Top Stories

Canada's Vast Source of Climate Pollution May Go Bust
January 12, 2017 10:42 AM - Bobby Magill

The Canadian oil sands are one of the world’s largest sources of climate pollution and America’s biggest source of imported oil. And they may be about to go bust.

Canada’s oil sands, also known as tar sands, are the world’s fourth-largest reserve of crude oil. Mining them unleashes massive volumes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, easing the way for global warming to blow past 2°C (3.6°F) — levels considered “dangerous” under the Paris Climate Agreement.

Study describes new method to remove nickel from contaminated seawater
January 12, 2017 10:11 AM - Springer

The same deposit that builds up in many tea kettles or water pipes in areas where calcium-rich water is the norm might be just the (cheap) ticket to rid contaminated seawater of toxic metals. This is according to a study by a research group led by Charlotte Carré of the University of New Caledonia in the French Pacific territory of New Caledonia and published today in Springer’s journal Environmental Chemistry Letters. The researchers dipped electrodes made from galvanized steel into contaminated seawater and ran a weak current through it. Within seven days, up to 24 percent of the nickel it initially contained was trapped in a calcareous build-up of limestone.

Beijing Creates Anti-Smog Police to Fight Air Pollution
January 12, 2017 09:26 AM - , Care2

Authorities in Beijing are taking new actions to resolve the city’s ongoing and harmful air pollution problem with the creation of an anti-smog police force — but will it help?

Beijing’s acting mayor Cai Qi reportedly announced the initiative on Saturday, January 7. The dedicated branch of regulation enforcement will patrol the streets looking specifically for violations that could harm air quality, including open air barbecues, unlicensed burning of materials and improperly maintained roads.

Affordable water in the US: A burgeoning crisis
January 12, 2017 09:13 AM - Michigan State University

If water rates continue rising at projected amounts, the number of U.S. households unable to afford water could triple in five years, to nearly 36 percent, finds new research by a Michigan State University scholar.

Affordable water in the US: A burgeoning crisis
January 12, 2017 09:13 AM - Michigan State University

If water rates continue rising at projected amounts, the number of U.S. households unable to afford water could triple in five years, to nearly 36 percent, finds new research by a Michigan State University scholar.

Scientists identify protein central to immune response against tuberculosis bacteria
January 12, 2017 09:08 AM - UT Southwestern Medical Center

UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have identified a protein that is central to the immune system’s ability to recognize and destroy the bacterium responsible for the global tuberculosis (TB) epidemic.

PRESSURE FROM GRAZERS HASTENS ECOSYSTEM COLLAPSE FROM DROUGHT
January 11, 2017 04:39 PM - Brian Reed Silliman via Duke University

Extreme droughts, intensified by a warming climate, are increasingly causing ecosystem collapse in many regions worldwide. But models used by scientists to predict the tipping points at which drought stress leads to ecosystem collapse have proven unreliable and too optimistic.

A new study by scientists at Duke University and Beijing Normal University may hold the answer why.   

The researchers found that these tipping points can happen much sooner than current models predict because of the added pressures placed on drought-weakened plants by grazing animals and fungal pathogens.

CWRU researchers directly measure how perovskite solar films efficiently convert light to power
January 11, 2017 02:43 PM - Case Western Reserve University

Measurement shows potential for building better solar cells by imaging fundamental properties of the material

Solar cells made with films mimicking the structure of the mineral perovskite are the focus of worldwide research. But only now have researchers at Case Western Reserve University directly shown the films bear a key property allowing them to efficiently convert sunlight into electricity.

Identifying that attribute could lead to more efficient solar panels.

Changing climate changes soils
January 11, 2017 02:29 PM - American Society of Agronomy

The hottest months. The snowiest winters. Catastrophic floods and droughts.

Climate change impacts lives across the world in drastic and unpredictable ways. This unpredictability also extends to the more subtle – yet still important – effects of climate change.

For example, it is uncertain how climate change will affect soils and their ability to support productive farms or healthy natural ecosystems.

Campus greenhouse gas emissions down 7 percent since 2014
January 11, 2017 02:15 PM - Francesca M. Schembri via Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT’s total campus emissions have dropped by 7 percent since 2014, according to MIT’s second annual greenhouse gas inventory. The inventory, whose results were released by the MIT Office of Sustainability in collaboration with the Department of Facilities and the Environment, Health and Safety Office, measured campus emissions in fiscal year 2016, which runs from July 2015 through June 2016. The analysis provides a wealth of data to inform MIT’s carbon-reduction strategies going forward.

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