On The Web This Week, 17 January

On The Web This Week, 17 January

Welcome to our weekly round up of the news stories that have caught our eye this week. If you’d like to see these stories on the day they’re posted, click here for our Facebook page.

Picture credit: Karen Anderson

Vegetation is expanding at high altitudes in the Himalayas, including in the Everest region, new research has shown.

The researchers found plant life in areas where vegetation was not previously known to grow.

A team used satellite data from 1993 to 2018 to measure the extent of plant cover between the tree-line and the snow-line.

Picture credit: Magnus Hjalmarson Neideman / SvD / TT

For the first time ever, Swedish wind power produced more than a terawatt-hour of energy in one week.

The milestone was reached in the first week of the year, industry organization Swedenergy told Sveriges Radio Ekot.

“It’s a new record on a weekly basis. The record is partly down to the fact that it’s been unbelievably windy, especially in the northern parts of Sweden, and partly because we have more wind power installed now,” Per Holm from Swedenergy said.

Picture credit: Anastasia Sogodogo/USAID

New research from the University of California San Diego finds that solar geoengineering—the intentional reflection of sunlight away from the Earth’s surface—may reduce income inequality between countries.

In a study recently published in Nature Communications, researchers examine the impacts of solar geoengineering on global and country-level economic outcomes. Using a state-of-the-art macroeconomic climate impacts assessment approach, the paper is the first to look at the economic impacts of climate projections associated with solar geoengineering.

Picture credit: Arcadia Oy Arkkitehtitoimisto

UNTIL ABOUT YOUR grandparents’ childhood—or maybe your great-grandparents’—the world was made of wood. Everything from weapons and wheels, barrels and houses, tools for cooking and industry, was at least in part derived from materials taken from the bodies of trees. People were born in oak beds and rocked in poplar cradles and killed by walnut-stock rifles and buried in pine coffins.

Now a growing industry wants to bring back the golden age of wood starting with skyscrapers. “Look at this,” Antti Asikainen, an austere, affable Finnish forestry professor, says admiringly, pointing to a rectangular hole cut in the sheetrock of a 12-story apartment building, exposing the skeleton below.

Picture credit: NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service

A specialist team of remote area firefighters have helped to save the prehistoric Wollemi Pines from this season’s bushfires, confirmed Environment Minister Matt Kean.

Mr Kean said the Wollemi Pines survived the dinosaurs and now they look like they’ll survive these bushfires thanks to the work of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) firefighters and the NSW Rural Fire Service.

“Wollemi National Park is the only place in the world where these trees are found in the wild and, with less than 200 left, we knew we needed to do everything we could to save them,” Mr Kean said.

Picture credit: Taco Bell

With 12 Taco Party Packs and refreshing Baja Blasts, there is no question as to how Taco Bell attracts over 40 million customers each week in the United States. Unfortunately, each of these orders presents a more pressing issue: sustainable packaging. 

Each year, only 29% of all fast-food containers and packaging are recovered. The rest accumulates in landfills, unable to serve another purpose in their lifetime. Fortunately, Taco Bell wants to address the issue of sustainable packaging.

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