Who will reap the benefits of Mexico’s ‘miraculous’ nitrogen-fixing maize?

Last summer, researchers from Mars Inc. and UC Davis announced the "discovery" of a variety of corn grown in Oaxaca that fixes its own nitrogen through mucus-covered aerial roots. Their study, in the journal PLOS Biology, touched off a debate—in Mexico and beyond—about the effectiveness of global policies designed to safeguard the genetic resources of indigenous communities, according to FERN's latest story, published with Yale Environment 360.

New study confirms man-made climate change drives weather patterns

Researchers analyzed centuries of tree-ring data and found that human-generated greenhouse gases were driving drought conditions around the world as early as 1900, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature. The study, described by National Geographic as the “first of its kind,” substantially confirms what climate models have shown.

Beto O’Rourke releases climate plan, includes ag measures

Former congressman and Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke unveiled a $5-trillion climate plan Tuesday that calls for reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050, and includes a number of agricultural initiatives to reduce and mitigate greenhouse-gas emissions on farms and deal with extreme weather events.

Harvesting American forests for the EU’s ‘green’ electricity plants

Wood-processing plants around the South are turning trees into pellets and then exporting them to be burned in electricity plants in the EU. It's part of the EU's initiative to generate "green" electricity, but scientists question whether burning trees is really carbon neutral, according to FERN's latest story with The Weather Channel.(No paywall)

2018 joins the roll of five hottest years, all since 2014

Last year was the fourth-warmest worldwide since 1880, said NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Wednesday, ranking behind 2016, 2017 and 2015. "2018 is yet again an extremely warm year on top of a long-term global warming trend," said Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

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.

Trump, Congress make it harder for CAFO neighbors to know what they’re inhaling

Recent actions by the GOP-controlled Congress and the Trump administration have exempted big livestock operations from reporting air emissions, according to the latest story from FERN, published with Mother Jones. (No paywall)

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.

Congress exempts large livestock farms from reporting air pollution

In a step that overrides an appellate court decision, Congress included a provision in the $1.3 trillion government funding bill that exempts an estimated 200,000 large livestock farms from reporting emissions coming from manure and other animal waste. Hog, cattle and poultry groups said the exemption means farms won't be treated like Superfund sites that create dangerous air pollution.

Report: Biodiesel driving deforestation and host of other problems at home and abroad

An investigation by activist groups Mighty Earth and ActionAid USA challenges the notion of biodiesel as the environmentally responsible fuel of the future. Burned: Deception, Deforestation and America’s Biodiesel Policy claims that growing demand for biodiesel in the U.S. contributes to a host of problems, from deforestation in Argentina and Indonesia to algae blooms in Lake Erie and the Gulf of Mexico’s dead zone.