Environmental Policy

Israel's Secret Project: Super-Battery To Reduce World's Oil Thirst
June 12, 2012 03:57 PM - Alexandra Mann, NoCamels

Quietly and with little media coverage, it seems that Israel has made it its national goal to develop a battery that can provide enough power for a 500 kilometer-drive with a single charge.

Global Warming over last 50 yrs caused primarily by human activity
June 12, 2012 07:11 AM - ScienceDaily

The oceans have warmed in the past 50 years, but not by natural events alone. New research by a team of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists and international collaborators shows that the observed ocean warming over the last 50 years is consistent with climate models only if the models include the impacts of observed increases in greenhouse gas during the 20th century. Though the new research is not the first study to identify a human influence on observed ocean warming, it is the first to provide an in-depth examination of how observational and modeling uncertainties impact the conclusion that humans are primarily responsible.

Increase in Groundwater Use and Sea-Level Rise
June 10, 2012 09:04 AM - Richard Lovett for National Geogrpahic

As aquifers are pumped out around the world, the water ultimately makes it to the oceans. Groundwater depletion will soon be as important a factor in contributing to sea-level rise as the melting of glaciers other than those in Greenland and Antarctica, scientists say. That's because water pumped out of the ground for irrigation, industrial uses, and even drinking must go somewhere after it's used—and, whether it runs directly into streams and rivers or evaporates and falls elsewhere as rain, one likely place for it to end up is the ocean. To find out how much of an effect this has on sea level, a team of Dutch scientists led by hydrologist Yoshihide Wada, a Ph.D. researcher at Utrecht University, divided the Earth's land surface into 31-by-31-mile (50-by-50 kilometer) squares on a grid to calculate present and future groundwater usage.

Open Ocean protection and Rio+20
June 9, 2012 08:37 AM - Prime Sarmiento, SciDevNet

Promises made at previous summits have not delivered enough protection for the oceans — campaigners are pushing for better results from Rio+20, writes Prime Sarmiento. This month, scientists, campaigners and many developing nations are optimistic they will set in motion a deal on the conservation of the high seas at Rio+20 (UN Conference on Sustainable Development) in Brazil. They argue that the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), agreed 30 years ago, does not address the welfare of the vast areas of ocean that are 'beyond national jurisdiction'.

Biofuels Viability
June 8, 2012 12:21 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

What is green? What is a viable economic alternative? What is reasonable and will do more bad than good? Welcome to Biofuels. Two scientists are challenging the currently accepted norms of biofuel production. A commentary published today in GCB Bioenergy reveals that calculations of greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions from bioenergy production are neglecting crucial information that has led to the overestimation of the benefits of biofuels compared to fossil fuels.

US bucks global trend of closing down nuclear power stations
June 8, 2012 10:31 AM - ClickGreen staff, ClickGreen

Official figures show Europe expects to decommission almost 150 of its nuclear power plants by 2030, while the US has granted life extensions to 71 and chosen to close only five, according to a report by energy experts GlobalData. The new report shows that the figure for Europe accounts for nearly 69% of the total global number of expected nuclear power reactor closures by 2030, the largest amount for any region. Barring any changes, the European commercial nuclear decommissioning market value stands at $81,484m.

African nations agree to put a price on nature

Ten African nations have pledged, ahead of Rio+20, to include the economic value of natural resources in their national accounts. Africa has taken the lead in the quest to persuade nations to include the full economic value of their natural resources in their national accounts, with the promise last month by ten of its nations to do so.

Atrazine to be Banned? Frogs will be happy!
June 8, 2012 07:40 AM - Rhett Butler, MONGABAY.COM

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will weigh a ban on Atrazine, a widely used herbicide linked to sex reversal and other reproductive problems in amphibians and fish. The chemical, which is manufactured by Syngenta, has been banned in the European Union since 2004 but some 80 million pounds Atrazine are applied to corn, sugarcane, sorghum and rice in the United States each year. Environmentalists say the effects of Atrazine on wildlife make its use unacceptable and are pushing the EPA to ban the chemical. The agency will be holding a Scientific Advisory Panel public meeting June 12th to discuss the ecological risks of Atrazine. Save The Frogs, a group that works to protect amphibians, welcomed the move.

World's biggest cities are tapping into the green economy benefits
June 7, 2012 09:33 AM - ClickGreen staff, ClickGreen

Cities around the world have identified the economic benefits from tackling the effects of climate change, according to a new report released today by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). The CDP study found 82% of cities are tapping into the potential for growth as a result of climate change adaptation and more than half of cities are looking to create green jobs and new business initiatives.

Sustainable Packaging goes upscale
June 7, 2012 08:03 AM - Akhila Vijayaraghavan, Triple Pundit

Packaging has always been a bone of contention for cosmetic companies. With sustainability standards increasing, most companies are wanting to use more sustainable packaging material. Major companies like Chanel, Coty, Avon, L'Oreal Group, Mast Global and Estee Lauder are now inaugural members of an initiative created by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers’ Institute for Sustainability that aims to find ways to work with suppliers, retailers and customers to advance sustainable packaging. The Environmental Leader reports that the Sustainable Packaging Roundtable, which kicked off last month, will focus on how to drive and measure progress in sustainability. Cosmetic companies are becoming more aware of sustainable packaging and are incorporating this into their CSR initiatives. Companies that are involved in the roundtable agree that packaging should reflect design, reuse and recovery rather than the traditional reduce and recycle approach.

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