The Eco News Roundup brings stories and commentary about issues related to climate change, renewable energy and the environment.
If you ask climate scientist Radley Horton, it’s difficult to say that Hurricane Sandy was directly caused by climate change, but he says there are strong connections between the two. He talks with Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross about climate change and preparing for severe weather.
Move over Abba, Sweden has found new fame. The small Nordic country is breaking records — in waste. Sweden’s program of generating energy from garbage is wildly successful, but recently its success has also generated a surprising issue: There is simply not enough trash.
“Too many cooks spoil the broth” goes the saying. And that’s especially true when it comes to finding a solution to a tricky cross-border environmental problem. But the Prespa National Park shows that things don’t have to be that way. The three countries that share the park – Albania, Macedonia and Greece – are working together to preserve the unique UNESCO World Heritage site. Reporter Danijel Visévic shows us what the countries are doing to save land that has been partly destroyed due to illegal logging, over-fishing and over-grazing. In a background article, Wiebke Feuersenger takes a look at how Albania’s rich biodiversity is at risk. Decades of political isolation once protected the country’s rich flora and fauna. But with modernism sweeping through the country, Albania’s environment is suffering.
Capturing and recycling ammonia from livestock waste is possible using a process developed by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) researchers. This invention could help streamline on-farm nitrogen management by allowing farmers to reduce potentially harmful ammonia emissions and concentrate nitrogen in a liquid product to sell as fertilizer.
Millions of years ago fire and water forged the gypsum rocks locked in at Cuatro Ciénegas, a Mexican valley similar to the Martian crater where NASA’s Rover Curiosity roams. A team of researchers have now analysed the bacterial communities that have survived in these inhospitable springs since the beginning of life on Earth. “Cuatro Ciénegas is extraordinarily similar to Mars. As well as the Gale crater where Curiosity is currently located on its exploration of the red planet, this landscape is the home to gypsum formed by fire beneath the seabed,” as explained by Valeria Souza, evolutionary ecologist at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).
The average area covered by the Antarctic ozone hole this year was the second smallest in the last 20 years, according to data from NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellites. Scientists attribute the change to warmer temperatures in the Antarctic lower stratosphere.
People tend to think of ozone as something in the upper atmosphere that protects Earth’s surface from UV radiation. At the ground level, however, ozone is a pollutant that damages crops, particularly soybean. Lisa Ainsworth, a University of Illinois associate professor of crop sciences and USDA Agricultural Research Service plant molecular biologist, said that establishing the exposure threshold for damage is critical to understanding the current and future impact of this pollutant.
As urban populations expand, downtown buildings are going nowhere but up. The huge energy needs of these skyscrapers mean that these towers are not only office buildings, they’re polluters with smokestacks billowing out toxins from the rooftop. Our cities are dirtier than we think. New research from Concordia University just might clean them up. By examining the trajectory and amount of air pollution from a building to its neighbours downwind, Concordia researchers Ted Stathopoulos and Bodhisatta Hajra have come up with environmentally friendly building guidelines for our modern cities.
Sea levels are rising faster than expected from global warming, and University of Colorado geologist Bill Hay has a good idea why. The last official IPCC report in 2007 projected a global sea level rise between 0.2 and 0.5 meters by the year 2100. But current sea-level rise measurements meet or exceed the high end of that range and suggest a rise of one meter or more by the end of the century. “What’s missing from the models used to forecast sea-level rise are critical feedbacks that speed everything up,” says Hay.
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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