Archive | June 2014

“Indonesia overtakes Brazil in forest losses despite moratorium”


 Indonesia has for the first time surpassed Brazil in clearing tropical forests and losses are accelerating despite a 2011 moratorium meant to protect wildlife and combat climate change, scientists said on Sunday.

Indonesia’s losses of virgin forests totaled 60,000 sq kms (23,000 sq miles) – an area almost as big as Ireland – from 2000-12, partly to make way for palm oil plantations and other farms, a study said. And the pace of losses has increased.

“Researchers develop cheaper way of making solar cells”


A team at Liverpool University has found a way of replacing the toxic element in the process with a material found in bath salts.

The scientists say that this could have a “massive, unexpected cost benefit”.

More than 90% of the solar cells are made from silicon. Around 7% are made from a material called cadmium telluride. The cadmium telluride cells are thinner than silicon and these are popular because they are also lighter and cheaper.

They have the drawback that a toxic chemical, cadmium chloride, is needed to manufacture them. Cadmium chloride is also expensive.

Dr Major discovered that a cheaper, non-toxic alternative, magnesium chloride, could be used instead of the toxic compound and work just as well.

Magnesium chloride is completely safe. It is used to make tofu and is found in bath salts. It also extracted from sea water and so is a small fraction of the price of cadmium chloride.


Game changer alert!!

“Don’t Forget Butterflies! Our Pollination Crisis Is About More Than Honeybees”


When President Obama signed an order last week creating a task force that will seek to promote pollinator health, honeybees grabbed the headlines.

“Obama announces plan to save honeybees,” CNN proclaimed. “White House creates new honeybee task force,” the Wire echoed. “White House task force charged with saving bees from mysterious decline,” the Guardian added, referencing the colony collapse disorder that contributed to the death of 23 percent of managed honeybees last winter.

But those headlines overlooked the most important part of the presidential order: it encompassed all pollinators, including birds, bats, native bees, and butterflies — not just honeybees. The memorandum will spur the creation, within the next 180 days, of a National Pollinator Health Strategy that will lay out ways for the U.S. to better study and better tackle the problems facing pollinators, both wild and managed.


“The $10,000 Global Warming Skeptic Challenge!”


Professor Christopher Keating has offered to write a cheque for $10,000 to anyone who can provide a proof , using scientific evidence he can’t refute , that global warming does not exist.

If you feel lucky go this link.

“The Planet Just Had Its Warmest May On Record”



Last month broke a temperature record, averaging 59.93 degrees Fahrenheit — a degree and a third (1.33°F) above the 20th century baseline, according to new data released Monday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. May 2014 was the 39th consecutive May that was warmer than average. This was also the 351st consecutive month where the global temperature was hotter than the 20th century average, meaning if you are 29 years old, you have never experienced a colder-than-average month in your life.


“Insecticides put world food supplies at risk, say scientists”


The world’s most widely used insecticides have contaminated the environment across the planet so pervasively that global food production is at risk, according to a comprehensive scientific assessment of the chemicals’ impacts.

Billions of dollars’ worth of the potent and long-lasting neurotoxins are sold every year but regulations have failed to prevent the poisoning of almost all habitats, the international team of scientists concluded in the most detailed study yet. As a result, they say, creatures essential to global food production – from bees to earthworms – are likely to be suffering grave harm and the chemicals must be phased out.


It’s a dangerous cycle when trying to increase crop yields, farmers have put the whole food supply at risk.

Climate Change Gender Gap


The ongoing political fights over climate and clean energy policies have led many to see climate change as an ideological issue. Pollsters tend to reinforce this by breaking down surveys by voting intention. But as the latest iteration of our comprehensive survey of Australian attitudes, Climate of the Nation 2014, shows, a less visible but important distinction is the gender gap.

Whether they’re assessing climate science, the risks and costs of climate impacts or the composition of the energy supply, women have a solid lead on men.

For example, our survey found that most women (55 per cent) accept the scientific evidence for human-induced climate change. For men, the share is just under half (47 per cent). Men are significantly more likely than women to believe that the seriousness of climate change is exaggerated (42 per cent compared with 29 per cent of women).


Men are from Mars and women are from Venus after all!!!


“Spain & Portugal Could Survive Just On Geothermal Energy”



Spain could obtain all the energy the country needs just from the heat under the ground. No solar, no wind is needed. Nor from the old nuclear plants the Spanish government and the electric companies want to restart. There is the potential to produce up to 700 GW, but currently none is produced by this means.

The resource is geothermal power, a growing market that hasn’t reached the Iberian Peninsula yet, and is barely used in Europe.

“Rising German Coal Use Imperils European Emissions Deal”


The European Union’s attempt to cap greenhouse-gas emissions over the next 16 years is threatened again as rising pollution from the bloc’s biggest economies shows even developed nations want to burn cheap coal.

Germany, Europe’s largest economy, boosted consumption of the fuel by 13 percent in the past four years, while use in Britain, No. 3 in the region economically, rose 22 percent, statistics from oil company BP Plc show. While Germany pledged to cut heat-trapping gases 55 percent by 2030 from 1990 levels, it’s managed 25 percent so far and is moving in the wrong direction, according to the European Environment Agency.


The need for cheap energy is still a higher priority than the environment.

“Wide Swaths of Pacific to Get Shield in Obama Plan”


President Barack Obama proposed shielding more of the Pacific Ocean from energy development or commercial fishing, saying the effects of climate change required new environmental protections.

“Rising levels of carbon dioxide are causing our oceans to acidify,” Obama said today in a video message presented at an oceans conference at the State Department. “Pollution endangers marine life. Overfishing threatens whole species, as well as the people who depend on them for food and their livelihoods.”