Study: U.S. commodity farmers imperil biodiversity for ever-lower yields

In less than a decade, U.S. corn, soybean and wheat fields wiped out an expanse of native grasslands and other ecosystems larger than the state of Maryland, according to a new analysis, destroying crucial wildlife habitat and spewing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The new fields produced lower crop yields than existing farmland.(No paywall)

Study: How manure is applied to fields can affect greenhouse gases

The method that farmers use to apply manure to their fields can affect emissions of greenhouse gases during the winter, say researchers from the University of Vermont. Their study, published in the Soil Science of America Journal, is one of the first to look at greenhouse gas emissions from Vermont farmland and highlights the consequences of different manure-spreading methods.

Climate change puts more than a billion people at risk of iron deficiency

Rising levels of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will reduce the amount of nutrients in staple crops such as rice and wheat, say researchers at Harvard's public health school. As a consequence, more than 1 billion women and children would lose a large amount of their dietary iron intake and be at larger risk of anemia and other diseases.

Inspector general to review Pruitt meeting with mining execs

The inspector general’s office at the EPA will investigate an April meeting between EPA administrator Scott Pruitt and the National Mining Association, said The Hill newspaper.

Trump nominates climate-change denier as top White House environmental adviser

President Trump has nominated Kathleen Hartnett White, a current senior policy adviser at the free-market think tank Texas Public Policy Foundation, to serve as the White House’s senior environmental policy adviser. Hartnett has argued that calling carbon dioxide a pollutant is “absurd,” and that C02 should instead be considered the gas of life.

2016 temperatures, sea and CO2 levels highest on record

With temperatures approximately 1 degree Fahrenheit hotter than the average temperature from 1981 to 2010, 2016 was the hottest year on record, according to a report published by the American Meteorological Society. Last year was the third year in a row for record heat in the U.S.

Ocean acidification to reduce Dungeness crab numbers

Researchers say fossil-fuel emissions will make the oceans more acidic in coming decades and drive down the population of the Dungeness crab, native to the north Pacific coast, by 30 percent, reports the Seattle Times. Federal fishery biologist Issac Kaplan, a co-author of the study, said the research points to "a moderate decline in a species that is really economically important."

Methane-producing microbes found in California rocks

For the first time, scientists have found methane-producing microbes living near the earth's surface, rather than in volcanic vents in the ocean floor, says the American Geophysical Union. The study "also shows the newly-discovered microbes are likely capable of using carbon dioxide to produce methane — a finding that could have implications for future carbon sequestration projects."

Three times as much lawn as any irrigated U.S. crop

Researchers say there are 63,000 square miles of lawn in the United States, "an area three times larger than any irrigated crop" and about the size of Texas, according to a piece in Fusion.