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Greenland Is Melting Away

Greenland Is Melting Away
On the Greenland Ice Sheet — The midnight sun still gleamed at 1 a.m. across the brilliant expanse of the Greenland ice sheet. Brandon Overstreet, a doctoral candidate in hydrology at the University of Wyoming, picked his way across the frozen landscape, clipped his climbing harness to an anchor in the ice and crept toward the edge of a river that rushed downstream toward an enormous sinkhole. If he fell in, “the death rate is 100 percent,” said Mr. Overstreet’s friend and fellow researcher, Lincoln Pitcher. But Mr. Overstreet’s task, to collect critical data from the river, is essential to understanding one of the most consequential impacts of global warming. “We scientists love to sit at our computers and use climate models to make those predictions,” said Laurence C. For years, scientists have studied the impact of the planet’s warming on the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. Scientists know that the melting of Greenland is accelerating. Kangerlussuaq, Greenland Getting Ready Mr. Mr.

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The FDA just approved the nation’s first genetically-engineered animal: A salmon that grows twice as fast Some U.S. officials say Snowden has had an impact, but analysts aren’t so sure By Ellen Nakashima and Greg Miller November 18 at 10:04 PM PIttsburgh Mayor, other leaders join in Resilience Pledge PITTSBURGH, PA –Mayor William Peduto is committing at least 10% of the city’s operating and capital budget spending to flood control, street and facility improvements, and other projects that will improve the City’s resilience against challenges it will face in future years. Signing the pledge will secure $5 million in technical and financial resources for Pittsburgh over the next five years from The Rockefeller Foundation/100 Resilient Cities, which held a resilience summit with Mayor Peduto and other leaders from around the world this week. The funding will be in addition to the funding Rockefeller has already committed to Pittsburgh as one of the 67 cities chosen so far for membership in the the 100 Resilient Cities Initiative. Pittsburgh earned membership the Resilient Cities Network in December 2014. The City will seek similar spending earmarks by its authorities. Signing the pledge will not involve spending additional money.

Amazon, data center turn hot idea into cool technology Saving millions of kilowatt-hours a year, the innovative heat-transfer system between Amazon’s downtown high-rises and the region’s chief telecom hub could be a model for others. When’s eye-catching spheres and towers open over the next year, the heat for their thousands of tech workers and hundreds of green plants won’t be a drag on the power grid. Instead, the heat for Amazon’s high-rise Denny Triangle campus will be recycled, essentially, from the Pacific Northwest’s telecom hub on an adjacent block — an innovative partnership that could spread to other downtown buildings. Heat coming from the 34-story Westin Building Exchange will be used to warm just over 4 million square feet of development on Amazon’s four-block campus, saving 80 million kilowatt-hours over 20 years, or about 4 million kilowatt-hours a year, officials said Thursday. The first 1.1 million-square-foot tower opens next month, and a second is expected to open by next fall.

Failing phytoplankton, failing oxygen: Global warming disaster could suffocate life on planet Earth Falling oxygen levels caused by global warming could be a greater threat to the survival of life on planet Earth than flooding, according to researchers from the University of Leicester. A study led by Sergei Petrovskii, Professor in Applied Mathematics from the University of Leicester's Department of Mathematics, has shown that an increase in the water temperature of the world's oceans of around six degrees Celsius -- which some scientists predict could occur as soon as 2100 -- could stop oxygen production by phytoplankton by disrupting the process of photosynthesis. Professor Petrovskii explained: "Global warming has been a focus of attention of science and politics for about two decades now. A lot has been said about its expected disastrous consequences; perhaps the most notorious is the global flooding that may result from melting of Antarctic ice if the warming exceeds a few degrees compared to the pre-industrial level.

A Carbon Tax for Steak May Be the Best Way to Get People to Eat Less Meat From renewable energy to carbon sequestration to cap and trade, a lot of different ideas for arresting the change under way in the climate are going to be discussed at the upcoming international climate talks in Paris. There is, however, one carbon-producing issue that the international group would appear to deem somewhat marginal—only 21 out of 120 national plans included it in their reduction goals—but that could lead to significant cuts in emissions: meat consumption. The problem is, achieving those reductions would require a huge upending of deep-seated habits and cultural norms the world over. The meat industry accounts for 15 percent of emissions globally—equal to the amount of greenhouse gases generated by the world’s cars. A new report published last week by Chatham House, a policy think tank in London, puts forward an expansive, sometimes aggressive road map for how countries could curb emissions by both encouraging and discouraging people from eating meat.

In honor of #WorldToiletDay, here are our favorite stories about poop (Issei Kato/Reuters) In honor of #WorldToiletDay, here are our favorite stories about poop By Rachel Feltman November 19 at 2:09 PM We at Speaking of Science are pretty into poop science. Universities See Existing Buildings in New Light for Energy Efficiency Savings High performance real estate is more common and its value is finally understood, but many people still believe that all of these efficient green buildings are new, shiny developments. Yes – it’s typical to apply the latest sustainability strategies and technologies to new construction, but it’s just as typical to retrofit and renovate existing buildings with new sustainable and efficient features and technologies. We mentioned in an earlier blog post that nearly three million more people will be enrolled in American colleges and universities in 2022 than were enrolled in 2011 – a 14% increase – and there’s a parallel spike in the need for space to host the influx. But universities are often cash-strapped, and with land use restrictions to boot, building new sustainable buildings is rarely an option.

Why real estate needs Tesla-style buildings, used 'Uber-style' While the financial industry is still reeling from recent stock market gyrations, it is tempting to forget about long-term issues, such as extreme weather events, the rising sea levels and demographic change. It’s short-termism versus long-term thinking in its purest form. And it’s human. But even amidst the current turmoil, there seems to be a sea of change in investment beliefs that is becoming ever more prominent, and ever more articulate: The belief that for long-term investors, long-term trends can have real implications for capital values and income returns. Whether it is drought in western North America, flooding in Chinese cities or the rise of renewable energy, some of these “long-term” trends are starting to become real, happening every day, at many places in the world.

The Koala in the Coal Mine GUNNEDAH, Australia—Scrambling up a rock-strewn hill, I crane my neck and scan a row of trees for koalas. Truth be told, I’ve never been all that good at spotting koalas in the wild. The cartoon-cute marsupial may be one of the world’s most recognizable animals, but try finding one silently snoozing 40 feet off the ground in a leafy eucalyptus tree among hundreds scattered across this former farm in the Liverpool Plains, a fertile agriculture district 250 miles northwest of Sydney. Koalas, which sleep up to 22 hours a day, don’t snore or do much of anything else that would attract attention. But on this sunny antipodean spring day in late September, even the koala experts from the University of Sydney I’m accompanying aren’t having much luck.