Legislative & Regulatory Update

Diesel truck air pollution better thanks to California regulations

Regulatory news - ENN - December 21, 2014 - 8:37am
Ever wonder what's in the black cloud that emits from some semi trucks that you pass on the freeway? Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) scientist Thomas Kirchstetter knows very precisely what's in there, having conducted detailed measurements of thousands of heavy-duty trucks over months at a time at two San Francisco Bay Area locations.With a specially outfitted research van equipped with sophisticated monitors for several pollutant types, he and his team are studying emissions levels from diesel trucks to understand and analyze the impact of new control technologies and California air pollution regulations.

Some fish adapt to climate change by following their prey

Climate Change News - ENN - December 20, 2014 - 6:46am
Not all species may suffer from climate change. A new analysis shows that Dolly Varden, a species of char common in southeast Alaska, adjust their migrations so they can keep feasting on a key food source - salmon eggs - even as shifts in climate altered the timing of salmon spawning.The resiliency of species to climate change may depend on how well they adapt to climate-driven changes in their food and habitat, such as altered growth of plants they feed on. A mismatch in timing between predators and the availability of prey could cause some species to lose access to food. But others such as Dolly Varden that successfully adjust to shifts in climate and prey offer a climate change story with a happy ending, according to the study published in Freshwater Biology.

Is Australia on the wrong track on climate change?

Climate Change News - ENN - December 19, 2014 - 1:17pm
Despite record heat and drought Australia's emissions and coal exports are soaring, says a new report, and both are increasing as a matter of government policy. But a homegrown climate action movement is putting a spanner in the works - and just stopped its first coal train.Australia's response to climate change is headed completely backwards. If we can stop this new coal mine we set a precedent for the rest of Australia to stand up.

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.”

Organic Chemistry Found on Mars

NASA's Mars Curiosity rover has measured a tenfold spike in methane, an organic chemical, in the atmosphere around it and detected other organic molecules in a rock-powder sample collected by the robotic laboratory's drill. "This temporary increase in methane -- sharply up and then back down -- tells us there must be some relatively localized source," said Sushil Atreya of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, a member of the Curiosity rover science team. "There are many possible sources, biological or non-biological, such as interaction of water and rock."

The role of taxes (and EV's) in reducing CO2 emissions from cars in Europe analyzed

Climate Change News - ENN - December 19, 2014 - 8:43am
The Netherlands had the lowest CO2 emissions from new cars in the European Union last year, thanks to its tax regime favouring fuel economy and low-carbon vehicles.Germany and Poland are among the countries with the highest C02 emissions from new cars and the weakest national tax policies, a report by NGO Transport & Environment has found.Cars are responsible for 15% of Europe’s total CO2 emissions and are the single largest source of emissions in the transport sector. 

Study finds reefs reduce wave energy by 97%

We have a lot of stake in the coast. Coastal waters are where we host fisheries, build homes and turn to for tourism and recreation. So how should coastal communities, which comprise nearly 40 percent of the world's population, safeguard against flooding, erosion and violent weather? Marine scientist Michael Beck suggests the solution is growing right beneath some waves and, in many cases, it has been waiting there for thousands of years. 

New process turns biomass 'waste' into chemical products

A new catalytic process is able to convert what was once considered biomass waste into lucrative chemical products that can be used in fragrances, flavorings or to create high-octane fuel for racecars and jets. A team of researchers from Purdue University's Center for Direct Catalytic Conversion of Biomass to Biofuels, or C3Bio, has developed a process that uses a chemical catalyst and heat to spur reactions that convert lignin into valuable chemical commodities. Lignin is a tough and highly complex molecule that gives the plant cell wall its rigid structure.

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

Regulatory 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. 

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. 

Pages

Subscribe to AIChE aggregator - Legislative & Regulatory Update