Pipe: Climate and Health

Why the Pope Should Scare Climate-Change Deniers

Tue, 2015-09-22 15:54
Some conservatives are rushing to condemn the pope’s stance on the environment. But for Catholics, his words may be influential.

Industry Can Lead on Climate Change

Tue, 2015-09-22 00:00
At Siemens, committing to cut our carbon footprint in half is prudent, and good business.

Fading Coal Industry in China May Offer Chance to Aid Climate

Tue, 2015-09-22 00:00
The subject of greenhouse gas emissions will be on the table when President Obama hosts President Xi Jinping of China at the White House.

As Fires Grow, a New Landscape Appears in the West

Tue, 2015-09-22 00:00
Governments’ interference in the natural cycle of fires, along with climate change, has created more brush on forest floors and hotter, drier seasons.

As polar ice melts, seabed life is working against climate change

Mon, 2015-09-21 13:34
When it comes to climate change, it's rare to get any good news. But a researcher who's reported evidence, after more than two decades of study, has some: the loss of sea ice over Antarctic waters in some areas has led to the increased growth of creatures living on the seafloor. Those underwater assemblages are acting as an important and unexpected carbon sink.

Selectively logged Amazon forests play important role in climate

Mon, 2015-09-21 13:34
With careful management, selectively logged tropical Amazonian forests can recover their carbon stocks within a cutting cycle of 20 to 30 years, according to researchers. The findings show that sustainably logged tropical forests continue to play a key role in global carbon sequestration, with important implications for global climate.

Facts & Figures: American Republicans May Be Alone on Climate Change

Mon, 2015-09-21 12:34
The Republican Party is the only one of nine conservative parties around the world to deny human-caused climate change, according to a recent study.

Into the mix: Harnessing the energy when freshwater meets the sea

Mon, 2015-09-21 09:52
New research reveals the potential benefits of harnessing the energy created from salinity gradients, with impacts across climate change, fossil fuel reliance and the global desalination industry.

A Wet Winter Won’t Save California

Sat, 2015-09-19 00:00
A new climate reality makes extreme drought more likely.

[Perspective] King Coal and the queen of subsidies

Thu, 2015-09-17 20:00
Coal is the most important energy source for the Chinese economy (see the photo). Other rapidly growing economies in Asia and Africa also increasingly rely on coal to satisfy their growing appetite for energy. This renaissance of coal is expected to continue in the coming years (1) and is one of the reasons that global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are increasing despite the undisputed worldwide technological progress and expansion of renewable technologies (2). The implications for long-term GHG emissions are serious because, once installed, a coal power plant will emit for decades. Fossil fuel subsidies support investments in coal capacities around the globe and thereby threaten the achievement of climate change mitigation goals. Targeted reform of these subsidies could yield benefits for climate change mitigation as well as other development objectives. Author: Ottmar Edenhofer

As Presidential Debaters Dodge Climate, 10 House Republicans Resolve to Pursue “Environmental Stewardship”

Thu, 2015-09-17 13:55
Cutting against right-wing hype, some moderate House Republicans press for modest steps to address global warming.

Omega-3s are vital for a healthy ocean

Thu, 2015-09-17 11:01
The importance of omega-3 fatty acids for the health of the ocean has been revealed by a new study. This research shows that 'ocean-fleas' play a vital role in maintaining a healthy ocean depend on omega-3's to survive. These 2 mm long creatures, called copepods, are distant relatives of crabs and lobsters and rank amongst the most abundant animals on our planet. They get omega-3's from eating microscopic plants in the sea that absorb carbon from the atmosphere. This carbon then gets transported into the deep sea by sinking copepod poo, stopping it returning to the atmosphere.

Sweating the big stuff

Thu, 2015-09-17 10:55

PEOPLE are born with up to 4m sweat glands to provide a natural way to regulate temperature. The evaporation of perspiration cools you down. As sweat is produced it also picks up a lot of information about how the body is behaving, in the form of “biomarkers”: electrolytes, sugars, amino acids, proteins, hormones and many other molecules that are the products of metabolism. If the tiny traces of these substances can be detected and measured, then it should be possible to monitor a person’s health from his sweat.

One of the biggest uses may be to monitor blood-sugar levels in people with diabetes. At present, diabetics must prick a finger regularly to obtain a drop of blood, testing it on an electrochemical strip inserted into a meter that calculates the amount of glucose in the blood. Some patch systems already exist, but tend to rely on microneedles, which continuously sample blood and transmit the results to a wearable device via a wire.

If Jason Heikenfeld of Eccrine Systems, a Cincinnati firm, has his way, the days are numbered for pricking the skin to obtain a sample. Dr Heikenfeld is trying to develop a sweat sensor to do the...

Now there’s an app for that

Thu, 2015-09-17 10:55

ARTIFICIAL intelligence (AI) can sometimes be put to rather whimsical uses. In 2012 Google announced that one of its computers, after watching thousands of hours of YouTube videos, had trained itself to identify cats. Earlier this year a secretive AI firm called DeepMind, bought by Google in 2014, reported in Nature that it had managed to train a computer to play a series of classic video games, often better than a human could, using nothing more than the games’ on-screen graphics.

But the point of such diversions is to illustrate that, increasingly, computers possess the pattern-recognition skills—identifying faces, interpreting pictures, listening to speech and the like—that were long thought to be the preserve of humans. Researchers, from startups to giant corporations, are now planning to put AI to work to solve more serious problems.

One such organisation is the California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF). The disease in the charity’s sights is diabetic retinopathy, one of the many long-term complications of diabetes. It is caused by damage to the tiny blood vessels that supply the retina. Untreated, it can lead to total loss of vision. Around 80% of diabetics will develop retinal damage after a decade; in rich countries it is one of the leading causes of blindness in the young and middle-aged. Much of the damage can be...

U.S. and Chinese Climate Change Negotiators to Meet in Los Angeles

Wed, 2015-09-16 00:00
The meeting is intended to announce actions demonstrating that the countries are moving toward meeting the terms of a historic accord reached last year in Beijing.

Philips to push further into medical tech

Tue, 2015-09-15 12:05
Move to seize opportunity in convergence of healthcare and digital communications as populations age

Study Finds Snowfall in California’s Sierra Nevada to Be Lowest in 500 Years

Tue, 2015-09-15 00:00
The report suggests droughts in the state may become more common as precipitation on the Sierra Nevada Mountains reduces because of global warming.

Discovery of a highly efficient catalyst eases way to hydrogen economy

Mon, 2015-09-14 15:26
Hydrogen could be the ideal fuel: Whether used to make electricity in a fuel cell or burned to make heat, the only byproduct is water; there is no climate-altering carbon dioxide. Like gasoline, hydrogen could also be used to store energy. Scientists now report a hydrogen-making catalyst containing phosphorus and sulfur -- both common elements -- and cobalt, a metal that is 1,000 times cheaper than platinum.

Amazonia: Soil carbon stocks examined

Mon, 2015-09-14 11:47
Along with the oceans and forests, soils are one of the planet's main carbon reservoirs. In the 20th century, carbon stocks fell dramatically due to deforestation, intensive farming and the associated poor cultivation practices. Consequently, large amounts of carbon have been emitted into the atmosphere in the form of CO2 contributing to global warming. Now researchers have published a summary on soil organic carbon stocks changes in Amazonia.

Skills gap preventing low-energy technology from reaching full potential

Mon, 2015-09-14 09:30
Heat-pump technology is a part of a low-carbon strategy to replace gas boilers in buildings in the UK. However, new research suggests that if the UK is to meet its climate and energy goals then the current vocational education and training is inadequate and ill-prepared to do so.