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

Reducing ethanol in fuel to protect food prices

The EU has decided to reduce its biofuel quota for transportation from 10 percent down to only five percent by 2020. What was once considered a clean solution to climate change is becoming a threat to food security.

Soy production endangers Argentina

Argentina’s soy industry saved the nation from the 2001 economic crisis. But the impact of soy production on Argentinians and the environment in nearby regions has been devastating – and yet the state turns a blind eye.

Calculating the true cost of electricity

Taking into account health and environmental damage, wind and solar power from new plants in Europe is actually cheaper than energy from coal and nuclear power plants, according to a new report.

Israel helps India clean up the Ganges river

It has been 26 years since India embarked on a lofty plan to restore the heavily polluted Ganges river. But the project has seen many setbacks. Now, with fresh cash from the World Bank, the river might make a recovery.

Pharaohs may have had a playground for pyramid building

New research on the necropolis of Dahshur in Egypt has shown that the area’s landscape has been directly altered by ancient Egyptians. In a paper published in Quaternary International, researchers analyzed fractals in the region to analyse the topography of the area to reach their conclusions.

The Arctic: No Las Vegas … What Happens There Does NOT Stay There

You can mark August 26, 2012, as the date that the record low was set for Arctic sea ice extent. That’s a good six weeks before the usual mid-September end of what in this context is called the “melt season.”

Picture for a moment the state of Indiana, all 32,000 square miles (89,200 sq km) of it. That helps create a mental image of the area of sea ice currently being lost each year. Repeat: We’re losing about one Indiana each year, a statement that might excite some other Big 10 basketball powerhouses … but few others.

Overall, the Arctic, since 1980, has lost about 50 percent of its summer ice cover. Arctic sea ice extents in the past six Septembers are the lowest since satellite record-keeping got under way in 1979.

Warmer temperatures make new USDA plant zone map obsolete

Gardeners and landscapers may want to rethink their fall tree plantings. Warming temperatures have already made the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s new cold-weather planting guidelines obsolete, according to Dr. Nir Krakauer, assistant professor of civil engineering in The City College of New York’s Grove School of Engineering. Professor Krakauer developed a new method to map cold-weather zones in the United States that takes rapidly rising temperatures into account. Analyzing recent weather data, he overhauled the Department of Agriculture’s latest plant zone map released in January.

Researchers develop rapid method to measure carbon footprints

Researchers have developed new software that can rapidly calculate the carbon footprints of thousands of products simultaneously, a process that up to now has been time consuming and expensive. The methodology should help companies to accurately label products, and to design ways to reduce their environmental impacts, said Christoph Meinrenken, the project’s leader and associate research scientist at Columbia University’s Earth Institute and Columbia Engineering.

Surviving without ice

With sea ice in the Arctic melting to record lows in summer months, marine animals living there face dramatic changes to their environment. Yet some crustaceans, previously thought to spend their entire lives on the underside of sea ice, were recently discovered to migrate deep underwater and follow ocean currents back to colder areas when ice disappears.

How fast can ice sheets respond to climate change?

A new Arctic study in the journal Science is helping to unravel an important mystery surrounding climate change: How quickly glaciers can melt and grow in response to shifts in temperature. According to the new research, glaciers on Canada’s Baffin Island expanded rapidly during a brief cold snap about 8,200 years ago. The discovery adds to a growing body of evidence showing that ice sheets reacted rapidly in the past to cooling or warming, raising concerns that they could do so again as Earth heats up.

Researchers devise more accurate method for predicting hurricane activity

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a new method for forecasting seasonal hurricane activity that is 15 percent more accurate than previous techniques. “This approach should give policymakers more reliable information than current state-of-the-art methods,” says Dr. Nagiza Samatova, an associate professor of computer science at NC State and co-author of a paper describing the work. “This will hopefully give them more confidence in planning for the hurricane season.”

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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