Deep sea Drilling in New Zealand
November 6, 2013 01:51 PM - Rachel Shaw, The Ecologist
Deep sea drilling will soon commence in the rough waters off the New Zealand coast. This could mark the beginning of an oil rush in which democratic process, public concern, environmental protection and safety considerations are all swept aside. The Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) around New Zealand is fifteen times larger than the country's land area - it extends from the sub-tropical to the sub-Antarctic. Like the Arctic, New Zealand's EEZ supports a multitude of species which travel from far-flung areas of the globe to reach these rich waters. Like the Arctic, New Zealand's EEZ is fast becoming an oil exploration frontier.
Hotel Marketing Strategy: To Green or Not to Go Green
November 6, 2013 12:39 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
Over the last decade hotels and other businesses have increasingly adopted more and more green strategies as part of their daily operations. These strategies have transcended to marketing declarations of eco-certification that are then toted on hotel websites and other marketing materials for the consumer’s consideration when making their purchase decision. Researchers from Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration have studied the benefits of this certification to determine its effectiveness for capturing business. But does this matter to the consumer?
Playing loud pop music boosts output of solar panels by 40%
November 6, 2013 12:10 PM - ClickGreen staff, ClickGreen
Playing loud pop and rock music improves the performance of solar cells, according to new research from scientists at Queen Mary University of London and Imperial College London. The high frequencies and pitch found in pop and rock music cause vibrations that enhanced energy generation in solar cells containing a cluster of 'nanorods', leading to a 40 per cent increase in efficiency of the solar cells.
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.
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.