Fracking poses risk to UK farm animals and food safety, experts warn
September 18, 2013 01:02 PM - Andrew Wasley, Ecologist
US researchers behind a study that showed links between gas drilling and sickness in livestock say a moratorium should be imposed on fracking in the UK until its impact on food safety can be assessed. Andrew Wasley reports
Sustainable Forest Innovations Revitalize Hard Hit Communities
September 18, 2013 07:45 AM - Charlie Spies, CEO CEI Capital Management LLC, Triple Pundit
From Maine to Georgia to Arizona to Oregon, new forest-based enterprises are coming on line with financial support from New Markets Tax Credits every day. These tax credits provide incentives for private investors to fund projects that create or preserve jobs and diversify economies in distressed communities. The result is re-invention and job creation within the supply chain of an age-old industry: growing new forests, sustainably harvesting and moving the timber, and then processing it in 21st century ways by breaking down the trees into fiber and even into molecules with a variety of potential uses.
The Carbon Credentials of Smartphones
September 17, 2013 12:47 PM - Dave Thomas, The Ecologist
Launching alongside Apple's flagship 5S iPhone will be the 5C, the first mid-range iPhone, with fewer features and a plastic casing instead of aluminium. The 5S will have a carbon footprint of 70kg, the 5C a footprint of 60kg. Of the 5S's 70kg carbon footprint, 81% will be emitted during production and 12% during phone's 'career' (which is how I like to think of it). The new iPhones will be less environmentally friendly than those that came before. To be clear: the total carbon footprint per phone has increased, but mostly that is accounted for by production. In terms of running cost, an 13W energy efficient lightbulb is eight times more wasteful than an iPhone.
FIFA To Offset the 2014 World Cup Carbon Footprint
September 17, 2013 10:00 AM - Gina-Marie Cheeseman, Triple Pundit
The FIFA World Cup is the world's largest single-event sporting competition, so it only makes sense that FIFA wants to project what the carbon footprint of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil will be. That carbon footprint will be significant, with just over 2.7 million tons of carbon projected to be emitted altogether by both the 2014 World Cup and the 2013 Confederations Cup. Transportation is expected to account for 80.1 percent of the carbon footprint, according to a report released in May. Jerome Valcke, FIFA Secretary General, stated in a recent blog post that FIFA and the World Cup local organizing committee (LOC) will offset carbon emissions through offsetting projects and by encouraging stakeholders to "lower their carbon footprint."
Optimizing Corn Production in the Face of Climate Change
September 16, 2013 04:35 PM - Robin Valinski, ENN
Kenya is no stranger to adaptation when it comes to food production. Kenya’s cultural and political underpinnings are reliant upon adaptation to current climatic conditions. Present predictions are that drastic adaptation will be necessary once again. According to the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA), climate change is likely to threaten maize production for farmers in certain areas of Kenya. Conversely, other arable landmasses that have been less suited to maize production are likely to become better suited to this important crop forcing agricultural officials and farmers to reassess their farmland use and suitability.
Start-up promises to revolutionise shrimp farming
September 16, 2013 07:59 AM - Michelle Dobrovolny, SciDevNet
A UK start-up says it has developed a low-cost, ecological alternative to traditional shrimp farming by using bacteria as both a water filter and food for its shrimp. IKEA-like portable units using microbes and solar power to cheaply grow shrimp indoors could transform the booming aquaculture sector and prevent further environmental degradation, according to its inventors.
New insight on how tropical forests capture carbon
September 16, 2013 06:23 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN
Tropical forests are important globally in removing carbon from the atmosphere. It has been assumed that the tress were the mechanism that made this work. New research from Princeton University has shed insight on the importance of bacteria that co-exist with the trees have in absorbing atmospheric carbon. A unique housing arrangement between a specific group of tree species and a carbo-loading bacteria may determine how well tropical forests can absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, according to a Princeton University-based study. The findings suggest that the role of tropical forests in offsetting the atmospheric buildup of carbon from fossil fuels depends on tree diversity, particularly in forests recovering from exploitation. Tropical forests thrive on natural nitrogen fertilizer pumped into the soil by trees in the legume family, a diverse group that includes beans and peas, the researchers report in the journal Nature. The researchers studied second-growth forests in Panama that had been used for agriculture five to 300 years ago. The presence of legume trees ensured rapid forest growth in the first 12 years of recovery and thus a substantial carbon "sink," or carbon-storage capacity. Tracts of land that were pasture only 12 years before had already accumulated as much as 40 percent of the carbon found in fully mature forests. Legumes contributed more than half of the nitrogen needed to make that happen, the researchers reported.
Severe flooding in Colorado linked to global warming
September 15, 2013 08:17 AM - Beth Buczynski, Care2
I live in Denver, Colorado, and for the past few days, we've had nothing but rain. Three months of rain in 48 hours, to be exact. The surge of water has caused rivers and streams to overflow their banks, drowning Boulder, Loveland, Longmont, Estes Park and many other towns along the Front Range under several feet of rushing water. Conditions were so bad, the National Weather Service felt compelled to use the words "biblical rainfall amounts" to communicate the risk to local residents. Any other time, extra precipitation is cause for rejoicing in Colorado. Ongoing drought has facilitated massive wildfires across the state for two years running. We'll take all the wet we can get, although as the past few days have shown, we'd prefer it doesn't all fall at once.
Scottish government to ban petrol and diesel cars from city centres
September 14, 2013 07:30 AM - MOVEFORWARD, Electric Forum
While many sceptics and supporters of the electric vehicle industry have been discussing aspects of a petrol and diesel car ban from city centres, few had expected this to emerge in the news in the short to medium term. However, the Scottish government has today announced plans to ban petrol and diesel vehicles from town and city centres across the country although the target date for this could be as far out as 2050. Even though the Scottish government has been one of the greatest supporters of green travel and renewable energy, even this is a major step forward for the Scottish National Party.
Adopting Healthy, Sustainable Diets
September 13, 2013 12:29 PM - Editor, ENN
Those who want to eat healthy tend to have a sustainable diet, and those who want to eat sustainably are often drawn to healthier foods. These two diet tracks go hand-in-hand as we are learning that the way we eat not only affects our health, but affects our environment as well. One of the clearest impacts of our food addiction is the destruction of forested areas for agricultural produce. This puts a heavy toll on our global CO2 output. For example, between 1990 and 2008 Europe imported and consumed about 9 million hectares of newly deforested land, (roughly three times the size of Belgium); and all this despite the fact that we throw away over one-third of the food we produce.