Questions tagged [environment]

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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174
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4answers
25k views

Does a webpage with a black background save energy?

Blackle is a search engine that claims to save energy because it uses a black background. Is there any evidence to back up their claim that a website using a black background will save energy, and if ...
138
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2answers
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Do solar panels create 300 times more toxic waste per unit of energy than nuclear-power plants?

From Slashdot: A new study by Environmental Progress warns that toxic waste from used solar panels now poses a global environmental threat. The Berkeley-based group found that solar panels create ...
121
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1answer
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Did Germany produce so much renewable electricity on May 8th 2016 that their power prices went negative?

This picture has been floating around the internet On May 8th, 2016, Germany's solar, wind, hydro and biomass plants generated so much energy, power prices actually went negative. Is this true? I ...
111
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3answers
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Do 10 Asian and African rivers generate 90% of plastic trash in the ocean?

I found this image shared on Facebook [Warning: image contains a bleeding turtle.] with the following text: Your Straws Did NOT Do This [image of turtle with foreign body in nostril] ...
104
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3answers
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Do coal plants release more radiation than nuclear power plants?

As a response to the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant I've heard the claim that fossil-fuel power plants using coal release more radiation than a nuclear power plant. I searched for some ...
98
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2answers
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“One year without beef saves 3432 trees”

This statement is doing the rounds on Facebook: Going one year without paper saves 8.5 trees Going one year without beef saves 3,432 trees Alas, as with so many of these 'claims' on FB, ...
90
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2answers
35k views

Are cars in Arizona melting in the 2018 summer heat?

Facebook just posted to my timeline this picture claiming that cars in Arizona are melting in the heat. Is it true?
89
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Does a car with a hybrid engine and Lithium batteries pollute more than a car with conventional technology?

You hear a lot of claims that, once you include manufacturing and battery replacement, hybrids pollute more than an efficient, more conventional engine. Are there any end-to-end studies measuring any ...
88
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1answer
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Does the Constitution of Bhutan state that 60% of Bhutan must be forested?

Transcription: Did you know? The constitution of Bhutan specifies that 60% of the country must remain forested. -- MightyFacts.com Title and picture is pretty self explanatory. Is the ...
61
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Have several hundreds of thousands of people died because of the Chernobyl disaster?

The Wikipedia article on this is littered with [citation needed] and a commenter on hacker news linked to it while stating: Chernobyl cost several hundred thousand lives. Let's hope and pray ...
59
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Have we wiped out 60% of vertebrate populations since 1970?

According to The Guardian (reporting an analysis by WWF) humanity stands on the verge of an ecological catastrophe as: Humanity has wiped out 60% of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles since 1970, ...
58
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2answers
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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 ...
55
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2answers
7k views

Does a dishwasher consume less water than manual dish washing

I've always heard the claim that a dishwasher is more water efficient. I can attest that I once washed the dishes with a clogged pipe, and put a bucket below the sink, and was appalled at the amount ...
53
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9answers
8k views

Is public transport less fuel-efficient than cars?

Someone who is opposed towards energy saving and climate change (I did not realise they existed until I met him) has told me that public transport (buses, trains and so on) are less efficient than ...
53
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3answers
11k views

Is only 4% of original forest left in the US?

The 2009 video The Story of Stuff makes several rather incredible claims. For example: Where I live, in the United States, we have less than 4% of our original forests left. My gut feeling tells ...
53
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2answers
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Does recycling create more pollution than it prevents?

My city, like many, has a recycling program, which I believe is supposed to reduce pollution and create some positive economic activity. But I've heard many people argue that recycling programs are a ...
52
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3answers
18k views

Can people feel somebody is watching them?

I think most of us is familiar with this feeling. You can tell someone (who stands behind your back) is staring at you without any physical evidence. Is it possible or is it just a matter of ...
50
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1answer
13k views

Does Germany produce more waste than the US?

According to the German Environment Agency, Germany produced 411 million tons of waste in 2016. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, the US produced about 260 million US tons (236 ...
49
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3answers
4k views

Is cycling worse for the environment than driving to work if you need to take a shower?

I had an argument with a work colleague. He claims that me cycling to and from work is less environmentally friendly than driving because I will eat more as a result of expending more energy. I have ...
43
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1answer
8k views

Is “Earth Overshoot Day” a useful or reliable metric of humanity's effect on the world?

Apparently, we are rapidly approaching Earth overshoot day and that day gets earlier every year. The Guardian explains: Humanity is devouring our planet’s resources in increasingly destructive ...
43
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1answer
11k 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 ...
41
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3answers
10k views

Does the production of a Tesla battery produce as much CO2 as driving 200,000 km?

Recently I read on Greenpeace, that the production of a 100 kWh battery, as in the Tesla Model S, produces as much CO2 as driving a regular car for 200,000 km. Source: Tesla car battery production ...
36
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2answers
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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 ...
35
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4answers
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Can we grow enough crops to feed all people on Earth?

Vegetarianism is heavily promoted. But let's say all people on Earth stop eating animal products. Can we grow enough crops so all people on the Earth are provided with enough healthy, nutritious food? ...
35
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9k views

Are we in a low CO2 period, compared to the last 590 million years?

In 2012 Burt Rutan, the aircraft designer, posted these slides summarizing his take on global warming/climate change. Slide 14 is In the big picture we are now in a low CO2 period. The 20th ...
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2answers
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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 U....
33
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7answers
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Is cancer a man-made disease?

Not too long ago a story about a study examining mummies for the prevalence of cancer caused a flurry of articles in the media claiming that cancer is a man-made disease. The researchers claim that ...
32
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1answer
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Organic food is worse for the environment because it requires more land than non-organic food

I've heard that organic crops and husbandry are worse for the environment than non-organic equivalents because in the absence of pesticides and fertilizers much more land is required for an organic ...
31
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Which baby diaper is more Earth-friendly — cloth or disposable?

We have a lot of friends who use cloth diapers, and I've heard some say that cloth diapers are actually more un-ecologically friendly than disposable diapers. I have a hard time buying that. I can ...
31
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1answer
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Does the production of a home PV solar panel provide a net benefit to the environment?

Considering everything that goes into producing a single PV solar panel; from obtaining the necessary materials, transportation etc. is there a net benefit to the environment over the lifetime of the ...
30
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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 ...
27
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Did we have a “global cooling” 40 years ago?

I was reading Superfreakanomics and the book argues that we had a global cooling period 40 years ago? Is that claim accurate?
27
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1answer
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Did fertilising the ocean with 100 tons of iron sulphate increase the salmon catch by over 100,000 tons?

In July 2012 American businessman Russ George, dumped 100 tonnes of iron in the ocean off British Columbia to encourage plankton growth and thus increase salmon stocks (link). It is now claimed that ...
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Is pollution the main cause of Notre Dame Cathedral's deterioration?

A 2017 Time article discussing the crumbling, wearing out, and water damage of France's Notre Dame Cathedral prior to the 2019 fire writes (emphasis added): Notre Dame, which looms over the capital ...
25
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1answer
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Did Canada go from 2.5 million protected lakes and rivers, to just 159?

This claim, apparently originating with the Canadian New Democratic Party, states that under the Harper government, the number of protected lakes and rivers has dropped dramatically: On Facebook this ...
24
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3answers
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Why do we not have vehicles that meet or exceed the MPG ratings of vehicles that were available in the 1990s

I'm seeing some conspiracy theories making the rounds which claim that car-manufacturers are intentionally making cars that aren't as fuel efficient as they used to be. They often point to the Geo ...
24
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2answers
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Is replacing paper towels with electric hand dryer blowers beneficial to the environment?

I'm sure paper towels don't harm the forests, because they are made from reforestation crops. So using them only harm trees that were already destined to being cut. I found this article that tries ...
24
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1answer
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Is banning plastic bags beneficial to the environment?

There's always this big talk about plastic bags, but how much can you compare banning them to other measures? Bottomline: Is it worth the whole media coverage about this issue, or is it just a ...
23
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2answers
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Are drinking straws a minor source of ocean plastic pollution?

An opinion piece in Bloomberg: Plastic Straws Aren’t the Problem claims that drinking straws are a minor source of plastic pollution in oceans: Yet even if all those straws were suddenly washed ...
22
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1answer
3k views

Does unadjusted NASA climate data show no long-term global warming?

The Real Science blog by "Steven Goddard" claims that NASA have altered their data in the USA and other countries to show global warming. Right after the year 2000, NASA and NOAA dramatically ...
22
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1answer
2k views

Do trees soak up pollution?

You often hear a variation on the idea that plants "absorb" air pollution. For example, in a Yahoo News article on Beijing smog, the reporter writes: The China Daily said there are also not enough '...
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3answers
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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 ... • ...
20
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3answers
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Do active volcanoes emit more CO₂ than humans?

We all know that volcanoes emit a tremendous amount of CO₂ when they erupt. I've often heard people argue that the amount of CO₂ an erupting volcano emits dwarfs the amount of CO₂ that humans emit in ...
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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 ...
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2answers
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Insects as food: Is it feasible for humans to replace traditional “livestock” meat with insects?

I have heard of some benefits of insects as food, but are there any drawbacks? I've never heard of a human culture whose primary protein intake came exclusively from insects. Would someone ...
19
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1answer
3k 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 all ...
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2answers
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Does hydraulic fracking endanger the drinking water supply?

According to an industry website the process of Hydraulic Fracturing (or "fracking") is safe. According to an article in the Huffington Post the process is not safe. At least, there is evidence the ...
18
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2answers
2k views

Does the US Federal Government want to cut down and burn trees on a property to protect an extinct frog?

Edward Poitevent made a claim on the Tucker Carlson show that the government wants to take his land in Louisiana without paying, cut down all trees and burn it in the name of protecting an extinct ...
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2answers
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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. ...
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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 ...