Referring to the surrounding ecosystem of the planet Earth, its natural mechanisms and balances, and study of the effects of human interaction with it.

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14
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2answers
3k views

Did the US ban the Volkswagen XL1 for being too fuel efficient?

There are dozens of articles similar to this one floating around claiming the new Volkswagen XL1, which can get 300+ MPG (0.78 L/100 km) in ideal driving conditions, has been banned in the USA because ...
6
votes
2answers
229 views

Would an EMP in the US Cause all of our active Nuclear Power Plants to melt down and explode?

In an article from the National Journal released and linked to from the Drudge Report today(28MAR2014), Peter Pry, "a former CIA officer and head of a congressional advisory board on national ...
3
votes
1answer
123 views

Are pets as bad for environment as cars?

In this article referring to a book the authors claim: Taking the dog for a walk to the store would seem like a more environmentally-friendly option than piling into the SUV. Not so, say ...
1
vote
0answers
39 views

Is nuclear winter really a doomsday scenario like the media depicts it? [duplicate]

While a nuclear war will obviously cause significant environmental harm to the earth, after doing some research on the subject I'm starting to find facts that make me question whether it would ...
4
votes
0answers
82 views

Must Japan's population pay for any accident caused by nuclear power plants sold abroad by Japanese companies?

This image is currently trending on social media: source The caption reads: 海外で日本の売った原発が事故を起こした場合、その費用はすべて日本国民の税金から支払う約束になっていりる If a nuclear power plant sold abroad by Japan causes an ...
5
votes
0answers
153 views

Is paying your bill online more environmentally friendly than post?

My monthly Comcast statement says that I should go paperless and pay my bill online via "Ecobill, the environmentally friendly way to pay your bill each month". All jokes about Comcast aside, has ...
12
votes
0answers
220 views

Is 90% of the large fish biomass gone, when compared to pre-industrial levels?

According to this video only 10% of the fish biomass that was in the ocean during the pre-industrial era is left, due to overfishing. This claim seems to be based on a study by Myers and Worm which ...
3
votes
1answer
128 views

How fair is “N% lower environment load” claim for lower grammage paper?

This is basically a rephrase of this question from Sustainability SE. Paper manufacturer UPM claims they have paper that has the same key characteristics (as white, as thick and as usable in office ...
10
votes
1answer
527 views

Is helium being “wasted” on party balloons?

From Tim O'Reilly: Good Q?, the kind politicians are loathe to answer RT @jamesoreilly: "Is it right to waste helium on party balloons?" http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-24903034 … and ...
21
votes
3answers
797 views

Does the phase-out of incandescent light bulbs measurably reduce overall electrical power consumption?

Many countries are phasing out incandescent light bulbs. For example, in the European Union, various types of classic light bulbs have been removed from the market in the last years. The claim is ...
2
votes
1answer
754 views

Does a full grown oak tree expel 7 tons of water from its leaves in a day?

There are a couple sites with this claim but I can't find any reliable sources... http://www.snapple.com/real-facts/cap-view/715 ...
2
votes
0answers
181 views

Will elephant dung paper infused with flower seeds grow when planted?

According to this article there is a paper that has been infused with elephant dung and flower seeds that, if planted and watered properly, will actually grow. I guess it sounds plausible but I feel ...
6
votes
1answer
374 views

Is buying organic vs. conventional products better for the environment?

From http://www.goldengatexpress.org/2013/04/07/true-organic-food-benefits-environment-sustainability/: Another reason to choose organic products is that the environmental footprint attached to ...
2
votes
1answer
278 views

Is Gasification of Garbage a Viable Energy Solution?

I read this NYT article about using blast furnaces to turn garbage into burnable gas, yielding a net energy output. The article suggests that the company, Sierra Energy, is very close to building a ...
3
votes
1answer
286 views

Do forests increase atmosphere's oxygen?

I've read that forests are important because they absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen to the atmoshpere 1. But other places say that this is false for a mature forest: "On average, then, this ...
2
votes
0answers
247 views

Are we running out of drinking water so that we need to be frugal with it?

I’ve read in the news that a majority of earth’s population might run out of drinking water. As with many of these kind of predictions it’s difficult to judge the urgency and correctness of it ...
24
votes
2answers
9k views

Does one acre of hemp yield as much paper as 4 acres of trees?

I saw the following photo on my Facebook news feed: I asked my friend who posted it for a source, and he gave me a link to a hemp manufacturer. I'm pretty sure it's not a reputable source. I'm ...
4
votes
3answers
466 views

Does physics give a climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide of about 3°C?

A letter to the editor of the Economist from Professor Anders Levermann of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research stated the following: The IPCC’s range on sensitivity is supported by, ...
5
votes
0answers
413 views

Are biofuels environmentally friendly?

Both the EU and the USA have programmes to encourage the use of biofuels in gasoline and diesel. This is supposed to help reduce oil imports and help the environment at the same time. But government ...
6
votes
2answers
579 views

Are fossil fuels making the world greener?

The popular understanding (at least among those who are not climate skeptics) of global warming is that it is likely to create environmental catastrophe for reasons such as spreading deserts and ...
9
votes
2answers
585 views

Was Greenpeace ever sponsored by KGB?

I've heard the claim as urban legend many times. Allegedly in 1970s KGB has sponsored various Western "anti-war" movements, especially the ones that could hinder Western nuclear tests. Fact is ...
12
votes
1answer
485 views

Is “peak wind” coming?

The concept of "peak oil" has been bandied about for some time (see this question: Is Peak Oil still set for 2013?) by people who believe the world hydrocarbon stocks will soon be so depleted that ...
11
votes
2answers
563 views

Shouldn't an electric car be thermodynamically at a disadvantage towards one with a combustion engine?

I have the greatest respect for the work of the Rocky Mountain Institute, but this recent blog post triggered my general scepticism towards electric cars, or more specifically, their fuel efficiency. ...
1
vote
1answer
120 views

Does the decision to fly or not has no impact on GHG emissions inside the EU?

A discussion paper published at the University of East Anglia holds that due to the cap-and-trade scheme, a decisions to fly or not has no impact inside the European Union. Quoting from the press ...
2
votes
0answers
165 views

Does lead used in electronics leach into the environment via landfill at detrimental levels?

Despite being one of the earliest metals exploited by man, lead is an environmental poison. If it gets into the body it causes a variety of acute and chronic symptoms and even low levels are thought ...
-3
votes
1answer
1k views

Does human water consumption have an environmental impact? [closed]

Fresh water consumption is often mentioned as an important factor of environmental concerns. It is in particular accused of emptying lakes and rivers. Many household habits are advised to conserve ...
51
votes
2answers
6k views

Is there a worldwide helium shortage?

I've seen a number of news articles about scarcity of Helium lately, for example: At the moment, helium is cheap, primarily because the US government built up a large surplus supply, then decided ...
4
votes
0answers
142 views

Could a solar flare cause economic collapse? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Will the Sun's magnetic activity disrupt electronics on Earth? It seems that solar flares are one of the few things that have any factual weight among the possible ...
5
votes
0answers
109 views

Can boredom at workplace be attributed to poor working conditions?

In an article I read recently the author mentions a certain study. He claims that it showed that people are likely to judge a task "boring", when in truth it was not, but there were low-intensity ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

Are 100 million sharks killed by humans per year?

I've read from several sources that humans kill 11,000 sharks per hour or 100 million per year, for example : The Humane Society of the United States, quoting Jean-Michel Cousteau Look at what ...
6
votes
0answers
348 views

Is 22-23 Celsius (72-73 degrees F) measurably the optimal temperature for office productivity

I must admit that I lost the original reference for the claim, but almost certain it was LifeHacker, so it is notable enough. The claim is that 72-73 degrees Fahrenheit (or about 22-23 Celsius) is ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

Would standing next to a lava flow kill you from the heat/gasses even if you did not touch it? [closed]

I recently watched the last lord of the rings film and me and my mum got into a bit of an argument about one of the last scenes, when the ring has just been destroyed. The volcano erupts and Sam and ...
3
votes
3answers
564 views

How often are recyclable items recycled?

It seems a bit bold for one to think that everything that he or she throws in the recycling bin is recycled. I would like to know how often things that are thrown into the recycling bin (assuming ...
7
votes
2answers
736 views

Does recycling protect our resources?

In the essay Eight Great Myths of Recycling, Daniel K. Benjamin (formerly a Professor of Economics at Clemson University) lists a number of misunderstanding related to recycling, including ...
7
votes
1answer
577 views

Is global warming irreversible?

I have heard countless times the perils of global warming and how we should all do our fair share to save the Earth for future generations. Here is but one example from an NPR article: "Global ...
38
votes
1answer
8k views

Is the Amazon rain forest man-made?

An article in the Atlantic quotes several experts who claim that the Amazon rainforest is the remnants of planted and cultivated orchards and farms, and that the land is not naturally conducive to ...
8
votes
1answer
669 views

Do candles emit ten times the carbon dioxide of an equivalent lightbulb?

In Wasteful Earth Hour?, it's claimed that candles emit roughly 10 times the carbon dioxide of light bulbs of the same brightness. While emissions will vary depending on the candle, the lightbulb and ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Is wood smoke that bad?

Recently I've read that blog post by Sam Harris and I was quite shocked. I don't have a fireplace or any habit related to a systematic wood-burning. But is wood smoke really that bad as it is ...
14
votes
1answer
2k views

Do Americans use three times as much toilet paper as Europeans?

This article "5 Seemingly Innocent Ways You've Screwed The World Today" on cracked.com contains the following claim: Delicate American bottoms prefer plush, bleached white, multi-ply paper with ...
6
votes
0answers
562 views

Does sharing a shower use less water? [closed]

From what I found on the Internet, a brief shower is more water efficient than a bath. I was wondering if there is any research about water use with more than one person using a shower? My gut ...
7
votes
1answer
684 views

Does individual recycling have no observable global impact?

Maddox in his anti-SOPA statement makes following claim: [people think that...] Painstakingly recycling every single shred of garbage in your home makes a difference. It doesn't. Even if you, ...
14
votes
3answers
724 views

Could Global Warming be good for life?

A paper from Nature Geoscience (reported by the BBC here) claims that the carbon dioxide humanity has pumped into the atmosphere is holding off a new Ice Age. This has revived an old idea best ...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

Was the “hole in the ozone” caused by CFCs?

Burt Rutan (the aviator) has put out a critique of climate change: An Engineer's Critique of Global Warming "Science" On page 7, this caught my eye: Modern Human-Extinction Scares ... ...
6
votes
0answers
186 views

Are there alternative methods of meat production (such as free-range meat) that are better for the environment than factory farmed meat? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Organic food is worse for the environment because it requires more land than non-organic food Most meat in developed nations is produced by Industrial agriculture ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

Is being a vegan more environmentally friendly than otherwise?

On their website, PETA claimed the following: A recent United Nations report concluded that a global shift toward a vegan diet is necessary to combat the worst effects of climate change. And the ...
17
votes
4answers
5k views

Does grass alone produce enough oxygen for life?

Over a work happy hour tonight, two employees were talking about their different lifestyles -- one likes riding four wheelers, which the other considers to be recreational pollution. Somehow the fact ...
9
votes
3answers
11k views

Do electric heaters with open heating elements “dry the air” or “burn up oxygen”?

There is a popular belief in Russia that electric heaters with an open nichrome heating element (red hot) "burn up oxygen" and "dry the air", unlike oil-filled ones. Is it true that a Joule heater ...
11
votes
1answer
938 views

Do black cars consume more fuel?

Some time in 2009, California passed new regulations, banning black cars (here's one source) on the grounds that black cars have higher emissions than other colors of cars. The theory is that black ...
8
votes
3answers
828 views

Will increased speed limits on motorways (or highways) cause significant harm?

The UK government has recently started a consultation on increasing the speed limits on motorways (roughly the equivalent of highways in the USA) in England. So it seems appropriate to pose the ...
14
votes
1answer
776 views

Kindle vs Books and ecofriendliness

I was in a conversation with a friend trying to convince her to switch to kindle, so she said that the cost and plastic material and eco footprint of kindle is higher then all the EBooks she could ...