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Science for Environment Policy, Issue 390

Science for Environment Policy, Issue 390

A service from the European Commission

Changes in European sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and CO2 emissions since 1960
Emissions of sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOX) have fallen significantly across Europe since 1960. According to recent research, this is caused by a combination of factors including improved energy efficiency, a changing fuel mix and specific emission control measures. At the same time CO2 emissions have only increased moderately, mainly due to improvements in energy efficiency.
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Shark feeding may be affected by ocean acidification
Ocean acidification may affect sharks' sense of smell, causing them to avoid food, reports new research. In lab tests, the study found that sharks exhibited less feeding behaviour when they were kept in tanks of acidified seawater. These changes could pose a risk to the health of sharks, with knock-on effects for whole marine ecosystems.
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River ecosystems damaged by agriculture and dams at local and basin scales
Human activities are threatening river ecosystems in the Mediterranean. Recent research in south-east Spain has highlighted the need to assess biodiversity and the ecological condition of river ecosystems at both basin-wide and local scales. The researchers say this will provide a better assessment of river ecosystems, aiding management decisions.
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When can science help conflicting stakeholders reach agreement?
Does scientific evidence always help conflicting stakeholders to reach agreement on how to deal with environmental risks? Scientists have now developed a mathematical framework to help answer this question. They show that stakeholder perceptions of the costs and benefits of regulations, as well as their perceptions of the quality of new research, will determine whether they change their standpoint.
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Higher rates of damage reported in US shale gas and oil wells than in conventional wells
Over 75 000 regulatory inspection reports for over 32 000 oil and gas production wells drilled in Pennsylvania, US between 2000 and 2012, have been analysed in a recent study. In these reports, the inspectors logged six times as many incidents of damage to the walls of shale gas and oil wells than in wells for conventional oil and gas.
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Shipping noise puts endangered European eels at risk of predators
The noise generated by commercial shipping can impair the ability of the critically endangered European eel to avoid predators, new research has found. The results show that marine noise can have serious effects on these animals with potentially fatal consequences.
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Both traffic noise and air pollution linked to stroke
Road traffic noise and air pollution both increase the risk of having a stroke, recent research from Denmark suggests. The results suggest that traffic noise is more strongly associated with ischaemic stroke, whereas only air pollution appears to be linked with more serious, fatal strokes.
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The contents and views included in this News Alert are based on independent, peer-reviewed research and do not necessarily reflect the position of the European Commission.
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