The Eco News Roundup brings stories and commentary about issues related to climate change, renewable energy and the environment.

Study: Nation’s urban forests losing ground

National results indicate that tree cover in urban areas of the United States is declining at a rate of about 4 million trees per year, according to a U.S. Forest Service study published recently in Urban Forestry & Urban Greening. Tree cover in 17 of the 20 cities analyzed in the study declined while 16 cities saw increases in impervious cover, which includes pavement and rooftops. Land that lost trees was for the most part converted to either grass or ground cover, impervious cover or bare soil.

Study: Evolution of earliest horses driven by climate change

When Sifrhippus, the earliest known horse, first appeared in the forests of North America more than 50 million years ago, it would not have been mistaken for a Clydesdale. It weighed in at around 12 pounds — and it was destined to get much smaller over the ensuing millennia. Sifrhippus lived during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, a 175,000-year interval of time some 56 million years ago in which average global temperatures rose by about 10 degrees Fahrenheit, caused by the release of vast amounts of carbon into the atmosphere and oceans.

Classic Maya civilization collapse related to modest rainfall reductions

A new study reports that the disintegration of the Maya Civilization may have been related to relatively modest reductions in rainfall. The study was led by Professors Martín Medina-Elizalde of the Yucatan Center for Scientific Research in Mexico and Eelco Rohling of the University of Southampton in the UK. Professor Rohling says: “Our results show rather modest rainfall reductions between times when the Classic Maya Civilization flourished and its collapse — between AD 800-950. These reductions amount to only 25 to 40 per cent in annual rainfall. But they were large enough for evaporation to become dominant over rainfall, and open water availability was rapidly reduced. The data suggest that the main cause was a decrease in summer storm activity.”

Female Sex Hormones Can Weaken the Ability of Fish to Protect Themselves Against Environmental Toxins

ScienceDaily (Feb. 24, 2012) — It is well known that female sex hormones (estrogens) that end up in rivers and lakes, primarily via spillage from sewers and livestock farming, pose a threat to the environment.

Car Tracks Beyond the Asphalt

ScienceDaily (Feb. 24, 2012) — The contamination caused by road traffic not only affects the air, it also seeps under the asphalt and harms the adjacent soil and plants.

Aircraft of the Future Could Capture and Re-Use Some of Their Own Power

ScienceDaily (Feb. 23, 2012) — Tomorrow’s aircraft could contribute to their power needs by harnessing energy from the wheel rotation of their landing gear to generate electricity.

Obama to spend $50 million to stop Asian carp

The Obama administration will spend about $50 million in 2012 to shield the Great Lakes from greedy Asian carp, including first-time water sampling to determine whether the destructive fish have established a foothold in Lakes Michigan and Erie, officials said Thursday.

Great Lakes phosphorus levels rising, report warns

A mysterious resurgence of phosphorus in the Great Lakes is endangering the aquatic food chain and human health, says a binational agency that advises Canada and the U.S.

Bipartisan Support Grows for Carbon Price as Part of Debt Deal

At the end of this year, the United States will confront a trifecta of difficult fiscal challenges: The Bush tax cuts will be set to expire; the defense budget and spending on civilian programs will face a $110 billion sequester; and a new extension of the federal debt limit will be looming.

At the same time, the evidence will be clearer than ever that urgent action is needed to protect our nation and the world from irreversible climate change. The overwhelming scientific consensus will have grown even stronger. And if 2011 is a harbinger of our future, record-breaking droughts and storms will have again afflicted our nation — at immense cost in lives and property damage.

NASA: Earth Is Losing Half A Trillion Tons Of Ice A Year

GloIn the first comprehensive satellite study of its kind, a University of Colorado at Boulder-led team used NASA data to calculate how much Earth’s melting land ice is adding to global sea level rise.

Using satellite measurements from the NASA/German Aerospace Center Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE), the researchers measured ice loss in all of Earth’s land ice between 2003 and 2010, with particular emphasis on glaciers and ice caps outside of Greenland and Antarctica.

Confusing Climate Study Actually Makes Strong Case Against Tar Sands — If We Want To Avoid Catastrophic Global Warming

In the world we must strive to achieve, however difficult or implausible it may seem today, there is no place for a major expansion of the tar sands

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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