Environmental Policy

Arctic sea ice melting one warm river at a time
March 7, 2014 09:32 AM - Maria-Jose Vinas, NASA Earth Science News Team

A new NASA study finds that warmer than normal waters from rivers draining into the Arctic Ocean each summer are eating away at the sea ice in the Arctic Ocean. Led by Son Nghiem of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., the research team used satellite data to measure the surface temperature of the waters discharging from Canada's McKenzie River into the Beaufort Sea during the summer of 2012 and noticed surface waters being warmed suddenly due to the sudden influx of warm river water This warmed the surface layers of the ocean, which in turn increased the melting of sea ice.

DOE Sets New Commercial Refrigeration Energy Efficiency Standards
March 7, 2014 08:01 AM - Andrew Burger, Triple Pundit

Following through on President Barack Obama's Climate Action Plan, the Department of Energy (DOE) on Feb. 28 issued new energy efficiency standards for commercial refrigeration equipment. Over the ensuing 30 years, it's projected that the new standards will reduce carbon pollution by 142 million tons — the equivalent of that produced by generating electricity for 14.3 million U.S. homes — while also saving businesses as much as $11.7 billion on energy bills.

How much water do YOU use each day?
March 6, 2014 09:22 AM - Indiana University Newsroom, Indiana University Bloomington

Many Americans are confused about the best ways to conserve water and have a slippery grasp on how much water different activities use, according to a national online survey conducted by Indiana University Assistant Professor, Shahzeen Attari. Experts say the best strategy for conserving water is to focus on efficiency improvements such as replacing toilets and retrofitting washing machines. However, the largest group of the participants, nearly 43 percent, cited taking shorter showers, which does save water but may not be the most effective action. Very few participants cited replacing toilets or flushing less, even though toilets use the most volume of water daily.

Clean Water Act protects Bristol Bay
March 5, 2014 10:03 AM - Jessie Thomas-Blake, American Rivers

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced last week that it is initiating a process under the Clean Water Act (CWA) to identify appropriate options to protect the world's largest sockeye salmon fishery in Bristol Bay, Alaska, from the potentially destructive impacts of the proposed Pebble Mine!

Good news for Nepal's wildlife after another year of no poaching
March 5, 2014 08:05 AM - Hannah Mulvany, ARKive.org

After Nepal making a commitment to protect the future of its magnificent and highly endangered species, it has once again succeeded and between February 2013 and February 2014, no rhino, tigers or elephants were poached in the country. Nepal has a history of success in the prevention of poaching, and another poaching-free year occurred in 2011.

EPA Sets Cleaner Fuel and Car Standards
March 4, 2014 09:20 AM - ENN Staff

Yesterday the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized emission standards for cars and gasoline that will significantly reduce harmful pollution and in turn prevent thousands of premature deaths and illnesses related to respiratory ailments. Based on extensive input from the public and a broad range of stakeholders, including public health groups, auto manufacturers, refiners, and states, the standards will also enable efficiency improvements in the cars and trucks we drive.

COLLEGIATE CORNER: The faults of fracking
March 3, 2014 11:41 AM - Reid Short, Class of 2015, Wakefield High School, Arlington, VA

Hydraulic Fracturing is a process that sends pressurized liquid down to a target depth to fracture rock and draws out liquids, such as natural gas. This process is used to retrieve the gas from rock formations beneath the earth that were previously thought to be unsuitable for gas production (Helman) (Rao). Fracking is now being implemented all over the world. Many countries have turned to this method of extracting gas to lower fuel costs and balance their trade deficits, but these countries, including the United States, are allowing fracking to cause major damage to the environment. The water pollution, and air pollution that are caused by fracking, and the law exemptions it has, are inexcusable because of the damage and danger they cause to the environment.

Doubling the flood loss projections in Europe
March 3, 2014 10:36 AM - ENN Staff

As development and climate change continue, losses from extreme floods throughout the world skyrocket. Researchers from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), in Austria have projected that the losses in Europe could more than double by 2050. In the new study which is published in the journal Nature Climate Change, they contend that understanding the risk posed by large-scale floods is of growing importance and will be key for managing climate adaptation.

The dangers of chemicals used in food packaging
March 2, 2014 08:32 AM - Jo Adetunji, The Ecologist

The long-term effects of synthetic chemicals used in packaging, food storage and processing food could be damaging our health, scientists have warned. Jo Adetunji reports. We actually know very little about how chemicals affect bodily functions or promote disease, or at what life stage we are susceptible. In a paper published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, the authors said most of these potentially damaging chemicals were found in "food contact materials". These include the coatings on the inside of cans, laminates on cartons, and glass jar seals.

Is Global Warming responsible for weather extremes?
March 1, 2014 07:59 AM - Fred Pearce, Yale Environment360

Scientists are trying to understand if the unusual weather in the Northern Hemisphere this winter — from record heat in Alaska to unprecedented flooding in Britain — is linked to climate change. One thing seems clear: Shifts in the jet stream play a key role and could become even more disruptive as the world warms. This winter’s weather has been weird across much of the Northern Hemisphere. Record storms in Europe; record drought in California; record heat in parts of the Arctic, including Alaska and parts of Scandinavia; but record freezes too, as polar air blew south over Canada and the U.S., causing near-record ice cover on the Great Lakes, sending the mercury as low as minus 50 degrees Celsius in Minnesota, and bringing sharp chills to Texas.

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