Legislative & Regulatory Update

Solar Impulse going around the world on sunshine

Climate Change News - ENN - March 10, 2015 - 8:48am
After 13 years of planning, the Solar Impulse SI2 took off last night from Al-Bateen Executive Airport in Abu Dhabi at 7:12 a.m. local time. This initiated the first leg of its historic attempt to be the first solar-powered airplane to fly around the world. If all goes well, the plane will return to Al-Bateen in June or July. As reported here in January, the first leg was a short 12-hour “shakedown cruise” to Muscat, Oman, piloted by Andre Borschberg. The plane landed safely in Muscat, more or less on schedule, at 12:14 p.m. Eastern time.Of the two pilots who will take turns behind the wheel, Borschberg is the engineer and former fighter pilot who is intimately familiar with every detail of the plane’s design and construction.

CO2 increase may intensify future droughts in tropics

Climate Change News - ENN - March 9, 2015 - 4:37pm
A new study suggests that increases in atmospheric CO2 could intensify extreme droughts in tropical and subtropical regions -- such as Australia, the southwest and central United States, and southern Amazonia -- at much a faster rate than previously anticipated, explains University of Texas at Austin professor Rong Fu in a commentary in the March 9 edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Is rain dependent on soil moisture?

Climate Change News - ENN - March 6, 2015 - 3:16pm
It rains in summer most frequently when the ground holds a lot of moisture. However, precipitation is most likely to fall in regions where the soil is comparatively dry. This is the conclusion reached by researchers at ETH Zurich following an analysis of worldwide data. Their study contributes to a better understanding of soil moisture, a little explored climatic factor.

ACC Welcomes Introduction of ORDEAL Act

Environmental Regulations - March 6, 2015 - 5:11am
Legislation would give EPA more time to review and revise air quality standards.

Urban expansion could greatly increase flood risks

Climate Change News - ENN - March 5, 2015 - 2:07pm
A heads-up to New York, Baltimore, Houston and Miami: a new study suggests that these metropolitan areas and others will increase their exposure to floods even in the absence of climate change, according to researchers from Texas A&M University. The study presents first-ever global forecasts of how the exposure of urban land to floods and droughts may change due to urban expansion in the near future. In 2000, about 30 percent of the global urban land (over 75,000 square miles) was located in the high-frequency flood zones; by 2030, this will reach nearly 40 percent (280,000 square miles) as the global urban land grows from 250,000 square miles to 720,000 square miles, the authors say.

Are the EU's air pollution rules weaker than China's?

Regulatory news - ENN - March 5, 2015 - 8:20am
Europe’s coal plants will be allowed to emit more deadly pollutants than their notorious Chinese counterparts under EU proposals for new air quality rules heavily influenced by the big energy lobby, new research has found. A Greenpeace investigation has found new pollution limits for coal-fired power plants currently being discussed by the European Union are significantly weaker than those in place in China, as well as several times weaker than what’s already been achieved by the least polluting plants in other developed economies, including the US and Japan.

University of Oxford finds trees inhale less carbon when they are drought - impacted

Climate Change News - ENN - March 5, 2015 - 7:34am
For the first time, an international research team has provided direct evidence of the rate at which individual trees in the Amazonian basin 'inhale' carbon from the atmosphere during a severe drought. The researchers measured the growth and photosynthesis rates of trees at 13 rainforest plots across Brazil, Peru and Bolivia, comparing plots that were affected by the strong drought of 2010 with unaffected plots. They found that while growth rates of the trees in drought-affected plots were unchanged, the rate of photosynthesis – by which trees convert carbon into energy to fuel their activities – slowed down by around 10 percent over six months. Their paper, published in the journal, Nature, concludes that trees may be channelling their more limited energy reserves into growth rather than maintaining their own health. Computer simulations of the biosphere have predicted such responses to drought, but these are the first direct observations of this effect across tropical forests.  

New insight on the Tree of Life from Temple University

Temple University researchers have assembled the largest and most accurate tree of life calibrated to time, and surprisingly, it reveals that life has been expanding at a constant rate. "The constant rate of diversification that we have found indicates that the ecological niches of life are not being filled up and saturated," said Temple professor S. Blair Hedges, a member of the research team's study, published in the early online edition of the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution. "This is contrary to the popular alternative model which predicts a slowing down of diversification as niches fill up with species." The tree of life compiled by the Temple team is depicted in a new way --- a cosmologically-inspired galaxy of life view --- and contains more than 50,000 species in a tapestry spiraling out from the origin of life.

Combined Arctic ice observations show decades of loss

Climate Change News - ENN - March 3, 2015 - 10:14am
It's no surprise that Arctic sea ice is thinning. What is new is just how long, how steadily, and how much it has declined. University of Washington researchers compiled modern and historic measurements to get a full picture of how Arctic sea ice thickness has changed. The results, published this month in The Cryosphere, show a thinning in the central Arctic Ocean of 65 percent between 1975 and 2012. September ice thickness, when the ice cover is at a minimum, is 85 percent thinner for the same 37-year stretch.

How did Emperor Penguins survive the last ice age?

Climate Change News - ENN - March 2, 2015 - 7:00am
The study of how climate change has affected emperor penguins over the last 30,000 years found that only three populations may have survived during the last ice age, and that the Ross Sea in Antarctica was likely the refuge for one of these populations.The findings, published in the journal Global Change Biology, suggest that while current climate conditions may be optimal for emperor penguins, conditions in the past were too extreme for large populations to survive.

Using satellites to monitor forest health

Scientists for the first time have simultaneously compared widespread impacts from two of the most common forest insects in the West – mountain pine beetle and western spruce budworm – an advance that could lead to more effective management policies.By combining data from satellites, airplanes and ground-based crews, the researchers have shown in unprecedented detail how insects affect Western forests over decades.In the past, forest managers relied on airplane surveys to evaluate insect damage over broad areas.

Why the sun impacts climate more during cooler periods

Climate Change News - ENN - February 27, 2015 - 4:08pm
The activity of the Sun is an important factor in the complex interaction that controls our climate. New research now shows that the impact of the Sun is not constant over time, but has greater significance when the Earth is cooler. There has been much discussion as to whether variations in the strength of the Sun have played a role in triggering climate change in the past, but more and more research results clearly indicate that solar activity - i.e. the amount of radiation coming from the Sun - has an impact on how the climate varies over time.

Is Greenland Melting?

Climate Change News - ENN - February 26, 2015 - 4:09pm
A team of scientists lead by Danish geologist Nicolaj Krog Larsen have managed to quantify how the Greenland Ice Sheet reacted to a warm period 8,000-5,000 years ago. Back then temperatures were 2-4 degrees C warmer than present. Their results have just been published in the scientific journal Geology, and are important as we are rapidly closing in on similar temperatures.

Antifreeze protein from ticks fights frostbite in mice

A protein that protects ticks from freezing temperatures also prevents frostbite when introduced in mice, a Yale-led study has found. The research is the first to demonstrate the protein’s ability to boost frostbite resistance in an adult mammal.

ACC Urges House Passage of Drinking Water Protection Act

Environmental Regulations - February 24, 2015 - 8:57am
We applaud Congressman Latta for helping to protect America’s drinking water from cyanotoxins caused by harmful algal blooms.

ENN Releases App for Android Users

Regulatory news - ENN - February 23, 2015 - 9:14am
Last month ENN launched a new mobile app available at the iTunes store making it easier for you to connect with us and stay up to date with groundbreaking environmental news. Now, ENN releases the mobile app at Google Play, making it compatible for Android users.ENN is more than just a gatherer of environmental news but rather a unique set of resources, archives, tools, and experts for the increasingly complex field of environmental science attracting readers from all levels of government, business and academia.We also encourage you to join the conversation by checking out our Community Blog and by connecting with us on Facebook.Apple users can download the app at the iTunes store.Android users can download the app at Google Play.Make sure you click on the app with the logo shown here.

ENN Releases App for Android Users

Last month ENN launched a new mobile app available at the iTunes store making it easier for you to connect with us and stay up to date with groundbreaking environmental news. Now, ENN releases the mobile app at Google Play, making it compatible for Android users.ENN is more than just a gatherer of environmental news but rather a unique set of resources, archives, tools, and experts for the increasingly complex field of environmental science attracting readers from all levels of government, business and academia.We also encourage you to join the conversation by checking out our Community Blog and by connecting with us on Facebook.Apple users can download the app at the iTunes store.Android users can download the app at Google Play.Make sure you click on the app with the logo shown here.

ENN Releases App for Android Users

Climate Change News - ENN - February 23, 2015 - 9:14am
Last month ENN launched a new mobile app available at the iTunes store making it easier for you to connect with us and stay up to date with groundbreaking environmental news. Now, ENN releases the mobile app at Google Play, making it compatible for Android users.ENN is more than just a gatherer of environmental news but rather a unique set of resources, archives, tools, and experts for the increasingly complex field of environmental science attracting readers from all levels of government, business and academia.We also encourage you to join the conversation by checking out our Community Blog and by connecting with us on Facebook.Apple users can download the app at the iTunes store.Android users can download the app at Google Play.Make sure you click on the app with the logo shown here.

Understanding the Forces of Abrupt Climate Change

Climate Change News - ENN - February 23, 2015 - 8:30am
By studying African lake sediments from the past 20,000 years, scientists are learning more about abrupt climate shifts, advancing their understanding of changing weather patterns. In a recent paper published in Nature Geoscience, co-author on an NAU assistant professor Nicholas McKay analyzes core samples from Lake Bosumtwi in Ghana. The isolated lake was formed by a meteor and sits like a bowl on the landscape giving scientists a clear view of environmental changes.

ACC and SOCMA Announce Agenda for 2015 Global Chemical Regulations Conference

Toxic Substances Control Act - February 19, 2015 - 9:38am
GlobalChem provides an invaluable forum to discuss the most pressing issues that are shaping the development of regulations to protect public health.

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