Science and Solutions

Plants absorb more CO2 than we thought, but ...

Through burning fossil fuels, humans are rapidly driving up levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which in turn is raising global temperatures.

Pep Canadell     20-Oct-2014

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Current Articles


If nature is the ultimate supermarket, who is looking after its supply chain?
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Insects pollinate over 35 per cent of the food we eat or feed to livestock – like fruit, vegetables, oilseeds, legumes and fodder. While bees didn't set out to fertilise food crops for the good of humankind, their urge to collect pollen and nectar for the good of the hive, by a stroke of luck, has provided us with an ‘ecosystem service' that's become indispensible to our way of life.
Beth Askham     20-Oct-2014
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Plants absorb more CO2 than we thought, but ...
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Through burning fossil fuels, humans are rapidly driving up levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which in turn is raising global temperatures.
Pep Canadell     20-Oct-2014
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Pause for hope: de-carbonisation could halve CO2 emissions and enhance prosperity by 2050
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‘Hey, only the fate of humanity is at stake’, read a hand-written placard at the recent People’s Climate March in New York that attracted more than 300,000 people. It was not the only sign that indicated public despair. But it’s not too late to do something.
Frank Jotzo and Anna Skarbek     15-Oct-2014
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How 'biocontrol' fights invasive species
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Australia’s ‘ferals’ – invasive alien plants, pests and diseases – are the most significant bioeconomic threats to Australian agriculture. They also harm our natural ecosystems and biodiversity. Some, such as mosquitoes, also act as carriers of human diseases.
Louise Morin, Andy Sheppard and Tanja Strive     13-Oct-2014
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Knowledge a key ingredient for PNG food security
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Papua New Guinea (PNG) is a land of diversity, home to hundreds of ethnic groups who between them speak 848 different languages. Its geography ranges from extensive coral reefs, to dense lowland rainforest, to snow-capped peaks more than 4 kilometres above sea level. It is one of the world's least explored countries, and also home to some of the world's poorest communities.
Bianca Nogrady     07-Oct-2014
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Brad Ridoutt: measuring food’s water footprint
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Dr Brad Ridoutt started his career as a forest scientist, before specialising in carbon and water footprinting. He uses a life cycle assessment (LCA) approach to assessing the complex connections between greenhouse gas emissions and water use in food manufacturing and agriculture.
Michele Sabto     06-Oct-2014
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Global carbon report: emissions will hit new heights in 2014
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As heads of state gathered in New York for last week’s United Nations climate summit, a report on the state of the world’s carbon budget revealed that greenhouse emissions hit a new record last year, and are still growing.
Pep Canadell and Michael Raupach     29-Sep-2014
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Garry Cook: on fire in the north
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With the Ecological Society of Australia’s (ESA’s) annual conference getting under way in Alice Springs today, CSIRO scientist Dr Garry Cook is relaying some good news from his research on savanna burning and Australia’s greenhouse gas accounts. ECOS caught up with Garry on the eve of the conference.
29-Sep-2014
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Queensland survey reveals lukewarm view of coal seam gas
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Residents in Queensland’s Western Downs region have mixed feelings towards coal seam gas (CSG) development taking place in their midst, according to our CSIRO survey.
Andrea Walton, Rod McCrea and Rosemary Leonard     22-Sep-2014
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The oceans are full of our plastic – here's what we can do about it
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By 2050, 95 per cent of seabirds will have plastic in their gut. That is just one finding from our national marine debris research project, the largest sample of marine debris data ever collected anywhere in the world.
Britta Denise Hardesty and Chris Wilcox     22-Sep-2014
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Connectivity, safe bike lanes key to bike-share success
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More than 700 cities around the world operate bike-share programs, with the aim of reducing polluting inner-city traffic. In Australia, Melbourne and Brisbane set up programs in 2010, but subsequent usage rates have been well below cities elsewhere. While Australia's mandatory helmet laws are often cited as the cause, another reason could be the lack of safe bike lanes and bike-lane connectivity.
Peter Midgley     15-Sep-2014
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People power unearths a hidden world in WA soils
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Why would 400 or more Western Australians, trowels and GPS devices in hand, take to the great outdoors to collect dirt? Because each has been involved with MicroBlitz, a world-first crowd-sourced research project that uses DNA sequencing technology to identify the many different microorganisms inhabiting soils.
Karl Gruber     15-Sep-2014
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99.999 per cent certainty humans are driving global warming: new study
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There is less than 1 chance in 100,000 that global average temperature over the past 60 years would have been as high without human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, our new research shows.
Philip Kokic, Mark Howden and Steven Crimp     08-Sep-2014
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Bamboo could turn the world's construction trade on its head
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Bamboo, a common grass which can be harder to pull apart than steel, has the potential to revolutionise building construction throughout the world. But that's not all. As a raw material found predominantly in the developing world, without a pre-existing industrial infrastructure built to skew things towards the rich world, bamboo has the potential to completely shift international economic relations.
Dirk Hebel     08-Sep-2014
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Pine fiction: can plantations really re-connect bird species?
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Forest plantations are everywhere. You'll find them in almost every vegetated country in the world. They cover a surprisingly large portion of our planet – some 260 million hectares, corresponding to 7 per cent of global forest cover.
Alessio Mortelliti     08-Sep-2014
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Where is the oceans’ missing plastic?
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In a recent paper published in one of the world's most prestigious scientific journals, researchers admitted that the available data ‘cannot account for the fate of 99 per cent of the plastic litter entering the open ocean'. What's happening to this plastic? And how can we reduce pollution in the world's oceans?
Carlos Duarte     01-Sep-2014
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ECOS@40: still deep, green, with a good dash of science
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How do you take your science? In 140-character bites, or do you have an appetite for more? It turns out many ECOS readers prefer more than less when it comes to our online stories about sustainability-related science.
Mary-Lou Considine     01-Sep-2014
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