Facebook Twitter Gplus RSS
magnify
formats

A billion frogs on world’s plates

The estimate is derived from UN trade data, but the researchers from Adelaide University in Australia acknowledge considerable uncertainty in the consumption figure.  Why it matters is because about 1/3 of all species of amphibians are threatened by extinction.  France and the US are the two biggest importers of wild frogs, and frog legs are consumed heavily in several European and East Asian countries.  Indonesia exports the most frogs, 5,000 tons per year, and is a major consumer.  In addition to hunting for consumption and the pet trade, frogs are subject to climate change, pollution, habitat loss, and disease.  Scientist worry that amphibians may soon suffer the same fate as global fisheries that have crashed after overfishing.  Farmed frogs are not included in the analysis.

 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
No Comments  comments 
formats

Tracking carbon footprints to the breakfast table

It matters — to the earth — what you have for breakfast.  You have probably never thought about the carbon footprint of your morning glass of orange juice.  But there is an emission cost to OJ, and, in a growing trend, Pepsico is trying to find out how big it is, and how to shrink it.  This slide show from the New York Times pictures the process of producing orange juice and getting it to your breakfast table, along with the efforts Pepsico is taking to reduce OJ’s carbon footprint.  Unfortunately, the presentation doesn’t suggest how many emissions could be saved by buying (or growing) oranges and squeezing your own juice.

 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
No Comments  comments 
formats

Global warming threatens forests, study says

People don’t often think of forests as dying, but they do. A new study, reported in the journal Science today, found that forests in the Pacific Northwest are dying twice as fast as they were only 17 years ago. The researchers counted coniferous trees, mostly pines, firs and hemlocks, in 76 plots through the western United States. Mortality rates have increased for all types and ages of trees. California had the highest tree death rate, which leads to shifts in forest structure and function.

 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
No Comments  comments 
formats

Effects of rising sea levels on Middle Atlantic states

A report issued jointly by several US government agencies including the EPA and the US Geological Survey warns that a rising sea level threatens barrier islands and coastal wetlands in the Middle Atlantic states.  The Outer Banks of North Carolina are particularly at risk.  The agencies estimate that the rate of sea level rise will be about seven millimeters a year, or about two feet per century.  They predict that this rate is almost certain to increase, due to the fact that water expands as it warms, and because runoff from melting glaciers and erosion are both expected to increase.  In addition, they note, the Middle Atlantic region is subject to storms, is densely populated, and much of its infrastructure is low lying, all factors that increase its vulnerability.  However, uncertainty remains about the timing and extent of the effects of sea level rise, in part because the states involved have conducted only a few analyses, whose results have not led to new statewide policies. 
 
 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
No Comments  comments 
formats

Energy Inefficient

   

This New York Times editorial urges soon-to-be-President Obama not to rely solely on technological breakthroughs to address the necessary restructuring of America’s energy systems.  In addition, the Times argues, the Obama administration should strive to make existing technologies more efficient.  The U.S. does not use energy efficiently, spewing more carbon dioxide into the air than 75 of 107 countries tracked by the International Energy Agency.  Whether in households, businesses, transportation, or in electricity production, the U.S. ranks among the highest in emissions and lowest in energy efficiency.  Most of the carbon abatement needed by 2030 could come from existing technologies, such as home insulation and  fuel efficiency.

 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
No Comments  comments