Legislative & Regulatory Update

Bees Are Declared Endangered for the First Time in the U.S.

Regulatory news - ENN - October 7, 2016 - 8:09am
For the first time in history, a group of bees in the U.S. will be protected under the Endangered Species Act, following a recent announcement from wildlife officials.The group of bees, who are commonly known as yellow-faced bees because of the markings on their faces, are endemic only to the Hawaiian islands. While there are dozens of species, scientists identified several of them who are at risk of extinction and have been calling for their protection for years.

NASA Sees Hurricane Matthew Regain Category 4 Status

Climate Change News - ENN - October 6, 2016 - 4:56pm
A visible image showing powerful Hurricane Matthew and Nicole on Oct. 6 at 1 p.m. EDT was captured by NOAA's GOES-East satellite. The image shows large Hurricane Matthew's clouds stretching from eastern Cuba and Hispaniola, over the Bahamas and extending to Florida. Matthew is west of the much smaller Tropical Storm Nicole. The image was created at the NASA/NOAA GOES Project at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. 

Hydrogen-powered passenger ferry in San Francisco Bay is possible

Climate Change News - ENN - October 6, 2016 - 11:56am
Nearly two years ago, Sandia National Laboratories researchers Joe Pratt and Lennie Klebanoff set out to answer one not-so-simple question: Is it feasible to build and operate a high-speed passenger ferry solely powered by hydrogen fuel cells? The answer is yes.The details behind that answer are in a recent report, “Feasibility of the SF-BREEZE: a Zero Emission, Hydrogen Fuel Cell High Speed Passenger Ferry.” SF-BREEZE stands for San Francisco Bay Renewable Energy Electric Vessel with Zero Emissions.

Efficient organic solar cells with very low driving force

It was believed that efficient operation of organic solar cells requires a large driving force, which limits the efficiency of organic solar cells. Now, a large group of researchers led by Feng Gao, lecturer at IFM at LiU, He Yan at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and Kenan Gundogdu at the North Carolina State University have developed efficient organic solar cells with very low driving force.This implies that the intrinsic limitations of organic solar cells are no greater than those of other photovoltaic technologies, bringing them a step closer to commercialisation.

Urban Warming Slows Tree Growth, Photosynthesis

Climate Change News - ENN - October 6, 2016 - 8:07am
New research from North Carolina State University finds that urban warming reduces growth and photosynthesis in city trees. The researchers found that insect pests are part of the problem, but that heat itself plays a more significant role.

Non-toxic solvent removes barrier to commercialisation of perovskite solar cells

Scientists at Oxford University have developed a solvent system with reduced toxicity that can be used in the manufacture of perovskite solar cells, clearing one of the barriers to the commercialisation of a technology that promises to revolutionise the solar industry.Perovskites – a family of materials with the crystal structure of calcium titanate – have been described as a 'wonder material' and shown to be almost as efficient as silicon in harnessing solar energy, as well as being significantly cheaper to produce.

UC Researcher Develops Clean Water-Treatment Option to Target Sporadic Outbreaks

A University of Cincinnati scientist has engineered an environmentally friendly technology to zap outbreak-causing viruses and bacteria from public drinking water.Environmental and biomedical engineer David Wendell, an associate professor in UC’s College of Engineering and Applied Science, developed a protein-based photocatalyst that uses light to generate hydrogen peroxide to eliminate E. coli, Listeria, and potentially protozoa like giardia and cryptosporidium.

The Psychology Behind Climate Change Denial

Regulatory news - ENN - October 5, 2016 - 7:53am
Climate change is a serious threat to humans, animals, and the earth’s ecosystems. Nevertheless, effective climate action has been delayed, partly because some still deny that there is a problem. In a new thesis in psychology, Kirsti Jylhä at Uppsala University has studied the psychology behind climate change denial. The results show that individuals who accept hierarchical power structures tend to a larger extent deny the problem.In the scientific community there is a strong consensus that humans have significantly affected the climate and that we are facing serious challenges. But there is a lot of misinformation about climate change in circulation, which to a large part is created and distributed by organised campaigns with the aim of postponing measures that could combat climate change. And there are people who are more prone than others to trust this misinformation.Previous research has consistently shown that it is more common among politically conservative individuals to deny climate change. In her thesis, Kirsti Jylhä has investigated this further and in more detail. Her studies included ideological and personality variables which correlate with political ideology, and tested if those variables also correlate with climate change denial.

The Psychology Behind Climate Change Denial

Climate Change News - ENN - October 5, 2016 - 7:53am
Climate change is a serious threat to humans, animals, and the earth’s ecosystems. Nevertheless, effective climate action has been delayed, partly because some still deny that there is a problem. In a new thesis in psychology, Kirsti Jylhä at Uppsala University has studied the psychology behind climate change denial. The results show that individuals who accept hierarchical power structures tend to a larger extent deny the problem.In the scientific community there is a strong consensus that humans have significantly affected the climate and that we are facing serious challenges. But there is a lot of misinformation about climate change in circulation, which to a large part is created and distributed by organised campaigns with the aim of postponing measures that could combat climate change. And there are people who are more prone than others to trust this misinformation.Previous research has consistently shown that it is more common among politically conservative individuals to deny climate change. In her thesis, Kirsti Jylhä has investigated this further and in more detail. Her studies included ideological and personality variables which correlate with political ideology, and tested if those variables also correlate with climate change denial.

New Technology Helps Pinpoint Sources of Water Contamination

Regulatory news - ENN - October 4, 2016 - 3:01pm
Berkeley Lab develops better method of environmental monitoring using the PhyloChip, finds surprising results in Russian River watershedWhen the local water management agency closes your favorite beach due to unhealthy water quality, how reliable are the tests they base their decisions on? As it turns out, those tests, as well as the standards behind them, have not been updated in decades. Now scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed a highly accurate, DNA-based method to detect and distinguish sources of microbial contamination in water.

New Technology Helps Pinpoint Sources of Water Contamination

Berkeley Lab develops better method of environmental monitoring using the PhyloChip, finds surprising results in Russian River watershedWhen the local water management agency closes your favorite beach due to unhealthy water quality, how reliable are the tests they base their decisions on? As it turns out, those tests, as well as the standards behind them, have not been updated in decades. Now scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed a highly accurate, DNA-based method to detect and distinguish sources of microbial contamination in water.

Future increase in plant photosynthesis revealed by seasonal carbon dioxide cycle

Climate Change News - ENN - October 4, 2016 - 8:11am
Doubling of the carbon dioxide concentration will cause global plant photosynthesis to increase by about one third, according to a paper published in the journal NatureThe study has relevance for the health of the biosphere because photosynthesis provides the primary food-source for animal life, but it also has great relevance for future climate change.

Farming with forests

Climate Change News - ENN - October 3, 2016 - 3:28pm
Feeding the world’s burgeoning population is a major challenge for agricultural scientists and agribusinesses, who are busy developing higher-yielding crop varieties. Yet University of Illinois researchers stress that we should not overlook sustainability in the frenzy to achieve production goals.More than a third of the global land area is currently in food production. This figure is likely to expand, leading to deforestation, habitat loss, and weakening of essential ecosystem services, according to U of I agroecologist Sarah Taylor Lovell and graduate student Matt Wilson. To address these and other problems, they are promoting an unconventional solution: agroforestry.

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