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Aircraft may be lessening their carbon footprint, but what about airports?

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.

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The dangers of indoor air pollution

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.

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What is the value of bees?

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.

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Stricter emissions standards for trucks proposed

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.

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Kids need green open spaces

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.

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Pope Francis challenges us all on Climate Change and improving the life of the poor

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.

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US has more oil spills than you think

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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Will Visitation at US National Parks Warm Up or Overheat?

Visitation at U.S. National Parks may potentially increase with increasing temperature in temperate areas, but may decrease with temperatures rising over 80 degrees Fahrenheit, according to a study using future climate and visitation modeling scenarios published June 17 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Nicholas Fisichelli and colleagues from U.S. National Park Service. 

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Why does the Earth's core appear to be so light?

​The old tales may be true: There is brimstone in the underworld, and lots of it. Brimstone, the biblical name for sulfur, is often found near hot springs and volcanic fissures on Earth’s surface (above). But scientists studying the formation of Earth’s core have shown that the lightweight nonmetal might also be present there in vast quantities, answering a question that has long troubled earth scientists: How could Earth’s core—predominantly made of the heavy elements iron and nickel—appear as light as it does when analyzed using seismic waves? 

Researchers report online today and in the July issue of Geochemical Perspectives Letters that the answer may be sulfur trapped deep within Earth. To come up with their results, the team compared the proportions of copper isotopes in ancient meteorites—the presumed building blocks of our planet—with the proportions of copper isotopes in rocks originating from the mantle—the deep layer of viscous rock beneath Earth’s crust.

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Bad News for Groundwater Basins

About one third of Earth's largest groundwater basins are being rapidly depleted by human consumption, despite having little accurate data about how much water remains in them, according to two new studies led by the University of California, Irvine (UCI), using data from NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites. This means that significant segments of Earth's population are consuming groundwater quickly without knowing when it might run out, the researchers conclude. The findings are published today in Water Resources Research.

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