Are Airlines doing enough to cut emissions?
June 11, 2013 06:05 AM - Harry Stevens, Triple Pundit
The aviation industry has announced what it claims is "a historic agreement" to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but industry experts and environmentalists say the agreement is vague and lacks the enforcement mechanisms necessary to give it teeth. At a meeting last week of the International Air Transport Association (I.A.T.A.), an industry group of more than 200 airlines representing 84 percent of the world's air travel, the assembled airlines agreed on a plan to improve fuel efficiency by 1.5 percent annually until 2020, cap their net carbon dioxide emissions after 2020, and cut emissions in half by 2050 compared with a 2005 baseline.
The Giant hot pink slug
June 10, 2013 06:19 AM - Rhett Butler, MONGABAY.COM
The Hot Pink slugs that emerge after rainy nights have become a conservation symbol for alpine forests on Australia's Mount Kaputar, reports The Sydney Morning Herald. The slugs, which measure up to 20 centimeters (8 inches), are only found on Mount Kaputar, a volcano that last erupted 17 million years ago. They spend most of their time buried under leaf litter, but emerge by the hundreds when conditions are right to feed on moss, algae, and fungi. While their fluorescent coloration may seem jarring, it actually helps them blend in with brightly-colored eucalyptus leaves that cover the forest floor.
Nanotechnology could lead to better batteries for EV's
June 9, 2013 08:11 AM - MOVEFORWARD, Electric Forum
If you search the Internet for information on nanotechnology the likelihood is that you will see a number of scare stories suggesting that nanotechnology robots will take over the world but if you dig a little deeper you will see that nanotechnology will play a major part in every area of our life going forward. Indeed researchers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico seem to have stumbled upon a new type of technology which could lead to batteries able to hold 10 times the storage capacity at the moment. While the fact that these batteries could be commercially viable in the future is amazing in itself, it is also worth mentioning that unlike traditional batteries they do not require expensive precious metals such as platinum. This nanotechnology carbon-based catalyst is said to be able to squeeze maximum efficiency out of new lithium air technology which is currently being investigated by IBM for one.
Small island states told to build wider ocean expertise
June 6, 2013 08:45 AM - Yojana Sharma, SciDevNet
With rising concern about ocean degradation and the sustainable use of ocean resources, small island states must build scientific expertise that goes beyond their national needs and that benefits the oceans generally, a meeting of UN scientific experts has heard. Small island developing states (SIDS) are the "custodians" of vast ocean spaces that are important for global food security, biodiversity, natural resources and carbon sequestration, and broader sustainable ocean policies will in turn enhance their own economic development, say experts.
Has power in the electric vehicle market switched from the US to China?
June 5, 2013 02:20 PM - Move Forward, Electric Forum
When we think of automobiles the likelihood is that the US is a country which will spring to mind and then perhaps other operations in the Far East, Europe and beyond. For many years the likes of Ford and General Motors have dominated the automobile industry giving the US government enormous power to lead while the rest follow. However, there is a growing concern that the US government may well be losing control of the electric vehicle market with the Chinese authorities now keener than ever to invest in this new technology. It seems almost inconceivable that President Obama, who has recently been forced to renege on his 1 million electric vehicle target, should lose control of the electric vehicle industry to China.
Good News about Los Angeles Air Pollution
June 5, 2013 07:28 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN
The emission reduction requirements on automobiles and trucks are resulting in improving air quality in the Los Angeles area. They have significantly reduced Ozone concentrations, a principal component of the smog that has been so common in the area. Another benefit is that these reductions have altered the pollution chemistry in the atmosphere, making the eye-stinging "organic nitrate" component of air pollution plummet, according to a new study led by a scientist from NOAA's Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder. For the study, being published online in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, the scientists analyzed new data from research aircraft along with archived data going back a half-century to produce a comprehensive study of air pollution in the Los Angeles region.
China’s Growing Arctic Presence
June 4, 2013 12:20 PM - Ed Struzik, Yale Environment360
China's recent admission to the Arctic Council under observer status reflects a new reality: the world's economic powers now regard development of natural resources and commerce in an increasingly ice-free Arctic as a top priority. When China — along with Japan, South Korea, Singapore, India, and Italy — was granted permanent observer status in the Arctic Council last month, it left many experts wondering whether a paradigm shift in geopolitics is taking place in the region. Until recently, security issues, search and rescue protocols, indigenous rights, climate change, and other environmental priorities were the main concerns of the intergovernmental forum, which includes the eight voting states bordering the Arctic and several indigenous organizations that enjoy participant status. But the admission of China and other major Asian economic powers as observer states is yet another strong sign, experts say, that the economic development of an increasingly ice-free Arctic is becoming a top priority of nations in the region and beyond.
What poses the greater risk, traffic accidents or air pollution?
June 4, 2013 06:20 AM - EurActiv
When a London anti-pollution organisation polled British lawmakers about the greatest risks to public health, most MPs were wrong, ranking traffic accidents or heavy drinking ahead of air pollution as a leading killer of Britons. "The vast majority of over 100 members of Parliament responding to our survey displayed a shocking level of ignorance about the health impact of air pollution," said Simon Birkett, head of Clean Air in London, an advocacy group. “"n particular, over two-thirds of Conservative MPs responding said air pollution has less impact than road traffic accidents," he said on releasing the survey results on 23 May.
June 3, 2013 01:38 PM - Suman Sahai, SciDevNet
It is time to stop discounting traditional expertise and make use of this vast and valuable resource, argues Indian scientist Suman Sahai. Science and technology have always been an important part of growth and development plans. But accepted 'scientific expertise' is Western, standardised and homogenous. From this viewpoint, the vast body of scientific expertise developed in diverse societies and cultures is discounted and ignored. Referred to as indigenous or traditional knowledge, this is a knowledge system distilled from generations of scientific work anchored in rural and tribal communities. It is different to the Western system of empirical, lab-based science — but is equally valid and efficacious.
Data from NASA's Landsat 8 now available in almost real time
June 3, 2013 06:19 AM - Editor, MONGABAY.COM
Data from NAA's Landsat 8 is now freely available, enabling researchers and the general public to access images captured by the satellite within twelve hours of reception. The data is available to download at no charge from GloVis, EarthExplorer, or via the LandsatLook Viewer. Landsat 8 launched this February and has been capturing images since April. The satellite orbits Earth every 99 minutes and captures images of every point on the planet every 16 days, beaming 400 high resolution images to ground stations every 24 hours. Landsat features nine spectral bands, which include three visible light bands, two near-infrared bands, and two shortwave infrared (SWIR) bands, among others, as well as two thermal sensors, which are used for a wide range of applications, including monitoring environmental change, detecting fires, and watching crops. Google is one of the biggest commercial users of Landsat images, which feed into Google Earth, but other users include scientists and conservationists involved in tracking deforestation and forest degradation.