Improvements in Air Quality add Years to Life Expectancy in US
December 8, 2012 09:05 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN
Are all the environmental laws and regulations accomplishing anything? Sometimes progress is not apparent, so it is good news that a new study led by researchers at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) has found an association between reductions in fine particulate matter and improved life expectancy in 545 counties in the U.S. from 2000 to 2007. It is the largest study to date to find beneficial effects to public health of continuing to reduce air pollution levels in the U.S. The study appears in the December 3, 2012 online edition of the journal Epidemiology. "Despite the fact that the U.S. population as a whole is exposed to much lower levels of air pollution than 30 years ago—because of great strides made to reduce people’s exposure—it appears that further reductions in air pollution levels would continue to benefit public health," said lead author Andrew Correia, a PhD candidate in the Department of Biostatistics at HSPH".
Climate Change Update: Reports Show Growing Risks
December 7, 2012 06:34 AM - Daniela Hirschfeld, SciDevNet
As the UN climate change talks continue in Doha, Qatar, several reports over the past month have highlighted a sombre picture of the Earth's changing climate, raising alarm bells in particular for the world's poorest regions. A report from the World Bank launched last month (18 November) warns that the planet "is on track for a four degrees Celsius warmer world" by 2100, marked by extreme heat waves, declining food stocks, loss of biodiversity and life-threatening sea level rise. This is double the generally accepted two degrees Celsius threshold beyond which catastrophic climate change impacts are expected.
Doha Climate talks: Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation
December 5, 2012 06:31 AM - Tiffany Stecker, E&E reporter, via WWF
Developing and developed countries reached a stalemate over how to verify carbon emissions from forests in Saturday's talks on reducing carbon emissions from deforestation at the annual U.N. climate conference in Doha, Qatar. Represented by Brazil and Norway, respectively, poor and wealthy nations were unable to agree on how high to set the standard to verify emissions reductions at the 37th meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), the group that dispenses scientific advice to the delegates to the conference.
Magnetic Fields from Antarctic research stations a potential problem
December 4, 2012 06:23 AM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen
Antarctic research stations could be adversely affecting the local environment by emitting magnetic pollution, a new study has found. A new aerial survey is the first to research and assess the possible impact of a research station in Antarctica on magnetic fields. Estimations indicated that the station generated a magnetic field that extends up to 650 metres from the station with a peak strength of 2800 nanotesla (nT) within 100 metres from the station on the ground. This may have implications for organisms in Antarctica that are negatively affected by magnetic fields but the report's authors say further research is needed to investigate this.
Planning for Climate Change
December 3, 2012 06:04 AM - TIM FAULKNER/ecoRI News staff
The Metcalf Institute at the University of Rhode Island recently held the second in series of seminars on climate change. Here are a few noteworthy points that were offered Nov. 30 by 15 scientists, engineers, planners and other experts: Snowpack in the Northeast has decreased its annual volume by 11 percent since 1900. Sea level is projected to rise between 2.5 and 6 feet by 2100. "If you want to see what 5 feet of sea level rise will look like, you look at Hurricane Sandy," said Bryan Oakley, a URI researcher and professor of earth sciences at Eastern Connecticut State University.
Electronic Waste - the Asia-Pacific Problem
December 1, 2012 08:48 AM - Crispin Maslog, SciDevNet
Instead of limiting imports of electronic waste, the Asia—Pacific region should set up a robust recycling system, says Crispin Maslog. Garbage in, garbage out is a phrase to describe what happens when computers find the wrong solution in response to the wrong input data. But when computers and other electronic products have outlived their usefulness, they literally do become rubbish and join an ever-growing mass of e-waste or e-scrap. Up to 50 million tonnes of this waste is generated worldwide every year. The biggest exporters of e-waste are Europe, Japan and the US. And much of it is being dumped on developing nations.
Kenya Bans Imports of GM Food
November 30, 2012 06:33 AM - Otieno Owino, SciDevNet
Scientists fear that Kenya's recent banning of the import of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) may be a significant blow to progress on biotechnology research and development in the country. A cabinet meeting chaired by Kenya's president, Mwai Kibaki, this month (8 November), directed the public health minister to ban GMO imports until the country is able to certify that they have no negative impact on people's health. In a statement to the press, the cabinet said there was a "lack of sufficient information on the public health impact of such foods".
Study reveals extent of Mekong dam food security threat
November 29, 2012 03:38 PM - Prime Sarmiento, SciDevNet
The planned construction of hydropowered dams on the Mekong River in South-East Asia could jeopardise livelihoods, water access and food security for 60 million people, across Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, according to a study. The study reports that dams will block fish migration routes and decimate fish supplies in the lower Mekong region.
Meet your Meat
November 29, 2012 08:06 AM - Emily Borland, Guest Contributor
Six weeks ago, I chopped the head off of a live chicken. Then I plucked, cleaned, and cooked it. All in the name of animal ethics. After almost a full semester in Animals and Ethics class, I said enough to antibiotic-filled poultry. I decided to take my food choices into my own hands”¦literally. So I attended a Meet your Meat workshop at the Duke Campus Farm in Hillsborough, NC. At the farm, I learned how to "kill, de-feather, and process a live chicken in a humane and efficient manner."
Administration says no to EU Carbon Tax on Airline Flights to Europe
November 28, 2012 06:18 AM - AirWise
President Barack Obama signed a bill on Tuesday shielding US airlines from paying for the carbon their planes flying into and out of Europe emit, despite a recent move by Europe to suspend its proposed measure for one year. The carbon fee bill was the first piece of legislation debated on the House floor after Congress returned from recess on November 13, and had been cleared by the Senate in September in a rare unanimous vote. It directs the US transportation secretary to shield US airlines from Europe's carbon emissions trading scheme (ETS) if he or she deems it necessary.