Environmental Policy

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.

A sooner Spring and a later Autumn suggests the new normal
March 28, 2014 10:36 AM - University of Southampton newsroom

A study by the University of Southampton suggests that on average the end of Autumn is taking place later in the year and Spring is starting slightly earlier. A team of researchers examined satellite imagery covering the northern hemisphere over a 25-year period (1982 - 2006), and looked for any seasonal changes in vegetation by making a measure of its 'greenness'. They examined in detail, at daily intervals, the growth cycle of the vegetation – identifying physical changes such as leaf cover, color and growth.

Horses threaten panda population
March 26, 2014 07:27 AM - Editor, ENN

Pandas rely upon a specific diet and habitat. They typically live far away from human populations on gently sloping hillsides. Their diet is made up of exclusively bamboo. China invests billions to protect its panda habitat and conserve the 1,600 remaining endangered supported by this habitat. China has instituted many conservation programs limiting the timber harvesting that had greatly threatened this habitat. But now it seems that with the timber harvesters are under control the bamboo is still being devastated before the pandas can get it.

Air pollution, now the world’s single largest environmental risk
March 25, 2014 03:19 PM - ENN Editor

The World Health Organization today released mortality data from 2012 estimating that around 7 million people (one person in eight) died globally that year as a result of air pollution exposure. This finding more than doubles previous estimates and confirms that air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk.

COLLEGIATE CORNER: Humanity of factory farming
March 25, 2014 02:01 PM - Jake Bucks, Class of 2015, Wakefield High School

Most omnivores like bacon, but I say omnivores because not every human is an omnivore. Have you ever thought to yourself what was the process this bacon went through? Well if you have, it was not a fun process for that pig. Farming has helped humans advance in size, without the farming innovations created through the industrial revolution, humans would have never had the resources to make such a huge population.

EPA and Army Corps bring clarity to Clean Water Act Expansion proposal
March 25, 2014 01:38 PM - ENN Staff

In a joint document the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers released a proposed rule to clarify protections provided by the Clean Water Act. Following Supreme Court decisions in 2001 and 2006, there has been much confusion about definitions within the Act and applicability. The proposed clarifications will enhance understanding for industry, agriculture, local government officials and the public as it relates to protection of streams and wetlands that form the foundation of the nation's water resources.

Future cost of water is no small change
March 25, 2014 12:22 PM - Dr. Lynn A. Wilson, Kaplan University

Water scarcity was, until recently, considered by most of the developed world to be like James Hilton's Lost Horizon: "far away, at the very limit of distance." However, the convergence of aquifer depletion from increasing agricultural, industrial and municipal water use with more frequent and intense extreme weather events creates an urgency to develop new, reliable sources of fresh water to "drought-proof" communities through a combination of desalinization technologies, water recovery and reuse programs and PPP (public private partnerships). The race is on to provide fresh water to satisfy ever-increasing human demands. In order to make responsible decisions, changing conditions require rethinking water policy and distribution.

World’s river systems: Stressed OUT
March 24, 2014 02:16 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

According to the World Resources Institute (WRI) many, if not most of the world’s rivers are stressed. Determining a systems water stress is based upon measuring the ratio of total water withdrawals to the available renewable supplies within the catchment area. Rivers are an indispensible resource for our communities and ecosystems and we are hugely dependent upon them for agriculture, industry and our natural systems. A stressed river system can severely threaten regional water security and economic growth, and potentially contribute to political instability—especially in the absence of an adequate water-management plan.

Chernobyl: thirty years hence...
March 24, 2014 09:26 AM - Rachel Nuwer/Smithsonian, Ecologist

It's not just people, animals and trees that suffer from radiation at Chernobyl, writes Rachel Nuwer, but also decomposer fungi and microbes. And with the buildup of dead wood comes the risk of catastrophic fire - which could spread radiation far and wide. Nearly 30 years have passed since the Chernobyl plant exploded and caused an unprecedented nuclear disaster. The effects of that catastrophe, however, are still felt today.

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