Brazil is the world’s second largest producer of ethanol fuel behind the United States. More than that, it has the first sustainable biofuel economy, which is based on sugarcane ethanol, not corn ethanol. It is sustainable because of Brazil’s advanced agri-industrial technology and its enormous amount of arable land. Furthermore, producing sugarcane ethanol is far more energy-efficient than corn ethanol. It actually makes energy sense to produce it.
Several major automakers including Toyota, Honda and BMW are betting that hydrogen-fueled cars will be a dominant technology in the future. There are a number of technical and economic problems to be solved before that can happen. Producing hydrogen in an cost-effective and environmentally-friendly way is critical. But beyond that, one of the biggest challenges is the transportation and storage of hydrogen.
California has led the way in deploying and committing to clean energy for a long time. In August its legislature strengthened that commitment by passing a bill to stop using fossil fuels entirely by 2045. It is the second state to do so, following Hawaii. The bill still needs to be passed by the Senate and signed by the governor. Both actions are expected to occur.
The effects of climate change are discussed all the time. We hear a lot about rising seas, extreme weather events, and so on. And mostly, the weather gets warmer. Heatwaves are increasingly common and longer and stronger.
In the 1940s and 1950s, synthetic polymers became very popular. These man-made materials were designed to be cheap and durable and soon began replacing metals and glass in everything from automobiles and airplanes to bottles and dishes.
This summer has seen record heat in many places and some record-breaking wildfires. In short, it looks a lot like the future that scientists have been warning about in the era of climate change. And still some people continue to argue about whether anything is happening to the climate.
Municipalities and transit agencies are gradually replacing conventional diesel buses with cleaner alternatives such as natural-gas-powered, diesel-electric hybrid, or fully electric buses. The goal is to reduce the substantial carbon emissions associated with buses as well as reducing unhealthy air pollution. Diesel buses on average get less than 5 miles per gallon as they transport passengers around, so there is plenty of motivation to find more efficient ways to power them.
Agricultural and sewage pollution can cause low-oxygen conditions and fish kills in rivers. A new study published in Nature Communications reports that hippo waste can have a similar effect in Africa’s Mara River, which passes through the world renowned Maasai Mara National Reserve of Kenya and is home to more than 4,000 hippos.
Back in the 1930s, building Hoover Dam was a public works project likened to the pyramids. Hoover Dam helped transform the American West, harnessing the force of the Colorado River to power millions of homes and businesses.
The northern bald ibis, also known as the waldrapp, is a strange-looking bird with a long, curved beak, a naked head, and feathers that point straight into the air like a Mohawk haircut. In former centuries, it occurred widely in northern and eastern Africa, Asia Minor, Arabia, and parts of Europe. The ancient Egyptians considered it to be an afterworld divinity and its likeness can be seen in hieroglyphs dating back thousands of years.
Cities are particularly miserable during heatwaves. With lots of concrete and asphalt surfaces, they soak up lots of heat and re-radiate it. Lots of tall buildings block cooling breezes. Factor in car exhaust and heat from air conditioners and it all adds up to the urban heat island effect. Cities can be several degrees warmer during the day and as much as 20 degrees warmer at night. All of this extra heat is not just a comfort issue, it is a serious health problem.
We use our sense of smell for all sorts of things, like locating food and habitat, avoiding danger, and so on. Fish do as well. But instead of smelling scent molecules in the air like humans do, fish use their nostrils to sense chemicals suspended in water.
In an effort to tackle plastic pollution, New Zealand is joining a growing list of countries banning single-use plastic bags for good. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says in a press statement that the ban was necessary to safeguard New Zealand’s clean and green reputation.
All over the world, coral reefs are being wiped out by rising sea temperatures brought about by climate change. When sea temperatures get too high, the symbiotic relationship between coral polyps and microscopic algae living within the coral breaks down and the coral either digests or expels the algae. The result is coral bleaching which weakens, and if it persists, kills the coral.
Growing human populations in Africa and Asia have created ever larger areas where elephants conflict with humans by trampling crops or causing other damage. These conflicts have occasionally been tragic when people were trampled to death and there are serious consequences when crops are destroyed. The individual elephants responsible for such destruction are often killed.
Commercially-available solar panels are composed of solar cells that are most often made from various forms of silicon. Some panels use thin-film cells made from other semiconductor materials. Solar cells utilize a property of semiconductors that allows them to convert light energy into electrical energy.
The seafood industry is one of the largest employers in the world. But according to a 2016 report, the seafood industry also contains widespread forced labor. Forty seven seafood-producing countries were reported to utilize forced labor. The seafood hub countries of Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Peru, and the Philippines were also reported to use a significant percentage of child labor.
Our national parks are supposed to be places that allow us to commune with nature. They offer incredible vistas and amazing sights. As a result, millions of Americans and visitors from around the world are drawn to these places – too many millions, in fact.