Archive for May, 2011

Amazon rainforest: Proposed law threatens to cripple preservation efforts

Los Angeles Times: Driven by powerful agribusiness interests, a bill is moving through the Brazilian Congress that could cripple the decades-long effort to protect the Amazon rainforest. The bill would change Brazil's 1965 Forest Code, which requires that Amazon landowners preserve 80 percent of their property as forest, and allow states to set the minimum amount of forested land. Soybean farmers and ranchers, responding to high global commodity prices, are considered to hold more sway in state governments. The...

Rock River and climate change

Janesville Gazette: Here are details about an upcoming educational opportunity for those who like to learn about the Rock River. From a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources news release: The third program in an educational series about the Rock River will address the potential impact of climate change on the River and its tributaries. The session will take place starting at 8 a.m. Thursday, June 9, at the UW Extension Jefferson County office, 864 Collins Road, Jefferson. Presentations will run from 8:30...

Female Fish Develop “Testes” in Gulf Dead Zone

National Geographic: A low-oxygen "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico (map) is causing sexual deformities in fish, a new study says. The Gulf dead zone occurs when agricultural and waste runoff from the Mississippi River spark blooms of algae and microbes. These organisms gobble up oxygen, starving other marine life and creating huge swaths of "dead" ocean. Between 2006 and 2007, nearly a quarter of female Atlantic croaker fish caught in the northern Gulf's dead zone had developed deformed, testes-like organs instead...

REDD should fund efficient stoves, crop yield increases, says study

Mongabay: REDD should fund efficient stoves, crop yield increases, says study Implementation costs of REDD are higher in Tanzania than commonly acknowledged. Efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) must incorporate the implementation cost of programs to meet resource demands of local people in order to be successful, argues a new study published in Nature Climate Change. The research, led by Brendan Fisher of Princeton University, looked at deforestation...

Cholera early warning system could save thousands of lives

Guardian: A woman is taken to a clinic in Harare, Zimbabwe, during a major cholera outbreak in 2008. An early warning system that can predict devastating outbreaks of cholera months before they strike has been developed by scientists. The work could transform medical care in improverished tropical zones where the gut infection is endemic and kills more than 100,000 people a year. With a few months' warning, health services would stand a better chance of mobilising pre-emptive measures, including vaccine...

Oxfam: Food prices to double amid climate change

USA Today: The price of staple foods such as corn, already high, could more than double in the next 20 years, and climate change is responsible for up to half of this expected increase, warns a report Tuesday by the international aid organization Oxfam. The world's poorest people will be hardest hit as the demand for food rises 70% by 2050 while the world's capacity to increase food production declines, according to the "Growing a Better Future" report. Oxfam released the report as part its new global GROW...

Region still has ’somewhere to go’ in addressing climate change issues

Jamaica Observer: Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Belize-based Caribbean Community Climate Change Center (CCCC), Dr Leonard Nurse says while regional countries are making progress in their effort to resolve climate change issues they are still in the same category as other developing small islands states that have much more to do. "We do have somewhere to go but we are no worse off than other regions. We are fortunate to have the kind of political support and some good internal capacity, we have to build...

Drain on Spain

BBC: The strawberry has always been one of the most prized tastes of summer. But meeting the growing demand for this favourite fruit - in Britain, Germany, France and beyond - is putting great strain on the environment in Spain. Spain is the biggest exporter of strawberries worldwide, with an industry worth more than 400m euros (£345m) a year, which supports around 50,000 jobs. Intensive agricultural methods mean the fruit can be grown all year round. Nine out of 10 strawberries are exported to...

Venice floods no worse under climate change

Australian Broadcasting Corporation: Future reprieve Venice may be less at risk than feared from rising sea levels because damaging storm surges are likely to get less frequent this century as a side-effect of climate change, says an Australian expert. Shifts in storm patterns in the Adriatic Sea could be a local impact of global warming, and this could offset higher sea levels in a city whose St Mark's Square and other historic areas are often flooded. "Higher sea levels will be counteracted by less severe storm surges," says...

Flexible films for photovoltaics

ScienceDaily: Flexible Films for Photovoltaics Displays that can be rolled up and flexible solar cells -- both are potential future markets. Barrier layers that protect thin-film solar cells from oxygen and water vapor and thus increase their useful life are an essential component. What do potato chips and thin-film solar cells have in common? Both need films that protect them from air and water vapor: the chips in order to stay fresh and crisp; the solar cells in order to have a useful life that is as long...