Top Stories

Chemists find new way to recycle plastic waste into fuel
June 21, 2016 05:00 PM - University of California – Irvine via EurekAlert!

A new way of recycling millions of tons of plastic garbage into liquid fuel has been devised by researchers from the University of California, Irvine and the Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry (SIOC) in China.

"Synthetic plastics are a fundamental part of modern life, but our use of them in large volume has created serious environmental problems," said UCI chemist Zhibin Guan. "Our goal through this research was to address the issue of plastic pollution as well as achieving a beneficial outcome of creating a new source of liquid fuel."

Carbon dioxide hits record highs in Southern hemisphere
June 21, 2016 01:30 PM - CNRS via ScienceDaily

Last month, the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) as measured at Amsterdam Island, in the southern Indian Ocean, for the first time exceeded the symbolic value of 400 ppm, or 0.04%. The CO2 concentrations recorded at the Amsterdam Island research station are the lowest in the world (excluding seasonal cycles), due to the island's remoteness from anthropogenic sources. The 400 ppm threshold was already crossed in the Northern hemisphere during the 2012/2013 winter. In addition, the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere is speeding up, growing by more than 2 ppm annually over the past four years. The data has been collected for the past 35 years at the Amsterdam Island research station by the French national observation service ICOS-France at the Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement (LSCE, CNRS / CEA / UVSQ), with the support of the Institut Polaire Français Paul-Emile Victor (IPEV).

How China can ramp up wind power
June 21, 2016 11:38 AM - Massachusetts Institute of Technology via ScienceDaily

China has an opportunity to massively increase its use of wind power -- if it properly integrates wind into its existing power system, according to a new study. The research forecasts that wind power could provide 26 percent of China's projected electricity demand by 2030, up from 3 percent in 2015.

Such a change would be a substantial gain in the global transition to renewable energy, since China produces the most total greenhouse gas emissions of any country in the world.

Threats to habitat connectivity as sea waters inundate coastal areas
June 21, 2016 07:05 AM - Jim Melvin, Clemson University

By the year 2100, sea levels might rise as much as 2.5 meters above their current levels, which would seriously threaten coastal cities and other low-lying areas. In turn, this would force animals to migrate farther inland in search of higher ground. But accelerated urbanization, such as the rapidly expanding Piedmont area that stretches from Atlanta to eastern North Carolina, could cut off their escape routes and create climate-induced extinctions.

Researchers find better way to 'herd' electrons in solar fuel devices
June 20, 2016 02:23 PM - University of British Columbia via EurekAlert!

Researchers at the University of British Columbia and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have discovered a new way to optimize electron transfer in semi-conductors used in solar fuel solutions.

The finding, published today in Nature Chemistry, could have a big impact on devices that convert sunlight into electricity and fuel.

Improving poor soil with burned up biomass
June 20, 2016 07:15 AM - RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science

Researchers at the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science in Japan have shown that torrefied biomass can improve the quality of poor soil found in arid regions. Published in Scientific Reports, the study showed that adding torrefied biomass to poor soil from Botswana increased water retention in the soil as well as —the amount of plant growth.

First Mammal Goes Extinct From Manmade Climate Change
June 17, 2016 07:23 AM - Kevin Mathews, Care2

We’ve reached a sad milestone: Climate change has claimed its first mammal species. Scientists have been warning us that a large percentage of species will face extinction thanks to manmade global warming, and the future is unfortunately here.

According to The Guardian, climate change’s first mammal victim was an adorable rodent known as the Bramble Cay melomys. Sometimes called a mosaic-tailed rat, the melomys was named after Bramble Cay, an Australian island close to Papua New Guinea, that was the only known home for the species.

700-year-old West African soil technique could help mitigate climate change
June 16, 2016 11:07 AM - University of Sussex via EurekAlert!

A farming technique practised for centuries by villagers in West Africa, which converts nutrient-poor rainforest soil into fertile farmland, could be the answer to mitigating climate change and revolutionising farming across Africa.

700-year-old West African soil technique could help mitigate climate change
June 16, 2016 11:07 AM - University of Sussex via EurekAlert!

A farming technique practised for centuries by villagers in West Africa, which converts nutrient-poor rainforest soil into fertile farmland, could be the answer to mitigating climate change and revolutionising farming across Africa.

What Would a Global Warming Increase of 1.5 Degrees Be Like?
June 16, 2016 10:02 AM - Fred Pearce via Yale Environment360.

How ambitious is the world? The Paris climate conference last December astounded many by pledging not just to keep warming “well below two degrees Celsius,” but also to "pursue efforts" to limit warming to 1.5 degrees C. That raised a hugely important question: What's the difference between a two-degree world and a 1.5-degree world?

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