The Eco News Roundup brings stories and commentary about issues related to climate change, renewable energy and the environment.
Further delay in the implementation of comprehensive international climate policies could substantially increase the short-term costs of climate change mitigation. Global economic growth would be cut back by up to 7 percent within the first decade after climate policy implementation if the current international stalemate is continued until 2030 – compared to 2 percent if a climate agreement is reached by 2015 already, a study to be published next tuesday by scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) shows. Higher costs would in turn increase the threshold for decision-makers to start the transition to a low-carbon economy. Thus, to keep climate targets within reach it seems to be most relevant to not further postpone mitigation, the researchers conclude.
Naturally occurring arsenic pollutes wells across the world, especially in south and southeast Asia, where an estimated 100 million people are exposed to levels that can cause heart, liver and kidney problems, diabetes and cancer. Now, scientists working in Vietnam have shown that massive pumping of groundwater from a clean aquifer is slowly but surely drawing the poison into the water. The study, done near the capital city of Hanoi, confirms suspicions that booming water usage there and elsewhere could eventually threaten millions more people. The study appears in the current issue of the journal Nature.
Some of the hottest days and coldest nights in parts of Europe have warmed more than four times the global average change since 1950, according to a new paper by researchers from the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science and the University of Warwick, which is published today (11 September 2013) in the journal Environmental Research Letters.
One of the first analyses of laws banning disposal of electronic waste (e-waste) in municipal landfills has found that state e-waste recycling bans have been mostly ineffective, although California’s Cell Phone Recycling Act had a positive impact on cell phone recycling. However, e-waste recycling rates remain “dismally low,” and many demographic groups remain unaware of their alternatives for properly disposing of e-waste, according to the study. Presented in Indianapolis today at the 246th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), it found that providing more information to women and older people could increase the effectiveness of e-waste disposal bans and recycling programs.
To meet current U.S. coal demand through surface mining, an area of the Central Appalachians the size of Washington, D.C., would need to be mined every 81 days. That’s about 68 square miles — or roughly an area equal to 10 city blocks mined every hour.
A one-year supply of coal would require converting about 310 square miles of the region’s mountains into surface mines, according to a new analysis by scientists at Duke University, Kent State University and the Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies.
Researchers have transported two endangered freshwater mussel species from Pennsylvania to Illinois in an attempt to re-establish their populations in the western part of the Ohio River Basin. […] The two mussel species historically had inhabited the Ohio River Basin, an area that stretches from Illinois to Pennsylvania and New York to Kentucky.
In a series of papers to be presented next week, scientists offer new evidence that a potent chemical mechanism operating in the roots of a tropical grass used for livestock feed has enormous potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Referred to as “biological nitrification inhibition” or BNI, the mechanism markedly reduces the conversion of nitrogen applied to soil as fertilizer into nitrous oxide, according to papers prepared for the 22nd International Grasslands Congress. Nitrous oxide is the most powerful and aggressive greenhouse gas, with a global warming potential 300 times that of carbon dioxide.
Our current pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which are projected to set the global mean temperature increase at around 3.5°C above pre-industrial levels, will expose 668 million people worldwide to new or aggravated water scarcity. This is according to a new study published today, 13 September, in IOP Publishing’s journal Environmental Research Letters, which has calculated that a further 11 per cent of the world’s population, taken from the year 2000, will live in water-scarce river basins or, for those already living in water-scarce regions, find that the effects will be aggravated.
The results show that people in the Middle East, North Africa, Southern Europe and the Southwest of the USA will experience the most significant changes.
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