Legislative & Regulatory Update

Will more use of natural gas minimize or exacerbate climate change?

Climate Change News - ENN - December 8, 2014 - 3:46pm
Natural gas power plants produce substantial amounts of gases that lead to global warming. Replacing old coal-fired power plants with new natural gas plants could cause climate damage to increase over the next decades, unless their methane leakage rates are very low and the new power plants are very efficient.These are the principal findings of new research from Carnegie’s Ken Caldeira and Xiaochun Zhang, and Nathan Myhrvold of Intellectual Ventures that compares the temperature increases caused by different kinds of coal and natural gas power plants. Their work is published in Environmental Research Letters.

Warming streams contribute to warming Chesapeake Bay

Climate Change News - ENN - December 8, 2014 - 9:19am
The majority of streams in the Chesapeake Bay region are warming, and that increase appears to be driven largely by rising air temperatures. These findings are based on new U.S. Geological Survey research published in the journal Climatic Change.Researchers found an overall warming trend in air temperature of 0.023 C (0.041 F) per year, and in water temperature of 0.028 C (0.050 F) per year over 51 years.  This means that air temperature has risen 1.1 C (1.98 F), and water temperature has risen 1.4 C (2.52 F) between 1960 and 2010 in the Chesapeake Bay region. 

New Technology Brings Temperatures Down

Greek villages are famous for their glittering white walls and beautiful blue painted accents, which make them a dazzling sight whether you’re approaching the sea or looking out across them from the windows of your blessedly cool room — which stays cool even in the height of summer heat. If you look around, you might notice that there’s no air conditioning. The Greeks don’t need it, because their homes are specifically designed to control temperatures and keep people comfortable. Thick walls insulate rooms to keep temperatures stable, while those handsome white roofs and walls reflect heat.

Drugs released in environment affect plant growth

The drugs we release into the environment are likely to have a significant impact on plant growth, finds a new study led by the University of Exeter Medical School and Plymouth University. By assessing the impacts of a range of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, the research has shown that the growth of edible crops can be affected by these chemicals – even at the very low concentrations found in the environment.

The link between greenhouse gasses and African rainfall

Climate Change News - ENN - December 5, 2014 - 8:58am
New research demonstrates for the first time that an increase in greenhouse gas concentrations thousands of years ago was a key factor in causing substantially more rainfall in two major regions of Africa. The finding provides new evidence that the current increase in greenhouse gases will have an important impact on Africa’s future climate.The study, led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), is being published this week in Science.

The critical role crops play in the Earth's CO2 cycle

Climate Change News - ENN - December 4, 2014 - 1:13pm
Each year, the planet balances its budget. The carbon dioxide absorbed by plants in the spring and summer as they convert solar energy into food is released back to the atmosphere in autumn and winter. Levels of the greenhouse gas fall, only to rise again.But the budget has gotten bigger. Over the last five decades, the magnitude of this rise and fall has grown nearly 50 percent in the Northern Hemisphere, as the amount of the greenhouse gas taken in and released has increased. Now, new research shows that humans and their crops have a lot to do with it, highlighting the profound impact people have on the Earth’s atmosphere.

Study says today's carbon emissions take 10 years to reach maximum effect

Climate Change News - ENN - December 4, 2014 - 8:54am
The climate warming caused by a single carbon emission takes only about 10 years to reach its maximum effect. This is important because it refutes the common misconception that today’s emissions won’t be felt for decades and that they are a problem for future generations. For the first time, a study conducted by Carnegie's Katharine Ricke and Ken Caldeira has evaluated how long it takes to feel the maximum warming effect caused by a single carbon emission. Their work is published in Environmental Research Letters.

Melt rate of West Antarctic glaciers has tripled

Climate Change News - ENN - December 3, 2014 - 8:57am
A comprehensive, 21-year analysis of the fastest-melting region of Antarctica has found that the melt rate of glaciers there has tripled during the last decade. The glaciers in the Amundsen Sea Embayment in West Antarctica are hemorrhaging ice faster than any other part of Antarctica and are the most significant Antarctic contributors to sea level rise. This study is the first to evaluate and reconcile observations from four different measurement techniques to produce an authoritative estimate of the amount and the rate of loss over the last two decades.

Japan submits new proposal to continue "scientific" whaling program

Regulatory news - ENN - December 2, 2014 - 4:55pm
Earlier this year whales won a historic victory when the International Court of Justice ruled that Japan’s scientific whaling program in the Antarctic was illegal and ordered it be ended, but Japan is back at it with plans to continue under a new proposal. Despite a worldwide moratorium on commercial whaling that was put in place in 1986, Japan has continued with annual whale hunts that it claims are being conducted to collect scientific data. Whale advocates, however, have long argued that Japan has been abusing a loophole in the moratorium that allows for lethal scientific research whaling. Fortunately for whales, the court agreed, ruling that Japan’s program breached international law, had no justifications for the quotas it was setting and that it had failed to consider non-lethal alternatives under it’s JARPA II research program.

New study links carbon emissions and climate warming

Climate Change News - ENN - December 2, 2014 - 7:44am
Research has identified, for the first time, how global warming is related to the amount of carbon emitted.​A team of researchers from the universities of Southampton, Bristol and Liverpool have derived the first theoretical equation to demonstrate that global warming is a direct result of the build-up of carbon emissions since the late 1800s when human-made carbon emissions began. The results are in accord with previous data from climate models.The theoretical equation reveals the complex relationship between carbon dioxide levels and the ocean system. Burning fossil fuels increases atmospheric carbon dioxide levels leading to global warming and the greenhouse effect, which is partly offset by the oceans taking in both heat and carbon.

ACC Comments on EPA's Proposed Clean Power Plan

Environmental Regulations - December 1, 2014 - 12:19pm
EPA’s proposal is likely to make energy and electricity less reliable and more expensive.

What Drives the Global Warming Debate?

Climate Change News - ENN - December 1, 2014 - 12:09pm
Scientists have presented the most comprehensive evidence to date that climate extremes such as droughts and record temperatures are failing to change people’s minds about global warming. Instead, political orientation is the most influential factor in shaping perceptions about climate change, both in the short-term and long-term, said Sandra Marquart-Pyatt, a Michigan State University sociologist and lead investigator on the study.

Education is a key to climate change adaption

Climate Change News - ENN - December 1, 2014 - 5:19am
Given that some climate change is already unavoidable investing in empowerment through universal education should be an essential element in climate change adaptation efforts, which so far focus mostly in engineering projects, according to a new study from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA).The article draws upon extensive analysis of natural disaster data for 167 countries over the past four decades as well as a number of studies carried out in individual countries and regions, published last year in a special issue of the journal Ecology and Society. 

Think Geoengineering is a quick fix for global warming?

The deliberate, large-scale intervention in the Earth’s climate system is not a “quick fix” for global warming, according to the findings of the UK’s first publicly funded studies on geoengineering.The results of three projects – IAGP, led by the University of Leeds; SPICE, led by the University of Bristol; and CGG, led by the University of Oxford – are announced at an event held at The Royal Society, London, on 26 November.

Think Geoengineering is a quick fix for global warming?

Climate Change News - ENN - November 26, 2014 - 9:20am
The deliberate, large-scale intervention in the Earth’s climate system is not a “quick fix” for global warming, according to the findings of the UK’s first publicly funded studies on geoengineering.The results of three projects – IAGP, led by the University of Leeds; SPICE, led by the University of Bristol; and CGG, led by the University of Oxford – are announced at an event held at The Royal Society, London, on 26 November.

Europe's Plastic Bag Agreement Contested by Industry

Regulatory news - ENN - November 26, 2014 - 9:14am
As lawmakers reached agreement this week to limit the use of plastic bags across Europe, industry voices warned that such rules will have a negative impact on trade in Europe's internal market. The ban could also lead to different standards in legislation in member states and ultimately, to a ban on other types of packaging, according to PlasticsEurope, the association of plastics manufacturers. The European Parliament and the Council agreed on Friday (21 November) on EU-wide legislation obliging member states to reduce the use of plastic bags. The law will apply only to bags with a thickness below 0.05mm, because they are less reusable, and turn into waste more quickly.

ACC Statement on EPA Ozone Proposal

Environmental Regulations - November 26, 2014 - 5:00am
EPA Should Fully Implement Current Standard

Climate change, species extinctions and tipping points

Climate Change News - ENN - November 25, 2014 - 7:35am
Researchers from North Carolina State University have created a model that mimics how differently adapted populations may respond to rapid climate change. Their findings demonstrate that depending on a population's adaptive strategy, even tiny changes in climate variability can create a "tipping point" that sends the population into extinction.Carlos Botero, postdoctoral fellow with the Initiative on Biological Complexity and the Southeast Climate Science Center at NC State and assistant professor of biology at Washington State University, wanted to find out how diverse populations of organisms might cope with quickly changing, less predictable climate variations. 

World Bank warns effects of warming climate now unavoidable

Climate Change News - ENN - November 24, 2014 - 11:29am
As the planet continues to warm, heat-waves and other extreme weather events that today occur once in hundreds of years, if ever, will become the “new climate normal,” creating a world of increased risks and instability, a new World Bank study warns. The consequences for development would be severe as crop yields decline, water resources shift, sea-levels rise, and the livelihoods of millions of people are put at risk, according to a new scientific report released today by the World Bank Group.

Can Volcanic Eruptions Slow Global Warming?

Climate Change News - ENN - November 21, 2014 - 2:34pm
Small volcanic eruptions might eject more of an atmosphere-cooling gas into Earth’s upper atmosphere than previously thought, potentially contributing to the recent slowdown in global warming, according to a new study.

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