• Conifers threatened globally

    A third of the world's conifers, the biggest and longest-lived organisms on the planet, are at risk of extinction, with logging and disease the main threats, scientists said. The study of more than 600 types of conifers – trees and shrubs including cedars, cypresses and firs – updates a "Red List" on which almost 21,000 of 70,000 species of animals and plants assessed in recent years are under threat. >> Read the Full Article
  • Fighting Global Warming: focussing on temperature is not enough

    So far, international climate targets have been restricted to limiting the increase in temperature. But if we are to stop the rising sea levels, ocean acidification and the loss of production from agriculture, CO2 emissions will have to fall even more sharply. This is demonstrated by a study published in Nature that has been carried out at the University of Bern. The ultimate objective of international climate policy is to prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. To do this, greenhouse gases are to be stabilised at a level that is acceptable for humans and for the environment. >> Read the Full Article
  • Weather Extremes UN Report

    It is hard to tell how bad or good the weather really is. One has to look back over a period of time to perceive true changes. The world experienced unprecedented high-impact climate extremes between 2001 and 2010 and more national temperature records were broken during that period than in any other decade, according to a new United Nations report. The report (The Global Climate 2001-2010, A Decade of Extremes) says the first decade of the 21st century was the warmest for both hemispheres and for both land and ocean temperatures since measurements began in 1850. High temperatures were accompanied by a rapid decline in Arctic sea ice, and an accelerating loss of the ice sheets of the world's glaciers. >> Read the Full Article
  • Automobile Production Sets New Record in 2012

    World auto production set yet another record in 2012 and may rise even higher during 2013. According to London-based IHS Automotive, passenger-car production rose from 62.6 million in 2011 to 66.7 million in 2012, and it may reach 68.3 million in 2013. When cars are combined with light trucks, total light vehicle production rose from 76.9 million in 2011 to 81.5 million in 2012 and is projected to total 83.3 million in 2013. >> Read the Full Article
  • Ocean bacteria found greatly impacted by CO2 in the atmosphere

    Climate change may be weeding out the bacteria that form the base of the ocean's food chain, selecting certain strains for survival, according to a new study. In climate change, as in everything, there are winners and losers. As atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and temperature rise globally, scientists increasingly want to know which organisms will thrive and which will perish in the environment of tomorrow. The answer to this question for nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria (bacteria that obtain energy through photosynthesis, or "blue-green algae") turns out to have implications for every living thing in the ocean. Nitrogen-fixing is when certain special organisms like cyanobacteria convert inert -- and therefore unusable -- nitrogen gas from the air into a reactive form that the majority of other living beings need to survive. Without nitrogen fixers, life in the ocean could not survive for long. >> Read the Full Article
  • Climate Change May Hinder Regeneration of Conifers after Forest Fires

    From clearing out dead leaves and trees, to jump-starting new growth, to returning minerals to the soil, forest fires have many benefits. However, with increasing temperatures and droughts predicted with upcoming climate changes, it may be difficult for some plants to regenerate after forest fires. According to researchers from Oregon State University, moisture stress is a key limitation for conifer regeneration following major forest fires that occur on dry, low-elevation sites. As a result, reforestation post-fire recovery on dry sites may be slow and uncertain. >> Read the Full Article
  • Cloudy Worlds Climate

    Clouds are pretty to see. They are also much more potent than previously perceived in modifying climate. This is particularly important when considering habitable planets near red dwarf stars. A new study that calculates the influence of cloud behavior on climate doubles the number of potentially habitable planets orbiting red dwarfs, the most common type of stars in the universe. This finding means that in the Milky Way galaxy alone, 60 billion planets may be orbiting red dwarf stars in the habitable zone. Researchers at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University based their study, which appears in Astrophysical Journal Letters, on rigorous computer simulations of cloud behavior on alien planets. This cloud behavior dramatically expanded the estimated habitable zone of red dwarfs, which are much smaller and fainter than stars like the sun. >> Read the Full Article
  • Texas A&M University plans huge solar project

    The proposed "Center for Solar Energy" at Texas A&M University's Central Texas branch will make the school the world's first all-solar university. The university has come up with this innovative project to save power costs and reduce its carbon footprint. It will utilize nearby unused land for the world's biggest solar test farm. The solar farm will be developed exclusively for solar prototyping and R&D, and not as a commercial farm. As a test farm, it will host hundreds of solar cell designs from various manufacturers. The university hopes to have more than a hundred solar technology manufacturers and other players on board for the project. The project is expected to draw in very large investments in solar technology research and development over the next five to six years. >> Read the Full Article
  • The new green in Las Vegas is not the felt on the gaming tables!

    The Las Vegas Strip is known for its opulence, glamour and glitz, for being an adult playground, home to the world's best known casinos, but now it becoming known for being green and where not being wasteful is a key part of the City's business model. Sin City has been reinventing itself and is has become a model town of sustainability. Las Vegas is struggling to meet the water and energy demands of its 500,000 plus residents, which excludes the 40 million tourists who visit every year. Nevada is one of seven states that is dependent on the over-stretched Colorado River for its water supply, which is one of the most heavily plumbed and litigated river systems in the world. It is a critical reservoir for tens of millions of agricultural and municipal users from Wyoming to the Mexican border. The river is now in a very serious condition and the death of the river system will have huge implications for every resident, visitor and business in Las Vegas. >> Read the Full Article
  • President Obama Announces Second Term Climate Change Agenda

    In a speech at Georgetown University on June 25, 2013, President Barack Obama unveiled his administration's climate change agenda for its second term, featuring a series of rules and initiatives that can implemented by the United States Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") and other federal agencies without congressional action. While the details of these proposals will be determined through subsequent rulemaking, the plans and timeframes set forth in the speech signal a major expansion of federal climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts, with potentially significant impacts upon electric utilities and other regulated entities as well as units of state and local government most affected by the impacts of global warming. The centerpiece of President Obama's speech is a new Presidential Memorandum directing EPA to finalize proposed greenhouse gas ("GHG") emissions standards for new and significantly modified power plants by September 2013, to propose the nation's first GHG emissions guidelines for existing power plants by June 2014, and to finalize those guidelines by June 2015. >> Read the Full Article