The Dutch want clean energy, and they’ve made that abundantly clear when 886 citizens sued their government to reduce CO2 emissions; as a result of that, something completely unprecedented (and very exciting) happened: a court in Hague ordered the government to reduce its emissions by at least 25% over the next five years. But then, things got even better: the government
Aaah, the ocean. The true final frontier. Full of wonderful and exciting things, such as strange fish, stranger crustaceans, beautiful hydrothermal vents, and lovely, ever-growing garbage patches.
Big Sur, California will see the newest installment of the Big Brother franchise, but with a twist. A team of wildlife conservationists have installed live-streaming web cameras on condor nests in the area, allowing scientists and enthusiastic bird watchers the world over to take a peek into the lives of Gymnogyps californianus.
In just a couple of weeks the price of oil, and commodity in general, have plunged. This Friday, oil was trading on the international market for $47 a barrel, while the American benchmark is currently sitting at $41.5. The low pricing – the lowest in six years – is driving a lot of companies bankrupt, while large companies like Exxon and Shell have been forced to cut down on their losses firing employees and shutting down exploration and exploitation projects.
In 2014, Dutch teenager Boyan Slat made headlines when he came up with the so-called “Ocean Cleanup Array”—a floating barrier designed to cut down the Great Pacific Garbage Patch by 42 percent within 10 years. Since this was a revolutionary way to deal with the global marine pollution problem, Slat naturally drew a lot of praise, as well as criticism.
It’s hard to believe anything can be alive thousands of feet below the Indian Ocean where thermal vents effectively boil the water. Yet even in the most inhospitable conditions, life has a way of creeping in. Such is the case of chrysomallon squamiferum, a snail-like creature which may very well sport the best armor in the animal kingdom.
The Department of the Navy (DON) announced it will make the largest investment in renewable energy by an federal entity. Its plan is to install a huge 210 megawatt (MW) solar facility – enough to power 80,000 Californian homes – in the Arizona desert, which would serve electricity to 14 US Navy installations. The agreement was signed last month and marks the latest in a slew of measures meant to make the Department of Defense less dependent on oil – not just by the navy, but also the military or air force.
U.S. Geological Survey scientists report the Grand Canyon’s food webs are contaminated with dangerously high levels of mercury and selenium. The source of the runoff pollution can be tracked down hundreds of miles upstream, coming from coal-burning electrical plants and other human sources. This shows that “remote ecosystems are vulnerable to long-range transport and subsequent bioaccumulation of contaminants,” the researchers write.
North America boasted about half a million eagles before Europeans colonized the territory. They took the influx of Old World-ers quite harshly: the loss of habitat, the strains put on them by hunting activities and the spreading of pesticides among many others resulted in a steep decline of their population in the US. In 1997, the state of Virginia reported to have only about 50 bald eagle nests occupied by the avian predators. Thankfully, their numbers are slowly increasing at present, with more than 1,000 sightings of active nests throughout the Commonwealth.
Peter Ward might be the luckiest biologist ever. In 1984, he and colleague Bruce Saunders were among the first to identify a new nautilus species called Allonautilus scrobiculatus. Since then, the spiral shelled creature was only spotted once then disappeared for nearly three decades. This year, Ward returned to Papua New Guinea to survey nautilus populations and found the rare nautilus species once again!