Congress and Trump Gut Disclosure Rules for Fossil Fuel Foreign Payments

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In Nigeria, the percentage of people in poverty has doubled since the 1980s despite the fact that the country received hundreds of billions of dollars in oil-related revenue. Photo by Melvin “Buddy” Baker/Flickr

This post is part of WRI’s blog series, The Trump Administration. The series analyzes policies and actions by the administration and their implications for climate change, energy, economics and more.

The U.S. Congress, with President Trump’s help, recently eliminated rules to reduce corruption in the global oil, gas and mining industries.

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Scientists discover how essential methane catalyst is made

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New ways to convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into methane gas for energy use are a step closer after scientists discovered how bacteria make a component that facilitates the process.

Recycling CO2 into energy has immense potential for making these emissions useful rather than a major factor in global warming. However, because the bacteria that can convert CO2 into methane, methanogens, are notoriously difficult to grow, their use in gas production remains limited.

This challenge inspired a team of scientists led by Professor Martin Warren, of the University of Kent’s School of Biosciences, to investigate how a key molecule, coenzyme F430, is made in these bacteria.

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Simple rule predicts when an ice age ends

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A simple rule can accurately predict when Earth’s climate warms out of an ice age, according to new research led by UCL.

In a new study published today in Nature, researchers from UCL (University College London), University of Cambridge and University of Louvain have combined existing ideas to solve the problem of which solar energy peaks in the last 2.6 million years led to the melting of the ice sheets and the start of a warm period.

During this interval, Earth’s climate has alternated between cold (glacial) and warm (interglacial) periods. In the cold times, ice sheets advanced over large parts of North America and northern Europe. In the warm periods like today, the ice sheets retreated completely.

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‘Quartz’ crystals at Earth’s core power its magnetic field

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The Earth’s core consists mostly of a huge ball of liquid metal lying at 3000 km beneath its surface, surrounded by a mantle of hot rock. Notably, at such great depths, both the core and mantle are subject to extremely high pressures and temperatures. Furthermore, research indicates that the slow creeping flow of hot buoyant rocks — moving several centimeters per year — carries heat away from the core to the surface, resulting in a very gradual cooling of the core over geological time. However, the degree to which the Earth’s core has cooled since its formation is an area of intense debate amongst Earth scientists.

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From rocks in Colorado, evidence of a ‘chaotic solar system’

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Plumbing a 90 million-year-old layer cake of sedimentary rock in Colorado, a team of scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Northwestern University has found evidence confirming a critical theory of how the planets in our solar system behave in their orbits around the sun.

The finding, published Feb. 23, 2017 in the journal Nature, is important because it provides the first hard proof for what scientists call the “chaotic solar system,” a theory proposed in 1989 to account for small variations in the present conditions of the solar system. The variations, playing out over many millions of years, produce big changes in our planet’s climate — changes that can be reflected in the rocks that record Earth’s history.

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Amnesty International warns of nationalist rhetoric and hate speech in Croatia

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Croatia continues to have problems with discrimination against ethnic minorities and with freedom of the media, while heightened nationalist rhetoric and hate speech during election time contributed to growing ethnic intolerance and insecurity in the country, global human rights watchdog Amnesty International said in its annual report on the state of human rights in the world in 2016/2017.

AI recalled that the new, centre-right government of Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic was formed in January 2017 after the government led by Tihomir Oreskovic collapsed in June 2016.

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New ministers proposed for four portfolios in first Gov’t reshuffle

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Former constitutional judge, the rector of the “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University in Iasi, Tudorel Toader was proposed to take over the Justice portfolio. Toader has been rector since last year, after three years when he was dean of the Law Faculty.

Asked on Tuesday about his potential nomination as Justice Minister, Tudorel Toader only commented that we have to wait until Wednesday when the prime minister would officially make the nomination. However, he confirmed he would come to Bucharest.

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Tents set ablaze at North Dakota pipeline protest campsite – video

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Several fires were lit at the Dakota Access pipeline protest campsite in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, early Wednesday ahead of a deadline from authorities to abandon the area. For months, hundreds of Native Americans and environmental activists have occupied the site as they protest the pipeline’s construction, but Donald Trump has signed an executive order clearing the way for construction to move ahead

Police surround Standing Rock camps in push to evict remaining activists

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Antimicrobial substances identified in Komodo dragon blood

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In a land where survival is precarious, Komodo dragons thrive despite being exposed to scads of bacteria that would kill less hardy creatures. Now in a study published in the Journal of Proteome Research, scientists report that they have detected antimicrobial protein fragments in the lizard’s blood that appear to help them resist deadly infections. The discovery could lead to the development of new drugs capable of combating bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotics.

The world’s largest lizard, Komodo dragons live on five small islands in Indonesia. The saliva of these creatures contains at least 57 species of bacteria, which are believed to contribute to the demise of their prey. Yet, the Komodo dragon appears resistant to these bacteria, and serum from these animals has been shown to have antibacterial activity. Substances known as cationic antimicrobial peptides (CAMPs) are produced by nearly all living creatures and are an essential part of the innate immune system. So, Barney Bishop, Monique van Hoek and colleagues at the College of Science at George Mason University wondered whether they could isolate CAMPs from Komodo dragon blood, as they previously had done with alligator blood to expand the library of known CAMPs for therapeutic studies.

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Akinci will not attend the meeting of the leaders scheduled for Thursday

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The United nations informed the President of the Republic of Cyprus today that the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community will not attend the meeting of the leaders scheduled for tomorrow, said the Government Spokesman, Mr Nikos Christodoulides, today.

In his remarks to reporters following the meeting of the President of the Republic, Mr Nicos Anastasiades, with the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Cyprus, Ms Elizabeth Spehar, the Spokesman said that “unfortunately, Ms Spehar informed the President of the Republic that Mr Akinci will not attend tomorrow’s scheduled meeting and therefore, the meeting will not take place.

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