Legislative & Regulatory Update

First Mammal Goes Extinct From Manmade Climate Change

Climate Change News - ENN - June 17, 2016 - 8:23am
We’ve reached a sad milestone: Climate change has claimed its first mammal species. Scientists have been warning us that a large percentage of species will face extinction thanks to manmade global warming, and the future is unfortunately here.According to The Guardian, climate change’s first mammal victim was an adorable rodent known as the Bramble Cay melomys. Sometimes called a mosaic-tailed rat, the melomys was named after Bramble Cay, an Australian island close to Papua New Guinea, that was the only known home for the species.

What Would a Global Warming Increase of 1.5 Degrees Be Like?

Climate Change News - ENN - June 16, 2016 - 11:02am
How ambitious is the world? The Paris climate conference last December astounded many by pledging not just to keep warming “well below two degrees Celsius,” but also to "pursue efforts" to limit warming to 1.5 degrees C. That raised a hugely important question: What's the difference between a two-degree world and a 1.5-degree world?

Fossil record shows seas around Britain were once tropical

Climate Change News - ENN - June 16, 2016 - 7:51am
Some 210 million years ago, Britain consisted of many islands, surrounded by warm seas. Europe at the time lay farther south, at latitudes equivalent to North Africa today. Much of Europe was hot desert, and at this point was flooded by a great sea – the Rhaetian Transgression.Published in Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, the Bristol team's work is the most extensive study yet, based on more than 26,000 identified fossils, of the Rhaetian shallow sea sharks, bony fishes, marine reptiles, and other creatures. Unusually, five members of the team were undergraduates when they did the work, and this was part of a series of summer internships.The team was led by Ellen Mears, now a postgraduate at the University of Edinburgh, and Valentina Rossi, now a postgraduate at the University of Cork.Ellen Mears said: "I studied the shark and fish teeth, and found remains of at least seven species of sharks and four of bony fishes. The sharks were all predators, but some were quite small. The bony fishes were unusual because many of them were shell crushers." 

A Plan to Mute Ocean Noise for Marine Life

Imagine trying to relax in your home while being bombarded with the explosive sounds of shotgun blasts as well as freight trains rumbling by. For many whales, dolphins and other marine life that depend on their hearing to survive, there is no way to escape the loud, human-made noises in their ocean home. The main culprits are vessels like cargo ships, along with sonar guns used by the U.S. Navy and air guns used in seismic oil and gas exploration. Their blasts are so loud that they are known to change the behavior of blue whales. But now, in what Michael Jasny, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Marine Mammal Protection Project, Land & Wildlife Program, referred to as “a sea change in the way we manage ocean noise off our shores,” NOAA has announced it plans to take action to reduce the noise in entire marine ecosystems.

Philippines may lose 167,000 hectares to global warming

Climate Change News - ENN - June 14, 2016 - 4:22pm
More than 167,000 hectares of coastland -- about 0.6% of the country's total area -- are projected to go underwater in the Philippines, especially in low-lying island communities, according to research by the University of the Philippines.Low-lying countries with an abundance of coastlines are at significant risk from rising sea levels resulting from global warming. According to data by the World Meteorological Organisation, the water levels around the Philippines are rising at a rate almost three times the global average due partly to the influence of the trade winds pushing ocean currents.On average, sea levels around the world rise 3.1 centimetres every ten years. Water levels in the Philippines are projected to rise between 7.6 and 10.2 centimetres each decade. 

California Condor Population Reaches New Heights

Climate Change News - ENN - June 14, 2016 - 8:17am
After years of intense — and often controversial — restoration efforts, biologists are finally reporting some good news for the beleaguered California condor: More chicks are surviving in the wild, and the birds are becoming increasingly independent and expanding their range.Earlier this year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced what it called a milestone for the California condor: More chicks had hatched and fledged in the wild during 2015 than the number of condors that had died. In late March, Steve Kirkland, the agency’s condor field coordinator, reported that two more chicks had fledged in 2015 in Baja California, but had only just been discovered, bringing the total in the wild to 270.It was perhaps the most promising news about the condor in decades.

CDC publishes new map showing US locations of potential Zika-carrying mosquitoes

Climate Change News - ENN - June 14, 2016 - 8:10am
A few months ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a startling map that showed the parts of the U.S. that could harbor mosquitoes capable of carrying Zika. The map made it look like a vast swath of the country was at risk for Zika, including New England and the Upper Midwest. Well, not quite. On Thursday, CDC scientists published another mosquito map for the U.S. And it paints a very different picture.

US-India Pact on Renewables Will Help Keep Coal in the Ground

Climate Change News - ENN - June 13, 2016 - 12:47pm
President Barack Obama and Indian President Narendra Modi signed a pact last week, extending a commitment originally established in 2014, to join forces to combat climate change with a huge commitment to renewable energy.The pledge acknowledges commitments made in Paris last year at the COP21 climate talks and defines a path for both countries to achieve their nationally determined contributions (NDCs). In particular, the U.S. has pledged to support India, the world’s third largest carbon emitting country and second fastest growing economy, in its ambitious goal of deploying 175 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2022. That would bring it up to a level of renewable capacity comparable to the U.S. today.

New material has potential to cut costs and make nuclear fuel recycling cleaner

Researchers are investigating a new material that might help in nuclear fuel recycling and waste reduction by capturing certain gases released during reprocessing. Conventional technologies to remove these radioactive gases operate at extremely low, energy-intensive temperatures. By working at ambient temperature, the new material has the potential to save energy, make reprocessing cleaner and less expensive. The reclaimed materials can also be reused commercially.

Low ice, low snow, both poles

Climate Change News - ENN - June 10, 2016 - 10:12am
Daily Arctic sea ice extents for May 2016 tracked two to four weeks ahead of levels seen in 2012, which had the lowest September extent in the satellite record. Current sea ice extent numbers are tentative due to the preliminary nature of the DMSP F-18 satellite data, but are supported by other data sources. An unusually early retreat of sea ice in the Beaufort Sea and pulses of warm air entering the Arctic from eastern Siberia and northernmost Europe are in part driving below-average ice conditions. Snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere was the lowest in fifty years for April and the fourth lowest for May. Antarctic sea ice extent grew slowly during the austral autumn and was below average for most of May.

Is sunscreen bad for coral reefs?

Climate Change News - ENN - June 10, 2016 - 8:01am
You only use a little bit of sunscreen — a squeeze of the bottle or two or three sprays. Sure, it has some chemical ingredients, but it won’t kill anyone, right? Wrong. Sunscreen is actually one of the culprits of putting over 60 percent of the planet’s coral reefs in critical danger — and bringing a whole lot of other wildlife down with them.

Climate change mitigation: Turning CO2 into rock

Climate Change News - ENN - June 9, 2016 - 5:24pm
An international team of scientists have found a potentially viable way to remove anthropogenic (caused or influenced by humans) carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere - turn it into rock.The study, published today in Science, has shown for the first time that the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) can be permanently and rapidly locked away from the atmosphere, by injecting it into volcanic bedrock. The CO2 reacts with the surrounding rock, forming environmentally benign minerals.

The role of dam removal in river management in New England

Regulatory news - ENN - June 9, 2016 - 2:48pm
Dam removal in New England is not only an important aspect of river restoration but it also provides an opportunity to enhance the magnitude and rate of river re-connection, and improve watershed resilience in response to human impact on the environment, if a broader strategic removal approach is implemented throughout the region, according to a new Dartmouth-led study published in Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene.The study is the first interdisciplinary, region-wide assessment of the social and biophysical impacts of dam removal and was conducted by researchers at Dartmouth, American Rivers and the USDA Forest Service. 

The role of dam removal in river management in New England

Climate Change News - ENN - June 9, 2016 - 2:48pm
Dam removal in New England is not only an important aspect of river restoration but it also provides an opportunity to enhance the magnitude and rate of river re-connection, and improve watershed resilience in response to human impact on the environment, if a broader strategic removal approach is implemented throughout the region, according to a new Dartmouth-led study published in Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene.The study is the first interdisciplinary, region-wide assessment of the social and biophysical impacts of dam removal and was conducted by researchers at Dartmouth, American Rivers and the USDA Forest Service. 

Greenland's 2015 melt records consistent with 'Arctic amplification'

Climate Change News - ENN - June 9, 2016 - 12:40pm
Following record-high temperatures and melting records that affected northwest Greenland in summer 2015, a new study provides the first evidence linking melting in Greenland to the anticipated effects of a phenomenon known as Arctic amplification.

Renewable Energy Hit Record Levels in 2015

Climate Change News - ENN - June 8, 2016 - 5:19pm
A new report confirms that 2015 was a record-breaking year for renewable energy in which 147 Gigawatts of renewable electricity came online.That figure represents the largest annual increase ever recorded, and is due in part to the $286 billion invested in renewables. In fact, in 2015 almost twice as much money was spent on renewable energy, like solar and wind power, than fossil fuels like gas-fired power stations — only $130 billion.This information comes as part of the Renewables Global Status Report authored by the global renewable energy policy network known as REN21.  

Tropical Depression 1E dissipates

Climate Change News - ENN - June 8, 2016 - 5:10pm
Tropical Depression 1E or TD1E didn't get far from the time it was born to the time it weakened to a remnant low pressure area along the southwestern coast of Mexico. NOAA's GOES-West satellite captured an image of it remnant clouds.

Provisional names announced for super heavy elements 113, 115, 117, and 118

The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) Inorganic Chemistry Division has published a Provisional Recommendation for the names and symbols of the recently discovered superheavy elements 113, 115, 117, and 118.The provisional names for 115, 117 and 118 -- originally proposed by the discovering team from the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, Dubna, Russia; the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, California; and Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee -- will now undergo a statutory period for public review before the names and symbols can be finally approved by the IUPAC Council.

US counties could gain $1 million in annual health benefits from a power plant carbon standard

Climate Change News - ENN - June 7, 2016 - 5:08pm
Nearly all U.S. regions stand to gain economic benefits from power plant carbon standards that set moderately stringent emission targets and allow a high level of compliance flexibility, according to a new study by scientists from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Syracuse University, Resources for the Future, and the Harvard Forest, Harvard University as a project of the Science Policy Exchange.

Renewables versus climate change - the battle heats up!

Climate Change News - ENN - June 7, 2016 - 11:44am
The renewable energy revolution is in full swing, writes Jeremy Leggett, with costs falling to new lows, deployment of wind and solar surging to unprecedented highs, and confidence ebbing away from fossil fuels. But global warming is also accelerating, with global temperature records broken every month for a year. Will the energy transition happen in time to avert catastrophe?

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