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Biomass can be a part of the effort to cut back on fossil fuels, but only if it is harvested and used in ways that reduce pollution, cut emissions and protect forests. Pictured: A biomass-burning power plant.

EarthTalk: Biomass Energy – Hype or Solution?

EarthTalk® is a weekly environmental column made available to our readers from the editors of E/The Environmental Magazine Dear EarthTalk: What is “biomass” and why is it controversial as a potential source of energy?    – Edward White, New Bedford, MA Biomass is plant matter that is burned as a source of energy. Fallen or cut wood that is burned for heat…

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The Latest Environmental News Headlines

Enviro News Wrap: Tarbotten’s Legacy; Stern Reassesses Climate Risk; Why Winter Doesn’t Mean Global Warming is a Hoax, and more

GlobalWarmingisReal contributor Anders Hellum-Alexander wraps-up and comments on the climate and environmental news headlines for the past week: This last weekend Rainforest Action Network (RAND) held a public memorial for their executive director Rebecca (Becky) Tarbotton who passed away in an accident late last year. The service was very powerful and I want to share some takeaways for all advocates…

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Bigger Picture Landscape Approach to Forest-Agriculture Management Gains Credibility

The UN Convention on Biological Diversity is taking note of a first set of “best practice” guidelines for enacting an interdisciplinary, ecosystem-based “Landscape Approach” to forest, agriculture and land use management that takes greater account of human use and community development.

Aurora Algae seeks to scale up biofuel and food production

California Start-Up Looks to Scale Up Algae Biofuel-Agriculture-BioPharma System

With backing from VC investors, commercial partners and the Australian government, Aurora Ventures is looking to significantly scale-up production of biofuel, protein and Omega-3 fatty acids. The system it’s developing could well prove capable of sustainably producing liquid fuels and essential agricultural products more efficiently and cheaply than conventional methods, requiring a lot less in the way of freshwater, energy and other inputs derived from natural resources.

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Drought Conditions Threaten US Corn Crop, Farmers, Local Economies

This year’s US corn crop is suffering, as are Corn Belt farmers, as a result of the unrelenting heat wave and lack of rainfall that’s affecting much of America’s heartland. The effects of the anomalous weather led the Agriculture Dept. to slash its estimate of US corn yields, which has sent corn futures prices surging higher.

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Climate Impact of Biomass, Fossil Fuel Burning Underestimated

Today’s best climate models are significantly underestimating the effects of burning biomass and fossil fuels, an international research team has found. In large part the discrepancy arises from new findings to do with how much heat is absorbed by “brown carbon” emissions that result from incomplete carbon fuel combustion.

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Enviro News Wrap: Koch Bros., Climate Change, and the Cost of Oil

GlobalWarmingisReal contributor Anders Hellum-Alexander wraps-up and comments on the climate and environmental news headlines for the past week: Momentum is building in Washington D.C. to end oil subsidies. Write your federal representative and tell them to stop subsidizing companies that don’t need the help. The Koch brothers are among the largest contributors to the Anti-Obama campaign. These two have endless pockets to influence politics…

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