The Paris climate accord looks promising
April 12, 2016 08:04 PM - Robert N. Stavins, Director, Harvard Environmental Economics Program
The climate talks that concluded last December were a great success, but it will be decades before we can judge whether the Paris Agreement itself is ultimately successful. What can be said is that the accord provides a good foundation for meaningful progress on climate change, and represents a dramatic departure from the past 20 years of climate negotiations.
I have long viewed the dichotomous distinction between Annex I and non–Annex I countries in the Kyoto Protocol as the major stumbling block to progress. The protocol included mandatory emissions-reduction obligations for developed countries, but none for developing countries. That made progress impossible, because significant growth in emissions since the protocol came into force in 2005 has been entirely in the large developing countries — China, India, Brazil, South Korea, South Africa, Mexico, and Indonesia.
NASA examines El Nino's impact on ocean's food source
April 4, 2016 07:46 PM - NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
El Niño years can have a big impact on the littlest plants in the ocean, and NASA scientists are studying the relationship between the two. In El Niño years, huge masses of warm water – equivalent to about half of the volume of the Mediterranean Sea – slosh east across the Pacific Ocean towards South America. While this warm water changes storm systems in the atmosphere, it also has an impact below the ocean’s surface. These impacts, which researchers can visualize with satellite data, can ripple up the food chain to fisheries and the livelihoods of fishermen.
Commercial leases go green
April 1, 2016 07:09 AM - University of Oxford
New opportunities to fight climate change in these properties are coming from an unlikely source: the commercial property lease. A new study finds that in 2009, only 15% of all leases signed in Sydney’s central business district contained green clauses; by 2013, this had risen to over 60%.
As EV sales slow, focus shifts for some to heavy duty vehicles
March 25, 2016 08:25 AM - cheryl katz Yale Environment360
Low gasoline prices and continuing performance issues have slowed the growth of electric car sales. But that has not stymied progress in electrifying larger vehicles, including garbage trucks, city buses, and medium-sized trucks used by freight giants like FedEx.
The clang of garbage cans will still probably wake people way too early in the morning. But in Santa Rosa, California, at least, the roaring diesel engine will be quiet, replaced by a silent, electric motor.
Using Tomatoes for Power
March 16, 2016 07:13 AM - American Chemical Society via EurekAlert!
A team of scientists is exploring an unusual source of electricity -- damaged tomatoes that are unsuitable for sale at the grocery store. Their pilot project involves a biological-based fuel cell that uses tomato waste left over from harvests in Florida.
Sponge cuts oil spill clean-up cost
March 15, 2016 07:22 AM - Emiliano Rodriguez Mega, SciDevNet
A simple but super-absorbent artificial sponge could lower the cost of cleaning up crude oil spills in developing countries.
A team of researchers, based at the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa, found that simple sponges made from polyurethane foam soaked up oil spills better than more expensive sponges treated with nanoparticles.
Desert cactus purifies contaminated water for aquaculture, drinking and more
March 14, 2016 07:27 AM - American Chemical Society via EurekAlert!
Farm-grown fish are an important source of food with significant and worldwide societal and economic benefits, but the fish that come from these recirculating systems can have unpleasant tastes and odors. To clean contaminated water for farmed fish, drinking and other uses, scientists are now turning to an unlikely source -- the mucilage or inner "guts" of cacti.
Time to re-think the diesel
March 11, 2016 08:00 AM - Richard Howard / Policy Exchange, The Ecologist
Low Emissions Zones have their place in cleaning up the UK's worst air pollution hotspots, writes Richard Howard. But we also need to adopt fiscal measures to encourage a shift away from diesel vehicles, at once delivering cleaner air, increased tax revenues, and lower carbon emissions.
If we are to clean up air pollution in London and the rest of the UK, then Government needs to recognise that diesel is the primary cause of the problem, and to promote a shift away from diesel to alternatives.
There is an air pollution crisis taking place in London and many of the UK's other major cities.
'Ugly' fruits and vegetables will get a chance to be sold
March 11, 2016 07:09 AM - Leon Kaye, Triple Pundit
Depending on the source, anywhere from 20 to 40 percent of produce in America ends up wasted. One reason why so many fruit and vegetables are thrown out is because they do not conform to what retailers and consumers believe fresh food should look like. Tomatoes too wide for a hamburger bun, carrots that look like something out of an anatomy textbook, and cucumbers that dare to be curved almost never make the shelves at grocery chains from Walmart to Whole Foods. But Whole Foods, the supermarket that has arguably made organic and socially-conscious foods mainstream, announced that it will start selling “ugly” fruits and vegetables.
Record year for rhino poaching in Africa
March 10, 2016 07:19 AM - WWF Global
The number of African rhinos poached in 2015 is higher than previously thought with new figures from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) showing that a record 1,338 were killed across the continent last year – 33 higher than earlier estimates.
This is the highest level since the current poaching crisis began in 2008 and takes the number of African rhinos killed since then to at least 5,940.