planet on its own. Earth required a potent mix of heat-trapping gases to keep the oceans liquid and livable.
Mystery species hidden in cave art appears to be unknown bison-cattle hybrid
Ancient DNA research has revealed that Ice Age cave artists recorded a previously unknown hybrid species of bison and cattle in great detail on cave walls more than 15,000 years ago. The mystery species, known affectionately by the researchers as the Higgs Bison* because of its elusive nature, originated over 120,000 years ago through the hybridisation of the extinct Aurochs (the ancestor of modern cattle) and the Ice Age Steppe Bison, which ranged across the cold grasslands from Europe to Mexico.
Megadrought risks in southwest U.S. soar as atmosphere warms
As a consequence of a warming Earth, the risk of a megadrought -- one that lasts more than 35 years -- in the American Southwest likely will rise from a low chance over the past thousand years to a 20- to 50-percent chance in this century. However, by slashing greenhouse gas emissions, these risks are nearly cut in half, according to a new study. As a consequence of a warming Earth, the risk of a megadrought -- one that lasts more than 35 years -- in the American Southwest likely will rise from a low chance over the past thousand years to a 20- to 50-percent chance in this century. However, by slashing greenhouse gas emissions, these risks are nearly cut in half, according to a new study.
Delhi promotes research in wild life, environment conservation
That it provides relief to Delhiites from tiresome drudgery is well known, what is not is that the National Zoological park here has also branched into research, offering internship and field training in wild life and environment conservation. "Delhi zoo is providing internship training to Bachelor of Veterinary Science (B.V.Sc) students from Haryana Agricultural & Veterinary University, Hissar. The Indian Forest Service probationers from Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy (IGNFA), Dehradun, and trainee officers of Diploma in Wild life Management from Wild Life Institute Of India also visit the zoo for their field training," Riyaz Khan, zoo curator said.
Turning Sunlight into Fuel
In one hour, the Earth receives enough energy from the sun to meet all of mankind’s energy needs for one year. Yet the world uses little more than one percent of the sun’s energy for our electricity needs. A major obstacle to being able to tap into the full potential of solar energy is that it is intermittent—we cannot get a steady supply of solar energy because the sun doesn't always shine.
Salty snow could affect air pollution in the Arctic
In pictures, the Arctic appears pristine and timeless with its barren lands and icy landscape. In reality, the area is rapidly changing. Scientists are working to understand the chemistry behind these changes to better predict what could happen to the region in the future. One team reports in ACS’ Journal of Physical Chemistry A that sea salt could play a larger role in the formation of local atmospheric pollutants than previously thought.
Uranium levels in deep sea coral reveal new insights into how the major northern ice sheets retreated
The research, carried out by a team from the universities of Bristol, Leeds, Cardiff, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Colgate University, has been published in Science. Uranium is more than a source of energy and a material of nuclear weapon. In nature, it occurs in all rocks, and its radioactive decay allows us to use it to look at different processes that have happened in the past.
How does your garden grow?
Want to help mitigate global climate change? Grow some veggies. Turning lawn into a vegetable garden can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new study by UC Santa Barbara research professor David Cleveland. Using a lifecycle assessment model, Cleveland and his students demonstrated that greenhouse gas emissions can be cut by 2 kilograms for every kilo of homegrown vegetable when compared to the store-bought counterpart. The group's findings appear in the journal Landscape and Urban Planning.
Aerosol emissions in East Asia driven by consumption in developed countries
Much of the influence on climate from air pollution in East Asia is driven by consumption in the developed countries of Western Europe and North America, according to research co-led by McGill University atmospheric scientist Yi Huang. In a paper published online this week in Nature Geoscience, Huang and colleagues from China, the U.S. and U.K. report that international trade shifts the climate impacts of aerosols -- solid or liquid particles suspended in air -- from net consuming countries to net producing countries.
A strange thing happened in the stratosphere
This disruption to the wind pattern -- called the "quasi-biennial oscillation" -- did not have any immediate impact on weather or climate as we experience it on Earth's surface. But it does raise interesting questions for the NASA scientists who observed it: If a pattern holds for six decades and then suddenly changes, what caused that to happen? Will it happen again? What effects might it have? "The quasi-biennial oscillation is the stratosphere's Old Faithful," said Paul Newman, Chief Scientist for Earth Sciences at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, and lead author on a new paper about the event published online in Geophysical Research Letters. "If Old Faithful stopped for a day, you'd begin to wonder about what was happening under the ground."
China ratifies Paris climate agreement
China's top legislature has ratified the Paris global climate agreement, state news agency Xinhua reports. The country is the world's largest emitter of harmful CO2 emissions, which cause climate change. China and the US are expected to jointly announce ratification at a bilateral summit later on Saturday. In a landmark deal struck in December, countries agreed to cut emissions enough to keep the global average rise in temperatures below 2C.
Concerned over environment, PM urges people to avoid using Ganesha idols made of Plaster Of Paris
Raising concerns over the environment, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday urged people to avoid using Ganesha idols made of Plaster of Paris (POP) during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival. Modi suggested that instead of POP idols, which after immersion cause damage to the aquatic life and environment, people should use eco-friendly idols made of clay. "Festival is the time of self evaluation and they need to change with time. Environment is damaged due to immersion of POP idols. Lets go back to old traditions and adopt idols made of pond clay," Modi said in his "Mann ki Baat" radio address.
NTPC plans to become biggest renewable energy company in 10 years
NTPC, India's largest electricity generator, is tweaking its expansion plan to become the biggest renewable energy company in the next 10 years. The stateowned company's Rs 5 lakh crore capital expenditure plan will be skewed towards adding renewable energy capacity instead of setting up more thermal units.
NTPC has targeted generation capacity of 128,000 megawatts by 2030 from the present level of over 47,000 MW. "Keeping the total capacity addition constant, we are recasting the expansion plan to increase the mix of renewable power capacity and reduce the share of thermal power," a senior NTPC official said.
Railways aims to significantly reduce carbon footprints
Indian Railways, the largest energy consumer in the country, has set a target of harnessing 1,000 MW of solar energy and 15 MW of wind energy in the next four years as part of efforts to reduce its carbon footprint. "We have undertaken steps to increase the use of clean energy to reduce emissions and in this regard we have set a target of harnessing 1,000 MW of solar and 150 MW of wind energy by 2020," said Railway Executive Director Sudhir Garg at the release of a report on 'Decarbonisation Indian Railways' here today.
Forest and watercourse interplay important for restorations
Humans utilise forests and watercourses in a way that depletes ecosystem habitats, biodiversity and ecosystem services. Many areas are restored to break the trend, but to succeed you need to consider not only the ecosystem in mind, but also surrounding ecosystems. This according to researchers in Umeå in Sweden in an article published in BioScience.
"Despite evident correlations between land and water ecosystems, forests and watercourses are nearly always restored separately in small-scale projects. When a forest ecosystem abounding in water has been depleted, it can be a struggle to retain its original status by restoring only one part of it. Instead, both land and aquatic environments need to be integrated in the restoration," says Christer Nilsson, Professor at the Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences at Umeå University.
Green is in for India Inc
Going green makes strong business sense. Or so said management expert Michael Porter. As one of the key representatives of India Inc, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) realised the potency of those words more than a decade ago. In the summer of 2004, it unveiled the CII-Godrej Green Business Centre (GBC) in Hyderabad-a public-private partnership project between the Andhra Pradesh government, the Pirojsha Godrej Foundation and CII, with technical aid from USAID.
Pro-nuclear countries making slower progress on climate targets
A strong national commitment to nuclear energy goes hand in hand with weak performance on climate change targets, researchers at the University of Sussex and the Vienna School of International Studies have found. A new study of European countries, published in the journal Climate Policy, shows that the most progress towards reducing carbon emissions and increasing renewable energy sources -- as set out in the EU's 2020 Strategy -- has been made by nations without nuclear energy or with plans to reduce it.
Historical documents reveal Arctic sea ice is disappearing at record speed
Scientists have pieced together historical records to reconstruct Arctic sea ice extent over the past 125 years. The results are shown in the figure below. The red line, showing the extent at the end of the summer melt season, is the most critical:
Arctic sea ice extent in recent years is by far the lowest it’s been, with about half of the historical coverage gone, and the decline the fastest it’s been in recorded history.
Today's electric vehicles can make a dent in climate change
Electric cars that exist today could be widely adopted despite range constraints, replacing about 90 percent of existing cars, and could make a major dent in the nation's carbon emissions, new research indicates. The study, which found that a wholesale replacement of conventional vehicles with electric ones is possible today and could play a significant role in meeting climate change mitigation goals, was published today in the journal Nature Energy by Jessika Trancik, the Atlantic Richfield Career Development Associate Professor in Energy Studies at MIT's Institute for Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS), along with graduate student Zachary Needell, postdoc James McNerney, and recent graduate Michael Chang SM '15.
Non-implementation of plastic waste rules chokes cows to torturous death in India
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call to save cows from plastic has brought into focus the long pending demand of many concerned citizens, animal rights activists and NGOs who have long been fighting for complete ban on use of plastic carry bags and the open garbage disposal system. They had also moved the Supreme Court that only last month termed the situation quite "alarming" after looking at evidence submitted by them and even directed the Centre and state governments to take all necessary steps to address the concerns.
‘Earth Overshoot Day’: Aug. 8 marked the day we used up all the Earth’s resources for 2016
Monday Aug. 8 marked “Earth Overshoot Day” an unsettling reminder that the global population has used up all of the planet’s resources to live sustainably for a year, according to data from the Global Footprint Network. Global Footprint Network (GFN), a non-profit research organization focusing on sustainability, created Earth Overshoot Day as a marker to determine when humanity’s annual demand on our natural resources exceeds what Earth can regenerate in a given year.
Handling of toxic waste: NGT seeks details from states
With the issue of toxic waste being released from industries becoming a major environmental issue, the National Green Tribunal has directed various state governments including the national capital to state how many industries were authorized to deal with the hazardous waste. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar ordered Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand governments to file an affidavit and inform it about the mechanism of disposal of such hazardous waste.
Toxic blue-green algae adapt to rising CO2
A common type of blue-green algae is finding it easy to adapt to Earth's rising CO2 levels, meaning blue-green algae -- of which there are many toxin-producing varieties -- are even more adept at handling changing climatic conditions than scientists previously supposed. A team of microbiologists at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) are reporting this finding in the journal PNAS this week, and point here at implications for clean drinking water, swimming safety and freshwater ecosystems.
Trees on Agricultural Lands on the Rise, Could Help Mitigate Climate Change in Developing Countries
A new study revealed that tree cover on agricultural around the world has increased, potentially helping in the mitigation of climate change by capturing nearly 0.75 Gigatonnes carbon dioxide every year. The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, showed that 43 percent of the agricultural land in the world had at least 10 percent tree cover, two percent higher compared to the preceding decade.
Managing uncertainty: How soil carbon feedbacks could affect climate change
There is more than twice as much carbon in the planet's soils than there is in its atmosphere, so the loss of even a small proportion of that could have a profound feedback effect on the global climate. Yet in its most recent report, in 2013, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) used models that paid less attention to soil carbon potentially entering the atmosphere than had earlier reports, concluding that there simply wasn't enough evidence about how warmer global temperatures might impact soil carbon stocks.
Hottest ever June marks 14th month of record-breaking temperatures
As the string of record-breaking global temperatures continues unabated, June 2016 marks the 14th consecutive month of record-breaking heat. According to two US agencies – Nasa and Noaa – June 2016 was 0.9C hotter than the average for the 20th century, and the hottest June in the record which goes back to 1880. It broke the previous record, set in 2015, by 0.02C. The 14-month streak of record-breaking temperatures was the longest in the 137-year record. And it has been 40 years since the world saw a June that was below the 20th century average.
Drought 'shuts down Amazon carbon sink'
A recent drought shut down the Amazon Basin's carbon sink by killing trees and slowing trees' growth rates, a study has shown. The term carbon sink refers to the ability of a natural zone to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. In the first basin-wide study of the impacts of the 2010 drought, data showed trees' mortality rate went up while growth rates declined. The findings have been published by the Global Biogeochemical Cycles journal. The Amazon Basin is a key player in the Earth's carbon cycle, holding 17% of the terrestrial vegetation carbon stock.
Anoxic Waters Delay the Recovery of Life on Earth by 5 Million Years After the Mass Extinction
A new study revealed that oxygen-starved oceans, or a condition known as anoxia, delayed the recovery of life on Earth by five million years after the Permian-Triassic Boundary extinction 252 million years ago. The Permian-Triassic Boundary extinction is the greatest mass extinction event of all time, wiping out 90 percent of marine life and two thirds of the animals living on land. Previous study suggests that the delayed recovery of Earth was caused by the presence of anoxic waters that also contains high levels of harmful compounds known as sulphides. However, a new study published in the journal Nature Communication showed that iron-rich, low oxygen water is the major cause of the delayed recovery of marine life following the extinction event.
U.S. regulators say fuel efficiency pays, despite cheaper gas
Automakers have the technology to meet aggressive mandates to hike fuel efficiency by 2025, but the fleet-wide improvement will not be as great as the Obama administration once forecast because buyers are switching to pickup trucks and SUVs, federal regulators said Monday.
The report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the California Air Resources Board will frame a debate with the auto industry that will be decided in 2018 by the next president.
Administration officials on Monday said the key finding of their analysis is that automakers can comply with the mandates using known technology, and deliver benefits in terms of fuel savings and greenhouse emissions cuts that outweigh the estimated $894 to $1,245 per vehicle in costs, the 1,200-page document says.
Can we feed the world without cutting forests? It can be done, says U.N.
Agriculture is the biggest driver of deforestation globally fuelled by a growing demand for food, yet it is possible to feed the world without cutting forests, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said on Monday.
Most forest loss occurs in the world's tropical regions, which lost 7 million hectares of forest a year between 2000 and 2010, while gaining 6 million hectares per year in agricultural land, FAO said in a report.
Some countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America have managed to change this pattern by improving land rights, boosting agricultural production and protecting forests, FAO said.
The human as a speciating force of nature!
While we are warming the planet, how have other species been affected, not only by the heat, but also our other disruptive ways? Speciation has famously been driven by man (or woman) in animals such as domestic birds and mammals, but what about the others which live around humans. Maybe the peregrine falcon of many cities has changed from the rural raptor, or has the pigeon diet and cathedral-influenced genotype and phenotype. Similar change will certainly result from hunting and fishing activity by our species.
Secret World of Primeval Rivers Lies Beneath Greenland Glacier
A network of ancient rivers lies frozen in time beneath one of Greenland's largest glaciers, new research reveals. The subglacial river network, which threads through much of Greenland's landmass and looks, from above, like the tiny nerve fibers radiating from a brain cell, may have influenced the fast-moving Jakobshavn Isbrae glacier over the past few million years.
Frequency Of Cloudburst Like Incidents Rising, Says Prakash Javadekar
Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar today said the frequency of heavy rains and cloudburst-like incidents are "increasing" due to climate change. Expressing grief over the loss of lives in Uttarakhand's Pithoragarh and Chamoli districts, he said the government is working on a plan of action to tackle such natural eventualities. "Due to heavy rains, there was loss of lives (in Uttarakhand). This is very unfortunate. The frequency of such incidents is increasing because of climate change. The government has been making preparations to tackle such natural eventualities," Mr. Javadekar said.
Ozone Hole Over The Antarctic Has Shrunk, Now It's The 'Size Of India'
The hole in the ozone layer over the Antarctic has begun to shrink, signalling good news for the environment decades after an international accord to phase out certain pollutants, researchers said Thursday. The study found that the ozone hole had shrunk by 1.5 million square miles (four million square kilometers) -- an area nearly about the size of India -- since 2000. "It's a big surprise," said lead author Susan Solomon, an atmospheric chemist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in an interview with Science magazine.
Formosa unit offers $500 million for causing toxic disaster in Vietnam
One of the biggest environmental disasters to hit Vietnam was caused by a unit of a Taiwanese conglomerate leaking toxic waste into the sea, the Hanoi government said on Thursday, ending months of mystery and rare public outrage. Formosa Ha Tinh Steel, a subsidiary of Formosa Plastics, has promised $500 million in damages and admitted that its $10.6 billion steel plant had caused massive fish deaths along a 200-km (124-mile) stretch of coastline that occurred in April, the government said.The disaster unleashed a huge outcry, with months of public anger on social media and on the streets of big cities. Vietnamese vented their fury at both the government and Formosa, one of the communist country's biggest investors, accusing them of a cover-up.
Brexit spells end to EU leadership in climate diplomacy
Britain's exit dashes the European Union's leadership ambitions on efforts to slow climate change, leaving the bloc on the sidelines while others endorse the global pact it championed to curb greenhouse gas emissions.Last week, EU environment ministers jointly called for action "as soon as possible" to avoid being absent when the deal struck in Paris last December to limit global average temperatures below 2 degrees Celsius locks into place. Britain's vote to leave the union has disrupted everyday affairs and probably displaced climate concerns as a political priority. It also removes one of the EU's strongest voices in favor of emissions-cutting policies.
The metamorphosis of wetlands
Wood samples excavated from wetlands lead researchers to carbon sinks
Even as more wetland and coastal areas are reclaimed in the name of development, palaeontologists have excavated evidence of evergreen forests that were submerged in swamps, marshes and coastlands of Kerala. A series of studies, based on excavations of wood from wetland areas, showed that these lands are one of the best carbon sinks (natural systems that suck in and store carbon dioxide) in India.
"Our efforts over the past few years, persistent excavation and meticulous search of these fossil woods and sub-fossil logs in the wetlands of Kerala, have led to identification of 25 species, mainly tropical evergreen variety, including a few mangrove species. These species have the potential to let us determine past climates by studying trees. Tree rings become wider when conditions favour growth and narrower when times are difficult," said Dr Navnith K P Kumaran, veteran palaeontologist associated with Agharkar Research Institute, Pune.
How climate change threatens panda conservation
Pandas do not like it hot and rising temperatures can also put pressure on their food supply by eliminating vast amounts of bamboo plants, researchers say. "Higher climate temperatures would upset the entire system in the panda reserves and the wild, eliminating vast amounts of bamboo," said one of the researchers James Spotila, professor at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US. But burning out food sources is not the only problem when it comes to climate change. Rising temperatures are bad for pandas themselves, the researchers noted.
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef hit by massive bleaching
Mass bleaching has killed more than a third of the coral in the northern and central parts of Australia's Great Barrier Reef, though corals to the south have escaped with little damage, scientists said on Monday. Researchers who conducted months of aerial and underwater surveys of the 2,300-kilometer (1,400-mile) reef off Australia's east coast found that around 35 per cent of the coral in the northern and central sections of the reef are dead or dying, said Terry Hughes, director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University in Queensland state. And some parts of the reef had lost more than half of the coral to bleaching.
Ancient Himalayan wolf still present in Nepal, confirm scientists
Scientists have confirmed the presence of the critically endangered Himalayan wolf — the most ancient wolf lineage known — in Nepal's largest protected area. Although the Himalayan wolf is visibly distinct from its European cousin, its current distribution has mostly been a matter of assumption, rather than evident truth, researchers said. The most ancient wolf lineage known to science has been listed as critically endangered in Nepal's National Red List, they said.
Monsoon to hit Kerala early this year: Skymet
Monsoon will hit Kerala between May 28 and 30, two-three days before its normal onset date of June 1, private forecasting agency Skymet said. However, it is expected to reach New Delhi on July 1 and Jaisalmer by July 12. It is likely to reach Kolkata by June 10 and Mumbai by June 12. The Southwest Monsoon will arrive over Andaman and Nicobar Islands between May 18 and 20. "It is likely to reach Kerala between May 28 and May 30. Thereafter, it will cover other parts of the country. Present weather conditions are indicating a promising beginning of Monsoon 2016 which is likely to usher in with a bang," Skymet said.
36 animal, plant species endangered in Gujarat
As many as 36 animal and plant species in Gujarat have been categorized as endangered by the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Prakash Javadekar said on Monday. In reply to a question by Rajya Sabha member Parimal Nathwani, the minister stated that 20 species of animals and 16 of plants are endangered in Gujarat. The animal species include Black Mahseer, Golden Mahaseer, Leatherback Sea Turtle, Green Sea Turtle, Indian White-backed Vulture, Long-billed Vulture, Red-headed Vulture, Steppe Eagle, Greater Adjutant-Stork, Great Indian Bustard, Lesser Florican, Sociable Lapwing, Spotted Greenshank, Forest Spotted Owlet, Dhole, Caracal, Blue Whale, Fin Whale and Indian Wild Ass.
World's first herbivorous marine reptile found
A bizarre crocodile-sized 'hammerhead' creature, that lived 242 million years ago in what today is southern China, may have been the earliest known example of a plant-eating marine reptile, scientists say. The fossil, discovered in 2014, has a poorly preserved head, but it seemed to have a flamingo-like beak. Scientists found that "beak" is actually part of a hammerhead-shaped jaw apparatus, which it used to feed on plants on the ocean floor.
Projects worth Rs 2446 crore approved for developments of ghats and crematoriums along river Ganga
Giving a major fillip to its Ganga rejuvenation efforts, the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) - a central body to implement the government's Namami Gange scheme - has approved projects worth Rs 2446 crore for development of 'ghats' and crematoriums at various places along the river in four states and along its tributary Yamuna in Delhi.
UN selects Mexican diplomat Patricia Espinosa as next chief of its climate change body
Mexico's ambassador to Germany, Patricia Espinosa, will be the new UN climate chief. She will play an important role in implementing the Paris Agreement on climate change that was approved by 195 countries in the French Capital in December last year. She will replace the incumbent Christiana Figueres when her term ends in July. The United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday selected Espinosa who had earlier served as Mexico's representative at the UN in New York for drug traffic, human rights, social development, women promotion and children's rights.
US oil field source of global uptick in air pollution: Study
An oil and natural gas field in the western United States is largely responsible for a global uptick of the air pollutant ethane, according to a new study. The team led by researchers at the University of Michigan found that fossil fuel production at the Bakken Formation in North Dakota and Montana is emitting roughly 2 per cent of the ethane detected in the Earth's atmosphere. Along with its chemical cousin methane, ethane is a hydrocarbon that is a significant component of natural gas. Once in the atmosphere, ethane reacts with sunlight to form ozone, which can trigger asthma attacks and other respiratory problems, especially in children and the elderly. Ethane pollution can also harm agricultural crops. Ozone also ranks as the third-largest contributor to human-caused global warming after carbon dioxide and methane.
Diesel cars breach green standards in Europe tests
In the aftermath of the Volkswagen scandal, new tests on diesel vehicles across models by government agencies in the UK, France and Germany have revealed that emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) in these automobiles were far higher than prescribed standards. The tests were conducted on Euro V and Euro VI vehicles. In the UK, 37 vehicle types were tested while Germany ran tests on 56 vehicles over six months. "Tests have found higher levels of NOx emissions in test-track and real-world driving conditions than in the laboratory for all manufacturers' vehicles, with results varying significantly between different makes," a UK report said.
Congo conflict pushing world's largest primate towards extinction
The Grauer's gorilla, the world's largest primate, has been a source of continual worry for conservationists for more than two decades. Longstanding conflict in the jungles of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo left experts fearing for the worst and their fears have come true. According to findings, Grauer's gorilla populations have plummeted 77% over the last 20 years, with fewer than 3,800 of the animals remaining. "The rate of collapse pushes this subspecies to the verge of extinction" said Andrew Plumptre, director of the Wildlife Conservation Society's Albertine Rift Program, Africa.
Wildlife lovers unite against alarming tiger deaths in the region
With 15 tiger deaths reported around Nagpur jungles in the last three months, the city's wildlife lovers want strict steps taken to check this alarming phenomenon. After a century of decline, the most recent tiger data released by the World Wildlife Fund reveals there are about 3,890 tigers in the wild, up from 3,200 in 2010. But, this piece of news hasn't gladdened the hearts of those wildlife lovers who know the fact that more than 15 tigers have died in the jungles around Nagpur (in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh) in the past three months. This is the official figure released by National Tiger Conservation Authority and the real number could be higher, inform some highly placed sources.
India among 175 countries to sign historic Paris climate deal
As many as 170 countries, including India, China and the US, signed the Paris Agreement on climate change at the UN headquarters in New York on Friday, to coincide with 'International Mother Earth Day'. This was the first day of the signing ceremony of the historic global deal. Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar signed the agreement on behalf of India. The agreement aims to take multiple measures to save the world from disastrous consequences of climate change and was adopted by 195 countries in Paris on December 12, 2015. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and some heads of state and government, including French President Francois Hollande addressed the gathering. Also on the list of speakers was Mahindra Group chairman and managing director Anand Mahindra, as a representative of the business and corporate world.
Global warming by 2°C much more lethal than 1.5°C: Study
What difference does it make if global warming causes temperatures to rise by 2 degrees C rather than 1.5 degrees C? European researchers have found substantially different climate change impacts - a 10-cm-higher global sea-level rise by 2100, longer heat waves, and virtually all tropical coral reefs being at risk. The research, published in Earth System Dynamics, an open access journal of the European Geosciences Union, was presented at the EGU General Assembly being held at Vienna, Austria. The study considered 11 different indicators including extreme weather events, water availability, crop yields, coral reef degradation and sea-level rise, said lead author Carl Schleussner, a scientific advisor at Climate Analytics in Germany.
"We found significant differences for all the impacts we considered," he said.
Signing of Paris climate deal will open up new market, the White House says
The signing of the Paris agreement on climate change later this week in New York will "open up" a new market for energy efficiency innovation that US companies have pioneered, the White House has said. "This will open up a market for energy efficiency innovation that US companies have pioneered," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said yesterday. Several global leaders including secretary of state John Kerry and environment minister Prakash Javadekar are expected to be present on the occasion in New York later this week.
March 2016: Hottest one in modern times
Last month marked the hottest March in modern history and the 11th consecutive month in which a monthly global temperature record was broken, US officials said Tuesday. Officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said that the string of record-setting months is the longest in its 137 years of record-keeping. The globally-averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces for March 2016 "was the highest for the month of March in the NOAA global temperature dataset record, which dates back to 1880," the agency said.
Cambodia banking on India to reintroduce tigers over five years
Right tigers from India — six females and two males — would be translocated to Cambodia where the big cats have been declared extinct. The Indian tigers would be "reintroduced" in two different locations in Cambodia over the next five years. "It will take at least five years to reintroduce the Indian tigers and place them in two different, safe enclosed breeding areas," Sokhun Ty, a senior official of the Cambodian ministry of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, told IANS here.
Pollution impact on monuments slow but long lasting: Experts
While human life has perennially been under threat of pollution, monuments haven't been spared either and are being adversely impacted by contaminated air, experts say. Among the most evident symptoms of an affected monument, particularly those built in white marble or limestone is the gradual yellowing of the walls, similar to what has been happening to the Taj Mahal in Agra. Pollutants like sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, generated by vehicles and industries, react with air moisture to form acids that eat into the marble resulting in change of colour and even corrosion.
UN panel to study how to limit global warming
The UN's panel of climate scientists agreed on Thursday to study how to limit global warming to the toughest target set by world leaders, saying even small rises in temperatures could be harmful. The panel would look into ways to restrict the rise in temperatures to 1.5 degree Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times after a 195-nation summit in Paris agreed in December to try and phase out net greenhouse gas emissions this century.
Forests synchronize their growth in response to climate change
A new study, with the participation of UPM, has revealed a growing synchrony in ring-width patterns of trees in response to global warming. A multidisciplinary research team consisting of Russian and Spanish researchers, with the participation of a researcher from School of Forestry Engineering and Natural Resources at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM), has assessed the tree-ring width patterns of diverse conifer species in Spain and Siberia. This study shows the existence of an increase of spatial synchrony of ring width patterns in both regions. These findings are a warning of the global warming impact on forest ecosystems at subcontinent scale.
Ortho to Drop Chemicals Linked to Bee Declines
Amid ominous warnings about threats to pollinators and the food crops they make possible, garden-care giant Ortho said Tuesday it will stop using a class of chemicals widely believed to harm the most important pollinators of all: bees. Bees are critical to the food supply because about one-third of the human diet comes from insect-pollinated plants, and honeybees are responsible for 80 percent of that pollination. Concern about bee health is growing, with federal officials considering whether to protect two species of wild bumblebees.
Global renewables grew at fastest rate on record in 2015: research
Renewable energy generation capacity expanded by 8.3 percent last year to 1,985 gigawatts globally, the fastest annual rate on record, data from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) showed on Thursday. The strong growth was mainly due to a continued decline in technology costs. Overall, capacity has increased by roughly a third over the last five years, mostly fueled by new installations of wind and solar energy. Wind power capacity rose by 17 percent, or 63 gigawatts (GW), from the previous year as the cost of onshore wind turbines fell. Solar power capacity increased by 37 percent, or 47 GW, due to declines in the price of photovoltaic modules, according to IRENA's Renewables Capacity Statistics 2016.
Slow fault movements may indicate impending earthquakes
Scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) at its Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) have discovered a way to forecast earthquakes based on slow fault movements caused by moving sub layers of Earth. So far, scientists believe that larger earthquakes are unlikely to occur following tremors or earthquakes below a Richter scale of 2 that are caused by small vibrations or slow fault movements such as those observed in the area of Parkfield along the San Andreas Fault in California, USA.
Summer in March? Warming Climate Alters Europe's Seasons
Earth’s seasonal clock is out-of-whack. Summers in Europe are coming ten days ahead of schedule, and could be up to 20 days early by century’s end if the current pace of carbon emissions continues, according to a new study by French scientists published Monday. And it’s not just Europe. Trees leafing out sooner, birds shifting migrations and butterflies arriving early provide evidence of climate change altering seasonal weather conditions across the Northern Hemisphere.
Climate predicts bird populations
Populations of the most common bird species in Europe and the US are being altered by climate change, according to an international study. For the first time researchers showed climate to be having a similar, significant impact on bird populations in large, distant areas of the world. Their study used population-predicting models and three decades of field data, gathered by bird-watching volunteers. The findings are published in the journal Science.
Vegan Eating Would Slash Food's Global Warming Emissions: Study
By eating less meat and more fruit and vegetables, the world could prevent several million deaths per year by 2050, cut planet-warming emissions substantially, and save billions of dollars annually in healthcare costs and climate damage, researchers said. A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is the first to estimate both the health and climate change impacts of a global move towards a more plant-based diet, they said. "We do not expect everybody to become vegan," said lead author Marco Springmann of the Oxford Martin Program on the Future of Food. But if they did, they'd live longer and help reduce the changes that are skewing the climate.
How Our Favorite Fish Could Recover in a Decade
After decades of declines, most of the world's fish populations could recover in just ten years, while fishermen make more money at the same time, scientists reported in a new study published Monday. The solution is for more countries to adopt systems for sharing rights to harvesting fish, which have been effective in a handful of countries, including the U.S. and Belize. "I've spent my career working on fisheries issues and I did not expect such a dramatic finding," says Amanda Leland, a co-author of the study in the journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Leland, a fisheries scientist with the Environmental Defense Fund, worked on the study with scientists from the University of California, Santa Barbara and the University of Washington.
UN: 2015 record year for global renewables investment
The 10th Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment also showed that investment in developing nations exceeded that in developed countries. In another first, more new renewables capacity than fossil-fuel generation came online during 2015. But it warned that much more had to be done to avoid dangerous climate change. The assessment, produced by the Frankfurt School-Unep Collaborating Centre for Climate and Sustainable Energy Finance and Bloomberg New Energy Finance, showed that the developing world committed a total of US$156bn (up 19% on 2014 levels) in renewables (excluding large hydro) while developed nations invested US$130bn (down 8% from 2014 levels).
Five years of Fukushima: It's not an anniversary but a still unfolding accident
On March 11, 2011, a massive earthquake and tsunami hit Japan’s Tohoku region on the east coast, triggering an energy accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The natural calamity crippled the cooling system of the power station which housed six reactors. Three of these reactors exploded within a week and a lethally high amount of radiation made any repair impossible even in the remaining reactors for the next several days. Officials and workers on the plant simply fled to save their lives.
Parts of Great Barrier Reef face permanent destruction due to El Nino: scientists
Parts of Australia's Great Barrier Reef face permanent destruction if the current El Nino, one of the strongest in two decades, does not ease this month, scientists said on Wednesday. The El Nino is a result of a warming of the ocean in the western Pacific -- ideal conditions for coral bleaching, where coral expels living algae, causing it to calcify. Coral can only survive within a narrow band of ocean temperature. The scientists said areas of the Great Barrier Reef, a world heritage site, are experiencing the worst bleaching in 15 years.
Berta Cáceres, Honduran environment and human rights activist, murdered
Berta Cáceres, the Honduran indigenous and environmental rights campaigner, has been murdered, barely a week after she was threatened for opposing a hydroelectric project. Her death prompted international outrage at the murderous treatment of campaigners in Honduras, as well as a flood of tributes to a prominent and courageous defender of the natural world.
How well is the world protecting ecosystems and human health?
The new global environmental report card is out. The 2016 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) graded 180 countries on how well they are protecting human health and their ecosystems. Launched at the 2016 World Economic Forum, the EPI is a collaboration between the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy, The Yale Data-Driven Environmental Solutions Group and Columbia University's Center for International Earth Science Information Network. Five biennial environmental report cards have been issued previously.
Climate 'carbon budget' soon maxed out: Study
The window of opportunity for humanity to cap global warming by slashing greenhouse gases is closing faster than previously thought, according to a study released on Tuesday. Earlier estimates of our "carbon budget" - the amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide we can still put into the atmosphere without warming Earth by more than two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) - have ranged from 590 billion to 2.4 trillion tonnes. The new research says the upper limit is actually half that, some 1.24 trillion tonnes of CO2. "We have figured out that this budget is at the low end of what studies indicated before," said lead author Joeri Rogelj, a climate scientist at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria.
Low-carbon policies could prevent up to 175,000 US deaths by 2030
Reducing U.S. climate emissions enough to avoid a 2-degree Celsius increase in global warming could prevent up to 175,000 pollution-related premature deaths nationwide by 2030 and generate health benefits of about $250 billion annually, according to a new analysis by researchers at Duke University and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
"Many people view climate change as a future problem, but our analysis shows that reducing emissions that cause warming -- many of which also contribute to air pollution -- would benefit public health here and now," said Drew T. Shindell, professor of climate sciences at Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment.
Oxygen-starved oceans held back life's recovery after the 'Great Dying'
Stanford scientists have found that chronically low levels of oxygen throughout the oceans hampered the recovery of life after the Permian-Triassic extinction, the most catastrophic die-off in our planet's history. Also known as the "Great Dying," global ecosystems collapsed as some 90 percent of species perished in this extinction event 250 million years ago.
The new findings, published this week in the journal for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, for the first time convincingly show that ocean anoxia, or oxygen deficiency, was a global rather than an isolated phenomenon. The study paints a dire portrait of how anoxic conditions reduced seawater oxygen levels by 100-fold at the onset of the mass extinction. Oxygen levels then slowly rose, only returning to pre-extinction levels after 5 million years, corresponding to when the climate became more stable and life regained its former diversity.
New microbes that thrive deep in the earth discovered
An international team of researchers has discovered new micro-organisms that make a living in the deep subsurface biosphere of our planet without any light or oxygen. The scientists believe that these organisms are able to survive several kilometers under the surface of the Earth by using carbon monoxide to gain energy. These microbes that can only be seen in a microscope have been named "Hadesarchaea", after the ancient Greek god of the underworld, said lead author of the study Brett Baker, assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin, US.
UK's winter floods create 30,000 tonnes of landfill waste
Almost 30,000 tonnes of damaged household goods have had to be dumped in landfill following devastating winter floods, town hall chiefs have said. A snapshot analysis by the Local Government Association (LGA) estimates councils have been landed with a £2.25m landfill tax bill as a result of the clear-up after the floods. Waste ranging from ruined furniture and carpets to broken freezers, fridges and washing machines from around 16,500 homes and businesses flooded in December is classed as “contaminated” and cannot be recycled.
Nations with least emissions most vulnerable to climate change
Countries that emit the least amounts of greenhouse gases are ironically the most vulnerable to climate change effects such as increased frequency of natural disasters, changing habitats and human health impacts, a new study has found. Those countries emitting the highest amount of greenhouse gases are least vulnerable, researchers said. The study found that 20 of the 36 highest emitting countries - including US, Canada, Australia, China, and much of Western Europe - were leas ..
Carbon dioxide captured from air converted directly to methanol fuel for the first time
For the first time, researchers there have directly converted carbon dioxide from the air into methanol at relatively low temperatures. The work, led by G.K. Surya Prakash and George Olah of the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, is part of a broader effort to stabilize the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by using renewable energy to transform the greenhouse gas into its combustible cousin -- attacking global warming from two angles simultaneously. Methanol is a clean-burning fuel for internal combustion engines, a fuel for fuel cells and a raw material used to produce many petrochemical products.
Small ponds produce an outsized share of greenhouse gases
Tiny ponds play a disproportionately large role in global greenhouse gas emissions from inland waters, according to a new study. Although ponds less than a quarter of an acre in size make up only 8.6% of the surface area of the world's lakes and ponds, they account for 15.1% of carbon dioxide emissions and 40.6% of diffusive methane emissions.
The findings appear in the Feb. 1 online edition of the journal Nature Geoscience. "Our study is the first to include these small ponds in global estimates of CO2 and CH4 emissions, largely because they are difficult to map and were thought to play a small role in carbon cycling," said Yale doctoral student Meredith Holgerson, the study's lead author.
How Climate Change Could Spread Diseases Like Zika
Warmer temperatures could expand the area where mosquitoes can thrive
For thousands of years, humans have taken every precaution to avoid mosquitoes and the diseases they carry, from Malaria to Zika. But while techniques for fighting the insects have improved dramatically over time, scientists say long-term climate change could soon make protecting humans from mosquitoes much more difficult.
France calls on world leaders to give Paris climate deal 'new push'
World leaders should give international efforts to fight global warming a new push by ratifying the historic Paris climate deal in person, according to France’s foreign minister. Laurent Fabius, who steered December’s UN talks, wants heads of state to ratify the accord at a meeting in April in New York, so that it can be enshrined in international law. Nations accounting for more than 55% of global emissions must formally sign up before the Paris agreement can be made official.
Rising carbon dioxide emissions pose 'intoxication' threat to world's ocean fish
UNSW Australia researchers have found that carbon dioxide concentrations in seawater could reach levels high enough to make fish "intoxicated" and disoriented many decades earlier than previously thought, with serious implications for the world's fisheries. The UNSW study, published in the journal Nature, is the first global analysis of the impact of rising carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels on natural variations in carbon dioxide concentrations in the world's oceans. "Our results were staggering and have massive implications for global fisheries and marine ecosystems across the planet," says lead author, Dr Ben McNeil, of the UNSW Climate Change Research Centre.
Cheaper solar cells with 20.2 percent efficiency
EPFL scientists have developed a solar-panel material that can cut down on photovoltaic costs while achieving competitive power-conversion efficiency of 20.2%. Some of the most promising solar cells today use light-harvesting films made from perovskites -- a group of materials that share a characteristic molecular structure. However, perovskite-based solar cells use expensive "hole-transporting" materials, whose function is to move the positive charges that are generated when light hits the perovskite film. Publishing in Nature Energy, EPFL scientists have now engineered a considerably cheaper hole-transporting material that costs only a fifth of existing ones while keeping the efficiency of the solar cell above 20%.
Dust from distant lands
It seems astonishing that the Amazon rainforest is fertilised by Saharan dust blown across the Atlantic. The large sand grains in dust storms fall quickly to the ground, but smaller particles can travel thousands of kilometres. Saharan dust can cause air pollution in the eastern Mediterranean to reach 10 times European limits. Italy, Spain and Portugal are also frequently affected. The southerly winds that gave most of the UK its warmest December on record also brought Saharan dust. From London to South Wales, it caused air pollution to reach four on the 10-point UK pollution scale on the 17th and eight on the 27th. Smaller quantities were measured in Leicester and over most of England.
Paris Climate Agreement Spells Trouble For Coal
A global agreement reached at the recently concluded COP 21 climate change conference in Paris potentially spells trouble for companies associated with coal mining and transportation. Nearly 200 nations agreed on a plan that limits temperature rise as a result of global warming, to below 2 degrees Celsius or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit from pre-industrial levels, in addition to “pursuing efforts” to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Though the Paris agreement allows countries to set their own emissions reductions targets, it is the first global accord that requires developing countries to lower their emissions growth, in addition to emissions reduction initiatives undertaken by developed countries.
Climate change rapidly warming world's lakes
Climate change is rapidly warming lakes around the world, threatening freshwater supplies and ecosystems, according to a study spanning six continents. The study is the largest of its kind and the first to use a combination of satellite temperature data and long-term ground measurements. A total of 235 lakes, representing more than half of the world's freshwater supply, were monitored for at least 25 years.
More countries reject OECD study on climate aid
CoP21 agreement adopted unanimously at the plenary session amid cheers; Common but differentiated responsibilities give developing nations a cushion; Developed nations to raise $100 billion a year as the floor to help other countries. The stage is set for all countries to move to a low carbon pathway with the Paris Agreement on climate change adopting a goal of “well below 2 degrees C” for temperature rise, and instituting a regime of financing of developing economies to help make the transition. Nations are to pursue efforts to aim at the more difficult objective of pegging temperature rise under 1.5 degrees C.
More countries reject OECD study on climate aid
China, Brazil and South Africa have joined India in rejecting a key OECD study stating that rich countries have already mobilised nearly two-thirds of the $100bn (£67bn) pledged to secure a new climate deal. The refusal by the world’s four most powerful developing countries to accept the methodology used by western economists, to calculate the money raised for poor countries to adapt to climate change, suggests that finance will be the major hurdle at the end of the talks on Friday.
COP21: Climate deal due Saturday after more all-night talks
Negotiators at the Paris talks aim to wrap up a global agreement to curb climate change on Saturday - a day later than expected, hosts France said. "Things are moving in the right direction," said French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who is chairing the summit. But more compromise is needed if an agreement is to be reached, say analysts. A deal signed in Paris would come into being in 2020.
How the U.S. Became an Unlikely Hero at the Paris Climate Summit
The U.S. has been an obstacle at past climate-change summits, but in Paris, it has been key to a deal Families that have been displaced for several months due to stagnant floodwaters seek temporary shelter in a rundown factory on Oct. 23, 2012 in Laguna, Philippines. Negotiators from the U.S. arrived in Paris last week for talks on climate change with a mandate from President Barack Obama to advance a strong deal to stem greenhouse-gas emissions. And with just days remaining before the conference is set to conclude, climate-policy experts say the U.S. has done just that.
COP21: Richest 10 per cent ‘produce half the world’s CO2 emissions’
The enormity of climate-change inequality has been laid bare by new research showing that the richest 1 per cent of the world’s population produces 175 times as much CO2 per person as the bottom 10 per cent. With the serious business of negotiation beginning at the UN Climate Change summit in Paris, Oxfam have published a report showing that, despite the rich causing most of the global warming, it is the poor that must bear the brunt of the consequences. The richest tenth of the world’s population produce half the CO2 emissions, while the poorest half generate just 10 per cent of them, the Oxfam report says.
Algae could be a new green power source
As world leaders prepare to gather in France for the 2015 United Nations Conference on Climate Change next week, global warming -- and how to stop it -- is a hot topic.To limit climate change, experts say that we need to reach carbon neutrality by the end of this century at the latest. To achieve that goal, our dependence on fossil fuels must be reversed. But what energy source will take its place? Researchers from Concordia University in Montreal just might have the answer: algae.
Biodegradable Plastics Are Not the Answer to Reducing Marine Litter, Says UN
Widespread adoption of products labelled 'biodegradable' will not significantly decrease the volume of plastic entering the ocean or the physical and chemical risks that plastics pose to marine environment, concluded a UN report released today. The report, "Biodegradable Plastics and Marine Litter. Misconceptions, Concerns and Impacts on Marine Environments", finds that complete biodegradation of plastics occurs in conditions that are rarely, if ever, met in marine environments, with some polymers requiring industrial composters and prolonged temperatures of above 50°C to disintegrate. There is also limited evidence suggesting that labelling products as 'biodegradable' increases the public's inclination to litter.
India asks G20 for $100-billion a year green climate fund by 2020
Pledging to quadruple India's renewable power capacity to 175 gigawatt by 2022 and cut fossil fuel subsidies, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today asked world's top economies to ensure reaching the target of USD 100 billion a year green climate fund by 2020. He also pushed ahead his proposal for forming an alliance of solar-rich countries at the upcoming Climate Summit in Paris and said G20 countries must build support systems focused on nations with maximum growth potential.
El Niño Paints the World's Driest Place with Color
Colorful fields of pink, purple, and white currently coat the sandy soil of north Chile’s Atacama desert, one of the driest regions in the world. No, it’s not a camera trick or a fancy Instagram filter. The vibrant coat blanketing the normally bare desert ground is made of hundreds of millions of flowers, germinating and flowering in record numbers after bouts of unusual rain.
Less ice, more water in Arctic Ocean by 2050s
By the 2050s, parts of the Arctic Ocean once covered by sea ice much of the year will see at least 60 days a year of open water, according to a new modeling study led by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder. "We hear all the time about how sea ice extent in the Arctic is going down," says Katy Barnhart, who led the study while at CU-Boulder's Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR). "That's an important measurement if you are trying to understand broad impacts of climate change in the Arctic, but it doesn't tell us about how the changes in the sea ice in the Arctic are going to affect specific places."
Scents and sense ability: Diesels fumes alter half the flower smells bees need
In polluted environments, diesel fumes may be reducing the availability of almost half the most common flower odors that bees use to find their food, research has found. The new findings suggest that toxic nitrous oxide (NOx) in diesel exhausts could be having an even greater effect on bees' ability to smell out flowers than was previously thought. NOx is a poisonous pollutant produced by diesel engines which is harmful to humans, and has also previously been shown to confuse bees' sense of smell, which they rely on to sniff out their food.
This Power Plant Set Out to Prove Coal Can Be Clean. Did It Work?
On a chilly, open plain in Saskatchewan, clean coal is getting its first big trial. The Boundary Dam power plant fired up last October, promising to generate enough electricity for 100,000 homes while capturing and reusing most of the heat-trapping carbon dioxide from its exhaust. The world is watching. Since most of its electricity comes from fossil fuels, proponents say carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology like Boundary Dam's could be critical in heading off the worst effects of climate change. Can the $1.1 billion Canadian project prove them right?
Could ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ happen?
A researcher has produced a scientific study of the climate scenario featured in the disaster movie 'The Day After Tomorrow'. In the 2004 film, climate warming caused an abrupt collapse of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC), leading to catastrophic events such as tornadoes destroying Los Angeles, New York being flooded and the northern hemisphere freezing. Although the scientific credibility of the film drew criticism from climate scientists, the scenario of an abrupt collapse of the AMOC, as a consequence of anthropogenic greenhouse warming, was never assessed with a state-of-the-art climate model.Now scientists have found that, for a period of 20 years, the earth will cool instead of warm if global warming and a collapse of the AMOC occur simultaneously.
Bacteria in the world’s oceans produce millions of tons of hydrocarbons each year
Scientists have calculated that millions of tonnes of hydrocarbons are produced annually by photosynthetic bacteria in the world's oceans. An international team of researchers, led by the University of Cambridge, has estimated the amount of hydrocarbons -- the primary ingredient in crude oil -- that are produced by a massive population of photosynthetic marine microbes, called cyanobacteria. These organisms in turn support another population of bacteria that 'feed' on these compounds.
Exposure to toxic chemicals threatening human reproduction and health
Dramatic increases in exposure to toxic chemicals in the last four decades are threatening human reproduction and health, according to the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), the first global reproductive health organization to take a stand on human exposure to toxic chemicals. The opinion was written by obstetrician-gynecologists and scientists from the major global, US, UK and Canadian reproductive health professional societies, the World Health Organization and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).
Water on Mars: What Does It Really Mean?
It’s tempting to say that the announcement of liquid water on the surface of Mars heralds a new era in Martian exploration. You might think that the first human explorers on Mars will park next to a salty stream and use it to manufacture fresh drinking water. Maybe they could even find life in damp Martian nooks and crannies, areas where the dusty red planet can still fuel microbes.
Extreme Pacific sea level events to double in future
Many tropical Pacific island nations are struggling to adapt to gradual sea level rise stemming from warming oceans and melting ice caps. Now they may also see much more frequent extreme interannual sea level swings. The culprit is a projected behavioral change of the El Niño phenomenon and its characteristic Pacific wind response, according to recent computer modeling experiments and tide-gauge analysis by scientists Matthew Widlansky and Axel Timmermann at the International Pacific Research Center, University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, and their colleague Wenju Cai at CSIRO in Australia.
UK to spend £5.8bn on tackling climate change in poor countries
Almost £6bn of the UK’s foreign aid budget will be spent on tackling climate change in poor countries over the next five years, David Cameron has said, as Britain steps up its contributions by 50% to help meet international targets. The prime minister will unveil the UK’s offer at the United Nations general assembly, before crucial international climate change talks in Paris in December where nations are expected to collectively pledge $100bn (£66bn) a year by 2020.
China to Launch Carbon Emissions Market in 2017, Official Says
China will announce Friday that it will launch a national carbon emissions trading market in 2017 as part of a joint climate change statement with the United States meant to boost prospects for a global climate pact, U.S. officials said. The statement will be one of the few policy announcements the two countries are expected to make during Chinese President Xi Jinping's meetings with U.S. President Barack Obama Friday. The leaders will meet amid tensions over alleged Chinese cyber spying, Beijing's economic policies and China's regional territorial disputes.
Better trap for greenhouse gases
Researchers around the globe are on a quest for materials capable of capturing and storing greenhouse gases. This shared goal led researchers to team up to explore the feasibility of vertically aligned carbon nanotubes to trap and store two greenhouse gases in particular: carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide. Emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels like coal, petroleum and natural gas tend to collect within Earth's atmosphere as "greenhouse gases" that are blamed for escalating global warming.
Carbon pricing schemes double since 2012 in climate fight: World Bank
The number of carbon pricing schemes worldwide has almost doubled since 2012 but most taxes or markets have prices too low to prevent damaging global warming, the World Bank said on Sunday. Carbon pricing, including emissions trading schemes from California to China, now covers about 12 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in a sign of momentum before a U.N. summit on climate change in Paris in December, it said.
EU climate goals set to clash with US aims
EU ministers have signed off on the bloc’s negotiating position for global climate talks in Paris, calling for legally binding targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions to be reviewed every five years. That sets up a potential conflict with the U.S. administration, which has been less ambitious in setting its emission cuts and is wary of the political blowback from Republicans in Congress over making the reductions binding.
Marine population halved since 1970 - report
Populations of marine mammals, birds, fish and reptiles have declined by 49% since 1970, a report says. The study says some species people rely on for food are faring even worse, noting a 74% drop in the populations of tuna and mackerel. In addition to human activity such as overfishing, the report also says climate change is having an impact. The document was prepared by the World Wildlife Fund and the Zoological Society of London.
Bats perform 'vital pest control' on crops
Bats provide a service worth an estimated US $1bn (£649m) globally by controlling pests on corn crops, a study has suggested. Scientists carried out a series of experiments to assess the economic and ecological importance of the nocturnal insect-eating mammals to farmers. Globally, bat populations are under pressure as a result of habitat loss and the spread of diseases. The findings appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Burning remaining fossil fuel could cause 60-meter sea level rise
New work demonstrates that the planet's remaining fossil fuel resources would be sufficient to melt nearly all of Antarctica if burned, leading to a 50- or 60-meter (160 to 200 foot) rise in sea level. Because so many major cities are at or near sea level, this would put many highly populated areas where more than a billion people live under water, including New York City and Washington, D.C. "Our findings show that if we do not want to melt Antarctica, we can't keep taking fossil fuel carbon out of the ground and just dumping it into the atmosphere as CO2 like we've been doing," Caldeira said. "Most previous studies of Antarctic have focused on loss of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Our study demonstrates that burning coal, oil, and gas also risks loss of the much larger East Antarctic Ice Sheet."
UK experiences three earthquakes a year due to human activity, study says
At least three earthquakes strike the UK every year as the result of human activity, according to a new study. Most of the tremors in recent decades resulted from coal mining, but fracking exploration caused two small earthquakes in 2011. The new work is the first in the world to set a national baseline and will allow the detection of any rise in earthquakes that follows an expansion of UK shale gas exploration in the future.
Rate of global forest loss halved, says UN
The rate at which the world is losing its forests has been halved, but an area of woodland the size of South Africa has still been lost since 1990, a UN report said on Monday. Improvement has been seen around the globe, even in the key tropical rainforests of South America and Africa, according to a surprisingly upbeat Forest Resources Assessment (FRA), which is released every five years.
Evidence that Earth's first mass extinction was caused by critters not catastrophe
In the popular mind, mass extinctions are associated with catastrophic events, like giant meteorite impacts and volcanic super-eruptions. But the world's first known mass extinction, which took place about 540 million years ago, now appears to have had a more subtle cause: evolution itself. "People have been slow to recognize that biological organisms can also drive mass extinction," said Simon Darroch, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences at Vanderbilt University. "But our comparative study of several communities of Ediacarans, the world's first multicellular organisms, strongly supports the hypothesis that it was the appearance of complex animals capable of altering their environments, which we define as 'ecosystem engineers,' that resulted in the Ediacaran's disappearance."
Seeing the forest and the trees, all three trillion of them
A new international study estimates that there are more than 3 trillion trees on Earth, about seven and a half times more than some previous estimates. But the total number of trees has plummeted by roughly 46 percent since the start of human civilization. The results provide the most comprehensive assessment of tree populations ever produced and offer new insights into a class of organism that helps shape most terrestrial biomes. Using a combination of satellite imagery, forest inventories, and supercomputer technologies, the international team of researchers was able to map tree populations worldwide at the square-kilometer level.
Great Barrier Reef species more at risk from climate change, says study
Species native to the Great Barrier Reef are more likely to face extinction through climate change than marine life elsewhere that can adapt by “invading” new regions, according to new research. The largest study to date on the impacts of climate change on marine biodiversity found that many species would cope by finding new waters. However, tropical species with narrower ranges were more likely to die out in a rapidly warming climate, the international research team found. And the unknown effects of “invaders” encroaching on “natives” would pose “unprecedented challenges” for conservation, they warned.
Carbon nanofibres made from CO2 in the air
Scientists in the US have found a way to take carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air and make carbon nanofibres, a valuable manufacturing material. Their solar-powered system runs just a few volts of electricity through a vat full of a hot, molten salt; CO2 is absorbed and the nanofibres gradually assemble at one of the electrodes. It currently produces 10g in an hour. The team suggests it could be scaled up and make an impact on CO2 emissions, but other researchers are unsure.
Global warming increases 'food shocks' threat
Climate change is increasing the risk of severe 'food shocks' where crops fail and prices of staples rise rapidly around the world. Researchers say extreme weather events that impact food production could be happening in seven years out of ten by the end of this century. The authors argue that an over reliance on global trade may make these production shocks worse. The impacts are most likely to be felt across Africa and the Middle East. Poor harvests and low stocks of grains in 2008 combined with a host of other factors to produce a spectacular price rise in cereals, with a UN index of prices peaking at 2.8 times higher than it was at the turn of the millennium.
Obama Takes Lead on Climate Change Ahead of U.N. Talks in Paris
Seeking to bring students closer to nature and inculcate in them a sense of urgency to protect environment, the Union environment and forests ministry on Monday launched the 'School Nursery Yojana' which would involve children in raising saplings in nurseries created inside their school campuses. Ten thousands schools will be covered across the country under the scheme in next three years. The selected schools will receive grant of Rs 25,000 in the first year and Rs 10,000 per year for the subsequent two years.
Obama Takes Lead on Climate Change Ahead of U.N. Talks in Paris
This week, U.S. President Barack Obama formally unveiled the details of his Clean Power Plan (CPP), a comprehensive carbon-cutting strategy he described as "the biggest and most important step…ever taken to combat climate change" in a prior video address posted on Facebook. As set down in the final rule from Aug. 3 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the CPP requires power plant owners to reduce their CO2 emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. Between 2005 and 2013, carbon dioxide emissions have fallen by 15 percent, meaning the U.S. is about halfway to the target.
New Anglerfish: Deep in Gulf of Mexico, Pale Fish Angles for Prey
In the northern Gulf of Mexico, a never-before-seen type of deep-water anglerfish was recently identified by researchers from Nova Southeastern University (NSU)'s Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography. It appears to be a bewhiskered, crumpled wraith from the depths. A report on this fish recently was published in the journal of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists' journal, Copeia. "As a researcher, the one thing I know is that there's so much more we can learn about our oceans," said Tracey Sutton, Ph.D., of NSU, in information provided by the organization Deepend Consortium (DC). "Every time we go out on a deep-sea research excursion there's a good chance we'll see something we've never seen before -- the life at these depths is really amazing."
Researchers use wastewater treatment to capture carbon dioxide, produce energy
Cleaning up municipal and industrial wastewater can be dirty business, but engineers at the University of Colorado Boulder have developed an innovative wastewater treatment process that not only mitigates carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, but actively captures greenhouse gases as well. The treatment method, known as Microbial Electrolytic Carbon Capture (MECC), purifies wastewater in an environmentally-friendly fashion by using an electrochemical reaction that absorbs more CO2 than it releases while creating renewable energy in the process.
Shifting winds, ocean currents doubled endangered Galápagos penguin population
Shifting winds, ocean currents doubled endangered Galápagos penguin population, new research shows. The Galápagos Islands, a chain of islands 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) west of mainland Ecuador, are home to the only penguins in the Northern Hemisphere. The 48-centimeter (19-inch) tall black and white Galápagos penguins landed on the endangered species list in 2000 after the population plummeted to only a few hundred individuals and are now considered the rarest penguins in the world.
Evolutionary link between diet, stomach acidity
An analysis of data on stomach acidity and diet in birds and mammals suggests that high levels of stomach acidity developed not to help animals break down food, but to defend animals against food poisoning. The work raises interesting questions about the evolution of stomach acidity in humans, and how modern life may be affecting both our stomach acidity and the microbial communities that live in our guts.
China's maritime actions a cause for global concern
China's construction of oil rigs and artificial islands in the East Sea were illegal, an international seminar was told in HCM City on Saturday. About two hundred Vietnamese and foreign experts from international institutes and universities in the United States, Russia, Japan and the Philippines attended the function. They said China's actions had adversely impacted peace, security, economies, trade and the marine environment.
Australia can be a global solar and wind superpower, and the CEFC is the key
Australia is perfectly placed to become the next global superpower of renewable energy, the "Saudi Arabia of solar" for the coming century. While Saudi Arabia has barrels of oil, we have an abundance of sunlight to fuel solar power and wind to power turbines, plus enough geographical space, modern infrastructure and a stable political system to house such an industry on a massive scale. But if Australia is to realise its remarkable renewable energy wealth, (see chart below, published by the Melbourne Energy Institute, revealing its world-beating solar exposure as indicated by the lighter colours on the map), banks and investors will need to active players.
Science and Technology a Game Changer for Post-2015 Development Agenda
A group of international scientists, designated as advisers to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, has conveyed a significantly timely message to him: science, technology and innovation (STI) can be "the game changer" for the U.N.'s future development efforts.Closing the gap between developed and developing countries depends on first closing investment gaps in international science, technology and innovation, says a report released Thursday. The Secretary-General's 26-member Scientific Advisory Board says while a target of one percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for research and development (R&D) is perceived as high by many governments, countries with strong and effective STI systems invest up to 3.5 percent of their GPD in R&D.
Deforestation drives worsening flooding in Kashmir
In April, scores of hillside homes in Fraswad and Shalnand villages in Jammu and Kashmir collapsed in a landslide amid heavy rains. Eighteen people died. Not long ago, those same sloping hills had been covered in forest. But illegal tree harvesting by timber smugglers denuded the area, making it ripe for conversion to homes, local people say. Despite substantial spending to protect its once-thick forests, Jammu and Kashmir is fast losing them to urban expansion, corruption, fires and lack of planning. The result, experts say, is a rise in soil erosion, landslides and floods that is threatening lives and homes.
The oceans can’t take any more: Fundamental change in oceans predicted
Our oceans need an immediate and substantial reduction of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. If that doesn't happen, we could see far-reaching and largely irreversible impacts on marine ecosystems, which would especially be felt in developing countries. That's the conclusion of a new review study published today in the journal Science. In the study, the research team from the Ocean 2015 initiative assesses the latest findings on the risks that climate change poses for our oceans, and demonstrates how fundamentally marine ecosystems are likely to change if human beings continue to produce just as much greenhouse gases as before. Since the pre-industrial era, the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere has risen from 278 to 400 ppm (parts per million) -- a 40 percent increase that has produced massive changes in the oceans.
Climate change compounding threats to Australia's ecosystems, studies find
Climate change is compounding existing threats to Australia’s forests, wetlands and deserts, with several key landscapes now at risk of total collapse, a landmark series of new studies have found. An assessment of 13 ecosystems across Australia, ranging from the wet tropics of far north Queensland to rare shrubland in Western Australia, found what researchers call a “worrying” climate change impact that adds to existing harm caused by urban development, agriculture and invasive species.
Amazon’s Wildlife Threatened By Hydropower Dams, Study Says
As countries build more hydropower projects, new research warns that massive dams pose an extinction threat to mammals, birds and tortoises—at least in the Amazon. Brazil’s Balbina Dam has turned what was once undisturbed forest into an artificial archipelago of 3,546 islands where many vertebrates have disappeared, according to a study published Wednesday by England’s University of East Anglia.
NASA Photos Show China’s Plan to Meet New UN Climate Pledge
NASA satellites show part of China’s plan to meet its ambitious new UN pledge to cut carbon emissions: solar power. On Tuesday, China said it would halt the rise in its heat-trapping emissions within 15 years and would boost its share of non-fossil fuel energy use to 20 percent by 2030. Its commitment, similar to the one it made last year in a joint U.S. agreement, comes ahead of UN climate talks in Paris in December.China’s goal reflects how quickly it’s becoming the world’s leader in solar power. It produces two-thirds of all solar panels, and last year, it added more solar capacity than any other country, according to the International Energy Agency or IEA. Germany still has the most cumulative photovoltaic capacity, but second-place China will likely soon close the gap.
Retreating sea ice linked to changes in ocean circulation, could affect European climate
Retreating sea ice in the Iceland and Greenland Seas may be changing the circulation of warm and cold water in the Atlantic Ocean, and could ultimately impact the climate in Europe, says a new study by an atmospheric physicist from the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) and his colleagues in Great Britain, Norway and the United States. "A warm western Europe requires a cold North Atlantic Ocean, and the warming that the North Atlantic is now experiencing has the potential to result in a cooling over western Europe," says professor G.W.K. Moore of UTM's Department of Chemical & Physical Sciences.
Corals are already adapting to global warming, scientists say
Some coral populations already have genetic variants necessary to tolerate warm ocean waters, and humans can help to spread these genes, a team of scientists from The University of Texas at Austin, the Australian Institute of Marine Science and Oregon State University have found. The discovery has implications for many reefs now threatened by global warming and shows for the first time that mixing and matching corals from different latitudes may boost reef survival.
The findings were published this week in the journal Science.
The researchers crossed corals from naturally warmer areas of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia with corals from a cooler latitude nearly 300 miles to the south. The scientists found that coral larvae with parents from the north, where waters were about 2 degrees Celsius warmer, were up to 10 times as likely to survive heat stress, compared with those with parents from the south. Using genomic tools, the researchers identified the biological processes responsible for heat tolerance and demonstrated that heat tolerance could evolve rapidly based on existing genetic variation.
Cocktail of common chemicals may trigger cancer
A global taskforce of 174 scientists from leading research centers across 28 countries studied the link between mixtures of commonly encountered chemicals and the development of cancer. The study selected 85 chemicals not considered carcinogenic to humans and found 50 supported key cancer-related mechanisms at exposures found in the environment today.
Longstanding concerns about the combined and additive effects of everyday chemicals prompted the organisation Getting To Know Cancer led by Lowe Leroy from Halifax Nova Scotia, to put the team together -- pitching what is known about mixtures against the full spectrum of cancer biology for the first time.
Paris meeting likely to seal climate deal
Paris is in the midst of a "perfect storm," that's how Pierre-Henri Guignard, secretary general, UN climate change conference or the Conference of Parties (COP 21) describes this year. While preparing to host possibly the most important climate negotiation in history that is likely to foster a legally binding agreement among 196 nations to keep impacts of climate change under control, officials said the failure of the negotiations in Copenhagen (COP 15) in 2009 seems to have evoked a "conscience" among world leaders to arrive at an agreement at COP21 to be held in Paris from November 30 to December 11, 2015.
The Earth stands on the brink of its sixth mass extinction and the fault is ours
Life on Earth is in trouble. That much we know. But how bad have things become – and how fast are events moving? How soon, indeed, before the Earth’s biological treasures are trashed, in what will be the sixth great mass extinction event? This is what Gerardo Caballos of the National Autonomous University of Mexico and his colleagues have assessed, in a paper that came out on Friday.
These are extraordinarily difficult questions. There are many millions of species, many elusive and rare, and inhabiting remote and dangerous places. There are too few skilled biologists in the field to keep track of them all. Demonstrating beyond reasonable doubt that any single species is extinct is arduous and painstaking (think how long it took to show – to most people, at least – that Loch Ness probably does not harbour a large monster).
Software tracks source of fecal pollution in water
Scientists have developed a new piece of software to predict the source of fecal pollution in seas, reservoirs and rivers. The system, called Ichnaea, uses the automatic learning and analysis of various biological indicators to make highly reliable predictions of this type of pollution, which poses a serious health risk. Fecal pollution is increasingly more common in rivers and water reserves. Faecal pollution is increasingly more common in rivers and water reserves. The concentration of towns increases the demand for water and also generates a high volume of waste water from both humans and animals.
Cutting carbon emissions could have indirect effects on hunger
As many of the world's nations prepare and implement plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions, researchers say another critical factor needs to be considered. A new study has found for the first time that efforts to keep global temperatures in check will likely lead to more people going hungry. That risk doesn't negate the need for mitigation but highlights the importance of comprehensive policies. Previous studies have shown that climate change reduces how much food farms can produce, which could lead to more people suffering from hunger. Curbing the greenhouse gas emissions that lead to climate change can help maintain the yields of existing crops.
Turning to the ocean to help unravel the mysteries of cloud formation
In a study published today in ACS Central Science, a research team led by University of Wisconsin-Madison Chemistry Professor Timothy Bertram peels back the mysteries of the structures of tiny aerosol particles at the surface of the ocean. The work shows how the particles' chemical composition influences their abilities to take in moisture from the air, which indicates whether the particle will help to form a cloud -- a key to many basic problems in climate prediction.
Variations in atmospheric oxygen levels shaped Earth's climate through the ages
Variations in the amount of oxygen in Earth's atmosphere significantly altered global climate throughout the planet's history. Efforts to reconstruct past climates must include this previously overlooked factor, a new University of Michigan-led study concludes. Oxygen currently comprises about 21 percent of Earth's atmosphere by volume but has varied between 10 percent and 35 percent over the past 541 million years
Crops and Climate: Plants Will Suffer as Earth Warms (Op-Ed)
Marlene Cimons writes for Climate Nexus, a nonprofit that aims to tell the climate story in innovative ways that raise awareness of, dispel misinformation about and showcase solutions to climate change and energy issues in the United States. She contributed this article to Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights. One persistent assumption about the effects of climate change is that plants will thrive in warmer temperatures and an atmosphere of increasing carbon dioxide. But the reality turns out to be not so simple. In many parts of the world, just the opposite could occur — and with potentially disastrous results for billions of people who depend heavily on plants for food, fuel and jobs.
U.N. Chief Backs New Int’l Decade for Water for Sustainable Development
As the United Nations continues its negotiations to both define and refine a new set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) before a summit meeting of world leaders in September, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed support for a new "International Decade for Water for Sustainable Development." "It would complement and support the achievement of the proposed Sustainable Development Goals - for water," he said. The proposal for a new International Decade, which has to be eventually approved by the 193-member General Assembly, was initiated Tuesday by the president of Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon, at a ‘Water for Life" high-level international conference in the capital of Dushanbe.
UN invites world’s seven billion people to become agents of change on World Environment Day
With many of the earth’s ecosystems nearing “critical tipping points,"the United Nations invited each of the seven billion people on the planet to mark this year’s World Environment Day by making one change towards a more responsible consumption of resources – "be it refusing to buy single-use plastic bags or riding a bike to work." "Humanity continues to consume far more natural resources than the planet can sustainably provide," Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in this year’s message for the Day, observed annually on 5 June. "It is time for us to change.”
Global warming 'pause' didn't happen, study finds
Global warming has not undergone a ‘pause’ or ‘hiatus’, according to US government research that undermines one of the key arguments used by sceptics to question climate science. The new study reassessed the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (Noaa) temperature record to account for changing methods of measuring the global surface temperature over the past century. The adjustments to the data were slight, but removed a flattening of the graph this century that has led climate sceptics to claim the rise in global temperatures had stopped.
Fish, Crabs Are Losing Homes as Oceans Lose Oxygen
Atlantic cod, the storied catch of New England’s fishing industry, have little in common with bottom-dwelling rock crab, which are perhaps best known for swiping bait from lobster traps. But a largely unheralded byproduct of climate change–loss of oxygen in the ocean–will hit both dramatically by limiting where they can live, according to a new study published Thursday. The oxygen losses accompanying global warming could reduce by 20 percent the amount of ocean suitable for cod and crab by the end of the century, according to the study in the journal Science.
Draining lakes unlikely to worsen Greenland's contribution to sea levels
Each summer, Greenland's ice sheet -- the world's second-largest expanse of ice, measuring three times the size of Texas -- begins to melt. Pockets of melting ice form hundreds of large, 'supraglacial' lakes on the surface of the ice. Many of these lakes drain through cracks and crevasses in the ice sheet, creating a liquid layer over which massive chunks of ice can slide. This natural conveyor belt can speed ice toward the coast, where it eventually falls off into the sea. Now researchers have found that while warming temperatures are creating more inland lakes, these lakes cannot drain their water locally, as lakes along the coast do, and are not likely to change the amount of water reaching the ground in inland regions.
Small Arms Proliferation a Trigger for Rising Wildlife Crimes
UNITED NATIONS, Jun 01 (IPS) - The ongoing military conflicts in the Middle East and Africa continue to be fuelled by the proliferation of small arms and light weapons (SALW), primarily assault rifles, sub machine guns, hand grenades, portable anti-tank and anti-aircraft guns, rockets and self-loading pistols.
But the latest Small Arms Survey 2015, released Monday, says some of these weapons are also being used to destroy wild life and help misappropriate the earth's mineral riches. The poaching of elephants and rhinos is becoming "increasingly militarized," says the report, while the negative impact of climate change is triggering human interactions, including on underlying causes for armed conflicts, as well as on actual fighting.
Shell's Arctic oil drilling faces fresh court challenge from environmental groups
Environmental impact of leasing area off Alaskan shore to Shell was insufficient, say action groups
A dozen environmental groups have told a US federal court they are renewing a challenge to the leasing in 2008 of areas off Alaska’s north-west shore, where Royal Dutch Shell hopes to drill exploratory wells this summer. The groups have twice obtained court rulings that said environmental analysis preceding the Chukchi sea sale was flawed. The Department of the Interior in March concluded it had corrected mistakes.
David Miliband Says World Refugee Crisis to Worsen With Climate Change
A historic 52 million people are fleeing conflict worldwide, a trend that will intensify over the next two decades because of climate change, International Rescue Committee chief David Miliband said on Friday. "One of the drivers of displacement and potential conflict over the next 10 to 20 years will be climate (change) - resource scarcity," said Miliband, a former United Kingdom foreign minister. "Climate change is going to compound the cocktail that's driving war and displacement."
Women In Sustainability, Environment And Renewable Energy: Climate Change May Be Gender Blind, But Its Impact Is Not
As global leaders met in New York last week for the Second Annual United Nations Sustainable Energy for All Forum, it is important for us to recognise that around the world, climate change disproportionately affects women. This is especially true in developing countries that, ironically, have contributed almost nothing to global emissions, yet experience its greatest impact. Dependent on natural resources for survival, women in these regions have primary family and community responsibility for accessing water, food and energy. As drought, uncertain rainfall, and deforestation compromise their families' security, they are becoming critical partners and leaders in finding solutions to sustainable development.
How Arctic ozone hole was avoided by Montreal Protocol
The Antarctic ozone hole would have been 40% bigger by now if ozone-depleting chemicals had not been banned in the 1980s, according to research. Models also show that at certain times, a large hole would have opened up at the other end of the globe. The Arctic hole would have been large enough to affect northern Europe, including the UK, scientists say. The Montreal Protocol is regarded as one of the most important global treaties in history.
UN chief Ban Ki-Moon seeks 'global action' on climate
UN chief Ban Ki-Moon is calling for renewed "global action" to limit climate change ahead of a quadrennial congress in Geneva. The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) meeting is a forerunner to a key conference in Paris at the end of the year which will be the first attempt to clinch a planet-wide deal on global warming since the near-disastrous 2009 UN summit in Copenhagen. The Paris accord, which would take effect from 2020, will aim to limit global warming to a maximum of two degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels.
The real story behind Shell's climate change rhetoric
A man of Ben van Beurden’s power and reputation for blunt speaking is capable of silencing a ballroom packed with his boisterous peers. When the chief executive of Shell rose to address an industry gathering in a London hotel, a respectful hush descended. Van Beurden, 57, rose from a modest background in the Netherlands to the top of a cut-throat, politically fraught sector that rarely finds itself out of the public firing line. The annual black-tie dinner at International Petroleum Week in February, a typical nexus of senior executives and high-ranking government officials, was expecting a frank assessment of its response to its biggest challenge: global warming. Van Beurden did not disappoint.
World headed for an El Nino and it could be a big one, scientists say
The world is headed into an El Nino event – potentially a big one – which will lift global temperatures and likely exacerbate bushfires and drought in eastern Australia, climate specialists say. Fairfax Media understands that Australia's Bureau of Meteorology will announce next Tuesday that the El Nino event is all but certain. Sea-surface temperatures in the central and eastern Pacific are recording anomalies of more than 1 degree, a combination that has not previously been seen in weekly data going back to 1991, according to a bureau climate forecaster.
Call for climate sensors to gauge mountain warming risk
Developing countries with mountainous areas need to improve their monitoring of local climate change and its impact on drinking water sources, a report warns. The study, published in Nature Climate Change last month (23 April), examined research on global warming in high altitude areas and concluded that there is growing evidence that mountains are warming faster than the global average. The danger is that the effects of such warming are inadequately monitored, leading to uncertainty around future drinking water supply and biodiversity protection, the paper says.
Overlooked evidence - global warming may proceed faster than expected
It’s known as “single study syndrome”. When a new scientific paper is published suggesting that the climate is relatively insensitive to the increased greenhouse effect, potentially modestly downgrading the associated climate change threats, that sort of paper will generally receive disproportionate media attention. Because of that media attention, people will tend to remember the results of that single paper, and neglect the many recent studies that have arrived at very different conclusions.
The economic cost of climate change
There are clear economic and labour market impacts associated with global environmental change. How are these impacts nuanced on small island states and territories like Malta? Can we prepare for these eventualities and what are the opportunities, as well as mishaps, in store? How do these translate in economic and labour market terms? These were the basic questions framing discussions at a symposium held in Valletta in December 2014. This symposium was organised by the Centre for Labour Studies and the Institute of Earth Systems, both at the University of Malta, in association with the Climate Change Lab at the University of Prince Edward Island, Canada, the University of the West Indies, and the Smithsonian Biology Conservation Institute, the US.
'India Should Guide the World on Fighting Climate Change,' Says PM Modi: Highlights
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated the two-day Conference of State Environment Ministers in New Delhi today. He also launched the National Air Quality Index, to monitor pollution levels in 10 major cities. He also addressed the gathering of ministers and officials.
Deforestation Drives Changes in Climate, Food Production
Deforestation is driving changes in the climate that threaten to impact global food production, according to a new study. "Understanding the precise mechanisms of forest-generated warming or cooling could help regional management agencies anticipate changes in crop yields. Together with a knowledge of other ecological factors, this information can help decision makers and stakeholders design policies that help to sustain local agricultural practices," co-author Safa Motesharrei said in a statement.
China’s Water-Energy-Food Roadmap: A New Global Choke Point Report
The creation of a water-energy research initiative in the landmark U.S.-China climate agreement last fall could be the beginning of a new and different path for Sino-U.S. collaboration. Progress in cleaning the air cannot be achieved without greater attention to resource interdependencies. Rapidly growing demand for water, energy, and food is creating a massive choke point for China and the world. Energy development requires water. Moving and cleaning water requires energy. Food production at all stages – from irrigation to distribution – requires water and energy. While conversations about China’s environmental challenges are often dominated by coal, the culprit for the endless smoggy days in cities across the country, progress in cleaning the air cannot be achieved without greater attention to resource interdependencies from an integrated water-energy-food lens.
Queensland's proposed Carmichael coalmine faces legal bid over climate change
Environmental groups say the $16.5bn mine will pose ‘unacceptable risks’ to the climate, the Great Barrier Reef and the region’s economy. Environmental activists have begun a legal bid to prevent the creation in Queensland of Australia’s largest mine, citing its contribution to global climate change and potential impact on water and biodiversity. Coast and Country, a Queensland environment group, opens its case against the $16.5bn Carmichael mine in the state land court on Tuesday morning.
World's Most Iconic Ecosystems May Collapse Under Climate Change
Researchers warn that without better local management, some of the world's most iconic ecosystems may collapse under climate change. It is well known that corals in the Great Barrier Reef, for example, are diminishing due to ocean acidification, and that the Amazon rainforest has been suffering from drought over the last decade. But in order to combat such climate change-related threats, we need to reduce the other pressures they face - for example, overfishing, fertilizer pollution or land clearing.
Study suggests climate change linked to falling seabird population
The number of seabirds, including gulls, puffins and auklets, has dropped significantly in the Gulf of Alaska and northeast Bering Sea, a possible consequence of warmer waters, according to a preliminary federal analysis of nearly 40 years of surveys. U.S. Geological Survey experts found the seabird population density declined 2 per cent annually from 1975 to 2012 in the northeast North Pacific, said John Piatt, research wildlife biologist at the USGS Alaska Science Center. "Biologically speaking, that's a pretty major change," he said.
World Water Day 2015: UN calls for global unity in pursuit of better water access for all
As the perils of climate change increasingly threaten the planet, the international community must unite in “a spirit of urgent cooperation” to address the many water-related challenges facing humanity, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon declared today.
In his message marking the 2015 edition of World Water Day, observed annually on 22 March, the Secretary-General warned that access to safe drinking water and sanitation was among “the most urgent issues” affecting populations across the globe.
Levi's CEO: Do the world a favor n' wash your jeans once every 10 wears
Manufacturing jeans is typically a water-intensive process, but it doesn’t have to be. And CEOs can do more to protect the planet.
I am the CEO with “dirty jeans.” Well, not exactly. My jeans are clean; I just don’t throw them in the washing machine all that much – research we began conducting in 2007 convinced me not to. Still, that insight, shared last spring at Fortune’s Brainstorm Green conference, cemented my reputation as the CEO who never washes his jeans.
Scientists Urge East Africa Get Ready for Global Warming
As the world gears up for a new global treaty on climate change in December this year, experts warned that millions of people around East Africa are faced with grave risks from changing disease patterns to extreme weather events, and the threat to food and water security. Scientists from the United Nations-affiliated Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are warning East African nations to brace themselves for extreme weather events related to climate change.
Zimbabwe: Premature End of Rainy Season Blamed On Climate Change
Environmentalists have attributed the premature end of the official rainy season in most provinces as well as other extreme events like flooding in the country to the effects of climate change. The Meteorological Services Department recently said for Matabeleland, Masvingo, Midlands and the southern parts of Manicaland provinces, drizzles will be the main form of rain till the end of the season in the first week of April and Government is now mobilising funds to augment low yields expected.
Climate change in the Marshall Islands and Kiribati, before and after – interactive
In the low-lying Pacific atolls of the Marshall Islands and Kiribati rising sea levels have made every high tide a dangerous event. Regular floods wash through villages causing damage to houses, killing crops and poisoning drinking water. In December 2014, photographer Rémi Chauvin recreated a set of historical images depicting the first impacts of climate change in these countries where no one lives more than a few metres above the sea
Ruth: Banning the term won't stop climate change
Contrary to popular misconception, especially in Tallahassee, Rick Scott isn't really the governor of Florida. He is, in fact, one of Monty Python's addled Knights Who Say "Ni!"
Really now, don't you suspect that if the first floor of the Governor's Mansion was 2 feet under water due to climate change, Scott still would be holding his hands over his ears while chanting "Wawawawawawawa," all the while insisting the flooding was the result of a heavy dew?
Florida isn't the only state trying to shut down discussion of climate change
There's a big uproar in Florida this week after an investigation alleged that the state has an unwritten policy barring environmental officials from using the terms "climate change" or "global warming" in their work. On Monday, Republican Governor Rick Scott denied any such policy was in place. But state employees and outside scientists insist there's heavy pressure not to talk about the topic, despite the fact that Florida faces a serious threat from future sea-level rise.
El Nino declared as climate scientists watch on with 'amazement'
Unusual warming of waters in the central equatorial Pacific has prompted the US government to declare an El Nino event and predict a better-than-even chance that it will linger through the middle of the year. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the above-average sea-surface temperatures had exceeded key thresholds, triggering the declaration of the "long-anticipated" El Nino.
The remote Alaskan village that needs to be relocated due to climate change
This tiny and isolated town of 400 cannot be reached by road. It lies on a fragile barrier island along the Chukchi Sea, 83 miles above the Arctic circle. And for generations, the Iñupiat people of the region have hunted gigantic bowhead whales from camps atop the sea ice that stretches out from the town’s icy shores. But in recent years, climate change has thinned the ice so much that it has become too dangerous to hunt the whales. Soon, the U.S. government says, it may be too dangerous to live here at all, with less sea ice to protect the barrier island from powerful waves that wash across the village.
Environmental damage in climate-hit Sundarbans cost India a fortune: World Bank
The cost of environmental damage associated with ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss is about Rs 6.7 billion (Rs 670 crore) annually, while the cost of health effects due to poor environment is estimated at Rs 6.2 billion (Rs 620 crore), it says. The total figure of Rs 1,290 crore is about ten per cent of Sundarbans GDP in 2009. Released here recently, the report 'Building Resilience for Sustainable Development of the Sundarbans' is prepared by the World Bank in collaboration with the West Bengal government.
Cyclone Marcia: Climate change is expanding the tropics
The southward shift of cyclones under climate change will force planners to demand stronger building standards as far south as Coffs Harbour on the NSW North Coast, Cairns climatologist Steve Turton says. Storms such as the category 5 Cyclone Marcia, which crossed the central Queensland coast on Friday, "are going to become more common in the future along the eastern seaboard of Australia," Professor Turton from James Cook University told Fairfax Media.
National and environmental security, two sides of same coin
To protect the environment is to protect ourselves. This simple fact is reflected in the president's recently released 2015 "National Security Strategy" and backed up by spending priorities in the proposed federal budget. Climate change. Global infectious disease outbreaks. Major energy market disruptions. Global economic crisis. Most of us are familiar with the direct and indirect consequences of these risks, such as rising sea levels, increased frequency of severe weather events and global pandemics that take human lives.
Global Supply Chains Face Serious Climate Change Risk
'Marginal or no improvements', tantamount to a lack of preparation, leave supply chains in the US, China, India and Brazil more exposed to climate risks than those in France, the UK and Japan finds a new global study from CDP – formerly known as ‘Carbon Disclosure Project’ – and Accenture. “Supply Chain Sustainability Revealed: A Country Comparison – CDP Supply Chain Report 2014–15” offers a comprehensive overview of climate risks and opportunities that exist for supply chains globally based on data collected from 3,396 companies worldwide on behalf of 66 multinational corporations – i.e. members of CDP’s supply chain program – that account for $1.3 trillion in procurement spend.
Remote Lakes in Ecuador are Vulnerable to Climate Change
The climate is changing across the globe. Now, scientists have found that Ecuador is also suffering. They've studied three remote lakes and have discovered that tropical high mountain lakes are vulnerable to warming temperatures.
"Until recently we knew little about the effects of recent climate changes on tropical high-mountain lakes," said Neal Michelutti, one of the researchers, in a news release. "We saw major changes in the algae consistent with the water warming that indicates changes in the physical structure of the water column."
Environmental Groups To California Governor: 'Climate Leaders Don't Frack'
Days after possibly the largest anti-fracking protest in history, environmentalists delivered a petition to California Gov. Jerry Brown demanding a ban on the controversial practice. The petition, which contained 184,000 signatures, was delivered Monday by a coalition of environmental progress groups, including the California-based Courage Campaign, Daily Kos, 350.org, Food and Water Watch, CREDO, Environmental Action, Presente, Forecast the Facts, and RH Reality Check.
What the massive snowfall in Boston tells us about global warming
The snowfall in Boston lately is simply insane. The local bureau of the National Weather Service has tallied up the data and here’s how it looks — with all time records for snow within a 14-, 20-, and 30-day period:
You could treat this as ordinary weather, or, you could think about it in a climate context. Counter-intuitive though it may sound, the fact remains that — as I have noted previously — some kinds of winter precipitation could indeed be more intense because we’re in a warming world.
'Climate smart' farming tackles challenges of a warming world
Rice is a thirsty crop. Yet for the past three years, Alberto Mejia has been trying to reduce the amount of water he uses for irrigation on his 1,100-acre farm near Ibague in the tropical, central range of the Colombian Andes.
He now plants new kinds of rice that require less water. He floods his paddies with greater precision and has installed gauges that measure the moisture content of the soil. On a daily basis he can determine how much nitrogen the plants need, and he relies on more advanced weather forecasting to plan when to fertilize, water, and harvest the grain.
Obama’s FY 2016 Budget: What’s In It for the Environment?
President Barack Obama unveiled his $3.99 trillion budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2016 this week, setting the stage for a showdown with the Republican-controlled Congress on funding for environmental issues such as climate change, clean water, clean power, and cleaning up abandoned mine lands.
For the first time, the President’s budget includes an entire chapter on combating climate change. The White House says it takes a “holistic approach to the challenges we face.” The 2016 budget invests in climate preparedness and resilience in three key ways:
Don’t Rob Peter to Pay Paul: The Importance of International Climate Finance in the President’s FY 2016 Budget
In his fiscal year 2016 budget, President Barack Obama requested $500 million for the new Green Climate Fund, or GCF—an important step toward fulfilling the $3 billion pledge the United States made to the fund in November 2014.
The GCF is a multilateral fund designed to invest in projects that help developing countries shift to pathways of low-carbon and climate-resilient growth. During the U.N. climate conference in December, the fund surpassed its goal of reaching $10 billion in pledges toward its initial capitalization. It now has commitments from more than 25 countries and is ready to begin approving projects later this year.
Drastic Climate Change Carved Up Mars, and May Still Be Happening
An unmanned Delta 2 rocket lifted off from California on Saturday carrying a NASA satellite to measure moisture in the top layer of the Earth's soil, data to be used in weather-forecasting and tracking of global climate change. Soil moisture is a variable that binds together all of the planet's environmental systems, scientists say. More precise data will enable forecasters and policy-makers to deal more effectively with drought or flooding in specific regions. "It's the metabolism of the system," said Dara Entekhabi, lead scientist of NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory.
NASA satellite to measure water in Earth's soil sent into orbit
Climate change isn't an exclusively Earth-side affair. New analyses of gulley patterning carved into the sides of some of Mars' largest impact craters has revealed that the Red Planet underwent many instances of severe climate shifting, including several ice ages, within the last two million years. That's at least according to a study recently published in the journal Icarus, which details how researchers assessed images of hundreds of gully-like features found on the walls of impact craters located along the mid-latitudes of Mars.
Australian fish moving south as climate changes, say researchers
Australian scientists have assessed how 35 common fish species are coping with climate change, finding that most have to deal with new conditions and many are moving towards polar waters to find suitable habitats.
Research led by the University of Tasmania’s institute for marine and Antarctic studies analysed the climate sensitivity of fish found off the south-east coast of Australia. The region is one of more than a dozen global ocean “hotspots” – others include off Brazil, in the Indian ocean and the North Sea – where the water is warming much faster than the global average for the world’s oceans.
We should not surrender to climate change
This month a team of scientists reported that melting ice caps and glaciers due to climate change are causing oceans to rise more drastically than previously calculated. The news is particularly troubling for my country, the Maldives — the world’s lowest lying island chain — and for other coastal and island nations that sit just metres above sea level.
India, Germany to hold talks on environment, climate change
India and Germany will hold a bilateral meeting tomorrow aiming at strengthening the cooperation between the two nations on issues related to environment.
Climate change will hit Australia harder than rest of world, study shows
Australia could be on track for a temperature rise of more than 5C by the end of the century, outstripping the rate of warming experienced by the rest of the world, unless drastic action is taken to slash greenhouse gas emissions, according to the most comprehensive analysis ever produced of the country’s future climate.
US, India to expand cooperation on climate change, clean energy
The US and India will seek to expand cooperation in climate change and clean energy, especially in solar and wind power, during US President Barack Obama’s second visit to India and talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi this month.
Everyday climate change – in pictures
Inspired by the co-founder of Everydayafrica, photographer James Whitlow Delano launched Everydayclimatechange, an Instagram feed where photographers from five continents share their images as evidence that climate change is real and to raise awareness of the situation around the world
Bill Gates drinks water distilled from human faeces
Bill Gates has drunk a glass of water made from human faeces, to showcase technology he said could provide clean water in the developing world.
Engineer Reimagines Solar Energy With Stick-On Panels
The catalyst for Xiaolin Zheng's groundbreaking work in solar energy began with an ohand comment her father made years ago at her parents' apartment, a 13-story complex in the northeast China city of Anshan.....
Warming Seas Drive Rapid Acceleration of Melting Antarctic Ice
Melting Antarctic glaciers that are large enough to raise worldwide sea level by more than a meter are dropping a Mount Everest's worth of ice into the sea every two years, according to a study released this week.....
UN members agree deal at Lima climate talks
United Nations members have reached an agreement on how countries should tackle climate change.Delegates have approved a framework for setting national pledges to be submitted to a summit next year.Dierences over the draft text caused the two-week talks in Lima, Peru, to overrun by two days. ...
President TERRE Policy centre as invited to write the special article on Lima Climate Meeting pls read on the link http://epapermt.timesofindia.com/Article.aspx?eid=31838&articlexml=21122014007010
Rising sea levels of 1.8 meters in worst-case scenario, researchers calculate
The climate is getting warmer, the ice sheets are melting and sea levels are rising -- but how much? The report of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2013 was based on the best available estimates of future sea levels, but the panel was not able to come up with an upper limit for sea level rise within this century. Now researchers have calculated the risk for a worst-case scenario. The results indicate that at worst, the sea level would rise a maximum of 1.8 meters.
Italy pushes ahead with 'next generation' biofuels from waste
Italy will become the first country in Europe to legally require "advanced biofuels" in cars and trucks. Made from waste, the new fuels are said to reduce the amount of land taken out of food production. The world's first commercial scale plant making fuel from straw opened in Italy last year. From 2018, all fuel suppliers in the country will have to include 0.6% advanced biofuel in petrol and diesel.
Cyclone Hudhud: Vizag's megacity plan takes a big hit, death toll rises to 25
Death toll in the devastating Hudhud cyclone that battered the Andhra coast mounted to 25 on 14th October even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an interim assistance of Rs 1000 crore for taking up immediate relief works after visiting the city. Four additional deaths were reported on this day.
Thousands March for Climate Change Before United Nations Summit
Hundreds of thousands of climate change demonstrators around the world took to the streets in a series of marches leading up to the United Nations Climate Summit, where more than 120 world leaders will convene Tuesday to galvanize political will for a new global climate treaty by the end of 2015.
UN climate summit: China pledges emissions action
China has pledged for the first time to take firm action on climate change, telling a UN summit that its emissions, the world's highest, would soon peak. Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli also said China would make its economy much more carbon efficient by 2020. US President Barack Obama said climate change was moving faster than efforts to address it, and the US and China had a responsibility to lead other nations.
Climate Change Threatens South Asian Economy, Bank Warns
Climate change will slash up to nine percent off the South Asian economy every year by the end of this century if the world continues on its current fossil-fuel intensive path, the Asian Development Bank warns in a new report. The human and financial toll could be even higher if the damage from floods, droughts, and other extreme weather events is included, the bank says.
Al Gore gives surprise endorsement to Australian mining tycoon
Europe’s natural gas prices would have to double to lure enough cargoes from the global market to replace Russian supplies, adding to the challenges of decreasing the region’s dependence on its neighbor. Benchmark U.K. prices would need to rise 127 percent to attract liquefied natural gas if Europe had to replace all its Russian fuel for two summer months, according to Energy Aspects Ltd. in London. LNG, shipped by tanker from as far away as Australia, would be the main alternative to the regional pipelines filled by Russia.
This fish eats mosquito larvae, may keep malaria at bay
Using conventional techniques like spraying of insecticides, repellants, fogging and other chemicals to curtail the growth of mosquitoes not only pollutes the environment, but also allows the mosquito to enhance its resistance. As a result, the menace emanating from the mosquitoes remains intact and simply refuses to die. However, if experts at the National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources are to be believed, then the same menace could be effectively tackled using the mosquito fish, which primarily feeds on the mosquito larvae.
Journey of Octopus Discovery Reveals Them to Be Playful, Curious, Smart
Using conventional techniques like spraying of insecticides, repellants, fogging and other chemicals to curtail the growth of mosquitoes not only pollutes the environment, but also allows the mosquito to enhance its resistance. As a result, the menace emanating from the mosquitoes remains intact and simply refuses to die. However, if experts at the National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources are to be believed, then the same menace could be effectively tackled using the mosquito fish, which primarily feeds on the mosquito larvae.
Water-cleanup catalysts tackle biomass upgrading
Rice University chemical engineer Michael Wong has spent a decade amassing evidence that palladium-gold nanoparticles are excellent catalysts for cleaning polluted water, but even he was surprised at how well the particles converted biodiesel waste into valuable chemicals.
Europe Seen Paying Twice as Much to Replace Russian Gas
Europe’s natural gas prices would have to double to lure enough cargoes from the global market to replace Russian supplies, adding to the challenges of decreasing the region’s dependence on its neighbor. Benchmark U.K. prices would need to rise 127 percent to attract liquefied natural gas if Europe had to replace all its Russian fuel for two summer months, according to Energy Aspects Ltd. in London. LNG, shipped by tanker from as far away as Australia, would be the main alternative to the regional pipelines filled by Russia.
Buying Insurance Against Climate Change
The third National Climate Assessment report — released on May 6 by the White House, and representing the work of more than 240 scientists — warns us about our hazardous future and offers many good ideas for dealing with it. But a most important point may be lost in the crowd.
Australia risks organic export growth as it struggles to coexist with GMO
A landmark GMO contamination ruling in Australia could possibly usher in lower organic farming standards, ending the country's world-leading premium niche and threaten organic exports in an industry set to double in size by 2018. Australia currently does not allow any trace of genetically modified organisms (GMO) in its organic produce.
Kiribati: life on a tiny island threatened by the rising sea – in pictures
Photographer Mike Bowers spent several weeks on Kiribati documenting life in the central Pacific island nation. It's a nation with an average height above sea level of just two metres and a population density to rival London. Its future is under threat due to rising sea levels, increasingly saline arable land and contamination of the delicate freshwater lenses under the narrow atolls. His exhibition 'Kiribati: a line in the sand' opens on 30 May at X88 gallery in Sydney. All proceeds from the sale of this work will be donated to Tungaru Central Hospital, Tarawa.
बारीपाडाचे चैत्राम पवार यांची उत्तुंग झेप
धुळे जिल्ह्यातील साक्री तालुक्यातील दुर्गम असा बारीपाडा हा वनवासीपाडा. या पाडयाची सन 1992 पूर्वीची परिस्थिती म्हणजे उजाड, ओसाड माळरान ,पिण्यासाठी घोटभर पाणी नाही. लांब-लांब पर्यंत हिरव्या पानांचा ठिकाणा नाही, शेतात पीक नाही , निरक्षरता, व्यसनाधिनता यांनी ग्रासलेला हा पाडा. पण 1992 नंतर हे चित्र पार बदल आहे.
Great Himalayan National Park nominated for World Heritage status
The Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP) of Himachal Pradesh has been nominated along with 11 other conservation sites from across the globe for the natural World Heritage site status.
The GHNP, which lost its chance to get finally selected as UNESCO-approved world heritage site last year, is located along the western Himalayas in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh.
Earth Day 2014: changing attitude to climate change is urgent, says Ban Kimoon
Changing our attitude to climate change is vital to protecting the planet for the future, Ban Ki-moon has said to mark the 44th Earth Day. The UN Secretary General said it is essential to recognise that our use of natural resources is unsustainable and burning fossil fuels causes climate change.
How a small African recycling project tackles a mountainous rubbish problem
Changing our attitude to climate change is vital to protecting the planet for the future, Ban Ki-moon has said to mark the 44th Earth Day.
Sherpas End the Everest Climbing Season in Nepal
One week after the deadliest day ever on Mount Everest, the climbing season on the Nepali side of the mountain is over. Sherpas, clients, and guides are packing up and..
Scientists probe Earth's last warm phase
Scientists now have a fuller picture of what happened at the poles during the last warm phase on Earth. Known as the Eemian, this time period extended from roughly 129,000 years ago to about 116,000 years before present.
Climate change: the poor will suffer most
Pensioners left on their own during a heatwave in industrialised countries. Single mothers in rural areas. Workers who spend most of their days outdoors. Slum dwellers in the megacities of the developing world.
Can a Zen-like approach help countries with floods?
Can a Zen-like approach help countries with floods?
More than 20,000 crops from more than 100 nations have arrived at a "Doomsday vault" in the Arctic Circle. The latest delivery coincides with the sixth anniversary of the frozen depository in Svalbard, which now houses more than 800,000 samples.
Pictures: World’s Iconic Buildings Go Dark for “Earth Hour”
The bright green lights that typically illuminate the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur—the tallest twin buildings in the world—were turned off on Saturday for Earth Hour, an annual event aimed at raising awareness about energy consumption
The rich West is ruining our planet
The storms that have battered parts of the UK this year and left hundreds of people facing the misery of flooded homes and ruined land have again brought questions about the impact of climate change to the forefront of the public consciousness.
United Nations Environment Programme Executive Director, Achim Steiner, to Serve Two More Years, By General Assembly Decision
Acting on the recommendation of the Secretary-General, the General Assembly extended for two years the appointment of Achim Steiner as Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme.
2013 Dam Removals | American Rivers
Communities in 18 states, working in partnership with non-profit organizations and state and federal agencies, removed 51 dams in 2013, American Rivers announced today.
Key food crops head to Arctic 'doomsday vault'
More than 20,000 crops from more than 100 nations have arrived at a "Doomsday vault" in the Arctic Circle. The latest delivery coincides with the sixth anniversary of the frozen depository in Svalbard, which now houses more than 800,000 samples.
Ukraine crisis is about Great Power oil, gas pipeline rivalry
Resource scarcity, competition to dominate Eurasian energy corridors, are behind Russian militarism and US interference.
Global Renewable Energy Grid Project: Integrating Renewables via HVDC and Centralized Storage
The global energy and environment challenges cannot be addressed through a local, regional, or even a national approach. They require a global outlook and a much broader vision, a Global Renewable Energy Grid [GREG].
Killing Wildlife: The Pros and Cons of Culling Animals
Is targeting species like badgers, swans, and deer effective? And is it ethical?
Accidents Surge as Oil Industry Takes the Train
As domestic oil production has increased rapidly in recent years, more and more of it is being transported by rail because of the lack of pipeline capacity. The trains often travel through populated areas, leading to concerns among residents over the hazards they can pose, including spills and fires.
IPCC hearing brings UK closer to US polarisation on climate change
A parliamentary committee will this week provide further proof that political debate in the UK about climate change is becoming as depressingly unscientific and polarised as it is in the United States.
Major trade powers pledge free trade in green goods
The world's biggest trading powers pledged to work toward a global agreement on free trade in environmental goods, but they gave no timeline for talks intended to support the fight against climate change.
Yukon Government Opens Vast Wilderness to Mining
Canada's Yukon Territory announced that it has opened one of the largest unbroken wilderness areas in North America to mining and mineral exploration.
Energy firms: Big Six profits rise from £30 to £105 per UK household - more than threefold in three years
Claims by the Big Six energy companies that price hikes are beyond their control have been demolished by new data showing the average profit
PolyMet copper-nickel mine: Economic opportunity or too environmentally risky?
Deep below the Superior National Forest floor, traces of copper locked into the rock are stirring up both dreams and dread.
Tracking Fracking Pollution
As a result of the fracking revolution, North America has overtaken Saudi Arabia as the world's largest producer of oil and gas. This, despite endless protests from environmentalists.
Arctic Shipping Soars, Led by Russia and Lured by Energy
The Yamal is one of Russia's four powerful nuclear icebreakers, part of a fleet of 37 icebreakers that provide escort along the Northern Sea Route.
Delayed Monsoon: Are we ready ?9 October 2012
Specialized agencies in US and Japan in Feb 2012 -4 months in advance that Indian Monsoon will be weak but meteorologists at home dismiss prediction, saying it is too early to raise an alarm for the country's rainfall-dependent economy. A Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) report has warned that India could face a deficit monsoon this year while US-based World Weather Inc has indicated a relatively dry spell in August and September.
Enhancing Efficiency of Complex Computations
Planning a trip from Berlin to Hamburg, simulating air flows around a new passenger airplane, or friendships on Facebook
Global Treaty for Toxic Mercury Exempts Mascara
Under a new global treaty that limits the use of mercury, some light bulbs will be banned. Some batteries, thermometers and medical devices will be banned too. But mascara is exempt.