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New fossil shines light on primate and human evolution
June 12, 2013 09:47 AM - Allison Winter, ENN
A 55 million year old fossil that has been unearthed from an ancient lakebed in China's Hubei Province has revealed a pivotal event in primate and human evolution. Hailing from the early Eocene Epoch, the fossil is crucial to the branch split that led to anthropoids (monkeys, apes, and humans) on one side, and living tarsiers (small, tree-dwelling nocturnal primates) on the other. The discovered fossil represents a previously unknown genus and species named Archicebus Achilles.
Ocean acidification pushing young oysters into 'death race'
June 12, 2013 08:51 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
Scientists have long known that ocean acidification is leading to a decline in Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas) in the U.S.'s Pacific Northwest region, but a new study in the American Geophysical Union shows exactly how the change is undercutting populations of these economically-important molluscs. Caused by carbon dioxide emissions, ocean acidification changes the very chemistry of marine waters by lowering pH levels; this has a number consequences including decreasing the availability of calcium carbonate, which oysters and other molluscs use to build shells.
Offshore Floating Wind Turbines
June 12, 2013 06:20 AM - ClickGreen staff, ClickGreen
RenewableUK has heralded new announcements today which will bring floating turbines a step closer to UK waters and open up the possibility of further developments. At RenewableUK's Offshore Wind conference in Manchester, the Crown Estate, the managers of the seabed, announced a new offshore wind leasing round for innovative structures.
June 11, 2013 05:32 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Everything is in near constant movement even if it cannot be seen by the naked eye. Just the right movement can cause things like chemical reactions to happen. Catalysts can stop working when atoms on the surface start moving. At the Vienna University of Technology, this dance of the atoms could now be observed and explained.
Panama expects benefits from world's first GM salmon
June 11, 2013 03:45 PM - Eva Aguilar, SciDevNet
Panama's researchers have played a key role in creating a rapidly growing salmon that may soon become the world's first commercially sold genetically modified (GM) animal. The US's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ruled the consumption of GM salmon to be as safe as conventional Atlantic salmon, and is now analyzing public comments on its environmental impact as the final part of the approval process. If the FDA permits the transgenic salmon to be imported for human consumption — which the firm that developed the fish hopes will be granted this year — the research station in Panama that is studying the GM salmon would switch to growing it for the US market.
Exporting Carbon Dioxide in China
June 11, 2013 09:50 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
Nobody likes carbon dioxide pollution. So if you are rich enough you send it elsewhere. Just as wealthy nations like the United States are outsourcing their carbon dioxide emissions to China, rich coastal provinces in that country are outsourcing emissions to poorer provinces in the interior, according to UC Irvine climate change researcher Steve Davis and colleagues. The findings, to be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences show that more developed areas such as Beijing and Shanghai import steel, heavy industrial equipment and other materials from provinces such as Inner Mongolia, where highly polluting manufacturing facilities produce the raw goods.
One Man's Trash is Another Man's Pay Dirt
June 11, 2013 08:58 AM - Alison Singer, Worldwatch Institute
It is, unfortunately, society's nature to discard the unwanted or forgotten. This tendency is on display across the globe, from slums of mega-cities to undernourished children in rural villages to the ugly endangered creatures that never receive attention. Nowhere, however, is this tendency more apparent than in our trash. We accumulate so much unwanted stuff that each city-dweller throws away an average of 1.2 kilograms of municipal solid waste per day. An individual's trash puts all those unwanted items on display, whether it is an old love letter, a broken glass, or a half-eaten ham and cheese sandwich.
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.
Tibetan monks could be the key to safeguarding the snow leopard (Panthera uncia) from extinction, according to an innovative program by big cat NGO Panthera which is partnering with Buddhist monasteries deep in leopard territory. Listed as Endangered by the IUCN Red List, snow leopard populations have dropped by a fifth in the last 16 years or so. Large, beautiful, and almost never-seen, snow leopards are the apex predators of the high plateaus and mountains of central Asia, but their survival like so many big predators is in jeopardy. Tom McCarthy the head of the Snow Leopard Program at Panthera told mongabay.com that the high-altitude predators are facing three major threats: poaching for illegal snow leopard skins, fur, and parts; decline in natural prey; and revenge killing by locals over livestock losses.
Volcanic Eruptions Linked to Cold Weather Events
June 10, 2013 03:06 PM - Allison Winter, ENN
When a volcano erupts, it's not just the local area and weather that will be affected. In fact, weather and climate around the world can be influenced, as large eruptions throw volcanic ash particles into the stratosphere. Locally, these particles attract water droplets and therefore cause rain events. In addition, higher occurrences of thunder and lightening are observed in the area. But the release of sulphur dioxide gas into the stratosphere, which converts into sulphate aerosol particles, reflects incoming sunlight and creates an overall temporary cooling effect of a much larger area on Earth's surface.