Pollution

Energy from sunlight: Further steps towards artificial photosynthesis
June 24, 2016 01:43 PM - University of Basel via EurekAlert!

Chemists from the Universities of Basel and Zurich in Switzerland have come one step closer to generating energy from sunlight: for the first time, they were able to reproduce one of the crucial phases of natural photosynthesis with artificial molecules. Their results have been published by the journal Angewandte Chemie (international edition).

Green plants are able to temporarily store electric charges after the absorption of sunlight by using a so-called molecular charge accumulator. The two research teams were able to observe this process in artificial molecules that they created specifically for this experiment.

Using Only Renewable Energy, Portugal Powered Its Entire Country for Four Days
June 21, 2016 05:50 PM - Susan Bird, Care2

Portugal just did something pretty amazing. In fact, it’s historic — something no other nation has ever done. Portugal just powered its entire country’s electricity needs for four consecutive days using nothing but renewable energy.

Using a combination of solar panels, wind turbines, biofuels, geothermal heat and hydroelectric power, Portugal powered everything requiring electricity for 107 hours between Saturday morning, May 7, 2016, and Wednesday evening, May 11, 2016. The country’s ZERO System Sustainable Land Association, in collaboration with the Portuguese Renewable Energy Association, released information about this impressive achievement on its website.

Chemists find new way to recycle plastic waste into fuel
June 21, 2016 05:00 PM - University of California – Irvine via EurekAlert!

A new way of recycling millions of tons of plastic garbage into liquid fuel has been devised by researchers from the University of California, Irvine and the Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry (SIOC) in China.

"Synthetic plastics are a fundamental part of modern life, but our use of them in large volume has created serious environmental problems," said UCI chemist Zhibin Guan. "Our goal through this research was to address the issue of plastic pollution as well as achieving a beneficial outcome of creating a new source of liquid fuel."

Carbon dioxide hits record highs in Southern hemisphere
June 21, 2016 01:30 PM - CNRS via ScienceDaily

Last month, the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) as measured at Amsterdam Island, in the southern Indian Ocean, for the first time exceeded the symbolic value of 400 ppm, or 0.04%. The CO2 concentrations recorded at the Amsterdam Island research station are the lowest in the world (excluding seasonal cycles), due to the island's remoteness from anthropogenic sources. The 400 ppm threshold was already crossed in the Northern hemisphere during the 2012/2013 winter. In addition, the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere is speeding up, growing by more than 2 ppm annually over the past four years. The data has been collected for the past 35 years at the Amsterdam Island research station by the French national observation service ICOS-France at the Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement (LSCE, CNRS / CEA / UVSQ), with the support of the Institut Polaire Français Paul-Emile Victor (IPEV).

Judge rules: no right to know hazardous pesticide ingredients
June 16, 2016 07:45 AM - Oliver Tickell, The Ecologist

A federal judge has ruled that the US Environmental Protection Agency is under no obligation to force pesticide makers to disclose supposedly 'inert' ingredients in their products - even where those ingredients are seriously hazardous to health or environment.

A Plan to Mute Ocean Noise for Marine Life
June 15, 2016 06:37 AM - Laura Goldman, Care2

Imagine trying to relax in your home while being bombarded with the explosive sounds of shotgun blasts as well as freight trains rumbling by. For many whales, dolphins and other marine life that depend on their hearing to survive, there is no way to escape the loud, human-made noises in their ocean home. The main culprits are vessels like cargo ships, along with sonar guns used by the U.S. Navy and air guns used in seismic oil and gas exploration. Their blasts are so loud that they are known to change the behavior of blue whales. But now, in what Michael Jasny, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Marine Mammal Protection Project, Land & Wildlife Program, referred to as “a sea change in the way we manage ocean noise off our shores,” NOAA has announced it plans to take action to reduce the noise in entire marine ecosystems.

California 'street tree' benefits valued at $1 billion
June 14, 2016 04:21 PM - USDA Forest Service - Pacific Southwest Research Station Via EurekAlert!

Streets lined with gold? Not exactly, but a new report from the U.S. Forest Service's Pacific Southwest Research Station estimates trees lining Californian streets and boulevards provide benefits to municipalities and residents worth $1 billion.

California 'street tree' benefits valued at $1 billion
June 14, 2016 04:21 PM - USDA Forest Service - Pacific Southwest Research Station Via EurekAlert!

Streets lined with gold? Not exactly, but a new report from the U.S. Forest Service's Pacific Southwest Research Station estimates trees lining Californian streets and boulevards provide benefits to municipalities and residents worth $1 billion.

Gas Stations Close as Fire Rages Near Alberta Oil Sands
June 14, 2016 10:34 AM - Jan Lee , Triple Pundit

The wildfire that roared through Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, last May has been called the worst fire in Canadian history. Its devastation is staggering: More than 100,000 residents and nearby workers were evacuated at different stages of the fire, and more than 2,200 square miles of land and 2,400 structures burned in two provinces: Alberta and its eastern neighbor, Saskatchewan. With the fire only 70 percent contained to date, its economic impact is yet to be tallied.

Gas Stations Close as Fire Rages Near Alberta Oil Sands
June 14, 2016 10:34 AM - Jan Lee , Triple Pundit

The wildfire that roared through Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, last May has been called the worst fire in Canadian history. Its devastation is staggering: More than 100,000 residents and nearby workers were evacuated at different stages of the fire, and more than 2,200 square miles of land and 2,400 structures burned in two provinces: Alberta and its eastern neighbor, Saskatchewan. With the fire only 70 percent contained to date, its economic impact is yet to be tallied.

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