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Colorado to Undertake Major Study on Oil and Gas Emissions | Colorado Energy News

Colorado to Undertake Major Study on Oil and Gas Emissions | Colorado Energy News | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it
The state is set to launch this summer a significant study of emissions tied to oil and gas development. The project will provide information about how oil and gas emissions behave, how they travel and their characteristics in areas along the northern Front Range. A second phase would assess possible health effects using information collected in the first phase.

Testimony at this week’s Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission rulemaking hearing reinforced the views of experts for both industry and the conservation community that more and better science is needed related to oil and gas emissions.

 

“This study marks another important step in our aggressive efforts to ensure oil and gas development is conducted with the highest standards of environmental protection,” said Colorado Department of Natural Resources executive director Mike King.

 

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Post-sanctions Iran must focus on building a knowledge economy | Kayvan Vakili | Quartz.com

Post-sanctions Iran must focus on building a knowledge economy | Kayvan Vakili | Quartz.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

In 1979, the Islamic Revolution rid Iran of over two and a half millennia of monarchy. It also led to a three-decade exodus of highly educated Iranians from the country. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), for over twenty-five years, Iran has consistently had one of the highest rates of brain drain in the world.


As revealed by various World Bank reports, the annual emigration of at least 150,000 skilled individuals from Iran costs the country’s economy tens of billions of dollars per year. According to an oft-cited 2012 survey by the National Science Foundation, which is based in Washington, DC, 89% of Iranian doctoral students stay in the United States after graduation.

Last year, Bloomberg News’s Golnar Motevalli reported that “at least 40% of top-performing students with undergraduate degrees in science and engineering left the country to pursue advanced degrees.” This staggering statistic, due mostly to Iran’s high unemployment rate and lingering lack of job security (attributable at least partly to years of economic sanctions), came directly from the country’s National Elites Foundation, “a government-run organization that supports academically gifted and high-achieving students.”

While these issues have been simmering for decades, the administration of president Hassan Rouhani has been more forthcoming than its predecessor in combating and acknowledging this devastating reality. “In today’s world, a traditional economy cannot rival the world and we can compete with the world economy if we have a knowledge-based economy,” the Shana news agency quoted Rouhani as saying last year.

Even Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s highest political and religious authority, agrees. The Supreme Leader has directed the government to offer “incentives” to attract investment from the millions of successful and affluent Iranians abroad in order to create a “foundation to attract the expertise and scientific capability of the diaspora towards national growth.”


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Blame pepper for imperialism, bananas for misery | Stephen Kinzer | The Boston Globe

Blame pepper for imperialism, bananas for misery | Stephen Kinzer | The Boston Globe | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Strong countries attack weaker ones mainly because they want more of whatever is good to have. Over centuries, that has ranged from women to gold to oil — to food. Culinary appetites have played an important role in shaping history. If people in Western countries had not developed a taste for sugar, spices, and tropical fruits, the world might have evolved quite differently. Restless taste buds have produced much global turmoil.

Food was drab and tasteless for much of human history. As Europe began awakening into the modern age, people were eager for new sensations. The arrival of exotic spices dazzled them. Pepper is the reason modern imperialism was invented.


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The troubling reasons why NASA is so focused on studying sea level rise | Chris Mooney | WashPost.com

The troubling reasons why NASA is so focused on studying sea level rise | Chris Mooney | WashPost.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

NASA is undertaking an “intensive research effort” into the problem of rising seas brought on by global warming, the agency announced Wednesday. And it will include satellite mounted tools so accurate that “if they were mounted on a commercial jetliner, flying at 40,000 feet, they could detect the bump caused by a dime lying flat on the ground,” as agency earth science director Mike Freilich put it Wednesday.

The focus reflects the growing urgency of the topic. Recent scientific reports have documented apparently accelerating ice loss from Greenland, and potential destabilization of parts of the West Antarctic ice sheet.

The agency says that we’ve seen 3 inches of global sea level increase since the year 1992 — with large regional variation — and a further rise of three feet has likely been “locked in” by warming that has already occurred. Other scientists have recently suggested that we may be about to unleash considerably more than that.

“The data shows that sea level is rising faster than it was 50 years ago, and it’s very likely to get worse in the future,” Steve Nerem, who leads NASA’s new Sea Level Change Team, said in a press call Wednesday.


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Healthier Rice... From Science | Michael Ho | Techdirt.com

Healthier Rice... From Science | Michael Ho | Techdirt.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Billions of people around the world eat rice. So if rice can be made to be more healthy, the benefits could be globally significant.


Sure, there are plenty of folks trying to genetically engineer better rice (eg. Golden Rice), but if you don't like GMOs for whatever reason, you're not out of luck.


There are a few things that might help improve rice without messing around with rice DNA.


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How a California Olive Oil Maker is Thriving, Despite the Drought | Cathy Barrow | National Geographic

How a California Olive Oil Maker is Thriving, Despite the Drought | Cathy Barrow | National Geographic | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

California is in the middle of a historic drought, but nearly half a million olive trees are thriving in the state. What’s more, the trees have been planted on land previously used to grow crops that required thousands of gallons of water.

The olives are being grown by California Olive Ranch (COR), which manages over 14,000 acres across Northern California. CEO Gregg Kelley says before olives, much of the land was being used for unsustainable agriculture. An example of that—the west side of the Sacramento Valley was previously planted with rice.


“That land is in a very marginal water district,” Kelley says. Rice prefers to grow in clay soil that limits water percolation “We were able to take that ground and plant a permanent crop—olives—that are highly water efficient relative to most other permanent crops,” he adds.



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New technology sees first braille tablet | RNIB | Supporting people with sight loss

New technology sees first braille tablet | RNIB | Supporting people with sight loss | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

NB talks to Kristina Tsvetanova, a co-founder and CEO of Blitab about a possible ground breaking braille tablet.


What is Blitab®?


BLITAB® is the first ever braille tablet, which uses a new liquid-based technology to create tactile relief outputting braille, graphics and maps for the blind and partially sighted. We call it BLITAB® – the iPad for the blind. It is a next-generation affordable and multi-functional device for braille reading and writing that displays a whole page of braille text, without any mechanical elements.

How did you come up with the idea for a braille tablet?


Everything started three years ago during my studies, when a colleague of mine, sitting next to me, asked me to sign him in for an online course. I did it, but after that I realised Peter was blind. For the first time, I understood that something sighted people take for granted can be a challenge for others. This was the trigger, how we started developing a revolutionary tactile technology that will disrupt the status quo. In the past 10 months, we transferred the concept and project into a start-up company with social impact. Within this short space of time, our tablet has become an 11-time award-winning social and innovative project, with more than 20 sustainability recognitions. And more importantly, we already have more than 2,500 sign-up testers, among them 300 children in 34 countries, and this was the reason we were spotted and awarded as social change makers.


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Brazil’s First ‘Smart’ City is a Tiny Tech Marvel | CitiScope | GovTech.com

Brazil’s First ‘Smart’ City is a Tiny Tech Marvel | CitiScope | GovTech.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Introducing Águas de São Pedro, Brazil’s first “smart” city. Robert Prescott reports for RCR Wireless News that this tiny municipality of 3,000 is being transformed into a digital hub. Sensors and biometrics are among the technologies being deployed to improve everything from education and health to security and tourism, the article says.

Águas de São Pedro is located 187 kilometers (116 miles) from São Paulo. The city government has partnered with Brazil’s Telefónica Vivo, the Chinese telecom giant Huawei and other companies on the project. The companies are footing the bill in the hopes that Águas de São Pedro will serve as a showroom to generate business elsewhere, RCR says.


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LA: The washing away of Cajun culture | James Fletcher | BBC News

LA: The washing away of Cajun culture | James Fletcher | BBC News | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Paul Chiquet is not your typical librarian. But then again, South Lafourche Public Library is not a typical library.

"I said one day we're gonna build us a beautiful place, and the dream came true, we did it," he tells me, at a volume which suggests he might struggle in a more classically bookish environment.

The unlikely vessel for Chiquet's dream is a former Walmart store, an unlovely slab of concrete in a lovely location.

Outside, Bayou Lafourche wends its way past the parking lot. It's one of the many slow moving waterways here in the delta where the Mississippi river meets the Gulf of Mexico.


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Investors Are Grabbing a Japan-Size Chunk of the Developing World for Food and Water | Erica Gies | TakePart.com

Investors Are Grabbing a Japan-Size Chunk of the Developing World for Food and Water | Erica Gies | TakePart.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Foreign investors are increasingly buying or leasing large swaths of developing countries in pursuit of food, water, and profit, according to human rights groups and academics, putting people and the environment at risk.

In Papua, Indonesia, forests that have sustained Malind hunter-gatherers for millennia are being razed to make way for foreign-owned biofuels and industrial agriculture plantations in a government scheme called Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate, according to awasMIFEE, a U.K.-based activist group. In Brazil’s delicate tropical savanna ecosystem—one of Conservation International’s top 25 biodiversity hot spots and home to rare animals such as giant anteaters, tapirs, and armadillos—more than 32,000 acres of habitat are being tilled for crops and biofuels by the Qatar Investment Authority. Ethnic pastoralist and subsistence agriculture groups in Ethiopia, meanwhile, have been pushed off their ancestral lands by deals the Ethiopian government has struck with developers such as Karuturi, an India-based flower and agribusiness company, and the privately owned Saudi Star Agricultural Development, according to the Land Matrix and the Oakland Institute.
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Activists call these acquisitions land grabs that violate human rights. The International Land Coalition, a group that includes Oxfam International and the United Nations Environment Program, defines land grabs as acquisitions completed “without prior consent of the preexisting land users, and with no consideration of the social and environmental impacts.”

Since 2000, international investors have grabbed an estimated 93 million acres worldwide—an area the size of Japan—according to the Land Matrix, an international initiative that tracks the phenomenon. By the Land Matrix’s reckoning, Indonesia has been the target of the largest number of deals, with 120, followed by Cambodia, Mozambique, Ethiopia, and Laos.


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Shutting down a transparency tool in 29 countries? Twitter can do better. | Deji Olukotun Blog | Access Now

Shutting down a transparency tool in 29 countries? Twitter can do better. | Deji Olukotun Blog | Access Now | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Last week, Twitter shut down a tool that helps people hold politicians accountable in 29 countries around the world. The Netherlands-based civil society group Open State Foundation created Politwoops, which scans the Twitter accounts of politicians for tweets they’ve deleted. Deleted tweets can provide insight to the viewpoints of public officials, and journalists have been using Politwoops to keep representatives accountable for what they say publicly. In the spirit of transparency,


Open State allowed other organizations to use the code of the tool, and use it they have, everywhere from Argentina, to Turkey, to Spain, to the United Kingdom. But on August 21, Twitter turned it off.

Twitter informed Politwoops that it was violating the terms of its Application Programming Interface, or API. Three months earlier, Twitter decided to stop letting the Sunlight Foundation, a U.S. transparency organization, use the tool. To justify that decision, Twitter explained that “No one user is more deserving of that ability [to delete a tweet] than another. Indeed, deleting a tweet is an expression of one’s voice.”

Twitter is arguing that deleting a tweet is the same regardless of who does it — an elected official or an ordinary user. However, that ignores the fact that if the public suddenly can’t see what an official has said publicly, it creates problems for transparency and accountability.


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India: Private-public sector partnership key to public internet access | Vishal Jain | Business Today

India: Private-public sector partnership key to public internet access | Vishal Jain | Business Today | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Connecting citizens to the world of internet has become increasingly essential for the development and social progress of a country. With the launch of the Digital India program, the Indian government aims to transform India into a digitally empowered economy and seeks to integrate technology with the everyday life of the citizens.


The government has identified 'Public Internet Access' as one of the nine pillars of this program. Under this pillar, the government plans to increase the number of villages with Common Service Centres (CSC) to 250,000 by March 2017, compared to the current number of 130,000.


The government also aims to convert 150,000 million post offices into multi-service centres during the same period. The public internet access program intends to provide customized content through affordable internet access in local languages across the country.


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The Earth Is Now "Locked In" To A 3 Foot Sea Level Rise, NASA Says | Jim Dalrymple II | BuzzFeed.com

The Earth Is Now "Locked In" To A 3 Foot Sea Level Rise, NASA Says | Jim Dalrymple II | BuzzFeed.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Steve Nerem, a geophysicist at NASA and the University of Colorado, Boulder, said the world is all but certain to see a three foot sea level rise due to the concentration of carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere.

Nerem told BuzzFeed News Thursday even if global emissions stopped immediately, the effects of CO2 already in the atmosphere would lead to rising sea levels, in a sort of “inertia” effect. The ocean rise could hit three feet by 2100 or later, Nerem said.

“Eventually we’re going to get to 3 feet,” he added. “Is that going to happen in 2100 or 2200, or somewhere in between? It really depends on what we do with our CO2.”


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Stephane Bilodeau's curator insight, August 28, 4:35 PM

For places with large populations living in low lying coastal areas, rising sea levels pose a dual threat, Nerem said. Not only will the ocean slowly creep high and higher, but storms and heavy surf will reach further inland and cause more damage.

“The first time you get inundated it’s not going to be from the slow rise,” Nerem explained, “it’s going to be from the storm surge on top of that rise.”

The new NASA findings consequently mean difficult times ahead, but Gleick pointed out that there is time to prepare because “this isn’t going to happen tomorrow.”

“If we reduce greenhouse gas emissions pretty dramatically in the next couple of decades,” he said, “these sea level increases will be slower and ultimately lower than they would otherwise be.”

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Revolutionary new solar window tech can make any glass pane into a solar panel | Aliya Barnwell | Digital Trends

Revolutionary new solar window tech can make any glass pane into a solar panel | Aliya Barnwell | Digital Trends | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

If you’re thinking about going solar, we’ve got good news: your options have just been expanded. SolarWindow Technologies announced that their new cells can produce 50 times the energy of panels commonly in use today. What that means is a faster return on the investment required for a solar set up.


CEO John Conklin called it “the most innovative breakthrough in powering the half-billion square feet of windows installed on commercial buildings in the US, annually.”

Here’s how the windows supposedly work.


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UK: Fibre or nothing | The Conversation | MyBroadband.co.za

UK: Fibre or nothing | The Conversation | MyBroadband.co.za | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Despite the British government’s boasts of the steady roll-out of superfast broadband to more than four out of five homes and businesses, you needn’t be a statistician to realise that this means one out of five are still unconnected.

In fact, the recent story about a farmer who was so incensed by his slow broadband that he built his own 4G mast in a field to replace it shows that for much of the country, little has improved.

The government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme claims that it will provide internet access of at least 24Mbps (megabits per second) to 95% of the country by 2017 through fibre to the cabinet, where fast fibre optic networks connect BT’s exchanges to street cabinets dotted around towns and villages.

The final connection to the home comes via traditional (slower) copper cables.


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Those in rural communities are understandably sceptical of the government’s “huge achievement”, arguing that only a fraction of the properties included in the government’s running total can achieve reasonable broadband speeds, as signals drop off quickly with distance from BT’s street cabinets.

Millions of people are still struggling to achieve even basic broadband, and not necessarily just in the remote countryside, but in urban areas such as Redditch, Lancaster and even Pimlico in central London.

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Alaska: Mount McKinley Will Be Renamed Denali | Julie Hirschfeld Davis | NYTimes.com

Alaska: Mount McKinley Will Be Renamed Denali | Julie Hirschfeld Davis | NYTimes.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

President Obama announced on Sunday that Mount McKinley was being renamed Denali, restoring an Alaska Native name with deep cultural significance to the tallest mountain in North America.

The move came on the eve of Mr. Obama’s trip to Alaska, where he will spend three days promoting aggressive action to combat climate change, and is part of a series of steps meant to address the concerns of Alaska Native tribes.

The central Alaska mountain has been called Mount McKinley for more than a century. In announcing that Sally Jewell, the secretary of the interior, had used her power to rename it, Mr. Obama was paying tribute to the state’s Native population, which has referred to the site for generations as Denali, meaning “the high one” or “the great one.” The peak, at more than 20,000 feet, plays a central role in the creation story of the Koyukon Athabascans, a group that has lived in Alaska for thousands of years.


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Setting Aside Half the Earth for ''Rewilding'': The Ethical Dimension | William Lynn Op-Ed | Truth-Out.org

Setting Aside Half the Earth for ''Rewilding'': The Ethical Dimension | William Lynn Op-Ed | Truth-Out.org | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

A much-anticipated book in conservation and natural science circles is EO Wilson's Half-Earth: Our Planet's Fight for Life, which is due early next year. It builds on his proposal to set aside half the Earth for the preservation of biodiversity.

The famous biologist and naturalist would do this by establishing huge biodiversity parks to protect, restore and connect habitats at a continental scale. Local people would be integrated into these parks as environmental educators, managers and rangers - a model drawn from existing large-scale conservation projects such as Area de Conservación Guanacaste (ACG) in northwestern Costa Rica.

The backdrop for this discussion is that we are in the sixth great extinction event in earth's history. More species are being lost today than at any time since the end of the dinosaurs. There is no mystery as to why this is happening: it is a direct result of human depredations, habitat destruction, overpopulation, resource depletion, urban sprawl and climate change.

Wilson is one of the world's premier natural scientists - an expert on ants, the father of island biogeography, apostle of the notion that humans share a bond with other species (biophilia) and a herald about the danger posed by extinction. On these and other matters he is also an eloquent writer, having written numerous books on biodiversity, science, and society. So when Wilson started to talk about half-Earth several years ago, people started to listen.


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New open-access database aims to get water-scarce countries ‘more crop per drop’ | UN News Centre

New open-access database aims to get water-scarce countries ‘more crop per drop’ | UN News Centre | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

At the start of the World Water Week conference in Stockholm, Sweden, the United Nations agriculture agency today announced that it would develop a new open-access data portal that uses satellite imagery to provide insights into more efficient and productive use of agricultural waters – helping water-scarce countries in the Near East and North Africa better manage the resource.

“Reporting on water productivity is lacking at country level in water scarce regions and this data will be key to creating sustainable agricultural systems in areas with scarce resources,” said Jippe Hoogeveen, project coordinator and technical officer in the Land and Water Division of the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).

According to an FAO press release, currently all countries in North Africa and the Near East suffer from severe water scarcity, with significant consequences for irrigated agriculture, the region’s largest water user – which is expected to intensify as climate change leads to more frequent and longer droughts, severely impacting food production.

The aim of the new data portal – to be developed in October – is to collect and analyze satellite information to improve land and water productivity and boost the sustainability of agricultural systems. All information will be openly available for countries and users who need it.


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Measuring progress on financial and digital inclusion | Brookings.edu

Measuring progress on financial and digital inclusion | Brookings.edu | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

About two billion adults across the world lack access to formal financial services. To address this particular economic challenge, many developing countries have made significant efforts to expand access to and use of affordable financial services for the world’s poor. Financial inclusion can be achieved via traditional banking offerings, but also through digital financial services such as mobile money, among other innovative approaches.

The Brookings Financial and Digital Inclu­sion Project (FDIP) Report and Scorecard seeks to help answer a set of fundamental questions about today’s global financial inclusion efforts, including;

  1. Do country commitments make a difference in progress toward financial inclusion?;
  2. To what extent do mobile and other digital technologies advance finan­cial inclusion?; and
  3. What legal, policy, and regulatory approaches promote financial inclusion?


To answer these questions, Brookings experts John D. Villasenor, Darrell M. West, and Robin J. Lewis analyzed finan­cial inclusion in 21 geographically, economically, and politically diverse countries. This year’s report and scorecard is the first of a series of annual reports examining financial inclusion activities and assessing usage of financial services in selected countries around the world.


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Obama: Climate change threatens US 'right now' | Mark Hensch | The Hill

President Obama is pointing toward Alaska as tangible evidence of the immediate danger climate change presents the U.S.

“This is all real,” Obama said Saturday in his weekly address. “This is happening to our fellow Americans right now.”

“In fact, Alaska’s governor recently told me that four villages are in ‘imminent danger’ and have to be relocated,” he said, citing Gov. Bill Walker (I). “Already, rising sea levels are beginning to swallow one island community.”

“Think about that,” Obama added. “If another country threatened to wipe out an American town, we’d do everything in our power to protect ourselves. Climate change poses the same threat, right now.”

Obama’s remarks come as he gears up for a three-day tour of Alaska starting Monday.

He argued Saturday that the state is already beset by natural disasters and economic paid associated with harmful climate change.


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Climate models may misjudge soils' carbon emissions | Alex Kirby | Climate News Network

Climate models may misjudge soils' carbon emissions | Alex Kirby | Climate News Network | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Some of the microscopic creatures which live in the soil are able to digest dead plants and trees, turning their contents into gas and minerals.

But researchers say their work show that our understanding of how organic material is decomposed is fundamentally wrong, calling into question some current climate models.

The researchers, from Lund University, Sweden, and the University of New Hampshire, USA, have published their study in the journal Ecological Monographs. They say it means that climate models which include micro-organisms in their estimates of future climate change must be reconsidered.

When plants or trees die, their leaves and branches fall to the ground and the organic matter which is absorbed by the soil is then decomposed, mainly by the activity of fungi and bacteria, which convert the dead materials into the main greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, and mineral nutrients.

Until now, the Lund team says, scientists had thought that high-quality organic materials, such as leaves that are rich in soluble sugars, were mainly decomposed by bacteria, leaving the lower-quality matter, like cellulose and lignin, to be broken down mainly by fungi.


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Katrina’s Vital Lesson | Rhea Suh | Natural Resources Defense Council | Medium.com

Katrina's Vital Lesson - Natural Resources Defense Council - Medium

President Obama goes to New Orleans on Thursday to mark the Gulf region’s struggle to recover from not one disaster but two: Hurricane Katrina and the collapse of the levee system that swamped the Crescent City 10 years ago this week.

In some respects, the recovery has been remarkable. Amid the celebratory air of all that’s been achieved, though, I’m struck by the voices telling a very different story, the people who suffered the most when the levees collapsed and those for whom the promise of recovery remains elusive at best.

Ten years on, Katrina calls us to look at the way the oil and gas industry, the government, and the public itself have shrugged off our collective responsibility to the natural world and all it supports, leaving the most vulnerable among us to pay the highest price. More than that, it calls us to act.


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Koch Bros. “Pay for Influence” with $240,000 in FACT Act Contributions | Sokolove Law

Koch Bros. “Pay for Influence” with $240,000 in FACT Act Contributions | Sokolove Law | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

A new bill called the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act of 2015 is heading to the U.S. House of Representatives after passing through the House Judiciary Committee in March. On the surface, such a bill perhaps sounds great, but what’s really behind this new legislation?

Advocacy groups are finding big correlations between the votes of House politicians, and the amounts of money that these House politicians have received from big-name donors. Many donors have an interest in blocking asbestos-related legal claims, and the FACT Act is aimed at taking compensation away from, and making the claims process more difficult for, those suffering from mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. This raises obvious questions about the intentions of the lawmakers involved, and the integrity of the political process.

One of the largest contributions to the House committee of 19 Representatives comes from none other than Koch Industries, headed by Charles and David Koch. The Koch brothers gave total contributions of $241,500, making them the second-biggest donor after Honeywell, a company that gave FACT Act proponents a total of $245,000. AT&T, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon were three additional prominent donors, each with contributions of over $150,000, and other companies, including ExxonMobile, General Electric, Boeing, CSX, and Northrop Grumman also offered up large sums of money.

This effort to buy influence is only the latest move in the Kochs’ struggle to ward off mesothelioma and asbestos-related lawsuits related to the company’s Georgia-Pacific subsidiary. Previously, the company tried to argue that its asbestos-containing products contained no carcinogens.


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Californians cut water without state imposing fines | Scott Smith | PHYS.org

Californians cut water without state imposing fines | Scott Smith | PHYS.org | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

For the second straight month, Californians exceeded hefty water conservation mandates during the relentless drought without the state imposing fines, officials said.


Cities cut water use by a combined 31 percent in July, exceeding the governor's statewide conservation mandate of 25 percent, the State Water Resources Control Board reported Thursday.

The figure surpassed the June figure of 27 percent savings despite hot summer temperatures.

The strong figures show California residents are beginning to understand the dire need to cut back in the fourth year of the drought, said Felicia Marcus, chair of the water board.

"This isn't your mother's drought or your grandmother's drought," she said. "This is the drought of the century."

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EPA Urged by Nearly 100,000 Americans to Redo Highly Controversial Fracking Study | Cole Melino | EcoWatch.com

EPA Urged by Nearly 100,000 Americans to Redo Highly Controversial Fracking Study | Cole Melino | EcoWatch.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The public comment period for the highly controversial U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) fracking study ends today. Food & Water Watch, Environmental Action, Breast Cancer Action and other advocacy groups delivered nearly 100,000 comments from Americans asking the U.S. EPA to redo their study with a higher level of scrutiny and oversight.


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Hawaii’s Governor Dumps Oil and Gas in Favor of 100 Percent Renewables | Juan Cole | The Nation

Hawaii’s Governor Dumps Oil and Gas in Favor of 100 Percent Renewables | Juan Cole | The Nation | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

At the Asia Pacific Resilience Innovation Summit held in Honolulu, Hawaii, this week, Governor David Ige dropped a bombshell. His administration will not use natural gas to replace the state’s petroleum-fueled electricity plants, but will make a full-court press toward 100 percent renewables by 2045. Ige’s decisive and ambitious energy vision is making Hawaii into the world’s most important laboratory for humankind’s fight against climate change. He has, in addition, attracted an unlikely and enthusiastic partner in his embrace of green energy—the US military.

Ige said Monday that LNG (liquefied natural gas) will not save the state money over time, given the plummeting prices of renewables. Moreover, “it is a fossil fuel,” i.e., it emits dangerous greenhouse gases. He explained that local jurisdictions in Hawaii are putting up a fight against natural gas, making permitting difficult. Finally, any money put into retooling electric plants so as to run on gas, he said, is money that would better be invested in the transition to green energy.

Ige, trained as an electrical engineer, is leading his state in the most ambitious clean-energy program in the United States. On June 8, he signed into law a bill calling for Hawaii’s electricity to be entirely generated from renewables in only 30 years. He also directed that the University of Hawaii be net carbon zero in just 20 years.


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