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Sustainability

Global Warming over last 50 yrs caused primarily by human activity
June 12, 2012 07:11 AM - ScienceDaily

The oceans have warmed in the past 50 years, but not by natural events alone. New research by a team of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists and international collaborators shows that the observed ocean warming over the last 50 years is consistent with climate models only if the models include the impacts of observed increases in greenhouse gas during the 20th century. Though the new research is not the first study to identify a human influence on observed ocean warming, it is the first to provide an in-depth examination of how observational and modeling uncertainties impact the conclusion that humans are primarily responsible.

Chevy Volt gets more EV-range
June 11, 2012 07:23 AM - Editor, Justmeans

The all-electric vehicle range of the 2013 Chevrolet Volt will be 38 miles on a single charge, providing owners with a three-mile EV range increase from the 2012 model. The miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) will increase from 94 miles to 98 miles and the total range, including extended range operation, will be 380 miles. Based on real-world experience by Volt owners since the vehicle launched in late 2010, engineers made minor changes to the material composition of the battery cell chemistry, resulting in improved performance and durability. Manganese spinel chemistry remains the foundation for the Volt's battery system, but the amount of each material has been slightly modified to provide better life performance.

Increase in Groundwater Use and Sea-Level Rise
June 10, 2012 09:04 AM - Richard Lovett for National Geogrpahic

As aquifers are pumped out around the world, the water ultimately makes it to the oceans. Groundwater depletion will soon be as important a factor in contributing to sea-level rise as the melting of glaciers other than those in Greenland and Antarctica, scientists say. That's because water pumped out of the ground for irrigation, industrial uses, and even drinking must go somewhere after it's used—and, whether it runs directly into streams and rivers or evaporates and falls elsewhere as rain, one likely place for it to end up is the ocean. To find out how much of an effect this has on sea level, a team of Dutch scientists led by hydrologist Yoshihide Wada, a Ph.D. researcher at Utrecht University, divided the Earth's land surface into 31-by-31-mile (50-by-50 kilometer) squares on a grid to calculate present and future groundwater usage.

Open Ocean protection and Rio+20
June 9, 2012 08:37 AM - Prime Sarmiento, SciDevNet

Promises made at previous summits have not delivered enough protection for the oceans — campaigners are pushing for better results from Rio+20, writes Prime Sarmiento. This month, scientists, campaigners and many developing nations are optimistic they will set in motion a deal on the conservation of the high seas at Rio+20 (UN Conference on Sustainable Development) in Brazil. They argue that the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), agreed 30 years ago, does not address the welfare of the vast areas of ocean that are 'beyond national jurisdiction'.

Atrazine to be Banned? Frogs will be happy!
June 8, 2012 07:40 AM - Rhett Butler, MONGABAY.COM

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will weigh a ban on Atrazine, a widely used herbicide linked to sex reversal and other reproductive problems in amphibians and fish. The chemical, which is manufactured by Syngenta, has been banned in the European Union since 2004 but some 80 million pounds Atrazine are applied to corn, sugarcane, sorghum and rice in the United States each year. Environmentalists say the effects of Atrazine on wildlife make its use unacceptable and are pushing the EPA to ban the chemical. The agency will be holding a Scientific Advisory Panel public meeting June 12th to discuss the ecological risks of Atrazine. Save The Frogs, a group that works to protect amphibians, welcomed the move.

Sustainable Packaging goes upscale
June 7, 2012 08:03 AM - Akhila Vijayaraghavan, Triple Pundit

Packaging has always been a bone of contention for cosmetic companies. With sustainability standards increasing, most companies are wanting to use more sustainable packaging material. Major companies like Chanel, Coty, Avon, L'Oreal Group, Mast Global and Estee Lauder are now inaugural members of an initiative created by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers’ Institute for Sustainability that aims to find ways to work with suppliers, retailers and customers to advance sustainable packaging. The Environmental Leader reports that the Sustainable Packaging Roundtable, which kicked off last month, will focus on how to drive and measure progress in sustainability. Cosmetic companies are becoming more aware of sustainable packaging and are incorporating this into their CSR initiatives. Companies that are involved in the roundtable agree that packaging should reflect design, reuse and recovery rather than the traditional reduce and recycle approach.

Rio Environmental talks may collapse: WWF
June 6, 2012 07:12 AM - Editor, WWF

Two weeks out from the 20-year reprise of the Rio Earth Summit, and two years after negotiations started, global conservation organization WWF issued a World Environment Day warning that failures of commitment, failures of process and failures of leadership could lead to the collapse of talks on achieving a long-term sustainable world. "Currently we are a long way from where we need to be in these negotiations," said WWF Director General, Jim Leape. "Heads of State still have a unique opportunity in Rio to set the world on a path to sustainable development — but they need to step up their game dramatically. As things currently stand, we are facing two likely scenarios — an agreement so weak it is meaningless, or complete collapse. Neither of these options would give the world what it needs."

France to ban pesticide linked to Bee Colony collapses
June 5, 2012 06:49 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM

Following research linking neonicotinoid pesticides to the decline in bee populations, France has announced it plans to ban Cruiser OSR, an insecticide produced by Sygenta. Recent studies, including one in France, have shown that neonicotinoid pesticides likely hurt bees' ability to navigate, potentially devastating hives. France has said it will give Sygenta two weeks to prove the pesticide is not linked to the bee decline, known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). France's decision comes after its National Agency for Food, Safety, and the Environment (ANSES) confirmed the findings of two recent studies published in Science. The two studies found that neonicotinoid pesticides, although not immediately lethal, likely hurt bee colonies over a period of time.

Now Greece is looking at an energy crisis
June 4, 2012 07:24 AM - EurActive

Greece's debt crisis threatened to turn into an energy crunch, with the power regulator calling an emergency meeting this week to avert a collapse of the country's electricity and natural gas system. Regulator RAE called the emergency meeting on 1 June after receiving a letter from Greece's natural gas company DEPA, dated 31 May, threatening to cut supplies to electricity producers if they failed to settle their arrears with the company. An energy crisis would add to the debt-stricken country's political and financial strains, threatening households and businesses with power cuts ahead of a 17 June election which may decide if the country will stay within the euro.

Greenland glacier melt was faster in 1930s than today
May 30, 2012 06:44 AM - Staff, ClickGreen

A chance discovery of 80-year-old photo plates in a Danish basement is providing vital new clues into how Greenland glaciers are melting today. Researchers at the National Survey and Cadastre of Denmark - that country's federal agency responsible for surveys and mapping - had been storing the glass plates since explorer Knud Rasmussen's expedition to the southeast coast of Greenland in the early 1930s. In this week's online edition of Nature Geoscience, Ohio State University researchers and colleagues in Denmark describe how they analyzed ice loss in the region by comparing the images on the plates to aerial photographs and satellite images taken from World War II to today.

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