Legislative & Regulatory Update

ACC Applauds Signing of Bipartisan Chemical Security Bill into Law

Chemical Safety - December 19, 2014 - 8:58am
In the closing days of the 113th Congress, President Barack Obama signed into law H.R. 4007, the “Protecting and Securing Chemical Facilities from Terrorist Attacks Act of 2014.”

Greenland may lose ice more rapidly than previously thought

Climate Change News - ENN - December 17, 2014 - 8:54am
The Greenland Ice Sheet is the second-largest body of ice on Earth. It covers an area about five times the size of New York State and Kansas combined, and if it melts completely, oceans could rise by 20 feet. Coastal communities from Florida to Bangladesh would suffer extensive damage. Now, a new study is revealing just how little we understand this northern behemoth.

Something new to blame climate change on: Beavers.

Climate Change News - ENN - December 17, 2014 - 8:38am
There are consequences of the successful efforts worldwide to save beavers from extinction. Along with the strong increase in their population over the past 100 years, these furry aquatic rodents have built many more ponds, establishing vital aquatic habitat. In doing so, however, they have created conditions for climate changing methane gas to be generated in this shallow standing water, and the gas is subsequently released into the atmosphere. In fact, 200 times more of this greenhouse gas is released from beaver ponds today than was the case around the year 1900, estimates Colin J. Whitfield of the University of Saskatchewan in Canada. He led a study in Springer's journal AMBIO about the effect that the growth in beaver numbers in Eurasia and the Americas could be having on methane emissions.The fur trade of the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries nearly led to the extinction of beaver populations worldwide. After trapping was limited and conservation efforts led to the re-introduction of these animals into their natural ranges, the number of North American (Castor canadensis) and Eurasian (Castor fiber)beavers grew. The North American beaver has also been introduced to Eurasia and South America (specifically the archipelago of Tierra del Fuego); establishment of these populations has, in effect, created an anthropogenic greenhouse gas source in these landscapes.

Study shows the effect that growing beaver population is having on habitat and methane gas emissions

Climate Change News - ENN - December 16, 2014 - 11:02am
There are consequences of the successful efforts worldwide to save beavers from extinction. Along with the strong increase in their population over the past 100 years, these furry aquatic rodents have built many more ponds, establishing vital aquatic habitat. In doing so, however, they have created conditions for climate changing methane gas to be generated in this shallow standing water, and the gas is subsequently released into the atmosphere. In fact, 200 times more of this greenhouse gas is released from beaver ponds today than was the case around the year 1900, estimates Colin J. Whitfield of the University of Saskatchewan in Canada. He led a study in Springer's journal AMBIO² about the effect that the growth in beaver numbers in Eurasia and the Americas could be having on methane emissions.The fur trade of the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries nearly led to the extinction of beaver populations worldwide. After trapping was limited and conservation efforts led to the re-introduction of these animals into their natural ranges, the number of North American (Castor canadensis) and Eurasian (Castor fiber) beavers grew. The North American beaver has also been introduced to Eurasia and South America (specifically the archipelago of Tierra del Fuego); establishment of these populations has, in effect, created an anthropogenic greenhouse gas source in these landscapes.

Earth grows new layer under Icelandic Volcano

New research into an Icelandic eruption has shed light on how the Earth’s crust forms, according to a paper published today in Nature. When the Bárðarbunga volcano, which is buried beneath Iceland’s Vatnajökull ice cap, reawakened in August 2014, scientists had a rare opportunity to monitor how the magma flowed through cracks in the rock away from the volcano.

Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum had similarities to current warming

Climate Change News - ENN - December 16, 2014 - 7:55am
The rate at which carbon emissions warmed Earth’s climate almost 56 million years ago resembles modern, human-caused global warming much more than previously believed, but involved two pulses of carbon to the atmosphere, University of Utah researchers and their colleagues found.The findings mean the so-called Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum, or PETM, can provide clues to the future of modern climate change. The good news: Earth and most species survived. The bad news: It took millennia to recover from the episode, when temperatures rose by 5 to 8 degrees Celsius (9 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit).

Road Salt Increases Urban Stream Contamination

Climate Change News - ENN - December 15, 2014 - 3:54pm
Average chloride concentrations often exceed toxic levels in many northern United States streams due to the use of salt to deice winter pavement, and the frequency of these occurrences nearly doubled in two decades. Chloride levels increased substantially in 84 percent of urban streams analyzed, according to a U.S. Geological Survey study that began as early as 1960 at some sites and ended as late as 2011. Levels were highest during the winter, but increased during all seasons over time at the northern sites, including near Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Chicago, Illinois; Denver, Colorado; and other metropolitan areas. The report was published today in the journal Science of the Total Environment.

Update on Climate Change talks in Lima, Peru

Climate Change News - ENN - December 15, 2014 - 10:44am
In the early hours of Sunday morning, bleary-eyed dealmakers from nearly 200 countries and the European Union set a framework for an agreement that would take an unprecedented approach to slowing climate change. Critically, however, they also delayed a host of decisions until next year, which could make reaching a landmark pact even more difficult.With a large rally in New York to complement it, the United Nations held a Climate Summit in September. Tara explains what the gathering was really all about.

An app to save 400 million animals

Brazilian biologist Alex Bager has been leading a crusade to raise awareness of a major but neglected threat to biodiversity in his country.Every year over 475 million animals die in Brazil as victims of roadkill, according to an estimate by Centro Brasileiro de Ecologia de Estradas (the Brazilian Centre for the Study of Road Ecology) or CBEE, an initiative funded and coordinated by Bager. This means 15 animals are run down every second on Brazilian roads and highways."The numbers are really scary and we need people to know about them," Bager said.To register cases of roadkill throughout the country, Bager came up with the idea of an app, now used by thousands of citizen scientists. And a national day of action in November saw hundreds of volunteers participate in events to highlight the impact of roadkill on biodiversity. 

WWF: Climate Change talks disappointing

Climate Change News - ENN - December 14, 2014 - 10:02am
The WWF issued the following statement from Samantha Smith, Leader of WWF’s Global Climate and Energy Initiative at the close of the UN climate talks in Lima, Peru: “Against the backdrop of extreme weather in the Philippines and potentially the hottest year ever recorded, governments at the UN climate talks in Lima opted for a half-baked plan to cut emissions. “Governments crucially failed to agree on specific plans to cut emissions before 2020 that would have laid the groundwork for ending the fossil fuel era and accelerated the move toward renewable energy and increased energy efficiency. 

Solar power shines brightly in the UK

Climate Change News - ENN - December 13, 2014 - 10:52am
Solar power has a sunny future - even without any major breakthroughs, writes Ralph Gottschalg. There are huge gains to be made simply by getting smarter and using existing technologies more effectively. A new report shows that - given political support - solar PV could be competitive in the UK by 2020.PV can achieve the costs required to survive - without subsidies, and without any step change in technology. All it needs is the political will. 

New report finds bamboo may help mitigate climate change, reduce fossil fuel use, protect forests

Climate Change News - ENN - December 12, 2014 - 10:03am
Restoring degraded land and forests with the world’s fastest growing plant, bamboo, can contribute to major carbon emission reductions. This is according to a new report released at the COP20 in Lima by the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR) that discusses the massive potential of bamboo in fighting global warming, with bamboo forests projected to store more than one million tons of carbon by 2050 in China alone. 

Nitrous Oxide emissions and Ice Ages

Climate Change News - ENN - December 11, 2014 - 8:01am
Nitrous oxide (N2O) is an important greenhouse gas that doesn’t receive as much notoriety as carbon dioxide or methane, but a new study confirms that atmospheric levels of N2O rose significantly as the Earth came out of the last ice age and addresses the cause.An international team of scientists analyzed air extracted from bubbles enclosed in ancient polar ice from Taylor Glacier in Antarctica, allowing for the reconstruction of the past atmospheric composition. The analysis documented a 30 percent increase in atmospheric nitrous oxide concentrations from 16,000 years ago to 10,000 years ago. This rise in N2O was caused by changes in environmental conditions in the ocean and on land, scientists say, and contributed to the warming at the end of the ice age and the melting of large ice sheets that then existed.

ACC Applauds Senate Action to Safeguard Chemical Facilities

Chemical Safety - December 10, 2014 - 8:33am
The legislation provides a four-year authorization of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS).

Warming climate puts wetlands more at risk to invasive species

Climate Change News - ENN - December 10, 2014 - 7:55am
In the battle between native and invasive wetland plants, a new Duke University study finds climate change may tip the scales in favor of the invaders -- but it's going to be more a war of attrition than a frontal assault."Changing surface-water temperatures, rainfall patterns and river flows will likely give Japanese knotweed, hydrilla, honeysuckle, privet and other noxious invasive species an edge over less adaptable native species," said Neal E. Flanagan, visiting assistant professor at the Duke Wetland Center, who led the research. 

Abandoned Wells Identified as Greenhouse Gas 'Super-emitters'

Climate Change News - ENN - December 9, 2014 - 1:32pm
Princeton University researchers have uncovered a previously unknown, and possibly substantial, source of the greenhouse gas methane to the Earth's atmosphere. After testing a sample of abandoned oil and natural gas wells in northwestern Pennsylvania, the researchers found that many of the old wells leaked substantial quantities of methane. 

Do Wind Turbines Affect Property Values?

Wind turbine developments have no effect on property values of nearby homes and farms, according to new research from the University of Guelph. Published in a recent issue of the Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics, the study is believed the first peer-reviewed study on this issue in Canada.

Sandia Labs study points to advantages of storing hydrogen in salt mines

Large-scale storage of low-pressure, gaseous hydrogen in salt caverns and other underground sites for transportation fuel and grid-scale energy applications offers several advantages over above-ground storage, says a recent Sandia National Laboratories study sponsored by the Department of Energy’s Fuel Cell Technologies Office.Geologic storage of hydrogen gas could make it possible to produce and distribute large quantities of hydrogen fuel for the growing fuel cell electric vehicle market, the researchers concluded.Geologic storage solutions can service a number of key hydrogen markets since “costs are more influenced by the geology available rather than the size of the hydrogen market demand,” said Sandia’s Anna Snider Lord, the study’s principal investigator.

Sandia Labs study points to advantages of storing hydrogen in salt mines

Climate Change News - ENN - December 9, 2014 - 7:59am
Large-scale storage of low-pressure, gaseous hydrogen in salt caverns and other underground sites for transportation fuel and grid-scale energy applications offers several advantages over above-ground storage, says a recent Sandia National Laboratories study sponsored by the Department of Energy’s Fuel Cell Technologies Office.Geologic storage of hydrogen gas could make it possible to produce and distribute large quantities of hydrogen fuel for the growing fuel cell electric vehicle market, the researchers concluded.Geologic storage solutions can service a number of key hydrogen markets since “costs are more influenced by the geology available rather than the size of the hydrogen market demand,” said Sandia’s Anna Snider Lord, the study’s principal investigator.

ACC's Dr. Rick Becker to Receive Prestigious Society of Toxicology Award

Chemical Safety - December 9, 2014 - 6:15am
Society to present Arnold J. Lehman Award to Dr. Becker at SOT Annual Meeting in March.

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