• The Smart Grid and Electric Car Charging

    Widespread adoption of electric vehicles will reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly. Some are worried that the electric grid will be stressed leading to a decrease in its reliability. In related news today, Battelle and AeroVironment have a technology that will address this concern, and help EV's charge when the grid is most able to support charging. This technology is the subject of a commercial license agreement between Battelle and AeroVironment, Inc., of Monrovia, Calif. The technology may also ultimately result in lower costs for plug-in electric vehicle owners. Battelle operates the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash. AeroVironment will use a portion of the licensed technology in a new prototype version of its Level II charging systems. >> Read the Full Article
  • Warnings of global ecological tipping points may be overstated

    There's little evidence that the Earth is nearing a global ecological tipping point, according to a new Trends in Ecology and Evolution paper that is bound to be controversial. The authors argue that despite numerous warnings that the Earth is headed toward an ecological tipping point due to environmental stressors, such as habitat loss or climate change, it's unlikely this will occur anytime soon—at least not on land. The paper comes with a number of caveats, including that a global tipping point could occur in marine ecosystems due to ocean acidification from burning fossil fuels. In addition, regional tipping points, such as the Arctic ice melt or the Amazon rainforest drying out, are still of great concern. >> Read the Full Article
  • International Year of Water Cooperation

    As organizations around the world search for ways to ensure that impoverished communities have dependable access to drinking water, a new concern has surfaced: Just who will own the rights to managing that water access in the years to come? In 2010, in what seemed at the time to be an awesome example of prescience, the United Nations labeled 2013 the International Year of Water Cooperation (IYWC). Of course, the branding wasn't intended to recognize accomplishments the world has made in sharing its water resources, but to spur countries and communities around the globe to acknowledge that the potential for a global water crisis is real and that according to the UN, challenges such as "water diplomacy, transboundary water management, financing cooperation, national/international legal frameworks" need to be addressed. >> Read the Full Article
  • In the News: 100 million sharks killed each year by commercial fishing

    Ahead of the 16th meeting of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species that runs from the 3rd to the 15th of March this year, researchers are again warning that sharks are in need of better protection. A new report, published in the journal Marine Policy, estimates the annual number of sharks killed by commercial fishing to be around 100 million, although the actual number could be anywhere between 63 million and 273 million. >> Read the Full Article
  • EU Hopes to Make Progress with Fishing Industry Reforms

    Overfishing has been an important environmental issue recently as catching too many fish in one area can lead to food chain imbalances and the overall degradation of that system. Christian Schwagerl for YaleEnvironment360 discusses Europe’s over-subsidized fishing industry and what members of the European Union (EU) are doing to change and protect Europe’s marine environment. >> Read the Full Article
  • Thailand Prime Minister Pledges to Take Steps to End Ivory Trade

    Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra today pledged to end ivory trade in Thailand, seizing a key opportunity to stem global wildlife trafficking. Her statement came after the call of nearly 1.5 million WWF and Avaaz supporters. Prime Minister Shinawatra said at the opening of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Bangkok that Thailand would take steps to end ivory trade – the first time the Thai government has said this publicly. "As a next step we will forward amending the national legislation with the goal of putting an end on ivory trade and to be in line with international norms," Prime Minster Shinawatra said. "This will help protect all forms of elephants including Thailand's wild and domestic elephants and those from Africa." >> Read the Full Article
  • Cropland expansion the culprit in biodiversity loss, says study

    Rapid cropland expansion is the main cause of biodiversity loss in tropical countries, a study by UNEP's (the UN Environment Programme) World Conservation Monitoring Centre and the Cambridge Conservation Initiative has found. The study, published in PLOS ONE last month (9 January), highlights maize and soybean as the most expansive crops and as the main drivers of biodiversity loss in tropical regions. Other crops that pose a major threat to habitats and wildlife are beans, cassava, cowpea, groundnut, millet, oil palm, rice, sorghum, sugarcane and wheat, the study says. >> Read the Full Article
  • eRecycling Corps: 10 Million Cell Phone Trade-Ins Since 2009

    Few press releases cause me to say, "Wow." Yesterday's press release about eRecyclingCorps (eRC) achieving 10 million cell phone trade-ins since 2009 is an exception. eRC, a leader in mobile device trade-ins, began in 2009 when Ron LeMay, from Sprint, and David Edmondson, from Radioshack, launched the company. Edmondson is now the CEO and LeMay is the Chairman. eRC allows in-carrier and retail stores to offer instant-credit that a customer can apply to the purchase of a new phone. It also allows carriers to make money from their e-waste. It’s a clichéd win-win situation for both customers and carriers. What does eRC do with the devices collected by in-store operators and retail programs? They are repaired to "like new" quality and resold. That keeps them out of landfills. >> Read the Full Article
  • Rice Paddies and Fish Farming - Perfect Together!

    By combining aquaculture with wet paddy farming in its coastal areas Bangladesh can meet food security and climate change issues, says a new report. The approach promises more nutritious food, without causing environmental damage, and has the potential for a 'blue-green revolution' on Bangladesh’s existing crop areas extending to about 10.14 million hectares and an additional 2.83 million hectares that remain waterlogged for about 4–6 months. >> Read the Full Article
  • France Unveils Measures to Decrease Energy Use

    Even after the election of François Hollande as President of France, an energy conservation measure of the previous government will be implemented. The Sarkozy government wanted to require shops and offices to turn off their unnecessary lights at nights. This will be effective as of July 1, 2013. All nonresidential buildings will be required to shut off their lights an hour after the last worker leaves or by 1 a.m. each morning. Lights can be turned on again until 7 a.m. or just before they open. Similarly, the lights on building facades will have to be turned off. >> Read the Full Article