Environmental Policy

Fences May Cause 'Ecological Meltdown' of Wildlife
April 8, 2014 08:04 AM - Wildlife Conservation Society

Wildlife fences are constructed for a variety of reasons including to prevent the spread of diseases, protect wildlife from poachers, and to help manage small populations of threatened species. Human—wildlife conflict is another common reason for building fences: Wildlife can damage valuable livestock, crops, or infrastructure, some species carry diseases of agricultural concern, and a few threaten human lives. But in a paper in the journal Science, published April 4th, WCS and ZSL scientists review the 'pros and cons' of large scale fencing and argue that fencing should often be a last resort.

Desert absorption helps curtail CO2 levels
April 7, 2014 09:55 AM - Eric Sorensen, Washington State University News

Researchers led by a Washington State University biologist have found that arid areas, among the biggest ecosystems on the planet, take up an unexpectedly large amount of carbon as levels of carbon dioxide increase in the atmosphere. The findings give scientists a better handle on the earth's carbon budget — how much carbon remains in the atmosphere as CO2, contributing to global warming, and how much gets stored in the land or ocean in other carbon-containing forms.

Badger Culls in England Will Not Expand
April 6, 2014 09:32 AM - Judy Molland, Care2

This is great news for most of the badger population of England. Plans to roll out the controversial badger cull pilots nationwide across England have been dropped by the Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, after an independent report found the shoots were not effective or humane. The pilot programs were run in Gloucestershire and Somerset in an effort to stop the spread of Bovine Tuberculosis among cattle, and the environment department's original plan was to announce up to 10 new cull areas each year.

The Melting Arctic
April 5, 2014 08:59 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

As the Eastern US ends what seems to have been the most severe winter in memory, it is hard to remember that the global climate is still warming. A severe winter in a region doesn't mean that the entire hemisphere had an extreme winter. And it really doesn't imply much about long term trends. A key indicator of long term trends is the length of the Arctic melt season. A new study by researchers from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and NASA shows that the length of the melt season for Arctic sea ice is growing by several days each decade. An earlier start to the melt season is allowing the Arctic Ocean to absorb enough additional solar radiation in some places to melt as much as four feet of the Arctic ice cap’s thickness. "The Arctic is warming and this is causing the melt season to last longer," said Julienne Stroeve, a senior scientist at NSIDC, Boulder and lead author of the new study, which has been accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters. "The lengthening of the melt season is allowing for more of the sun’s energy to get stored in the ocean and increase ice melt during the summer, overall weakening the sea ice cover."

Smog alerts for Europe
April 4, 2014 04:21 PM - Rob MacKenzie, The Ecologist

The UK news media has been buzzing with reports of air pollution alerts associated, at least in part, with the long-range transport of dust from the Sahara. Colleagues from Africa have asked why we in the UK are worried about the health effects of a relatively rare occurrence of this long-range dust all the way across Europe, when African countries experience dust storms of much higher intensity almost daily at some times of year.

Filipino vulnerability
April 3, 2014 11:24 AM - By Esperanza Garcia, Worldwatch Institute

Climate change has been a constant reality for many Filipinos, with impacts ranging from extreme weather events to periodic droughts and food scarcity. The most affected populations are coastal residents and rural communities that lack proper disaster preparedness.

Crib mattresses expose infants to harmful emissions
April 2, 2014 03:30 PM - ENN Staff

University of Texas at Austin's Cockrell School of Engineering has found that crib mattresses expose sleeping infants to high levels of chemical emissions. Specifically, the team analyzed the foam padding from crib mattresses and found that the mattresses release significant amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which are potentially harmful chemicals found in many household items including cleaners and scented sprays.

American's energy usage jumps in 2013
April 2, 2014 01:08 PM - ENN Staff

Despite many individual efforts to decrease energy usage for 2013 increased by 2.3 Quadrillion thermal units over the previous year. These statistics have been monitored and presented by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in the most recent energy flow charts measuring renewable, fossil and even nuclear energy.

Ground breaking battery technology promises to extend EV range
March 30, 2014 09:09 AM - BOB SHETH, Electric Forum

Over the last few years much of the talk with regards to the electric vehicle sector has focused upon battery restrictions with many people calling for greater investment in the sector. There was a general consensus emerging that lithium ion batteries had perhaps been pushed to their technological limit and we may need to strip back the battery sector and go back to square one. However, researchers at the University of Limerick have announced a ground breaking breakthrough which could effectively double the life of an electric vehicle battery. This new development incorporates the latest nanotechnology which is something that will impact every area of everyday life. It is a technology which has been around for a few years but is still in its infancy with regards to its potential to change areas such as battery storage capacity.

Cost of agriculture related emissions outweigh benefits
March 29, 2014 08:03 AM - Editor, ENN

Revenues associated with ammonia pollution generated by agriculture equate to higher than expected health care costs according to Harvard researchers Fabien Paulot and Daniel Jacob. The NASA funded study used computer models that identified the harmful ammonia emissions created by the interaction of agriculturally generated ammonia in the atmosphere.

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