PAD Newsclip #5

Photo courtesy Felicity Aston

Photo courtesy Felicity Aston


Ocean’s Vital Gulf Stream System Weakest In 1,600 Years, Scientists Find

A key current in the planet’s ocean circulatory system, including the Atlantic’s Gulf Stream, is the weakest in at least 1,600 years ― a decline that could significantly worsen the effects of climate change, according to new research.

Two studies published in the journal Nature this week say the global system of ocean currents known as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, or AMOC, has dropped in strength by some 15 percent since the mid-20th century to a record low.

The currents, part of the so-called global ocean conveyor belt, transport warm water from the equator to the North Atlantic, where heat released into the atmosphere warms western Europe. The cooler water then sinks and travels south in the deep ocean to Antarctica, and eventually back up to the equator.

A disruption in the system could have cataclysmic effects on weather patterns, including hurricanes, swings in temperatures and ocean levels, and even survival.

The currents began to weaken near the end of the Little Ice Age in 1850 as melting freshwater in the Arctic diluted saltwater and made it less dense, so it didn’t sink as usual to help drive the circulatory pattern.

The other new study, by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, found that the circulation has weakened since 1950 because of global warming due to the use of fossil fuels.

The findings are especially troubling because the AMOC decline is so dramatic, and because the extent of the slowdown isn’t explained by current climate models.

Thornalley told The Guardian that the AMOC has “played an important part in abrupt climate change in the past.” He said that while current climate models don’t predict a circulation shutdown, “the problem is, how certain are we it is not going to happen? It is one of these tipping points that is relatively low probability, but high impact.”

Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute told The Washington Post it’s still unclear whether a slowdown was “really happening.” He added: “I think it is happening. And I think it’s bad news.”


#Newsclip edited by Plant a Douce, Original article by Mary Papenfuss, available at:, (accessed 17 of April 2018)  © Copyright 2018 Oath Inc, HuffPost Impact. All rights reserved.


Photo courtesy Jie Zhao/Corbis/Getty Images

Photo courtesy Jie Zhao/Corbis/Getty Images

Scientists accidentally create mutant enzyme that eats plastic bottles

Scientists have created a mutant enzyme that breaks down plastic drinks bottles – by accident. The breakthrough could help solve the global plastic pollution crisis by enabling for the first time the full recycling of bottles.

The new research was spurred by the discovery in 2016 at a waste dump in Japan. The international team tweaked the enzyme to see how it had evolved, but tests showed they had inadvertently made the molecule even better at breaking down the plastic used for soft drink bottles.

The mutant enzyme takes a few days to start breaking down the plastic – far faster than the centuries it takes in the oceans. But the researchers are optimistic this can be sped up even further and become a viable large-scale process.

Currently bottles that are recycled can only be turned into opaque fibres for clothing or carpets. The new enzyme indicates a way to recycle clear plastic bottles back into clear plastic bottles, which could slash the need to produce new plastic.

“You are always up against the fact that oil is cheap, so virgin [plastic] is cheap,” said McGeehan. “It is so easy for manufacturers to generate more of that stuff, rather than even try to recycle. But I believe there is a public driver here: perception is changing so much that companies are starting to look at how they can properly recycle these.”

Industrial enzymes are widely used in, for example, washing powders and biofuel production. They have been made to work up to 1,000 times faster in a few years, the same timescale McGeehan envisages for the plastic-eating enzyme.

One possible improvement being explored for the enzyme is to transplant the it into an “extremophile bacteria” that can survive temperatures above 70C, at which point plastic changes from a glassy to a viscous state, making it likely to degrade 10-100 times faster.

“Enzymes are non-toxic, biodegradable and can be produced in large amounts by microorganisms,” he said. “There is still a way to go before you could recycle large amounts of plastic with enzymes, and reducing the amount of plastic produced in the first place might, perhaps, be preferable. [But] this is certainly a step in a positive direction.”


#Newsclip edited by Plant a Douce, Original article by The Guardian, available at:, (accessed 18 April 2018)  © Copyright 2018 The Guardian. All rights reserved to them.


Photo courtesy AFP File Photo

Photo courtesy AFP File Photo

PVH announces multi-year water resource partnership with WWF

PVH Corporation announced a three-year partnership with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to address water stewardship and improve water quality in its sourcing communities in Ethopia, India, Vietnam and China.

PVH will work with the WWF on two new projects to conserve freshwater in Ethiopia’s Lake Hawassa and India’s Cauvery River basins. The new projects build on the organizations' existing efforts in China and Vietnam, where PVH's Tommy Hilfiger began working with WWF in 2015.

PVH's heritage brands of Van Heusen, Izod and Arrow will work with the Ethopian community in Hawassa, while Calvin Klein sources in India will work to improve water quality in the Cauvery community in South India, a region known for heavy textile production.

In an official release, Melanie Steiner, chief risk officer, PVH said, “Access to safe water is a human right that is essential for communities to thrive. Water is used at every stage of our product lifecycle. As one of the largest global apparel companies, we recognize the opportunity and our responsibility to take a lead role in addressing this pressing global issue.”

“As major trends like urbanization, population growth and climate change exacerbate existing water issues, water is not only an urgent environmental issue but also a risk to business," added WWF Senior Vice President Shelia Bonini, going on to explain how the partnership with PVH as a global manufacturer is in the public interest.

The WWF partnership is part of PVH's wider commitment to sustainability through corporate responsibility.

PVH operates in 40 countries and reports revenues of around $9 billion annually.


#Newsclip edited by Plant a Douce, Original article by By Cassidy Mantor, available at:,968992.html#.WtyHrNPFJE4, (accessed 20 April 2018)  © Copyright 2018 All rights reserved.


Newsclip edit by Plant a douce team







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