Archive | August 2016

“World’s oldest fossils found in discovery with ‘staggering’ implications for the search for extra-terrestrial life”

Conical peaks of fossilised stromatolite-like structures within 3.7 billion-year-old rocks (Picture: Allen Nutman)

http://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/world/world%E2%80%99s-oldest-fossils-found-in-discovery-with-%E2%80%98staggering%E2%80%99-implications-for-the-search-for-extra-terrestrial-life/ar-AAikFNn?li=BBoPOOl&ocid=mailsignout

The oldest known fossils – dating back 3.7 billion years to a time when the Earth was still being bombarded by asteroids – have been found in Greenland, scientists announced in a discovery that could have “staggering” implications.

Commenting on the discovery, a Nasa expert on the early Earth said if the fossils were evidence of living creatures then the discovery showed “life is not a fussy, reluctant and unlikely thing” – increasing the chances that it will have developed on Mars and elsewhere in the Universe.

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“Swimming with dolphins could end as ‘self-gratifying selfies’ pose threat”

A spinner dolphin jumps out of the water off Hawaii.

Link

The federal government is proposing a ban on swimming with dolphins in Hawaii– a move that may crush the dreams of many tourists, but will allow the marine mammals to finally get a good day’s sleep.

“Combined Wind and Solar Reach 7.2% of Total US Electricity in 1H 2016”

Share of US Electricity Generation in 1H 2016 by Source

http://gregor.us/coal/combined-wind-and-solar-reach-7-2-of-total-us-electricity-in-1h-2016/

The transition to renewables, wind and solar power in particular, has typically run ahead of expectations this decade and fresh data from the United States illustrates this phenomenon nicely. In the first half of this year, combined wind and solar provided 140.97 TWh of the 1959.20 TWh generated in the country.

“Human-induced climate change began earlier than previously thought”

The first signs of warming from the rise in greenhouse gases which came hand-in-hand with the Industrial Revolution appear as early as 1830 in the tropical oceans and the Arctic.

Link

Continents and oceans in the northern hemisphere began to warm with industrial-era fossil fuel emissions nearly 200 years ago, pushing back the origins of human-induced climate change to the mid-19th century.

“Biggest Battery Contracts Move U.K. Closer to Grid-Scale Storage”

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-08-25/biggest-battery-contracts-move-u-k-closer-to-grid-scale-storage

Grid-scale electricity storage will move closer to commercial reality on Friday when the U.K.’s grid operator offers contracts to companies to help balance the network, a key measure needed to help balance increasing supply from renewables.

lightbulblogo

A game changing moment for the UK.

“MPs call for ban on plastic microbeads”

Facial scrub particles

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-37161479

The Environmental Audit Committee says the tiny balls of plastic used in shower gels and facial scrubs can even be found in Arctic sea-ice and on the ocean floor.

The MPs say synthetic fibres from worn car tyres and fleece jackets may also be harming wildlife.

We Were Promised The Greenest Olympics Ever. We Got An Ecological Disaster.

https://thinkprogress.org/we-were-promised-the-greenest-olympics-ever-we-got-an-ecological-disaster-6fba72f30aad#.hj8f5twtf

So how did an international environmental champion fail to meet the promises of a sustainable Rio in time for the city’s biggest international event in decades?

“Milk, Not Plastic, Will Protect Food in the Future”

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-08-22/don-t-toss-that-food-wrapping-you-can-eat-it

U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers have discovered that a milk protein called casein can be used to develop an edible, biodegradable packaging film. The casein-based film is up to 500 times better than plastic at keeping oxygen away from food because proteins form a tighter network when they polymerize, the researchers found. It’s also more effective than current edible packaging materials made from starch and protects food products that are sensitive to light.

“Could Less Gassy Livestock Be a Cash Cow?”

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-08-18/could-less-gassy-livestock-be-a-cash-cow

It’s time to have a conversation about flatulent cows.

The hamburgers and cheese that come from U.S. cattle may be favorite fare at many summer cookouts, but the methane the same cows produce is significantly less appetizing.

That’s especially the case for sustainable investors looking for a low-emission place to park their cash. “Enteric fermentation,” or livestock’s digestive process, accounts for 22 percent of all U.S. methane emissions, and the manure they produce makes up 8 percent more, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

And although agriculture is a growing industry as the world looks to feed its swelling population, some investors are reluctant to support a sector with such a hefty methane footprint.

“Balkan wildlife faces extinction threat from border fence to control migrants”

Razor-wire fence built by Slovenia is killing wildlife

Link

The death toll of animals killed by a razor wire fence designed to stop migrants crossing into Europe is mounting, amid warnings that bears, lynx and wolves could become locally extinct if the barrier is completed and consolidated.