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An Overlooked Contributor to Climate Change: Leaky Pipes

These tricked-out, air sensor-equipped Google cars are helping to identify dangerous natural gas pipelines.

Photo by William J Sisti

Underneath the streets and sidewalks of American cities lie hundreds of thousands of miles of natural gas pipelines. The fuel is used to heat apartments, homes, and businesses from Boston to New York to San Francisco, and countless other cities and towns in between.

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Tackling Climate Change Requires Looking Beyond Carbon

A new international coalition will work to get countries on board with simple and inexpensive climate fixes that could have an outsized impact.


The best way to reverse climate change over the long term is to start sending less carbon into the atmosphere, but he international community is failing miserably at reaching that goal. So researchers have begun pointing to another way to start addressing climate change in the short term: Forget about carbon and focus a little bit of attention on greenhouse gases like methane and soot.

Gases like these don’t stay in the atmosphere as long as carbon dioxide does, but they still contribute mightily to climate change—between 30 and 40 percent of human-induced warming, researchers say. Keeping those gases out of the atmosphere won’t stop climate change, but it could slow the process by as much as half a degrees Celsius. When an increase in average global temperatures of just 2 degrees Celsius comes with serious consequences, that incremental change can make a big difference.

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Fuel Gets Fruity: Converting Produce Scraps into Gas

Composting isn't the only socially responsible way to manage food scraps.

The compost pile and worm bin are no longer the only appropriate resting places for peach pits, banana peels, and apple cores. The Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB, Europe's largest applied research center, announced last week that it will begin turning old produce into bio-gas at a pilot site in Stuttgart, Germany. Conveniently located next to the city's wholesale vegetable market, the facility will use microorganisms to transform food scraps into methane gas, which can power a car once compressed and emits less carbon dioxide during combustion than gasoline.

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