Can Volcanic Eruptions Slow Global Warming?

Small volcanic eruptions might eject more of an atmosphere-cooling gas into Earth’s upper atmosphere than previously thought, potentially contributing to the recent slowdown in global warming, according to a new study.

If ladybugs move into your house this fall, make them welcome

During the warm months of the year, ladybugs are like adorable, bright-colored lapel pins. They land on us, accessorize our clothing in brilliant red or orange with stylish black spots, and are delightful to have around. Several cultures even think of ladybugs as good luck charms for anything from marriage to childbirth to the weather to a good harvest. Then fall arrives and the ladybugs need to find warmth, which is most available inside people’s homes – where they often descend in large numbers. Suddenly they’re not as cute to many people as they seemed outdoors. But Jessica Ware, an insect expert and assistant professor of biology at Rutgers University-Newark, says having ladybugs indoors serves a very useful purpose, and humans should welcome their temporary houseguests. 

Farms as sites for renewable energy

UK farms could be a major player in a shift towards a resilient, low-carbon energy system, according to a landmark report launched today by the Farm Power coalition. The coalition, which is made up of a growing number of farming bodies, businesses and NGOs, are now calling on policymakers and other key stakeholders, including supermarkets, to support the renewable energy vision.The research carried out by sustainability non-profit Forum for the Future, which leads the coalition, and Nottingham Trent University, found there was at least 10GW of untapped resource across UK farms – equivalent to more than three times the installed capacity of the proposed new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point C.

Not so fast: Planting trees might cause warming?

Afforestation (planting trees) to mitigate climate change could cause warming rather than cooling globally due to non-carbon effects of land use change, according to new research from the University of Bristol.Global land use change and its interaction with the climate system is recognised as an important component of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s future climate scenarios.

Abrupt rise in greenhouse gases at end of last ice age may be because of permafrost

One of the most abrupt rises in the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere at the end of the last ice age took place about 14,600 years ago. Ice core data show that the CO2 concentration at that time increased by more than 10 ppm (parts per million, unit of measure for the composition of gases) within 200 years. This CO2 increase, i.e. approx. 0.05 ppm per year, was significantly less than the current rise in atmospheric CO2 of 2-3 ppm in the last decade caused by fossil fuels. 

UK unveils first waste-fueled bus

The UK's first ever bus powered on human and food waste has taken to the road today which engineers believe could provide a sustainable way of fuelling public transport - cutting emissions in polluted towns and cities. The 40-seater Bio-Bus, which runs on gas generated through the treatment of sewage and food waste that's unfit for human consumption, helps to improve urban air quality as it produces fewer emissions than traditional diesel engines. Running on waste products that are both renewable and sustainable, the bus can travel up to 300km on a full tank of gas.

Children's rights and child labor in hazardous jobs around the world

Nearly half of the countries that ratified the U.N. agreement still allow children to work in jobs that endanger their health and safety.Twenty-five years ago this month, the countries that compose the United Nations reached a landmark agreement that laid the foundation for much-needed strengthening of children’s rights and protections in nearly every country around the world.Today, the Convention on the Rights of the Child remains the only formal global effort to improve children’s rights and the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history. Only three U.N. member nations have not ratified the treaty: Somalia, South Sudan and the United States. 

EU Court Rules Against UK For Failure to Tackle Air Pollution

A landmark judgment by the European Court of Justice compels the UK Government to act as soon as possible to reduce air pollution in British cities, writes Keith Taylor - and a good thing too for our health, safety and wellbeing. But it's not just the UK that benefits: every EU country must also comply with the ruling.

Climate history of western US is more complex than previously thought

The climate 150 million years ago of a large swath of the western United States was more complex than previously known, according to new research from Southern Methodist University, Dallas. It’s been held that the climate during the Jurassic was fairly dry in New Mexico, then gradually transitioned to a wetter climate northward to Montana. But based on new evidence, the theory of a gradual transition from a dry climate to a wetter one during the Jurassic doesn’t tell the whole story, says SMU paleontologist Timothy S. Myers, lead author on the study.

Researchers use social media to track air pollution

University of Wisconsin-Madison computer science researchers have developed a method for using social media posts to estimate air pollution levels with significant accuracy.