We assess climate impacts of global warming using ongoing observations and paleoclimate data. We use Earth’s measured energy imbalance, paleoclimate data, and simple representations of the global carbon cycle and temperature to define emission reductions needed to stabilize climate and avoid potentially disastrous impacts on today’s young people, future generations, and nature. A cumulative industrial-era limit of ~500 GtC fossil fuel emissions and 100 GtC storage in the biosphere and soil would keep climate close to the Holocene range to which humanity and other species are adapted. Cumulative emissions of ~1000 GtC, sometimes associated with 2°C global warming, would spur “slow” feedbacks and eventual warming of 3–4°C with disastrous consequences. Rapid emissions reduction is required to restore Earth’s energy balance and avoid ocean heat uptake that would practically guarantee irreversible effects. Continuation of high fossil fuel emissions, given current knowledge of the consequences, would be an act of extraordinary witting intergenerational injustice. Responsible policymaking requires a rising price on carbon emissions that would preclude emissions from most remaining coal and unconventional fossil fuels and phase down emissions from conventional fossil fuels.
The OpenROV machine is a small, blue contraption about two-and-a-half feet wide and a foot high. It currently lunges about the length of a football field (100 meters) below the surface -- deeper than humans go, and deeper than the natural reaches of sunlight. For $849, you can buy one straight from the OpenROV online store (www.openrov.com). The truly adventurous can build a bot on their own, with free step-by-step instructions available from the site.
Drawing from expertise in agronomy, geography, modeling and socioeconomics, a research team led by a Michigan State University (MSU) scientist will study the potential benefits of introducing a new type of crop to farms across Africa: perennial...
The recent Global Food Forum featured several prominent businessmen calling for Australia to dramatically increase its contribution to global food security, in particular highlighting business opportunities…...
Stripe rust, caused by Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici (Pst), is one of the most destructive diseases of wheat. Here we report a 110-Mb draft sequence of Pst isolate CY32, obtained using a ‘fosmid-to-fosmid’ strategy, to better understand its race evolution and pathogenesis. The Pst genome is highly heterozygous and contains 25,288 protein-coding genes. Compared with non-obligate fungal pathogens, Pst has a more diverse gene composition and more genes encoding secreted proteins. Re-sequencing analysis indicates significant genetic variation among six isolates collected from different continents. Approximately 35% of SNPs are in the coding sequence regions, and half of them are non-synonymous. High genetic diversity in Pst suggests that sexual reproduction has an important role in the origin of different regional races. Our results show the effectiveness of the ‘fosmid-to-fosmid’ strategy for sequencing dikaryotic genomes and the feasibility of genome analysis to understand race evolution in Pst and other obligate pathogens.
Current rate of yield increase for major food crops is not fast enough to meet demand on existing farmland. Given limited land suitable for crop production and population soon to exceed 9 billion, ensuring food security while protecting carbon-rich and biodiverse rainforests, wetlands, and grasslands depends on achieving highest possible yields on existing farm land. Yet for most major crop-producing countries, including data-rich regions such as the USA and Europe, there are few reliable data on yield potential (Yp) or water-limited yield potential (Yw). Hence, the target of the Global Yield Gap Atlas (GYGA) is to provide best available estimates of the exploitable yield gap (Yg-E) — difference between current average farm yields and 80% of Yp and Yw. Water resources to support rainfed and irrigated agriculture also are limited, which means efficiency in converting water to food, water productivity (WP) , is another key food security benchmark included in the Atlas.
If global aviation was a country, its emissions would be ranked about seventh in the world, between Germany and South Korea on CO2 emissions alone. Yet despite flying being a growing global contributor to climate change, those emissions are still poorly accounted for and almost entirely unregulated...."
Domestication is a good model for the study of evolutionary processes because of the recent evolution of crop species (<12,000 years ago), the key role of selection in their origins, and good archaeological and historical data on their spread and diversification. Recent studies, such as quantitative trait locus mapping, genome-wide association studies and whole-genome resequencing studies, have identified genes that are associated with the initial domestication and subsequent diversification of crops. Together, these studies reveal the functions of genes that are involved in the evolution of crops that are under domestication, the types of mutations that occur during this process and the parallelism of mutations that occur in the same pathways and proteins, as well as the selective forces that are acting on these mutations and that are associated with geographical adaptation of crop species.
Neglected and underutilized species (NUS) are those to which little attention is paid or which are entirely ignored by agricultural researchers, plant breeders and policymakers1. Typically, NUS are not traded as commodities. They are wild or semi-domesticated varieties and non-timber forest species adapted to particular, often quite local, environments. Many of these varieties and species, along with a wealth of traditional knowledge about their cultivation and use, are being lost at an alarming rate. Yet NUS present tremendous opportunities for fighting poverty, hunger and malnutrition. And they can help make agricultural production systems more resilient to climate change. Not least, acknowledgment of the value of NUS in traditional foods and cultures can empower indigenous communities (women in particular) and reaffirm their identity. The time for action on NUS is now. There is a growing realization that agriculture must diversify. NUS have an important role to play in advancing agricultural development beyond the Green Revolution model of improving and raising the yields of staple crops.
In this bracing talk, coral reef ecologist Jeremy Jackson lays out the shocking state of the ocean today: overfished, overheated, polluted, with indicators that things will get much worse. Astonishing photos and stats make the case.