• NOAA predicts sea level will rise 0.2 to 2 meters by 2100

    The worst potential scenario for sea level rise around the US coastline this century is more than two meters, says an authoritative report issued today by NOAA's Climate Program Office. Regardless of how much warming occurs over the next 100 years, sea level rise is not expected to stop in 2100. More than 8 million people in the US live in areas at risk of coastal flooding. Along the Atlantic Coast alone, almost 60 percent of the land that is within a meter of sea level is planned for further development, with inadequate information on the potential rates and amount of sea level rise. >> Read the Full Article
  • The Race for Developing Plant-based Renewable Plastics

    The 20th century marked the great space race between Russia and the United States for domination in space exploration. Now the 21st century marks a new race: Coca-Cola and PepsiCo competing for leadership on plant-based renewable plastics. In March of 2010, PepsiCo announced the world's first PET plastic bottle made entirely from renewable plant-based resources ensuring production of a new 100% recyclable bottle in 2012. PET plastics are typically labeled with the #1 code near the bottom of the containers and are commonly used for soft drinks, salad dressings, water, etc. >> Read the Full Article
  • Grassland Carbon Storage

    Plants "breathe in" CO2 and create biological mass. This is a form of sequestration. Forests, grasslands and shrublands and other ecosystems in the West sequester nearly 100 million tons of carbon each year, according to a Department of the Interior recent report. Grasslands occur naturally on all continents except Antarctica. In temperate latitudes, such as northwestern Europe and the Great Plains and California in North America, native grasslands are dominated by perennial bunch grass species, whereas in warmer climates annual species form a greater component of the vegetation. Carbon that is absorbed through natural processes reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The 100 million tons sequestered in western ecosystems is an amount equivalent to – and counterbalances the emissions of – more than 83 million passenger cars a year in the United States, or nearly 5 percent of EPA’s 2010 estimate of the nation’s total greenhouse gas emissions. >> Read the Full Article
  • Date Palm Leaves Could Improve Water Treatment Across the Middle East

    Date palm leaves — currently a waste product of date farming — could be used to remove pharmaceutical chemicals and dyes from hospital wastewater, say researchers from Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) in Oman. The first hospital wastewater treatment pilot project is due to start in Oman early next year, and scientists are working to use this technology in both drinking water filters and for industrial wastewater treatment. >> Read the Full Article
  • Shale Oil and How It Changes the World

    Oil shale, also known as kerogen shale, is an organic-rich fine-grained sedimentary rock containing kerogen (a solid mixture of organic chemical compounds) from which liquid hydrocarbons called shale oil can be produced. Shale oil is a substitute for conventional crude oil and the USA has a lot of it. The global energy map is changing, with potentially far-reaching consequences for energy markets and trade. It is being redrawn by the resurgence in oil and gas production in the United States due to shale and could be further reshaped by a retreat from nuclear power in some countries, continued rapid growth in the use of wind and solar technologies and by the global spread of unconventional gas production. >> Read the Full Article
  • CO2 Output Hits Record High

    Around the world, we are emitting more carbon dioxide than ever. For 2012, according to new projections by the Global Carbon Project, there is likely to be a 2.6 percent rise in global CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels compared to the year before. That puts emissions of the gas at 58 percent higher than 1990 levels. >> Read the Full Article
  • Study finds multiple pollutants in women, can be passed on to babies

    Our bodies accumulate toxins and chemicals throughout our lifetime. From what we eat, to what we breath, environmental toxins like lead, mercury and PCBs that do not easily break down can be stored in our own fatty tissues. While it is unsure whether the co-exposure of these chemicals is more harmful that to each one separately, a new study shows that several risk factors are associated with a higher chance of median blood levels for these contaminants. In an analysis of data on over three thousand women, Brown University researchers concluded that all but 17.3 percent of the women aged 16 to 49 were at or above the median blood level for one or more of these chemicals, which can then passed to fetuses and babies. >> Read the Full Article
  • How to Protect Your Family from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

    As the temperature drops, we are more likely to fire up our gas furnaces and wood-burning stoves to get extra cozy this winter. However, when we use our furnaces and stoves, and spend more time indoors, we are at increased risk of exposure to carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, invisible gas produced when gasoline, natural gas, propane, kerosene, and other fuels are not completely burned during use. According to the EPA, this gas is one of the leading causes of poisoning death, with more than 400 victims in the United States each year. >> Read the Full Article
  • How Birds Change their Tune to Deal with Urban Noise

    Birds use songs to impress mates, secure territories, and defend against predators, so any factor that can disrupt this communication, may interfere with daily life and the success of the species. One major disturbance that birds have increasingly been facing is urban noise. Previous studies have show that in order to improve communication, urban songbirds are singing differently and at higher frequencies compared to their woodland cousins in order to deal with noise pollution. However, until now, little research has been done on the more tropical relative of the songbirds, the sub-oscines. >> Read the Full Article
  • US EPA Updates Recreational Water Quality Criteria

    Yesterday, the EPA recommended new recreational water quality criteria that will help protect peoples' health during visits to beaches and other waters. The last time the EPA issued recommendations for recreational waters was in 1986 so updating these criteria are crucial in the continued protection of the public who partake in water-related activities like swimming, boating, and beach combing to name a few. The new science-based criteria provide information to help states improve public health protection by addressing a broader range of illness symptoms like stomach ailments, better accounting for pollution after heavy rainfall, providing more protective recommendations for coastal waters, encouraging early alerts to beachgoers, and promoting rapid water testing. >> Read the Full Article