Top Stories

Poachers seen at unique elephant habitat

Poachers have entered one of Africa's most unique elephant habitats this week, threatening to cause one of the biggest elephant massacres in the region since poachers killed at least 300 elephants for their ivory in Cameroon's Bouba N'Djida National Park in February 2012. According to WWF sources, a group of 17 armed individuals on Monday entered the Dzanga-Ndoki National Park and headed for the Dzanga Bai, locally known as the "village of elephants", a large clearing where between 50 and 200 elephants congregate every day to drink mineral salts present in the sands. >> Read the Full Article

Agriculture and Livestock Remain Major Sources of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Global greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector totaled 4.69 billion tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent in 2010 (the most recent year for which data are available), an increase of 13 percent over 1990 emissions. By comparison, global CO2 emissions from transport totaled 6.76 billion tons that year, and emissions from electricity and heat production reached 12.48 billion tons, according to Worldwatch Institute’s Vital Signs Online service. >> Read the Full Article

Ground Water Flow Rate

Ground water flow rates can be a slow process. USGS hydrologic researchers, for example, have found that the movement of nitrate through groundwater to streams can take decades to occur. This long lag time means that changes in the use of nitrogen-based fertilizer (the typical source of nitrate) — whether the change is initiation, adjustment, or cessation — may take decades to be fully observed in their effect on streams, according to a recent study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology. Water quality experts have been noting in recent years that nitrate trends in streams and rivers do not match their expectations based on reduced regional use of nitrogen-based fertilizer. The long travel times of groundwater discharge, like those documented in this study, is the likely cause. >> Read the Full Article

Illegal Fishing Linked to Seafood Fraud in New Report

Today, as the nation's top leaders in fishery management come together at the 2013 Managing Our Nation's Fisheries Conference in Washington, D.C. to discuss science and sustainability, Oceana released a new report finding that illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing leads to seafood fraud and threatens fishing economies, seafood consumers and vulnerable marine species on a global scale. According to recent estimates, IUU fishing accounts for 20 percent of the global catch and contributes to economic losses of $10-23 billion, while also threatening 260 million jobs that depend on marine fisheries around the world. "Similar to the illegal ivory trade, pirate fishing is decimating the ocean's most vulnerable and valuable wildlife - we are losing the elephants of the sea to poachers," said Oceana campaign director and senior scientist Margot Stiles. "By fishing illegally, including in national parks, and targeting endangered species with destructive gear, poachers provoke economic losses in the billions of dollars every year, undermining decades of conservation by more responsible fishermen." >> Read the Full Article

DVD discs double as cheap diagnostic kit for HIV

Researchers have turned conventional DVDs into portable and cheap diagnostic tools for developing countries, and are now adapting their prototype into a workable medical device. A team led by Aman Russom of the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden has demonstrated proof-of-concept for the tool by testing for HIV. Blood samples are loaded into micro-channels on a modified, semi-transparent DVD disc and scanned by a DVD reader, which has been adapted to detect light transmitted through the disc. The image can then be visualized on a computer screen. >> Read the Full Article

Black Sea Changes and Reponses

When Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) marine paleoecologist Marco Coolen was mining through vast amounts of genetic data from the Black Sea sediment record, he was amazed about the variety of past plankton species that had left behind their genetic makeup as a sign of their environmental responses. The semi-isolated Black Sea is highly sensitive to climate driven environmental changes, and the underlying sediments represent high-resolution archives of past continental climate and concurrent hydrologic changes in the basin. The brackish Black Sea is currently receiving salty Mediterranean waters via the narrow Strait of Bosphorus as well as freshwater from rivers and via precipitation. In the past the Black Sea was more of a freshwater lake than a salty sea. Over the centuries the Black Sea has changed back and forth due to the ever changing climatic conditions of the world. >> Read the Full Article

Verizon Expands Investment in Alternative Energy

Verizon has announced it will invest $100 million in a solar and fuel cell energy project that will help power 19 of its facilities in seven states across the country. The company estimates the completed project will generate more than 70 million kilowatt of clean energy, which would be enough to power more than 6,000 single-family homes a year. This amount of clean, solar power prevents the emission of more than 10,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is enough to offset the annual CO2 emissions from more than 1 million gallons of gas. >> Read the Full Article

Chemical Manufacturers Enhance Commitment to Chemical Product Safety with New Responsible Care® Code

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) and its members today launched a new Responsible Care Product Safety Code. Based on existing industry best practices, the Product Safety Code goes above and beyond regulatory requirements to manage the safety of chemicals in products that consumers rely on every day. The announcement comes as ACC marks the 25th anniversary of Responsible Care, an industry environmental, health, safety and security performance initiative focused on the safe, responsible, sustainable management of chemicals. Participation in Responsible Care is a condition of ACC membership. >> Read the Full Article

Volcano in Philippines Erupts, Killing Tourists

Three German tourists and their Filipino tour guide were crushed to death when one of the Philippines' most active volcanoes spewed a giant ash cloud and a hail of rocks on Tuesday, authorities said. Up to 20 foreigners and their guides were on the slopes of picturesque Mount Mayon when it erupted without warning, and rescue workers had been dispatched on helicopters to search for survivors, officials and a tour operator said. "It rained like hell with stones," local tour operator Marti Calleja quoted an Austrian woman who survived the ordeal as saying. "The rocks that came crashing down on them were as big as dining (table) sets," he told AFP by phone. >> Read the Full Article

Bright Clouds with Added Pollution

University of Manchester scientists, writing in the journal Nature Geoscience, have shown that some natural emissions and man made pollutants can have an unexpected cooling effect on the world’s climate by making clouds brighter. Clouds are made of water droplets, condensed on to tiny particles suspended in the air. When the air is humid enough, the particles swell into larger cloud droplets. It has been known for some decades that the number of these particles and their size control how bright the clouds appear from the top, which affects the the efficiency with which clouds scatter sunlight back into space. A major challenge for climate science is to understand and quantify these effects which have a major impact in polluted regions of the world. >> Read the Full Article