Highest carbon dioxide level in human history

The pandemic put the global economy in lockdown last year but it did not prevent a rise in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, scientists said on Monday. Measurements at the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii averaged 419 parts per million (ppm) during May, the highest concentration of the …

The $32-million question in Washington State: Carbon emissions fee

Two years after the thundering defeat of a carbon tax in a statewide referendum, voters in Washington State will decide whether to establish a carbon fee on polluters, starting at $15 a ton for large-scale emitters of greenhouse gases. Billionaire Bill Gates donated $1 million in support of …

California leads country with new climate-change legislation

California Gov. Jerry Brown has extended the state’s climate plan for another decade by signing into law a bundle of bills meant to lower greenhouse-gas emissions. “The legislation puts California at the forefront of plans by mostly Democratic governors to reduce carbon emissions and adhere to the goals of the Paris climate change accord after Republican President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the pact,” says Reuters.

Fuel made from ‘forest residuals’ powers Seattle-to-DC flight

Using a 20 percent blend of alternative jet fuel produced from wood, Alaska Airlines sent a passenger flight across the United States from Seattle to Washington's National Airport in a breakthrough for bio-energy. The airline said the alternative fuel, made from "forest residuals" remaining after timbering, produces from 50-80 percent fewer greenhouse gases than petroleum fuel when calculated on a life-cycle basis.

Climate talks in Morocco disturbed, but not unhinged, by Trump’s election

News of Donald Trump’s election shocked the international climate-change proceedings taking place this week in Marrakech, Morocco. During his campaign, Trump vowed to revoke America’s participation in the Paris Agreement, a global plan to keep temperature increases below 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial averages. More than 190 countries have signed the agreement, and many consider it a last hope for fighting climate change. Trump has also vowed to dismantle President Obama’s clean power plan.

Investors urge food companies to embrace plants over meat

“A group of 40 investors managing $1.25 trillion in assets have launched a campaign to encourage 16 global food companies” to change to plant-based proteins in light of the “material” risks of industrial meat farming, says Reuters. Among the companies targeted were Kraft Heinz, Nestle, Unilever, Tesco, Walmart, Costco Wholesale Corporation and Whole Foods.

Few options for urban juice shops to reduce waste

It’s no secret that good compost improves soil, but many urban juice joints don’t bother getting licenses to cart their leftover peels and pulp to local composters, either because it’s too expensive or because the scraps are too “wet and heavy” to be useful, says FERN contributing editor Elizabeth Royte in Modern Farmer.

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."

Agriculture a major source of air pollution in northern hemisphere

Farms outweigh all other human sources of fine-particulate air pollution in much of the United States, Europe, Russia and China, says a study by the Earth Institute at Columbia University.

Oregano oil could help save the planet from cow belches

Feeding cows oregano oil may help cut back on their methane-laced belching, says NPR. Bovine belching accounts for one third of global methane emissions, and methane is 25 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

Looking for heat-tolerant, planet-friendly cattle in India

Government scientists in India "are working hard to reduce carbon emissions by making cows less flatulant," says the New York Times. The second-most populous country in the world is home to 280 million head of cattle and 200 million other ruminants, such as sheep, goats, yaks and buffaloes, together emitting 13 tons of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, daily. "So reducing animal flatulence might actually do some good -- especially in India, where there is little chance of cutting back the use of fossil fuels anytime soon," says the Times.

Oil and gas is top methane emitter, not agriculture

The jokes about bovine belches melting the polar ice caps can be shelved for the moment, according to a new EPA annual report on U.S. greenhouse-gas production.

Nature: Biosphere a ‘net source’ of greenhouse gases

Researchers say the biosphere, which includes the plants, animals and organisms on land around the world, has become a "net source" of greenhouse gases such as methane and nitrous oxide, reports the Washington Post, citing a study in the journal Nature.

Four big countries and a greenhouse gas

Four of the world's most populous nations -- China, India, the U.S. and Brazil -- "are responsible for 46 percent of the world's nitrogen emissions," says the University of Sydney, which led an international collaboration to calculate the first-ever global nitrogen footprint.

Healthy food but not climate healthy?

Eating a vegetarian diet could contribute to climate change, says research by Carnegie Mellon University. It says "following the USDA recommendations to consume more fruits, vegetables, dairy and seafood is more harmful to the environment because those foods have relatively high resource uses and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per calorie."

Global warming will speed up greenhouse gas emissions

Researchers from Sweden's Linköping University say emissions of greenhouse gases from natural sources will increase during global warming, with the result that climate change will progress at faster-than-expected rates.

General Mills commits to ambitious greenhouse-gas cuts

General Mills, one of the world’s largest food companies, announced plans to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 28 percent by 2025.

Quality, quantity of key crops imperiled by human impact

Changing environmental conditions around the world "could negatively impact the health of millions of people by altering the amount and quality of key crops," according to two studies from the Harvard School of Public Health.

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