Study suggests impact of climate change on agriculture may be underestimated
March 8, 2016 07:10 AM - Brown University
Studies of how climate change might affect agriculture generally look only at crop yields — the amount of product harvested from a given unit of land. But climate change may also influence how much land people choose to farm and the number of crops they plant each growing season. A new study takes all of these variables into account, and suggests researchers may be underestimating the total effect of climate change on the world’s food supply.
Oregon Kicks Dirty Coal Habit
March 7, 2016 07:41 PM - Kevin Mathews, Care2
Oregon is ready to kick its filthy coal habit, and now it has passed a law to hold itself to this pledge. The Clean Energy and Coal Transition Act blocks the state’s largest power companies from purchasing coal-based electricity by 2030. By taking this important step, the state will effectively double its reliance on renewable energy in the upcoming decades. Moreover, Oregon’s energy should be approximately 80% carbon-free by the year 2040.
The legislation makes Oregon the first state to commit to ditching coal completely. As such, it is easily one of the most progressive energy policies in the United States. Hawaii’s goal to go 100% renewable by 2045 and California’s ambitious 2020 wind and solar goals deserve some credit, too, though.
Oregon’s coal plan is not only exciting because of its unprecedented nature, but because it was a genuinely collaborative effort from all sorts of people in the state. Legislators, citizens, environmental groups, Governor Kate Brown and even the state’s two largest utility companies (Portland General Election and Pacific Power) teamed together to work out new energy goals.
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.