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Updated: 54 min 48 sec ago

Saving money with wasted heat

54 min 48 sec ago
Nearly two-thirds of energy input is lost as waste heat. Now Northwestern University scientists have discovered a surprising material that is the best in the world at converting waste heat to useful electricity. This outstanding property could be exploited in solid-state thermoelectric devices in a variety of industries, with potentially enormous energy savings.

Scenario development yields environmental success story

April 17, 2014 - 13:55
With so much scenario modeling currently available, we are able to better predict our future and anticipate the outcomes of various habits and activities. While invaluable in the area of prediction, how has that information transformed our environmental status? Is our environmental future optimistic or dismal? Will we be able to celebrate Earth Day in the future knowing that we have responded appropriately to the bleak prophecies?

Climate Change Reshaping Urban Tree Populations

April 17, 2014 - 07:55
Despite protecting us from the impacts of a changing climate, our region's trees are also threatened by wetter and warmer weather. The urban forests of today will look much different by the end of the century. By the end of this century, scientists predict southern New England's seas will rise some 3 feet, and without major cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, they say summers here will soon resemble Georgia's dog days.

Get Ready to Say Goodbye to Bananas

April 17, 2014 - 05:55
Who doesn't love a nice banana? They're tasty portable snacks, they make a great daiquiri, and they're wonderful additions to a green smoothie or bowl of oatmeal. Well, eat your fill now, because if history is any indicator, global banana production may soon be in serious jeopardy. The culprit is disease. Specifically, a strain of a tropical fungus is targeting the most popular form of banana, and there is currently no effective treatment.

Human Life Expectancy Linked to Extinctions

April 16, 2014 - 14:55
Since the arrival of Homo sapiens, other species have been going extinct at an unprecedented rate. Most scientists now agree that extinction rates are between 100 and 1000 times greater than before humans existed. Working out what is driving these extinctions is fiendishly complicated, but a new study by scientists from the University of California, Davis and the Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit suggests that human life expectancy may be partly to blame.

World's first Water Stewardship Standard is released

April 16, 2014 - 14:55
The first international Water Stewardship Standard, a global framework to promote sustainable freshwater use, has been released by the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS). The Standard defines globally applicable, consistent criteria for sustainable management and use of the world's limited freshwater resources. "We are excited to see global leaders join us on the journey towards sustainable and equitable water use," said Michael Spencer, Chair of AWS's board and representative of Water Stewardship Australia.

Electric car numbers double in one year

April 16, 2014 - 07:55
There are now more than 400,000 electric cars on the world's roads - twice as many as a year ago, and on current trends there will be a million by 2016. Leading the market are the USA, Japan and China - while Europe trails behind. The number of electrically powered automobiles worldwide climbed to just over 400,000 in early 2014. This figure was determined in an analysis conducted by the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW).

Belgium crushes Ivory, condemning poaching and illegal trade in wildlife

April 16, 2014 - 07:55
This week Belgium took a symbolic stand for elephants by crushing its entire stockpile of confiscated ivory in a move that condemns poaching and the illegal trade in wildlife. The event was hosted by Belgian Vice Prime Minister Laurette Onkelinx, who was joined by members of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), who helped organize the event, and officials from European and African countries, including elephant range states.

Weather throws a curve

April 16, 2014 - 05:55
Apparently the intense curve of the jet stream can predict the variability of an entire season and it is part of a 4,000 year pattern. Last winter's curvy jet stream in North America resulted in mild western temperatures and harsher cold temperatures in the east. University of Utah researchers reveal that a similar pattern became more pronounced 4,000 years ago, suggesting that it may worsen as Earth's climate warms.

Bats can help protect rice farms against pests

April 16, 2014 - 05:55
[KUALA LUMPUR] Bats that prey on a major rice pest in Thailand could save paddy harvests worth millions of dollars and help contribute to better food security, scientists say in a paper published in Biological Conservation recently (March).

REI Commits to Solar Energy to Reduce Climate Impact

April 16, 2014 - 05:55
REI, the $2 billion national outdoor retailer, is committed to renewable energy. The company has 26 locations with solar power systems in eight states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Georgia).

Fences May Cause 'Ecological Meltdown' of Wildlife

April 16, 2014 - 05:55
Wildlife fences are constructed for a variety of reasons including to prevent the spread of diseases, protect wildlife from poachers, and to help manage small populations of threatened species. Human—wildlife conflict is another common reason for building fences: Wildlife can damage valuable livestock, crops, or infrastructure, some species carry diseases of agricultural concern, and a few threaten human lives. But in a paper in the journal Science, published April 4th, WCS and ZSL scientists review the 'pros and cons' of large scale fencing and argue that fencing should often be a last resort.

Moth Study Reveals Hidden Climate Change Impacts

April 15, 2014 - 10:55
More and more studies are reporting climate change as the main culprit for not only species adaptation, but also for changes in population size. But a new study shows that population increases or decreases cannot only be attributed to increasingly warmer weather and that multiple factors play a role when it comes to species population.

Electricity Prices Fall In Europe As German Renewable Energy Output Increases

April 15, 2014 - 10:55
For the fifth consecutive month, electricity prices in countries neighboring Germany have decreased, recently released Platts data reveals, due in large part to increased solar and wind generation in Germany.

Ford to release electric Focus

April 15, 2014 - 10:55
Ford has already confirmed plans for a new 2015 Focus Sedan although the introduction of a Ford Focus Electric car in New York next week did take some experts by surprise. While the company has been relatively successful with regards to its alternative power supply vehicles, the introduction of the Focus Electric seems to be low key to say the least. The press release which accompanied next week’s launch did much to wax lyrical about the Ford Sedan but there was very little in the way of mention about the Ford Focus Electric. This has prompted speculation as to whether Ford has an "ace up its sleeve" or indeed whether it is playing down the electric car launch because it may well be a token gesture on the company's behalf?

IPCC concludes: Renewable energy shift is a must

April 15, 2014 - 08:55
Conclusions from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's are simple: rapid shifts to renewable energy are needed to avert catastrophic global warming. The IPCC's report was produced by 1250 international experts and approved by each major government in the world. The report documented increases in human-caused greenhouse gases, the source of those gases, and their climatic effect. The most significant conclusions resulting from IPPC report are: - Current efforts to reduce greenhouse gases are not enough. - Energy supply is not the only thing driving emission increases. - Big changes will be needed to avoid disaster scenarios.

To bee or not to bee

April 15, 2014 - 06:55
Bumblebees are among the most loved and familiar of garden insects. The sight and sound of them buzzing from flower to flower is a quintessential part of summertime, but sadly these charismatic creatures are now struggling to survive. In our modern world of paved gardens and intensive agriculture our bumblebees find themselves hungry and homeless.

EDGE List Released: Meet the 100 Strangest and Most Endangered Birds

April 15, 2014 - 06:55
The comic dodo, the stately great auk, the passenger pigeon blotting out the skies, the giant moas reigning over New Zealand: human kind has wiped out nearly 200 species of birds in the last five hundred years. Birds we'll never get back. Now, if we don't act soon we'll add many new ones to the list: birds such as the giant ibis, the plains-wanderer, and the crow honeyeater. And these are just a few of the avians that appear today on the long-awaited EDGE list of the world's 100 strangest and most endangered birds.

Bats can help protect rice farms against pests

April 14, 2014 - 11:55
[KUALA LUMPUR] Bats that prey on a major rice pest in Thailand could save paddy harvests worth millions of dollars and help contribute to better food security, scientists say in a paper published in Biological Conservation recently (March).

City lights threaten rain forests by deterring bats

April 14, 2014 - 11:55
Fruit-eating bats play an important role in forest regeneration, collecting and spreading seeds far and wide. However, human development may be stymying bat-mediated dispersal. In a new study published in the British Ecological Society's Journal of Applied Ecology, researchers found that fruit bats avoid feeding in light-polluted areas, which may significantly affect forest growth. Scientists from the German Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Berlin (IZW), undertook the study in Costa Rica, and focused on Sowell's short-tailed bats (Carollia sowelli), a species found throughout Central America and Mexico. The findings of their study indicate that artificial lights may deter these bats from feeding on fruit and spreading seeds by 25 to 50 percent.

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