We're falling short on efforts to stop global warming. Here's how we can get on track.

Why is it so hard to stop climate change? Can we turn the tide? What is required of governmental leaders — and how can citizens help? Licker answered these and other questions in a wide-ranging interview with NBC News MACH. The interview, conducted via internet chat and email, has been edited for clarity and brevity.

Coral reefs are critical for a variety of reasons. They are home to huge concentrations of marine biodiversity and, as such, are important sources of food as well as tourism revenue. They also provide important services to coastal communities. For example, they help break up storm waters before they make landfall.

The report makes it clear that to cut carbon dioxide emissions we need large-scale transformations in the way we generate and use electricity, shifting away from fossil fuel-based sources and ramping up renewable energy and energy efficiency. The pathways to limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius that were examined in this report also generally include an increase in the share of nuclear energy production and carbon capture and storage.

Countries, states and cities are already making significant strides to step up on reducing global warming emissions. These actions are getting us closer to the Paris Agreement's goals, but we need each and every nation to follow suit.

Absolutely. In our daily life, we can take many measures to reduce our global warming emissions. We can reduce our home energy consumption by using more efficient appliances and reduce the amount that we travel by car, using other means of transportation when possible. We can also call upon our elected officials to enact policies that will make it easier and less expensive in the long run for us to reduce our energy use, rely on clean energy sources, and produce fewer global warming emissions.

Limiting global warming to 1.5 C will certainly not be easy. It will require major societal transformations. At the end of the day, though, whether we enact measures to achieve this is our choice.


October 09, 2018

Sources: NBC

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  • Ultraprecise atomic clock network on the hunt for dark matter

    Ultraprecise atomic clock network on the hunt for dark matter

    ritten, or redistributed. ©2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes. </p><p>Researchers are putting a global network of the most precise timekeepers ever made to the task of hunting for dark matter, the invisible and largely intangible substance that researchers think makes up about five-sixths of all matter in the universe.</p><p>Previous research suggested that if dark matter is a field, structures could emerge within it &#x2014; &quot;topological defects&quot; shaped like points, strings or sheets and potentially reaching at least the size of a planet, Wcis&#x142;o said. These structures might have formed during the chaos after the Big Bang, and essentially froze into stable forms when the early universe cooled down.</p><p>Interacting with a topological defect could make an atomic clock&apos;s atoms temporarily shake faster or slower. By monitoring a network of synchronized atomic clocks that are spread far enough apart for a topological defect to have an effect on some clocks but not others, scientists could detect the existence of these ghostly structures and measure some of their properties, such as their size and speed.</p><p>The researchers employed optical atomic clocks, which use laser beams to measure the motions of atoms when they are slowed down by cooling them to temperatures near absolute zero. They calculated that passing through a topological defect could increase or decrease the fine-structure constant, which describes the overall strength of the electromagnetic force. Such changes would alter how atoms respond to lasers and the rate at which those clocks ticked.</p><p>Another possible explanation for dark matter is that its effects are caused by fields that vary in strength over time, which in turn lead to regular fluctuations in the strength of the electromagnetic field. Atomic clocks could, in theory, help detect such &quot;coherently oscillating classical scalar fields,&quot; the scientists noted.</p><p>By analyzing four atomic clocks on three continents &#x2014; in Colorado, France, Poland and Japan &#x2014; the researchers could look for subtle variations in the fine-structure constant with about 100 times greater sensitivity than previous experiments. However, they did not detect any signal consistent with dark matter.</p><p>One of the major problems of optical atomic clocks is that they can currently only operate continuously for about a day, Wcis&#x142;o said. One reason for this is that optical atomic clocks need to keep many lasers operating in sync in order to work, and over time at least one of these lasers fall out of sync. However, Wcis&#x142;o noted a key advantage of their network is that it does not require all its clocks to operate at the same time.</p><p>The scientists aim to double the number of clocks in their network in the next year or two, Wcis&#x142;o said, which could increase the sensitivity and observation time of their network by a factor of 10 or more.</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>

    1 December 11, 2018
  • How Geckos Move Across Water

    How Geckos Move Across Water

    ants imitate water in ScienceTake, combining cutting-edge research from the world of science with stunning footage of the natural world in action.</p>

    1 December 11, 2018
  • ScienceTake: Geckos Can Run on Water

    ScienceTake: Geckos Can Run on Water

    across the surface of water.</p><p>Many insects can skate, stride or whirl around on the surface of the water. But larger animals usually have to swim. </p><p>There are a few exceptions. The famed Basilisk lizard zips along, slapping down its feet so fast that it seems to be outrunning the possibility of sinking. </p><p>A few bird species, like Western grebes, eiders and mallards run along the water as a prelude to taking off.</p><p>That seemed to be about it, until researchers found Asian house geckos, in Singapore, apparently running across the surface of water. </p><p>They weren’t fully upright, like the basilisk lizards, but they definitely weren’t swimming. It looked like most of their body was above the water line, and they were going fast. </p><p>Their water speed was “virtually indistinguishable from their land running speed,” according to Jasmine A. Nirody. </p><p>Dr. Nirody, who will start research at Rockefeller University this coming year, and Judy Jinn, were graduate students in the lab of Robert J. Full at the University of California, Berkeley, when they decided to subject the geckos’ water running to greater scrutiny. They built a tank, acquired some house geckos and used video to document the geckos’ water running in a controlled environment so that it could be mathematically analyzed.</p><p>They run on all four legs, slapping the water with their feet the way grebes and basilisks do, finishing the leg movements with paddle-like strokes that help raise most of their body above the water surface and push them forward.</p><p>They also swim, using their tails the way alligators do, in an undulation that can only be seen from above. </p><p>Also, their skin is very slippery, or hydrophobic, and that helps their bodies hydroplane as the feet and tail power them forward.</p><p>The researchers also showed that surface tension was important. When they added soap to the water in the test tank to reduce surface tension, the geckos floundered, moving at a much slower speed and failing to get enough of the body above water to hydroplane. </p><p>The soapy water struggles were apparently exhausting, Dr. Nirody said, because some of the geckos just stopped, as if the effort was just too much. </p><p>If you can’t outrun them, save your strength and hide on the bottom. Smart geckos. </p>

    1 December 11, 2018
  • It’s a Briefcase! It’s a Pizza Box! No, It’s a Mini Satellite

    It’s a Briefcase! It’s a Pizza Box! No, It’s a Mini Satellite

    he company’s chief executive.</p><p>“It’s situational awareness,” said Brittany Zajic, head of disaster response for Planet Labs. “The damage assessments were done neighborhood by neighborhood.”</p><p>The Planet Labs fleet is part of a larger trend toward miniaturization. Satellites are shrinking in size and expanding in ambition. Made smaller, the craft are less expensive and more accessible to a wider group of interests, and they enable, among other advances, the ability to observe Earth’s environment more completely and regularly than ever before. </p><p>For years, space was dominated by just two nations, the United States and the Soviet Union. Their designs were big: Rockets grew taller than 20-story apartment buildings. Satellites expanded to the size of city buses. Spy satellites unfurled antennas nearly as large as football fields.</p><p>“It’s been really great,” said Brent Freeze, an aerospace specialist who advises the 160 students. “It’s a way to get smart young people to talk to each other and work together.” </p><p>To be sure, huge satellites still regularly fly into orbit, especially ones devoted to espionage and national security. These gargantuan craft are made by some of the world’s largest corporations, and the costs can run to billions of dollars — creating an incentive to keep making them big, aerospace critics say.</p><p>“There was a feeling for a long time that space was a mature field,” he said. “That’s gone away now.”</p><p>Many of the new craft do traditional jobs on the cheap, such as assessing crops, mapping cities, relaying signals and managing natural resources. Wall Street analysts use the new flows of information to better assess futures markets. Companies such as Planet Labs want to make Earth observation less about spying than about helping scientists and the public better track environmental change, in an effort to improve management and remediation.</p><p>“It’s the first of its kind,” said Payam Banazadeh, the company’s chief executive. “Out of a tiny box comes a humongous structure.”</p><p>Not every space mission can use tiny satellites. Miniaturization may not work for orbiting telescopes used in astronomy, nor for high-powered satellites that beam television signals to rooftop antennas and home viewers.</p><p>But the appeal of miniaturization is likely to grow: a large mission becomes less vulnerable to total failure if it can be subdivided into many tiny parts. “You add robustness,” said Dr. McDowell, the Harvard astronomer. “That’s been talked about for a long time, but now it’s happening.”</p><p>With the California fires now under control, Planet Labs is looking for new situations that could benefit from eyes on high.</p><p>“We’re space geeks,” Mr. Marshall, the company’s head, conceded. But the goal, he added, was not just to reinvent the age but to learn “how to use this technology for good.”</p><p>“Our team,” he said, “has been working around the clock.” </p>

    1 December 11, 2018
  • Russians Prepare for Spacewalk, Aiming to Solve a Space Station Mystery

    Russians Prepare for Spacewalk, Aiming to Solve a Space Station Mystery

    a tiny hole that roiled space relations between the United States and Russia.</p><p>On Tuesday, Russian astronauts hope to gather clues in a whodunit at the International Space Station.</p><p>The astronauts, Oleg Kononenko and Sergey Prokopyev, are to conduct a spacewalk to examine the outside of a Soyuz capsule currently docked at the space station and used for transporting astronauts. They, as well as officials at NASA and the Russian space agency, want to know why there is a hole in the Soyuz. That small cavity roiled space relations between the United States and Russia this summer, leading to speculation in Russian media about an act of sabotage aboard the station.</p><p>On Aug. 29, instruments on the space station noted a slight drop in air pressure. It was not an immediate risk to the crew of six astronauts, who were asleep at the time. Flight controllers on the ground did not even wake them up.</p><p>A few days later, Russian officials came to a different, startling conclusion. The hole, circular in shape, looked to have been drilled. </p><p>Mr. Rogozin said it could have been a manufacturing error, but he also raised the specter of sabotage, possibly even by one of the astronauts.</p><p>The following week, Russian media reported a theory that a NASA astronaut was the culprit.</p><p>A statement issued on Sept. 13 said Mr. Rogozin and Jim Bridenstine, the NASA administrator, “noted speculations circulating in the media regarding the possible cause of the incident and agreed on deferring any preliminary conclusions and providing any explanations until the final investigation has been completed.”</p><p>During the spacewalk, the Russian astronauts will take pictures of the hole and look for residues that may help solve the mystery.</p><p>The Soyuz spacecraft will return to Earth later this month. The hole will pose no danger to the descending astronauts. The damage is in an upper portion of the spacecraft that will be discarded before re-entry. </p>

    1 December 11, 2018
  • Trump Prepares to Unveil a Vast Reworking of Clean Water Protections

    Trump Prepares to Unveil a Vast Reworking of Clean Water Protections

    assault on wetlands regulation at a moment when Mr. Trump has repeatedly voiced a commitment to “crystal-clean water.” The proposed new rule would chip away at safeguards put in place a quarter century ago, during the administration of President George H.W. Bush, who implemented a policy designed to ensure that no wetlands lost federal protection.</p><p>President Trump, who made a pledge of weakening a 2015 Obama-era rule one of his central campaign pledges, is expected to tout his plan as ending a federal land grab that impinged on the rights of farmers, rural landowners and real estate developers to use their property as they see fit. </p><p>Under the Obama rule, farmers using land near streams and wetlands were restricted from doing certain kinds of plowing and planting certain crops, and would have been required to apply for permits from the Environmental Protection Agency in order to use chemical pesticides and fertilizers that could have run off into those water bodies. Under the new Trump plan, which lifts federal protections from many of those streams and wetlands, those requirements will also be lifted. </p><p>A spokesman for the Environmental Protection Agency, John Konkus, declined to comment on the plan. </p><p>The proposed water rule, scheduled to be announced Tuesday morning at the Environmental Protection Agency, is designed to replace an Obama-era regulation known as Waters of the United States. Tuesday’s unveiling of the proposal is expected to coincide with its publication in the federal register. After that, the administration will take comment on the plan for 60 days, and it could then revise the plan before finalizing it next year.</p><p>The Obama rule, developed jointly by the E.P.A. and the Army Corps of Engineers under the authority of the 1972 Clean Water Act, was designed to limit pollution in about 60 percent of the nation’s bodies of water, protecting sources of drinking water for about a third of the United States. It extended existing federal authority to limit pollution in large bodies of water, like the Chesapeake Bay and Puget Sound, to smaller bodies that drain into them, such as tributaries, streams and wetlands.</p><p>But it became a target for rural landowners, an important part of President Trump’s political base, since it could have restricted how much pollution from chemical fertilizers and pesticides could seep into water on their property.</p><p>The new Trump water rule will retain federal protections for those larger bodies of water, the rivers that drain into them, and wetlands that are directly adjacent to those bodies of water, according to a detailed eight-page fact sheet prepared by the administration ahead of the unveiling of the rule and reviewed by The New York Times.</p><p>But it will strip away protections of so-called “ephemeral” streams, in which water runs only during or after rainfalls, and of wetlands that are not adjacent to major bodies of water, or connected to such bodies of water by a surface channel of water. Those changes represent a victory for farmers and rural landowners, who lobbied the Trump administration aggressively to make them.</p><p>“The Obama administration led with the premise that all water is connected, all water runs downhill, and the federal government could control all water,” said Don Parrish, director of regulatory relations with the American Farm Bureau Federation, who met with White House officials over the summer to press the case for those changes.</p><p>“If they can control the water that falls out of the sky, they control the land that it falls on,” he said.</p><p>Mr. Parrish also said the Obama rule chafed its detractors because of the perception it was written by bureaucrats who did not understand the daily reality of farmers’ livelihoods. “The last administration called our concerns silly and ludicrous, and this administration took us seriously. They listened to us,” he said. </p><p>To environmentalists, however, the proposed rule change “upends the core mission of the E.P.A., which is to protect human health and the environment,” said Bart Johnsen-Harris, who works on water policy at the Environment America, an advocacy group.</p><p>“For wetlands, this is an absolute disaster, compared to the Obama plan,” he said. While such wetlands may not be physically next to major bodies of water, they can still drain into such larger bodies through underground networks, Mr. Holman said.</p><p>Stripping away those protections would still allow pollution to seep into the nation’s broader waterways, he said. It would also make it easier for developers to pave over such wetlands. </p><p>Federal courts had already halted the implementation of the 2015 Obama-era rules in 28 states after opponents sued to block them. However, in recent months the rules had taken effect in the other 22 states. </p><p>The wetland protection policies put in place decades ago by the first President Bush, an avid fisherman, followed on his own campaign pledge to save wetlands, saying, “all wetlands, no matter how small, should be preserved,” and proposing a “no net loss” policy. That initial policy was later weakened by Mr. Bush’s own E.P.A., but environmentalists have credited him for elevating the issue. </p><p>Fifteen years later, the second President Bush gave regulatory teeth to his father’s proposal, implementing an E.P.A. rule requiring stronger wetlands protection that his father had once envisioned.</p>

    1 December 11, 2018
  • SpaceX Dragon delivers cargo (and Christmas treats) to Space Station

    SpaceX Dragon delivers cargo (and Christmas treats) to Space Station

    ritten, or redistributed. ©2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes. </p><p>A SpaceX Dragon cargo ship made a special delivery at the International Space Station Saturday (Dec. 8) just in time for the holidays. And yes, Virginia, there are Christmas treats on board.</p><p>Station commander Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency captured the Dragon capsule with a robotic arm at 7:21 a.m. EST (1221 GMT) as both spacecraft sailed 249 miles above the Pacific Ocean, just north of Papua New Guinea. Gerst and his crew are likely looking forward to the supplies packed aboard the spacecraft.</p><p>&quot;On this resupply craft they also have some special things like candied yams, green bean casserole and even some Christmas cookies,&quot; NASA spokesperson Leah Cheshier said during live commentary.</p><p>Dragon was forced to back away to a safe station-keeping position 100 feet (30 meters) from the station, then make a new approach about an hour later than planned. Flight controllers at NASA&apos;s Mission Control center in Houston then took remote control of the station&apos;s arm to attach Dragon to its berth on the orbiting lab&apos;s Harmony module.</p><p>&quot;We congratulate the entire ISS team for managing six individual spaceships that will be simultaneously docked to the International Space Station from today on,&quot; Gerst said. &quot;This shows what a successful science and exploration program we have up here, making full use of the one and only microgravity observatory that humanity has available for the benefit of all humans on Earth.&quot;</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>

    1 December 10, 2018
  • NASA Voyager 2 enters interstellar space, could become 'the only trace of human civilization'

    NASA Voyager 2 enters interstellar space, could become 'the only trace of human civilization'

    ritten, or redistributed. ©2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes. </p><p>NASA has made history once again, as Voyager 2 has entered interstellar space — only the second man-made object ever to do so.</p><p>&#x201C;Voyager has a very special place for us in our heliophysics fleet,&#x201D; said Nicola Fox, director of the Heliophysics Division at NASA Headquarters in the statement. &#x201C;Our studies start at the Sun and extend out to everything the solar wind touches. To have the Voyagers sending back information about the edge of the Sun&#x2019;s influence gives us an unprecedented glimpse of truly uncharted territory.&#x201D;</p><p>Both Voyager space crafts are loaded with memorabilia from Earth&apos;s culture, including a Golden Record of Earth, which is comprised of sounds, pictures and messages. NASA said that since the spacecraft could last billions of years, they may one day &quot;be the only traces of human civilization.&quot;</p><p>NASA was able to determine that Voyager 2 left the heliosphere thanks to the onboard Plasma Science Experiment (PLS), which NASA said stopped working on the Voyager 1 in 1980. The PLS uses the electric current of the plasma to detect different measurements of the solar wind and when it detected a &quot;steep decline in the speed of the solar wind particles,&quot; a decline that went to 0, scientists are confident the probe has indeed gone into interstellar space.</p><p>It is now more than 11 billion miles from Earth, though NASA is still able to communicate with the craft. However, due to its distance, the lag between sending information and receiving it back on Earth takes approximately 16.5 hours, NASA said.</p><p>&#x201C;There is still a lot to learn about the region of interstellar space immediately beyond the heliopause,&#x201D; said Ed Stone, Voyager project scientist based at Caltech in Pasadena, Calif. in the statement.</p><p>Despite the probe entering interstellar space, Voyager 2, along with Voyager 1, have not left the solar system and won&apos;t for quite a while, NASA said. The space agency said Voyager 2 will leave the Oort Cloud, &quot;a collection of small objects that are still under the influence of the Sun&#x2019;s gravity,&quot; in approximately 30,000 years, so it is still being influenced by the Sun&apos;s gravity to some extent.</p><p>&#x201C;I think we&#x2019;re all happy and relieved that the Voyager probes have both operated long enough to make it past this milestone,&#x201D; said Suzanne Dodd, Voyager project manager at NASA&#x2019;s Jet Propulsion Laboratory&#xA0;in Pasadena, Calif. &#x201C;This is what we&apos;ve all been waiting for. Now we&#x2019;re looking forward to what we&#x2019;ll be able to learn from having both probes outside the heliopause.&#x201D;</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>

    1 December 10, 2018
  • NASA releases first-ever audio recording from Mars

    NASA releases first-ever audio recording from Mars

    ritten, or redistributed. ©2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes. </p><p>Sensors on NASA's Mars InSight Lander have captured the first 'sounds' of Martian wind. In a NASA video captured on Dec. 1 when the Martian wind was blowing between 10 to 15 mph, the wind vibrations can be heard as a low rumble, after being raised two octaves to be more perceptible to the human ear.</p><p>In a video courtesy of the space agency, the wind vibrations are raised two octaves to be more perceptible to the human ear, can be heard as a low rumble. NASA described the sound as &#x201C;haunting,&#x201D; noting that the vibrations were captured on Dec. 1 when the Martian wind was blowing between 10 to 15 mph.</p><p>The vibrations were captured by an air pressure sensor inside the Lander and a seismometer on the Lander&#x2019;s deck.</p><p>NASA will be sending back much clearer sounds from Mars in the coming years. The space agency&#x2019;s Mars 2020 rover will land on the Red Planet with two microphones on board. The first sensor, built by JPL, will, for the first time, record the sound of a Mars landing. The second sensor is part of the rover&#x2019;s SuperCam and will detect the sound of the research instrument&#x2019;s laser as it &#x201C;zaps&#x201D; different materials on the Martian surface.</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>

    1 December 10, 2018
  • 4,000-year-old game board carved into the Earth shows how Nomads had fun

    4,000-year-old game board carved into the Earth shows how Nomads had fun

    ritten, or redistributed. ©2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes. </p><p>Walter Crist, a research associate with the American Museum of Natural History in New York, visited the rock shelter in a national park in Azerbaijan last year, searching for traces of the ancient game now known as &quot;58 Holes.&quot;</p><p>Evidence from rock drawings near this shelter suggested that it dated to the second millennium B.C., or about 4,000 years ago, when that part of Azerbaijan was populated by nomadic cattle herders, he said.</p><p>&quot;It suddenly appears everywhere at the same time,&quot; Crist said. &quot;Right now, the oldest one is from Egypt, but it&apos;s not by very much. So, it could just be because we haven&apos;t found it from somewhere else older. So, it seems to [have] spread really quickly.&quot;Azerbaijan journey</p><p>Crist was looking for the remains of another copy of 58 Holes or Hounds and Jackals that he had seen in a photograph in a magazine from Azerbaijan.</p><p>But after arranging to fly there, he learned a new housing development had buried the archaeological site near the country&apos;s capital, Baku.</p><p>Archaeologists at the park knew about the holes in the rock shelter, but not that they had been used as a board game. The holes are cut into the rock of the shelter in a distinctive pattern that shows how they were used, Crist said. &quot;There is no doubt in my mind &#x2014; the games played for about 1,500 years, and very regular in the way that it&apos;s laid out,&quot; Crist said.</p><p>Though the rules of 58 Holes are unknown, many think it was played a bit like modern backgammon, with counters, such as seeds or stones, moved around the board until they reached a goal.</p><p>&quot;It is two rows in the middle and holes that arch around outside, and it&apos;s always the fifth, 10th, 15th and 20th holes that are marked in some way,&quot; Crist said of the pattern cut into the rock shelter. &quot;And the hole on the top is a little bit larger than the other ones, and that&apos;s usually what people think of as the goal or the endpoint of the game.&quot;</p><p>Players may have used dice or casting sticks to regulate the movement of counters on the board, but so far, no dice have been found with any ancient game set of 58 Holes or Hounds and Jackals, he said.</p><p>While it has been reported that the game is an ancient ancestor of modern backgammon, Crist rejects that idea &#x2014; they have some similarities, but backgammon was derived from the much later Roman game Tabula, he said.</p><p>The game of 58 Holes is old, but it&apos;s not the oldest yet found; the Royal Game of Ur, dating from the third millennium B.C., is older, for example. Crist has also studied the ancient Egyptian board games of Senet and Mehen, which appeared starting around 3000 B.C.</p><p>&quot;People are using the games to interact with one another,&quot; he said. Games were &quot;kind of a uniquely human thing, kind of an abstraction &#x2014; moving stones in blank spaces on the ground has no real effect on your daily life, except for the fact that it helps you interact with another person.</p><p>&quot;So, a game is a tool for interaction, kind of like language &#x2014; a shared way of being able to interact with people,&quot; Crist said.</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>

    1 December 10, 2018


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