Environmental Policy

Climate change has the potential for significant impacts on coffee
July 30, 2013 06:05 AM - Rhett Butler, MONGABAY.COM

An inconvenient truth is not what most people want to hear before they’ve had their first cup of coffee in the morning. Our coffee break is “me time,” and we want to enjoy it. If the temperature is too high, put some ice in your cup. But for some 26 million people around the world who make it their business to produce our coffee, change is impossible to ignore.

Illegal marijuana cultivation threatens Nigeria's forests and chimps
July 29, 2013 08:49 AM - Liz Kimbrough, MONGABAY.COM

The world's highest deforestation rate, the execution of eight environmental activists including a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, and ongoing turmoil surrounding oil operations in the Niger River Delta has created a notoriously disreputable environmental record for the West African country. Now, a new threat is rising in the already-compromised forests of Nigeria: illegal marijuana cultivation.

New Study on Permafrost - Climate link
July 29, 2013 06:55 AM - EurekAlert

New research findings from the Centre for Permafrost (CENPERM) at the Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, University of Copenhagen, document that permafrost during thawing may result in a substantial release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and that the future water content in the soil is crucial to predict the effect of permafrost thawing. The findings may lead to more accurate climate models in the future. The permafrost is thawing and thus contributes to the release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. But the rate at which carbon dioxide is released from permafrost is poorly documented and is one of the most important uncertainties of the current climate models.

CO2 Sequestration advances
July 27, 2013 07:47 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

Sequestration of CO2 has been discussed as one way to reduce the impact of burning fossil fuels on climate change by removing CO2 from industrial and power generation emissions and storing it indefinitely underground. This technology has been demonstrated in the laboratory and in pilot studies, but not in large scale tests. That is now changing. An injection of carbon dioxide, or CO2, has begun at a site in southeastern Washington to test deep geologic storage. Battelle researchers based at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory are injecting 1,000 tons of CO2 one-half mile underground to see if the greenhouse gas can be stored safely and permanently in ancient basalt flows. Boise Inc. teamed with Battelle, which operates PNNL for the U.S. Department of Energy, and Praxair, Inc. to conduct the CO2 injection phase of the pilot project. Injection is occurring on Boise property in deep basalt — the same massive ancient lava flows that underlie major portions of Washington, Oregon and Idaho. The joint research is conducted under the Big Sky Carbon Sequestration Partnership, which is led by Montana State University and funded by DOE and a consortium of industrial partners. It is one of seven regional partnerships throughout the United States aimed at finding safe and economical ways to permanently store the nation's greenhouse gas emissions.

Tar-sands Infractions in Canada Get Swept Under the Rug
July 25, 2013 11:59 AM - Kevin Grandia, The Ecologist

A report released yesterday finds that enforcement of environmental infractions by companies in the Alberta oil sands are 17 times lower than similar infractions reported to the United State's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) The report, authored by the environmental nonprofit Global Forest Watch, looked at more than 15 years of data on recorded environmental mishaps by oil sand's companies, tracking the follow-up actions taken and the final verdict on fines.

EV charging stations becoming more common
July 25, 2013 06:12 AM - MOVEFORWARD, Electric Forum

As the race to the mass market continues it seems as though the thoughts of electric vehicle drivers are now turning towards charging stations in their area. If you read the motoring press you will see much focus upon battery journey capacity when in reality there are now more charging stations than ever before, with recharging times now falling dramatically, a 30 minutes recharge while you shop could be all it takes to get you home. It will be interesting to see as and when the EV industry moves on to promote charging stations more aggressively to the wider public. Initially there were concerns about electric vehicle technology, this then switched to battery technology and while it would be wrong to say these two issues have been resolved conclusively there is no doubt that great progress has been made.

Electric Vehicles outpacing hybrids
July 23, 2013 04:36 PM - MOVEFORWARD, Electric Forum

The US Department of Energy has this week released a very interesting graph which shows the early-stage development of the hybrid market compared to the electric plug-in market. Many people have been of the opinion that hybrids offer an interesting steppingstone for the electric vehicle market but if sales forecasts are anything to go by the electric vehicle market is likely to outperform its hybrid counterpart. The graph took into account sales of electric vehicles and hybrids over the first three years of the technology. The start date for hybrids was 2000 and the start date for electric vehicles was 2011 — while some will point at an earlier Tesla Roadster Model made available before 2011 this was not designed for the main market.

Did Earthquake damage Iranian Nuclear Power Plant?
July 22, 2013 04:52 PM - Editor ENN, SciDevNet

Arab Gulf states have raised concerns about the safety of an Iranian nuclear power station built in an earthquake-prone coastal area. The concerns about the Bushehr plant, which officially opened in 2011, were raised during a meeting of the 35-nation board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, Austria, last month (3-7 June). The reactor lies on the north-east coast of the Arabian Gulf. Any leak of radioactive material could therefore affect coastal regions of Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman's Musandam Peninsula.

World Population Growing Fast & Unevenly
July 20, 2013 07:40 AM - Population Matters from International Business Times

It's no secret that the world's population growth is heavily skewed by region — so much so that the changes expected for the next century will radically change the world as we know it. But according to projections recently revised by the United Nations Population Program, those changes will come even faster than we thought. The UN has dispensed with the old estimate that Africa's population will triple within 90 years — instead, it could very well quadruple.

Volta River and Climate Change
July 19, 2013 11:44 AM - Editor ENN

A new study released today finds that so much water may be lost in the Volta River Basin due to climate change that planned hydroelectric projects to boost energy and food production may only tread water in keeping up with actual demand. Some 24 million people in Ghana, Burkina Faso and four other neighboring countries depend on the Volta River and its tributaries as their principal source of water. Specifically, the researchers with the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and their partners concluded that the combined effects of higher temperatures and diminished rain could mean that by the year 2100, all of the current and planned hydroelectric projects in the basin would not even generate as much power as existing facilities do now. Meanwhile, there would only be enough water to meet about a third of irrigation demand.

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