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EU considering fisheries link with Morocco
December 6, 2013 08:07 AM - Erik Hagen, The Ecologist
On 10 December, the European Parliament will vote over a huge fisheries partnership agreement with Morocco. If the agreement is approved the environment, human rights, peace and international law will all suffer. Erik Hagen reports. For Europe's Parliamentarians to retain a shred of honour, they must firmly repudiate this ghastly agreement. As the EU cultivates its 'good neighbour' relations with Morocco it is is turning a blind eye to those things it would rather not see.
Rutgers study looks at the Jersey Shore and climate change
December 5, 2013 04:30 PM - Roger Greenway, ENN
Superstorm Sandy caused unprecedented damage along large areas of the Jersey Shore. Many areas were flooded, not by the ocean, but by rising waters in the bays behind the barrier islands. These waters inundated towns causing damage that is still being repaired. Was this severe storm an anomaly, or can we expect more in the future? Geoscientists at Rutgers and Tufts universities estimate that the New Jersey shore will likely experience a sea-level rise of about 1.5 feet by 2050 and of about 3.5 feet by 2100 — 11 to 15 inches higher than the average for sea-level rise globally over the century. That would mean, the scientists say, that by the middle of the century, the one-in-10 year flood level at Atlantic City would exceed any flood known there from the observational record, including Superstorm Sandy.
Majority of Big Saharan Animals Threatened by Extinction
December 5, 2013 03:42 PM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
Bigger than all of Brazil, among the harshest ecosystems on Earth, and largely undeveloped, one would expect that the Sahara desert would be a haven for desert wildlife. One would anticipate that big African animals—which are facing poaching and habitat loss in other parts of the world—would thrive in this vast wilderness. But a new landmark study in Diversity and Distributions finds that the megafauna of the Sahara desert are on the verge of total collapse. "While global attention has been focused on [biodiversity] hotspots, the world’s largest tropical desert, the Sahara, has suffered a catastrophic decline in megafauna," the researchers write.
White House Highlights Importance of Reauthorizing Farm Bill
December 5, 2013 11:57 AM - Sophie Wenzlau, Worldwatch Institute
Last month, the White House Rural Council released a report highlighting the economic importance of reauthorizing the Farm Bill, the United States' primary food and agriculture policy tool. The bill—which impacts food prices, environmental conservation programs, international trade, agricultural research, food and nutrition programs, and the well-being of rural communities—has been stalled in congress for over a year, in part due to disagreement over reductions to the food stamp program. House Republicans aim to cut $40 billion in food stamp funds over the next 10 years, while Senate Democrats aim to cut only $4 billion.
Ocean Crust Could Safely Lock Away CO2
December 5, 2013 09:13 AM - ENN Staff
The burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas has led to dramatically increasing concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere causing climate change and ocean acidification. Although technologies are being developed to capture CO2 at major sources such as power stations, this will only work and help reduce the amounts of CO2 in our atmosphere if it is safely locked away. So how does one capture and sequester carbon, and where in the world should we put it? According to researchers from the University of Southampton, the answer lies beneath the oceans in the igneous rocks of the upper ocean crust.
Triple insulated windows: Baby, it's cold outside!
December 4, 2013 11:20 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
Boasting a savings of 12% whole house energy consumption savings it is tempting to immediately order new highly insulated windows for the whole house. But before you do, consider the payback. Sure, you will be snug as a bug inside the house but according to the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), it takes two decades or more for these highly insulated windows to provide a utility bill return on investment.
A whale of a tale in the North Pacific
December 4, 2013 10:00 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
Five distinct humpback whale populations have been identified in the North Pacific clearing the way for these great mammals to be designated as distinct populations segment by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The study is an internationally collaborative effort including United States, Japan, Russia, Mexico, Canada, the Philippines, Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua and Guatemala under the byline SPLASH (Structure of Populations, Levels of Abundance and Status of Humpbacks).
Reversing local extinction: scientists bring the northern bald ibis back to Europe after 300 years
December 4, 2013 09:15 AM - Federica Di Leonardo, MONGABAY.COM
The northern bald ibis (Geronticus eremita), also called the hermit ibis or waldrapp, is a migratory bird. Once, the bald ibis lived in the Middle East, northern Africa and southern and central Europe, but due to hunting, loss of habitat and pesticide-use, the birds disappeared from most of these areas and is currently considered Critically Endangered. It became extinct in Europe 300 years ago; the bird is almost gone in Syria, with only a single individual recorded at the country's lone breeding site in 2013; and the only stronghold left is a small population of around 500 birds in Morocco. But now, a team of scientists from Austria is working to reestablish a self-sustaining, migratory population of bald ibis in Europe.
Arctic Peregrines impacted by increasing precipitation
December 4, 2013 07:01 AM - ScienceDaily
Rain, crucial to sustaining life on Earth, is proving deadly for young peregrine falcons in Canada's Arctic. A University of Alberta study recently published in Oecologia shows that an increase in the frequency of heavy rain brought on by warmer summer temperatures is posing a threat not seen in this species since before pesticides such as DDT were banned from use in Canada in 1970. The study is among the first to directly link rainfall to survival of wild birds in Canada.
Jupiter's Great Red Spot Explained
December 3, 2013 11:46 AM - Allison Winter, ENN
The Great Red Spot on Jupiter is a persistent anticyclonic storm that just won't die, making it one of the solar system's most mysterious landmarks. Earth observations estimate that the storm has been around for centuries and it is not known how long the storm and spot will last — even when fluid dynamics prove that the storm must die. However, for the first time, researchers have made progress on divulging the secrets of the giant storm's longevity.