The big melt: 2 trillion tons of ice since 2003
More than 2 trillion tons of land ice in Greenland, Antarctica and Alaska have melted since 2003, according to new NASA satellite data that show the latest signs of what scientists say is global warming.
Energy, Green Groups Call for Stimulus to Jumpstart Economy, Efficiency
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Environmental and energy groups, including the association that represents almost 70 percent of the country’s utilities, made their pitch to Congress before year’s end as talks accelerated about the stimulus package being crafted by the incoming administration.
Obama Calls for Doubling Renewable Energy Production for Green Jobs
In President-Elect Barack Obama’s weekly radio addresses today — the first of 2009 — he called for the U.S. to double renewable energy production as part of a plan to add 3 million new jobs. In the address Obama also restated his earlier promise to add new jobs by making public buildings more energy efficient.
Lawyers Predict ‘Green’ Law Issues To Be Among Top Legal Trends In 2009
New laws pertaining to ‘green’ issues are predicted to be the fourth most important legal trend in 2009. That’s what the experts at the legal site Findlaw.com recently announced. The consultancy, owned by Reuters, released a top ten of legal hot topics for 2009 which also lists urban living, employee rights, military rights and legal issues impacting small business as hotly pursued.
EU seals historic climate and energy package
MEPs formally approved an unprecedented package of six new climate and energy laws in Strasbourg on Wednesday. A year of intense negotiations was wrapped up in a mere twenty minutes of voting. Over 550 MEPs backed the package, while fewer than 100 voted against. The package is designed to cut EU greenhouse gas emissions by twenty per cent by 2020 compared with 1990 levels, as pledged by European leaders at their spring summit in 2007. The EU will aim for a 30 per cent cut if other industrialised countries take on equivalent commitments in a new international climate treaty to be agreed at UN talks in Copenhagen next December.
Diamonds Linked to Quick Cooling Eons Ago
At least once in Earth’s history, global warming ended quickly, and scientists have long wondered why. Now researchers are reporting that the abrupt cooling — which took place about 12,900 years ago, just as the planet was emerging from an ice age — may have been caused by one or more meteors that slammed into North America. That could explain the extinction of mammoths, saber-tooth tigers and maybe even the first human inhabitants of the Americas, the scientists report in Friday’s issue of the journal Science. The hypothesis has been regarded skeptically, but its advocates now report perhaps more convincing residue of impact: a thin layer of microscopic diamonds found in rocks across America and in Europe.
Sea Rise Over Continental Shelves Significantly Affected Past Global Carbon Cycle
Since the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM; about 21,000 years ago) sea level has risen by 130 meters (430 feet), resulting in continental shelf submergence and a massive expansion of the surface area of shelf seas.Although shelf seas only account for 7 percent of the oceanic surface area, recent observations demonstrate that they host significant fluxes of carbon dioxide (CO2) between the ocean and atmosphere.
Canada’s forests, once huge help on greenhouse gases, now contribute to climate change
In an alarming yet little-noticed series of recent studies, scientists have concluded that Canada’s precious forests, stressed from damage caused by global warming, insect infestations and persistent fires, have crossed an ominous line and are now pumping out more climate-changing carbon dioxide than they are sequestering. Worse yet, the experts predict that Canada’s forests will remain net carbon sources, as opposed to carbon storage “sinks,” until at least 2022, and possibly much longer.
Amazon Deforestation Trend On The Increase
Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon forests has flipped from a decreasing to an increasing trend, according to new annual figures recently released by the country’s space agency INPE.
Green Algae Bloom Process Could Stop Global Warming
A team of UK scientists have discovered a natural process that could delay, or even end, the threat of global warming . The researchers, aboard the Royal Navy’s HMS Endurance, have found that melting icebergs off the coast of Antarctica are releasing millions of tiny particles of iron into the southern Ocean, helping to create huge ‘blooms’ of algae that absorb carbon emissions. The algae then sinks to the icy depths, effectively removing CO2 from the atmosphere for hundreds of years.
Revealed: The cement that eats carbon dioxide
Cement, a vast source of planet-warming carbon dioxide, could be transformed into a means of stripping the greenhouse gas from the atmosphere, thanks to an innovation from British engineers. The new environmentally formulation means the cement industry could change from being a “significant emitter to a significant absorber of CO2,” says Nikolaos Vlasopoulos, chief scientist at London-based Novacem, whose invention has garnered support and funding from industry and environmentalists.
Public Buildings in U.K. Emit More CO2 Than All of Kenya
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM — Government buildings in England and Wales emit more than 11 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, more than the entire country of Kenya, the Guardian reports.
A Cleaner Way to Keep the City Running
A new building with affordable rents in the Bronx will be powered partly by 10 wind turbines, which should cut its utility bills for common areas in half.
Biofuel Development Shifting From Soil To Sea, Specifically To Marine Algae
Scripps scientists see algae as a “green bullet,” science and society’s best hope for a clean bioenergy source that will help loosen broad dependence on fossil fuel, counteract climate warming, and power the vehicles of the future.
NZ airline flies jetliner partly run on biofuel
WELLINGTON, New Zealand – Looking to reduce its carbon footprint and cut its fuel bill, Air New Zealand on Tuesday tested a passenger jet that was powered partially with oil from a plum-sized fruit known as jatropha.
Report: Toyota developing solar powered green car
According to The Nikkei, Toyota is working on an electric vehicle that will get some of its power from solar cells equipped on the vehicle, and that can be recharged with electricity generated from solar panels on the roofs of homes. The automaker later hopes to develop a model totally powered by solar cells on the vehicle, the newspaper said without citing sources.
EDP’s Horizon Arm Feasts on $265 Million of Tax Equity for US Wind Farms
01/02/2009 – Horizon Wind Energy, part of Portugal’s EDP Renovaveis since 2007, has clinched $265 million of tax equity financing for US wind farms – despite the dearth of that type of capital since this autumn’s financial crisis.
Company Developing Energy-Efficient Ship that Floats on Air
Rotterdam-based marine-engineering firm DK Group has been quietly testing one of the strangest-sounding technologies to come along in the recent past— a ship that floats on air. This past September, the company let loose a 272 foot long cargo vessel in Norway’s Oslo Fjord. 25 feet below the ship’s surface, recesses built into the underside of the vessel’s hull created drag-reducing pockets. The reduction in drag meant that the ship used 7 percent less oil than it normally would. It also significantly reduced carbon dioxide emissions.
Tests Show Toxic Water Contamination After Tennessee Coal Sludge Disaster
Coal sludge contains dangerously elevated concentrations of arsenic, EPA says It’s been nearly two weeks since a torrent of over a billion gallons of coal ash sludge spilled out of an impoundment pond near a massive coal plant in Harriman, TN, but the full horror of the disaster is still being revealed. Yesterday, preliminary results of independent water testing showed dangerously high levels of toxic heavy metals at three locations near the environmental disaster, which spans over 300 acres of land and water at the confluence of the Emory and Clinch Rivers in eastern Tennessee. And today, the EPA confirmed that elevated levels of arsenic can be found in the coal sludge now caked over the area.
Bright New Phone Displays That Don’t Guzzle Power
Several companies are developing power-saving technologies for bright color displays on phones and other handhelds.
Washington state requires manufacturers to recycle TVs, laptops
Electronic waste recycling takes a big step forward in Washington state.
Prizewinner: a plastic bike from recycled bottles
As a boy, Ryan Klinger was always tinkering at his Huntersville home – building a newfangled ramp for his skateboard, or taking apart a Briggs & Stratton motor and rebuilding it for a go-kart.
Can laser beams someday replace the sprinkler?
Beams may help conserve millions of gallons of water sprayed on crops
Exploiting nature to cut mosquitoes’ life short
Old mosquitoes usually spread disease, so Australian researchers figured out a way to make the pests die younger naturally, not poisoned.
Organic Weed Control: Scientists Serve Up Mustard Meal To Tame Weeds
Sinalbin, the same compound that gives white mustard its pungent flavor, could also prove useful in fighting weeds.
EU admits failure to protect biodiversity
The EU is “highly unlikely” to meet its objective of putting a stop to biodiversity loss by 2010, the European Commission admits. For the bloc to even come close to achieving the target, “intensive efforts” will have to be made by both the Commission and individual member states, according to the mid-term assessmentof progress on implementing the Biodiversity Action Plan to halt biodiversity loss in the EU.
Food needs ‘fundamental rethink’
A sustainable global food system in the 21st Century needs to be built on a series of “new fundamentals”, according to a leading food expert. Tim Lang warned that the current system, designed in the 1940s, was showing “structural failures”, such as “astronomic” environmental costs. The new approach needed to address key fundamentals like biodiversity, energy, water and urbanisation, he added.
Put kangaroos, camels on Australian eco-menu: scientists
SYDNEY (AFP) – Saving the planet by eating kangaroos and wild camels may seem like pie in the sky, but the offbeat menu comes with a scientific stamp of approval in Australia.
Barrier Reef coral growth ‘will stop’
Scientists fear the already declining growth rate of the Great Barrier Reef’s corals will stop completely by 2050, killing off the reef and making way for algae. A new report shows the most robust corals on the reef have slowed in growth by more than 14 per cent since the “tipping point” in 1990.
Sustainable Community Concept Takes Hold in Texas, Georgia, Tennessee
Oakland, Calif. — The drive to create communities that balance environmental, economic and social responsibilities through planned development is growing as shown by projects in Texas, Georgia and Tennessee.
Funding Stalled for Indiana Recycling Projects
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — State-funded grants and loans for recycling and pollution prevention projects have been put on hold in Indiana, and New York could face a large reduction in its Environmental Protection Fund.
California Gives $20 Million to Recycling Projects
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Twenty grants are being given to increase the amount and quality of recycled materials, create jobs and provide more recycled-content products and packaging.
Harvard Extension School Offers E-Learning Course on Environmental Management
BOSTON, Mass. — The Harvard University Extension School is offering a popular course on strategies for environmental management via distance learning.
U.S. Diners Looking for Greener Restaurants and Healthier Fare in 2009: Survey
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Research released by the National Restaurant Association shows that Americans are looking for healthier options and “greener” restaurants when they dine out, in addition to an increased interest in value and convenience.
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