• DHS to address climate change as homeland security issue

    DHS has a new task force to battle the effects of climate change on domestic security operations; DHS secretary Janet Napolitano explained that the task force was charged with “identifying and assessing the impact that climate change could have on the missions and operations of the Department of Homeland Security”; a June 2010 DHS Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan states: “climate change has the potential to accelerate and intensify extreme weather events which threaten the nation’s sustainability and security”

  • China to step up efforts to control Mother Nature

    China is facing increasingly sever water shortages; the Chinese government is expanding it activities to combat extreme weather such as droughts, exploring airborne water resources, bringing water from he sea inland, and other measures to secure stable water supplies for cities, industry and agriculture

  • Freshwater sustainability challenges shared by Southwest and Southeast

    Twenty-five years ago, environmentalist Marc Reisner published Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water, which predicted that water resources in the West would be unable to support the growing demand of cities, agriculture, new research offers new support for most of Reisner’s conclusions, using data and methods unavailable to him in 1986

  • Scientist: change behavior to give mitigation technologies time to emerge

    One of the world’s foremost authorities on environmental says that there are only three options when it comes to climate change; mitigation, adaptation, and suffering; currently there are no technological quick fixes for global warming, so “Our best hope is to change our behavior in ways that significantly slow the rate of global warming, thereby giving engineers and scientists time to devise, develop, and deploy technological solutions where possible”

  • Egypt: Sinai shark attacks orchestrated by Israel

    The sandy resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, at the tip of the Sinai Peninsula, is popular with European tourists and attracts more than three million visitors a year; two shark attacks in as many weeks — a fatal shark attack on a German tourist Sunday, which followed a similar attack which mauled four Russian tourists earlier last week — now threaten the region’s tourism industry; Egyptian officials now say the attacks may have been orchestrated by Israel to damage Egypt’s economy; Israel says the accusations are too ludicrous for comment

  • Underground "physical Internet" to distribute food, goods

    A start-up proposes automatically routed canisters to replace lorries for the purpose of delivering food and other goods in all weather with massive energy savings; the proposal envisions putting goods in metal capsules 2-meter long, which are shifted through underground polyethylene tubes at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour, directed by linear induction motors and routed by intelligent software to their destinations

  • U.S.: China rise a "Sputnik moment" for clean energy

    Energy Secretary Steven Chu likened a series of Chinese milestones — including the development of the world’s fastest supercomputer — to the Soviet Union’s landmark 1957 satellite that led the United States into the Space Race; the United States still concentrated on research in areas such as computers, defense, and pharmaceuticals but that its funding for energy innovation was paltry

  • Nature's desalination: bacteria turn salty water fresh

    The growing global shortage of water has led to a growing interest in desalination to produce fresh water from seas and estuaries; conventional desalination plants, however, consume large amounts of energy; the solution: a bug-powered desalination cell that takes salt out of seawater

  • Royal Society paints unsettling picture of a world 4 °C warmer

    If present warming trends continue, the world could warm by 4 °C by 2060; a new, detailed study by the U.K. Royal Society would make global water shortages acute; most of sub-Saharan Africa will see shorter growing seasons, with average maize production will drop 19 percent and bean production by 47 percent compared with current levels; the extreme weather, sea-level rise, and water shortages will drive many people to migrate

  • Time to find a second Earth: WWF

    In 2007 Earth’s 6.8 billion humans were living 50 percent beyond the planet’s threshold of sustainability, according to a WWF report; the report says that even with modest UN projections for population growth, consumption, and climate change, by 2030 humanity will need the capacity of two Earths to absorb CO2 waste and keep up with natural resource consumption; if everyone used resources at the same rate per capita as the United States or the United Arab Emirates, four and a half planets would be needed

  • Sucking up oil spills is a cinch

    Cleaning up oil spills is a time consuming, difficult process, but a novel approach uses a new kind of vacuum cleaner that blows bark or other absorbent material onto oil spills, and then sucks the material up again. The vacuum cleaner is four times more efficient in cleaning up after oil accidents than conventional techniques

  • U.S. scientists to speak out on climate change

    About half of the new Republican members of Congress are climate change skeptics, and 86 percent of them oppose any climate change legislation that would boost government revenue; many U.S. scientists are joining an effort to speak out on climate change, while other scientists express discomfort with blurring the line between science and policy-making

  • Research to help reduce coastal flooding

    According to the Environment Agency’s Flooding in England Report, one in six homes in the United Kingdom are at risk from flooding, and 2.4 million properties are vulnerable to coastal/river floods; coastal areas could be saved from the misery of flooding thanks to new research from the University of Plymouth

  • Impact: Earth! Web site calculates asteroid impact effects on Earth

    Purdue University researchers unveils the Impact Earth! Web site; the site allows visitors to use a calculator to calculate the potential damage a comet or asteroid would cause if it hit the Earth; visitors enter parameters such as the diameter of the impact object, its density, velocity, angle of entry, and where it will hit the Earth, and the site estimates the consequences of its impact, including the atmospheric blast wave, ground shaking, size of tsunami generated, fireball expansion, distribution of debris, and size of the crater produced

  • Drought may threaten much of globe within decades

    A new study, based on twenty-two computer climate models and a comprehensive index of drought conditions, as well as analyses of previously published studies, finds that most of the Western Hemisphere, along with large parts of Eurasia, Africa, and Australia, will be at risk of extreme drought this century; in contrast, higher-latitude regions from Alaska to Scandinavia are likely to become more moist