Environment

A look at news you may have missed this week

How the world’s coffee addiction could destroy tropical forests to moose conquering newer areas in a warming Alaska—a quick look at the news you may have missed

 
By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Friday 15 April 2016

Asia would be at the risk of severe water shortage by 2050: MIT Study

A new study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has stated that China and India would be facing severe water shortages due to economic growth, climate change, and demands of fast growing populations by mid century. Within 35 years, the two countries where roughly half the world's population lives may be facing what scientists are calling a "high risk of severe water stress". That translates into billions of people having access to a lot less water than they do today, according to the study.

 

Europe's new cars were 3 per cent cleaner in 2015 than 2014

New cars sold in the European Union were 3 per cent cleaner in 2015 than the year before as restrictions on pollution forced manufacturers to make more efficient engines, data from the 28-nation bloc’s environment agency has showed. The average carbon dioxide output of the 13.7 million cars put on the road fell to 119.6 grams per kilometre driven from 123.4 gm/km the previous year, the Copenhagen-based European Environment Agency in Copenhagen said in a statement recently. The reading is 8 per cent below the target of 130 grams set by the European Commission for all new passenger vehicles in the bloc.

The world's coffee addiction could destroy its tropical forests

Soaring demand for coffee could hasten destructive climate change by encouraging producers to chop down some of the last remaining tropical forests as they struggle to increase yields on existing farmland, says a report released recently by the nonprofit Conservation International. Coffee grows in tropical countries near the equator, such as Indonesia, Brazil and Uganda, where thick jungles rich with biodiversity provide fresh water and store tons of carbon. Farmers expand their fields by felling trees in these forests and burning the dense underbrush— releasing that carbon into the atmosphere, where it traps other gases and warms the planet. As a result, deforestation is a two-fold environmental catastrophe: Left intact, forests absorb many of the pollutants that cause global warming. Destroyed, they unleash even more emissions and speed up the pace of climate change.

Warming temperatures help spread moose northwards in Alaska

Rising temperatures and longer summers have helped the iconic Alaskan moose conquer vast new stretches of frozen tundra according to a new study. Changes in climate have seen a rapid increase in the size of plants that the moose depend on in winter to survive. The deer have moved hundreds of kilometres northwards following the spreading shrubs. Scientists believe the moose will continue to colonise new territories as warming continues.

 

Monsanto GM Cotton banned by top African producer Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso, Africa's biggest cotton grower, is phasing out the production of genetically modified cotton introduced by Monsanto Co., the world’s largest seed company, because growers are unhappy with the short length of its fibre. The country is reducing the acreage for genetically modified cotton this season until it’s completely phased out in 2018 and replaced by conventional cotton, the nation’s cabinet said in a statement recently.

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