Sustainability

Deforestation may hurt US agriculture, affect monsoon cycle
November 6, 2013 08:58 AM - Rhett A. Butler, MONGABAY.COM

Unchecked deforestation will have far-reaching impacts on temperature, rainfall, and monsoon cycles in regions well outside the tropics, affecting agriculture and water availability, warns a new report published by Greenpeace International. The report, titled "An Impending Storm: Impacts of deforestation on weather patterns and agriculture", is a synthesis of dozens of recent scientific papers that assess the effects of forest cover loss on weather patterns, local climate, and agricultural productivity.

Nowegian's LOVE the electric car!
November 6, 2013 05:49 AM - Move Forward, Electric Forum

While the US electric car market continues to grab the headlines it is worth remembering that Norway is by far and away the leading electric car loving country with the highest ratio of electric vehicles per capita. Indeed many in the industry refers to Oslo as the capital of the electric vehicle industry and if you take a look at the situation you will see there are a number of reasons why electric vehicles are so popular in the country. In many ways it seems that a number of factors have come together to create the perfect storm for electric vehicles in some parts of Scandinavia. If we take a look at Norway there are many reasons to be cheerful if you are an electric vehicle retailer. A gallon of gasoline in Norway costs in excess of $10 despite the fact the country is awash with oil and gas from its surrounding oilfields. Fuel is not subsidised at the pumps as the government uses the massive oil and gas income to extend and improve the country’s infrastructure. This is perhaps one of the main drivers as to why the number of electric vehicles across Norway continues to grow, and seems likely to for some time to come.

2013 PCB dredging on the Hudson
November 5, 2013 02:50 PM - Editor, ENN

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that more than 612,000 cubic yards of river bottom sediment contaminated with PCBs were removed from the upper Hudson River during 2013, exceeding the annual goal of 350,000 cubic yards for this historic dredging project. This is similar to the amount dredged in 2012 when more than 650,000 cubic yards were removed. The Superfund cleanup required by the EPA calls for the dredging of approximately 2.65 million cubic yards of PCB-contaminated sediment from a 40-mile stretch of the upper Hudson River between Fort Edward and Troy, New York. The project began in 2009 and is about 73% complete, putting the dredging on track to be finished in two years. To date, about 1.9 million of the 2.65 million cubic yards million have been removed. Filling of previously dredged areas with clean sand and gravel will continue over the next several weeks, weather permitting. About 280 local area contractors, subcontractors, vendors and suppliers have provided goods or services related to Hudson River dredging.

Can Fair Trade Chocolate Curb the Looming Cocoa Shortage?
November 5, 2013 01:23 PM - Jan Lee, Triple Pundit

Cocoa yields have been dropping across the world for years. In Ghana, crop harvests are down 5 percent from 2012, and more than 17 percent from 2011. In August, crop harvests in the Ivory Coast, which account for at least 40 percent of the world’s cocoa, were expected to drop during the fall harvest as well (cocoa is harvested twice a year in some areas).

Scientists start to tap marine microbes for biotech use
November 5, 2013 10:36 AM - Michelle Dobrovolny, SciDevNet

[PARIS] The hot, brackish waters of French Polynesia’s lagoons in the Pacific could harbour microbes with huge commercial potential, including for drug creation or to produce alternatives to plastics, say researchers. The extreme conditions found in some Polynesian aquatic ecosystems, which are often characterised by high temperatures and salinity, mean that unique marine bacteria have evolved there.

The Juncture of Politics and the Environment
November 5, 2013 08:41 AM - Duncan Jefferies, Triple Pundit

When announcing his plan to kick-start the U.S. economy in the midst of the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt famously declared that the country had "nothing to fear but fear itself." In just 100 days, through a flurry of legislation and investment, his government dragged the country up off its knees — a towering political achievement.

We're burying ourselves in our own garbage
November 5, 2013 07:07 AM - Population Matters from Nature

Solid waste — the stuff we send down our chutes, discard at work and put on the curb every week — is a striking by-product of civilization. The average person in the United States throws away their body weight in rubbish every month. When waste management works well, we give it little thought: out of sight and, usually, quickly out of mind. Discarded materials are collected, some are recycled or composted, and most are landfilled or incinerated. But the global view is troubling. In the past century, as the world's population has grown and become more urban and affluent, waste production has risen tenfold. By 2025 it will double again1. Rubbish is being generated faster than other environmental pollutants, including greenhouse gases. Plastic clogs the world's oceans and rivers, causing flooding in developing-world cities. Solid-waste management is one of the greatest costs to municipal budgets.

Do dams bring more harm or more good?
November 4, 2013 09:01 AM - Editor, ENN

As China forges ahead with its goal to generate 120,000 megawatts of renewable energy by 2020, they are damming more and more rivers. According to China, this is a safe strategy that will curb pollution, control floods, and minimize climate change. Conservationists and scientists across the globe however, disagree.

Los Angeles aqueduct celebrates 100 years of service
November 4, 2013 06:22 AM - NPR STAFF - NPR

Today the beauty of Los Angeles is dramatically symbolic of the ancient prophecy: The desert shall "blossom like a rose." This blossoming was made possible by the birth of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, opened 100 years ago this month. The opening of the aqueduct might as well have been the birth of the modern West and the image of the city as a "Garden of Eden." The vast quantities of water the aqueduct moved made Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix and other cities across the region possible.

President Obama Signs Executive Order, Addresses Preparedness for Climate Change Impacts
November 4, 2013 06:00 AM - Editor, ENN

On Friday, President Obama established a Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience to advise the Administration on how the Federal Government can respond to the needs of communities nationwide that are dealing with the impacts of climate change. The Executive Order directs federal agencies to modernize Federal programs to support climate-resilient investments, manage me lands and waters for climate preparedness and resilience, provide information, and plan for climate change related risk.

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