Environmental Policy

How "Natural" are Naturally Labeled Foods?
October 8, 2014 08:46 AM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen

A wide variety of packaged food that carry the label "natural" on US supermarket shelves were found to contain substantial amounts of genetically modified organisms (GMO), according to product testing organization Consumer Reports. Tests on dozens of common food products including breakfast cereals, crisps and infant formula found almost all of them contained recognizable levels of GMOs. The research results has led to Consumer Reports to now call for the mandatory labeling of GMOs in food and a ban on the "natural" label, which suggest products don't contain the controversial ingredients.

A new concept in EV charging
October 8, 2014 08:07 AM - BOB SHETH, Electric Forum

There is no doubt that the EV industry is here to stay, too much money has been invested and too many people have transferred over from old-style technology. However, while EV technology itself continues to develop, efficiencies are improved and prices continue to fall, there have been ongoing concerns about recharging systems of the future. However, a company by the name of Ubitricity in Germany may well have come up with a solution which could be the answer to all our prayers!

Fish may not adjust to rising CO2 levels quickly
October 6, 2014 04:29 PM - Oliver Milman The Guardian, Organic Consumers Association

Rising carbon dioxide levels in oceans adversely change the behavior of fish through generations, raising the possibility that marine species may never fully adapt to their changed environment, research has found. The study, published in Nature Climate Change, found that elevated CO2 levels affected fish regardless of whether their parents had also experienced the same environment.

Does the public trust what scientists say?
October 6, 2014 03:58 PM - Princeton University

If scientists want the public to trust their research suggestions, they may want to appear a bit "warmer," according to a new review published by Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. The review, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), shows that while Americans view scientists as competent, they are not entirely trusted. This may be because they are not perceived to be friendly or warm.

What's best for creating drought resistant plants? Traditional breeding or GM?
October 5, 2014 08:29 AM - Lawrence Woodward, The Ecologist

Reports show that traditional breeding techniques are years ahead of GM technologies in developing crops to withstand drought and poor soils, writes Lawrence Woodward. Yet GM advocates are sticking rigidly to their script even as the evidence mounds against them. Since its launch in 2010, the Improved Maize for African Soils Project (IMAS) has developed 21 conventionally bred varieties which have increased yield by up to 1 tonne per hectare.

US Pledges climate change planning assistance to developing countries
October 3, 2014 04:29 PM - Editor, SciDevNet

The United States will commit to significantly improving developing countries' access to data, tools and training to help them adapt to climate change, the US president told the Climate Summit in New York last week (23 September). Barack Obama pledged to immediately release higher resolution topographical data for Africa, to scale up a training programme to boost meteorologists’ ability to monitor and predict climate change, and to create a public-private partnership to put climate-relevant information and tools in the hands of developing world policymakers.

How do we know an extreme weather event might be caused by climate change?
October 2, 2014 06:49 AM - CHRISTOPHER JOYCE, NPR

Nowadays, when there's a killer heat wave or serious drought somewhere, people wonder: Is this climate change at work? It's a question scientists have struggled with for years. And now there's a new field of research that's providing some answers. It's called "attribution science" — a set of principles that allow scientists to determine when it's a change in climate that's altering weather events ... and when it isn't. The principles start with the premise that, as almost all climate scientists expect, there will be more "extreme" weather events if the planet warms up much more: heat waves, droughts, huge storms.

Yellowstone Aspen recovering thanks to the Wolves
October 1, 2014 08:47 AM - Oregon State University

Wildlife in Yellowstone National Park is undergoing dramatic shifts with consequences that are beginning to return the landscape to conditions not seen in nearly a century, according to a series of new studies. In the park's northeast section, elk have decreased in number in their historic winter range in the Lamar Valley and are now more numerous outside the park. This change in elk numbers and distribution can be traced back to the reintroduction of wolves in 1995-96. Scientists have hypothesized that wolves affect both the numbers and the behavior of elk, thereby reducing the impact of browsing on vegetation, a concept known as a "trophic cascade."

Renewable energy capacity increases, nuclear declines
September 30, 2014 05:03 PM - Editor, Worldwatch Institute

Advocates of nuclear energy have long been predicting its renaissance, yet this mode of producing electricity has been stalled for years. Renewable energy, by contrast, continues to expand rapidly, even if it still has a long way to go to catch up with fossil fuel power plants, writes Worldwatch Institute Senior Researcher Michael Renner in the Institute’s latest Vital Signs Online analysis (bit.ly/NuclearRE). Nuclear energy’s share of global power production has declined steadily from a peak of 17.6 percent in 1996 to 10.8 percent in 2013. Renewables increased their share from 18.7 percent in 2000 to 22.7 percent in 2012.

New MIT report predicts serious future warming
September 30, 2014 07:38 AM - Audrey Resutek | MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change

Global temperature is likely to rise 3.3-5.6 degrees Celsius by the end of this century, unless international climate negotiations in Paris next year are more effective than expected, according to a report released Monday by the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change. The predicted temperature increase surpasses the threshold identified by the United Nations as necessary to avoid the most serious impacts of climate change, altering precipitation patterns and heightening the pressures of population and economic growth. "Our world is rapidly changing," says John Reilly, co-director of the MIT Joint Program and a coauthor of the report. "We need to understand the nature of the risks we’re facing so we can prepare for them."

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