CO2 Levels Top 400 ppm at Hawaii Monitoring Station
May 11, 2013 07:38 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN
CO2 levels have been increasing relatively steadily for more than 50 years. On May 9, the daily mean concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of Mauna Loa, Hawaii, surpassed 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time since measurements began in 1958. Independent measurements made by both NOAA and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography have been approaching this level during the past week. It marks an important milestone because Mauna Loa, as the oldest continuous carbon dioxide (CO2) measurement station in the world, is the primary global benchmark site for monitoring the increase of this potent heat-trapping gas. Carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere by fossil fuel burning and other human activities is the most significant greenhouse gas (GHG) contributing to climate change. Its concentration has increased every year since scientists started making measurements on the slopes of the Mauna Loa volcano. The rate of increase has accelerated since the measurements started, from about 0.7 ppm per year in the late 1950s to 2.1 ppm per year during the last 10 years.
Light-Scattering Properties are Risk Factor for Coral Reef Survival
May 9, 2013 12:58 PM - Allison Winter, ENN
Coral reefs have been gaining a lot of attention by conservation groups as environmental and human stresses are causing irreparable damage to these reefs. Stresses such as warming oceans and climate change are going to serve as future obstacles for these coral populations. However, the study of dying corals is complex, and researchers have found that some corals die while others do not, even when exposed to the same environmental conditions. In order to figure out this conundrum, a research team from Northwestern University and The Field Museum of Natural History found that corals themselves play a role in their susceptibility to deadly coral bleaching due to the light-scattering properties of their skeletons.
Illegal Fishing Linked to Seafood Fraud in New Report
May 8, 2013 06:07 AM - Editor, Oceana
Today, as the nation's top leaders in fishery management come together at the 2013 Managing Our Nation's Fisheries Conference in Washington, D.C. to discuss science and sustainability, Oceana released a new report finding that illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing leads to seafood fraud and threatens fishing economies, seafood consumers and vulnerable marine species on a global scale. According to recent estimates, IUU fishing accounts for 20 percent of the global catch and contributes to economic losses of $10-23 billion, while also threatening 260 million jobs that depend on marine fisheries around the world. "Similar to the illegal ivory trade, pirate fishing is decimating the ocean's most vulnerable and valuable wildlife - we are losing the elephants of the sea to poachers," said Oceana campaign director and senior scientist Margot Stiles. "By fishing illegally, including in national parks, and targeting endangered species with destructive gear, poachers provoke economic losses in the billions of dollars every year, undermining decades of conservation by more responsible fishermen."
Verizon Expands Investment in Alternative Energy
May 7, 2013 08:49 AM - Antonio Pasolini, EnergyRefuge.com via, Clean Techies
Verizon has announced it will invest $100 million in a solar and fuel cell energy project that will help power 19 of its facilities in seven states across the country. The company estimates the completed project will generate more than 70 million kilowatt of clean energy, which would be enough to power more than 6,000 single-family homes a year. This amount of clean, solar power prevents the emission of more than 10,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is enough to offset the annual CO2 emissions from more than 1 million gallons of gas.
Unconventional swine: how invasive pigs are helping preserve biodiversity in the Pantanal
May 6, 2013 12:38 PM - Erica Santana , MONGABAY.COM
Ordinarily, invasive and exotic species are a grave threat to native wildlife: outcompeting local species, introducing parasites and disease, and disturbing local ecological regimes. A unique case in the Brazilian Pantanal, however, has turned the tables; here, an introduced mammal has actually aided the conservation of native wildlife. The impact of feral pigs (Sus scrofa) is a serious threat to biodiversity in many ecosystems around the globe. Their destructive rooting behavior and voracious appetite are often severely damaging to populations of plants and small animals, not to mention they serve as a reservoir for a host of zoonotic diseases. In the Pantanal, however, introduced feral pigs have had a positive impact on wildlife communities and the local culture. The Pantanal region of South America, which extends beyond Brazil into Bolivia and Paraguay, is one of the largest freshwater wetlands on the planet and boasts a diversity of unique wildlife- but this hasn't always been the case.
Loggerhead Sea Turtles May Get Protected Habitat
May 4, 2013 07:33 AM - Center for Biological Diversity
Endangered loggerhead sea turtles won a federal commitment to protect critical nesting-beach and ocean habitat in a legal settlement filed late Thursday in U.S. District Court between conservation groups Center for Biological Diversity, Oceana and Turtle Island Restoration Network and the U.S. government. By July 1, 2013, the government must identify and propose protection of loggerhead sea turtle feeding, breeding and migratory habitat in ocean waters in the U.S. Atlantic and Pacific oceans and in the Gulf of Mexico. Final critical habitat protection for marine habitat and nesting beaches must be completed by July 1, 2014. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently proposed critical habitat protection for loggerhead nesting beaches along Atlantic and Gulf coasts and will accept public comment until May 24. Protecting critical habitat for loggerheads is essential for their recovery. Studies show that endangered and threatened species with protected habitat are twice as likely to be recovering as those without.
Atlantic Cup Race Now Carbon-Neutral
May 2, 2013 01:18 PM - Guest Contributor Andrea Oki
The 2013 Atlantic Cup presented by 11th Hour Racing has announced its final plans and competition field for the third annual running of the premier Class 40 sailing event in the country. The event will feature seven boats; six from the USA and one from Great Britain, with race organizers once again making a strong commitment to eco-friendly sailing. Last year, in partnership with 11th Hour Racing and Green Mountain Energy Company, the Atlantic Cup became the first carbon-neutral sailing race in the USA by offsetting an estimated 23,030 pounds (10.45 metric tons) of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. Sailors for the Sea (SfS) certified the event Gold in 2012, with SfS unveiling a new Platinum level certification in 2013 that the Atlantic Cup will strive for. Teams will set sail from Charleston, S.C. on Saturday, May 11 at 2 p.m. EDT on a 648 nautical mile race to New York Harbor for the second leg of the competition (May 14-17), before departing on May 18 on a 231 nautical mile final leg of competition. The annual event culminates in Newport, R.I. with two days of Inshore racing (May 25 — 26). The field includes the USA’s Pleiad Racing, Dragon, Gryphon Solo 2, Icarus Racing, Bodacious Dream and Lecoq Cuisine, along with Great Britain’s 40 Degrees.
Economic development 'can restore lost biodiversity'
May 2, 2013 06:26 AM - Bernard Appiah, SciDevNet
Economic development can lead to increased biodiversity restoration in Sub-Saharan Africa, on a similar scale to its loss due to development, according to a study. Biodiversity loss is one of the important environmental threats that humanity faces, the study says, and it disproportionately harms the world's poorest people, who are less able to adjust to it, as they have limited access to alternatives then using natural resources for livelihoods.
The $40 Billion in US Buildings
April 30, 2013 04:31 PM - Elisa Wood, Clean Techies
A pretty big wad of money — $40 billion — is hiding somewhere inside the lights, AC, thermostats, furnaces and fans of our offices, stores, hospitals and schools. That's the amount of money the federal government estimates we can save annually by reducing energy use in commercial buildings 20 percent by 2020. To achieve the goal, the Obama administration in 2011 initiated the Better Buildings Challenge, a way to encourage investment, share information and create demonstration projects that save energy.
Extended Range Electric & Hybrid Cars that Reduce Environmental Impacts
April 30, 2013 06:10 AM - Maria Ortega, Global Warming is Real
According to National Geographic, more than half the air pollution in the United States is caused by mobile devices, primarily by automobiles. These greenhouse gases that vehicles emit, such as carbon dioxide, are wreaking havoc on the ozone layer as well as polluting the soil and surface water in many cases. Bottom line— while cars are an everyday necessity and convenience, they're not doing the environment any favors. That's part of the reason why the federal government is offering tax incentives to those who purchase hybrid or electric vehicles, as well as challenging automakers to develop vehicles by 2025 that are able to achieve 55 mpg on the highway. It’s a bold goal but, as you can see from how much cars are responsible for pollution, it’s a necessary one that’s becoming more important.