Invasive Species

Invasive Species

Emerald ash borer by Bill Schlesinger Even a century ago, the arrival of pests and pathogens from Europe wreaked havoc on American elm and chestnut trees, leading to their near extinction in many areas of the eastern forests. In the ...
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The Pursuit of Happiness

The Pursuit of Happiness

by Bill Schlesinger Numerous studies link per capita energy consumption to the greater health and well-being of people in various nations worldwide. Question is: does this correlation extend continuously from impoverished nations to well-developed nations, whose primary energy consumption may ...
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Oil and water don’t mix

Oil and water don’t mix

by Bill Schlesinger Each time an accidental spill coats thousands of seabirds with oil, worldwide opinion is galvanized against off-shore oil production. Witness the wreck of the Exxon Valdez tanker in Alaska and British Petroleum’s blowout at its Deepwater Horizon ...
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What is BECCS anyway?

What is BECCS anyway?

by Bill Schlesinger When trees are used for biomass energy, they are first pelleted, then dried and shipped to a power plant—all energy consuming activities. When burned, all the carbon they contain is emitted to the atmosphere, essentially immediately. The ...
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Greenland Ice

Greenland Ice

by Bill Schlesinger Warming springtime temperatures bring another season of melting to the icepack on Greenland.  Containing roughly 2,850,000 km3 of ice, in some places more than 3000 m thick, Greenland harbors the second largest ice mass on Earth—the largest being ...
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Forest attributes

Forest attributes

by Bill Schlesinger When we think of tropical deforestation, we usually focus on its contributions to global climate change.  Burning is associated with deforestation, converting the carbon in the trees to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  Deforestation, largely in the ...
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Drugs in your drinking water

Drugs in your drinking water

by Bill Schlesinger In the developed world, humans enjoy the benefits of a wide variety of pharmaceuticals that can regulate almost any aspect of our physiology—blood pressure, blood sugar, blood cholesterol, ovulation, anxiety, and headache.  Last night, I even saw ...
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No good deed goes unpunished

No good deed goes unpunished

by Bill Schlesinger About 15 years ago, the Environmental Protection Agency instituted the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for cars to reduce our nation’s emissions of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere by increasing the use of renewable liquid fuels derived from ...
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Methane: a synoptic view

Methane: a synoptic view

by Bill Schlesinger In recent months, there has been a lot of attention devoted to methane emission as a contribution to the gases in the atmosphere that cause global warming.   Methane concentrations were relatively constant in the atmosphere until the ...
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/ / Environment
Smoke, mirrors, and wood pellets

Smoke, mirrors, and wood pellets

by Bill Schlesinger Wood-pellet producer, Enviva, recently announced that it would double its harvest of forest biomass in the Southeast as a contribution to reducing the impact of climate change.  After all, when used to generate electricity, forests grow back, ...
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