The Eco News Roundup brings stories and commentary about issues related to climate change, renewable energy and the environment.
UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon has called on nations to do more to protect the environment from the devastation of war.
“The environment has long been a silent casualty of war and armed conflict. From the contamination of land and the destruction of forests to the plunder of natural resources and the collapse of management systems, the environmental consequences of war are often widespread and devastating,” said Ban in a statement for the UN’s International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict on Thursday.
“Let us reaffirm our commitment to protect the environment from the impacts of war, and to prevent future conflicts over natural resources.”
Researchers from Northeastern University’s Marine Science Center and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have found that moderate ocean acidification and warming can actually enhance the growth rate of one reef-building coral species. Only under extreme acidification and thermal conditions did calcification decline. Their work, which was published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, is the first to show that some corals may benefit from moderate ocean acidification.
Sexual deceit, pressed flowers and Victorian bee collectors are combined in new scientific research which demonstrates for the first time that climate change threatens flower pollination, which underpins much of the world’s food production.
The work used museum records stretching back to 1848 to show that the early spider orchid and the miner bee on which it depends for reproduction have become increasingly out of sync as spring temperatures rise due to global warming.
The orchid resembles a female miner bee and exudes the same sex pheromone to seduce the male bee into “pseudocopulation” with the flower, an act which also achieves pollination. The orchids have evolved to flower at the same time as the bee emerges.
But while rising temperatures cause both the orchid and the bee to flower or fly earlier in the spring, the bees are affected much more, which leads to a mismatch.
Governments are lagging behind on international commitments to safeguard the planet’s ecosystems, with politicians failing to grasp that economic growth depends upon environmental protection, the head of the world’s leading conservation organisation has warned.
Julia Marton-Lefèvre, director general of the IUCN, the body that advises the United Nations on environmental matters, told Guardian Australia that conservation needed to be properly embraced by political leaders.
“I think world leaders have many other issues to deal with and sometimes they don’t see how protecting nature is essential for our wellbeing,” she said.
Brazil´s globally significant ecosystems could be exposed to mining and dams if proposals currently being debated by the Brazilian Congress go ahead, according to researchers publishing in the journal Science this week. The new report by a group of Brazilian and British researchers comes in the wake of Brazil´s recent presidential elections. It warns that new legislation could pose a serious threat to protected areas, weakening Brazil’s international status as an environmental leader.
Scientists have identified a mechanism that could turn out to be a big contributor to warming in the Arctic region and melting sea ice. The research was led by scientists from the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). They studied a long-wavelength region of the electromagnetic spectrum called far infrared. It’s invisible to our eyes but accounts for about half the energy emitted by Earth’s surface. This process balances out incoming solar energy.
Despite its importance in the planet’s energy budget, it’s difficult to measure a surface’s effectiveness in emitting far-infrared energy. In addition, its influence on the planet’s climate is not well represented in climate models. The models assume that all surfaces are 100 percent efficient in emitting far-infrared energy.
That’s not the case.
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2. The earth is our home, not our trash can.
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