The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.


Leave a comment

GMO Apple Comment Period Opens

A final, 30-day public comment period on USDA consideration of opening the United States to the growing and sales of genetically modified apples began Nov. 8 and will conclude on Dec. 9.

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is seeking public comment on its environmental assessment and plant risk assessment documents for the Arctic Golden Delicious and Arctic Granny Smith apples modified to be nonbrowning by Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc. of Summerland, B.C.

APHIS will only consider comments on the documents as to whether the apples are likely to pose environmental and plant pest risks, not general comments on genetically modified organisms, said Joel Brooks, marketing and communications specialist at Okanagan Specialty Fruits.

“We’re really excited. After three-and-a-half years, the assessments conclude it is safe and doesn’t pose risks. That’s very satisfying,” said Neal Carter, president of Okanagan Specialty Fruits.

He said he expects approval within 90 days in the United States and only slightly longer in Canada.

“We are closer than ever to bringing consumers and producers safe, value-added Arctic apples, providing greater convenience and reducing food waste,” Carter said.

An orchardist, Carter has been field testing his GMO apples for 10 years. Under USDA permits, trial plots are growing in Washington state and New York, Brooks said.

The apples have been modified not to brown when sliced by switching off a gene. The sliced apple business could save costs of antioxidant treatment to prevent browning and use of sliced apples could increase, Carter has said.

Also noted in the article:

The council submitted comments during the first U.S. public comment period in 2012. There were a total of 72,745 public comments and the majority were opposed, Schlect said.
Of that, 1,939 were unique comments and the rest were form responses, Brooks noted.


1 Comment

Swinging CO2 Levels Show The Earth Is ‘Breathing’ More Deeply

By Richard Harris | NPR

Plant life on our planet soaks up a fair amount of the carbon dioxide that pours out of our tailpipes and smokestacks. Plants take it up during the summer and return some of it to the air in the winter. And a new study shows that those “breaths” have gotten deeper over the past 50 years.

This isn’t just a curiosity. Plant life is helping to reduce the speed at which carbon dioxide is building up in our atmosphere. That’s slowing the global warming, at least marginally, so scientists are eager to understand how this process works. The new study provides some clues.

If you look at the graph of carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere, you’ll notice that it has climbed sharply over the past five decades, from about 315 parts per million to 400 parts per million. But that’s not the whole story. Continue reading


Leave a comment

Global Shipping Lanes Being Developed in the Arctic

Well. steer me sideways <i>(Image: Arctech)</i>

Thinning ice in the Arctic is making new shipping lanes possible. Olivier Dessibourg writes about a new breed of ice breaking vessels that can clear wider swathes of ice to boost the development of global shipping lanes in the Arctic. The article appeared in this month’s New Scientist on-line magazine.

THE clank of hammers, the grind of machinery and the crackle of welding torches echo in a seemingly endless shed at the Arctech Helsinki shipyard in Finland.
Since June, about 200 workers have been assembling the skeleton of the Baltika, the first of a new breed of ice-breaking ship designed to cut a wide path through Arctic ice with its asymmetric hull. On completion early next year, Baltika will enter service under the Russian flag, clearing the way for large ships bound for ports like St Petersburg in the Gulf of Finland. Continue reading