19 Stories

Finally, an Explanation for Mercury's Dark Surface

Comets didn't carry in the carbon, but rather disrupted what was already there

(Newser) - Mercury's mysterious surface darkness has baffled scientists: Though it's far closer to the sun than our moon, the latter reflects more sunlight. Last year, it was proposed that the root cause is carbon. As Patrick Peplowski of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory tells the Christian Science ... More »

You Could Find, Name a New Mineral

Scientists hope open challenge will reveal 145 unknown carbon minerals

(Newser) - Imagine flooring your friends with the line: "I discovered a carbon mineral." Scientists with the Deep Carbon Observatory hope that will one day be your fate. They've started the Carbon Mineral Challenge , which is urging professional and amateur mineral collectors to scour the planet for carbon-bearing minerals.... More »

Why Whaling May Worsen Warming

Whales store carbon in their bones, scientists say

(Newser) - A hundred years of whaling has released about a forest's worth of carbon into the atmosphere, researchers say. Whales serve as "forests of the ocean" by storing carbon in their bones and releasing it when they die. "When you kill and remove a whale from the ocean, that's... More »

'Ocean of Diamond' May Shimmer on Neptune, Uranus

Molten diamond experiment suggests that liquid space bling abounds

(Newser) - Vast oceans of liquid diamond with icebergs of solid diamond floating on the surface may exist on Uranus and Neptune. Scientists melting diamonds—which requires incredibly high pressure as well as temperatures—were surprised to discover that it behaves much like water in its molten state and believe that could... More »

Calif. Scientists Trim Forest, Create 'Carbon Bank'

Researchers look for the most efficient way to store emissions

(Newser) - Researchers in California are perfecting the science of carbon dioxide "banking"—tweaking a forest to store the maximum amount of the gas. In Big River forest, scientists have cleared some undergrowth, leaving the state's iconic redwoods to grow bigger thanks to lack of competition. The idea is that... More »

Jellyfish Journeys May Affect Climate

Creatures' movements may carry carbon dioxide to ocean depths

(Newser) - Jellyfish may be secretly affecting the climate of the oceans: Their movements appear to help change the balance of carbon in the atmosphere, NPR reports. Many jellyfish hide from predators deep underwater during the day and head to the surface at night for a snack, says an oceanographer. When they... More »

Jacko Hair to Be Made Into Diamonds

(Newser) - A diamond company plans to turn the King of Pop's hair into bling, the New York Daily News reports. Company officials claim they have a lock of Michael Jackson's hair—obtained from the producer of the Pepsi commercial that set the singer's hair ablaze—and it intends to extract the... More »

The Climate Change Bill Is Awful—Now Pass It

'Pathetic' Waxman-Markey at least puts a price on carbon: Friedman

(Newser) - Waxman-Markey is a "pathetic" and "appalling" bill that totally fails to respond to the urgency of climate change—and it should be passed by the Senate and signed into law straight away, writes Thomas Friedman. For the New York Times columnist, the flawed legislation has one great... More »

Calif. Branches Into Forests to Fight Climate Change

(Newser) - The California government is preparing to enter into the "forest bank" business in a bid to save woodlands and battle carbon pollution and climate change, reports the Los Angeles Times. The state is expected to roll out a California "cabon market" that may be expanded elsewhere in the... More »

Satellites Eye Climate Change

Japan, US to monitor carbon emissions from orbit

(Newser) - Japan and the US are using satellites to study global warming, the Economist reports. Last month Japan launched Ibuki—meaning breath—a satellite that will gather data from 56,000 points around the globe. America’s equivalent, the Orbital Carbon Observatory, will launch at the end of the month. Researchers... More »

E. Coli Biofuel Can Go Right in the Tank

(Newser) - Scientists have genetically engineered the E. coli bacteria to produce a carbon-rich alcohol molecule equivalent in energy to gasoline, Popular Mechanics reports. The “long-chain” alcohol does not occur in nature, but with six to eight atoms of carbon, it is far more efficient than ethanol, which has only two.... More »

Science Promises Cleaner Biofuels; Greens Wary

'Understanding the risks' of genetically engineered microbes is essential, some say

(Newser) - The future of alternative energy may lie with genetically engineered microbes that can efficiently convert sugar, or even sewage, into fuel, Yale Environment 360 reports. Small biotechs are using the tools of “synthetic biology” to create organisms that produce a range of carbon fuels without the extra energy expended... More »

Nuke Tests Left Mark on Trees, People

Scientists can date humans and trees by the extra carbon in their systems

(Newser) - Scientists can now carbon-date baby boomers by detecting atomic bomb residue in their DNA, NPR reports. Turns out that carbon-14 released during above-ground nuclear tests in the 1950s and '60s hung around, then was absorbed into living tissue, experts say. Evidence, in the form of extra carbon neutrons, has been... More »

Gore: 5 Steps to Save Planet

Nobel laureate calls on Obama, new Congress to act now

(Newser) - The road to energy efficiency is paved with the same solutions needed to fix the economic crisis, Al Gore writes in a New York Times op-ed. Dismissing proposals for domestic drilling, the climate crusader says, “We simply cannot any longer base the strategy for human survival on a cynical... More »

Methane Found on Far-off Planet

Compound, crucial ingredient in early-life chemistry, detected 63 light years away

(Newser) - Methane, one of the simplest compounds known to play a role in the chemical genesis of life, was discovered for the first time to exist on a planet outside Earth’s solar system, the BBC reports. The planet, designated HD 189733b, is 63 light years away and also contains water,... More »

Rainforests Still Fall at Shocking Rates

Summit proposes financial rewards for conservation efforts

(Newser) - Rainforests continue to vanish at "alarming" rates worldwide despite decades of scientific warnings, experts say. Tropical trees are falling at 60 acres per minute—up 10 from a generation ago—accounting for roughly 20% of Earth's carbon emissions. Environmental leaders plan to preserve forests with a carbon trading system,... More »

Katrina Death Toll: 320M Trees

Hurricane's impact on forests leads to massive CO2 release

(Newser) - Hurricane Katrina killed 320 million trees in Mississippi and Louisiana, and the die-off is affecting the atmosphere as well as the landscape. Decaying trees will release about 367 million tons of carbon dioxide, equal to the amount released in a whole season of US forest fires, the LA Times reports.... More »

CO2 Emissions Soared From 2000 to 2004

Greenhouse gas increase tripled over '90s rate

(Newser) - Worldwide carbon dioxide emissions boomed between 2000 and 2004, a new study shows. Output of the greenhouse gas accelerated by 3.1% each year, compared to a 1.1% rate during the '90s, according to the National Academy of Sciences, faster than all but the most dire forecasts. More »

Climate Change Accelerates

Global warming impedes oceans' carbon absorption, leading to ... global warming

(Newser) - Oceans that absorb a quarter of all the carbon belched into the atmosphere every day are losing their capacity to do so, accelerating global warming by as much as 30%. New research, which focuses on the compromised ability of Antarctica's Southern Ocean to soak up carbon emissions, suggests that climate... More »

19 Stories