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China's Olympian efforts to tackle air pollution
August 6, 2008 11:17 AM - , SciDevNet
As the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games get underway, an expensive environmental experiment is taking place, providing a golden opportunity for pollution science. The Beijing Olympic Air Quality Monitoring and Warning Project, a 30 million yuan (US$4.3 million) monitoring system, has been created in an attempt to guarantee clear skies for the games.
Kenyan courts consider terminating biofuel plans
August 6, 2008 08:49 AM - , SciDevNet
The Kenyan courts are considering halting the first stage of a US$370 million biofuel project that aims to replace up to 20,000 hectares of coastal grassland with irrigated fields of sugarcane. A judicial review of the project, based at the Tana River Delta on the northern Kenyan coast, was granted last month (11 July) after a campaign from environmental groups such as Nature Kenya and the East Africa Wildlife Society,and nomadic cattle-farming groups. The project is intended to generate electricity — up to 34 megawatts a day at its peak — from sugar refining and up to 20 million litres of ethanol fuel annually from molasses.
Tibetan plateau melts in the face of climate change
August 5, 2008 12:11 PM - , SciDevNet
Climate change is affecting the Tibetan plateau, threatening regional water supplies and altering atmospheric circulation for half the planet. The plateau is the world's third largest store of ice. But its temperature has risen by up to 0.3 degrees Celsius every ten years over the last fifty years — approximately three times the global warming rate.
Wetlands 'must be preserved' say experts
July 30, 2008 08:59 AM - , SciDevNet
Participants in an international wetlands conference have issued a declaration urging recognition of the importance of wetlands and calling for basic wetlands research.
Peru mountain glaciers 'receding rapidly'
July 29, 2008 12:00 PM - , SciDevNet
Climate change-induced glacier melts have cost northern Peru's mountains 26 per cent of their surface area in the last 33 years, satellite images have confirmed.
African scientists to trial GM tobacco to smoke out landmines
July 28, 2008 10:05 AM - , SciDevNet
South African researchers are working on a genetically engineered tobacco plant that turns red near land mines — offering a potentially cheap way to clear post-conflict zones.
Mexican mangroves 'vital for fishing industry'
July 25, 2008 11:25 AM - , SciDevNet
Researchers have shown that the abundance of Mexican mangroves has a direct effect on the health of the fishing industry and the local economy. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, analysed 13 regions in four states — Baja California Sur, Nayarit, Sinaloa and Sonora — in Mexico's Gulf of California.
Nanotech risk concerns 'must be addressed'
July 23, 2008 10:41 AM - , SciDevNet
More risk assessment studies are needed to understand what exactly defines toxicity due to nanoparticles, and what kind of regulations the sector needs, said Hermann Stamm, head of nanotechnology and molecular imaging at the Institute for Health and Consumer Protection in the European Commission's Joint Research Council.
Training tree fellers helps cut carbon emissions
July 23, 2008 08:58 AM - , SciDevNet
Improved management of tropical forests can substantially reduce global carbon dioxide emissions and should be given high priority in negotiations for the 2009 Copenhagen Climate change agreement, write Francis E. Putz and colleagues in PLoS Biology.
Brazil harnesses space tech to monitor deforestation
July 22, 2008 11:40 AM - , SciDevNet
Brazil will launch a satellite in 2011 to monitor deforestation and urban expansion around the world, it has been announced. Amazônia-1 will carry a UK-made high resolution camera. The United Kingdom—Brazil collaboration was announced last week (14 July) at the 60th Annual Meeting of the Brazilian Society for Progress in Science.