Sustainability

Using too much fertilizer is bad for crops AND bad for climate!
June 12, 2014 06:30 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

Using too much fertilizer is a very bad idea. It doesn't help crops, and in fact can be harmful to them. Excess fertilizer runs off and contributes to river and stream contamination and a new study shows that it is bad for the climate too! But farmers sometimes think that if some is good, more MUST be better! Helping farmers around the globe apply more precise amounts of fertilizer nitrogen is a great objective that can improve crop yields, reduce pollution, and combat climate change. That's the conclusion of a study published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In the paper, researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) provide an improved prediction of nitrogen fertilizer's contribution to greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural fields.

Geothermal heat is causing the West Antarctic glacier to melt faster
June 10, 2014 07:37 AM - University of Texas at Austin via EurekAlert

Thwaites Glacier, the large, rapidly changing outlet of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, is not only being eroded by the ocean, it's being melted from below by geothermal heat, researchers at the Institute for Geophysics at The University of Texas at Austin (UTIG) report in the current edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The findings significantly change the understanding of conditions beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet where accurate information has previously been unobtainable.

In cutting deforestation, Brazil leads world in reducing emissions
June 9, 2014 08:53 AM - Rhett A. Butler, MONGABAY.COM

Brazil's success in reducing deforestation in the world's largest rainforest has been much heralded, but progress may stall unless farmers, ranchers and other land users in the region are provided incentives to further improve the environmental sustainability of their operations, argues a study published this week in the journal Science.

Bottom feeding fish helping the fight against Global Warming
June 9, 2014 07:48 AM - Steve Williams, Care2

Over-fishing is already a concerning problem, but new research indicates that not only could it mean losing fish species, it could also contribute to global warming more than we'd previously thought. That's because researchers from the Marine Institute and the University of Southampton have found that fish that feed on our ocean floor and do not come to the surface actually act as carbon sinks. Other examples of naturally occurring carbon sinks include forests and, indeed, the oceans themselves. What’s more, the UK-based researchers have found that deep-sea fish might be capturing more than a million tons of carbon dioxide from UK and Irish waters.

Good news for rivers in Britain
June 8, 2014 11:11 AM - Cardiff University via ScienceDaily

Scientists from Cardiff University have found that Britain's urban rivers are the cleanest they've been in over two decades. The 21-year study of over 2,300 rivers measured the presence of clean-river invertebrates - a yardstick for river health - which during the days of heavy industry and poor sewage treatment had declined considerably, but now appear to be making a comeback. Although climate change has warmed British rivers by around 1-2 degrees over recent decades, the findings suggest that improved pollution control has managed to offset its damaging effects on river ecosystems. This indicates that society can prevent some undesirable climate change effects on the environment by improving habitat quality.

China and Coal
June 6, 2014 06:56 AM - Alex Kirby, The Ecologist

Coal consumption in China is likely to dwindle rapidly, writes Alex Kirby, leaving its own mining sector and foreign coal exporters in serious trouble. Australia and Indonesia are at greatest risk as China may soon stop importing any coal at all. Investors need to dispel any belief that Chinese coal demand is insatiable, and integrate this transition into their decision-making. Analysts believe that China - the world's largest producer and consumer of coal, accounting for almost half of global consumption - could be close to making an abrupt, drastic change of track.

CO2 emissions in EU down significantly
June 5, 2014 03:47 PM - EurActiv

The European Union’s greenhouse gas emissions have fallen by 19.2% compared to 1990s levels, according to the European Environment Agency. EU emissions dropped 1.3% in 2012, reaching their lowest level ever recorded, according to data reported to the United Nations by the EEA. The bloc's greenhouse gas output decreased by 1082 megatonnes since 1990, more than the combined emissions of Italy and United Kingdom in 2012.

Boreal forests and Climate Change: Better management practices needed
June 5, 2014 12:28 PM - Paul Sutherland, MONGABAY.COM

Greenhouse gas emissions from human activity have caused global air and sea surface temperatures to rise approximately 0.8 Celsius (1.4 degrees Fahrenheit) since the beginning of the 20th century, contributing to a plethora of problems worldwide from rising sea levels to desertification. A new study published in Conversation Letters finds that global temperatures may start to increase even faster if more is not done to protect Earth’s boreal forests.

UN urges action on World Environment Day
June 5, 2014 08:00 AM - UNEP

Barbados, a small Caribbean island at the cutting edge of the fight against climate change, will be hosting this year's World Environment Day, leading United Nations-wide efforts to draw attention to the plight of the world's small islands potentially in peril of being lost to sea-level rise. "On World Environment Day, millions of individuals, community groups and businesses from around the world take part in local projects —from clean up campaigns to art exhibits to tree-planting drives," Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message for the Day, marked every year on 05 June.

Climate change and nutrition
June 4, 2014 10:32 AM - Karin Kloosterman, GreenProphet

Researchers now say in a revealing Nature paper that the most significant health threat from climate change has started to happen. Crops that provide a large share of the global population with most of their dietary zinc and iron will have significantly reduced concentrations of those nutrients at the elevated levels of atmospheric CO2 anticipated by around 2050, according to research by Israeli scientists published in Nature this month.

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