Coal Miners suffering as energy mix shifts
July 15, 2012 08:30 AM - GUY RAZ and LAUREN SILVERMAN, NPR
At some point today, you will probably flip on a light switch. That simple action connects you to the oldest and most plentiful source of American electricity: coal. Since the early 1880s — when Edison and Tesla pioneered the distribution of electrical power into our homes — most of that power has come from the process of burning coal. Four years ago, something started to change. First it was slow, and then this past month that change became dramatic. Coal now generates just 34 percent of our electricity, down from about 50 percent just four years ago. Now, the loss of coal as the dominant energy source is having damaging effects on the towns that once relied on the black rock for their livelihood.
Population Issues - What China Needs to do Now
July 14, 2012 08:02 AM - Population Matters
China, perhaps more than any other country, faces many important and difficult population challenges: reproductive health and reproductive rights, rural-urban migration and reform of the hukou system, and imbalances in the sex ratio at birth. And two deeply connected population issues, the rapid aging of the population, on the one hand, and the low birth rate and the family planning policy on the other, are of great significance to China's future development. China's population is aging as rapidly as anywhere in the world and its low birth rate means it faces a significant population decline in the not too distant future. In part, China’s population will age because people are living longer, an important dimension of China’s great progress. But the country’s low birth rate is the most important reason for population aging, leading to a very top-heavy age structure with many elderly, fewer workers, and even fewer children.
Why you really DO need to properly recycle or dispose of your printer cartridges!
July 13, 2012 03:36 PM - Guest Post by Ben Randall, Global Warming is Real
We live in a wasteful society. After buying products, many people are all too used to throwing them away, and haven't quite grasped the concept of recycling yet. But we are getting there slowly. To work towards a greener future we must look at specific ways to be more economical, which will allow us to stop pumping so much hazardous gas into the atmosphere. It probably isn’t the first thing that springs to mind, but one way we can significantly reduce our carbon waste output is through making a worldwide effort to recycle ink cartridges. Chuck a printer cartridge into a landfill heap and it will take 450 years to decompose. Ink cartridges have a huge negative impact on our environment; here is a breakdown of why this is so. It is evident that some of us, ranging from the little guy to huge corporations, make the effort to recycle ink cartridges.
Reagan Secretary of State George Shultz Supports Carbon Tax
July 13, 2012 06:23 AM - Editor, MONGABAY.COM
Former Secretary of State George Shultz is calling for a carbon tax to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and oil consumption, according to an interview released today by Stanford University. Shultz, who served as secretary of state under President Ronald Reagan as well as a number of other roles under previous Republican administrations, is heading up the Hoover Institution's Task Force on Energy Policy will calls for boosting energy efficiency, reducing dependence on oil exports to improve national security, and putting a price on carbon. While the last of those objectives has been an anathema to many Republicans of late, Shultz said his party could eventually support a carbon tax.
The Dead Sea is Dying - Really!
July 12, 2012 04:36 PM - dave levitan, Yale Environment360
On a quiet stretch of coastline along the western shore of the Dead Sea, a sinkhole had swallowed a piece of a road, pulling in concrete and rusted fence posts. The sea lay a short distance beyond, its turquoise-colored waters dropping at the rate of more than one meter a year. The sinkholes are among the most visible effects of the continuing slow "death" of the Dead Sea, which borders Israel, Jordan, and the West Bank. Thousands of sinkholes have opened up around the Dead Sea's coastal plain, threatening roads and structures alike. Near this particular sinkhole, a grove of date palms sat withered and dead, abandoned because of the dangerous ground on which they stood.On a quiet stretch of coastline along the western shore of the Dead Sea, a sinkhole had swallowed a piece of a road, pulling in concrete and rusted fence posts. The sea lay a short distance beyond, its turquoise-colored waters dropping at the rate of more than one meter a year.
EU considering requiring lower CO2 emissions on new cars
July 12, 2012 10:06 AM - EurActive
New cars and vans in the European Union will produce one-third less carbon dioxide within eight years, under proposed new rules set out on Wednesday (11 July) in Brussels. By 2020, the average emissions from new cars will have to be no more than 95g of carbon dioxide per kilometre driven, a cut of more than 40g from today's levels and of 35g/km compared with the 2015 target, if the proposed new regulations are accepted. Connie Hedegaard, climate chief of the European commission, said the goals were "ambitious but achievable" and would benefit consumers, through fuel cost savings, and help the EU's car-making industry compete with overseas manufacturers. She said: "What we are proposing is a fair and balanced regulation."
Egypt's Plans for Science
July 11, 2012 06:48 AM - Hazem Badr, SciDevNet
Egypt's newly elected president, Mohamed Morsi, has ambitious plans for science and is committed to linking research to local needs and boosting private sector science funding, officials say. "Morsi's main strategy is to 'localise' science," Mohamed Sharet, deputy director of the Education and Scientific Research Committee at the Egyptian parliament's lower house, and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), told SciDev.Net. This will require engaging researchers in solving public problems and linking science closely to the needs of local industry.
Alarming Decline in Sockeye Salmon
July 10, 2012 10:52 AM - Emily Sohn, Discovery News
Every year, millions of adult salmon return from the ocean to their home streams, where they lay eggs and produce the next generation of fish. But far fewer sockeye salmon are making it back to their freshwater mating grounds compared to a few decades ago, and that’s seriously affecting population sizes of the species throughout the Northwest, from Alaska to Washington State. The discovery suggests that changing ocean conditions may be making life harder for some groups of wild salmon -- possibly by reducing their food supply or increasing populations of predators.
Organic Tomatoes ARE More Nutritious!
July 9, 2012 06:30 AM - Akhila Vijayaraghavan, Triple Pundit
The debate about whether organic food has more nutrients might be finally settled, at least in the case of tomatoes. The latest research from the University of Barcelona shows that organic tomatoes have higher levels of antioxidants than chemically-grown ones. The research team studied and analysed the chemical structure of the Daniela variety of tomato. According to The Daily Mail: "They detected 34 different beneficial compounds in both the organic and conventional version... However they found that overall the organic tomatoes contained higher level of the polyphenols. The scientists says this difference between organic and conventional tomatoes can be explained by the manure used to grown them."
Flood hits Russian Town in Krasnodar Region
July 8, 2012 08:22 AM - Discovery News from AFP
People in a flood-ravaged southern Russian town on Saturday charged that authorities offered no help as masses of water tore through their homes overnight. "Nobody came to our street to help. We need help," pensioner Lidiya Polinina told AFP by phone from Krymsk, the worst-hit town, recounting how she managed to survive the flood that has claimed over 100 lives. TV footage showed brown water rushing down the town's streets, where bodies lay on the curbs, covered with dirty blankets. Trees were torn out, homes destroyed and giant slabs of asphalt thrown on top of cars. "Our house was flooded to the ceiling," said Polinina.