Plastics have outgrown most man-made materials and have long been under environmental scrutiny. However, robust global information, particularly about their end-of-life fate, is lacking. By identifying and synthesizing dispersed data on production, use, and end-of-life management of polymer resins, synthetic fibers, and additives, we present the first global analysis of all mass-produced plastics ever manufactured. We estimate that 8300 million metric tons (Mt) as of virgin plastics have been produced to date.

Plastics in the marine environment have become a major concern because of their persistence at sea, and adverse consequences to marine life and potentially human health. Implementing mitigation strategies requires an understanding and quantification of marine plastic sources, taking spatial and temporal variability into account. Here we present a global model of plastic inputs from rivers into oceans based on waste management, population density and hydrological information.

Original Source

Deadly infectious pandemics will mark humanity's future, as they have shaped its past. Neither individual governments nor the global community can entirely prevent the emergence of infectious threats. But we can be much better prepared.

Semipalmated Sandpiper (Calidris pusilla) populations have undergone significant declines at core nonbreeding sites in northeastern South America. Breeding populations have also declined in the eastern North American Arctic, but appear to be stable or increasing in the central and western Arctic.

Coastal flooding in the Yucatan Peninsula is mainly associated with storm surge events triggered by high-pressure cold fronts systems passing through the Gulf of Mexico. To assess coastal flood hazards, this study uses a thirty-year water level hindcast, and considers the contribution of wave setup and the role of tidal hydrodynamics. To diagnose the mechanisms controlling the water levels, extreme sea level occurrence probability at Progreso Port was performed to identify the two worst storms in terms of maximum residual tide (Event A), and maximum water level (Event B).

The Central America region is generously endowed with water resources, but concerns are growing about water scarcity in parts of the region. This can mean both a physical lack of water and a lack of mechanisms and actions for effectively managing, allocating, and developing water resources.

Central America is undergoing an important transition. Urban populations are increasing at accelerated speeds, bringing pressing challenges for development, as well as opportunities to boost sustained, inclusive and resilient growth.

Functional trait diversity is increasingly used to model future changes in community structure despite a poor understanding of community disassembly's effects on functional diversity. By tracking the functional diversity of the North American large mammal fauna through the End-Pleistocene megafaunal extinction and up to the present, I show that contrary to expectations, functionally unique species are no more likely to go extinct than functionally redundant species. This makes total functional richness loss no worse than expected given similar taxonomic richness declines.

To reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the coming decades, many governments will have to reform their energy policies. These policies are difficult to measure with any precision. As a result, it is unclear whether progress has been made towards important energy policy reforms, such as reducing fossil fuel subsidies. We use new data to measure net taxes and subsidies for gasoline in almost all countries at the monthly level and find evidence of both progress and backsliding. From 2003 to 2015, gasoline taxes rose in 83 states but fell in 46 states.

Researchers brave polar bears, mosquitoes and gull attacks in the Canadian Arctic to investigate an alarming die off.

Original Source