Increase in Groundwater Use and Sea-Level Rise
June 10, 2012 09:04 AM - Richard Lovett for National Geogrpahic
As aquifers are pumped out around the world, the water ultimately makes it to the oceans. Groundwater depletion will soon be as important a factor in contributing to sea-level rise as the melting of glaciers other than those in Greenland and Antarctica, scientists say. That's because water pumped out of the ground for irrigation, industrial uses, and even drinking must go somewhere after it's used—and, whether it runs directly into streams and rivers or evaporates and falls elsewhere as rain, one likely place for it to end up is the ocean. To find out how much of an effect this has on sea level, a team of Dutch scientists led by hydrologist Yoshihide Wada, a Ph.D. researcher at Utrecht University, divided the Earth's land surface into 31-by-31-mile (50-by-50 kilometer) squares on a grid to calculate present and future groundwater usage.
Open Ocean protection and Rio+20
June 9, 2012 08:37 AM - Prime Sarmiento, SciDevNet
Promises made at previous summits have not delivered enough protection for the oceans — campaigners are pushing for better results from Rio+20, writes Prime Sarmiento. This month, scientists, campaigners and many developing nations are optimistic they will set in motion a deal on the conservation of the high seas at Rio+20 (UN Conference on Sustainable Development) in Brazil. They argue that the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), agreed 30 years ago, does not address the welfare of the vast areas of ocean that are 'beyond national jurisdiction'.
June 8, 2012 12:21 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
What is green? What is a viable economic alternative? What is reasonable and will do more bad than good? Welcome to Biofuels. Two scientists are challenging the currently accepted norms of biofuel production. A commentary published today in GCB Bioenergy reveals that calculations of greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions from bioenergy production are neglecting crucial information that has led to the overestimation of the benefits of biofuels compared to fossil fuels.
40 Eco-Apps that Put Technology to Work for the Environment
June 8, 2012 10:41 AM - Richard Matthews, Global Warming is Real
Technology may not be a panacea to solve the climate crisis, but green applications (eco-apps) are helping to drive awareness and foster responsible action. There was a time when eco-apps did little more than provide lists of so-called "green" products and services. Now green-themed apps have turned mobile devices into portals for environmental education and sustainable action. The smartphone market share is now estimated to be more than 40 percent in the U.S. Around the world, smartphones are proliferating and green apps are growing along with them. Eco-apps can help people be more efficient and reduce their energy consumption. There are a wide variety of energy apps including those that monitor efficiency and consumption. Apps help with things like recycling and other aspects of green living. Mobile and tablet based smart energy applications help consumers to optimize their energy and water consumption, monitor their appliances, water heater and other electronics. These apps can also monitor and operate HVAC, grey water (from rain), automated windows (shutters and blinds) and lighting systems. They can even provide information about renewable energy conversion and variable price grid management.
US bucks global trend of closing down nuclear power stations
June 8, 2012 10:31 AM - ClickGreen staff, ClickGreen
Official figures show Europe expects to decommission almost 150 of its nuclear power plants by 2030, while the US has granted life extensions to 71 and chosen to close only five, according to a report by energy experts GlobalData. The new report shows that the figure for Europe accounts for nearly 69% of the total global number of expected nuclear power reactor closures by 2030, the largest amount for any region. Barring any changes, the European commercial nuclear decommissioning market value stands at $81,484m.
Ten African nations have pledged, ahead of Rio+20, to include the economic value of natural resources in their national accounts. Africa has taken the lead in the quest to persuade nations to include the full economic value of their natural resources in their national accounts, with the promise last month by ten of its nations to do so.
Atrazine to be Banned? Frogs will be happy!
June 8, 2012 07:40 AM - Rhett Butler, MONGABAY.COM
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will weigh a ban on Atrazine, a widely used herbicide linked to sex reversal and other reproductive problems in amphibians and fish. The chemical, which is manufactured by Syngenta, has been banned in the European Union since 2004 but some 80 million pounds Atrazine are applied to corn, sugarcane, sorghum and rice in the United States each year. Environmentalists say the effects of Atrazine on wildlife make its use unacceptable and are pushing the EPA to ban the chemical. The agency will be holding a Scientific Advisory Panel public meeting June 12th to discuss the ecological risks of Atrazine. Save The Frogs, a group that works to protect amphibians, welcomed the move.
World's biggest cities are tapping into the green economy benefits
June 7, 2012 09:33 AM - ClickGreen staff, ClickGreen
Cities around the world have identified the economic benefits from tackling the effects of climate change, according to a new report released today by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). The CDP study found 82% of cities are tapping into the potential for growth as a result of climate change adaptation and more than half of cities are looking to create green jobs and new business initiatives.
Sustainable Packaging goes upscale
June 7, 2012 08:03 AM - Akhila Vijayaraghavan, Triple Pundit
Packaging has always been a bone of contention for cosmetic companies. With sustainability standards increasing, most companies are wanting to use more sustainable packaging material. Major companies like Chanel, Coty, Avon, L'Oreal Group, Mast Global and Estee Lauder are now inaugural members of an initiative created by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers’ Institute for Sustainability that aims to find ways to work with suppliers, retailers and customers to advance sustainable packaging. The Environmental Leader reports that the Sustainable Packaging Roundtable, which kicked off last month, will focus on how to drive and measure progress in sustainability. Cosmetic companies are becoming more aware of sustainable packaging and are incorporating this into their CSR initiatives. Companies that are involved in the roundtable agree that packaging should reflect design, reuse and recovery rather than the traditional reduce and recycle approach.
Rio Environmental talks may collapse: WWF
June 6, 2012 07:12 AM - Editor, WWF
Two weeks out from the 20-year reprise of the Rio Earth Summit, and two years after negotiations started, global conservation organization WWF issued a World Environment Day warning that failures of commitment, failures of process and failures of leadership could lead to the collapse of talks on achieving a long-term sustainable world. "Currently we are a long way from where we need to be in these negotiations," said WWF Director General, Jim Leape. "Heads of State still have a unique opportunity in Rio to set the world on a path to sustainable development — but they need to step up their game dramatically. As things currently stand, we are facing two likely scenarios — an agreement so weak it is meaningless, or complete collapse. Neither of these options would give the world what it needs."