Enn Original News
Early Ice Ages
February 1, 2012 02:04 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
New research led by scientists from Oxford University and Exeter University has shown that the invasion of the land by plants in the Ordovician Period (488-443 million years ago) cooled the climate and may have triggered a series of ice ages. During this period sea levels are very high and at the end of the period there was a mass extinction event. At the beginning of the period, around 480 million years ago, the climate was very hot due to high levels of CO2, which gave a strong greenhouse effect. The marine waters are assumed to have been around 45°C, which restricted the diversification of complex multi-cellular organisms. But over time, the climate become cooler, and around 460 million years ago, the ocean temperatures became comparable to those of present day equatorial waters. The dramatic cooling of the planet between 300 and 200 million years ago was also the result of the evolution of large plants with large rooting systems that caused huge changes in both of these processes. In the current results it was shown that the appearance of the first land plants had a similar effect and much earlier in time.
Canada Uranium and Other Mines: The Future
January 31, 2012 03:19 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Canada was the world's largest uranium producer for many years, accounting for about 22% of world output, but in 2009 was overtaken by Kazakhstan. Production is expected to increase significantly from 2013 as the new Cigar Lake mine comes into operation. Canada is also a large producer of many other mineral products. The problem is that many mining operations produce significant amounts of waste in an environment with a fragile ecosystem and limited resources to deal with environmental issues. While the government of Canada has introduced legislation to ensure that at least some of the costs associated with reclamation are accounted for in future developments, critics believe there are still serious risks.
Strong Work Ethics Stem from Early Childhood Development
January 30, 2012 09:46 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
A new study recently published suggests that attentiveness in kindergarten can accurately predict the child's work-oriented behavior throughout the rest of their school years and throughout their entire lives. This conclusion came after years of analysis and observation from elementary school homeroom teachers. For a young child, the classroom is the work place, so skills obtained there are translated directly to their adult workplaces. This study places even more focus on the importance of early education in shaping a more productive, work-oriented society.
The Solar Balance
January 30, 2012 08:08 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
The sun is the base energy source for the Earth. What it emits is either absorbed or reflected. Observations showed some "missing energy" in this balance. Two years ago, scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., released a study claiming that inconsistencies between satellite observations of Earth's heat and measurements of ocean heating amounted to evidence of missing energy in the planet's system. Where was it going? Or, they wondered, was something wrong with the way researchers tracked energy as it was absorbed from the sun and emitted back into space? Well it was found. An international team of atmospheric scientists and oceanographers, led by Norman Loeb of NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., and including Graeme Stephens of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., set out to investigate the mystery.
The World is Still Consuming Dolphins and Other Marine Mammals
January 27, 2012 02:24 PM - David A Gabel, ENN
Not too long ago, a big problem with the fishing industry was that dolphins were being captured in the large nets used to harvest tuna. They would get mixed in and their meat would be ground up and served with the tuna in the tuna can. When people caught on, they were outraged. Now tuna fish providers offer their tuna cans with labels which say dolphin free. But not everything is so peachy for the dolphin in other parts of the world. According to a new study from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Okapi Wildlife Associates (Okapi), dolphins and other marine mammals are still being eaten. In fact, since 1990, 114 countries claim to consume one or more of at least 87 species of marine mammals.
UK tops global league table for sustainable corporations
January 27, 2012 02:13 PM - ClickGreen staff, ClickGreen
The UK has topped the annual global league table that measures and ranks the world's largest sustainable corporations. The Global 100 is an extensive data-driven corporate sustainability assessment and inclusion is limited to a select group of the top 100 large-cap companies in the world. Companies are selected based on their performance against 11 indicators covering environmental performance and corporate citizenship such as leadership diversity, greenhouse gas emissions and payment of corporate taxes. The list includes companies from 22 countries encompassing all sectors of the economy, with collective annual sales in excess of $3.02 trillion, and 5,285,645 million employees. Among the 22 countries, the United Kingdom led the way with 16 Global 100 companies, an increase of five from the year before. Japan followed with 11 (down from 19 in 2011).France and the United States tied for third place with each claiming the headquarters of eight Global 100 companies. Rounding out the top ten scoring countries with at least three Global 100 companies were: Australia (seven), Canada (six), Germany (five) Switzerland (five), Denmark (four), Netherlands (four), Norway (four), Sweden (four), and Brazil (three). Sixty-eight per cent of the 2011 companies remained on the list in 2012.
Why Biodiversity Loss Deserves as Much Attention as Climate Change
January 27, 2012 01:58 PM - Akhila Vijayaraghavan, Triple Pundit
Biodiversity loss is probably a challenge that is often ignored as climate change looms. Currently the world is losing species at a rate that is 100 to 1000 times faster than the natural extinction rate, further, it is currently seeing the sixth mass extinction. The previous mass extinction occured 65 million years ago, and was caused by ecosystem changes, changes in atmospheric chemistry, impacts of asteroids and volcanoes. For the first time in history, the current extinction is caused by the competition for resources between a single species Homo sapiens and all others. A recent conference arranged by the Danish Ministry of Environment in the University of Copenhagen, provided an opportunity to influence the process of organizing a UN Biodiversity Panel. More than 100 scientists and decision makers from the EU countries gathered and came to the conclusion that drastic measures should be taken to decelerate current loss of biodiversity.
Nanotechnology Safety Strategies Need Improvement
January 27, 2012 09:00 AM - Scott Sincoff, ENN
According to a report released by the National Research Council (NRC), human and environmental safeties of nanomaterials remain uncertain despite the spending of billions of dollars in nanotechnology research and development over the past ten years.
January 27, 2012 08:02 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
Fructose, or fruit sugar, is a simple monosaccharide found in many plants. It is one of the three dietary monosaccharides, along with glucose and galactose, that are absorbed directly into the bloodstream during digestion. Fructose is generally regarded as being 1.73 times as sweet as sucrose. Fructose is a common sweetener used in many products such as soda as a result. There is now some new research evidence of cardiovascular disease and diabetes risk is present in the blood of adolescents who consume a lot of fructose, a scenario that worsens in the face of excess belly fat.
January 26, 2012 07:49 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
Nearly one-third of CO2 emissions due to human activities enters the world’s oceans. This is part of the natural recycling of carbon. By reacting with seawater, CO2 increases the water’s acidity (lower pH), which may significantly reduce the calcification rate of such marine organisms as corals and mollusks, resulting in the potential loss of ecosystems. The extent to which human activities have raised the surface level of acidity, however, has been difficult to detect on regional scales because it varies naturally as well as due to man made sources from one season and one year to the next, and between regions, and direct observations go back only 30 years.