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Crop biofuels 'create carbon debt'
February 18, 2008 09:17 AM - , SciDevNet
Two studies have shown that changes in land use to produce crop-based biofuels can actually result in more greenhouse-gas emissions than burning fossil fuels. The studies, both published in Science last week (8 February), estimate the impact of converting forests and grasslands into cropland for the production of biofuels.
Middle East collaborates on seismic mapping
February 14, 2008 09:17 AM - , SciDevNet
Earth scientists from Israel, Jordan and Palestine have formed a research partnership to map seismic activity in the region. The collaboration began last month (January), according to lead scientist Hillel Gilles Wust-Bloch from the Minerva Dead Sea Research Center at Tel Aviv University in Israel, and the team are due to have a meeting next week (21 February).
Germany harmonises development and research
February 12, 2008 10:47 AM - , SciDevNet
[BERLIN] The German research and international development ministries have signed an agreement to coordinate their activities and streamline their approach to research for development. The state secretaries for the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) finalised the agreement last month (25 January).
New network seeks to break down science barriers
February 7, 2008 09:26 AM - , SciDevNet
[NEW YORK] Scientific organisations and researchers working in developing countries will be brought together through a network to be launched later this year. The programme, Scientists Without Borders, is an initiative of the New York Academy of Sciences. It seeks to integrate the efforts of the scientific and health community to address global health, agriculture and energy challenges in accordance with the Millennium Development Goals.
Chile innovation investment 'may hit US$200 million'
February 6, 2008 09:30 AM - , SciDevNet
The Chilean government is investing a record US$100 million in innovative projects this year. The figure is up from the US$73 million invested in 2007 thanks to an increase in a mining tax, which is expected to yield US$150 million in 2008. All tax proceeds will go into the two-year-old Fund for Innovation for Competitiveness, run by InnovaChile, the innovation department of the Ministry of the Economy.
Indian law 'strangulates' biodiversity research
February 5, 2008 10:23 AM - , SciDevNet
[NEW DELHI] A group of Indian botanists say that the country's stringent biodiversity laws are stifling research. In an article in the latest issue of Current Science (25 January), published by the Indian Academy of Sciences, the scientists say India's "draconian" rules on free exchange of biological samples could "totally isolate Indian biodiversity researchers and is akin to a self-imposed siege on scientists in the country".
African, Asian crops 'to be hit hard by climate change'
February 1, 2008 01:16 PM - , SciDevNet
[NEW DELHI] Crops in South Asia and Southern Africa are likely to be worst hit by climate change and need greater investment in agriculture development and adaptation strategies, say US scientists. The conclusions, reported today (1 February) in Science, are based on an analysis of climate risks for crops in 12 food-insecure regions.
Colombia, Costa Rica 'top ten' for environment
February 1, 2008 08:09 AM - , SciDevNet
Colombia and Costa Rica are among the top ten nations in a ranking of excellence in environmental performance. The 2008 Environmental Performance Index (EPI), conducted by US universities Yale and Columbia, was announced last week (23 January) at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
UAE invests US$15 billion in future energy solutions
January 31, 2008 09:03 AM - , SciDevNet
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) are putting US$15 billion into an alternative energy and clean technology initiative to establish itself as the regional and global centre of future energy solutions. Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, the capital of UAE, announced the initiative at the World Future Energy Summit held in Abu Dhabi, last week (21—23 January).
Can crops be climate-proofed?
January 24, 2008 11:27 AM - , SciDevNet
Among the most worrying aspects of climate change is its effects on the world's food supply. The worst-case scenario is stark: Africa's Sahel region will produce fewer cereals, rice cultivation in Asia will be under threat, there will be fewer vegetables — with potatoes and beans potentially wiped out — and livestock and fisheries will be severely stressed.