Probiotics for constipation in adults and children

Probiotics are bacteria that are beneficial for health present in curd, yogurt and other cultured foods which have ability to ease digestive worries. There are many number of probiotic supplements available in the market which are loaded with lactobacillus or bifidobacterium, considered as most beneficial bacterial species.

Probiotics are live micro organisms that are considered as friendly bacteria very beneficial for children. But, constipation affected children did not find any good results even after consuming probiotic drink according to a survey. Children suffering from constipation should be fed with high fiber food and proper exercise. Laxatives can ease constipation in kids. Probiotics are not considered as first and initial treatment for constipation. But when probiotics are used along with other medications to ease constipation are proven helpful. Combining probiotics with fiber rich foods and drinking plenty of water can effectively reduce constipation.

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Constipation is major cause now days among many people because of unhealthy life style and lack of exercise. Bowel dysfunction and constipation can be relieved by using laxatives and other stool softeners but many of the users are not satisfied by them quoting in- effectiveness. Probiotics that are enriched with bifidobacterium considered as most effective measure to treat constipation in both adults and children. Constipation can be a problem inside digestive tract.

Probiotics can play a key role in relieving constipation but it is very difficult to choose right and effective one. But, still research is going on whether the effectiveness of probiotics is true on constipation. Moreover, probiotics are safe to use and do not cause any side effects.

Human intestines are home for millions of bacteria but when striked with imbalance, it can lead to digestive problems and one among them is constipation. Bifidobacteria and lactobacillus are present in large intestine and are very beneficial in reducing constipation. The species of lactobacillus and bifidobacterium can improve bowel regularity by secreting more mucous.

Constipation can be caused through many things and probiotics can effectively ease constipation. But probiotics are many and only few are proven effective on relieving constipation. Each probiotic strain is different from one another and certain strains are considered as beneficial. People suffering from constipation should choose a probiotic strain with proven benefit since few bacteria may not survive stomach acidity and bile juices.

Here are few points to remember while choosing probiotics to treat constipation in adults and children-

  • Bifidobacteriumlactis BB- 12is considered as considered as very beneficial probiotic strain and effective in reducing constipation.
  • The particular strain of bifidobacteriumlactis BB- 12 has obtained positive results from many users suffering from constipation and also saw many improvements.
  • Lactobacillus caseirhamnosus GG or commonly called as LGG is well known strain of probiotic bacteria with proven desired benefits including constipation.
  • LGG is also effective in increasing bowel movements.
  • But children identified with constipation are not benefitted with LGG.
  • Daily intake of fermented Bifidobacteriumanimalis eases symptoms of constipation.
  • Bifidobacteriumlongum is also considered to have proven benefits in easing constipation.

Methods for Buying a Quality Coaxial Directional Coupler

A coaxial directional coupler is a crucial device that is used every day in many different industries. People who need to buy one of these devices will find a large amount of companies in the business of making them. This often makes it hard for people to decide which one they are going to invest their money in. You should not make the common mistake of believing that all coaxial directional couplers are pretty much the same. This is not even close to being the case. Take your time and make a wise decision that you will not regret later. Here is how you can go about buying a nice coaxial directional coupler that will last for a very long time.

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1. You should test a coaxial directional coupler before you buy a large quantity.

It would be in your best interests to make sure you know what you are getting. Therefore, you should buy a single coaxial directional coupler and test it out. This will let you know if the device will be able to withstand the tasks that you will depend on it to perform on a daily basis. You can then buy a larger quantity if the hybrid coupler lives up to your expectations.

2. Take a look at the materials used to make the coupler and the way it was manufactured.

It would be very beneficial to you to find out exactly what went into the manufacturing of any coupler that you are thinking about buying. This means you will need to do a little bit of research to discover all of the different materials that the manufacturer used to put the coupler together. You will find out that the materials that companies use to make their couplers will vary dramatically in terms of their quality. You should also learn about the process that each company uses to assemble their couplers.

3. Only buy your couplers from a company that has an acceptable return policy.

You might buy some coaxial directional couplers and you later discover that they are not to your liking. If this is the case, you need to be able to get your money back without the company you bought them from giving you a hard time. Ideally, the retailer you bought the couplers from should give you a refund without asking why you want your money back.

California Has Solid Data On Methane Leaks, Now They Need To Be Fixed

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Until recently Californians were in the dark when it came to the state’s natural gas distribution system and its pollution. But all that is changing now; for the first time ever, consistent data on the annual methane emissions from gas utilities is available for all to see. And what does this data show? California has room to reduce leaks and tighten the integrity of its gas delivery system.

A move toward better transparency

California’s recent step to boost disclosure of the amount of emissions leaked and number of repairs made to gas pipelines and other equipment is the product of Senate Bill 1371(Leno) passed in 2014, and subsequent regulations from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). SB 1371 took this approach because methane, the main component of natural gas, is a powerful climate pollutant that puts our environment and communities at risk with a leak-prone system across the natural gas transmission, distribution and storage sectors.

This bill also resulted in the CPUC developing new formulas to calculate the statewide amount of gas that California customers pay for, but which is not delivered because it is leaked or vented into the air. This is important because SB 1371 also required that revenues for all activities identified and required to be adjusted based on the amount of “lost and unaccounted for gas”, meaning that customers are not left paying the bill for what gas goes unused.

Results speak for themselves

Last month, in a breakthrough for transparency, utilities submitted their eye-opening leak reports to the CPUC, shedding much-needed light on the state’s continued problem with gas leaks and methane pollution.

Here are some key findings that emerged from the reports:

  • California lost a lot of gas in 2015

In all, California lost almost 10 billion standard cubic feet of gas last year. While Aliso Canyon’s 2015 load was approximately one-third of this, the remaining gas lost through “normal” leaks and vents (about 6 billion SCF) has the same 20-year climate impact of burning about 1 billion gallons of gasoline.

  • Leaks have been going on for years

One surprising and unfortunate finding from the reports was the age of the methane leaks in the state, highlighting chronic problems with repair practices.

For instance, of the almost 46,000 distribution pipeline leaks reported by SoCalGas in 2015, more than 20 percent remained open at the end of the year, and over 1,000 of them have been leaking for five years or longer.

PG&E isn’t really any better in this regard, reporting that over 9,000 of their 20,000 total distribution pipeline leaks were left unrepaired for an average of over three years, while many exceeded five years – and at least one was over 30 years old. While the report didn’t explain why these leaks were left unfixed for so long, these chronic leaks show that improvements in leak detection and repair practices are urgently needed.

  • Top emissions sources are consistent across many or all of the utilities

All three of the largest California gas utilities Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas), and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) reported customer meter leaks as a leading source of emissions. Metering and regulating station leaks, distribution pipeline leaks and transmission pipeline blowdowns were also found to be a significant emission source at many of the utilities. This reinforces the need for more frequent detection and prioritized repair of leaks.  Blowdowns, which are intentional releases of gas to test or repair pipelines, can be easily and cost effectively mitigated, allowing for immediate reductions from a large emission source.

  • Aliso Canyon was huge, but not an isolated problem

Not so surprisingly, these reports reinforced the size and scale of the Aliso Canyon leak. This catastrophe accounted for 60% of SoCalGas’s system-wide emissions in 2015. It was also bigger than PG&E’s total annual emissions last year and nearly 15 times the annual emissions from SDG&E’s entire system. The reports, however, confirm that Aliso Canyon is an extreme example of an all-too common problem, and highlight the need for regulations to require more frequent leak survey and leak repair.

  • More improvements are needed for transparent, consistent reporting

Despite the findings noted above, what’s notable is what wasn’t included in the utilities’ methane leaks reports. For instance, many leaks had missing emissions data, and other emissions measurements weren’t assumed to apply to the entire system, likely leading to underestimates in emissions and leaving room for improvement.

In addition to leak reporting, SB 1371 also required utilities to fix leaks and reduce venting using best practices available in the gas industry. As this data shows, with thousands of leaks ongoing across the state, careful yet aggressive implementation is needed.

This initial round of data is a breakthrough for gas customers, who deserve to know how much gas is lost, and for utilities, giving them the tools needed to run a more efficient system. However, there is more work to be done to develop consistent reporting standards. Only then can we accurately determine the biggest sources of methane emissions and reduce these leaks, benefitting both Californians and our environment.

Biggest US coal organisation funded dozens of corporations thinking weather change

Peabody energy, america’s biggest coalmining employer, has funded at the least dozen corporations that cast doubt on manmade climate change and oppose surroundings rules, analysis by way of the mum or dad exhibits.

The funding spanned trade associations, corporate foyer companies, and industry front organizations as well as conservative think tanks and became uncovered in court filings closing month.

The coal agency additionally gave to political businesses, investment twice as many Republican organizations as Democratic ones.

Peabody, the world’s largest personal quarter publicly traded coal business enterprise, became long called an outlier even among fossil gasoline agencies for its public rejection of weather technology and action. however its funding of climate denial agencies turned into only exposed in disclosures after the coal titan turned into pressured to are seeking financial ruin protection in April, underneath opposition from reasonably-priced natural gas.

Environmental campaigners said that they had no longer recognized for sure that the corporation became investment an array of climate denial corporations – and that the breadth of that investment took them by way of marvel.

The employer’s filings screen investment for a range of organisations which have fought Barack Obama’s plans to reduce greenhouse fuel emissions, and denied the very life of climate trade.

“these companies collectively are the heart and soul of climate denial,” stated Kert Davies, founder of the weather research center, who has spent 20 years tracking investment for weather denial. “It’s the broadest list i have visible of 1 enterprise investment such a lot of nodes in the denial system.”

amongst Peabody’s beneficiaries, the middle for the look at of Carbon Dioxide and worldwide change has insisted – wrongly – that carbon emissions are not a threat but “the elixir of lifestyles” even as the yankee Legislative exchange Council is attempting to overturn Environmental protection corporation rules slicing emissions from power flowers. meanwhile, people for Prosperity campaigns in opposition to carbon pricing. The Oklahoma bankruptcy changed into at the listing.

Contrarian scientists such as Richard Lindzen and Willie quickly also feature at the financial disaster list.

So does the Washington lobbyist and industry strategist Richard Berman, whose company has launched a welter of the front corporations attacking the EPA regulations.

The filings do no longer listing quantities or dates. but the documents advise Peabody supported dozens of agencies engaged in blocking off environmental regulations in addition to some of contrarian scientists who together have obstructed US and worldwide movement on climate exchange.

The guide squares up with Peabody’s public position on climate exchange. The employer went similarly than the fossil gasoline organizations and conservative corporations that merely promoted doubt about the risks of weather exchange, asserting that rising carbon emissions have been beneficial.

just remaining 12 months, Peabody wrote to the White residence Council on Environmental first-class describing carbon dioxide as “a benign gasoline that is important for all existence” and denying the risks of world warming.

“even as the benefits of carbon dioxide are established, the alleged risks of weather alternate are contrary to determined information, are based totally on admitted speculation, and lack ok clinical foundation,” the organization wrote inside the 24 March 2015 letter.

The business enterprise agreed in November to make fuller disclosures about global warming dangers beneath a settlement deal reached with the ny legal professional trendy. Peabody were under investigation for deceptive investors and the public about the ability impact of climate trade on its commercial enterprise.

nevertheless, the full extent of Peabody’s economic support for weather denial is not going to be found out until the of completion of financial disaster complaints.

“The breadth of the organizations with monetary ties to Peabody is great. Thinktanks, litigation agencies, climate scientists, political enterprises, dozens of companies blocking motion on climate all receiving investment from the coal industry,” stated Nick Surgey, director of studies for the middle for Media and Democracy.

“We expected to see a few denial cash, but it looks as if Peabody is the treasury for a very significant a part of the climate denial movement.”

Peabody’s filings found out investment for the american Legislative exchange Council, the corporate foyer organization which opposes easy electricity standards and attempted to impose economic consequences on owners with solar panels, as well as a constellation of conservative thinktanks and corporations.

those protected the country coverage community and the Franklin middle for authorities and Public Integrity, which worked to defeat weather payments in Congress and are looking for to overturn Environmental protection organization rules to lessen carbon pollution from power flora, as well as the Congress for Racial Equality, which became a first-rate civil rights corporation in the 1960s.

The filings also discovered funding for the George C Marshall Institute, the Institute for power studies, and the center for the examine of Carbon Dioxide and global change, that are visible as enterprise front companies.

The names of some of 9aaf3f374c58e8c9dcdd1ebf10256fa5 contrarian teachers additionally characteristic inside the Peabody filings, together with Willie quickly, a researcher on the Harvard-Smithsonian center for Astrophysics. quickly has been funded almost entirely by means of the fossil fuel enterprise, receiving more than $1.2m from oil organizations and utilities, but this turned into the first indication of Peabody funding.

soon and the Smithsonian did not respond to requests for comment.

Richard Lindzen and Roy Spencer, two contrarian scientists who seemed for Peabody at hearings in Minnesota final month at the social cost of carbon, were additionally covered in the financial disaster filings.

Peabody refused to comment on its funding for climate denial organizations, as found out by way of the financial disaster filings.

“even as we wouldn’t comment on alliances with specific agencies, Peabody has a music file of advancing responsible strength and environmental rules, and we aid groups that suggest sustainable mining, electricity access and easy coal solutions, in keeping with our organisation’s leadership in those regions,” Vic Svec, Peabody’s senior vice-president for global investor and company relations, wrote in an e-mail.

during the last decade, fossil gasoline groups distanced themselves from open weather denial. a lot of the investment for climate denial went underground, with agencies and conservative billionaires routing the budget through secretive networks consisting of Donors’ believe.

but the sharp drop in coal charges, below competition from reasonably-priced herbal fuel, and a string of bankruptcies amongst leading US coal organizations has inadvertently discovered the coal enterprise’s persisted guide for weather denial – whilst oil groups moved far from open rejection of the technology.

in advance this yr, financial disaster filings from the us of a’s 2d-largest coal organization, Arch Coal Inc, revealed funding to a set regarded in particular for its unsuccessful lawsuit towards the climate scientist Michael Mann.

The $10,000 donation to the power and environment felony Institute (E&E) changed into made in 2014, consistent with courtroom documents filed in Arch’s bankruptcy 11 financial ruin protection case.

final October, courtroom filings from another coal organization in search of bankruptcy protection, Alpha natural sources, revealed an $18,six hundred charge to Chris Horner, a fellow at E&E.

Dong Energy IPO to value windfarm operator at £11bn

Danish-based Dong Energy, a major investor in British offshore windfarms, is heading for the world’s biggest stock market flotation so far this year with a price tag for the entire business of 106.5bn kroner (£11bn).

The group, which has been a flag carrier for companies moving from fossil fuels to renewable energy, expects to sell up to 17% of its shares, each priced between 200 and 255 kroner.

The Copenhagen government, which owns 59% of Dong, said it wanted to retain a controlling half stake in a company that has invested in UK gas fields off the north of Scotland as well as windfarms such as London Array off the Kent coast.

The float, to be completed on 9 June, comes amid a 75% rise in the oil price since January lows, which has helped lift the share prices and pushed up the valuation of renewable energy suppliers such as Vestas Wind Systems in Denmark.

Thomas Thune Andersen, Dong’s chairman, said it was the right time to find new shareholders for a company that reported a 35% increase in first quarter profits last month.

“Over the past decade, Dong Energy has transformed itself. It is now a financially secure, fast-growing, profitable business with a leading position in the exciting offshore wind sector.

“We have built a strong and differentiated profile in renewable energy and made excellent progress towards becoming a leader among European energy companies in the transition to renewable energy. We look forward to welcoming new shareholders who can join us in our journey towards building a greener energy future.”

Morten Imsgard, an analyst at Sydbank in Denmark, said the pricing was at the high end of his expectations. “It is a company that is relatively complex to value. Because it’s crucial what expectations you have as an investor on the offshore wind turbine sector,” he told news agency Ritzau.

It is not the first time Dong has tried to tap stock market investors. Three previous efforts were abandoned amid indications the IPO would not be successful.

Dong, which was formed out of an oil and gas business plus a host of local Danish utilities, employs 700 people in Britain and has invested £6bn in this country.

The company has said it will double this spending by 2020 through constructing projects such as the Hornsea Project One windfarm off the east Yorkshire coast.

That would become the world’s largest offshore windfarm once completed in 2020 with a capacity of 1.2GW. Each turbine will be 190 metres tall – larger than the Gherkin building in London.

The selling off of Dong stock has not been universally popular in Denmark, with an earlier disposal of a 18% stake to US investment bank Goldman Sachstriggering the exit from a coalition government of the leftwing Socialist People’s party.

If the float is successful it should dwarf that of China’s Zheshang bank, which raised $1.9bn (£1.3bn).

Henrik Poulsen, the Dong chief executive, said he had been “encouraged by the positive feedback we have received so far in the process from the investors that we have seen around the world over the past couple of months”.

Elchin Mammadov, a utility analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, said the proposed share prices were based on different sectors of the business: “The lower range represents where European oil and gas companies are trading, while the higher range corresponds to where utilities are valued at the moment.”

Dong’s profits from renewables were 3bn kroner, with 2bn kroner from oil and gas, plus 1bn kroner from the electricity grid system it operates in Denmark, the company reported last month. Earnings from renewables, mainly offshore wind, had risen by more than 50% but group profits were bolstered by almost 2bn kroner of disposals.

 

Viridor energy from waste incinerator at Splott to get £110m finance from European Investment Bank

The controversial energy from waste incinerator at Splott is to get £110m in support from the European Investment Bank (EIB), it has been confirmed.

During a site visit to the facility, owned by Viridor, the vice president of the EIB Jonathan Taylor confirmed that the EIB expected to provide £110m to support the new facility in the coming weeks.

The incinerator, or energy recovery facility, is the largest of its kind in Wales, treating waste from local authorities and local businesses.

It diverts at least 95% of non-recyclable waste in South Wales away from landfill and generates 30MW of electricity for the National Grid, enough to power around 50,000 households.

‘Vital renewable energy’

“Significant investment in energy recovery technology allows energy to be recovered from waste that cannot be recycled or reused and would previously have been sent to landfill sites,” said Mr Taylor.

“The new Cardiff Energy Recovery Facility shows how waste is being transformed into vital renewable energy for Wales and reflects the strong environmental commitment of the Welsh government and local authorities already working with the project.

“The European Investment Bank recognises the strong track record of Viridor, owned by Pennon Group, successfully implementing cutting edge plants across the country and we expect to finalise technical details for a £110m long-term EIB loan in the coming weeks.”

Opponent’s campaign

Energy recovery is an important part of the Welsh Government’s strategy for reducing the amount of waste going to landfill. However, the incinerator has been highly controversial with local residents and some environmental groups campaigning long and hard against its construction.

They argued that it would produce harmful emissions and would not help increase recycling rates. A High Court bid to prevent construction failed in 2014.

But campaigners in the Vale of Glamorgan are attempting to stop the construction in Barry of a facility to take the bottom ash from the Cardiff plant.

Eight facilities in operation

Susan Davy, Pennon Group director of finance, said: “We are delighted that the European Investment Bank is planning to provide funding for another of Viridor’s energy recovery facilities.

“Viridor now has eight energy recovery facilities in operation across the UK and a further three facilities are progressing well and will be delivered by March 2019. Together these facilities will deliver 242MW of de-centralised energy, transforming waste into a valuable social resource.

“Cardiff is a world-class plant built on time, below budget and to a high quality. Pennon Group has a strong relationship with the EIB and we look forward to continuing to work closely together in future.”

The Splott incinerator will handle 350,000 tonnes of waste annually. This includes household waste delivered by the five councils that make up the Prosiect Gwyrdd, Project Green, partnership: Cardiff, Newport, Monmouthshire, Vale of Glamorgan and Caerphilly.

Together they collect 40% of the total municipal waste in Wales.

As well as treating household waste on behalf of Prosiect Gwyrdd, the facility will also receive non-recyclable waste from local businesses and help to divert their waste away from landfill.

Record year for EIB support

Last year was a record one for the EIB’s engagement across the United Kingdom during which it provided £5.6bn to support more than £16bn of overall investment.

The EIB has supported investment in social housing, transport, energy, water and education across Wales for more than 40 years, including more than £2bn over the last decade.

Recent EIB engagement in Wales has included backing the new Swansea University Bay campus and cutting heating costs at Bangor University, financing for 10 housing associations across Wales, strengthening Vodafone mobile network in rural areas, improvements to the Welsh Water and Severn Trent network, key investment by Ford at Bridgend and Norgine at Hengoed, and financing for new high-speed Great Western Line trains expected to start operation in two year’s time.

Over the last five years the EIB has provided nearly than £930m for investment to improve treatment and disposal of waste in 13 countries across Europe. Support for waste investment in the UK, including plants in North Yorkshire and Devon as well as Wales, has been more than any other country.

DOE Announces $80 Million In Funding To Increase SuperTruck Efficiency

Tighter Fuel Efficiency Standards For Medium And Heavy-Duty Vehicles Announced By Obama

Building on the notable successes of the SuperTruck initiative, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Reuben Sarkar today announced SuperTruck II, an $80 million funding opportunity, subject to congressional appropriations, for research, development and demonstration of long-haul tractor-trailer truck technology. Sarkar made the announcement at the GreenTruck Summit in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Sarkar also announced more than $12 million in selections for three new cost-shared projects focused on the research, development, and demonstration of plug-in electric powertrain technologies for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.

“Improving the efficiency of commercial trucks is critical to reducing our petroleum consumption, strengthening our clean energy economy, and further reducing our contributions to climate change,” Deputy Assistant Secretary Sarkar said. “This new funding will not only accelerate innovation but also foster rapid market adoption of new energy efficient vehicle technologies.”

The Department of Energy launched its SuperTruck initiative in 2010. Vehicles developed under SuperTruck I are Class 8 combination trucks – commonly known as 18-wheelers – that dramatically increase tractor-trailer fuel, engine and drivetrain efficiency through the use of advanced technologies. As the backbone of domestic freight transportation, 18-wheelers haul 70 percent of all freight tonnage.

SuperTruck II projects will research, develop, and demonstrate technologies to improve heavy-truck freight efficiency by more than 100 percent, relative to a manufacturer’s best-in-class 2009 truck, with an emphasis on technology cost-effectiveness and performance.

Achieving Class 8 truck efficiency increases will require an integrated systems approach to ensure that the various components of the vehicle work together. SuperTruck II projects will utilize a wide variety of truck and trailer technology approaches to achieve performance targets, such as improvements in engine efficiency, drivetrain efficiency, aerodynamic drag, tire rolling resistance, and vehicle weight.

  • The recipients of the funding for plug-in electric powertrain technologies for medium and heavy-duty vehicles announced today are: Robert Bosch LLC (Farmington Hills, MI) will receive $5 million to develop and demonstrate a medium-duty plug in hybrid vehicle powertrain that reduces fuel consumption by 50 percent.
  • Cummins Corporate Research and Technology (Columbus, IN) will receive $4.5 million to develop and demonstrate a Class 6 plug in hybrid delivery truck that reduces fuel consumption by 50 percent.
  • McLaren Performance Technologies (Livonia, MI) will receive $2.6 million to develop a Class 6 delivery truck with a scalable, innovative, lightweight, low-cost, and commercially-viable plug-in electric drive system that improves fuel economy by 100 percent.

Shark culling could indirectly accelerate climate change, study warns

Shark approaching diver at Osprey Reef in the Coral Sea, 200 kilometres offshore from Queensland AustraliaShark experts will gather in Sydney on Tuesday to discuss new safety measures, as new research warns the culling of sharks could indirectly accelerate climate change.

The New South Wales premier, Mike Baird, will launch the shark summit at Taronga zoo, featuring more than 70 experts from Australia and around the world.

The summit will highlight emerging technologies that can repel sharks, after a spate of attacks along the NSW coast. There have been a total of 13 shark attacks in NSW so far this year – up from three in 2014 – with one surfer, 41-year-old Tadashi Nakahara, killed near Ballina.

Shark deterrents such as underwater gates that release electro-magnetic fields and flexible plastic nets will be discussed at the summit as well as shark-detecting buoys and real-time tracking of tagged sharks.

NSW already has nets installed at 51 popular beaches between Newcastle and Wollongong and has launched a shark tagging program to better understand the behaviour of the ocean predators. The outcome of a review into shark deterrent technology will be addressed at the summit.

Niall Blair, NSW minister of primary industries, said the state government is “leaving no stone unturned to make sure we look at new and innovative ways to protect our beaches.”

However, some surfers have called for more drastic action to be taken, such as a partial cull of sharks seen near beaches.

This stance has been opposed by environmentalists, and most policymakers, as being cruel or inappropriate. But new research suggests that killing sharks also exacerbates climate change.

A paper published in Nature Climate Change warns the removal of top ocean predators such as sharks causes a “trophic cascade” throughout the food chain that results in the release of carbon into the atmosphere.

With about 90% of the world’s sharks and other large predator fish wiped out through overfishing and culling, potential prey such as sea turtles, stingrays and crabs have flourished.

As a result, turtles have been free to munch their way through larger amounts of seagrass and crabs have been able to disturb a greater amount of seabed sediment. Such consequences have “far reaching consequences on carbon cycling and, by implication, our ability to ameliorate climate change impacts” the paper warns.

The research, conducted by academics from Deakin University, University of Technology Sydney and Griffith University, said vegetated coastal habitats store 50% of the carbon buried in all ocean sediments, representing about 25bn tonnes.

There are no exact estimates of how much of this carbon is being released by animals free from shark harassment, but the paper points out if just 1% of this vegetation is lost, 460m tonnes of carbon dioxide would be released – the equivalent emissions of 97m cars.

“Once you remove large ocean predators you get strange indirect impacts, there is a meltdown in the ecosystem that influences the release of carbon,” said Dr Peter Macreadie, co-author of the report.

“That’s definitely a problem here in Australia. We have massive potential to offset our emissions by maintaining these ecosystems but we’ve lost a lot of our seagrass and salt marshes. Whenever you remove those keystone fish and birds that sit at the top of the ecosystem, everything falls apart.”

Macreadie said shark culling should be rejected as a way to protect swimmers and surfers visiting Australia’s beaches.

“For me it’s a no brainer,” he said. “There’s a risk when you drive a car or if you go into an area that has lions. There is a natural order of things. We have to get used to the idea there are things out there that can harm us, as rare as that is.”

Nuclear industry to push for Australia to adopt ‘clean, affordable power’

The Ranger uranium mine in the Northern Territory. The nuclear industry will lobby for nuclear energy in Australia, saying the prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, should embrace the technology as a way to slash greenhouse gas emissions.

The Australian Nuclear Association (ANA) will accompany Danny Roderick, chief executive of the leading US nuclear technology firm Westinghouse, to talk to government ministers and business leaders in Canberra and Sydney next week.

Roderick said nuclear power could help produce “clean, reliable, affordable electricity for more people”.

“We’d like to help Australia explore ways to create jobs and economic opportunity that are also good for the environment,” he said.

The ANA is optimistic that the change in Australia’s prime ministership will mean nuclear will be looked at “on its merits”.

The move is the latest attempt to overturn legal obstacles to nuclear energy generation in Australia.

Federal environmental law bans building nuclear reactors, and an attempt by the Family First senator, Bob Day, to scrap a separate law that blocks building reactors and uranium enrichment plants was halted in August by the Tony Abbott government.

Australia has nearly a third of the world’s known uranium supplies but there has long been bipartisan political opposition to creating a nuclear industry, although South Australia is exploring it.

The problem of disposing of nuclear waste in Australia has also proved highlycontroversial.

The ANA says nuclear is a better option to cut emissions from electricity than renewable sources such as solar and wind.

“My concern is that renewables won’t get us across the line in terms of emissions reduction,” said Rob Parker, the president of the ANA. “Nuclear is more reliable and it has a smaller resources footprint than renewables.

“Until we approach the issue of carbon abatement honestly, we won’t replace coal because it is the cheapest fuel we have. Nuclear is dead until we acknowledge carbon abatement is the main issue. We already pay a premium for renewables but we need to go further or we’ll just keep burning coal.”

Parker denied that nuclear was prohibitively expensive, estimating that Australia could build 29 reactors for $160bn with companies such as Westinghouse “lining up” to invest.

He also claimed “strong community support” for nuclear despite the Fukishima disaster in Japan, which prompted the German government to phase out its nuclear energy supply.

The first target of the lobbying push is to overturn an Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act ban on the nuclear development process.

The environment minister, Greg Hunt, said there was no plan to change government policy. However, he was not “philosophically opposed” to nuclear energy.

Research conducted by the University of New South Wales last year found that it was feasible to transition to 100% renewable energy without the need for nuclear power.

Separate analysis conducted by the federal government in 2013 put the cost of 100% renewable energy to be between $219bn and $332bn by 2050.

Jim Green, an anti-nuclear campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said it was unlikely that nuclear would ever be feasible in Australia.

“Nuclear is expensive and it’s getting more expensive as time goes on,” he said. “The start-up costs would be spectacular. Once you involve the employment of thousands of specialist scientists and technicians, land acquisition and a new regulatory system you’d almost certainly need government subsidies.

“There is no reality to this. There’s no technology that is vaguely acceptable to Australia available at a cost of $5.5bn a reactor.

“We don’t need a bridge from fossil fuels to renewables, we just need renewables. It’s viable and affordable. There is a lot of rhetoric around a nuclear renaissance, but not much else.”

 

El Niño takes toll on US rice farmers – and points to even higher prices

 El Niño made its mark in Southeast Asia, too, causing harvest shortfalls because of weather extremes such as floods in Burma and droughts in Thailand. Blame El Niño. The weather phenomenon is causing havoc for US rice farmers and a sharp price spike in the world’s most important staple food may foreshadow possibly higher prices in Asia in the coming months.

While other commodities have hit recent lows, US rice futures prices are up nearly 40%, to about $12.90 per hundredweight, their highest level since August 2014. In sharp contrast, soybean and cotton prices are at their lowest level since early 2009, while sugar prices are just off their lowest levels since 2008. And matters are likely to get worse.

The latest El Niño pattern is cheering some in drought-ridden California where it promises some much needed rain and snow. But it caused planting delays this spring in the Mississippi Delta – Arkansas, Missisissipi and Louisiana – and Texas, the main US rice-growing regions. During the growing season, perpetually cloudy days and warm nights, caused by another weather system, created the worst conditions for rice production, said Shawn Hackett, president of Hackett Financial Advisors, an agricultural advisory firm. He noted harvests in Arkansas and Texas are likely to be about 15 to 20% below average. “The crop is an unmitigated disaster,” he said.

So far the price rally is limited to US rice prices, as Asian prices are still reflecting a large overhang in supplies, largely because of the former Thai government stockpiling rice – as much as a three-year supply, said Jack Scoville, vice-president at Price Futures Group, under a vote-buying scheme. All that rice caused prices to crater, so in the past few years farmers haven’t planted as much. Demand, though hasn’t changed, and a lot of the stocks that were built up are quickly vanishing.

And El Niño made its mark in south-east Asia, too, causing harvest shortfalls because of weather extremes such as floods in Burma and droughts in Thailand. Earlier this month the US Department of Agriculture reduced its forecast for global rice production because of lower harvests in several key countries. This is the first year-to-year decrease in global rice production since 2009-10, they said.

The world is quickly eating through big supplies created in the past few years. USDA’s forecast for the 2015-16 growing season estimates globally there will be 90.85m tonnes (metric tons) of rice available after accounting for supply and demand. While that seems plentiful, it’s down from 101.8m tonnes last year and 107.4m tonnes the year before. Bill Nelson, senior economist at Doane Advisory Service, said the average global inventory over the past 25 to 30 years is typically 100m tonnes or more, and that the last time the world had such small reserves was in 2007, when prices eventually hit record highs.

El Niño is expected to strengthen and peak later this year, but the impact of the weather anomaly could still be felt for four or five months afterward, possibly as late as early February, said Dale Molher, expert senior meteorologist at Accuweather.com

That could spell trouble for farmers in south-east Asian countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia who will face these ongoing dry conditions as they prepare to plant again soon. Because of less rain earlier in the year, reservoir levels are down, meaning less water to irrigate crops, Hackett said. As it is, the Thai government is restricting how much farmers can plant because of the drought.

The low Asian rice prices may not last as the combination of this summer’s harvest shortfalls, farmers possibly planting less and forecasts for detrimental weather will have future ramifications.

“El Niño is still going to be a major force as we move forward. Most of the effects are really yet to come. Production will be impacted, but no one knows how much,” Scoville said.

Currently, the price for high-quality Thai rice, a global benchmark, is around $350 a tonne. Comparatively, the US price, calculated in tonne, is $550. Normally US and Thai prices have only about a $60 to $70 difference, Hackett said.

Hackett and Scoville said there are signs Asian buyers are concerned about future supply which may boost prices there. The Philippines is importing rice because of harvest shortfalls, and Indonesia may import rice for the same reason, they said. In August, Burma put an export ban in place because of low supplies.

“So far the Asian price has been stable to weak because of the Thai [situation] and India had a pretty good crop. But I think the worm is going to turn over there … sooner than later,” Scoville said, who said prices could start to move by the end of the year.

Hackett said Thai prices could rise to $500 or $600 a tonne, perhaps by spring.

It is important to keep an eye out on rice prices because rice is one of the three main cereal crops, along with wheat and corn. Those three crops make up two-thirds of what the world eats, according to the FAO. How much of an impact rising rice prices will have on consumers is unknown. Luckily for eaters, no one is forecasting a return to the sharply higher price seen in 2007 and 2008 when riots broke out over record high rice prices. Back then, supplies of all staple food crops such as rice, wheat and corn were low and prices high, so there was no alternative for buyers.

But we’re not likely to see riots this time around, as countries like the Philippines are seeking to add to their wares. This year, Nelson said, although rice supplies are tight, wheat supplies are at record levels and prices are low, so he said people most affected by high prices could gravitate to buying wheat-based foods. Still, high rice prices can affect the poorest of the poor.

The global economic situation now is also different than 2007-08, Hackett said.

“We’re not necessarily going to see that kind of a wild, unbridled spike … because we’re dealing with a deflationary commodity environment. But having said that, higher prices will be seen in medium term,” he said.