How Renewables can Come to the Rescue in Disaster Zones

Jan 29th, 2015 | By

When people’s lives are thrown into chaos by war, famine or natural disaster, using renewable energy may not seem like an obvious response. However, a group of UK entrepreneurs believes that decentralised renewable energy could provide a cheap and immediate source of power to those who need it most. John Hingley, founder of Renovagen, a

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Time for Bhutan and the World to Give ‘Happiness’ a Second Look

Jan 29th, 2015 | By

If there is one thing that could describe the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan in international development terms, it would most likely be the introduction of a unique metric to measure development progress: the “gross national happiness” index. But more than 40 years after the index was introduced by the country’s former king, Jigme Wangchuck,

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Copenhagen Unveils First Climate-change Adapted Neighborhood

Jan 26th, 2015 | By

Come hell or high water, the residents of St. Kjeld, a Copenhagen neighborhood, will be ready. Actually, skip the hell part. But when the next megastorm hits the Danish capital, St. Kjeld’s residents will be safe and dry. That’s because as of December, they live in the world’s first climate-change-adapted neighborhood. “St. Kjeld’s transformation shows

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Energy Poured in to Cutting-edge Conservation Ideas

Jan 23rd, 2015 | By

Here’s a plan for cutting your carbon footprint: fit your electric car with a high-performance lithium sulphur battery that can treble the mileage for a much lower cost. That’s just one of many examples of innovative energy conservation solutions that scientists are currently on the brink of turning into reality. Others include fitting your clothes

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Revisiting Mountain Perspective: Reasons And Challenges

Jan 19th, 2015 | By
Van Mundoli in Chamoli-Photo Samvedi Dehradun-1

K N Vajpai: This article is in the series of responses to an article on ‘Mountain Perspective’ at Link. It looks in to the aspects of mountain perspective and specificities as mentioned by Dr. N. S. Jodha during 1992s, and compares them in present  context. However, there are a number of doubts upon the relevance

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Measuring Success: Indicators For the Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans

Jan 8th, 2015 | By

This report collates information on ecosystem-based indicators and indices currently being measure by regional entities and seeks to identify common elements. From this analysis the report postulates whether a limited generic set of indicators can be derived. A series of case studies are used to exemplify the diversity of ways indicators have been applied. For

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Smart Cities: What India Needs to Learn From Berlin

Jan 7th, 2015 | By

As its population surges, India proposes to build a hundred “smart cities”, where all sections of society get access to basic amenities and can aspire to a better life. The promise would need to be grounded in reality. The challenging process will have to be both equitable and environmentally sustainable. The planet, as the latest

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What Tech Will Take Off in Developing Nations in 2015?

Dec 29th, 2014 | By

‘Light’ will be the buzz word next year. The UN has proclaimed 2015 the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies, with the goal of raising global awareness of how such technologies can help development by providing solutions to challenges in energy, education, agriculture and health. But besides light, developing nations are struggling with many

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Cities Could be the Secret to Fighting Climate Change

Dec 11th, 2014 | By

The world’s population could reach almost 10 billion by 2050. Most people will live in cities. To accommodate an additional 3 billion people, we’ll need to build the equivalent of one new city, that can support one million people, every five days between now and 2050. Currently cities consume 78% of the world’s energy and

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Hydro Nano Gas could be the Answer for Neutralizing Carbon Fuel Emissions

Dec 8th, 2014 | By

Hydro Infra Technologies (HIT), a Swedish clean tech company based in Stockholm, has developed an innovative patent pending approach for neutralizing carbon fuel emissions by generating a novel gas called Hydro Nano Gas (HNG). In spite of all the advancement happening in the energy sector, global economies are still dependent on fossil fuels as the

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The Emissions Gap Report 2014: a UNEP Synthesis Report

Dec 7th, 2014 | By
-The Emissions Gap Report 2014-November 2014EGR2014_cover

Over the past four years the “emissions gap” series published by the United Nations Environment Programme has analysed the size of the gap and has provided insights on options to close it. This fifth report provides an updated measure of the emissions gap. In addition, this year’s update of the analysis calculates an emissions gap

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The Emissions Gap Report 2014

Nov 23rd, 2014 | By
-The Emissions Gap Report 2014-November 2014EGR2014_cover

Over the past four years the “emissions gap” series published by the United Nations Environment Program has analysed the size of the gap and has provided insights on options to close it. This fifth report provides an updated measure of the emissions gap. In addition, this year’s update of the analysis calculates an emissions gap

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Our Planet: Climate for Life

Nov 17th, 2014 | By
-Our Planet- climate for life-2014CoverOP-Dec2014

The interaction between biodiversity, climate change and protected areas are the focus of this issue of Our Planet. Protected areas are important carbon storage facilities, so their maintenance and expansion is a key contributor to mitigating climate change. Protected areas also supply many essentials required to sustain humankind. By protecting biodiversity, we also protect ourselves.

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Floating Homes to Tackle Overcrowding in the Maldives

Nov 17th, 2014 | By

The Maldives — one of the most densely populated nations in the world — has embarked on a series of floating developments that could take the pressure off a severe housing shortage and counter sea-level rises owing to climate change. The firm behind the project is also proposing to build cheaper floating platforms, made largely

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SWITCH Tool Aims to Show Best Path to Green Energy

Nov 12th, 2014 | By

SciDev.Net: New software could help the world go green efficiently – while minimising environmental damage. Called SWITCH, the tool was presented by a team from the US-based University of California, Berkeley, at the International Alliance of Research Universities’ Sustainability Science Congress in Copenhagen, Denmark on 23 October. The program determines the most efficient way among a myriad

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Our Planet: Climate for Life

Nov 5th, 2014 | By
-Our Planet- climate for life-2014CoverOP-Dec2014

The interaction between biodiversity, climate change and protected areas are the focus of this issue of Our Planet. Protected areas are important carbon storage facilities, so their maintenance and expansion is a key contributor to mitigating climate change. Protected areas also supply many essentials required to sustain humankind. By protecting biodiversity, we also protect ourselves.

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12 Ways Communities Will Have to Adapt to Handle Climate Change

Oct 30th, 2014 | By

The Guardian: Climate change is making both droughts and flood more frequent and severe. Whether your area is suffering from too much water or too little, here are things you can do to adapt. Drought In the face of relentless droughts such as the historic one underway in California, we all want to help conserve.

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UN Launches ‘Game-changer’ Software to Help Developing Countries Monitor Forests

Oct 14th, 2014 | By

“Many countries simply do not have a full picture of what is happening in their forests, and without that knowledge it is hard to develop effective forest policies to combat deforestation and forest degradation or to advance national climate change strategies,” said Eduardo Rojas-Briales, Assistant Director-General for FAO Forestry, in a press release. As it

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Energy Efficient, Climate Friendly Refrigerants for Hot and Humid India: Moving into the Future

Oct 10th, 2014 | By

At the recently concluded bilateral India-US summit, Prime Minister Modi of India and US President Obama agreed to take a significant step to tackle the dangers of climate change. The two leaders agreed to address phasing down of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) – global warming gases with environmental impact thousands of times greater than carbon dioxide –

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How to Reduce Global Warming for Fun and Profit

Oct 8th, 2014 | By

National Geographic: It’s easy to get depressed about climate change. We’ve made so little progress in reducing carbon-dioxide emissions that our previous goal – to limit the rise in global temperature to 2 degrees Celsius – is almost laughable. (See: “UN Climate Report Questions Global Willpower”) But what if companies could make money from carbon

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Global Biodiversity Outlook

Oct 8th, 2014 | By
Cover- gbo4-en

Global Biodiversity Outlook: a mid-term assessment of progress towards the implementation of the strategic plan for biodiversity 2011-2020: This report brings together multiple lines of evidence derived from a wide range of sources. It draws upon targets, commitments and activities of countries as reported in national biodiversity Strategies and action plans (NBSAPS) and national reports,

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Political Will is Only Barrier to 100% Renewables

Sep 21st, 2014 | By

Climate News Network: A new handbook shows how forward-looking communities around the world are already moving away from reliance on fossil fuels and generating their own power with 100% renewables − while also becoming more prosperous and creating jobs. The report, How to Achieve 100% Renewable Energy, is being released today, ahead of the UN Climate

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Tackling Climate Change and Promoting Development: A “Win-Win”

Sep 17th, 2014 | By

A widespread perception exists that developing countries must make a choice between tackling climate change and fighting poverty. This assumption is incorrect, according to the authors of a new report on green growth. The New Climate Economy (NCE) report was launched on Tuesday at the United Nations by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, which

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Climate Finance for Cities and Buildings: a Handbook for Local Governments

Sep 16th, 2014 | By
-Climate finance for cities and buildings- a handbook for local governments-2014Cover_Carbon Finance for Cities and Buildings

The objectives of this Handbook are to help raise awareness among local stakeholders regarding climate finance and its potential in the built environment, given the important role that this sector has to play in climate change mitigation. It also aims to help local governments to use climate finance mechanisms as an opportunity to increase the

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WORKING PAPER: The Sustainable Development Goals – Will They Deliver Climate Compatible Development for Vulnerable Countries?

Sep 14th, 2014 | By

Climate change is one of the most pressing challenges the world faces today. It affects all aspects of the development agenda, from poverty eradication to health care, to economic growth and disaster risk reduction. Meanwhile, the success of global action on climate change will depend on the development path taken by all countries. 2015 will

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Climate Adaptation: The Concrete Example of Floating Homes

Sep 10th, 2014 | By

Efforts to adapt to climate change provide business opportunity and therefore opportunity for lawyers. That apolitical message has been a recurring theme of these columns. Just recently, the press has reported on two examples of floating home projects motivated, at least in part, by demonstrating adaptation to sea-level rise. That provides us with an opportunity

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This Business of Climate Change

Sep 8th, 2014 | By

The Hindu: Paris 2015 is the buzzword among the global climate change community today, when the countries would negotiate a long-term agreement on climate change. The road to Paris is also dotted with two events this year — the UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit in New York in September, and the 20th Conference of Parties to

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Infosys Green Building Experiment Reduces Energy Bills by 38%

Sep 4th, 2014 | By

The company’s office in Hyderabad (pictured right), south India is split into two halves, which are identical except for their energy systems. Rohan Parikh, head of infrastructure and green initiatives at Infosys, led the way One half of the building uses a green radiant cooling system and the other half uses conventional air conditioning. With

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Global Environment Outlook: Small Island Developing States

Sep 1st, 2014 | By
-Global Environment Outlook- small island developing states-2014Cover-GEO_SIDS_final

GEO SIDS Outlook is a contribution to the 2014 Third International UN Conference on Small Island Developing States, which has an overarching theme of the sustainable development of Small Island Developing States through genuine and durable partnerships. It is also an important and new contribution to UNEP’s Global Environment Outlook that looks at the drivers

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‘3for2’ Concept in Singapore Signals New Phase in Green Building

Aug 28th, 2014 | By

Singapore-ETH Centre Future Cities Laboratory (SEC FCL) and the United World College South East Asia (UWCSEA) have formed a new partnership and are looking to develop the first commercial project to use the new concept ‘3for2’. The concept enables developers to construct three floors in the space normally occupied by two, through the use of

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Learning From Communities: Natural Resource Management and Climate Change Adaptation Best Practices

Aug 28th, 2014 | By

Climate change impacts are likely to hit Africa, especially the vulnerable population, hard. In arid and semi-arid regions in East and Southern Africa, it is projected to produce a rise in crop failures, stress on livestock and inland fisheries, pest and disease outbreaks and the degradation of land and water resources. The climatic context for

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Forests in a Changing Climate: A Sourcebook for Integrating REDD+ into Academic Programmes

Aug 20th, 2014 | By
-Forests in a Changing Climate- A Sourcebook for Integrating REDD+ into Academic Programmes-2014cover22

‘Forests in a Changing Climate: Sourcebook for REDD+’ is designed to give an overview of the key topics related to forests and climate change, under the overarching and evolving REDD+ narrative. The purpose is to facilitate the integration of this new knowledge domain into multi-disciplinary University programmes. The sourcebook provides case studies and detailed references

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Meeting Water and Energy Challenges in Agri-food Sector With Technology

Aug 13th, 2014 | By
A farmer sits on a heap of sugarcane at roadside jaggery factory at Bhoothgarh village

The Guardian: Worldwide, the overall growth in demand for agricultural products will require a 140% increase (pdf) in the supply of water over the next 20 years compared to the past 20 years. While the bulk of this demand will be from irrigation, food processing plants can also be water intensive. So, any technological innovations in the

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Keeping track of adaptation actions in africa: Targeted Fiscal Stimulus Actions Making a Difference

Aug 11th, 2014 | By
-Keeping track of adaptation actions in africa- Targeted Fiscal Stimulus Actions Making a Difference-2014cover

With the African population expected to increase to 2 billion by 2050, and nearly 65% of African livelihoods directly linked to agriculture-dominated landscapes, it is critical to provide targeted solutions that stimulate action, build resilience and provide emerging opportunities. This publication reviews the current context and future implications of Climate Change impacts in Africa. It

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High Mountain Glaciers and Climate Change: Challenges to Human Livelihoods and Adaptation

Aug 10th, 2014 | By

Climate change is causing significant mass loss of glaciers in high mountains worldwide. This report calls for accelerating research, monitoring and modeling of glaciers, snow and their role in water supplies. Although glacier systems are inherently complex overall trends indicate that globally glaciers are receding. This is likely to accelerate in the coming decades. Impacts of the

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Geoengineering the Earth’s Climate Sends Policy Debate Down a Curious Rabbit Hole

Aug 4th, 2014 | By

The Guardian: There’s a bit in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland where things get “curiouser and curiouser” as the heroine tries to reach a garden at the end of a rat-hole sized corridor that she’s just way too big for. She drinks a potion and eats a cake with no real clue what the consequences might

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Smarter Urban Water: How Spain’s Zaragoza Learned to Use Less

Jul 30th, 2014 | By
Smarter urban water: Ebro River Zaragoza Spain

The Guardian: The drought, when it came two decades ago, was severe. As reservoirs across Spain dried up in the early 1990s, the number of forest fires soared, crops whittled and more than 11 million Spaniards faced water shortages. Scientists would go on to note that the five-year drought – the worst on record in the

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UNEP Year Book 2014: Emerging Issues in Our Global Environment

Jul 29th, 2014 | By
-UNEP Year Book 2014- emerging issues in our global environment Cover_UNEP_YearBook_2014

Ten years after the first Year Book in this series appeared, a special e-book anniversary edition – UNEP Year Book 2014 – presents a fresh look at ten issues highlighted over the past decade. This UNEP Year Book 2014 takes advantage of the latest technology, providing a multi-media experience that helps illustrate the environmental challenges

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Win-win Way to Aid Food Security and Climate

Jul 23rd, 2014 | By

Climate News Network: Imagine being able to contain greenhouse gas emissions, make fertilizer use more efficient, keep water waste to a minimum, and put food on the table for the 10 billion people crowded into the planet’s cities, towns and villages by the end of the century. An impossible dream? Not according to Paul West, co-director

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The Millennium Development Goals Report 2014

Jul 20th, 2014 | By

The new Millennium Development Goals Report 2014 examines the latest progress made towards achieving the MDGs. It shows that millions of people’s lives have improved due to concerted global, regional, national and local efforts to achieve the MDGs, which serve as the foundation for the next global development agenda. The Report was released in India

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Will the Real Montologist Please Stand up?

Jul 11th, 2014 | By
Vinay-in Lumgaundi 2011

‘Since its dictionary existence hasn’t caught on, expecting ‘montology’ as a possible new academic discipline to work its way through could only be preposterous. Isn’t it risking one’s own career path in already established disciplines in favor of a yet-to-be-created discipline? Will it not subsume some of the current dominant areas of ‘expertise’ concerning mountains?There

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Valuing Plastic: the Business Case for Measuring, Managing and Disclosing Plastic

Jul 4th, 2014 | By
-Valuing plastic- the business case for measuring, managing and disclosing plastic use in the consumer goods industry-2014Cover-plastic

The objective of this report is to help companies manage the opportunities and risks associated with plastic use. It articulates the business case for companies to improve their measurement, disclosure and management of plastic use in their designs, operations and supply chains. In order to provide a sense of scale, the report sets out to

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10 things You Need to Know About Sustainable Agriculture

Jul 2nd, 2014 | By

The Guardian: In a recent live chat, a panel of experts joined readers online to discuss the future of sustainable agriculture in the face of changing weather driven by climate change and increasing competition for food. Here are 10 things we learned: 1. We shouldn’t just “accept” climate change Just because climate change is happening and its

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Need to Rewrite the Mountain Perspective!

Jul 1st, 2014 | By
Dhol-Keshar singh Bisht-a

Tagged as fragile, remote and marginal, these three aspects have featured prominently in discussions and deliberations concerning development in the mountains in our part of the world. Retired but active academician N S Jodha, a former senior staff with the Kathmandu-based Integrated Center for International Mountain Development, has been credited for using these three features

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South-South Trade in Renewable Energy: a Trade Flow Analysis of Selected Environmental Goods

Jun 30th, 2014 | By
-South-South trade in renewable energy- a trade flow analysis of selected environmental goods-2014Cover-SouthSouth

This study analyses trends and opportunities for trade among developing countries (i.e. South-South trade) in selected environmental goods, in order to assess the contribution such trade can make to a green economy transition. The term ‘developing countries’ includes all countries and territories listed as developing economies in the UNCTAD Handbook of Statistics (UNCTAD, 2012). The

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Tackling Climate Change One Rock at a Time

Jun 29th, 2014 | By
Peruvian Andes

The Guardian: Temples rise above mud-brick houses and castles. Prayer flags flutter from every roof and woollen-cloaked men and women with brightly coloured waist-sashes stand in the street gossiping. I’m in northern India’s remote Trans-Himalaya, in the ancient kingdom of Ladakh. Consisting entirely of mountains, this, the highest inhabited region on Earth, was settled by pilgrims and

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Climate Change Prompts Creative Uses of Solar Power

Jun 22nd, 2014 | By

With the climate change threatening the integrity of Earth’s atmosphere, oceans and terrain, innovators have been prompted to find creative uses for solar power today. Terrestrial sources of energy, such as fossil fuels, struggle to meet the demands of economy with a very finite supply. In addition, such traditional sources of power come with the

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Keep the Climate, Change the Economy

Jun 20th, 2014 | By

The Guardian: This month, the Obama administration announced new rules aimed at cutting carbon pollution from power stations by 30% from 2005 levels by 2030. Never before has a US president attempted to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power stations and the move has been hailed by scientists and policymakers as an important step towards a global economy

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Our Planet: The First United Nations Environment Assembly

Jun 19th, 2014 | By
-Our Planet- The First United Nations Environment Assembly-2014Cover-Our Planet

The first ever United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) is the core theme of this issue of Our Planet. Sustainable Development Goals, the need to decouple economic growth from natural resource depletion and the way forward within the context of the Post-2105 Development Agenda are all robustly discussed in this edition’s feature articles. With contributions from

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San Francisco Closer to Turning Zero-waste Ambition Into Reality

Jun 17th, 2014 | By

The Guardian: The trucks start rolling in before sunrise. Dozens of them, each tipping out tonnes of food waste, grass cuttings and foliage. A month from now this organic waste will leave here in the form of rich compost, as fine as sand. Here, in Vacaville, an hour by road north of San Francisco, is an essential

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Climate Change and India. Analysis of Political Economy and Impact

Jun 16th, 2014 | By

The ‘Climate Change and India: Analysis of Political Economy and Impact’ is primarily beneficial for those who want to approach this issue from a people’s perspective. Th e book attempts to bring together the overlapping processes of globalization, global warming and the politics of development. While unfolding the international climate politics on the one hand, the book also tries to

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Chimera Enzyme May Make Better Biofuels from Waste

Jun 11th, 2014 | By

New Scientist: A chemical chimera may one day help break down stubborn plant matter into biofuel. The feat involves mixing enzymes from two types of plant-munching bacteria that would never have met in nature. Biofuel producers use the sugars in crops such as corn to create alternative fuel that is more climate friendly than gas or coal. But

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UNEP Global Environmental Alert Service: May 2014

Jun 10th, 2014 | By
-UNEP global environmental alert service- May 2014-2014GEAS_May2014_DeepSeaMining

The deep ocean, the largest biome on Earth at over 1 000 metres below the surface of the ocean, holds vast quantities of untapped energy resources, precious metals and minerals. Advancements in technology have enabled greater access to these treasures. As a result, deep sea mining is becoming increasingly possible. To date no commercial deep

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Convert Waste CO2 and Chicken Feathers Into Fertiliser

Jun 5th, 2014 | By

Talk about killing two birds with one stone. Every year we ditch millions of tonnes of chicken feathers, and pump climate-altering carbon dioxide into the air. But combine the two in the right way and you can make an otherwise-scarce fertiliser. More than 5 million tonnes of chicken feathers are produced globally every year. Most

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In the Himalayas, Drones Map Melting Glaciers

May 29th, 2014 | By

“Because it’s there,” George Mallory famously replied when asked in 1923 his motivation for challenging the world’s highest peak. Yet long before Mallory’s linguistic minimalism Everest was there, a Himalayan mountain above all others. In the early 20th century, however, climbing technology was too rudimentary to allow alpinists more than unfulfilled hopes and deadly dreams.

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UMF Students Present Climate Adaptive Plan to Town

May 28th, 2014 | By

The impacts of climate change on the town was the focus of a recent presentation by University of Maine at Farmington students to the Board of Selectmen. After studying the potential for impacts in areas such as agriculture, wildlife, tourism, health and the economy, students from the UMF Climate Change and Society class made suggestions

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Global Warming vs Climate Change

May 28th, 2014 | By

In January 2014, we conducted a nationally representative experimental study and found that the terms global warming and climate change often mean different things to Americans. The two terms activate different sets of beliefs, feelings, and behaviors, as well as different degrees of urgency about the need to respond. We found that the term global warming is associated with greater public understanding, emotional

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How Green Spaces Could Stop Cities From Overheating

May 22nd, 2014 | By

The Guardian: Most city-dwellers are big fans of green spaces, with the benefits to health and community well-being evident in the data. There’s more to it though – adding more commons, parks and greens could also shelter British cities from the full effect of global warming. Since the beginning of the 20th century global temperature has increased by

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Monitoring & Evaluation for Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience: A Synthesis of Tools, Frameworks and Approaches – 2nd edition

May 14th, 2014 | By

The second edition of this report comes at a critical moment. Climate change threatens to reverse progress towards sustainable development and threatens lives and livelihoods around the globe, either directly through its physical impacts or as a compounding factor towards existing vulnerabilities. Governments, development agencies, the private sector, and other stakeholders can and should address

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Scientists Beef up Energy Potential

May 13th, 2014 | By

Climate News Network: New scientific discoveries have been made to beef up a biofuel, re-use waste heat, get more power from solar panels – and even deliver electricity across a room without using wires. Scientists in the US have crossed a fir tree with a gut bacterium, fed it beef soup, and watched it deliver the chemistry

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