Sci/tech

US EPA Releases Clean Power Plan Proposal
June 2, 2014 01:27 PM - Editor, ENN

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is releasing the Clean Power Plan proposal today. This is the first attempt to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants, the single largest source of carbon pollution in the United States. According to the EPA, power plants account for roughly one-third of all domestic greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. While there are already standards for the level of arsenic, mercury, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particle pollution that power plants can emit, there are currently no national limits on carbon pollution levels.

Antarctica, the Southern Ocean, and Climate Change
June 2, 2014 06:27 AM - British Antarctic Survey

A special issue of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A has been published today (Monday 2 June) which brings together a collection of papers on many of the unresolved issues relating to the Southern Ocean. Professor Michael Meredith from the British Antarctic Survey was a guest editor on the issue; 'The Southern Ocean: new insights into circulation, carbon and climate'. The research includes: Why greenhouse gases and the ozone holes are melting the Arctic sea ice but are having a cooling effect in some parts of Antarctica, and how dust, which provides iron and essential nutrients to the ocean, might have been the cause of increased biological productivity in the southern Atlantic Ocean during the last ice age.

British Airways Turns Garbage into Jet Fuel: Sustainable Solution or Incineration in Disguise?
May 30, 2014 02:03 PM - Alexis Petru, Triple Pundit

Can garbage power your plane ride from New York to London? That’s the idea behind a new production plant that will transform waste from London's homes and businesses into a jet fuel that costs about the same price as conventional petroleum-based fuel but burns cleaner and produces fewer carbon emissions.

How Sharks Could Help Predict Hurricanes
May 29, 2014 08:20 AM - Steve Williams, Care2

Scientists have embarked on a remarkable new project to use shark and large marine predators as biological sensors in the hopes that they could help us predict the formation and course of potentially dangerous hurricanes. Researchers from the University of Miami have tagged a total of 750 marine animals in the past ten years, all to track the temperature and salinity of sea waters at different depths. Earlier this year though, the researchers noticed something special about the data — the tagged marine life gravitated toward water that was about 79 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, which is the temperature at which hurricanes form.

EPA doles out grants to replace old diesel engines on tug boats
May 27, 2014 03:17 PM - Allison Winter, ENN

The shipping industry is one of the most under-regulated industries in the world due to outdated and international regulations that are difficult to enforce on a global scale. And as these ships enter our harbors and ports close to home, their operations have the potential to generate smog-forming emissions and other pollutants that are linked to various health problems in susceptible populations. In an effort to combat some of the pollution expelled from dirty diesel engines, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has allotted over one million dollars to help two specific organizations replace their old engines with less polluting models. According to the EPA, the projects will cut emissions of harmful nitrogen oxides and particulate matter among other pollutants which are linked to asthma, lung and heart disease and premature death.

Longer growing season does not yield growth increase for trees and shrubs
May 21, 2014 09:29 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

As the earth's temperatures rise, some have speculated that trees and shrubs in the colder climates might experience and increase in growth as a result of the extended growing season. "Not so," says a recent study authored by a University of Washington biology and applied mathematics postdoctoral student. Her study demonstrates that bushes achieve less yearly growth when cold winter temperatures are interrupted by warm spurts that trigger growth.

Antarctica dances to Carole King's "The Earth Moves Under My Feet"
May 20, 2014 02:07 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

Antarctica has apparently been living by the lyrics of Carole King's 1971 hit song "The Earth Moves Under My Feet". According to a study from Newcastle University in the United Kingdom, Antarctica has been moving "rapidly". Recently published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, the study explains why the upward motion of the Earth's crust in the Northern Antarctic Peninsula is currently taking place so quickly. While earlier studies have shown the earth is 'rebounding' due to the overlying ice sheet shrinking in response to climate change, GPS data is suggesting otherwise. The international research team led in part by Newcastle researchers has revealed that this land is rising at a remarkable rate of 15mm a year.

Reintroducing the European Bison
May 20, 2014 09:47 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

In a coordinated effort to reintroduce the European bison to the grasslands of southern Romania, the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) and Rewilding Europe recently brought 20 bison to the Southern Carpathians. Ten more will be reintroduced over the summer. The species has been absent for about 200 years.

"State of the Air 2014" Shows Half the U.S. Lives with Unhealthy Air
May 20, 2014 07:50 AM - American Lung Association

Nearly half of all Americans — more than 147 million — live in counties in the U.S. where ozone or particle pollutions levels make the air unhealthy to breathe, according to the American Lung Association's "State of the Air 2014" report released today. The 15th annual national report card shows that while the nation overall continued to reduce particle pollution, a pollutant recently found to cause lung cancer, poor air quality remains a significant public health concern and a changing climate threatens to make it harder to protect human health.

Fighting air pollution with innovation and technology
May 19, 2014 10:46 AM - ENN Editor

Air pollution has become one of the world's biggest threats to the future of our planet. Chronic air pollution shortens our lives and the lives of the ecologies around us. In parts of Asia, where air pollution is most pervasive, food crops and other plants are exhibiting signs of stress due to low air quality.

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