Snippets

Snippets of environmental news content from EarthFix and other trusted places. Curated by Toni Tabora-Roberts.
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Fast forward to Year 2050, and assuming Prince George takes after his environmentalist grandfather, he’ll be grappling with the reality of an increasingly uninhabitable planet for over half of the global population. Based on the most conservative predictions for business as usual - even if we meet all our emissions reduction pledges - we are heading for about 3 degree Celsius rise in global average temperatures by that time. Let’s not even bother thinking about the impact of amplifying feedbacks that most climate models ignore.
In a different look on the new royal baby, Nafeez Ahmed imagines the world environment for a 30 year old Prince George in 2050. Will be need to be an eco-warrior?
Biofuel makers have discovered that algae can make a good butter substitute. Seriously?

Biofuel makers have discovered that algae can make a good butter substitute. Seriously?

By midmorning, the smell of hot peanut oil dissipated and inside the tightly sealed laboratory known as Building 51F, a pink hamburger sizzled in a pan over a raging gas flame. Overhead, fans whirred, whisking caustic smoke up through a metallic esophagus of ductwork.

Woody Delp, 49, a longhaired engineer in glasses — the Willie Nelson of HVAC — supervised the green bean and hamburger experiments. He sat at a computer inside a kitchen simulator, rows upon rows of numeric data appearing on his screen, ticking off the constituents of the plume sucked up the flue. A seared hamburger patty, as he sees it, is just a reliable source for indoor pollution.

“I can claim Alice Waters’ influenced the recipe,” he said. “It’s all fresh and local.”

But Dr. Delp and his colleagues aren’t really interested in testing recipes. They are scientists at the Energy Department’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the morning’s experiment concerned another kitchen conundrum, a fight against physics: how to remove harmful contaminants caused by cooking.


Euphemistically known as waste-to-energy, the possibilities afforded by excrement are, well, excremental. David Waltner-Toews, a veterinarian, epidemiologist, scientist and author, wrote The Origin of Feces: What Excrement Tells Us About Evolution, Ecology, and a Sustainable Society, as well as other books about the intersection of humans and nature and its relationship to development. He recently outlined 10 ways that the use of such waste could do everything from promoting energy self-sufficiency to improving drinking water. 

Poop Power: 10 Ways Excrement Can Save the World
http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/07/23/poop-power-10-ways-excrement-can-save-world-150525

A battery made of wood?

npr:

All Charged Up: Engineers Create A Battery Made Of Wood

This doesn’t look like your trusty potato battery: a prototype device made by scientists at the University of Maryland uses wood fibers coated with carbon nanotubes to create an electric current. 

Read the rest and listen to the story on Morning Edition. 

(Photo: Heather Rousseau/NPR)

Scientific American takes a look at why farmers don’t believe in human-caused climate change. And why it might not matter.

Why don’t U.S. farmers believe in human-caused climate change?

If it isn’t torrential downpours, then it’s too dry. If there’s one thing U.S. farmers can count on, it’s bad weather and, perhaps as a result, many of them don’t think humanity is to blame for the long-term shifts in weather patterns known as climate change. But even though agriculture is a major contributor to global warming, it may not matter whether farmers believe in the environmental problem.

What impact will this have on proposed Northwest coal export projects?

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The World Bank’s board on Tuesday agreed to a new energy strategy that will limit financing of coal-fired power plants to rare circumstances, as the Washington-based global development

Fracking studies have pit the Environmental Protection Agency against the oil and gas industry, which says the agency has over-reached on fracking and that its science has been critically flawed. The recent closing of EPA fracking investigations has some environmentalists worried that the agency is feeling the effects of industry pressure and tight budgets.

Have we said, ‘no, no more coal, quit bugging us?’ No, we’ve not said that. We have other opportunities that we believe are more viable and more imminent.
Curtis Shuck, director of economic development and facilities at Washington’s Port of Vancouver, speaking about the possibility of coal exports coming through.