• Army seeks to go off the grid at Fort Bliss

    At Fort Bliss Army commanders seek to power the base using renewable power sources by 2015; plans include using solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass; military bases around the country are increasingly looking at renewable energy to reduce their carbon footprint and avoid disruption in the event of a terrorist attack

  • China invests $30 billion in water projects to ensure food security

    China will invest $30 billion in water conservation projects this year to mitigate climate change’s effects on grain production; last year floods and droughts destroyed crops, increased food prices, and drove up inflation; climate change is projected to cause a 10 percent decline in grain production by 2030; China has already spent $100 billion on water conservation projects and hopes to double its annual investment

  • Brisbane under water

    Brisbane, a city of two million and Australia’s third largest, is flooded; roads are inundated, railway lines have been cut, and sewage is spreading into the waters; dozens of suburbs are under three meters of waters, with some factories and homes only visible by their roofs; more than 100,000 properties had their power cut as a precaution against flooding of electricity substations; the worst affected area was the town of Toowoomba, west of Brisbane, where residents described an 8-meter “instant inland tsunami” ripping through the streets on Monday; the flood zone in northern Australia now covers are larger than Germany and France combined

  • Aussie "inland tsunami" now threatens Brisbane

    The flood zone in northern Australia covers an area larger than France and Germany combined; incessant rain and wide-spread floods have destroyed infrastructure and severely hampered economic activity; the worst is yet to come: Brisbane river has broken its banks, sparking fears that the city — Australia’s third largest and home to two million people - will be flooded by Thursday; public health experts fear that outbreaks of Ross river virus — a debilitating disease transmitted by mosquitoes, which is endemic in Queensland — will increase

  • World Bank: Coastal cities in Asia face devastating floods

    Thirteen of the twenty largest cities in the world are located on the coast, with more than a third of the world’s population living within 100 miles of a shoreline; a World Bank report finds that Asia’s major coastal cities will experience more devastating floods; damage due to flooding could be as high as 6 percent of regional GDP in 2050; developing cities will be most heavily affected; the report urges the threatened cities immediately to begin developing and implementing long-term plans to harden critical infrastructure to withstand and mitigate the effects of increased flooding

  • New spacecraft to help break the climate debate gridlock

    NASA plans to settle the climate debate with a fleet of Earth-orbiting spacecraft keeping tabs on the planet’s changing climate; the fleet has two tasks: first: take the total amount of energy coming to Earth from the sun, subtract what gets reflected back or re-radiated from particles in the atmosphere, and see what you have left; if more energy is coming in than going out, it is getting hotter; second: figure out what fraction of these atmospheric particles stems from natural phenomena, such as wind-blown dust and volcanic eruptions, and what is coming from things we can control — our industrial processes, business pursuits, and recreational pass-times

  • Cement prison for old radioactive waste

    The cold war may be over, but its radioactive legacy is not; between 1950 and 1990, nuclear weapons materials production and processing at several federal facilities generated billions of gallons of water contaminated with radioactive byproducts; researchers at Idaho National Laboratory test an inexpensive method to sequester strontium-90 where it lies. The researchers can coax underground microbes to form calcite, a white mineral form of calcium carbonate and the main ingredient in cement. Calcite should be able to trap strontium-90 until long after it has decayed into harmless zirconium

  • Securing U.S. critical infrastructure

    The Homeland Security & Defense Business council recently released its report on securing America’s critical infrastructure; the report found that since 9/11, the United States has made tangible strides in securing critical infrastructure; the report emphasized increasing communication and cooperation among the federal, state, and private sector entities to develop plans and allocate resources to defending the nation

  • Pentagon prohibited from purchasing Chinese solar panels

    Obama signs military appropriations bill that prohibits the Pentagon from purchasing Chinese solar panels; the “Buy American” provision is part of a larger trade dispute with China over subsidies; the Pentagon is investing heavily in solar to reduce its energy consumption and increase fighting effectiveness; the bill is likely to raise costs for the military

  • Igloo-shaped Poo-Gloos eat sewage, clean water

    Inexpensive igloo-shaped, pollution-eating devices nicknamed Poo-Gloos can clean up sewage just as effectively as multimillion-dollar treatment facilities for towns outgrowing their waste-treatment lagoons, according to a new study

  • NSF funds new water sustainability project

    A 45 million grant from the National Science Foundation will allow University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers to turn a comprehensive lens on Madison’s water in all its forms — in the lakes, streets, faucets, ground, and atmosphere; the study will examine the complex links between the water system and factors such as land use, climate change, human activities, development, and ecosystems

  • Day of drinking recycled water nears

    Aussie researchers show that storm water collected from the aquifer into which urban water flows, after undergoing treatment, had dramatically lower levels of all hazards and contaminants; further supplemental treatment was needed to remove some hazards, though the process shows potential if improvements are made

  • Taiwan wants pigs potty-trained to curb pollution

    The Taiwanese government reports that experiments in potty-training pigs proved successful: a breeder of 10,000 pigs has established special pig “toilets” on the farm; the toilets were smeared with feces and urine to attract the pigs; within weeks, 95 percent of all pig waste was collected in the toilets, making the farm — as well as nearby rivers and fields — much cleaner; additional benefits: the cleaner farm helped reduce illness among the pigs and boosted their fertility by 20 percent

  • Securing the California Delta's levees before a major earthquake

    In the event of a major earthquake or flood and many levees failing simultaneously in California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, as many as 515,000 residents and 520,000 acres of land would be in immediate danger; the long term effects could be even more widespread, as nearly 28 million residents depend on the Delta for water and irrigation; California lawmakers have increasingly turned their attention to securing the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta’s levees, but experts say that only little progress has been made