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Heavier crude use brings more emissions

Oakland, Calif. -- Heavier, thicker crude oils increasingly favored as the source for America's liquid fuels will increase greenhouse gas emissions, a study says.

As the biggest and most accessible reservoirs of light crude oil supplies are depleted, the oil industry has increasingly been turning to so-called "unconventional" stocks -- heavy, viscous feedstock and tar sands, reported last week.

More and more oil being processed by U.S. refineries is of this "heavy" variety, requiring more work -- and more energy -- to produce the gasoline, diesel and other high-value fuels that power engines the world over, says Greg Karras of Communities for a Better Environment in Oakland, Calif.

Greenhouse CO2 emissions on the rise again

Exeter, England -- Carbon dioxide emissions, the main greenhouse gas contributing to global warming, continue to rise and may reach record levels this year, U.K. researchers say.

A study led by the University of Exeter is part of the annual carbon budget update by the Global Carbon Project, reported Monday.

The study found that despite the global financial crises affecting Western economies that led to a 1.2 percent reduction of CO2 emissions from record 2008 levels, that reduction was less than half what was predicted a year ago.

Meanwhile, emerging economies like China and India experienced strong economic performance despite the financial crisis and recorded substantial increases in CO2 emissions.

U.S., U.K. partner on climate change study

Washington -- The world must substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions if it is to escape the worst impacts of climate change, U.S. and British scientists say.

Climate scientists from both countries reached the conclusion at a meeting in Washington on the United Kingdom's AVOID program, a release from the National Center for Atmospheric Research said Thursday.

The AVOID program is an inter-disciplinary research collaboration across the physical sciences to study climate impacts and the technical and socio-economic implications of climate change, the release said.

Scientists see uses for odd 'dry water'

Boston -- Scientists say a substance dubbed "dry water" resembling powdered sugar could absorb and store carbon dioxide, the major greenhouse gas causing global warming.

In a presentation Wednesday at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society, scientists hinted at additional uses, including a greener, more efficient method of jump starting the chemical reactions involved in the creation of hundreds of consumer products, and a safer way to store and transport hazardous industrial materials, reported.

"There's nothing else quite like it," researcher Ben Carter said. "Hopefully, we may see 'dry water' making waves in the future."

'Smart' metal could replace refrigerants

College Park, Md. -- A new "smart" metal could replace the liquid refrigerant in air conditioners, saving consumers money and reducing greenhouse gases, scientists say.

Researchers at the University of Maryland are developing a new "thermally elastic" metal alloy to replace fluids used in conventional refrigeration and air conditioning compressors, a university release said Friday.

The alloy alternately absorbs or creates heat similar to a compressor-based system, but uses far less energy and avoids the need for fluids with high global warming potential, the researchers say.

'Corpse plant' nears stinky bloom

Charlotte, N.C. -- Officials with the University of North Carolina Charlotte said a rare plant in its greenhouse with an odor resembling rotting flesh is about to bloom.

Biology professor Larry Mellichamp, director of the campus botanical garden, including the McMillan Greenhouse, said the Amorphophallus titanium plant, known as "the corpse plant" for its smell and nicknamed Bella by the school, is expected to bloom for three days starting July 1, releasing its signature stench into the greenhouse, the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer reported Tuesday.

British greenhouse gases have record drop

London -- A record decline in Britain's greenhouse gas emissions largely was caused by the recession's effect on industry, officials said.

The amount of carbon dioxide and other gases fell by 8.6 percent in Britain in 2009 -- the largest drop since 1990, when pollution levels were first recorded, The Daily Telegraph reported Friday.

An industrial slowdown blamed on the recession meant less pollution from factories, though government programs aimed at reducing pollution also helped, said Joan Ruddock, Britain's Energy and Climate Change minister.

Every sector, including homeowners, contributed to the drop in pollution, Ruddock said.

UN to probe climate change controversy

Geneva, December 4 -- Scientists in UK have allegedly projected inflated figures to stress on human involvement behind the climate change. UN’s IPCC will now probe the matter.