Top Stories

Growth in US Energy Production Outstripping Growth in Consumption

In a recently released report, the Annual Energy Outlook 2013 (AEO2013), the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) projected the US energy markets through 2040. Their projections only take into account the effects of policies that have already been implemented in law or final regulations. The EIA found that the growth in energy production has outweighed the growth in consumption. This is due to many factors including rising crude oil and natural gas production through advanced technologies, new fuel economy requirements, and the increase in renewable fuels such as solar and wind. The result, EIA predicts, will be lower net CO2 emissions, five percent below the 2005 levels through 2040. >> Read the Full Article

Vineyard Microbes May Create Wine Variations

Wine gets it flavor from the grape itself, the climate of which the grapes are grown, and the winemaking process- so vineyard management is a crucial part in contributing to the final aromatic properties of a wine. With this, researchers are finding that a wide variety of microorganisms are also contributing to pre- and post-harvest grape quality and will essentially influence the final taste of a wine. >> Read the Full Article

Marshes on U.S. Coast Need More Protection NOW

A hundred years ago we thought that we had to fill in the marshes near populated areas along the eastern US coastline since they represented prime locations for commercial and residential development. Even after some protections were put in place to reduce the impacts of runaway development, marshes continued to serve are the places we dumped our garbage, and sent the effluents from our wastewater treatment plants. They also receive the nutrient-rich run off from agricultural land use and urban street runoff to our rivers. A major nine-year study led by researcher Linda Deegan points to the damage that human-caused nutrients inflict on salt marshes along the U.S. East Coast. In a Yale Environment 360 interview, she describes what these findings mean for an ecosystem that provides critical services, from nourishing marine life to buffering the coast from storms like Sandy. >> Read the Full Article

Fluctuating Environment May Have Driven Human Evolution

A series of rapid environmental changes in East Africa roughly 2 million years ago may be responsible for driving human evolution, according to researchers at Penn State and Rutgers University. >> Read the Full Article

New Alert To Warn Oceanic Flights of Deadly Storms

Among the many technological wonders that we landlubbers take for granted is Doppler Radar. We can order it up on our phones to see when rain, snow or hail is on the way, and pilots use it to avoid powerful storms cells that could down airplanes. But when commercial pilots venture over the open ocean, they are soon beyond the range of Doppler Radar systems and at the mercy of storms cells, with little to help them but onboard radar and their eyeballs to tell them what they might be flying into. >> Read the Full Article

DIY Solar Power and The Inevitable Pressure of Innovations

One of the unmistakable aspects of the traditional v. green energy argument, no matter which jurisdiction you are talking about, is how time and advancement necessarily does funny things to the entire dialogue. Basically, it is not that much of a stretch to compare what is going on with alternative energy technology to what went on with the advent of the automobile over a century ago. On one hand, you have the reality of the moment that there are significant cost and availability gaps in the technology. In other words, the ability to make it available to the everyday consumer at a cost comparable to the standard fossil fuel driven power sources, is always an issue. >> Read the Full Article

Come With Me on a Plastic Carpet Ride!

Cities are often littered with trash and plastics on every street corner. The haphazard candy wrapper, bottle or plastic bag blowing in the wind creates eyesores for locals and tourists alike. But what is the litter situation in the desert? You won't find too much garbage where there aren't any people, that is unless it's a piece of plastic artwork. Dutch collective, WE MAKE CARPETS, was recently commissioned by the Taragalte Festival in southern Morocco to turn ordinary plastics into a magic carpet piece of artwork. >> Read the Full Article

Sweet Potatoes Unexpected Reaction to Rising CO2 Levels

Rising levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere caused by human-driven emissions might lead to larger sweet potatoes, a staple food for many African and Asian countries, research reveals. Sweet potatoes could double in size with the increase in CO2 levels currently forecasted for the end of this century, according to research by a team from the University of Hawaii, United States. The team presented their finding at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union, in San Francisco this month (3-7 December). >> Read the Full Article

Safeway Exceeds Cage-Free Eggs Goal

Safeway Inc. is the first major grocery retailer in the U.S. to require all of its cage-free eggs to become Certified Humane. In 2008, Safeway started an initiative with its suppliers to source all Lucerne Cage-Free and O Organics shell eggs from farms that are Certified Humane. The Certified Humane label is administered by Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC). >> Read the Full Article

Christmas Trees Absorb Greenhouse Gasses

Your Christmas tree and its brethren are absorbing methane, a super greenhouse gas that they were previously suspected of emitting. In fact, previous studies put the global methane output by plants at between 62 and 236 teragrams each year. That's not small potatoes (if you will pardon the vegetable pun), but 10 to 30 percent of all methane entering the atmosphere. I refer to methane as a "super" greenhouse gas because it does what carbon dioxide does, but packs about 25 times the punch, which is bad. However, methane does not last very as long in Earth's atmosphere, which is good. Then again, one of the things methane degrades into is carbon dioxide. Bad again. Ugh. >> Read the Full Article