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The Lead

Less than $200 M Would Conserve Brazilian Forest

August 29, 2014 2:00 pm | by Imperial College London | News | Comments

The Atlantic Forest is one of the most important and threatened biodiversity hotspots in the world, containing the only living examples of nearly 10,000 species of plant and more bird species than all of Europe. Brazil could conserve its valuable Atlantic Forest by investing just 0.01 percent of its annual GDP.

Global Warming Won't Stop Snowstorms

August 29, 2014 7:00 am | by MIT, Jennifer Chu | News | Comments

If ever there were a silver lining to global warming, it might be the prospect of milder winters...

Old Tires Get a Second Chance in Batteries

August 28, 2014 2:00 pm | by Oak Ridge National Laboratory | News | Comments

Recycled tires could see new life in lithium-ion batteries that provide power to plug-in...

Existing Plants Will Spew More than 300 B Tons of CO2

August 26, 2014 2:00 pm | by UC Irvine | News | Comments

Existing power plants around the world will pump out more than 300 billion tons of carbon...

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Image of the Week: Goldilocks Growth May Strengthen River Deltas

August 26, 2014 7:00 am | by Indiana Univ. | News | Comments

Research by geologists suggests that an intermediate amount of vegetation— not too little and not too much— is most effective at stabilizing freshwater river deltas. The findings may help guide restoration of river deltas, such as those near the mouth of the Mississippi River, which are under threat as sea levels rise.

Thailand's Farmers Turn to Edible Bugs

August 25, 2014 2:00 pm | by Associated Press, Denis Gray | News | Comments

Farmers in Thailand are turning to the profitable crisp and crunchy critters in their backyards, satisfying a big domestic appetite for edible insects.

Genetic Signatures May Help Predictive Climate Models

August 25, 2014 7:00 am | by DOE/Joint Genome Institute | News | Comments

A recent study offers an in-depth, population-based approach to identifying genetic mechanisms for adaptation in plant, and describes a method that could be harnessed for developing more accurate predictive climate change models.

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Cutting Emissions Pays for Itself

August 25, 2014 7:00 am | by MIT | News | Comments

Just how large are the health benefits of cleaner air in comparison to the costs of reducing carbon emissions? Researchers looked at three policies achieving the same reductions in the U.S., and found that the savings on health care spending and other costs related to illness can be big— in some cases, more than 10 times the cost of policy implementation.

GPS Stations See Huge Water Loss in Western U.S.

August 22, 2014 2:00 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

About 63 trillion gallons of water have been lost to drought in the western U.S., enough to blanket the region with four inches of water, according to a study. Researchers arrived at the conclusion by measuring the level of the earth's crust with a network of GPS stations that is normally used to predict earthquakes.

China's Energy Plan Holds Climate Risks

August 22, 2014 2:00 pm | by Associated Press, Jack Chang | News | Comments

China wants to build 60 coal-to-gas plants as part of a controversial energy plan. The country hopes the plants will churn out desperately needed natural gas and electricity while cleaning up the toxic skies above. However, the plants will also release vast amounts of heat-trapping CO2, even as the world struggles to curb greenhouse gas emissions and stave off global warming.

Water Splitter Runs on AAA Battery

August 22, 2014 7:00 am | by Stanford Univ. | Videos | Comments

Scientists have developed a low-cost, emissions-free device that uses an ordinary AAA battery to produce hydrogen by water electrolysis. The battery sends an electric current through two electrodes that split liquid water into hydrogen and oxygen gas.

Photosynthesis Inspires Better Fuels

August 22, 2014 7:00 am | by Max Planck Institute | News | Comments

Thanks to new insights into the details of photosynthetic water splitting, the prospects for the development of clean fuels based on water and sunlight are improving.

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Many Considerations Needed for Water Conservation Strategy

August 22, 2014 7:00 am | by UCLA | News | Comments

A new health impact assessment provides short- and long-term recommendations for urban water conservation that save water while also protecting and promoting public health.

Viruses Can Destroy Massive Algal Blooms

August 21, 2014 2:00 pm | by Cell Press | News | Comments

Algae might seem easy to ignore, but they are the ultimate source of all organic matter that marine animals depend upon. Algae also suck up CO2 from the atmosphere and sink it to the bottom of the ocean. Now, researchers have evidence showing that viruses infecting those algae are driving the life-and-death dynamics of the algae's blooms, even when all else stays essentially the same.

Food Waste May Be Turned into Bioplastic

August 21, 2014 7:00 am | by ACS | News | Comments

Your chairs, synthetic rugs and plastic bags could one day be made out of cocoa, rice and vegetable waste rather than petroleum, scientists are now reporting. The novel process they have developed could help the world deal with its agricultural and plastic waste problems.

California Gave Away Rights to Nonexistent Water

August 20, 2014 2:00 pm | by UC Davis | News | Comments

California has allocated five times more surface water than the state actually has, making it hard for regulators to tell whose supplies should be cut during a drought. Scientists have said California’s water-rights regulator, the State Water Resources Control Board, needs a systematic overhaul of policies and procedures to bridge the gaping disparity, but lacks the legislative authority and funding to do so.

U.S. Coal in Asia Could Slash Emissions

August 19, 2014 2:00 pm | by Duke Univ. | News | Comments

Under the right scenario, exporting U.S. coal to power plants in South Korea could lead to a 21 percent drop in greenhouse gas emissions compared to burning the fossil fuel at plants in the U.S. Despite the large amount of emissions produced by shipping the coal, total emissions would drop because of the superior energy efficiency of South Korea’s newer coal-fired power plants.

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Bionic Liquid Key to Closed Loop Biofuel Refineries

August 19, 2014 7:00 am | by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | News | Comments

While the powerful solvents known as ionic liquids show great promise for liberating fermentable sugars from lignocellulose and improving the economics of advanced biofuels, an even more promising candidate is on the horizon— bionic liquids.

Old Batteries Could Be Recycled into Solar Cells

August 19, 2014 7:00 am | by MIT, David Chandler | Videos | Comments

A system proposed by researchers recycles materials from discarded car batteries— a potential source of lead pollution— into new, long-lasting solar panels that provide emissions-free power.

Shale Oil 'Dividend' Could Pay for Smaller Footprint

August 18, 2014 2:00 pm | by Purdue Univ. | News | Comments

Unanticipated economic benefits from the shale oil and gas boom could help offset the costs of substantially reducing the U.S.'s carbon footprint, agricultural economists say. They estimate that shale technologies annually provide an extra $302 billion to the U.S. economy relative to 2007, a yearly "dividend" that could continue for at least the next two decades.

Model Predicts Water Scarcity, Climate Change in 2095

August 18, 2014 2:00 pm | by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory | News | Comments

What will a global water scarcity map look like in 2095? Radically different, according to scientists, depending on the type and stringency of the climate mitigation policies chosen to reduce carbon pollution.

NASA to Investigate Impacts of Arctic Sea Ice Loss

August 18, 2014 7:00 am | by NASA | Videos | Comments

A new field campaign will begin flights over the Arctic this summer to study the effect of sea ice retreat on Arctic climate. The Arctic Radiation IceBridge Sea and Ice Experiment (ARISE) will conduct research flights Aug. 28 through Oct. 1, covering the peak of summer sea ice melt.

Cheap, Small, Green Car Comes Closer to Market

August 15, 2014 2:00 pm | by Associated Press, Dee-Ann Durbin | News | Comments

Your next commuter car could have two seats, three wheels and get 84 miles to the gallon. Elio Motors wants to revolutionize U.S. roads with its tiny car, which is the same length as a Honda Fit but half the weight. With a starting price of $6,800, it's also less than half the cost.

Study Blames Humans for Melting Glaciers

August 15, 2014 7:00 am | by Associated Press, Seth Borenstein | News | Comments

Scientists looking at glacier melt since 1851 didn't see a human fingerprint until about the middle of the 20th century. Even then only one-quarter of the warming wasn't from natural causes. But since 1991, about 69 percent of the rapidly increasing melt was man-made.

Toxic Fracking Fluids Raise Red Flags

August 15, 2014 7:00 am | by ACS | News | Comments

As the oil and gas drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing proliferates, a new study on the contents of the fluids involved in the process raises concerns about several ingredients. Out of nearly 200 commonly used compounds, there’s very little known about the potential health risks of about one-third, and eight are toxic to mammals.

Groups Accuse EPA of Muzzling Science Advisers

August 14, 2014 2:00 pm | by Associated Press, Dina Cappiello | News | Comments

This week, journalist and scientific organizations accused the EPA of attempting to muzzle its independent scientific advisers by directing them to funnel all outside requests for information through agency officials.

Kellogg Aims for Green Supply Chain

August 13, 2014 2:00 pm | by Associated Press, John Flesher | News | Comments

Kellogg announced today that it will step up efforts to reduce planet-warming emissions in its supply chain as part of a broader initiative designed to be more environmentally friendly. Under the plan, the company will require key suppliers such as farms and mills to measure and publicly disclose their greenhouse gas outputs and targets for reducing them.

Oyster Numbers Still Suffering Since BP Spill

August 12, 2014 2:00 pm | by Associated Press, Stacey Plaisance, Janet McConnaughey | News | Comments

Gulf Coast oyster harvests have declined dramatically in the four years since a BP PLC oil well blew in the U.S.'s worst offshore oil disaster, spilling millions of gallons off Louisiana's coast in 2010. Even after a modest rebound last year, thousands of acres of oyster beds where oil from the well washed ashore are producing less than a third of their pre-spill harvest.

Rank Landfill Gas Could Be Clean Energy

August 12, 2014 7:00 am | by ACS | News | Comments

A new technique that transforms stinky, air-polluting landfill gas could produce the sweet smell of success as it leads to development of a fuel cell generating clean electricity for homes, offices and hospitals, researchers say. The advance would convert methane gas into hydrogen.

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