Sci/tech

Will Current Organic Standards Save us from GMO Contamination?
January 14, 2008 09:34 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

Widespread development and use of organic standards began in the 1980's to safeguard and systematize an alternative way (organic) of agriculture and handling food. Among a detailed list of prohibited substances in organic systems are chemical pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and fertilizers. Because the organic system recognized from the start that it would likely remain a small component of agriculture, and that contamination would inevitably happen through background pollution such as polluted water, air and drift, it proposed a system based on a "practice standard," rather than on measuring the purity of an end product.

Antarctic ice loss increasing steadily
January 14, 2008 09:29 AM - University of Bristol

Increasing amounts of ice mass have been lost from West Antarctica and the Antarctic peninsula over the past ten years, according to research from the University of Bristol and published online this week in Nature Geoscience. Meanwhile the ice mass in East Antarctica has been roughly stable, with neither loss nor accumulation over the past decade.

Abu Dhabi unveil plans for sustainable city
January 14, 2008 09:24 AM - WWF

WWF and the government of Abu Dhabi today launched a Sustainability Strategy to deliver the world’s greenest city. Masdar City will be the world’s first zero-carbon, zero-waste, car-free city, meeting or exceeding a set of stringent sustainability goals established under the “One Planet Living┢” programme established by WWF and environmental consultancy BioRegional.

UK biofuels push lacks greenhouse targets
January 14, 2008 07:07 AM - Reuters

A government directive requiring fuel suppliers to use more biofuels will do little to combat climate change because the measure lacks targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, British scientists said on Monday. In a report focusing on the British directive set to take effect in April 2008, the Royal Society said biofuels should play an important role in cutting greenhouse gas emissions linked to global warming.

Biotech companies race for drought-tolerant crops
January 14, 2008 05:21 AM - Reuters

Outside the headquarters of Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc, the pavement is iced over and workers arriving for the day are bundled up against the cold. But inside a laboratory, a warm, man-made drought is in force, curling the leaves of rows of fledgling corn plants as million-dollar machines and scientists in white coats monitor their distress.

Next-generation biofuels edge to center
January 12, 2008 09:43 AM - Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The quest by executives and venture capitalists to build a next-generation biofuels industry has made strides this year as oil reached $100 a barrel and the world's largest energy consumer laid down ambitious new mandates for alternative fuels.

WMO to seek satellites to monitor climate change
January 11, 2008 01:11 PM - Reuters

GENEVA (Reuters) - The United Nations' weather agency will ask NASA and other space agencies next week to make their next generation of satellites available to monitor climate change, a senior official at the U.N. body said on Friday. The aim is to ensure that satellites launched over the next 20 years constantly record parameters such as sea levels and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said.

Be wary of biotech lettuce experiments
January 11, 2008 09:50 AM - GM Watch.org

The Salinas Californian recently reported on a talk by Professor Henry Daniell, who was here to promote cultivation of drug-producing lettuce. The biotechnology industry has long hoped to use plants, including common food crops, to produce high-profit new drugs. It is worth noting that Daniell is not only an academic; he is also the founder of Chlorogen, Inc., a company that hopes to profit from these so-called 'pharm' crops.

Innovations Help Economy, May Save the Planet
January 11, 2008 09:18 AM - Alana Herro, Worldwatch Institute

California’s ambitious energy conservation legislation has created an unusual challenge for the state’s utility companies: to get customers to consume less of their product. Laws that reward utilities for meeting energy reduction targets and punish them for missing the goals have led to unusual business tactics. “It’s a strange business,” Roland Risser, the head of customer energy efficiency for Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), told the Wall Street Journal. “You have to do gymnastics to get things moving forward.”

Ocean Fertilization 'Fix' For Global Warming Discredited By New Research

Research performed at Stanford and Oregon State Universities suggests that ocean fertilization may not be an effective method of reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, a major contributor to global warming. Ocean fertilization, the process of adding iron or other nutrients to the ocean to cause large algal blooms, has been proposed as a possible solution to global warming because the growing algae absorb carbon dioxide as they grow.

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