• Global CO2 emissions off 1.3 percent in 2009

    Global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2009 fell 1.3 percent to 31.3 billion tonnes in the first year-on-year decline in this decade, German renewable energy institute IWR said on Friday. The Muenster-based institute, which advises German ministries, cited the global economic crisis and rising investments in renewable energies for the fall in emissions. Global investment in renewable installations for power, heat and fuels last year rose to 125 billion euros ($161 billion) from 120 billion in 2008, IWR said. But IWR director Norbert Allnoch said given the force of the crisis, the reductions in CO2 output could have been greater, had stronger output in Asian and Middle Eastern countries not overcompensated the savings obtained from declines in Europe, Russia, Japan and the U.S. >> Read the Full Article
  • Harvesting Indonesian Ice

    Ice can exist on the equator, so long as it's at a high elevation. The Indonesian mountain ridge, which rises to 16,000 feet on the island of New Guinea, supports the presence of such an ice field. According to a study by researchers from Ohio State University, that tropical ice field can disappear within a few years. Their studies also offer clues of the El Nino weather phenomenon that dominates climate variability in the tropics. >> Read the Full Article
  • Russia's fires cause "brown cloud," may hit Arctic

    Smoke from forest fires smothering Moscow adds to health problems of "brown clouds" from Asia to the Amazon and Russian soot may stoke global warming by hastening a thaw of Arctic ice, environmental experts say. "Health effects of such clouds are huge," said Veerabhadran Ramanathan, chair of a U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) study of "brown clouds" blamed for dimming sunlight in cities such as Beijing or New Delhi and hitting crop growth in Asia. The clouds -- a haze of pollution from cars or coal-fired power plants, forest fires and wood and other materials burned for cooking and heating -- are near-permanent and blamed for causing chronic respiratory and heart diseases. >> Read the Full Article
  • Biochar

    Biochar is charcoal type created by the pyrolysis of biomass, and differs from ordinary charcoal only in the sense that its primary use is not for fuel, but for biosequestration or atmospheric carbon capture and storage. As much as 12 percent of the world’s human caused greenhouse gas emissions could be sustainably offset by producing biochar. That’s more than what could be offset if the same plants and materials were burned to generate energy, concludes a recent study published in the journal Nature Communications. Biochar could sequester carbon in the soil for hundreds to thousands of years. >> Read the Full Article
  • Rising temperatures threaten rice yield growth

    Rising temperatures could slow the growth of rice production unless farmers adapt by changing management practices and switch to more heat-tolerant varieties, scientists say. Rice is among the world's most important crops and a staple for people in Asia and Africa, with Asia producing and consuming more than 90 percent of the world's output. A drop in production could lead to higher prices, fears over food security and more hunger in a world with a rising human population. A team of researchers led by Jarrod Welch of the University of California, San Diego, found that rice yields drop as night time temperatures rise over time, although the exact reasons why are not perfectly understood. >> Read the Full Article
  • Accusations of Flawed Climate Science are Rejected by the EPA

    Since the Obama Administration came to power in Washington, the EPA has taken upon itself the mission of addressing global climate change. They have been very proactive in getting information out confirming that climate change exists and that it is caused, at least in part, by human activities. Ten petitions were sent to the agency to challenge the EPA's position on climate change. Upon review, the EPA has decided to fully reject the claims made in the petitions, determining that they are without merit. >> Read the Full Article
  • Huge ice island calves off Greenland glacier

    An ice island four times the size of Manhattan broke off from one of Greenland's two main glaciers, scientists said on Friday, in the biggest such event in the Arctic in nearly 50 years. The new ice island, which broke off on Thursday, will enter a remote place called the Nares Strait, about 620 miles south of the North Pole between Greenland and Canada. The ice island has an area of 100 square miles (260 square km) and a thickness up to half the height of the Empire State Building, said Andreas Muenchow, professor of ocean science and engineering at the University of Delaware. Muenchow said he had expected an ice chunk to break off from the Petermann Glacier, one of the two largest remaining ones in Greenland, because it had been growing in size for seven or eight years. But he did not expect it to be so large. >> Read the Full Article
  • Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is where Sustainability Starts

    Companies want to promote their efforts to be more "sustainable". But what does this mean? There is no hard and fast definition, so what being sustainable means to a company is open to some interpretation. Many companies start their quest to me more sustainable by looking at the life cycle environmental impacts of their products. The focus is not only on is this a great product, and is it helpful to users to reduce energy use, or in some other way to be "green" but on what are the manufacturing, distribution, and ultimate disposal impacts as well. These are all part of the life cycle of products. ENN provides news related to Life Cycle Assessment, and for 2010 is a media sponsor of LCA Sustainable Product Design USA 2010. This conference has evolved to meet the demands of today’s CSR, Environmental Affairs Strategists and for the first time engineering and product design experts as well. - 15% Discount for ENN readers - >> Read the Full Article
  • 2010: The Year of Compressed Air Energy Storage?

    There are signs that 2010 could be the coming out party for Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES). With the onslaught of large wind and solar deployments that will be added to the grid to meet state renewable portfolio standards requirements, there is a lot of buzz about the need for energy storage systems, particularly bulk energy storage. Bulk systems can store megawatt-scale amounts of energy produced during off peak times. They then discharge that energy during peak times, when prices are higher, and over many hours. >> Read the Full Article
  • The Views of Mars

    Of all the planets in our solar system Mars has always been the one most dreamers think of. Many science fiction myths have been based on Mars such as Edgar Rice Burroughs Barsoom and its many canals as well as the Ray Bradbury Martian Chronicles. All dreamed of a friendlier Mars than has been found. Now all can see detailed images of Mars. The latest set of new images from the telescopic High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment Camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter offers detailed views of diverse Martian landscapes. >> Read the Full Article