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- Thu Nov 16, 2017 - Manage climate risks or face much more hunger by 2050 -- U.N.
Climate change threats, from worsening drought and flooding to sea level rise, could increase the risks of hunger and child malnutrition around the world by 20 percent by 2050, food security researchers warned Wednesday.
But looking carefully at the very different risks facing each country, region and type of food producer -- from highland rice farmers in Cambodia to cattle herders in South Sudan -- could help reduce that threat of growing hunger, they said.
In North Africa, for instance, both herders and farmers face fast-growing risks from more frequent, longer and more intense heatwaves and declining water availability, while population growth and greater urbanisation could also hit food security, according to a report by the World Food Programme (WFP) released Wednesday at the U.N. climate talks in Bonn.
In South Asia, by comparison, dense populations of farmers face threats from worsening floods, cyclones and droughts, as well as long-term threats to the stability of mons
- Thu Nov 16, 2017 - Keystone XL opponents make last-gasp effort in Nebraska
Opponents of TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline have launched a last-minute public relations blitz before Nebraska regulators weigh in on its route next week in the last big regulatory hurdle for the long-delayed project.
The proposed 1,179-mile (1,897 km) pipeline would link Canada's Alberta oil sands to U.S. refineries. It has long been a lightning rod of controversy for environmental groups and worried about spills and global warming, and former President Barack Obama rejected it. But President Donald Trump backs it as part of his broad energy strategy, and says it will lower fuel prices, shore up national security and bring jobs.
Volunteers for Bold Alliance, an activist group that has been fighting the project since it was proposed nearly a decade ago, are knocking on doors in parts of the state to describe the threats that possible pipeline leaks could pose to groundwater.
\'We want to make sure our fellow Nebraskans know the decision is coming ... and how critical this d
- Thu Nov 16, 2017 - A Radioactive Cloud Wafts Over Europe, With Russia as Chief Suspect
Scientists across Europe have been puzzling about a phenomenon that seemed laden with mystery and menace in somewhat uneven proportions --- a concentration of radioactive pollution caused by a nuclide called ruthenium 106.
Official monitors in France and Germany concluded that, based on weather patterns, the contamination detected since late September had emanated from southern Russia or from Kazakhstan.
\'The most plausible zone of release lies between the Volga and the Urals,\' the French Institute for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety said on Nov. 9. Jean-Marc Peres, the institute's director, told Reuters that the geographic area could indicate a spillage in Russia or in Kazakhstan.
On Oct. 8, the German Federal Office for Radiation Protection said, \'Russia must be assumed to be the region of origin of radioactive release\' --- a suggestion that was denied by Rosatom, the state company that runs Russia's nuclear industry.
According to a statement from Rosatom, \'None o
- Thu Nov 16, 2017 - Britain, Canada ally to boost support for global coal phase-out
The U.S. is effectively a global pariah in the international fight against climate change. But other developed nations are stepping up and taking steps to mitigate climate change in the absence of U.S. engagement and leadership.
Britain and Canada will urge nations at U.N. climate talks to join them in a global alliance to phase out coal, defying U.S. lobbying in favor of the fossil fuel at the same event.
The 'U.S. lobbying' referred to is the presentation at the U.N. climate conference in Bonn entitled \' The Role of Cleaner and More Efficient Fossil Fuels and Nuclear Power in Climate Mitigation\'. White House energy policy adviser George David Banks gamely responded to singing activists protesting the presentation with this quip: \'Excellent singing. I think we should do karaoke after this.\'
Though some reports suggest that we must rely on fossil fuels while renewable energy output is expanded, the optics were somewhat unfortunate to say the least.
While Britain and Canada
- Wed Nov 15, 2017 - You May Not Want to Eat Snow, Yellow or Not
Snow cones in the summer can come in many different flavors. Snow cones made of fresh snow in winter can include a few extra flavors.
Snow in its purest form is just water, but numerous other things could also be included. The ice particles that make up snow have irregular surfaces that can catch, absorb and hold various gaseous and particulate matter. Pollutants in snow could include such things as road salt, soot, pesticides, vehicle exhaust, fur, bacteria, fecal matter, pollen and even trace amounts of mercury.
I can remember at an early age tasting snow, some gritty, some metallic, to some that tasted like dirt. I've \'condensed\' my snow tasting a bit ever since I became a meteorologist and know what may be lurking in snow.
While catching snowflakes on your tongue or tasting just a little bit of fresh snow should do you no harm, eating large amounts of snow could possibly cause issues.
Where and when you collect your snow can make a big difference.
- Wed Nov 15, 2017 - Why Pollution May Increase Lightning Strikes
In Greek mythology, Zeus had dominion over the creation of lightning. Thousands of years later humans have begun to assume that role. Scientists have already linked aerosol emissions to increases in lightning over areas of the Amazon prone to forest fires (pdf) as well as regions of China with thick air pollution. The clearest example yet of humanity's influence on atmospheric electrostatic discharges, however, surfaced recently when researchers discovered dense trails of lightning in the soot-filled skies over two of the world's busiest shipping routes in the Indian Ocean and South China Sea.
Poring over 12 years of detailed data, atmospheric scientists Joel Thornton at the University of Washington, postdoc Katrina Virts of NASA Marshall Space Flight Center and their colleagues found lightning flashes occur nearly twice as often directly above heavily trafficked shipping lanes as they do elsewhere over the ocean. The increased frequency of lightning follows the exhaust from ships a
- Wed Nov 15, 2017 - "Farmers of the Sea" Say Livelihood Dying from Midwest Ag Pollution
Thomas Olander of Louisiana has been a shrimper and fisherman for about 40 years. He says his livelihood and way of life is dying out because of the growing dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico.
\'The guys that drag across that area, they absolutely cannot catch anything alive,\' he says. \'Nothing lives in it.\'
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, dead zones are caused by \'excessive nutrient pollution from human activities coupled with other factors that deplete the oxygen required to support most marine life in bottom and near-bottom water.\' This year, the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico was measured as the largest it has ever been - 8,776 square miles - an area the size of New Jersey.
Olander catches shrimp inland from the dead zone, though he is directly impacted by hypoxia (low-oxygen) in the area. A few years ago, 12 to 20 shrimp would add up to a pound, whereas now, they're averaging about 40 to 50 shrimp per pound, sometimes even 115 shrimp.
- Wed Nov 15, 2017 - What Tesla's Big Rig Must Do to Seduce Truckers
Tesla Inc. is about to introduce its biggest product yet, at least in terms of raw tonnage.
Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk has promised to unveil an electric semi truck on Thursday that will drive like a sports car and beat its diesel counterpart in a tug of war. \'This will blow your mind clear out of your skull and into an alternate dimension,\' he wrote on Twitter this week. But none of that really matters.
Unlike the U.S. market for luxury sedans and SUVs, where Tesla has been able to succeed against stylish, high-priced rivals with stylish, high-priced electric vehicles, truck drivers and delivery fleets need to make money with their big rigs. It's an unglamorous and ultralow-margin business in which one factor matters above all else: cost. And the truck market is huge. In North America alone, the largest heavy duty freight trucks---Class 8 semis---account for about $30 billion in sales each year, or more than 250,000 new trucks, according to industry data tracked by Bloomber
- Tue Nov 14, 2017 - World Commodity Prices to Rise says World Bank -- Coal and Oil will cost more!
The World Bank is forecasting higher prices for industrial commodities, principally energy and metals, in 2017 and next year.
The World Bank in its April Commodity Markets Outlook is holding steady its crude oil price forecast for this year at $55 per barrel, increasing to an average of $60 per barrel in 2018.
Rising oil prices, supported by production cutbacks by Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC states, will allow markets to gradually rebalance. These oil price forecasts are subject to downside risks should the rebound in the U.S. shale oil industry be greater than expected.
Prices for energy commodities, which also include natural gas and coal, are projected to jump 26 percent this year and 8 percent in 2018. In line with oil price forecasts, natural gas is anticipated to gain 15 percent this year, led by a jump in U.S. prices. Coal is seen climbing 6 percent in 2017, due to earlier supply restrictions in China, which consumes half the wo
- Tue Nov 14, 2017 - The Cost of Pollution -- It's killing us -- literally!
Pollution costs Canadians tens of billions of dollars every year in terms of impacts on their health and well-being, their pocketbooks and the value of their homes, buildings, roads and the natural environment.
This is according to a new report released today by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) entitled The Costs of Pollution in Canada: Measuring the impacts on families, businesses and governments. The report offers the most comprehensive portrait of pollution and its costs ever undertaken in Canada.
Based on a systematic review of published Canadian and international studies, the report reveals that:
*Pollution of all types cost Canadians at least $39 billion in 2015 in terms of lost health and well-being. The total health and well-being costs -- which could not be measured because of data gaps -- were possibly twice this amount.
*Lost income and increased spending to deal with pollution's impacts cost households, businesses and governments bi