Global food system faces threats from climate change
December 4, 2015 07:14 AM - UCAR
Climate change is likely to have far-reaching impacts on food security throughout the world, especially for the poor and those living in tropical regions, according to a new international report that includes three co-authors from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).
These 10 Endangered Species are Running Out of Room to Roam
November 25, 2015 06:27 AM - Alicia Graef, Care2
It’s never been easier for us to get where we want to go, but our growing transportation systems mixed with development are taking a serious toll on wildlife, from tiny amphibians to large mammals, and pushing some who are already in danger of disappearing even closer to the brink.
A new report from the Endangered Species Coalition, No Room to Roam: 10 American Species in Need of Connectivity and Corridor, focuses on imperiled species who need just what the title says: room to roam.
Could Lithium-air batteries make oil obsolete?
November 24, 2015 06:47 AM - Editor, The Ecologist
Sooner than it takes to build a nuclear power station, lithium-air batteries could be helping wind and solar to make coal, oil and nuclear obsolete, say Cambridge scientists. Five times lighter and five times cheaper than current lithium batteries, Li-air would open the way to our 100% renewable future.
US Forest Service proposes coal mining expansion in Colorado
November 20, 2015 10:08 AM - Center for Biological Diversity
National and local conservation groups today condemned a decision by the U.S. Forest Service to continue pressing to open national forest roadless areas in Colorado to coal mining.
In a notice filed today, the Forest Service announced it would move forward by issuing a draft environmental impact statement on the proposal to pave the way for mining. The proposal would reopen a loophole in the “roadless rule” for national forests in Colorado to enable Arch Coal — the nation’s second largest coal company — to scrape roads and well pads on nearly 20,000 acres of otherwise-protected, publicly owned national forest and wildlife habitat in Colorado’s North Fork Valley.
Food industry focuses on sustainable sourcing to mitigate climate change
November 20, 2015 06:59 AM - Sarantis Michalopoulos, EurActiv
Faced with a raw materials scarcity due to climate change, food and drink giants have turned to a sustainable management in order to protect the environment and ensure their future viability. The global population is expected to rise from 7.3 billion today to 9.7 billion in 2050, according to UN projections. As a consequence, according to a survey published in July by FoodDrinkEurope, this will require a 60% increase in food supplies globally, as well as a 30% rise in global demand for water for agriculture.
EVs vs. Gasoline-Powered Cars - Which has the cleaner lifecycle?
November 19, 2015 07:15 AM - Leon Kaye, Triple Pundit
It’s the trick question that has left many of us stumped: from the earliest stages of manufacture to the years driving on the road until they are sent to the junkyard, are conventional automobiles or electric cars cleaner for the environment? While acknowledging that electric vehicles (EVs) emit no emissions when running on our streets and highways, many have assumed that those pesky rare earth metals in their massive batteries and the emissions associated with producing the power canceled out any environmental benefits that their drivers enjoyed. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), a two-year study has provided the answer.
World's First Solar Road Exceeds Expectations
November 16, 2015 07:21 AM - Matthew Young, Triple Pundit
The first aptly-titled SolaRoad made its debut last November in the Netherlands, not far from Amsterdam. The road itself is a unique foray in pollution-free solar energy. Nearly one year later, the SolaRoad’s designers say the high-tech bike path is performing better than they expected.
In the first six months since it was installed, the SolaRoad has generated over 3,000 kilowatt-hours — or roughly the equivalent required for a single-person household for one calendar year.
Will the upcoming UN Climate Change Summit in Paris kick the can down the road again?
November 14, 2015 07:41 AM - Mark Dwortzan, MIT News
Big hopes are riding on the 2015 United Nations climate change conference planned for Nov. 30-Dec. 11 in Paris, where more than 190 nations will strive to hammer out an international agreement aimed at lowering global temperatures through significant reductions in human-made greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. But the meeting, known as COP21, or the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), is also attracting a fair amount of skepticism.
For good reason: More than two decades of UN climate summit meetings have yielded limited results. The Kyoto Protocol of 1997 established GHG emissions reduction commitments for a small number of industrialized countries from 2008 to 2012, but was not ratified by the U.S. because it made no demands on developing countries. Overcoming this hurdle, the Copenhagen meeting in 2009 produced voluntary pledges from both developed and developing countries through the year 2020 that promised little headway in keeping global temperatures below the 2 degree Celsius threshold identified by the UNFCCC as necessary to avoid the most serious impacts of climate change.
America Recycles Day November 15th
November 13, 2015 10:13 AM - JustMeans, Justmeans
Thousands of creative recycling events are being planned for America Recycles Day (ARD), a Keep America Beautiful initiative, which takes place on and in the weeks leading up to Nov. 15.
America Recycles Day is the only nationally recognized day dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the United States. In its 18th year, ARD educates people about the importance of recycling to our economy and environmental well-being, and helps to motivate occasional recyclers to become everyday recyclers.
A number of ARD special events are focusing on this year’s theme of “Bathrooms, Bags & Gadgets." They include:
Reduction in snow pack puts large areas at risk of insufficient water supplies
November 12, 2015 08:08 PM - Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Gradual melting of winter snow helps feed water to farms, cities and ecosystems across much of the world, but this resource may soon be critically imperiled. In a new study, scientists have identified snow-dependent drainage basins across the northern hemisphere currently serving 2 billion people that run the risk of declining supplies in the coming century. The basins take in large parts of the American West, southern Europe, the Mideast and central Asia. They range from productive U.S. farm land to war-torn regions already in the grip of long-term water shortages.
Snow is an important seasonal water source mainly around large mountain chains. From higher elevations, snowmelt runs gradually into the lowlands during spring and summer growing seasons, when human demand peaks. But global warming is upsetting this convenient balance. Studies show that in many areas, more winter precipitation is falling as rain, not snow, and washing away directly; the snow that does fall is settling at progressively higher elevations, and melting earlier. The new study estimates snow’s potential to supply present human needs in both current and projected climates, taking both weather trends and population into account.