Business

Scientists fight deadly banana fungus
February 29, 2016 07:11 AM - Editors, SciDev.Net

Around the world, banana farmers are fighting a losing battle against Tropical Race 4, a soil fungus that kills Cavendish bananas, the only type grown for the international market. The disease was first spotted in the early 1990s in Malaysia, but has now started to wipe out crops in large parts of South-East Asia as well as in Africa and the Middle East.

Consumers have huge environmental impact
February 25, 2016 07:46 AM - Norwegian University of Science and Technology via EurekAlert!

The world's workshop -- China -- surpassed the United States as the largest emitter of greenhouse gases on Earth in 2007. But if you consider that nearly all of the products that China produces, from iPhones to tee-shirts, are exported to the rest of the world, the picture looks very different.

VW Emissions cheating scandal update
February 25, 2016 07:36 AM - Leon Kaye , Triple Pundit

Volkswagen is still struggling to move past the emissions-software scandal that has plagued its reputation for the better part of a year. Ever since the news officially broke that an array of its diesel passenger cars were outfitted with deceptive software, VW’s reputation has been pretty much at bottom ratings.

It’s not like the company hasn’t tried to regain public trust: To disgruntled consumers who bought one of the affected cars, it’s offered a combo of Visa cards and credit at dealerships. To dealers stuck with stock frozen by the publicity, the company offered to buy back used vehicles at full price.  And in response to hundreds of class-action suits coming up on the horizon, the company recently suggested that it may be willing to buy back those vehicles that can’t be fixed. Fixing, VW lawyer Robert Giuffra explained in court in January, requires coming up with new software, and that may still be a long way off — too long for some earlier vehicles caught in the debacle.

Scientists unlock key to turning wastewater and sewage into power
February 23, 2016 07:16 AM - Virginia Tech

As renewable energy sources goes, solar rays have historically hogged the limelight. 

But two Virginia Tech researchers have stolen the spotlight from the sun by discovering a way to maximize the amount of electricity that can be generated from the wastewater we flush down the toilet. 

Can ecotourism save threatened species?
February 19, 2016 06:09 AM - Griffith University

Ecotourism can provide the critical difference between survival and extinction for endangered animals, according to new research from Griffith University.

Using population viability modelling, the Griffith team of Professor Ralf Buckley, Dr Guy Castley and Dr Clare Morrison has developed a method that for the first time quantifies the impact of ecotourism on threatened species.

The differences between organic and non-organic milk and meat
February 16, 2016 07:13 AM - Newcastle University

A new study has shown that both organic milk and meat contain around 50% more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids than conventionally produced products. Analysing data from around the world, the team led by Newcastle University, reviewed 196 papers on milk and 67 papers on meat and found clear differences between organic and conventional milk and meat, especially in terms of fatty acid composition, and the concentrations of certain essential minerals and antioxidants.

Climate change will delay transatlantic flights
February 10, 2016 07:21 AM - Pete Castle, Reading University.

Planes flying between Europe and North America will be spending more time in the air due to the effects of climate change, a new study has shown.

By accelerating the jet stream – a high-altitude wind blowing from west to east across the Atlantic – climate change will speed up eastbound flights but slow down westbound flights, the study found.  The findings could have implications for airlines, passengers, and airports.

Disease may wipe out the world's bananas
February 8, 2016 07:11 AM - Angelina Sanderson Bellamy, Cardiff University, The Ecologist

Bananas are at the sharp end of industrial agriculture's chemical war on pests and pathogens, writes Angelina Sanderson Bellamy. But even 60 pesticide sprays a year isn't enough to keep the diseases at bay. It's time to seek new solutions with little or no use of chemicals, working with nature, growing diverse crops on the same land - and breaking the dominance of the banana multinationals.

Air pollution in Europe and the EU lack of action
February 3, 2016 06:40 AM - Jean Lambert, Molly Scott Cato & Keith Taylor, The Ecologist

Air pollution from vehicles is killing tens of thousands of people every year in the UK alone, write Jean Lambert, Molly Scott Cato & Keith Taylor, an outrage set into stark focus by VW's 'test cheating'. The EU's response? To relax tests and allow cars to be more polluting - with the full support of the UK government.

Rather than clamping down on the car industry's irresponsible approach to pollution, EU governments and the Commission instead want to rewrite existing law, providing loopholes which will allow cars to legally pollute more.

Faced with a public health crisis, responsible for nearly half a million premature deaths in Europe each year, we would expect an emergency response.

How Modular Construction is Keeping Waste Out of U.S. Landfills
February 2, 2016 07:23 AM - Mark Meyers, Triple Pundit

When we think about the overflow of our nation’s landfills, we probably picture limiting our food waste; recycling plastics, glass and paper; and keeping out potentially harmful hazardous waste. What we probably don’t consider is one of the largest sources of waste generation, construction and demolition (C&D) waste.  It is estimated that anywhere from 25 to 40 percent of the national solid waste stream is building-related waste, with only 20 percent of C&D waste being recycled.

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