Category: Environment

Sunday set: Wildflower love

Alpine beauties

Some wildflower love from Austria spanning the last couple of months, from first sprouts emerging through the remnant muck of winter, to forest orchids. Check out the Summit Voice photo archives for more wildflower shots from around the world, and visit our online gallery to purchase fine art nature and landscape prints.

Many wildflower species are under the gun from climate change, especially in the mountains, where they will be pushed out of their habitat. Other studies have documented how global warming will affect native plant diversity in California. The changes to plant communities will ripple through ecosystems, affecting insect and birds, as many studies have shown.

 

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Global warming puts sea turtles at risk

As temps warm, most eggs will produce females

If beaches get too warm, sea turtle eggs will hatch mostly as females. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

Global warming was first identified as a potential threat to sea turtles in the 1980s because the temperature at which the eggs incubate helps determine the sex of the embryos. A new study now adds weight to those concerns, finding that  warmer temperatures could lead to higher numbers of female sea turtles and increased nest failure, negatively on the turtle population in some areas of the world. Continue reading “Global warming puts sea turtles at risk”

E-cars could go mass-market by 2030, IEA says

2 million e-cars on the road in 2016

E-car charging station, Vienna. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

Electric cars are likely to reach mass market adoption within the next decade, according to the International Energy Agency’s latest report on e-mobility. In 2016, the number of electric cars on the road globally reached 2 million, with China accounting for 40 percent of that total.

China has also deployed more than 200 million electric two-wheelers, as well as 300,000 elecric buses and leads the globe in electrification of the transport sector. China, the US and Europe made up the three main markets, totalling over 90 percent of all electric vehicles sold around the world.

Outside China, Norway is also moving ahead swiftly on electrification, with e-cars holding a 29 percent market share, the highest globally by far. The Netherlands is next, at 6.4 percent, followed by Sweden, at 3.4 percent. Continue reading “E-cars could go mass-market by 2030, IEA says”

Nevada restores solar net metering

New law provides more certainty for energy markets

Net metering returns to Nevada. Photo via U.S. DOE.

Staff Report

Nevada’s shifting energy policy may be a microcosm of wider U.S. policy, as Gov. Bill Sandoval this week signed a bill that reinstates net metering for photovoltaic solar power systems.

The Nevada Public Utilities Commission eliminated net metering in late 2015, which created uncertainty in the renewable energy market. The new law reinstates a framework for owners of solar panels in the state to get reimbursed for excess energy they generate. Continue reading “Nevada restores solar net metering”

GOP launches new assault on public lands

Proposed bill would cut environmental reviews for massive clear cut logging and block access to environmental justice

Proposed legislation introduced by Republicans in Congress would open the door to widespread clearcutting without environmental reviews and black conservation advocates from seeking environmental justice in federal courts. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

Once again, Republican lawmakers in Congress are trying to roll back long-standing forest protections on a piecemeal basis, knowing that the public would never stand for a frontal assault on fundamental public lands environmental regulations.

The difference now is that they have an ally in the White House willing sign such measures, which makes resistance in the legislature even more critical. In the latest effort, U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) reintroduced a measure that would allow logging projects on up to 30,000 acres — more than 46 square miles — of public land to proceed without meaningful public input, regardless of the environmental harms they might cause. Continue reading “GOP launches new assault on public lands”

Earth to Pruitt: Paris is still on!

EPA chief continues to alienate important allies

This now seems to be a bit of prescient moment during the COP 21 talks in Paris. @bberwyn photo.

By Bob Berwyn

The U.S. government continues to show how out of tune it is with the rest of the world’s leading economic nations with a press release from the EPA claiming that it has “reset” the conversation about climate change to reflect the Trump administration priorities and the “expectation of the American people.”

Apparently, EPA Administrator didn’t get the clear message from scores of American cities and states that responded to Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement by forming a sub-national coalition that is aiming to uphold the goals of that agreement. The We Are Still In Group also includes hundreds of counties, universities and businesses committed to the agreement, so all Pruitt is managing to do is to divide the country. Continue reading “Earth to Pruitt: Paris is still on!”

Pesticides impair honey bee flying abilities

Nonlethal exposure has significant impacts, new study shows

Exposure to nonlethal levels of neonicotinoid pesticides hampers honey bee flight. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

The evidence keeps mounting that pesticides are the main driver of honey bee declines. In a new study, scientists with the University of California San Diego showed that a commonly used neonicotinoid pesticide (thiamethoxam) can significantly impair the ability of otherwise healthy honey bees to fly, raising concerns about how pesticides affect their capacity to pollinate and the long-term effects on the health of honey bee colonies.

Previous research has shown that foraging honey bees that ingested neonicotinoid pesticides, crop insecticides that are commonly used in agriculture, were less likely to return to their home nest, leading to a decrease in foragers. Continue reading “Pesticides impair honey bee flying abilities”