The Eco News Roundup brings stories and commentary about issues related to climate change, renewable energy and the environment.
ScienceDaily (Mar. 27, 2012) — Intensive research around the world has focused on improving the performance of solar photovoltaic cells and bringing down their cost. But very little attention has been paid to the best ways of arranging those cells, which are typically placed flat on a rooftop or other surface, or sometimes attached to motorized structures that keep the cells pointed toward the sun as it crosses the sky.
ScienceDaily (Mar. 26, 2012) — Butterfly wings may rank among the most delicate structures in nature, but they have given researchers powerful inspiration for new technology that doubles production of hydrogen gas — a green fuel of the future — from water and sunlight.
ScienceDaily (Mar. 29, 2012) — Imagine being able to use electricity to power your car — even if it’s not an electric vehicle. Researchers at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have for the first time demonstrated a method for converting carbon dioxide into liquid fuel isobutanol using electricity.
(Reuters) – A Brazilian federal prosecutor filed criminal charges on Wednesday against Chevron and drill-rig operator Transocean for a November oil spill, raising the stakes in a legal saga that has added to Chevron’s woes in Latin America and could slow Brazil’s offshore oil boom.
(Reuters) – The Obama administration proposed on Tuesday the first rules to cut carbon dioxide emissions from new U.S. power plants, a move hotly contested by Republicans and industry in an election year.
INGRAM, Texas — An unusual exemption under the U.S. Endangered Species Act that’s allowed the hunting of rare African antelope will change next week, and new federal rules to protect the animals will, some say, threaten the sport.
Scientists with the UBC Avalanche Research Group have been studying the impact of clear-cut logging on avalanche terrain in British Columbia. Understanding avalanche behavior and its destructive potential is an important factor in assessing risk of clear-cut logging of mature forest timber. An article just published in the Canadian Geotechnical Journal presents data collected from locations where avalanches have been released due to clear-cut logging; these data demonstrate the adverse effects of poor logging practices.
A new study examining nearly 40 years of satellite imagery has revealed that the floating ice shelves of a critical portion of West Antarctica are steadily losing their grip on adjacent bay walls, potentially amplifying an already accelerating loss of ice to the sea. The most extensive record yet of the evolution of the floating ice shelves in the eastern Amundsen Sea Embayment in West Antarctica shows that their margins, where they grip onto rocky bay walls or slower ice masses, are fracturing and retreating inland. As that grip continues to loosen, these already-thinning ice shelves will be even less able to hold back grounded ice upstream, according to glaciologists at The University of Texas at Austin’s Institute for Geophysics (UTIG).
Extreme weather such as hurricanes, torrential downpours and droughts will become more frequent in pace with global warming. Consequently, this increases the risk for species extinction, especially in bio diverse ecosystems such as coral reefs and tropical rainforests. Human impact means that flora and fauna become extinct at a rate 100–1000 times higher than normal. Climate change has been deemed as one of the main causes of species depletion
A team of international scientists working in the central Pacific has discovered that coral which has survived heat stress in the past is more likely to survive it in the future. The study, published March 30 in the journal PLoS ONE, paves the way towards an important road map on the impacts of ocean warming, and will help scientists identify the habitats and locations where coral reefs are more likely to adapt to climate change.
The Eiffel Tower, the Acropolis and the Sydney Opera House were plunged into darkness on Saturday for the annual Earth Hour campaign, leading a global effort to raise awareness about climate change.
In a twist to this year’s Earth Hour, Dutch astronaut Andre Kuipers will observe from the International Space Station countries around the world turn off the lights for 60 minutes from 8:30 pm local time and post photos.
Here are some other links you may find worthwhile:
• Climate Change News Digest
• Climate Progress from Center for American Progress
• Rocky Mountain Institute “an independent, entrepreneurial nonprofit think-and-do tank™ that drives the efficient and restorative use of resources.”
At BPI Campus our Progressive Agenda is:
1. People matter more than profits.
2. The earth is our home, not our trash can.
3. We need good government for both #1 and #2.
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