If you're reading PopSci, you probably already know all about the latest efforts to offset carbon dioxide emissions, engineer clean building materials and combat pollution from traditional energy sources like coal and oil.
But you may be less aware of the more insidious climate villains--the quieter ones, which aren't necessarily belching toxic gases or currently destroying the Gulf of Mexico. Their damage is more indirect, but that doesn't make it less harmful.
The year 1970 was a pivotal one for the modern environmental movement: on April 22, U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day, which quickly grew from a grassroots demonstration into the week-long celebration that we partake in to this day. And on December 2, President Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to respond to the growing demand for green legislation and environmental oversight.
We shouldn't be surprised, then, at the influx of environment and pollution-related articles recorded in our archives during the early 1970s.
There are plenty of reasons to disagree with President Obama and Bill Gates, but there's no denying that both men are profoundly smart. And when they start agreeing on something, lesser minds like us should probably take notice. In his recent TED talk, the former Microsoft chairman sided with the president in identifying nuclear power as the only economically viable option for providing a growing world with power, while stopping the CO2 emissions that cause global warming.
Producing a biofuel cheap enough to compete at the pump with oil has remained as elusive as a ghost on the walls of Elsinore castle. But this week, two Danish companies announced they had developed enzymes capable of breaking down cellulose into ethanol cheaply enough to produce $2-a-gallon gas.
While IBM is primarily known for its information technology products, the company has recently begun expanding into the alternative energy market. So far, that change has mainly taken the form of a new ad campaign. But IBM is now backing those words up with action, by unveiling a groundbreaking solar cell, 40 percent more efficient than any similar cells.
Bill Gates has already proven his interest in geoengineering schemes with his earlier co-patent filing for reducing the intensity of killer hurricanes. So perhaps we're not too surprised that Science Insider has dug up the Microsoft chairman's past projects on altering the Earth's climate, ranging from filtering carbon dioxide to reflecting sunlight via brighter clouds.
Good news everyone! Armageddon has been postponed by another 60 seconds.
This morning, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (BAS) moved the hands of the Doomsday Clock back to six minutes before midnight. The clock is a symbolic timepiece that measures the threat of human extinction due to man-made causes, and recent international action on global warming, combined with cooperation between Russia and the US on nuclear weapon reduction, provided the incentive for the scientists to roll it back a minute.
For most people, conserving energy means turning off lights in empty rooms. But for the researchers at Bell Labs, the massive energy savings lurk in the 1's and 0's of the code that regulates the Internet. Based on a new study from the lab, communications networks could use 99 percent less energy with only a few simple code changes. Bell Labs also estimates that those savings would prevent the emission of 300 million tons of carbon.
In a break from their usual business of overthrowing South American governments, covering up alien landings, and broadcasting coded messages through my fillings, the CIA has revived a program that teams up spies and scientists for the study of climate change. Through the program, scientists get access classified images of the polar ice caps, as well as the chance to pick the targets of off-duty spy satellites.
Today's symbolic but politically crucial move by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes greenhouse gases as a danger for humans and Earth alike. That would open the doors for new regulations on carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles, power plants and factories, according to the New York Times.