As Lake Powell Hits Landmark Low, AZ Looks to a $1 Billion Investment and Mexican Seawater to Slake its Thirst
Ethanol made from corn grown across millions of acres of American farmland has become the country’s premier renewable fuel, touted as a low-carbon alternative to traditional gasoline and a key component of the country’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But a new study, published this week, finds that corn-based ethanol may actually be worse for the climate than fossil-based gasoline, and has other environmental downsides. “We thought and hoped it would be a climate solution and reduce and replace our reliance on gasoline,” said Tyler Lark, a researcher with the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and lead author of the study. “It turns out to be no better for the climate than the gasoline it aims to replace and comes with all kinds of other impacts.” - Inside Climate News
For all of its ecological baggage, synthetic nitrogen does one good deed for the environment: it helps build carbon in soil. At least, that’s what scientists have assumed for decades. If that were true, it would count as a major environmental benefit of synthetic N use. At a time of climate chaos and ever-growing global greenhouse gas emissions, anything that helps vast swaths of farmland sponge up carbon would be a stabilizing force. Moreover, carbon-rich soils store nutrients and have the potential to remain fertile over time–a boon for future generations. - Grist
It’s a high bar to clear, but this is one of the most depressing facts I’ve read as a climate journalist: the Amazon rainforest—a region known as “the lungs of the world” but battered by decades of deforestation—now emits more carbon than it absorbs. That’s the conclusion of a widely cited study published last week in the journal Nature, for which scientists undertook 590 flights over the Amazon to measure local atmospheric carbon levels over eight years, from 2010 to 2018. - Time
As the West Faces a Drought Emergency, Some Ranchers are Restoring Grasslands to Build Water Reserves
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