Legislative & Regulatory Update

NASA's latest satellite data reveals global sea level rise

Climate Change News - ENN - August 27, 2015 - 9:49am
Global sea levels have risen nearly 3 inches in less than 25 years, with some locations around the world rising more than 9 inches, according to NASA’s latest satellite data. An intensive research effort now underway, aided by NASA observations and analysis, points to an unavoidable rise of several feet in the future.

Carbon Credits Under Kyoto Protocol Actually Increased Emissions

Climate Change News - ENN - August 27, 2015 - 8:28am
At the end of November, governments will come together in Paris to hammer out agreements for a successor to the Kyoto Protocol. Under the KP, there are two greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions offsetting mechanisms: joint implementation (JI) and the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).JI allows countries with emissions-reduction commitments under the Kyoto Protocol to generate Emission Reduction Units (ERUs) from GHG reduction projects and transfer them to other countries. Almost 872 million ERUs had been issued under JI as of March 2015, about a third of all Kyoto offset credits. In a nutshell, JIs are carbon credits and include things like reforestation projects.

The Fingerprints of Sea Level Rise

Climate Change News - ENN - August 26, 2015 - 3:49pm
When you fill a sink, the water rises at the same rate to the same height in every corner. That's not the way it works with our rising seas.According to the 23-year record of satellite data from NASA and its partners, the sea level is rising a few millimeters a year -- a fraction of an inch. If you live on the U.S. East Coast, though, your sea level is rising two or three times faster than average. If you live in Scandinavia, it's falling. Residents of China's Yellow River delta are swamped by sea level rise of more than nine inches (25 centimeters) a year.These regional differences in sea level change will become even more apparent in the future, as ice sheets melt. For instance, when the Amundsen Sea sector of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is totally gone, the average global sea level will rise four feet. But the East Coast of the United States will see an additional 14 to 15 inches above that average.

Arctic may help remove, not add, methane

Climate Change News - ENN - August 25, 2015 - 9:54am
In addition to melting icecaps and imperiled wildlife, a significant concern among scientists is that higher Arctic temperatures brought about by climate change could result in the release of massive amounts of carbon locked in the region’s frozen soil in the form of carbon dioxide and methane. However, new research led by Princeton University researchers and published in The ISME Journal in August suggests that, thanks to methane-hungry bacteria, the majority of Arctic soil might actually be able to absorb methane from the atmosphere rather than release it. 

How a warming climate is impacting wild boar in Europe

Climate Change News - ENN - August 23, 2015 - 8:54am
Increasingly mild winters have caused an abundance of acorns and beech nuts in Europe's woodlands, writes Paul Brown, triggering a wild boar population explosion - just one of the effects of warming climate on wildlife populations.​Wild boar populations in Europe are getting out of control - and scientists are blaming climate change.There are now millions of wild boar spreading out from their preferred woodland habitat, moving into city suburbs, and even crossing national boundaries to countries that had thought they were extinct.

Cellphone location data shown to help track infectious disease

Tracking mobile phone data is often associated with privacy issues, but these vast datasets could be the key to understanding how infectious diseases are spread seasonally, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Princeton University and Harvard University researchers used anonymous mobile phone records for more than 15 million people to track the spread of rubella in Kenya and were able to quantitatively show for the first time that mobile phone data can predict seasonal disease patterns. Harnessing mobile phone data in this way could help policymakers guide and evaluate health interventions like the timing of vaccinations and school closings, the researchers said. The researchers' methodology also could apply to a number of seasonally transmitted diseases such as the flu and measles.

Scientists Warn of Air Pollution Risks in West Africa

Climate Change News - ENN - August 21, 2015 - 2:55pm
New research by European and African scientists, including a team from the University of York, warns of the risks posed by the increasing air pollution over the cities of West Africa – amid fears it could have an impact on human health, meteorology and regional climate.

Is the California Drought Causing Land to Sink?

As Californians continue pumping groundwater in response to the historic drought, the California Department of Water Resources today released a new NASA report showing land in the San Joaquin Valley is sinking faster than ever before, nearly 2 inches (5 centimeters) per month in some locations.

Is the California Drought Causing Land to Sink?

Climate Change News - ENN - August 21, 2015 - 9:56am
As Californians continue pumping groundwater in response to the historic drought, the California Department of Water Resources today released a new NASA report showing land in the San Joaquin Valley is sinking faster than ever before, nearly 2 inches (5 centimeters) per month in some locations.

MIT analysis improves estimates of global mercury pollution

Once mercury is emitted into the atmosphere from the smokestacks of power plants, the pollutant has a complicated trajectory; even after it settles onto land and sinks into oceans, mercury can be re-emitted back into the atmosphere repeatedly. This so-called “grasshopper effect” keeps the highly toxic substance circulating as “legacy emissions” that, combined with new smokestack emissions, can extend the environmental effects of mercury for decades.Now an international team led by MIT researchers has conducted a new analysis that provides more accurate estimates of sources of mercury emissions around the world. The analysis pairs measured air concentrations of mercury with a global simulation to calculate the fraction of mercury that is either re-emitted or that originates from power plants and other anthropogenic activities. The result of this work, researchers say, could improve estimates of mercury pollution, and help refine pollution-control strategies around the world.

MIT analysis improves estimates of global mercury pollution

Climate Change News - ENN - August 21, 2015 - 8:26am
Once mercury is emitted into the atmosphere from the smokestacks of power plants, the pollutant has a complicated trajectory; even after it settles onto land and sinks into oceans, mercury can be re-emitted back into the atmosphere repeatedly. This so-called “grasshopper effect” keeps the highly toxic substance circulating as “legacy emissions” that, combined with new smokestack emissions, can extend the environmental effects of mercury for decades.Now an international team led by MIT researchers has conducted a new analysis that provides more accurate estimates of sources of mercury emissions around the world. The analysis pairs measured air concentrations of mercury with a global simulation to calculate the fraction of mercury that is either re-emitted or that originates from power plants and other anthropogenic activities. The result of this work, researchers say, could improve estimates of mercury pollution, and help refine pollution-control strategies around the world.

China's carbon emissions may be lower than estimated

Climate Change News - ENN - August 20, 2015 - 2:30pm
The IPCC has over-estimated China's emissions since 2000 by 14%, almost 3 gigatonnes of carbon since 2000, while its energy consumption has been 10% higher than realised, writes Eliza Berlage. The country is far more carbon-efficient than we ever knew.

Scientists discover what causes soil acidification

Climate Change News - ENN - August 19, 2015 - 3:28pm
Australian and Chinese scientists have made significant progress in determining what causes soil acidification – a discovery that could assist in turning back the clock on degraded croplands.

How will global food supply be affected by climate change?

Climate Change News - ENN - August 19, 2015 - 9:05am
In 2007, drought struck the bread baskets of Europe, Russia, Canada, and Australia. Global grain stocks were already scant, so wheat prices began to rise rapidly. When countries put up trade barriers to keep their own harvests from being exported, prices doubled, according to an index of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Just 3 years later, another spike in food prices contributed to the Arab Spring uprisings. Such weather-related crop disasters will become more likely with climate change, warns a detailed report released today by the Global Food Security (GFS) program, a network of public research funding agencies in the United Kingdom.

Long term ocean cooling ended with global warming

Climate Change News - ENN - August 18, 2015 - 8:18am
Prior to the advent of human-caused global warming in the 19th century, the surface layer of Earth's oceans had undergone 1,800 years of a steady cooling trend, according to a new study. During the latter half of this cooling period, the trend was most likely driven by large and frequent volcanic eruptions.An international team of researchers reported these findings in the August 17, 2015 issue of the journal Nature Geoscience. The study also indicates that the coolest temperatures occurred during the Little Ice Age--a period that spanned the 16th through 18th centuries and was known for cooler average temperatures over land.

Neighborhood electric vehicles

Regulatory news - ENN - August 17, 2015 - 8:23am
While much of the focus of late has been upon mainstream electric vehicles it seems as though the popularity of Neighborhood electric vehicles continues to grow. These vehicles have a history which is far more successful than there larger electric vehicle counterparts but receive very little in the way publicity or promotion. The Global Electric Motor (GEM) brand is by far and away the best known brand in this particular sector having changed hands on numerous occasions in the past.So, why is it that NEVs continue to sneak under the radar yet gain in popularity?

Neighborhood electric vehicles

Climate Change News - ENN - August 17, 2015 - 8:23am
While much of the focus of late has been upon mainstream electric vehicles it seems as though the popularity of Neighborhood electric vehicles continues to grow. These vehicles have a history which is far more successful than there larger electric vehicle counterparts but receive very little in the way publicity or promotion. The Global Electric Motor (GEM) brand is by far and away the best known brand in this particular sector having changed hands on numerous occasions in the past.So, why is it that NEVs continue to sneak under the radar yet gain in popularity?

Commentary on the US plan to reduce carbon emissions

Regulatory news - ENN - August 16, 2015 - 8:45am
President Obama's plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions may look like a climate victory, writes Tim Kruger - but it's no such thing. It's feeble because the US can meet its targets by reducing emissions to 2030 more slowly than it has since 2000. And it's fragile as any future President can scrap it at will.Climate change-denying Republicans hate this plan (of course), therefore all good climate realists see it as a triumph. But it is a tiny, tiny step in the right direction and climatically immaterial.No doubt, you heard the good news. Barack Obama has announced the US is pushing through plans to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Rejoice! Rejoice! We've got this climate problem licked - hurrah!

Commentary on the US plan to reduce carbon emissions

Climate Change News - ENN - August 16, 2015 - 8:45am
President Obama's plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions may look like a climate victory, writes Tim Kruger - but it's no such thing. It's feeble because the US can meet its targets by reducing emissions to 2030 more slowly than it has since 2000. And it's fragile as any future President can scrap it at will.Climate change-denying Republicans hate this plan (of course), therefore all good climate realists see it as a triumph. But it is a tiny, tiny step in the right direction and climatically immaterial.No doubt, you heard the good news. Barack Obama has announced the US is pushing through plans to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Rejoice! Rejoice! We've got this climate problem licked - hurrah!

US EPA proposes regulations to reduce methane emissions from landfills

Climate Change News - ENN - August 15, 2015 - 8:53am
As part of the Administration's Climate Action Plan – Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued two proposals to further reduce emissions of methane-rich gas from municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills. Under today’s proposals, new, modified and existing landfills would begin collecting and controlling landfill gas at emission levels nearly a third lower than current requirements. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas with a global warming potential more than 25 times that of carbon dioxide. Climate change threatens the health and welfare of current and future generations. Children, older adults, people with heart or lung disease and people living in poverty may be most at risk from the health impacts of climate change. In addition to methane, landfills also emit other pollutants, including the air toxics benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and vinyl chloride. 

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