Sarah Laskow

Sarah Laskow is a reporter based in New York City who covers environment, energy, and sustainability issues, among other things.

Cloning a mammoth: Totally gonna happen

Back in August, a team of scientists uncovered a woolly mammoth's thigh bone, which had been so well preserved in Siberian permafrost that it offered the possibility of creating a mammoth clone. And this weekend, a team of Japanese and Russian scientist announced that, yes, they are going to do this thing. Mammoth clones. They're coming. Scientists believe they can take DNA from the bone's marrow cells and use elephant egg cells and surrogates to birth a mammoth baby. Will those elephant surrogates be the world’s coolest elephants? YES. Also, they will sort of be their own great-great-great-great-great-grandmas. Obviously this …

New study shows three-quarters of global temperature rise is humans’ fault

A study published this weekend in Nature Geoscience has double-checked, and confirmed, the idea that climate change is mostly human-made. It uses "an alternative line of evidence" to prove that most observed climate change — 74 percent of it — comes from greenhouse-gas emissions, not natural variability. We basically knew that already, but it's always good to have independent confirmation. That’s kind of the difference between science and just saying shit on Fox News. What's more, the study states unequivocally that a pet climate skeptic theory (not our fault! more solar energy has reached the earth!) is just wrong. The …

Critical List: 74 percent of warming is human-made; Schwarzenegger takes on clean energy

A study quantified the share of climate change that can attributed to humans and found that at least 74 percent of warming is human-made. 2010 saw the biggest jump in carbon dioxide output, ever. The mission of Occupy Green/Red Chile is to keep the GM industry's hands off of New Mexico's peppers. Ah-nold doesn't think the government is doing enough to help out renewable energy and wants to hear what the Republican presidential candidates are going to do about it. OR ELSE. India's getting cheap solar power by making companies compete against each other at auctions for large projects. Greenpeace …

IKEA will ship disposable furniture on disposable pallets

IKEA knows from disposable. So when the company realized it could save money and shipping space by using cardboard shipping pallets, it tossed out its traditional wooden pallets like last year's BILLY bookshelf. The new pallets can support loads as heavy as the wooden pallets could, but they’re only a third as high and weigh 90 percent less. As a rule, more efficient shipping saves energy, because those monster boats that make globalization possible pig out on fossil fuels. On the other hand, the cardboard pallets will each only get one use. But they'll be recycled. But they come with …

Critical List: $4 billion for energy efficiency; SUVs rise again

President Obama and former President Clinton are announcing $4 billion to make buildings more energy efficient over the next two years. A fierce wind storm hit the West yesterday, taking down trees and fanning fires. Coke ditched those white, pro-polar bear holiday cans preeetttty fast. Apparently they confused Coke drinkers, some of whom thought the soda “tasted different in the white cans.” The Department of Energy and the Department of State are teaming up to work on energy issues. Apparently Scandinavians don't care that much about trees. All we hear about is carbon, carbon, carbon. What if cutting back on …

Fukushima nuclear reactor meltdown more terrifying than we thought

In a new report, Tokyo Electric Power company has revealed that the Fukushima meltdown probably did more damage and was more dangerous than anyone realized at the time. The report's based on a simulation, but that simulation indicated that the entire ration of fuel inside one reactor could have turned into a pile of molten goo. Molten nuclear goo has only one thought — DESTROY — and could have pulverized two-thirds of its concrete containment base. The simulation indicated that the situation wasn't quite so bad in the other reactors. Only 60 percent of the fuel dropped through the concrete …

Critical List: A small fracking victory; fracking still sucks

In New York, government officials are extending the public comment period on fracking rules. In Pennsylvania, a judge gave Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. permission to stop supplying fresh water to families whose well water was tainted by fracking operations. And the Chesapeake Bay Foundation used infrared video to document emissions pouring out of natural gas drilling sites all over the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Melting permafrost is going to dump carbon into the atmosphere faster than anyone expected. The clean energy standard is staging a comeback, thanks to Sen. Jeff Bingaman. Republicans are bringing unions and TransCanada execs to the …

How transit and smart growth are saving Cleveland

Cleveland is one of those ailing American cities constantly held up as an example of the country's decline. But The New York Times has taken a look at a revitalization plan the city's been working on and found that, in one uptown area at least, the city is actually growing. And the drivers of that expansion are (drumroll, please) transit and smart growth. One of the first projects the city invested in when it was starting out was a bus rapid transit line from the city's downtown to the uptown University Circle. With 12 million riders in three years, the …

Does your car really need that oil change? Probably not.

How often does a car need an oil change? Ask Jiffy Lube, and it's a flat 3,000 miles. According to car manufacturers, however, their products can go anywhere from a low of 5,000 miles to a high of 10,000 before an oil change is necessary. The Stranger crunched the numbers and found that if you listen to Jiffy Lube, you’re gonna waste a butt-ton of oil: The 67,380,000 gallons of motor oil Jiffy Lube customers don't need to buy each year are gleaned from more than one billion gallons of crude oil. The unnecessary oil consumption of Jiffy Lube customers …

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