Polar Bears may need to be fed by humans
February 13, 2013 06:38 AM - ed struzik, Yale Environment360
In a paper released this week, the world’s leading polar bear scientists say the time has come to consider drastic measures to save these iconic animals, including supplemental feeding by humans during ice-free periods and relocating more southerly populations to the High Arctic. The day may soon come when some of the 19 polar bear populations in Canada, Alaska, Greenland, Norway, and Russia will have to be fed by humans in order to keep them alive during an extended ice-free season or prevent them from roaming into northern communities. Some bears may have to be placed in temporary holding compounds until it is cold enough for them to go back onto the sea ice. In worst-case scenarios, polar bears from southern regions may have to be relocated to more northerly climes that have sufficient sea ice cover.
Converting Less Rainforest into Toilet Paper
February 8, 2013 11:29 AM - Robert Engelman, Worldwatch Institute
Score one for the strategy of pressuring corporations to act now for environmental sustainability. Whereas governments often meet, greet, and retreat on big issues like deforestation, environmentalists have convinced a major Asian pulp company to stop scalping the rainforests of Indonesia to produce paper and packaging.
In Tapping REI Chief for Interior Secretary, Obama Sends Latest Signal on Climate Agenda
February 7, 2013 08:52 AM - Harry Stevens, Triple Pundit
On Wednesday, President Barack Obama nominated REI CEO Sally Jewell to be the next Secretary of the Interior. Jewell, who took over REI in 2005, has a record both as a successful businesswoman and a longtime conservation advocate. REI, which was founded in 1938, grew rapidly under Jewell's tenure, and the company today operates over 100 stores in around 30 states.
Sri Lanka to give poached ivory to Buddhist temple, flouting international agreements
February 6, 2013 09:18 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
The Sri Lankan government is planning to give 359 elephant tusks to a Buddhist temple, a move that critics say is flouting the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The illegal tusks were seized in Sri Lanka last May en route to Dubai from Kenya; they are believed to stem from hundreds of butchered elephants, including juveniles, inside Africa, possibly Uganda. The decision comes after a high-profile National Geographic article, Ivory Worship, outlined how demand for ivory religious handicrafts, particularly by Catholics and Buddhists, is worsening the current poaching crisis.
New Research Questions Invasive Bird Introduction to Manage Tick Populations in Turkey
February 5, 2013 05:30 AM - Thomas Handley, MONGABAY.COM
As Turkey raises and releases thousands of non-native helmeted guineafowl (Numida meleagris) to eat ticks that carry the deadly Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus, new research suggests guineafowl actually eat few ticks, carry the parasites on their feathers, and further spread the disease.
Planting Trees Helps Fight Climate Change, but mainly locally
February 2, 2013 07:48 AM - Science Daily
Afforestation, planting trees in an area where there have previously been no trees, can reduce the effect of climate change by cooling temperate regions, finds a study in BioMed Central's open access journal Carbon Balance and Management. Afforestation would lead to cooler and wetter summers by the end of this century. Without check climate change is projected to lead to summer droughts and winter floods across Europe. Using REMO, the regional climate model of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, researchers tested what would happen to climate change in 100 years if land currently covered in non-forest vegetation was converted into deciduous forest. This equates to more than a doubling of forest in Poland, Czech Republic, Denmark, Northern Ukraine, Northern Germany and France. But in already heavily forested countries such as Sweden the increase is smaller, at less than 10%.
Chevron Moving Forward on Permits for Shale Gas Projects in Romania
February 1, 2013 05:55 AM - Business Review Romnania
The county council in Vaslui County, Romania awarded last December Chevron the right to drill an exploratory well for shale gas in a locality within the Barlad concession that covers some 600,000 hectares in North East Romania. Chevron will drill its first exploratory well in the Paltinis village, within the Bacesti locality in rural Vaslui. People in this region took to the streets three times last year to protest the exploitation of shale gas through franking. Dumitru Buzatu, president of the Vaslui county council, said that Chevron's permitting is legal.
'Biotic Pump' Theory Suggests Forests Drive Wind and Rain
January 31, 2013 08:58 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
It took over two-and-a-half-years for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics to finally accept a paper outlining a new meteorological hypothesis in which condensation, not temperature, drives winds. If proven correct, the hypothesis could have massive ramifications on global policy—not to mention meteorology—as essentially the hypothesis means that the world's forest play a major role in driving precipitation from the coast into a continent's interior. The theory, known as the biotic pump, was first developed in 2006 by two Russian scientists, Victor Gorshkov and Anastassia Makarieva of the St. Petersburg Nuclear Physics, but the two have faced major pushback and delays in their attempt to put the theory before the greater scientific community.
Carbon Capture Technologies that Could Help Fight Climate Change
January 30, 2013 01:46 PM - Richard Schiffman
Evolving technology could make cleaning the air more profitable than fouling it, says Columbia Univ economist In the wake of the hottest and driest summer in memory throughout much of North America, and Super-storm Sandy that flooded cities and ravaged large swaths of the Mid-Atlantic coast, many now recognize that the climate change isn’t just real, but that it is already at our doorstep. As this realization continues to sink in, the political will may ripen to take more aggressive action to put a brake CO2 emissions. Already, President Obama, who had remained mostly silent on the issue during his reelection campaign, has made it clear that tackling climate change will be among his top second-term priorities. But the fact remains that even if the entire world switched magically to 100 percent solar and other non-polluting power sources tomorrow, it’s too late to roll back some of the impacts of climate change. The current level of carbon dioxide in the air is already well beyond what scientists regard as the safe threshold. If we remain on our present course, scientists say, CO2 levels will continue to rise — sharply— for years to come.
How Profoundly Cities Affect Temperatures Both Near and Far
January 28, 2013 06:02 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN
It has been known for a long time that cities create warmer temperatures due to heat stored in buildings, roads, and other man-made structures. They also add heat from air conditioners, boilers, and other combustion sources. This is known as the urban "heat island". What has not been known until now, is that cities also raise temperatures in the areas surrounding them, out thousands of miles. A new study shows the extent to which human activities are influencing the atmosphere, both locally, and at distant locations. Scientists have concluded that the heat generated by everyday activities in metropolitan areas alters the character of the jet stream and other major atmospheric systems. This affects temperatures across thousands of miles, significantly warming some areas and cooling others, according to the study this week in Nature Climate Change.