Month: May 2012

  • Cookstoves and Carbon Credits

    Take a region where charcoal is the cooking fuel of choice, switch it out for a cleaner burning fuel that doesn’t contribute to global warming quite so dramatically, then, somehow, track the whole thing accurately enough that it’s possible to measure the tons of emissions the switch represents. Finally, sell the avoided tons on a carbon market to companies that are looking to offset their own over-indulgence or maybe organizations that want to be carbon negative, doing their part to reduce global warming. The calculations had better be accurate or else those credits will not be worth very much in the long run.

  • Deep Sea Hitchhiking

    The bottom of the sea is dark and lonely. Yet there is life usually isolated and located near some source of energy such as a deep sea vent. these vents are not continuous and in between there is a lot of empty space and totally alien environmental conditions especially between the bottom of the sea and the top of th3e ocean. Marine scientists studying life around deep-sea vents have discovered that some hardy species can survive the extreme change in pressure that occurs when a research submersible rises to the surface. The team’s findings, published in Conservation Biology, reveal how a species can be inadvertently carried by submersibles to new areas, with potentially damaging effects on marine ecosystems.

  • CO2 Removal Catalyst

    There are several ways to remove CO2 from a stack gas. None have reached a commercial basis yet due to the expense of the processing. The current method of removing the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) from the flues of coal-fired power plants uses so much energy that no one bothers to use it. So says Roger Aines, principal investigator for a team that has developed an entirely new catalyst for separating out and capturing CO2, one that mimics a naturally occurring catalyst operating in our lungs. With this success, the Laboratory has become a world leader in designing catalysts that mimic the behavior of natural enzymes

  • Majority of Americans Agree: Protecting the Environment Creates Jobs

    The majority of Americans (58 percent) think that protecting the environment improves economic growth and creates new jobs. The results are from a recently released poll by Yale University and George Mason University’s climate change communication program. Only 17 percent of the poll’s respondents think that environmental protection hurts the economy and job growth, and 25 percent think there is no effect. When there is a conflict between protecting the environment and improving the economy, 62 percent think it is more important to protect the environment, and only 38 percent thought economic growth is more important.

  • Pollutants Mucking With Food Production

    Two manmade pollutants known best as threats to human health have just been charged with two more offenses: shifting rainfall patterns and mucking with food production. Black carbon and tropospheric ozone, both of which derive from the incomplete burning of fossil fuels, may be working in cahoots with greenhouse gases to expand Earth’s tropical belt (image).

  • High Concentrations of Toxic Mercury in the Arctic from Circumpolar Rivers

    Environmental scientists have known that high levels of the toxic element, mercury, have been accumulating in the Arctic Ocean for some time. It was believed to be mostly caused by atmospheric sources stemming from the combustion of coal. However, a new study from the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Harvard School of Public Health has found that the great majority of Arctic mercury arrives via circumpolar rivers. Some of the largest rivers in the world flow north into the Arctic in Eurasia and North America.

  • Help at the nest sets chicks up for life

    A chick’s chances throughout life will depend on a good environment and good parenting in its earliest months. One of the ways that chicks can get ahead is to have an extra relative looking after them. New research shows that the benefits of having a ‘helper at the nest’ extend even into adulthood.

  • Climate Study: Extreme Rain Storms in Midwest Have Doubled in Last 50 Years, Often Leading to Worsened Flooding

    The kind of deluges that in recent years washed out Cedar Rapids, IA, forced the Army Corps of Engineers to intentionally blow up levees to save Cairo, IL, and sent the Missouri River over its banks for hundreds of miles are part of a growing trend, according to a new report released today by the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization (RMCO) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Big storms, leading to big floods, are occurring with increasing frequency in the Midwest, with incidences of the most severe downpours doubling over the last half century, the report finds.

  • Watersheds

    Where will the water be? That is the critical question for the future as climate changes occur forcing water to change its habits. Climate change projections indicate a steady increase in temperature progressing through the 21st century, generally resulting in snow pack reductions, changes to the timing of snow melt, altered stream flows, and reductions in soil moisture, all of which could affect water management, agriculture, recreation, hazard mitigation, and ecosystems across the nation. Despite some widespread similarities in climate change trends, climate change will affect specific water basins in the U.S. differently, based on the particular hydrologic and geologic conditions in that area.

  • The Complete Electric Car with Charging Station

    One of the problems with an all electric car is charging them. As opposed to gasoline stations, there are far fewer opportunities to charge electric vehicles. Shai Agassi hopes Israel is ready to embrace the efficiency and economics of electric cars. His company Better Place rolled out four electric car charging stations in northern Israel. It is planned to quickly grow this network so that every place in Israel be within range of one of their network stations. This is intended to eliminate, the range anxiety which frightens some consumers out of considering electric cars. Better Place contracted with French automaker Renault to produce a customized version of their Fluence electric car.