The Eco News Roundup brings stories and commentary about issues related to climate change, renewable energy and the environment.
A new Yale-led study estimates that there are more than 3 trillion trees on Earth, about seven and a half times more than some previous estimates. But the total number of trees has plummeted by roughly 46 percent since the start of human civilization, the study estimates. Using a combination of satellite imagery, forest inventories, and supercomputer technologies, the international team of researchers was able to map tree populations worldwide at the square-kilometer level.
In the first study of its kind, new research from the University of New Hampshire shows that crop rotations, in isolation from other management factors, can increase the functions performed by soil microbial communities that benefit plant growth. The study was conducted by researchers with the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station.
The Southern Ocean has begun to absorb more atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) according to new research from an international team, including the University of East Anglia. A decade ago scientists announced that the amount of CO2 being absorbed by the Southern Ocean had not increased since the late 1980s. And it was feared that this ‘carbon sink’ might have begun to saturate.
But new research to be published tomorrow (Friday) in the journal Science reveals that rather than stalling, the amount of CO2 being absorbed is on the rise again.
Developed countries “ought to be embarrassed” by less-wealthy nations’ pledges to fight global warming by changing agriculture, forestry and other land use practices, as the developing countries’ promises go much further and are more detailed, researchers said Thursday as a prominent scientists’ organization released a major report on the issue.
The pledges, called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), are set to be announced ahead of the signing of a global climate treaty at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris this December. World leaders hope the pact will reduce emissions in an effort to avert the worst effects of climate change.
A certain pesticide that’s been found to harm bees is no longer approved for use in the United States, after a federal appeals court struck down the Environmental Protection Agency’s authorization of it Thursday.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that the EPA shouldn’t have signed off on Dow AgroSciences’ sulfoxaflor, which is sold under the brand names Transform and Closer, because it didn’t seek necessary, additional tests on it.
“Because the EPA’s decision to unconditionally register sulfoxaflor was based on flawed and limited data, we conclude that the unconditional approval was not supported by substantial evidence,” the court’s opinion reads. “We therefore vacate the EPA’s registration of sulfoxaflor.”
Researchers at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) reported Thursday we’re now in an El Niño that is both “strong” and will last through the spring. The resulting burst of regional warming in the tropical Pacific on top of the strong long-term global warming trend means that, as Climate Progress has been reporting for months, 2015 will easily be the hottest year on record — blowing past the record just set in 2014.
Over the past year, GOP leaders, driven by Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), have made a radical shift in the party’s public position on climate change. They are now actively seeking to destroy a global climate deal.
For coastal companies that depend on a healthy stream of tourists to keep business healthy, the prospect of drilling in the Atlantic Ocean means one thing: spills that will sully beaches and drive visitors away.
More than 300 Atlantic coast businesses sent a letter to President Obama Thursday, urging him to take back his administration’s proposal to allow drilling in the Atlantic Ocean. In January, the Obama administration announced a proposal to sell oil and gas leases in offshore sites from Virginia to Georgia. Currently, there is no offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean, though drilling does occur in the Gulf of Mexico.
In the letter, the businesses outline the economic risk posed by offshore drilling, saying that monetary losses due to lost tourism revenue could be “devastating.” They also note that the Energy Information Administration estimates that the Atlantic Ocean holds only about 209 days’ worth of oil and 13 months’ worth of natural gas.
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