Climate, Environmental Issues, News, Pollution

World deforestation surprisingly results in net cooling effect

Cropland bordering rainforest in Iguacu National Park, Argentina, Brazil. Photo: Watson Institute, Brown University

In the 1950s rainforests  covered 14% of the earth’s land surface; now they cover a mere 6% and experts estimate that the last remaining rainforests could be consumed in less than 40 years. It’s believed that deforestation accounts for about 20% of global emissions of CO2, because of the a reduced carbon storage capacity. Yet there may be a hidden side…

Environmental Issues, News

Energy efficiency could boost economy by $18 trillion, but energy saving is only 25%

energy_efficiency_benefits

The world is currently on a downward spiral, risking reaching a point of no return where global warming can no longer be reversed – not in due time at least. We’re already 50ppm of CO2 (parts per million) over the 350ppm average atmospheric CO2 concentration, considered by leading experts the carbon stabilizing threshold. It’s increasingly clear that steps are needed…

Environmental Issues, News, World Problems

Failing carbon policies: we’re seeing the largest carbon emissions increase in 30 years

carbon_emissions

U.N. scientists released a report in which they conclude man-made carbon emissions released between 2012 and 2013 were higher than in any other year since 1984. If this trend is set to continue, the planet will reach a tipping point where global warming will become an irreversible phenomenon that could cause enough sea level rise, drought, and severe weather to significantly harm human…

Environmental Issues, Pollution

Coal plant receives EPA approval to inject carbon emissions underground

Photo: Ralph Orlowski/Getty Images

The  Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently issued the first ever permit that will allow a coal plant to store some of its carbon emissions underground, as a means of mitigating global warming. The idea has been around since George W. Bush, but time and time again its been scrapped largely for economic considerations. Ten years later, FutureGen Industrial Alliance Inc. has now…

Environment, Environmental Issues, News, Pollution

Ozone-depleting chemicals still spewed in atmosphere despite international ban

The ozone hole (purple and blue) covered much of Antarctica in 2006. Image: CAROLYN GRAMLING

NASA reports significant quantities of ozone-depleting chemicals are still leaching into the atmosphere despite an international ban signed by all the world’s governments thirty years ago. …

Climate, Environmental Issues, News

63 trillion gallons of groundwater lost in 2013 drought in Western US

A snake-like trickle of water flows underneath Lake Oroville's Enterprise Bridge. Image credits:  Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A new study shows that last an incredible 63 trillion gallons of groundwater were lost in the Western US alone - so much that it’s actually causing the ground level to rise. The Earth has lifted up about 0.16 inches over the last 18 months in the area, and up to 0.6 inches in the Californian mountains. California’s drought is already…

Environmental Issues, Geology, News

California issued rights for five times the water it actually has

How bad is California's drought? Just look above. Photo: Wiki

California is facing one of its direst drought streaks, and only last year it came out of its warmest winter on record. Clearly, things aren’t looking that good and the most vulnerable resource to these conditions is at the same time the most valuable: water. Desperate times, call for desperate measures, and this means in some instances policymakers need to…

Environmental Issues, News, World Problems

Study confirms global warming is moistening the atmosphere

global_warming

Climate models have invariably predicted that the upper atmosphere would become more moist as a result of global warming, the question remained whether these disturbances are natural or anthropogenic.  A new research that used satellite readings found that indeed rising vapor content in the  upper troposphere comes a result of man-made global warming. The findings further strengthens climate models and adds…

Environmental Issues, News, Pollution

Sobering Aerial footage of the Mount Polley environmental disaster

imperial-metals-mount-polley-cariboo-regional-district-920-six

The Cariboo Regional District has released troubling video of what can already be called a full-scale environmental disaster following the release of five million cubic meters of effluent from a tailing pond at the Mount Polley gold and copper mine near Likely, B.C., on Monday. Mount Polley is an open pit copper/gold mine with a developing underground project, located in…

Environmental Issues, News, Pollution, Science

Frack now, ask questions later: bio impact of fracking still largely unknown

A typical fracking well. Image: Frontiers of Ecology

Since 2007, shale gas has boomed by 700% in the US and is projected to rise for the next 30 years. While there are states where well fields span across hundreds of hectares, you’d think that the effects of exploitation of this caliber are well researched and documented. In reality, the bio impact of fracking remains largely unknown. …