Earth news stories

Two New National Monuments Created in Utah and Nevada
4th January 2017 news.nationalgeographic.com | Earth

In perhaps the final major act of conservation of his administration, President Barack Obama on Wednesday designated 1.35 million acres in southeast Utah and 300,000 acres in Nevada as two new national monuments.

Madrid plans to plant gardens on top of the city’s buses
3rd January 2017 | telegraph.co.uk | Earth

Madrid is drawing up lans to plant gardens on the rooftop of the city’s buses and bus stops.

The authorities in the Spanish capital have come up with the proposals as a novel way of tackling CO2 emissions, The Local reported. The gardens are also intended to soak up heat, noise and pollution.

Bats Benefit from Green Roofs
3rd January 2017 | scientificamerican.com | Animal Life, Earth

For years cities have encouraged residents to install green roofs—gardens that turn barren tar and asphalt roofs into verdant oases. The added foliage helps to keep buildings cool in the summertime and warm in the winter; it can also ease sewers by absorbing rainfall. But not just the hardscape benefits from these lush areas—so do some urban dwellers: bats.

Quarter of a million tons of food could be saved a year with better logistics
3rd January 2017 | sciencedaily.com | Earth, Tech

Each year, around 88 million tons of food is discarded in the EU. This is something that researchers wants to do something about. They are now giving companies in the food supply chain specific tools that can reduce both food waste and the environmental impact of food transport.

Solar power at 1¢/kWh by 2025 – “The promise of quasi-infinite and free energy is here”
2nd January 2017 electrek.co | Earth, Tech

Thierry Lepercq, head of research, technology and innovation at the French energy company Engie SA, said in an interview at Bloomberg that he sees a potential for the cost of solar electricity to fall below $10-megawatt hour (1¢/kWh) in the sunniest climates by 2025. Lepercq believes “solar, battery storage, electrical and hydrogen vehicles, and connected devices are in a ‘J’ curve (of upward growth potential).” One consequence of this new energy economy is that, “the price (of oil) could drop to $10 if markets anticipate a significant fall in demand.”

Sweden breaks wind power record by half a million kWh after intense weather and storms
2nd January 2017 | independent.co.uk | Earth, Tech

Sweden has generated more energy from wind power than it ever has before.

Nearly 5.7 million kWh of wind power was generated as the country harvested the effects of “Storm Urd” and intense weather across the south of the country. That smashed through the previous record, set almost exactly a year ago, beating it by more than half a million kWh.

Costa Rica powered by renewable energy for over 250 days in 2016
2nd January 2017 | digitaljournal.com | Earth, Tech

Costa Rica completes 2016 without having to burn a single fossil fuel for more than 250 days. 98.2 percent of Costa Rica’s electricity came from renewable sources in 2016.

Turning Ocean Garbage Into Gold
2nd January 2017 | smithsonianmag.com | Earth

From the common plastic water bottle to the shoes of tsunami victims, one recycling organization tries to find a home for all ocean refuse

Geoengineering Could Be a Disaster for Astronomy
2nd January 2017 gizmodo.com | Earth, Space

Geoengineering is one of those things that sounds like maybe a good idea on paper but could also go horribly, apocalyptically wrong. But if the prospect of plunging Earth’s weather systems into chaos isn’t enough to convince scientists we need to tread very cautiously with the ultimate global warming tech-fix, perhaps this will: geoengineering could be a disaster for science.

Supervolcano That May Have Wiped out Neanderthals Comes to Life Again
30th December 2016 | ancient-origins.net | Ancient, Earth

A huge area of volcanic activity near heavily populated Naples, Italy, is reaching a critical point and scientists think it could erupt. The 12-kilometer (7.46 miles) caldera or volcanic cauldron hasn’t erupted for nearly 500 years, but scientists say the seismic monster is reawakening.


Alt: Neanderthal-Killing European Supervolcano Is Getting Restless

Snow is ‘erupting’ from Yellowstone’s Old Faithful geyser
30th December 2016 | sciencealert.com | Earth

Old Faithful in Wyoming is one of Yellowstone National Park’s most famous geysers, regularly spewing out huge jets of boiling water and steam every 74 minutes on average.

But this week, the geyser appears to be erupting snow, due to unseasonably cold weather in the region.

Growing mega-cities will displace vast tracts of farmland by 2030, study says
30th December 2016 | theguardian.com | Earth

Our future crops will face threats not only from climate change, but also from the massive expansion of cities, a new study warns. By 2030, it’s estimated that urban areas will triple in size, expanding into cropland and undermining the productivity of agricultural systems that are already stressed by rising populations and climate change.

“Urban cold islands” driving plant evolution in cities
30th December 2016 phys.org | Earth

A tiny plant is providing big clues about how human development is driving the evolution of living organisms. New research from the University of Toronto Mississauga reveals the first evidence that common white clover changes genetically to adapt to urban environments.

The Search Is on for Pulling Carbon from the Air
30th December 2016 | scientificamerican.com | Earth, Tech

Nations worldwide have agreed to limit carbon dioxide emissions in hopes of preventing global warming from surpassing 2 degrees Celsius by 2100. But countries will not manage to meet their goals at the rate they’re going. To limit warming, nations will also likely need to physically remove carbon from the atmosphere. And to do that, they will have to deploy “negative emissions technology”—techniques that scrub CO2 out of the air.

Arctic heatwave could break records
30th December 2016 | bbc.com | Earth

Temperatures at the North Pole could be up to 20 degrees higher than average this Christmas Eve, in what scientists say is a record-breaking heatwave.

Scientists bear witness to birth of an ice cloud
30th December 2016 phys.org | Earth

Scientists have witnessed the birth of atmospheric ice clouds, creating ice cloud crystals in the laboratory and then taking images of the process through a microscope, essentially documenting the very first steps of cloud formation.

China’s giant cow farms leave neighbours up milk creek
28th December 2016 phys.org | Animal Life, Earth

Giant piles of black manure towering over cornfields, while rancid-smelling effluent from thousands of cows spills onto the land—this is the price of a glass of milk in China today.

Large-scale dairy farms have boomed in the Asian giant, as its near 1.4 billion consumers overcame centuries of cultural reluctance to embrace the white fluid.


Related: Despite Pledges To Cut Back, Farms Are Still Using Antibiotics
Related: Consumers fuelling demand for high-protein products unlikely to see any benefits as people already eat more protein than they need, say dietitians

News stories covering the environment, plant life, and the Earth itself.