Sea turtle declines not all due to human impacts
May 1, 2011 08:03 AM - Rebecca Kessler, ScienceNOW
Humans are pushing sea turtles to the brink of extinction by entangling them in fishing gear, tossing plastic garbage into their habitats, and building resorts on prime nesting beaches, among other affronts. That's the going hypothesis, anyway. But a new study suggests that our transgressions are peanuts compared to natural oceanic cycles, at least for loggerheads. The findings don't let people off the hook, the authors say, but they do provide new insight into the ways climate can shape turtle populations. Loggerheads lay their eggs on subtropical beaches around the world. After hatching, baby sea turtles head out to sea where they spend years maturing. When females reach breeding age—25 to 35 years old for loggerheads—they clamber ashore to lay eggs on the beach. Nest counts are the main source of demographic data for sea turtles, but it's hard to estimate population size from these counts. Between the mid-1990s and 2006, loggerhead nests in Florida—one of the species' nesting epicenters—declined from roughly 55,000 per year to around 30,000. That drop and declines elsewhere prompted U.S. federal agencies to propose upgrading most loggerheads from threatened to endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
NYC Finds Solar Energy Gold in Old Landfills
April 29, 2011 08:33 AM - Tina Casey, Triple Pundit
Landfill gas recovery is becoming a familiar fixture in the alternative energy scene, and now New York City has added a new dimension to the idea of extracting valuable resources from seemingly useless parcels of land. The city plans to build utility-scale solar installations on its old landfills, to the tune of about 50 megawatts.
Virginia Hybrid Car HOV Perk Is Tied to Police Budget
April 28, 2011 04:57 PM - HybridCars, Matter Network
Last week, Virginia passed yet another extension of its hybrid HOV law, which gives drivers of "clean fuel" vehicles access to the commonwealth's carpool lanes. The law has been extended annually since its original expiration date in 2006—even as the state's HOV lanes (and hybrid sales) swell. Could the extensions have anything to do with the fact that, with every registration for access, $15 goes to the state police's "HOV Enforcement Fund?"
Outsourcing Greenhouse Gas Emissions to the Developing World
April 27, 2011 09:59 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
In many developed nations, increased energy efficiency has effectively lowered emissions of carbon dioxide. However, the cuts in advanced economies are merely an illusion, as manufacturing and dirty industries have moved offshore to the developing world such as China and India. These countries produce goods cheaply which Western consumers like. But that cheap price is a reflection of not only lower wages for workers, but also lax pollution controls and environmental standards.
Fishing Season Begins Next Week in New England
April 26, 2011 09:19 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
For the northeastern United States, the new fishing year officially begins on May 1. This year will see the fishing season opened to more small-vessel owners and catch limits will be raised in response to rebounding fish stocks. Fishing has been an integral part of the economy of New England coastal communities, and now more fishermen will have the opportunity to partake.
Good News, more pine barrens, last Long Island wilderness, protected!
April 23, 2011 06:35 AM - Reuters, NEW YORK
New York state officials chose Earth Day on Friday to announce purchase of a large tract of land in Long Island's pine barrens as a preserve for hikers and other naturalists and a source for pure drinking water. The land, mostly surrounded by publicly owned property, had been sought for years by preservation advocates as an essential part of the 100,000-acre pine barrens in Suffolk County in eastern Long Island. Calling the pine barrens a "beautiful natural resource" as well as "an important source of clean drinking water," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the acquisition would preserve the area, in the heart of the Carmans River watershed, for generations. The 99-acre parcel was purchased from a local nursery, and will be paid for with New York state's Environmental Protection Fund's land acquisition fund.
Chesapeake Energy stems flow from blown Pennsylvania gas well
April 22, 2011 06:54 AM - Edward McAllister, Reuters, NEW YORK
Chesapeake Energy has stemmed the flow of leaking drilling fluids from a natural gas well that suffered a blow-out late on Tuesday in Pennsylvania and prompted the company to suspend a controversial gas production technique in the state. Chesapeake, one of Pennsylvania's biggest shale gas producers, used a mix of plastic, ground-up tires and heavy mud to plug the well -- an operation that echoes BP's "top kill" effort to seal its ruptured Gulf of Mexico oil well last year. "Late Thursday afternoon, efforts to seal the leak and regain control of well pressure were successful," Chesapeake said in a statement on Thursday evening. The company said it still did not know the cause of the blowout nearly two days after it occurred. It was planning to start an investigation into the accident, the statement said.
DigitalGlobe Partners with Extreme Ice Survey to Monitor World’s Glaciers
April 21, 2011 04:34 PM - Editor, ENN
A new report released this week by high-resolution satellite imagery provider DigitalGlobe in partnership with Extreme Ice Survey (EIS) reveals environmental changes as told by the world’s climate change barometers — glaciers. Using a combination of on-the-ground photography with satellite imagery to monitor the state of the world’s glaciers, the organizations issued the "Worldwide Glacier Monitoring Report," a first in a series of reports that depict satellite images from the last three years to show how three glaciers — Khumbu Glacier at Mt. Everest, the Ilulissat Glacier in Greenland and the Breidamerkurjökull Glacier in Iceland — have changed over time. Glaciers are a clear indicator of the state of the environment and a thermometer of local and regional climate conditions. Since 1995, Ilulissat Glacier, the largest producer of icebergs in Greenland, doubled its flow speed and volume of ice discharged due to warming air and ocean temperatures. The combined effect of ice loss in mountains and ice caps in Greenland and Antarctica will produce at least 3 feet of sea level rise by 2100, dislocating at least 150 million people. As the planet becomes warmer, sea levels will continue to rise.
Target Customers Respond to New Recycling Program
April 21, 2011 04:22 PM - Tina Casey, Triple Pundit, Triple Pundit
About one year into Target’s new recycling initiative, the results seem pretty impressive. In the first nine months alone, the store collected 170 shopping bags and 700 tons of bottles and cans. Target’s program also includes ink cartridges and small electronics, the latter of which were recycled to the tune of two million units in the same time period. That breaks down to about 90 units a month per store. The electronics component of the program is particularly interesting because it indicates that Target has caught onto the idea of using convenient dropoff as a way to draw more consumers into its stores, adding yet another twist to the emerging interplay between retailers, consumer products and recycling.
Mexican trial of GM maize stirs debate
April 19, 2011 08:25 AM - Cecilia Rosen, SciDevNet
[MEXICO CITY] Mexico has authorised a field trial of genetically modified (GM) maize that could lead to commercialisation of the crop, sparking debate about the effects on the country's unique maize biodiversity.