‘Eighth natural wonder of the world’ may have been rediscovered after 131 years

June 14, 2017 by  
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131 years ago, the eighth natural wonder of the world was thought to be lost in a volcanic eruption . The exact fate of the Pink and White Terraces at Lake Rotomahana in New Zealand was unknown, but now two researchers think the terraces may actually have survived, and could even be excavated to dazzle the world once again. During the mid-1800’s, visitors from around the planet came to view the Pink and White Terraces, pools cascading down into Lake Rotomahana. But in 1886, nearby Mount Tarawera erupted, releasing around as much energy as the biggest nuclear weapon ever detonated. Research hinted the terraces were either destroyed or pushed down into the depths of the lake. But independent researchers Rex Bunn and Dr. Sascha Nolden of the Alexander Turnbull Library think otherwise; according to them, the terraces may be preserved just 32 to 49 feet under the surface beneath mud and ash. Related: Scientists find evidence of lost continent beneath Mauritius Bunn told The Guardian the government of the 1800’s never surveyed the area, so we don’t know the exact longitude and latitude of the terraces. But the two researchers drew on unpublished 1859 survey data from 19th century geologist Ferdinand von Hochstetter to determine the German-Austrian’s location as he made his field notes to determine where the famed terraces might be today. They think the Pink and White Terraces may be in reasonable condition, able to be restored. Now they hope to begin exploring the site, if they can clinch funding. Bunn told The Guardian, “We want to undertake this work in the public interest. And I have been closely liaising with the ancestral owners of the land, the Tuhourangi Tribal Authority, and they are supportive and delighted with the work.” Nolden and Bunn aren’t the first researchers to think they’ve rediscovered the terraces. GNS Science New Zealand said in 2016 following five years of research, an international team came to the conclusion much of the terraces had been destroyed. But Bunn said he’s talked with GNS and that their conclusions may have rested on 130 years of incorrect cartographical information. Bunn and Nolden’s research was published online this month by the Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand . Via The Guardian and IFLScience Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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‘Eighth natural wonder of the world’ may have been rediscovered after 131 years

India to only sell electric cars by 2030

June 5, 2017 by  
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India is taking huge strides to escape its dubious distinction as one of the most polluted countries on Earth. The government is taking dramatic measures to clean the country’s air – including the switch to sell solely electric cars in just 13 years. If the amount of diesel and petrol cars dwindles on the streets of India, the country could lower the dangerous levels of air pollution that have led to the deaths of 1.2 million people annually. Energy minister Piyush Goyal said India would financially back the move for the first two to three years; then electric vehicle production will be “driven by demand and not subsidy.” Related: New Delhi has the worst air pollution of any city on earth The move has been praised by environmentalists and, naturally, worried the oil industry. India is the third biggest oil importer in the world – each year they spend $150 billion on oil. Moving to electric cars could save the country $60 billion in energy expenses. Indian car owners would also save money by switching to electric vehicles . Goyal, who presented the government’s plan at the Confederation of Indian Industry Annual Session 2017 in New Delhi, said the government would invest in charging infrastructure, beginning in big urban areas like Delhi. He also said they were considering methods like swapping batteries “so cars don’t have to wait for batteries to be charged,” saying, “Electric cars can then move to petrol pumps, swap their batteries, and drive out, just like they do now. And it will take less time than what it takes to put petrol in your car, like in Formula 1 races!” The transition to electric cars would also help the country slash greenhouse gas emissions. Calculations indicate India’s carbon emissions could decrease 37 percent by 2030 with the move to electric vehicles. Via World Economic Forum and International Business Times Images via Mahindra Electric Facebook

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India to only sell electric cars by 2030

Corporate, world leaders vow to uphold Paris Agreement

June 2, 2017 by  
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Legally, it could take the United States at least three years to pull out of the international treaty on mitigating climate change. During the interim, the country may cede valuable opportunities for new low-carbon businesses.

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Corporate, world leaders vow to uphold Paris Agreement

"We’re getting out:" Trump pulls U.S. from Paris climate deal

June 1, 2017 by  
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After a slew of stalled announcements and pro-climate action campaigns from major U.S. companies, President Donald Trump defies supporters of the UN climate deal.

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"We’re getting out:" Trump pulls U.S. from Paris climate deal

Now Trump wants to condemn wild horses to slaughter

May 26, 2017 by  
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There’s a new group on the chopping block under President Donald Trump’s latest budget proposal: wild horses . His administration thinks they could save $10 million next year by allowing the sale of wild horses snared in the American West. But they’d toss out a requirement presently in place that requires buyers to guarantee the horses won’t be resold for slaughter. Under the Trump budget, these iconic animals could be disposed of to foreign slaughterhouses to be processed as food. Wild horses are integral to the West’s wild history. Where would a cowboy be without his horse? But Trump’s budget bows to the wishes of livestock interests by discarding the current stipulation that buyers of wild horses won’t sell them for slaughter. Thousands of free-roaming mustangs could meet their end in a foreign slaughterhouse. Related: Trump budget proposes 31% cut to EPA funding Wild horse advocates say the move would toss out nearly 50 years of protection for these animals. There are around 59,000 wild mustangs in the region, which livestock interests don’t like because they compete for over 40,000 square miles of forage managed by the United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) across 10 states. Nonprofit group Wild Horse Education president Laura Leigh said of the budget, “This is simply a way to placate a very well-funded and vocal livestock lobby.” The last three presidents also struggled with how to manage those wild horses and another 45,000 kept in pens and pastures. BLM said the current program is unsustainable, and the new budget could allow the government to manage the horses in a more cost-effective way “including the ability to conduct sales without limitation.” BLM said rangeland in America can only sustain less than 27,000 horses and burros. Rangelands are being damaged and horses are starving, according to Ethan Lane of the lobby National Cattlemen’s Beef Association , which backs the Trump proposal to allow slaughter of wild horses. American Wild Horse Campaign executive director Suzanne Roy disagrees with the budget propsal. She said, “America can’t be great if these national symbols of freedom are destroyed.” And the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) president Matt Bershadker said wild horses can be humanely managed with simple fertility control, “…yet the BLM would rather make these innocent animals pay for draconian budget cuts with their very lives.” Via NBC News Images via Pixabay and firelizard5 on Flickr

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Now Trump wants to condemn wild horses to slaughter

In surprise vote, Senate keeps Obamas methane rules in place

May 11, 2017 by  
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In a stunning win for environmental activists , the U.S. Senate voted against repealing the BLM methane rule (originally passed during the Obama administration) to limit methane pollution on public land. Overturned with a 51-49 vote , the deciding “No” was from Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona . Under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), lawmakers can overturn the rules of a previously instated administration within the first 60 days of their enactment. Because of this, Congress has voted 13 times to overturn a selection of Obama rules. Many of these relate to srteam protection, internet privacy and the shooting of hibernating bears, reports BuzzFeed. The outcome of Wednesday’s vote is being lauded as positive news, as the Obama-era rule requires gas drillers to limit leaking, venting or burning methane, which is responsible for fueling climate change . In present-day America, where the President believes climate change is a “hoax” and has ties to the oil industry, outcomes such as this one are rarely witnessed. Politicians including Sen. McCain, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina all voted against the repeal to prevent the government from drawing up any future rules that might restrict methane emissions. McCain said in a statement , “Passage of the resolution would have prevented the federal government , under any administration, from issuing a rule that is ‘similar’. I join the call for strong action to reduce pollution from venting, flaring and leaks associated with oil and gas production operations on public and Indian land.” McCaine added that the smarter thing the Trump administration could have done was to release an updated rule to improve the one passed during Obama’s time as President. Related: Senate Republicans could save methane rules from Trump Commenting on McCain’s surprising stance, Mark Brownstein of the Environmental Defense Fund said, “The oil and gas industry gets into power and the first thing they ask for is a repeal of pollution rules, it just doesn’t make people happy. Senator McCain once again demonstrated that he is a voice of common sense and reason.” According to the Bureau of Land Management , enough methane gas is wasted by drillers to supply 6.2 million homes a year. This, in turn, costs taxpayers $46 to $204 million in lost royalties. Considering solar technology is becoming more affordable and countries such as Germany and Costa Rica have already proven populations can thrive on renewable energy , it seems clear the future is green. Erik Milito of the American Petroleum Institute deemed the outcome “disappointing” and is calling for a review of the rule under a new executive order which was recently released by the White House. However, because of the short time limit on the CRA, it is now too late for another Congressional resolution to take place to repeal the BLM methane rule. Via The Washington Post , BuzzFeed Image via Colorado Politics , Newsmax.com

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In surprise vote, Senate keeps Obamas methane rules in place

Only 25 glaciers remain in Montana’s shrinking Glacier National Park

May 11, 2017 by  
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Our warming climate is ravaging the storied glaciers of Montana’s Glacier National Park . The United States Geological Survey (USGS) and Portland State University recently released data revealing the devastation of climate change on the area over 50 years. The park’s glaciers shrunk by 39 percent on average, but some dwindled by up to 85 percent. An estimated 150 glaciers filled the park in 1850; today there are around 25. The researchers tracked two glaciers on United States Forest Service land and 37 glaciers in Glacier National Park . But now just 26 glaciers in the park are bigger than 25 acres, the benchmark for a body of ice to be correctly termed a glacier. Geologist Andrew Fountain of Portland State said, “While the shrinkage in Montana is more severe than some other places in the U.S., it is in line with trends that have been happening on a global scale.” Related: The Glaciers of Glacier National Park May All Disappear by 2030 The researchers scrutinized digital maps from satellites and aerial photography to measure the outer edges of glaciers in the late summer, when seasonal snow has disappeared and it’s easier to tell how large a glacier truly is. Site visits added to the data. The researchers looked at glaciers in 1966, 1998, 2005, and 2015/2016 to track 50 years of climate change in Glacier National Park. The news isn’t good; it shows visually how the mountain ecosystem has altered in the northern Rocky Mountains. Lead USGS scientist Daniel Fagre said, “The park-wide loss of ice can have ecological effects on aquatic species by changing stream water volume, water temperature, and run-off timing in the higher elevations of the park.” The loss of glaciers in the park named for them could also hurt tourism in the area. The research is intended to help park management and inform the public; according to USGS it will assist scientists in their understanding of the effects of large scale climate patterns on glaciers in distinctive mountain environments . Via United States Geological Survey Images via Pixabay and Wikimedia Commons

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Only 25 glaciers remain in Montana’s shrinking Glacier National Park

SolarGaps’ new solar blinds shade windows and generate clean energy

May 11, 2017 by  
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What if your window blinds could power your home in addition to shading its rooms? That’s the idea behind SolarGaps’ new solar blinds. These smart blinds designed to track the sun can be controlled via an app , and the company says their product will slash energy bills by as much as 70 percent. SolarGaps’ smart solar blinds, created by Ukrainian inventor Yevgen Erik, could revolutionize how we live our lives indoors, and obtain the energy we consume in our homes. The company says the blinds are extremely efficient can generate 100 watts of power per 10 square feet of a window – enough energy for three MacBooks or 30 LED light bulbs, according to the company. Related: National laboratory scales up quantum-dot solar windows that can power entire buildings The company also says the installation process is simple enough for homeowners to do themselves using SolarGaps’ instructions – and after the blinds are plugged in, the renewable energy they generate begins to power home devices. Their app allows users to change the angle of the blinds, lower or raise them, or check out how much energy they are generating. The blinds are made with solar cells from SunPower and come with a 25 year lifespan. The outer part is made with Aluminum . SolarGaps says they’ll work in a wide variety of climates and temperatures, from negative 40 degrees Fahrenheit up to 176 degrees Fahrenheit. The company also markets their groundbreaking blinds as affordable, and able to generate more electricity than competing smart blinds currently on the market. They’re currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter; a XS Sized Set is $390, 50 percent off the retail price, and measures 36 by 36 inches, or 32 by 36 inches. SolarGaps is also offering small, medium, large, extra large, and extra extra large sizes, as well as two custom bundles. You can check out the campaign here . + SolarGaps Images via SolarGaps Facebook and SolarGaps

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SolarGaps’ new solar blinds shade windows and generate clean energy

Under pressure, Trump punts on Paris climate deal

May 9, 2017 by  
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Google, the North Face and Tiffany & Co. are just a few companies stepping up calls for President Donald Trump to follow through on U.S. climate commitments.

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Under pressure, Trump punts on Paris climate deal

Bonn climate talks mark next step for Paris Agreement

May 9, 2017 by  
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Global policymakers are meeting this week to dive into the details ahead of a 2018 meeting to cement the Paris accord.

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Bonn climate talks mark next step for Paris Agreement

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