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Grass is Greener for the Future of Biofuels

Grass is Greener for the Future of Biofuels

Scientists in the U.S. claim they have developed a simple, one-step process that turns plant tissue into biofuel. A genetically-engineered bacterium can convert switchgrass into ethanol directly, without any expensive pre-treatment with enzymes to break down the cellulose fibres into something suitable for fermentation. Biofuel is already big busin… Read More

Climate Change Threatens Almighty U.S. ‘King Corn’

Climate Change Threatens Almighty U.S. ‘King Corn’

The days of "king corn" could be numbered as climate change brings higher temperatures and water shortages to America's farmland, a new report warned on Wednesday. Nearly one-third of U.S. farmland is devoted to raising corn and the country produces about 40 percent of the world's corn crop. But the $1.7 trillion industry – the equivalent of Austr… Read More

California’s Fog is Fading Away, Crops Could Suffer

California’s Fog is Fading Away, Crops Could Suffer

For California's highway managers, research showing a decline in the Central Valley's unique tule fog is no surprise. The thick ground fog, an iconic weather feature that settles in the San Joaquin and Sacramento valleys during colder months, historically has been a bane to motorists. Twenty-, 50-, even 100-car pileups are not unheard of in the den… Read More

Climate Could Spell the End for the Cutthroat Trout

Climate Could Spell the End for the Cutthroat Trout

Any Montana angler worth a double-haul cast knows that the iconic state fish, the westslope cutthroat trout, has been crowded out by the non-native rainbow trout, first introduced to these rivers by well-meaning sportsmen in the 1880s. Now those invaders are taking over the cutthroat's gene pool, too. A new study tracks just how rapidly cross-breed… Read More

Drought Prompts Fear of Blackouts at World Cup

Drought Prompts Fear of Blackouts at World Cup

Although recent rains have brought some relief, many parts of Brazil are in the grip of the most severe drought for years, and temperatures have been unusually high. In many areas, reservoirs at hydro plants – which produce about 70 percent of Brazil’s power – are at record lows. São Paulo state in the south-east, where the World Cup’s opening game… Read More

Antarctic Ice Collapse Could Devastate Global Food Supply

Antarctic Ice Collapse Could Devastate Global Food Supply

The ongoing collapse of a large part of the Antarctica ice sheet could devastate global food supply, drowning vast areas of crop lands across the Middle East and Asia, according to new research. The report, Advancing Global Food Supply in the Face of a Changing Climate, urges the Obama Administration to step up research funding – especially in dev… Read More

Rain! Storm Heads for Southern Plains, Won’t End Drought

Rain! Storm Heads for Southern Plains, Won’t End Drought

Drought-weary residents of the Southern Plains, do meteorologists ever have a welcome forecast for you: Rain. And potentially lots of it. A large, low-pressure system cut off from the jet stream has formed over the Southwest and looks to bring several inches of rain to the Southern Plains. It will slowly trundle across the region over the next… Read More

Climate Change Making Food Crops Less Nutritious

Climate Change Making Food Crops Less Nutritious

Rising carbon dioxide emissions are set to make the world's staple food crops less nutritious, according to new scientific research, worsening the serious ill health already suffered by billions of malnourished people. The surprise consequence of fossil fuel burning is linked directly to the rise in CO2 levels which, unlike some of the predicted … Read More