In a discovery that should have been the lead story on most networks this week, scientists at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee have discovered an incredible chemical reaction that not only turns CO2 into ethanol but does so with few contaminants and using common materials. It could prove a critical means for combatting climate change. For those who resist new pollution curbs, this type of technology is the type of advance that should warrant bipartisan support.
There is a fascinating study out this week where scientists at the University of Sydney in Australia have found that Tasmanian devil milk contains a remarkable collection of antimicrobial compounds. These compounds can kill some of the most deadly bacterial and fungal infections known to science including golden staph. While I would not want the job of milking Tasmanian devils down under at the farm, scientists are hopefully isolating these powerful compounds.
I will testify this morning before the United States House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology on the controversy over dueling state and federal investigations involving the climate change debate. After various state attorneys general announced investigations of Exxon Company over its opposition to climate change theories (including subpoenas either to or concerning conservation public interest groups), the Committee issued its own subpoenas to the prosecutors and environmental public interest groups involved in the campaign. That has triggered a confrontation as the prosecutors and environmental groups raised constitutional objections to the House subpoenas. The full committee hearing will start at 10 am in 2318 Rayburn House Office Building.
In another disgraceful move related to environmental damage, the Australian government has stripped out any reference to the Great Barrier Reef, the Northern Territory’s glorious Kakadu national park and Tasmania’s forests in a report on climate change. Equally disgraceful was the willingness of Unesco to knuckle under to any country that objected to such references in the report entitled “Destinations at Risk: World Heritage and Tourism in a Changing Climate.” The massive “bleaching” of the Great Barrier Reef has horrified people around the world as we watch the loss of this natural wonder to climate change and poor governmental policies, as we previously discussed.
Adidas, the German maker of sportswear and equipment, is moving back to Germany after shifting its operations to Asia for cheap labor. However, wages are increasing even in Asia so Adidas has found workers even cheaper: robots. Adidas will be making shoes again in Germany by 2017 but will employ relatively few actual Germans.