Mercury convention raises heat on producers

A global commitment to reduce health risks and environmental damage from mercury pollution came into effect last month (16 August), when the so-called Minamata Convention on Mercuryentered into force.

Deforestation Dries Up Dams Threatening Hydropower

Deforestation may lead to electricity shortages in tropical rainforest regions that rely heavily on hydropower, as fewer trees mean less rainfall for hydropower generation, a study shows.

Forest conservation could reduce malaria transmission

Preserving the biodiversity of tropical forests could have the added benefit of cutting the spread of malaria, according to a new study. The finding contradicts the traditional view that clearing native forest for agriculture curbs malaria transmission in the Amazon rainforest.

Earthquake aftershock forecasting must be improved

The need to speed up work on a reliable system for predicting potential aftershocks in the days following a strong earthquake has become more urgent, say US scientists, after a rare quake earlier this year was found to have triggered many large, and potentially damaging, earthquakes around the world.

The Price is Right for Wind Power

Generating wind energy is more than twice as cheap as solar photovoltaic (PV) energy production, a study of alternative energy in six developing countries has found. The findings, published in Nature Climate Change last week (15 April), could help inform global debates on financing initiatives aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries.

‘No evidence’ of links between Pacific earthquakes

Scientists have rejected fears that a series of highly destructive large-scale earthquakes in the past few years, in countries bordering the Pacific Ocean, signal an increased global risk of these deadly events. Several vast earthquakes have taken place since 2004 — in Chile, Indonesia and Japan — leading some academics to express concern that they may be linked.

Haiti’s cholera epidemic likely caused by weather

Weather conditions — not UN soldiers — may have triggered Haiti's cholera epidemic, which has killed more than 1,000 people in less than a month, three leading researchers have told SciDev.Net. A coincidence of several catastrophic events — from climatic changes caused by the ocean-atmosphere phenomenon La Niña, to the plunge in water and sanitation quality following Haiti's disastrous January earthquake — provide the most likely explanation for the outbreak, which has hospitalised 17,000 people. The outbreak suddenly appeared in small communities along the Artibonite River, 60 miles north of the capital Port-au-Prince, on 21 October.