Sustainability

Is plant virus linked to honeybee Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)?
January 21, 2014 08:27 AM - Jim Sliwa, American Society for Microbiology

A viral pathogen that typically infects plants has been found in honeybees and could help explain their decline. Researchers working in the U.S. and Beijing, China report their findings in mBio, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology. The routine screening of bees for frequent and rare viruses "resulted in the serendipitous detection of Tobacco Ringspot Virus, or TRSV, and prompted an investigation into whether this plant-infecting virus could also cause systemic infection in the bees," says Yan Ping Chen from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, an author on the study.

Should activities in public space be limited? The UK approach.
January 21, 2014 07:02 AM - Josie Appleton, The Ecologist

Laws handing sweeping new powers to police and private security to restrict access to Britain's public space will extinguish the diversity of civic life, writes Josie Appleton. Time for us to rediscover and defend our freedoms! Councils and the police will have an almost free hand to determine the use of all public spaces from civic squares to rural footpaths. The idea of public space, as it developed in the modern period, was space for the free use and enjoyment of the citizenry. The temper and character of public space should be determined not by any private or public authority, but by the ways in which people choose to use it. A bill currently passing through the UK Parliament will mean the death-knell of this principle.

Biofuels Patents Surge, Small Players Drive Solar Lead
January 20, 2014 01:33 PM - Eric Lane, Clean Techies

The Clean Energy Patent Growth Index (CEPGI) recently released its Third Quarter 2013 Results. Researched and published by the Heslin Rothenberg law firm, CEPGI is a quarterly report on clean energy patents granted in the United States.

Beaver, Dam it!
January 20, 2014 09:32 AM - Enn Staff, The Ecologist

As climate change brings more rain, there will be more catastrophic flooding; flooding of crops, homes and businesses, particularly in urban areas where there is simply no place for the water to go. One British writer has identified the beaver as the would-be hero to restore hydrological normalcy. Louise Ramsey writes about the beaver in Britain where reintroductions of the rodent have shown the vital role they once had in reducing flooding and how they could take up that mantle once more.

Scotland's tidal energy potential is greater than a nuclear power plant
January 20, 2014 09:09 AM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen

Renewable tidal energy harnessed from a single stretch of water off the northern tip of Scotland could produce enough energy to power half of the nation, engineers say.

Oil production in Greenland? Maybe not.
January 20, 2014 07:22 AM - EurActiv

None of the oil companies that have a license to drill in the seas surrounding Greenland have applied for one in 2014, according to the environment NGO Greenpeace. Oil companies that want to drill in Greenland will have to apply before 1 February, but according to Greenland's Mining Agency, no applications have been received thus far. This will be the 3rd year in a row that no company has expressed interest in oil drilling around the Arctic country.

Wastewater to power project planned in DC
January 18, 2014 09:13 AM - Joanna M. Foster, Think Progress via Care2

When the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority was first planning to build its Blue Plains wastewater treatment facility back in the 1930s, it seemed logical to choose a site that would minimize the cost of pumping water uphill. That's why the facility, which today serves over 2 million people in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia and treats around 370 million gallons of wastewater a day, is located at the lowest point in all of the District of Columbia. But the 150-acre facility, on the banks of the Potomac River, is now confronting the downside of what was once a strategic siting decision — the entire facility is extremely vulnerable to the flooding predicted by future sea level rise.

Finding Arctic Cyclones
January 17, 2014 12:18 PM - Pam Frost Gorder, Ohio State University

From 2000 to 2010, about 1,900 cyclones churned across the top of the world each year, leaving warm water and air in their wakes — and melting sea ice in the Arctic Ocean. That's about 40 percent more of these Arctic storms than previously thought, according to a new study of vast troves of weather data that previously were synthesized at the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC). A 40 percent difference in the number of cyclones could be important to anyone who lives north of 55 degrees latitude — the area of the study, which includes the northern reaches of Canada, Scandinavia and Russia, along with the state of Alaska.

Washington DC leaking all over
January 17, 2014 09:56 AM - Tim Lucas, Duke University

More than 5,893 leaks from aging natural gas pipelines have been found under the streets of Washington, D.C., by a research team from Duke University and Boston University. A dozen of the leaks could have posed explosion risks, the researchers said. Some manholes had methane concentrations as high as 500,000 parts per million of natural gas -- about 10 times greater than the threshold at which explosions can occur.

Chemicals of Emerging Concern (CECs) identified in sewage sludge
January 16, 2014 04:17 PM - Richard Harth, Arizona State University

Thousands of chemicals serving a variety of human needs flood into sewage treatment plants once their use life has ended. Many belong to a class of chemicals known as CECs (for chemicals of emerging concern), which may pose risks to both human and environmental health. Arjun Venkatesan and Rolf Halden of Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute have been tracking many of these chemicals outlining a new approach to the identification of potentially harmful, mass-produced chemicals, describing the accumulation in sludge of 123 distinct CECs.

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