The Daily Dose: Your Guide to the World Today – 30 June 09

Bush-era restrictions on California’s ability to impose tougher vehicle emissions standards in the state are due to be lifted by the Environmental Protection Agency today, a move Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called a "huge step for our emerging green economy”.

Seagrasses are flowering plants found in shallow coastal waters on which an estimated 70 percent of the world’s marine life depends. Thirty percent of seagrass meadows have disappeared since 1879, and the process is accelerating, a new study finds.

Data just released from a study which ended in 1999 shows many woodland bird species in Britain suffered large declines over the previous three decades, with nightingales worst affected – numbers were down some 95%.

The US Environmental Protection Agency has given in to pressure and finally released a secret list of 44 power plant coal ash disposal sites that pose the highest danger to human life if leaks were to occur.

A salutary warning about biologic controls: the Asian Harlequin ladybird, introduced to Europe to control pest insects, has in five years spread throughout the UK and is said to now threaten over 1000 other species. Other biologic agents such as types of wasps and mites are being trialled to counter the ladybirds in turn.

Food staples such as cassava, on which hundreds of millions of people depend, become toxic and release cyanide gas as more CO2 builds up in the atmosphere, Australian scientists report – as well as producing smaller yields.

Better than Google? A new terrain map of the Earth, derived from satellite imagery, covers 99% of the world’s surface with local elevation mapped at 30 metre intervals, giving researchers and virtual tourists alike a stunningly detailed picture of the globe.

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  • Posted on June 30, 2009. Listed in:

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