Dirty data: Firms count environmental costs of digital planet

Technology is often touted as a solution to the world's environmental challenges, but it is also part of the problem: industry executives are facing rising pressure to clean up their energy and resource-intensive business.

New surface treatment could improve refrigeration efficiency

Unlike water, liquid refrigerants and other fluids that have a low surface tension tend to spread quickly into a sheet when they come into contact with a surface. But for many industrial process it would be better if the ...

415.26 parts per million: CO2 levels hit historic high

Scientists in the United States have detected the highest levels of planet-warming carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere since records began, sounding new alarm over the relentless rise of man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

A war is brewing over lithium mining at the edge of Death Valley

A small Cessna soared high above the Mojave Desert recently, its engine growling in the choppy morning air. As the aircraft skirted the mountains on the edge of Death Valley National Park, a clutch of passengers and environmentalists ...

New Zealand unveils plan to go carbon neutral by 2050

New Zealand introduced legislation Wednesday to make the South Pacific nation carbon neutral by 2050, although greenhouse gas emissions from the economically vital agricultural sector will not have to meet the commitment.

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Greenhouse gas

Greenhouse gases are gases in an atmosphere that absorb and emit radiation within the thermal infrared range. This process is the fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect. Common greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere include water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone. In our solar system, the atmospheres of Venus, Mars and Titan also contain gases that cause greenhouse effects. Greenhouse gases greatly affect the temperature of the Earth; without them, Earth's surface would be on average about 33°C (59°F) colder than at present.

Human activities since the start of the industrial era around 1750 have increased the levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The 2007 assessment report compiled by the IPCC observed that "changes in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases and aerosols, land cover and solar radiation alter the energy balance of the climate system", and concluded that "increases in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations is very likely to have caused most of the increases in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century".

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