Enn Original News
Controversial Tar Sands Pipeline Moving Forward Despite Heavy Protest
August 31, 2011 10:06 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
The massive international pipeline, known as the Keystone XL pipeline, would connect Alberta, Canada's booming tar sands to refineries in Texas and the Gulf Coast. It would be the longest pipeline outside of Russia and China, and would carry North America's largest oil deposit to the market. The project has sparked protests from environmental groups because large areas of boreal forests would be destroyed and sensitive habitats would be affected. Also, protesters oppose the pipeline for reasons relating to global climate change and breaking our addiction to oil. The Keystone project has just passed a key hurdle by getting the go-ahead from the US State Department.
Well Water Trace Metals
August 30, 2011 11:58 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
The water that people drink is supplied from several possible sources such as rainwater collection, ponded surface water, streams, desalinized seawater and well or ground water. Wells can vary greatly in depth, water volume and water quality. Well water typically contains more minerals in solution than surface water and may require treatment to soften the water by removing minerals such as arsenic, iron and manganese. About 20% of untreated water samples from public, private, and monitoring wells across the nation contain concentrations of at least one trace element, such as arsenic, manganese and uranium, at levels of potential health concern, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey.
Study: Eating Chocolate is Good for the Heart
August 30, 2011 09:06 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
A recent finding, that is sure to delight many of us with a sweet tooth, claims that high levels of chocolate consumption may be associated with a 33 percent decrease in the risk of developing heart disease. The study, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), confirms existing studies which have explored the positive link between eating chocolate and heart health. While other factors are much more important for a healthy heart, such as exercise and proper dieting, this finding gives a nice reprieve to chocoholics.
August 29, 2011 01:49 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
REACH is a European Union Regulation of December 2006. REACH addresses the production and use of chemical substances, and their potential impacts on both human health and the environment. Its 849 pages took seven years to pass, and it has been described as the most complex legislation in the Union's history and the most important in 20 years. It is the strictest law to date regulating chemical substances and will affect industries throughout the world. REACH entered into force in June 2007, with a phased implementation over the next decade. Five years after its adoption, the European Commission is preparing to review the controversial REACH regulation, which required chemical manufacturers to justify that their products are safe for consumers. It's a potential can of worms, according to EU officials. From the moment it was tabled until its eventual adoption in 2006, the REACH regulation gave rise to one of the most epic lobbying battles in the EU's history, pitting green campaigners against the chemicals industry.
August 26, 2011 11:35 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
Clouds are amazing to watch and intricate in their formation and interactions with the atmosphere. Research from CERN involving University of Leeds scientists provides news insights into cloud formation in the atmosphere. In a paper published in the journal Nature today, the CLOUD experiment - designed to study the effect of cosmic rays on the formation of atmospheric aerosols under controlled laboratory conditions - reports its first results. Aerosols are tiny particles suspended in the atmosphere which are thought to be responsible for a large fraction of the seeds that form cloud droplets. Understanding the process of aerosol formation is therefore important for understanding the climate.
Unreported Green House Gas Emission in Europe?
August 26, 2011 09:56 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
European chemical manufacturers are covertly venting huge quantities of the powerful super greenhouse gas HFC-23, according to a study by the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA). The report, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, says that Western Europe's emissions of HFC-23s — an 'F' or fluorinated gas mainly used as a refrigerant — are between 60-140% higher than officially reported. Italy alone was found to be emitting 10-20 times more HFC-23s than it officially reports. The greenhouse gas has a global warming potential which is 14,800 times higher than CO2.
Smart Phones and Fuel Efficiency
August 25, 2011 03:25 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
In July, at the Association for Computing Machinery’s MobiSys conference, researchers from MIT and Princeton University took the best-paper award for a system that uses a network of smartphones mounted on car dashboards to collect information about traffic signals and tell drivers when slowing down could help them avoid waiting at lights. By reducing the need to idle and accelerate from a standstill, the system saves gas: In tests conducted in Cambridge, Mass., it helped drivers cut fuel consumption by 20 percent. Cars are responsible for 28 percent of the energy consumption and 32 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions in the United States, says Emmanouil Koukoumidis, a visiting researcher at MIT who led the project. "If you can save even a small percentage of that, then you can have a large effect on the energy that the U.S. consumes," Koukoumidis says.
August 25, 2011 03:07 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Hurricane Irene strengthened on its path toward the continental United States in late August 2011. This is a relatively rare hurricane that threatens all of the US east coast. Residents of the U.S. East Coast braced for the first hurricane to seriously threaten the country in three years. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this natural-color image at 2:15 p.m. local time (18:15 UTC) on August 24. Storm clouds hide the Turks and Caicos Islands, and extend westward over The Bahamas. Clouds also linger over the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported that Irene was a Category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 120 miles (195 kilometers) per hour.
Hybrid Midsize Sedan?
August 25, 2011 12:43 PM - Kathleen Neil, Contributing Editor, ENN
There seem to be a lot of people looking for a quality, affordable, and safe midsize sedan, but a hybrid midsize sedan? Mingling with everyone at the Toyota 2012 Camry event at Paramount Studios Hollywood yesterday I’d have to say, the mainstream car world just isn’t that concerned about how green their drive is at this point. The economy isn't helping, nor is the way most people are experiencing the modern electronic world as a bad case of button overload; and general interest in iconic brands like a Prius Hybrid or a Chevy Volt is limited. In the last two years my automotive interest has been focused on hybrids and electric vehicles. Yesterday in Hollywood I drove both the hybrid 2012 Camry and the non-hybrid 2012 Camry and I got to look more closely at the interface between the car most people are looking for and the dream of a greener driving world. The comparison was great fun. I admit I'm still more excited about the Plug-in Prius, which is now looking like it will be available starting around spring 2012 in 15 launch states: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington. Availability is planned to open up to all other states in 2013. Much of the innovation in the development of the Prius appears to be showing up in the 2012 Camry Hybrid
Drought and CO2
August 24, 2011 02:08 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
The large scale project CLIMAITE, led by Risø DTU, has published its first synthesis paper in the journal Global Change Biology, and the conclusion is perhaps a little surprising that the predicted increase in plant growth, due to more CO2 in the atmosphere is noticeably limited when combined with higher temperatures -- and especially summer droughts. "When you've previously seen a significantly higher plant growth at elevated CO2 concentrations, it is typically because it has been controlled studies, where only the CO2 concentration was changed. We fundamentally had the theory that you have to look at the combination of the different climate variables, since the plants in the future will be exposed to multiple changes simultaneously," explains Klaus Steenberg Larsen, who is a researcher in the Biosystems Division at Risø DTU and lead author on the scientific paper.