By Kai Kupferschmidt
Science – When Ralf Reski read the latest paper from controversial French biologist Gilles-Eric Séralini, he quickly decided he wanted nothing to do with it. Séralini’s report in BioMed Research International describes how pesticides kill cultured human cells, with the hair-raising conclusion that pesticides may be vastly more toxic than assumed by regulatory authorities. Some scientists are criticizing the findings as neither surprising nor significant—but they have touched off a firestorm, with environmental groups calling for changes in how pesticides are regulated. That was too much for Reski. Within hours of reading the paper last week, the plant scientist at the University of Freiburg in Germany resigned as an editor of the journal and asked for his name to be removed from its website. “I do not want to be connected to a journal that provides [Séralini] a forum for such kind of agitation,” he wrote in his resignation e-mail to the publisher, Hindawi Publishing Corporation.
By Elton Alisson
Agência FAPESP – The climate in Brazil in the next few decades should be hotter, with a gradual increase in the average temperature in all regions of the country, varying between 1 °C and 6 °C by 2100 compared with the temperatures at the end of the 20th century.
In the same period, rainfall should also decrease significantly in the majority of the central regions and the north and northeast. In contrast, there will be an increase in precipitation in the south and southeast.
By Dieter Helm
Nature – The Kyoto Protocol, agreed in 1997, is the centrepiece of global efforts to address climate change by reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. Its first commitment period expires this year, but despite the political capital invested in it, numerous subsequent Conference of the Parties (COP) meetings and considerable economic costs, it has had no noticeable impact on global carbon emissions. These remain on an upward curve, increasing from almost 2 parts per million (p.p.m.) a year in the early 1990s to almost 3 p.p.m. now, and heading towards the critical threshold of 400 p.p.m..
Agência FAPESP – Since 2008, trucks and buses in Brazil have run on a percentage of biodiesel from vegetable oils or animal fat added to the traditional petroleum-based diesel. At first, biodiesel accounted for 2% of the fuel; since 2010, this renewable and less polluting fuel has accounted for 5%. However, production has increased and this poses a problem: what should be done with the remaining glycerol, which is left over at a proportion of 100 kilos to each one thousand kilos of biodiesel produced? The solution, as shown by various research studies conducted in the country, is to transform the glycerol into a product with added value, as shown in an award-winning study produced by the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG). This resulted in a liquid dust suppressor made from glycerol. The liquid is sprayed onto the wagons loaded with iron ore, as they travel from the mines to the processing facilities or to the ports from where the iron ore is exported. Spraying the glycerol liquid prevents dust particles – that cause economic losses, environmental damage, and hazards to the health of the communities that surround the railway tracks – from being released by wind or rain into the atmosphere.
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Source and Photo: FAPESP, June 2012
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The Guardian – Europe’s multibillion-euro biodiesel industry has been dealt a blow by major policy changes outlined by the EU climate commissioner on Friday.
The changes proposed by Connie Hedegaard will limit food-based biofuels to 5%, just above the current output of 4.5%.
Green campaigners, who see biodiesel as doing more harm than good, hailed the move as a major victory for the environment. But the biodiesel industry condemned what it sees as a catastrophic U-turn that will cost thousands of jobs… >>Read More<<
Source and Photo: The Guardian
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“Green Economy” is often used to describe the compatibility of economic growth with the environment, one of the blocks for sustainable growth. According to the Green Economy an initiative of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) launched in 2008, the green economy results in improvement of human welfare and social equality, while reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcity.
Despite being used for more than 20 years, the term of “green economy” is still controversial, as well as its own concept. While for some it is perfectly possible for the more critical it would be an attempt to feasible the consumer society and postpone structural changes.
Global investment in renewable energy infrastructure will double over the next 10 years, soaring to $395bn a year by 2020, according to a major new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). http://bnef.com/
The report, entitled Global Renewable Energy Market Outlook, also predicts that growth will be maintained throughout the 2020s, with annual investment in new capacity and retrofitting of existing infrastructure reaching $460bn by 2030.