The Eco News Roundup brings stories and commentary about issues related to climate change, renewable energy and the environment.
Climate change could become so extreme that it might trigger the cataclysmic collapse of a vital Atlantic Ocean current and plunge parts of the Northern Hemisphere into a frigid new reality, a study warns.
The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) transports warm water from the tropics to the North Atlantic and helps regulate climate and weather patterns all over the world. As it releases the warmth into the air, the cooling water sinks and flows back to the tropics to repeat the process. But researchers fear that as the air in the north warms significantly due to climate change, the AMOC won’t be able to transfer its warmth to the atmosphere and the great circulatory engine of the ocean could stagnate and shut down.
An enormous rift in one of Antarctica’s largest ice shelves grew dramatically over the past month, and a chunk nearly the size of Delaware could break away as soon as later this winter, British scientists reported this week.
If this happens, it could accelerate a further breakup of the ice shelf, essentially removing a massive cork of ice that keeps some of Antarctica’s glaciers from flowing into the ocean. The long term result, scientists project, could be to noticeably raise global sea levels by 10 centimeters, or almost four inches.
New research adds to evidence that the effectiveness of popular genetically engineered traits used to protect corn and cotton from insects is failing, putting U.S. corn production potential in jeopardy, and spurring a need for increased insecticide use.
The study, authored by a trio of independent researchers, documents resistance in a major crop pest called corn earworm, and adds to warnings that the popular GMO insect-resistant technology known as Bt, after the soil-dwelling bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis, has lost its luster.
New research has further eroded a go-to argument from climate change deniers: that there’s been a significant slowdown, or hiatus, in global warming.
In June 2015, scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration challenged this belief by publishing a controversial study that updated the global temperature record and significantly increased the estimated rate of global warming over the previous 15 years.
While a harsh national spotlight focuses on the drinking water crisis in Flint, Mich., a USA TODAY NETWORK investigation has identified almost 2,000 additional water systems spanning all 50 states where testing has shown excessive levels of lead contamination over the past four years.
The water systems, which reported lead levels exceeding Environmental Protection Agency standards, collectively supply water to 6 million people. About 350 of those systems provide drinking water to schools or day cares. The USA TODAY NETWORK investigation also found at least 180 of the water systems failed to notify consumers about the high lead levels as federal rules require.
At a time of heightened focus on U.S. cybersecurity risks, the Energy Department released a comprehensive report on the nation’s rapidly changing electrical grid Friday that calls for new action to protect against evolving threats.
The agency urged policymakers to grant regulators new emergency powers should threats become imminent, among other recommendations.
President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration may be nearing, but that doesn’t mean President Obama’s Interior Department is finished making decisions about the future of the United States’ vast natural resources and open spaces.
This week, the agency’s Bureau of Land Management issued four plans to shape the management of some 6.5 million publicly owned acres of Alaska’s eastern interior, a remote area stretching from Fairbanks to the Canada border that is filled with rivers, streams, forests, and very few major roads. Featuring key sections and tributaries of the Yukon river, it’s more home to animals like grizzly bears, moose, and caribou than to humans, but is also the province of native Americans including the Gwich’in, and substantial gold-mining interests in the Fortymile area near the Canada border.
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