December 17th, 2012Arctic Hurricanes and Climate

Climate scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and in England report the first conclusive evidence that Arctic hurricanes, also known as polar lows, play a significant role in driving ocean water circulation and climate.

Though it seems like an oxymoron, Arctic hurricanes happen, complete with a central “eye,” extreme low barometric pressure and towering 30-foot waves that can sink small ships and coat metal platforms with thick ice, threatening oil and gas exploration. Now climate scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and in England report the first conclusive evidence that Arctic hurricanes, also known as polar lows, play a significant role in driving ocean water circulation and climate.

Results point to potentially cooler conditions in Europe and North America in the 21st century than other models predict.

Large firms are increasingly adopting and scaling up sustainability innovations and reaping substantial rewards in the process, new research has found.

Can a small company use corporate responsibility as tool for competitive advantage?

Using sustainability to compete with the big dogs

Some Amazon rainforest tree species are more than eight million years old found a genetic study published in the December 2012 edition of Ecology and Evolution.

Christopher Dick of the University of Michigan and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), Simon Lewis of the University of Leeds, Mark Maslin of University College London, and Eldredge Bermingham of STRI analyzed the age of 12 widely distributed Amazon tree species. They found that nine of the species emerged prior to the Pliocene Epoch some 2.6 million years ago, seven dated to the Miocene Epoch (5.6 million years ago), and three were more than eight million years old.

Here's an inside look at how the telecommunications company frames sustainability in a business case.

How AT&T developed a scorecard to monitor water and energy use

As sustainability professionals, we have no choice but to use the S-word.

You can’t have a revolution if you don’t know what to name it

Britain lifted its ban on shale gas exploration this week despite environmental fears as it aims to become a European leader in a sector that has transformed the U.S. energy market.
The approval of shale gas fracking from Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey comes approximately a year and a half after UK authorities halted the unconventional exploration process after it set off earth tremors at one site.

Shale reserves have been viewed as a way to counter the UK’s fall in natural gas production.

Europe’s largest gas consumer, Britain in May 2011 put a temporary stop to hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” for shale gas after earth tremors were measured near the site close to Blackpool.

Turbulence in the anaerobic digestion market is a distinct possibility over the next three years as operators grapple with the marginal versus operational costs of running a plant.

Levi’s has become the latest brand leader to pledge to eliminate all releases of hazardous chemicals throughout its supply chain and products by 2020, following pressure from Greenpeace.

Apply for the contest that recognizes the top sustainability practices at universities across the U.S. The deadline to submit is Jan. 14, 2013.

Enter the March Madness tournament for college sustainability

New research shows that many businesses around the world won’t start planning until 2018. Is this too late?

Infographic: Companies unprepared to address resource scarcities

The Himalayan countries of Nepal and Bhutan will, in 2013, have two permanent air monitoring observatories set up by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) as part of a programme to reduce black carbon and other short-lived climate-forcing pollutants (SLCPs).

There has been increasing international attention on SLCPs — small particles and gases like black carbon, methane, and ozone — because of their warming effect on climate. Acting in decades — rather than the centuries taken by greenhouse gases like carbon di-oxide — SLCPs negatively impact human health and agricultural output.

The Climate and Clean Air Coalition, launched by the United Nations Environment Programme in 2011 to reduce SLCPs, has now grown to 33 member-countries.

The complexities of delivering a circular economy are starting to reveal themselves as moves to translate the ideology into practice get underway.

A thought experiment in what the future of corporate performance requirements could look like.

How will ecosystem services affect corporate decision-making?

H&M is set to become the first fashion retailer to roll out in-store clothing takeback worldwide, following the success of Marks & Spencer’s Shwopping initiative.

The National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) is the nation’s support center for wild land firefighting and provides up-to-date reports on current forest fires. While the NIFC has been collecting data for the past 50 years, records maintained by the center and by NASA both indicate that 2012 was an extraordinary year for wildfires in the United States. NIFC statistics show that more than 9.1 million acres had burned as of December 7, 2012—the third highest total in the record that dates back to 1960.

Calls to raise standards in waste management have heightened with the publication of a roadmap that seeks to make the industry more accountable for its environmental performance.

A standardised approach to drive informed decision-making on product lifecycle thinking for the consumer goods industry has moved a step closer with a pioneering collaboration.

Read profiles of all 15 winners from this year’s Sustainability Leaders Awards and view the picture galleries from the night itself…

The Simplehuman Sensor Can perfects its automatic technology with a unique design and multi-sense technology.

New York hackathon aims to help bring sustainable meat to the masses.

Hacking away at the sustainable meat industry

As the waste industry looks to reposition itself to take advantage of a new, emerging circular economy, edie has joined forces with sister title LAWR magazine to bring you the Resource Revolution – an in-depth campaign that aims to act as a transformational catalyst for change.

Trees can live hundreds, even thousands of years. But the problem is that these trees aren’t making it to old age and according to a new study, big, old trees are in decline throughout the world which can have detrimental impacts to forest ecosystems. Old trees are crucial organisms for many ecosystems: they provide homes for animals, provide space for other plants to grow, and they produce seeds, leaves, and nuts that serve as food. They also store large amounts of carbon and continue to sequester it as they grow, said study co-author David Lindenmayer, a researcher at Australian National University.

The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) invites you to a briefing on insurance industry perspectives on recent extreme weather events and how strategic investment can help manage the threats posed by a changing and more severe climate. In New York, Washington and California, insurance companies are required to disclose their climate change response plans, and many insurers are considering modifying rates and expected payouts to address increasing extreme weather events and rising sea levels.

B&Q and IBM are among the first businesses to take advantage of Marks & Spencer’s Shwopping textile recycling scheme for offices.

Poor countries have won historic recognition of the plight they face from the ravages of climate change, wringing a pledge from rich nations that they will receive funds to repair the “loss and damage” incurred.
This is the first time developing countries have received such assurances, and the first time the phrase “loss and damage from climate change” has been enshrined in an international legal document.

Developing countries had been fighting hard for the concession at the fortnight-long UN climate change talks among 195 nations in Qatar, which finished after a marathon 36-hour final session.

Recycled aggregates nearly account for 20% of the total aggregates market in the UK despite demand falling during the recession, latest research suggests.

Gaping crevasses that penetrate upward from the bottom of the largest remaining ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula make it more susceptible to collapse, according to University of Colorado Boulder researchers who spent the last four Southern Hemisphere summers studying the massive floating sheet of ice that covers an area twice the size of Massachusetts.

But the scientists also found that ribbons running through the Larsen C Ice Shelf — made up of a mixture of ice types that, together, are more prone to bending than breaking — make the shelf more resilient than it otherwise would be.

The research team from CU-Boulder’s Cooperative Institute for Research in the Environmental Sciences presented the findings Dec. 6 at the American Geophysical Union’s annual meeting in San Francisco.

An interview with Mike Bellamente, director of Climate Counts, on the occasion of the organizations annual company scorecard report. 

Mike Bellamente works hard to make sure that Climate Counts

December 8th, 2012Arctic Report Card 2012

The 2012 Arctic Report Card is an annual description of the state of the Arctic that is sponsored by NOAA. The first Arctic Report Card was published in in 2006. Nearly 150 scientists from 15 countries contributed to this year’s report. A major finding of the Report Card 2012 is that numerous record-setting melting events occurred, even though, with the exception of a few limited episodes, Arctic-wide it was an unremarkable year, relative to the previous decade, for a primary driver of melting – surface air temperatures. From October 2011 through August 2012, positive (warm) temperature anomalies were relatively small over the central Arctic compared to conditions in recent years (2003-2010). Yet, in spite of these relatively moderate conditions, new records were set for sea ice extent, terrestrial snow extent, melting at the surface of the Greenland ice sheet, and permafrost temperature.