Thursday, 3 September 2015

How many trees are there in the world? and other news and views

Scientists discover that the world contains dramatically more trees than previously thought - In a blockbuster study released Wednesday in Nature, a team of 38 scientists finds that the planet is home to 3.04 trillion trees, blowing away the previously estimate of 400 billion. That means, the researchers say, that there are 422 trees for every person on Earth. However, in no way do the researchers consider this good news. The study also finds that there are 46 percent fewer trees on Earth than there were before humans started the lengthy, but recently accelerating, process of deforestation.

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Mapping tree density at a global scale - The full Nature article

How Germany abolished tuition fees - In Germany tuition fees have been abolished, while England has the most expensive fees in Europe, with every indication that they are likely to be allowed to nudge even higher. But what difference does it make to their universities?

Trade agreements, trade deficits and jobs - When looking at the potential effects of a trade policy, trade economists usually insist on the real income effects, often dismissing its unemployment effects as of second-order importance, whereas policymakers and the public at large tend to voice concerns about jobs gained or lost. This column presents a quantitative framework that weighs both concerns, which is especially important when real incomes and the unemployment rates move in the same direction following a trade reform.

Spurred by innovators like Tesla, the energy storage business is growing fast - The U.S. Energy Storage Monitor report, which is part of a series of documents published quarterly by GTM Research and the Energy Storage Association, claims that the second quarter of 2015 saw a six-fold increase in energy storage deployment since the first quarter.

Review of the Draft Interagency Report on the Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States - The U.S. National Climate Assessment identified a number of ways in which climate change is affecting, and is likely to affect, people, infrastructure, natural resources, and ecosystems. Those impacts, in turn, are increasingly having important current and potential future consequences for human health. There is a need to probe more deeply into how climate change impacts on the environment can create environmental stressors that, in turn, are having and/or have the potential to have significant impact on human health in a number of dimensions. In response to this need, the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) has initiated an interagency Scientific Assessment on the Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States. The Assessment is intended to inform public health authorities, other planning and policy entities, and the general public.
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