Legislative & Regulatory Update

Utility emissions in US trending down

Climate Change News - ENN - May 31, 2014 - 10:16am
A new report on U.S. power plant emissions from the country's top 100 electric power producers shows a downward trend in nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur dioxides (SO2), mercury and carbon dioxide (CO2) since 2000, with CO2 emissions decreasing 13 percent between 2008 and 2012. The findings show that the industry is already shifting toward a combination of increased energy efficiency and lower carbon fuel sources, which should help it meet new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) carbon standards expected to be announced on June 2. "The electric power industry is firmly on the path toward a low carbon energy future, and history shows that it is not only capable of meeting new pollution limits, but that it can do so while keeping our lights on and our economy growing," said Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres, a nonprofit sustainability advocacy group which helped produce the report. "EPA's proposed standards will stimulate further investment in low-carbon, low-risk resources like renewable power and energy efficiency."

British Airways Turns Garbage into Jet Fuel: Sustainable Solution or Incineration in Disguise?

Can garbage power your plane ride from New York to London? That’s the idea behind a new production plant that will transform waste from London's homes and businesses into a jet fuel that costs about the same price as conventional petroleum-based fuel but burns cleaner and produces fewer carbon emissions.

British Airways Turns Garbage into Jet Fuel: Sustainable Solution or Incineration in Disguise?

Climate Change News - ENN - May 30, 2014 - 3:03pm
Can garbage power your plane ride from New York to London? That’s the idea behind a new production plant that will transform waste from London's homes and businesses into a jet fuel that costs about the same price as conventional petroleum-based fuel but burns cleaner and produces fewer carbon emissions.

Zebras Break Record for Africa's Longest Terrestrial Migration

Climate Change News - ENN - May 30, 2014 - 9:47am
With food and water scarce in many parts of Africa, many species migrate long-distances in order to survive. A new study published in the journal, Oryx has found a new record-breaker for the continent’s longest tracked terrestrial migration: a huge group of zebras that traveled a total distance of 500 kilometers (300 miles).

Trawling: destructive fishing method is turning sea floors to 'deserts'

Regulatory news - ENN - May 29, 2014 - 2:30pm
Bottom trawling is a practice used by commercial fisheries around the world in which a large, heavy net is dragged along the ocean floor to scoop up everything in its path. Previous research has linked trawling to significant environmental impacts, such as the harvest of large numbers of non-target species, collectively termed "by catch," as well as destruction of shallow seabeds. Now, a new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds this method is also resulting in long-term, far-reaching consequences in the deeper ocean and beyond. Trawling dates back to the 1300s, and it became widespread in coastal areas around the world after the industrialization of commercial fishing in the late-1800s. Bottom trawling targets commercially valuable species that live near the sea floor, such as cod, rockfish, and various kinds of squid and shrimp. Gear varies depending on the fishing outfit, but nets can be nearly as large as a city block and scoop thousands of fish and other marine animals in a single drag.

Trawling: destructive fishing method is turning sea floors to 'deserts'

Bottom trawling is a practice used by commercial fisheries around the world in which a large, heavy net is dragged along the ocean floor to scoop up everything in its path. Previous research has linked trawling to significant environmental impacts, such as the harvest of large numbers of non-target species, collectively termed "by catch," as well as destruction of shallow seabeds. Now, a new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds this method is also resulting in long-term, far-reaching consequences in the deeper ocean and beyond. Trawling dates back to the 1300s, and it became widespread in coastal areas around the world after the industrialization of commercial fishing in the late-1800s. Bottom trawling targets commercially valuable species that live near the sea floor, such as cod, rockfish, and various kinds of squid and shrimp. Gear varies depending on the fishing outfit, but nets can be nearly as large as a city block and scoop thousands of fish and other marine animals in a single drag.

How Sharks Could Help Predict Hurricanes

Scientists have embarked on a remarkable new project to use shark and large marine predators as biological sensors in the hopes that they could help us predict the formation and course of potentially dangerous hurricanes. Researchers from the University of Miami have tagged a total of 750 marine animals in the past ten years, all to track the temperature and salinity of sea waters at different depths. Earlier this year though, the researchers noticed something special about the data — the tagged marine life gravitated toward water that was about 79 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, which is the temperature at which hurricanes form.

How Sharks Could Help Predict Hurricanes

Climate Change News - ENN - May 29, 2014 - 9:20am
Scientists have embarked on a remarkable new project to use shark and large marine predators as biological sensors in the hopes that they could help us predict the formation and course of potentially dangerous hurricanes. Researchers from the University of Miami have tagged a total of 750 marine animals in the past ten years, all to track the temperature and salinity of sea waters at different depths. Earlier this year though, the researchers noticed something special about the data — the tagged marine life gravitated toward water that was about 79 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, which is the temperature at which hurricanes form.

New insight on Antarctic Ice Sheet behavior at end of the last ice age

Climate Change News - ENN - May 28, 2014 - 4:57pm
A new study has found that the Antarctic Ice Sheet began melting about 5,000 years earlier than previously thought coming out of the last ice age – and that shrinkage of the vast ice sheet accelerated during eight distinct episodes, causing rapid sea level rise. The international study, funded in part by the National Science Foundation, is particularly important coming on the heels of recent studies that suggest destabilization of part of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has begun.

April Ties For Warmest On Record

Climate Change News - ENN - May 28, 2014 - 10:55am
Globally, this April was a scorcher, tying with 2010 for the warmest April on record, according to new data released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) last week.

Rules to cut carbon emissions also reduce harmful air pollution

Regulatory news - ENN - May 28, 2014 - 9:58am
Setting strong standards for climate-changing carbon emissions from power stations would provide the added bonus of reducing other air pollutants that can make people sick and damage the environment. A first-of-its-kind study released today by scientists at Syracuse University and Harvard has mapped the potential environmental and human health benefits of power plant carbon standards and found potential for reductions of more than 750 thousand tons of other harmful air pollutants across the US.

Rules to cut carbon emissions also reduce harmful air pollution

Climate Change News - ENN - May 28, 2014 - 9:58am
Setting strong standards for climate-changing carbon emissions from power stations would provide the added bonus of reducing other air pollutants that can make people sick and damage the environment. A first-of-its-kind study released today by scientists at Syracuse University and Harvard has mapped the potential environmental and human health benefits of power plant carbon standards and found potential for reductions of more than 750 thousand tons of other harmful air pollutants across the US.

Groundwater and Glaciers

Climate Change News - ENN - May 28, 2014 - 9:40am
Subglacial lakes in Antarctica might have nutrient-rich groundwater flowing into them, say scientists investigating the origin of the water in ice streams. Ice streams are huge, fast-flowing glaciers that meander across Antarctica. They are responsible for nearly all of the Antarctic's contribution to sea-level rise, yet scientists have little understanding of where the water flowing through them comes from. This means that the contents of the subglacial lakes which lie underneath these streams is also a mystery.

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