The Eco News Roundup brings stories and commentary about issues related to climate change, renewable energy and the environment.
Penn State climate scientist Michael Mann’s upcoming talk at the university has been the target of a coal and gas interest group that would like the university to “disinvite” him.
Gray wolves were taken off the endangered species list in Idaho and Montana last year and put under state control. But they’re still on the list in neighboring Wyoming. That’s because Wyoming has been the most aggressive about wanting to kill wolves.
Fracking has only recently become a household word, but government involvement with the drilling technique goes back decades. President Obama has championed the potential of natural gas drilling combined with more regulation. While there has been mounting evidence of water contamination, few regulations have been implemented. The graphic below traces officials’ moves — and levels of caution — over time.
In the five countries studied in the report “Where are WEEE in Africa?” (Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, and Nigeria), between 650,000 and 1,000,000 tons of domestic E-waste are generated each year, which need to be managed to protect human health and the environment in the region. The report sheds light on current recycling practices and on socio-economic characteristics of the E-waste sector in West Africa. It also provides the quantitative data on the use, import and disposal of electronic and electrical equipment (EEE) in the region.
As oceans warm due to climate change, water layers will mix less and affect the microbes and plankton that pump carbon out of the atmosphere — but researchers say it’s still unclear whether these processes will further increase global warming or decrease it. The forces at work are enormous and the stakes huge, said Oregon State University scientists in an article published February 10 in the journal Science. But inadequate ocean monitoring and lack of agreement on how to assess microbial diversity has made it difficult to reach a consensus on what the future may hold, they said.
In the quiet after the storms, streets and cars had all but disappeared under piles of snow. The U.S. Postal Service suspended service for the first time in 30 years. Snow plows struggled to push the evidence off of major roads. Hundreds of thousands of Washington metropolitan residents grappled with the loss of electricity and heat for almost a week. By Feb. 10, 2010 the National Weather Service reported that three storms spanning from December to February in the winter of 2009-10 had dumped a whopping 54.9 inches of snow on the Baltimore-Washington area. The snowfall broke a seasonal record first set in 1899.
In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama praised the potential of the country’s tremendous supply of natural gas buried in shale. He echoed the recommendations for safe extraction made by an advisory panel that included Stanford geophysicist Mark Zoback. The panel made 20 recommendations for regulatory reform, some of which go well beyond what the president mentioned in his address. The topic is controversial.
ScienceDaily (Feb. 9, 2012) — Global warming is having an effect on the dive behaviour and search for food of southern elephant seals. Researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association cooperating in a joint study with biologists and oceanographers from the Universities of Pretoria and Cape Town have discovered that the seals dive deeper for food when in warmer water. The scientists attribute this behaviour to the migration of prey to greater depths and now wish to check this theory using a new sensor which registers the feeding of the animals below water.
ScienceDaily (Feb. 9, 2012) — A team of University of Arkansas researchers, including an Honors College undergraduate student, has created a new, “green” method for developing medicines. The researchers used energy from an ordinary 13-watt compact fluorescent light bulb to create an organic molecule that may be useful in the treatment of Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases.
ScienceDaily (Feb. 9, 2012) — Mushy tomatoes, brown bananas and overripe cherries — to date, waste from wholesale markets has ended up on the compost heap at best. In future it will be put to better use: Researchers have developed a new facility that ferments this waste to make methane, which can be used to power vehicles.
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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