Top Stories

Measuring Climate Change Action
June 23, 2015 07:29 AM - MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change

Reducing global greenhouse gas emissions could have big benefits in the U.S., according to a report released today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), including thousands of avoided deaths from extreme heat, billions of dollars in saved infrastructure expenses, and prevented destruction of natural resources and ecosystems.

Fracking helping utilities reduce reliance on coal
June 23, 2015 07:15 AM - MARIE CUSICK, NPR

When you flip on a light switch, odds are, you're burning coal. But as the fracking boom continues to unleash huge quantities of natural gas, the nation's electric grid is changing. Power plants are increasingly turning to this low-cost, cleaner-burning fossil fuel.

Bill Pentak stands in the middle of a construction site, looking up at his company's latest project towering overhead — a new natural gas power plant.

"This plant was sited precisely where it is because of its access to the abundant, high-quality natural gas that's found a mile to two miles beneath our feet," he says.

A look at N2O: Nitrous oxide emissions may be higher than previously thought
June 22, 2015 05:01 PM - Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel

In addition to carbon dioxide there are plenty of other greenhouse gases. Nitrous oxide is one of them. However, a global assessment of emissions from the oceans is difficult because the measurement methods used so far have only allowed rough estimates. Using a new technology for continuous measurements, researchers of the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel and the Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel have now discovered that nitrous oxide emissions from the Southeast Pacific are much higher than previously thought. They publish their data in the international journal Nature Gesoscience.

Aircraft may be lessening their carbon footprint, but what about airports?
June 22, 2015 08:47 AM - Timothy Spence, EurActiv

Today’s passenger aircraft are becoming ever more efficient, driven by regulations like the EU’s emissions trading scheme and airlines looking to squeeze profit out of every drop of fuel saved. Yet on the ground, airports operate in a different class. New findings from a European Union-funded research project show that commercial airports use as much energy as a small city, and up to one-fifth of that may be wasted.

The dangers of indoor air pollution
June 22, 2015 07:47 AM - SciDevNet

Household air pollution may have caused around 4.3 million premature deaths from respiratory diseases in 2012, mainly in developing countries, according to a medical paper.

Such pollution dramatically increases the risk of both children and adults contracting chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), says the paper, published online last month in Seminars in Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

The conclusions are based on an analysis of medical studies about the respiratory effects on people exposed to household air pollution.

What is the value of bees?
June 21, 2015 09:55 AM - Steve Williams, Care2

What are bees worth to our economy? A group of researchers have attempted to do the math, and the result shows exactly why we need to protect our pollinating bees but also why we can’t rely on economic worth alone to make our arguments for saving threatened species.

It may sound slightly abhorrent to put a price on a living creature–and, to an extent, it is. But calculating the monetary worth of wildlife and, in particular, their place in the overall economy has become a useful way for researchers to communicate to governments and even businesses that they need to take a closer look at preventing species die-out. When it comes to bees however, researchers have found an interesting fact that they say shows the worth and the shortcomings of this approach.

Stricter emissions standards for trucks proposed
June 20, 2015 07:17 AM - Scott Neuman, NPR

The Obama administration announced new rules today that would require tighter emissions guidelines for medium and heavy-duty trucks in an effort to reduce greenhouse gases.

The rules, proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), were expected to cut carbon dioxide emissions from trucks and vans by one-quarter by the year 2027.

The proposed standards affect semi-trucks, large pickup trucks and vans, buses and work trucks and cover model years 2021-2027, officials said.

Kids need green open spaces
June 19, 2015 07:58 AM - Renee Farris , Triple Pundit

Is it coincidence that Isaac Newton discovered gravity while sitting under a tree? Or that Albert Einstein said, “Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better.”

A study was just released that says outdoor green spaces make kids smarter.

The study assessed whether exposure to green space improved the cognitive development in children. Researchers tested the cognitive development of 2,593 schoolchildren in Spain, ages 7 to 10.

Pope Francis challenges us all on Climate Change and improving the life of the poor
June 18, 2015 07:52 AM - Steffen Böhm, University of Essex, The Ecologist

The Encyclical due to be published today by Pope Francis represents a profound religious and philosophical challenge to the mainstream narratives of our times, writes Steffen Böhm, and a major confrontation with the great corporate, economic and political powers, as it spells out the potential of a new world order rooted in love, compassion, and care for the natural world.

Improving the lives of slum dwellers and addressing climate change is, for Pope Francis, one and the same thing. Both require tackling the structural, root causes of inequality, injustice, poverty and environmental degradation.

US has more oil spills than you think
June 18, 2015 06:47 AM - Roy L Hales, ECOreport

The US has more oil spills than we thought and the number doubled after production increased six years ago. Richard Stover, PhD, and the Center for Biological Diversity counted nearly 8,000 significant incidents, between 1986 and 2014, in records of the pipeline safety administration. By “significant” they mean causing injury, death, damages exceeding $50,000 in value, a loss of 5 barrels of highly volatile substances, 50 barrels of other liquids or there was an explosion. There have been more than 500 human deaths and 2,300 injuries through-out that period. The number of plant and animal casualties is much higher.

 

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