Environmental Policy

Floods in Britain: a sign of things to come?
March 20, 2014 11:52 AM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen

A new investigation of long-term weather records suggests that the recent flooding in the south of England could signal the onset of climate change. The research, from UWE Bristol, Loughborough University and the University of East Anglia has produced a new index of flooding trends called the Fluvial Flood Indices. This enables widespread flooding and weather patterns to be viewed in the context of the last 150 years, revealing that four of the six most severe flood episodes since 1871 have occurred in the last 30 years.

Forest Peoples at risk from 'carbon grab'
March 20, 2014 10:52 AM - Oliver Tickell, Ecologist

A new 'carbon grab' is under way as governments and corporations seize valuable rights to the carbon stored in standing forests, with UN and World Bank support. But there's no benefit for forest communities - who even risk expulsion to make way for 'carbon plantations'. As the United Nations and the World Bank prepare to develop world carbon markets as a tool to halt deforestation under so-called REDD+,new research warns of a new 'carbon grab' in the making.

No more stinky cotton!
March 19, 2014 10:18 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

Following the eradication of the cotton boll weevil in the late 1990s cotton growers began to notice an influx of a new pest, stink bugs. Stink bugs feed on bolls on the bottom portion of the plant, puncturing squares causing young cotton bolls to drop and staining, matting and shrinking cottonseeds through heavy stink bug feeding. Injured locks or bolls may fail to open. Resultantly damage caused by stink bugs introduce bacteria, such as Pantoea agglomerans and fungi that cause boll rots. Currently stink bugs are ranked among the most damaging insect pests of cotton in the southeastern United States.

The cold hard glacial truth
March 18, 2014 03:46 PM - Tom Robinette, University of Cincinatti

Lewis Owen has been scraping out icy fragments of history's truth from one of the most glaciated regions on Earth for the past 25 years. His frequent excursions to Tibet and the Himalayas have led the University of Cincinnati professor of geology to some cold, hard facts. Owen knows climate change is immortal — fluctuating across millennia, patiently building toward moments when circumstances are ripe for apocalypse. It was true thousands of years ago, when rapid climate change had profound effects on landscapes and the creatures that lived on them. That scenario could be true again, if the past is ignored.

COLLEGIATE CORNER: Offshore oil drilling: is it really necessary?
March 18, 2014 10:32 AM - Christian Ramirez, Class of 2015, Wakefield High School, Arlington, VA

As we all know, oil is a very important energy resource the world needs for its everyday life. It is known that not only do most of the countries on the planet use it, but also it is a scarce resource, which means that in the near future, there will no longer be enough available oil that could be drilled and processed for future endeavors. The demand for oil has increased significantly throughout the past few years and other ways of obtaining this resource must be used more often. A form of oil drilling has emerged which is dangerous and is known as offshore drilling. Sounds like a good plan at first, going to the ocean where more oil can be found and at a faster rate, but is it really worth it? There should be an alternate to offshore drilling because of the many horrific and unfair problems that it brings to Americans, animals, and the overall environment.

A dust induced monsoon in India
March 17, 2014 10:23 AM - ENN Editor

Another sign of our global connectedness has manifested itself in a new satellite analysis linking dust in North Africa and West Asia with stronger monsoons in India. The study shows that as airborne dust from North Africa and West Asia absorbs sunlight it warms the air and strengthens the eastern winds carrying moisture. The heavy laden air generates a monsoon rainfall about a week later in India thereby explaining one way that dust can affect the climate, filling in previously unknown details about the Earth system.

Yellowstone Bison win court case!
March 16, 2014 07:25 AM - Editor, ENN, The Ecologist

The Montana Supreme Court has ruled that bison can roam outside the park boundaries for winter and early spring forage without being shot. In 2008, more than 1,400 bison - about one-third of the current size of Yellowstone's bison population - were captured and slaughtered by government agencies while leaving Yellowstone in search of food. The Montana Supreme Court affirmed the decision of a lower court this week, allowing wild bison room to roam outside the northern boundary of Yellowstone National Park.

A global climate change directive?
March 14, 2014 04:11 PM - Editor, ENN

Could another climate change deal be in the works? World leaders are meeting in Brussels this month to discuss climate change. While environmentalists are calling for urgent action to cut greenhouse gas emissions, diplomatic language presented in the introductory document is most likely not ambitious enough.

Making the United States "anti-car"
March 14, 2014 02:33 PM - S.E. Smith, Care2

Visit Amsterdam, which feels like the bicycle capital of the world, and you'll see everyone on bikes, from chic ladies on their way to coffeehouses (a longstanding tradition in this European city) to office workers. The city offers dedicated bicycle paths, ample bike parking and lots more options to encourage people to cycle and it create active disincentives for driving. It's a decision born of practical and environmental concerns: Amsterdam is a small, easily crowded city, where cars could become a serious hazard and frustration if they multiplied on the streets, and its residents are very eco-conscious.

Antarctic ecosystem due to change radically with climate change
March 13, 2014 02:07 PM - Staff, ENN

According to researchers the Ross Sea will "be extensively modified by future climate change" in the coming decades creating longer periods of ice-free open water and affecting life cycles of all components of the ecosystem in a paper published and funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The researchers have drawn their information from the Regional Ocean Modeling System, a computer model that evaluates sea-ice, ocean, atmosphere and sea-shelf.

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