Australian river on fire with fracked coal seam gas
April 23, 2016 03:13 PM - Australian Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham, The Ecologist
So much methane is bubbling into a river surrounded by hundreds of fracking wells that it's a fire hazard! Local campaigners blame the coal seam gas industry for the gas releases which are spreading along Queensland's river Condamine and gaining in intensity.
So much methane gas is now bubbling up through the Condamine River in Queensland, Australia that it exploded with fire and held a large flame.
Gas seeping into the river began shortly after coal seam gas operations started nearby and is growing in volume and the stretch of river affected is expanding in length.
VW agrees to buy back or "fix" 500,000 cars in North America
April 22, 2016 12:23 PM - Jan Lee, Triple Pundit
Volkswagen agreed to fix or buy back some 500,000 vehicles caught up in the crisis. What wasn’t agreed upon is how much the company should pay in fines and compensation to consumers affected by the crisis.
Ocean currents push phytoplankton and pollution faster than thought
April 20, 2016 06:50 AM - Princeton University
The billions of single-celled marine organisms known as phytoplankton can drift from one region of the world's oceans to almost any other place on the globe in less than a decade, Princeton University researchers have found.
Unfortunately, the same principle can apply to plastic debris, radioactive particles and virtually any other man-made flotsam and jetsam that litter our seas, the researchers found. Pollution can thus become a problem far from where it originated within just a few years.
Microbots Could Play Key Role in Cleaning Up Our Water Systems
April 18, 2016 06:56 AM - Lizabeth Paulat, Care2
What if we could not only clean up the heavy metals in our water systems, but also recycle those metals and reuse them?
A new study from the Institute for Intelligent Systems in Germany and the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia in Spain suggests that, soon, we might be doing just that.
Moths in cities have learned to avoid man-made light
April 13, 2016 11:35 AM - UNIVERSITY OF BASEL via EurekAlert
The globally increasing light pollution has negative effects on organisms and entire ecosystems. The consequences are especially hard on nocturnal insects, since their attraction to artificial light sources generally ends fatal. A new study by Swiss zoologists from the Universities of Basel and Zurich now shows that urban moths have learned to avoid light. The journal Biology Letters has published their results.
Some insects are attracted by light while others shy away from it. Proverbial is the attraction light has on moths. Street lamps and other artificial light sources often become death traps for nocturnal insects such as moths. Either they die through direct burning or through increased exposure to predators. Mortality of urban insects can thus be 40- to 100- fold higher than in rural populations.
Fast food may expose consumers to phthalates
April 13, 2016 07:16 AM - George Washington University via EurekAlert!
People who reported consuming more fast food in a national survey were exposed to higher levels of potentially harmful chemicals known as phthalates, according to a study published today by researchers at Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH) at the George Washington University. The study, one of the first to look at fast-food consumption and exposure to these chemicals, appears in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
The Paris climate accord looks promising
April 12, 2016 08:04 PM - Robert N. Stavins, Director, Harvard Environmental Economics Program
The climate talks that concluded last December were a great success, but it will be decades before we can judge whether the Paris Agreement itself is ultimately successful. What can be said is that the accord provides a good foundation for meaningful progress on climate change, and represents a dramatic departure from the past 20 years of climate negotiations.
I have long viewed the dichotomous distinction between Annex I and non–Annex I countries in the Kyoto Protocol as the major stumbling block to progress. The protocol included mandatory emissions-reduction obligations for developed countries, but none for developing countries. That made progress impossible, because significant growth in emissions since the protocol came into force in 2005 has been entirely in the large developing countries — China, India, Brazil, South Korea, South Africa, Mexico, and Indonesia.
Reducing food waste could help mitigate climate change
April 11, 2016 07:33 AM - Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
About a tenth of overall global greenhouse-gas emissions from agriculture could be traced back to food waste by mid-century, a new study shows. A team from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research for the first time provides comprehensive food loss projections for countries around the world while also calculating the associated emissions. Currently, one third of global food production never finds its way onto our plates. This share will increase drastically, if emerging countries like China and India adopt Western nutrition lifestyles, the analyses shows. Reducing food waste would offer the chance to ensure food security, which is well known. Yet at the same time it could help mitigate dangerous climate change.
Using moss as a bioindicator of air pollution
April 8, 2016 07:16 AM - USDA Forest Service via EurekAlert!
Moss growing on urban trees is a useful bio-indicator of cadmium air pollution in Portland, Oregon, a U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station-led study has found. The work--the first to use moss to generate a rigorous and detailed map of air pollution in a U.S. city--is published online in the journal Science of the Total Environment.
Illegal gold mining in Brazil exposing indigenous peoples to high levels of mercury
April 5, 2016 11:52 AM - Sarina Kidd / Survival International, The Ecologist
Illegal gold mining in the Amazon has a devastating effect on indigenous peoples, writes Sarina Kidd. First the miners bring disease, deforestation and even murder. Then long after they have gone, communities are left to suffer deadly mercury poisoning. Now the UN has been called on to intervene.
In Brazil, new statistics reveal alarming rates of mercury poisoning amongst the Yanomami and Yekuana. 90% of Indians in one community are severely affected, with levels far above that recommended by the WHO.
Mercury poisoning is devastating tribal peoples across Amazonia, Survival International has warned.