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Norms, Standards, and Legislation for Fast Pyrolysis Bio-oils from Lignocellulosic Biomass- TERA

Fast pyrolysis of woody biomass is close to full maturity, with first-of-its-kind commercial size installations for fuel production being commissioned in Finland (Fortum) and in The Netherlands (Empyro), and in the design phase in Brazil (Ensyn). In the industrial-scale combustion tests, the use of fast pyrolysis bio-oil (FPBO) has been demonstrated to be a viable [...]

Asian atmospheric pollution hitchhikes south

A team led by Matthew Ashfold at the University of Cambridge, UK, detected elevated levels of a chlorine-containing gas at two remote sites in tropical Borneo during the Northern Hemisphere winter of 2008–09. The team used an atmospheric transport model to show that the chemical — an indicator of a range of industrial pollutants — [...]

Acid oceans cited in Earth’s worst extinction die-off

The Permian mass extinction, 250 million years ago, was the worst in Earth’s history, killing off some 90% of living species. A team of European geoscientists has found the most direct evidence yet that ocean acidification was a major part of the die-off. Scientists have long suspected that volcanoes dumped trillions of tons of carbon [...]

Anthropogenic environmental changes affect ecosystem stability via biodiversity- TERA

Human-driven environmental changes may simultaneously affect the biodiversity, productivity, and stability of Earth’s ecosystems, but there is no consensus on the causal relationships linking these variables. Data from 12 multiyear experiments that manipulate important anthropogenic drivers, including plant diversity, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, fire, herbivory, and water, show that each driver influences ecosystem productivity. However, the [...]

Eluding catastrophic shifts with public policy- TERA

Catastrophic shifts such as desertification processes, massive extinctions, or stock market collapses are ubiquitous threats in nature and society. In these events, there is a shift from one steady state to a radically different one, from which recovery is exceedingly difficult. Thus, there is a huge interest in predicting and eventually preventing catastrophic shifts. Here [...]

Environmental tipping points significantly affect the cost−benefit assessment of climate policies- TERA

Most current cost−benefit analyses of climate change suggest global climate policy should be relatively weak. However, relatively few studies account for the market or nonmarket impacts of passing environmental tipping points that cause abrupt and irreversible damages. We use a stochastic dynamic model of the climate and economy to quantify the effect of tipping points [...]

Climate change and the permafrost carbon feedback- TERA

A large amount of organic carbon stored in frozen Arctic soils (permafrost) could be released as carbon dioxide and methane in a warming climate, which would accelerate the pace of climate change; this review suggests that release of greenhouse gas emissions will be gradual but prolonged. doi:

Recovery potential of the world’s coral reef fishes

Here we establish empirical conservation benchmarks and fish biomass recovery timelines against which coral reefs can be assessed and managed by studying the recovery potential of more than 800 coral reefs along an exploitation gradient. We show that resident reef fish biomass in the absence of fishing (B0) averages ~1,000 kg ha−1, and that the [...]

European science council concludes insecticides harm ecosystems

The European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC) will next week release its report ‘Ecosystem services, agriculture and neonicotinoids’, which scrutinizes the scientific evidence for harmful effects by neonicotinoid insecticides. It concludes that widespread preventive use of neonicotinoids has adverse effects on non-target organisms that provide ecosystem services such as pollination… doi:

Energy Department’s Wind Vision Report Analyzes the Future of Wind Power through 2050- TERA

The Energy Department recently released a new report that analyzes the future of wind power through 2050. The report, Wind Vision: A New Era for Wind Power in the United States, confirms that with technological advancements driving projected cost reductions, in combination with continued siting and transmission development, wind power can be economically deployed to [...]