Higher CO2 levels make plants less nutritious and hurt insect populations

March 18, 2020 by  
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The ever-increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are squeezing out other nutrients that plant feeders — such as insects and people — need to thrive.

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Higher CO2 levels make plants less nutritious and hurt insect populations

Atmospheric carbon dioxide at highest level in 3 million years

February 27, 2020 by  
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Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are now at the highest level they’ve been since the Pilocene Era, 3 million years ago, when giant camels roamed arid land above the Arctic Circle. According to a new National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ( NOAA ) report, in 2018, the global average carbon dioxide amount reached a record high of 407.4 parts per million (ppm). NOAA points a finger directly at humans, noting that the atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased about 100 times faster annually over the past 60 years than from previous natural increases. “Carbon dioxide concentrations are rising mostly because of the fossil fuels that people are burning for energy,” the report said. “Fossil fuels like coal and oil contain carbon that plants pulled out of the atmosphere through photosynthesis over the span of many millions of years; we are returning that carbon to the atmosphere in just a few hundred years.” Related: Pacific Ocean’s elevated acidity is dissolving Dungeness crabs’ shells Globally, atmospheric carbon dioxide increased about 0.6 ppm per year in the 1960s. In the last 10 years, this figure has been about 2.3 ppm per year, the study said. Carbon dioxide absorbs and radiates heat more than other major atmospheric components, such as oxygen or nitrogen. The NOAA report likens greenhouse gases to bricks in a fireplace that continue to release heat after the fire goes out. This warming effect is necessary to keep Earth’s temperature above freezing — up to a point. But once the level gets out of balance, these greenhouse gas “bricks” trap too much heat and make the Earth’s average temperature continue to rise. Carbon dioxide also dissolves into the oceans , where it reacts with water molecules to produce carbonic acid and lower pH levels. Since the Industrial Revolution began in the late 18th century, the ocean’s pH has dropped significantly, interfering with marine animals’ ability to fortify their shells and skeletons by extracting calcium from the water. “For millions of years, we haven’t had an atmosphere with a chemical composition as it is right now,” Martin Siegert, co-director of the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London, told NBC News . “We’ve done in a little more than 50 years what the Earth naturally took 10,000 years to do.” + NOAA Via EcoWatch and NBC News Image via Marcin Jozwiak

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Atmospheric carbon dioxide at highest level in 3 million years

What You Need to Know About Coal Power

January 31, 2020 by  
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This article is the fifth in a six-part series that explores … The post What You Need to Know About Coal Power appeared first on Earth911.com.

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What You Need to Know About Coal Power

Earth911 Inspiration: Be True to the Earth — Edward Abbey

January 31, 2020 by  
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This week’s quote is from American novelist and pioneering environmentalist … The post Earth911 Inspiration: Be True to the Earth — Edward Abbey appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Inspiration: Be True to the Earth — Edward Abbey

Shipping’s voyage to zero carbon is uncertain

November 7, 2019 by  
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Future goals around carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases require major breakthroughs in fuel and propulsion technologies.

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Shipping’s voyage to zero carbon is uncertain

Finnish startup makes alternative protein from carbon dioxide

July 12, 2019 by  
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An innovative startup company from Finland has piloted a new alternative protein product made out of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This meat alternative has the potential to address the environmental evils of both the agriculture industry and climate change. The startup is confident it will be able to get the product on grocery store shelves by 2021. The product, named Solein, will likely be sold first as a liquid protein source via shakes or yogurt. This is different than alternative meat competitors, now including conventional meat giants like Tyson , that primarily sell alternative proteins as nuggets or burgers. Related: Vegan and lab-grown meats predicted to take over meat market in 20 years According to Solar Foods, Solein is “100 times more climate friendly” than all other animal- and plant-based proteins. In fact, the company also claims it is 10 times more efficient than soy production in terms of carbon footprint . How does it work? The company says it mixes water molecules with nutrients like potassium and sodium and then feeds the solution plus carbon to microbes. The microbes consume the nutrients and produce an edible substance that looks like flour and is 50 percent protein . Lab-grown meats are an expanding industry, but Solar Foods captures carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to feed to microbes instead of using sugar like most other companies. “Producing Solein is entirely free from agriculture — it doesn’t require arable land or irrigation and isn’t limited by climate conditions,” a Solar Foods representative told Dezeen . “It can be produced anywhere around the world, even in areas where conventional protein production has never been possible.” The company has big ambitions and believes that if the alternative meat industry is indeed going to overtake the conventional meat industry as predicted, leading corporations like Impossible Meat and Beyond Meat are going to need to experiment with and use innovative sources of protein beyond pea-based products. + Solar Foods Via Futurism Image via Solar Foods

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Finnish startup makes alternative protein from carbon dioxide

Ontario cancels plans to reduce its carbon footprint

April 26, 2019 by  
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Ontario just cut plans to reduce its carbon footprint as Doug Ford, the Premier of Ontario, Canada decided to cancel an initiative that would have planted 50 million trees across the province and would have absorbed a considerable amount of carbon dioxide . This is not the first eco-friendly plan Ford has sidelined as he previously got rid of a carbon cap that was expected to bring in billions of dollars to the government. Ford also ditched a plan to test cars for harmful emissions and is having a bit of trouble with Toronto’s subways, but his latest move could have much wider implications. Related: Washington becomes the first state to allow human composting Planting trees is one of the best ways to naturally absorb carbon and cut down on air pollution. Trees act as a filter and soak up carbon in the atmosphere , storing it for later use. The millions of trees that were supposed to be planted in Ontario would have made a big impact in cutting carbon in the province and surrounding region. That opportunity, however, was squashed by Ford’s latest decision. Instead of planting trees , Ford is banking the money that would have been used for the project and using it to fund another initiative related to beer. Rob Keen, the leader of a group called Forests Ontario, says that the cancellation could affect the forests in the region, which need at least 40 percent coverage to survive. Keen added that not planting the trees will increase erosion in areas of Ontario that are prone to flooding. Bodies of water in the region, including lakes and rivers, will also get warmer with the lack of shade from trees. Lastly, water and air quality will also go down as a result of the canceled program. Ford has not commented on the backlash his administration has received, but we can only hope that lawmakers realize the mistake and do their best to reduce their carbon footprint in the near future. Via Tree Hugger Image via  Daniel Joseph Petty

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Ontario cancels plans to reduce its carbon footprint

These bamboo socks by Flyte are anti-bacterial and hypoallergenic

April 26, 2019 by  
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An environmentally-conscious customer base has more than supported the Flyte Socks cause, launching it into a business after humble beginnings as a Kickstarter campaign just hoping to fund a new style of sustainable socks . Partners Hung Jean and Jeffrey Trinh of Toronto set out to provide quality socks made out of sustainable materials with the goal to donate to causes close to their hearts. They had instant support with the first round of Flyte Socks, funding the campaign at 850 percent of the goal and shipping over 10,000 socks. Now, they’re back with a second round and meeting equal support for a product deemed Flyte Socks X: Bamboo Socks Re-Engineered. The Kickstarter campaign for this second design closes on April 17 and has already received over $80,000 in pledges to exceed the original $10,000 goal. Related: How to: knit a pair of smart socks that pause Netflix when you doze off Made from bamboo, the Flyte Socks X offer an end product sourced from a material that requires a third less water than cotton, regrows quickly and has a low environmental impact without the use of herbicides, pesticides or fungicides. Plus, bamboo is kind of the superfood of the forest — absorbing five times more carbon dioxide (that’s bad stuff) and outputting 35% more oxygen (that’s good stuff) than other trees. In addition to responsible materials sourcing, the products are earning strong reviews. They are anti-bacterial, hypoallergenic and naturally odor resistant due to the breathability of the fabric . The soft material is reinforced at the toe and heel to reduce wear in those areas and the elastic is re-engineered to guarantee they don’t fall down as you walk. The socks come in a variety of material options that are treated to keep colors from fading. Jean and Trinh have also vowed to use the success of the campaign to give back to the those in need. The social initiative pilot program states that for each pair of socks backed during the campaign, one pair will be donated . Proving their dedication to worker safety, the team is also certified by the Business Social Compliance Initiative. + Flyte Socks Images via Flyte Socks

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These bamboo socks by Flyte are anti-bacterial and hypoallergenic

Deforestation in tropical countries linked to European diets in new study

April 16, 2019 by  
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New research shows that European diets are linked to deforestation  in tropical countries. Scientists from Sweden’s Chalmers University of Technology tracked carbon emissions that are produced from tropical deforestation and found that one-sixth of the harmful emissions are related to European diets. “In effect, you could say that the EU imports large amounts of deforestation every year,” lead researcher Martin Persson shared. Related: Cargill announces plan to reduce deforestation from cocoa Persson noted that the European Union needs to address the issue of deforestation if it wants to meet previously announced climate goals. The study showed that deforestation contributed around 2.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide over a four-year span, from 2010 to 2014. Most of the cleared land was used for crops and pastures, with cattle and oilseed farming leading the way in production. A good portion of the deforestation was driven by international demand. The researchers estimated that anywhere between 29 to 39 percent of the carbon emissions could be traced to trade, which is directly linked to consumption in several EU nations. Fortunately, some countries in the EU are cracking down on imports tied to deforestation. France, for example, initiated a plan to discourage such imports over the next 10 years. Investors have also issued warnings to companies that produce soy, criticizing them for participating in deforestation for the sake of making money. Although some countries are fighting back, Persson and his team do not believe the efforts will stop companies from clearing land. Part of the issue is that there are few regulations that actually prevent countries from importing products that are linked to deforestation. Persson also believes that nations should provide better support for local farmers who are practicing sustainability . Moving forward, Persson hopes more studies will be done that expand on his work and show stronger links between imported products and deforestation. With more data to support their conclusions, Persson believes that countries can work together to put an end to deforestation before it is too late. The study will be published in the journal Global Environmental Change in May 2019. Via Mongabay Image via Shutterstock

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Deforestation in tropical countries linked to European diets in new study

New study predicts mass extinction in 140 years

February 25, 2019 by  
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A new study suggests that the old saying about history repeating itself is absolutely true. In this case, history repeating itself pertains to none other than the topic on everyone’s minds— extinction. Researchers believe it’s taken 56 million years for earth to face another mass extinction that can occur in as little as 140 years.  The research, released last Wednesday and published in Geophysical Research Letters , compares conditions in the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) period with our planet’s present warming condition. Back in PETM days, carbon dioxide shot up, increasing Earth’s temperatures by 9 to 14 degrees. The tropical Atlantic heated up to approximately 97 degrees. Land and marine animals died. It took 150,000 years for the planet to recover. Related: Global warming will melt over 1/3 of the Himalayan ice cap by 2100 Unfortunately for us, carbon dioxide emissions are rising ten times faster now than they did during the PETM. Back then, wildfires, volcanic activity and methane wafting from the seafloor and permafrost were the culprits. Today, it’s down to us. Last year, emissions in countries with advanced economies rose slightly after a five-year decline. At this rate, the study predicts Earth’s atmosphere will be comparable to the beginning of PETM in 140 years, reaching a peak in 259 years. The result? Mass extinction. Philip Gingerich, the study’s author, did a literature review of previous studies on PETM and the rate of carbon dioxide buildup in the atmosphere. Based on eight studies published between 2009 and 2018, he used models to project future emissions caused by humans. Gingerich is an emeritus professor in the University of Michigan’s earth sciences department. He directed the university’s Museum of Paleontology for nearly 30 years. “[It’s] as if we are deliberately and efficiently manufacturing carbon for emission to the atmosphere at a rate that will soon have consequences comparable to major events long ago in earth history,” Gingerich told Earther. As he states in his study, “A second PETM-scale global greenhouse warming event is on the horizon if we cannot lower anthropogenic carbon emission rates.” Via Earther Image via nikolabelopitv

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