Legislative & Regulatory Update

Campus greenhouse gas emissions down 7 percent since 2014

Climate Change News - ENN - January 11, 2017 - 2:15pm
MIT’s total campus emissions have dropped by 7 percent since 2014, according to MIT’s second annual greenhouse gas inventory. The inventory, whose results were released by the MIT Office of Sustainability in collaboration with the Department of Facilities and the Environment, Health and Safety Office, measured campus emissions in fiscal year 2016, which runs from July 2015 through June 2016. The analysis provides a wealth of data to inform MIT’s carbon-reduction strategies going forward.

Testing how species respond to climate change

Climate Change News - ENN - January 11, 2017 - 12:22pm
Predicting how species will respond to climate change is a critical part of efforts to prevent widespread climate-driven extinction, or to predict its consequences for ecosystems.

Farthest Stars in Milky Way Might Be Ripped from Another Galaxy

The 11 farthest known stars in our galaxy are located about 300,000 light-years from Earth, well outside the Milky Way's spiral disk. New research by Harvard astronomers shows that half of those stars might have been ripped from another galaxy: the Sagittarius dwarf. Moreover, they are members of a lengthy stream of stars extending one million light-years across space, or 10 times the width of our galaxy.

Our Galaxy's Black Hole is Spewing Out Planet-size "Spitballs"

Every few thousand years, an unlucky star wanders too close to the black hole at the center of the Milky Way. The black hole's powerful gravity rips the star apart, sending a long streamer of gas whipping outward. That would seem to be the end of the story, but it's not. New research shows that not only can the gas gather itself into planet-size objects, but those objects then are flung throughout the galaxy in a game of cosmic "spitball."

A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections

Climate Change News - ENN - January 11, 2017 - 10:48am
You can pretty much put a mark in your calendar for when the annual flu epidemic begins. Using 20,000 virus samples and weather statistics, researchers have now discovered more details about how outdoor temperature and flu outbreaks are linked.

2016 was 2nd warmest year on record for U.S.

Climate Change News - ENN - January 11, 2017 - 10:24am
Last year will be remembered as warmer than average for much of the nation, and depending on where you live, 2016 was either parched, soggy — or both.

A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections

Climate Change News - ENN - January 11, 2017 - 10:20am
You can pretty much put a mark in your calendar for when the annual flu epidemic begins. Using 20,000 virus samples and weather statistics, researchers have now discovered more details about how outdoor temperature and flu outbreaks are linked.

Researchers find a potential target for anti-Alzheimer treatments

Scientists at the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) of the University of Luxembourg have identified a gene that may provide a new starting point for developing treatments for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The USP9 gene has an indirect influence on the so-called tau protein, which is believed to play a significant role in the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Warmer West Coast ocean conditions linked to increased risk of toxic shellfish

Climate Change News - ENN - January 10, 2017 - 2:26pm
Hazardous levels of domoic acid, a natural toxin that accumulates in shellfish, have been linked to warmer ocean conditions in waters off Oregon and Washington for the first time by a NOAA-supported research team, led by Oregon State University scientists.Domoic acid, produced by certain types of marine algae, can accumulate in shellfish, fish and other marine animals. Consuming enough of the toxin can be harmful or even fatal. Public health agencies and seafood managers closely monitor toxin levels and impose harvest closures where necessary to ensure that seafood remains safe to eat. NOAA is supporting research and new tools to help seafood industry managers stay ahead of harmful algae events that are increasing in frequency, intensity and scope.

Rapid Arctic warming has in the past shifted Southern Ocean winds

Climate Change News - ENN - January 10, 2017 - 11:28am
The global climate is a complex machine in which some pieces are separate yet others are connected. Scientists try to discover the connections to predict what will happen to our climate, especially in a future with more heat-trapping gases.

NASA Study Finds a Connection Between Wildfires and Drought

Climate Change News - ENN - January 10, 2017 - 11:03am
For centuries drought has come and gone across northern sub-Saharan Africa. In recent years, water shortages have been most severe in the Sahel—a band of semi-arid land situated just south of the Sahara Desert and stretching coast-to-coast across the continent, from Senegal and Mauritania in the west to Sudan and Eritrea in the east. Drought struck the Sahel most recently in 2012, triggering food shortages for millions of people due to crop failure and soaring food prices.

Insects feel the heat: scientists reveal rise in temperature affects ability to reproduce

Climate Change News - ENN - January 10, 2017 - 9:59am
Even a mild rise in temperature damages insect’s ability to reproduceInsect populations in high latitude countries are worst affectedIdentifying genes linked to increased and decreased reproduction may help understand how insects cope with climate change and controlling insect pestsWith 2016 reportedly the warmest year on record, scientists have discovered insects are already feeling the effects of climate change, as a rise in temperature is shown to damage their ability to reproduce.

Louisiana Faces Faster Levels of Sea-Level Rise Than Any Other Land on Earth

Climate Change News - ENN - January 10, 2017 - 8:49am
Louisiana—which faces faster levels of sea-level rise than any other land on Earth—could lose as many as 2,800 square miles of its coast over the next 40 years and about 27,000 buildings will need to be flood-proofed, elevated or bought out, the New Orleans Advocate reported.

NASA Sees Storms Affecting the Western U.S.

Climate Change News - ENN - January 9, 2017 - 6:10pm
Extreme rain events have been affecting California and snow has blanketed the Pacific Northwest. NASA/NOAA's GOES Project created a satellite animation showing the storms affecting the region from January 6 through 9, 2017, and NASA's Aqua satellite captured a look at the snowfall. At NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, an animation of visible and infrared imagery from NOAA's GOES-West satellite showed a series of moisture-laden storms affecting California from Jan. 6 through Jan. 9, 2017. NOAA manages the GOES series of satellites and the NASA/NOAA GOES Project uses the satellite data to create animations and images. The animation shows a stream of storms affecting the U.S. West coast over that period, as a low pressure area center churned off of Canada's west coast.

Short-lived greenhouse gases cause centuries of sea-level rise

Climate Change News - ENN - January 9, 2017 - 5:55pm
Even if there comes a day when the world completely stops emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, coastal regions and island nations will continue to experience rising sea levels for centuries afterward, according to a new study by researchers at MIT and Simon Fraser University.In a paper published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers report that warming from short-lived compounds — greenhouse gases such as methane, chlorofluorocarbons, or hydrofluorocarbons, that linger in the atmosphere for just a year to a few decades — can cause sea levels to rise for hundreds of years after the pollutants have been cleared from the atmosphere.

Crystallization method offers new option for carbon capture from ambient air

Climate Change News - ENN - January 9, 2017 - 12:04pm
Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have found a simple, reliable process to capture carbon dioxide directly from ambient air, offering a new option for carbon capture and storage strategies to combat global warming. 

U of T researchers find plants evolving to adapt to urbanization-driven environmental conditions

Climate Change News - ENN - January 9, 2017 - 11:52am
A tiny plant is providing big clues about how urbanization is driving the evolution of living organisms.New research from U of T reveals the first evidence that the common white clover changes genetically to adapt to urban environments.

Climate change and farming: let's be part of the solution!

Climate Change News - ENN - January 9, 2017 - 11:23am
What with rising rainfall in the west, and hotter, drier summers in the east, British farmers place plenty of challenges from global warming, writes Anna Bowen. But there are also positive opportunities for agricultural innovators to adapt their farming systems to changing conditions, make their operations more resilient and sustainable, and make themselves part of the solution.

Rocky mountain haze

Climate Change News - ENN - January 6, 2017 - 10:53am
Many people head to the mountains in the summer to get above the haze of the cities and valleys. A new study finds that the haze could be catching up.

Great Barrier Reef almost drowned

Climate Change News - ENN - January 6, 2017 - 10:38am
A unique analysis of the famous reef during rapid sea-level rise at the beginning of the Last Interglacial found it almost died. The PhD research shows the reef is resilient but questions remain about cumulative impacts.

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