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  • Science Stats

    Prosecco production takes a toll on northeast Italy’s environment

    Sorry to burst your bubbly, prosecco lovers, but skyrocketing demand for the sparkling wine might be sapping northeastern Italy’s vineyards of precious soil — 400 million kilograms of it per year, researchers report in a study posted online January 10 at bioRxiv.org.

    That’s a lot of soil, but not an anomaly. Some newer vineyards in Germany, for example, have higher rates of soil loss,...

    01/18/2019 - 13:28 Agriculture, Sustainability
  • News

    Desalination pours more toxic brine into the ocean than previously thought

    Technology meant to help solve the world’s growing water shortage is producing a salty environmental dilemma.

    Desalination facilities, which extract drinkable water from the ocean, discharge around 142 billion liters of extremely salty water called brine back into the environment every day, a study finds. That waste product of the desalination process can kill marine life and...

    01/14/2019 - 10:17 Technology, Sustainability, Oceans
  • News

    Hybrid rice engineered with CRISPR can clone its seeds

    After more than 20 years of theorizing about it, scientists have tweaked a hybrid variety of rice so that some of the plants produce cloned seeds. No plant sex necessary. The feat, described December 12 in Nature, is encouraging for efforts to feed an increasingly crowded world.

    Crossing two good varieties of grain can make one fabulous one, combining the best versions of genes to give...

    12/12/2018 - 15:52 Plants, Genetics, Sustainability
  • News

    A new way to turn saltwater fresh can kill germs and avoid gunk buildup

    A new design for sun-powered desalination technology may lead to longer-lasting devices that produce cleaner water.

    The trick boils down to preventing a device’s components from touching the saltwater. Instead, a lid of light-absorbing material rests above a partially filled basin of water, absorbing sunlight and radiating that energy to the liquid below. That evaporates the water to...

    12/11/2018 - 11:00 Technology, Sustainability
  • News in Brief

    Global carbon dioxide emissions will hit a record high in 2018

    Global carbon dioxide emissions are expected to hit a record high in 2018, despite urgent calls from climate scientists and international groups such as the United Nations to cut back.

    Worldwide, fossil fuel use is projected to pump 2.7 percent more CO2 into the atmosphere in 2018 compared with 2017. Last year, such emissions contributed 9.9 gigatons of carbon. The data are presented in...

    12/06/2018 - 18:09 Climate, Sustainability, Science & Society
  • News

    New devices could help turn atmospheric CO2 into useful supplies

    New chemical-recycling devices might help combat climate change by making good use of heat-trapping gas produced by burning fossil fuels.

    These electrochemical cells convert carbon monoxide into useful compounds much more efficiently than their predecessors, researchers report online October 25 in Joule. If combined with existing technology that harvests carbon monoxide from carbon...

    10/30/2018 - 06:00 Chemistry, Sustainability