Legislative & Regulatory Update

Future climate of the Midwest hard to predict

Climate Change News - ENN - May 18, 2015 - 4:02pm
Will climate change make the U.S. Midwest drier or wetter during the summer growing season? A new Dartmouth-led study finds that the answer remains uncertain.The findings are important given the Midwest's agricultural output is critical to the U.S. economy and global food security.The study appears in the journal Water Resources Research. The study included researchers from Dartmouth College, Columbia University, National University of Singapore and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

US Exposure to Extreme Heat is on the Rise

Climate Change News - ENN - May 18, 2015 - 3:33pm
U.S. residents' exposure to extreme heat could increase four- to six-fold by mid-century, due to both a warming climate and a population that's growing especially fast in the hottest regions of the country, according to new research. The study, by researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the City University of New York (CUNY), highlights the importance of considering societal changes when trying to determine future climate impacts.

The Ozone hole is shrinking

New NASA satellite data confirms what other research has shown, namely that the hole in the ozone layer appears to be getting smaller.The ozone is crucial for us here on Earth because it shields us from some of the Sun’s most damaging radiation. In the 1980s it was confirmed that a host of chemicals like CFCs that we had been using in manufacturing and, in particular in aerosols, had been breaking down that ozone layer, creating several holes including a worryingly large hole over the Arctic. In the long term our CFC use threatened to destroy this vital shield completely if we did not act.

The Ozone hole is shrinking

Climate Change News - ENN - May 18, 2015 - 8:14am
New NASA satellite data confirms what other research has shown, namely that the hole in the ozone layer appears to be getting smaller.The ozone is crucial for us here on Earth because it shields us from some of the Sun’s most damaging radiation. In the 1980s it was confirmed that a host of chemicals like CFCs that we had been using in manufacturing and, in particular in aerosols, had been breaking down that ozone layer, creating several holes including a worryingly large hole over the Arctic. In the long term our CFC use threatened to destroy this vital shield completely if we did not act.

Lower Ozone levels in Houston linked to climate change

Climate Change News - ENN - May 17, 2015 - 8:48am
Researchers at the University of Houston have determined that climate change -- in the form of a stronger sea breeze, the result of warmer soil temperatures -- contributed to the drop in high-ozone days in the Houston area.Robert Talbot, professor of atmospheric chemistry, said that also should be true for coastal regions globally.The researchers describe their findings in a paper published this week in the journal Atmosphere. In addition to Talbot, they include first author Lei Liu, a doctoral student, and post-doctoral fellow Xin Lan.

Bird populations responding to climate change

Climate Change News - ENN - May 16, 2015 - 9:53am
With puzzling variability, vast numbers of birds from Canada’s boreal forests migrate hundreds or thousands of miles south from their usual winter range. These so-called irruptions were first noticed by birdwatchers decades ago, but the driving factors have never been fully explained. Now scientists have pinpointed the climate pattern that likely sets the stage for irruptions – a discovery that could make it possible to predict the events more than a year in advance.The researchers found that persistent shifts in rainfall and temperature drive boom-and-bust cycles in forest seed production, which in turn drive the mass migrations of pine siskins, the most widespread and visible of the irruptive migrants. “It’s a chain reaction from climate to seeds to birds,” says atmospheric scientist Court Strong, an assistant professor at the University of Utah and lead author of the study.

New Research Identifies First Warm-Blooded Fish

New research by NOAA Fisheries has revealed the opah, or moonfish, as the first fully warm-blooded fish that circulates heated blood throughout its body much like mammals and birds, giving it a competitive advantage in the cold ocean depths. The silvery fish, roughly the size of a large automobile tire, is known from oceans around the world and dwells hundreds of feet beneath the surface in chilly, dimly lit waters. It swims by rapidly flapping its large, red pectoral fins like wings through the water.

How Rivers Regulate Global Carbon Cycle

Climate Change News - ENN - May 14, 2015 - 9:57am
Humans concerned about climate change are working to find ways of capturing excess carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and sequestering it in the Earth. But Nature has its own methods for the removal and long-term storage of carbon, including the world’s river systems, which transport decaying organic material and eroded rock from land to the ocean.

Would you give up chocolate to save a friend?

We’ve all heard how rats will abandon a sinking ship. But will the rodents attempt to save their companions in the process? A new study shows that rats will, indeed, rescue their distressed pals from the drink—even when they’re offered chocolate instead. They’re also more likely to help when they’ve had an unpleasant swimming experience of their own, adding to growing evidence that the rodents feel empathy.

Antarctic Ice Shelves found to be thinning from the top AND the bottom

A decade-long scientific debate about what’s causing the thinning of one of Antarctica’s largest ice shelves is settled this week (Wednesday 13 May) with the publication of an international study in the journal The Cryosphere.The Larsen C Ice Shelf — whose neighbours Larsen A and B, collapsed in 1995 and 2002 — is thinning from both its surface and beneath. For years scientists have been unable to determine whether it is warming air temperatures or warmer ocean currents that were causing the Antarctic Peninsula’s floating ice shelves to lose volume and become more vulnerable to collapse. This new study takes an important step forward in assessing Antarctica’s likely contribution to future sea-level rise.

Antarctic Ice Shelves found to be thinning from the top AND the bottom

Climate Change News - ENN - May 13, 2015 - 7:57am
A decade-long scientific debate about what’s causing the thinning of one of Antarctica’s largest ice shelves is settled this week (Wednesday 13 May) with the publication of an international study in the journal The Cryosphere.The Larsen C Ice Shelf — whose neighbours Larsen A and B, collapsed in 1995 and 2002 — is thinning from both its surface and beneath. For years scientists have been unable to determine whether it is warming air temperatures or warmer ocean currents that were causing the Antarctic Peninsula’s floating ice shelves to lose volume and become more vulnerable to collapse. This new study takes an important step forward in assessing Antarctica’s likely contribution to future sea-level rise.

U.S. Needs New Infrastructure to Get Energy to Manufacturers

Energy - May 13, 2015 - 5:54am
We welcome this week’s hearings examining America’s energy infrastructure needs.

Revised Draft Bill in U.S. House Builds on Momentum to Reform TSCA

Chemical Safety - May 13, 2015 - 5:43am
ACC commends Chairman Shimkus for his leadership and continued commitment to advance legislation to update TSCA.

Revised Draft Bill in U.S. House Builds on Momentum to Reform TSCA

Toxic Substances Control Act - May 13, 2015 - 5:43am
ACC commends Chairman Shimkus for his leadership and continued commitment to advance legislation to update TSCA.

Shale Gas Creating Renaissance in U.S. Plastics Manufacturing

Energy - May 13, 2015 - 2:59am
Due largely to plentiful and affordable natural gas and natural gas liquids from shale formations, U.S. jobs related to plastics manufacturing are expected to grow by 462,000 over the next decade.

Shale Gas Creating Renaissance in U.S. Plastics Manufacturing

Shale Gas - May 13, 2015 - 2:59am
Due largely to plentiful and affordable natural gas and natural gas liquids from shale formations, U.S. jobs related to plastics manufacturing are expected to grow by 462,000 over the next decade.

Cycling vs. Car Transportation

Climate Change News - ENN - May 12, 2015 - 2:19pm
What's more expensive? Owning a car or a bicycle? Answer seems obvious doesn't it? But how much more expensive are cars compared to bicycles? First, we need to consider not only the actual cost of the vehicle, but the hidden costs which can be related to air pollution, climate change, travel routes, noise, road wear, health, congestion, and time. Lucky for us, researchers have compared the costs and according to a Lund University study, traveling by car is six times more expensive for society and individuals.

No Sunscreen Needed

Climate Change News - ENN - May 12, 2015 - 9:47am
With summer sun right around the corner, it is important to be prepared and protect our skin from those potentially harmful rays. Whether you use sunscreen or set up an umbrella for shade at the beach, we should be proactive so we don't get sun-burn.For us, we take precautions, but how do the rest of the animal kingdom fare? How can animal species spend their whole lives outdoors with no apparent concern about high levels of solar exposure?According to researchers from Oregon State University, animals make their own sunscreen.The findings, published in the journal eLife, found that many fish, amphibians, reptiles, and birds can naturally produce a compound called gadusol, which among other biologic activities provides protection from the ultraviolet, or sun-burning component of sunlight.The researchers also believe that this ability may have been obtained through some prehistoric, natural genetic engineering.

Meet Chernobyl's Wild Residents

It seems like a strange place to call a wildlife park: Nearly 30 years after the most catastrophic nuclear incident in global history, Chernobyl’s exclusion zone has turned into a paradise for animals of all species and sizes. A variety of raptors, deer, big cats, foxes, bears and birds have moved into the region, taking advantage of a vast habitat with almost no humans. That habitat, though, is contaminated with radioactive materials, and scientists still hotly debate the potential costs of radiation exposure to the animals of Chernobyl, some of whom have become famous.Researchers have seen an explosion of wildlife at the site in recent years, with camera traps providing an opportunity to look deep into the world of the region’s animals without disturbing them. Stunning photography shows animals like wolves and bears roaming freely in the exclusion zone, unconcerned about the potential for human visitors. Perhaps most astonishingly, a population of Przeswalski’s horses, an endangered species critical to the biological and evolutionary history of modern equids, is booming in the region—which isn’t exactly what one might expect, given the radioactive contamination.

Meet Chernobyl's Wild Residents

Climate Change News - ENN - May 11, 2015 - 1:04pm
It seems like a strange place to call a wildlife park: Nearly 30 years after the most catastrophic nuclear incident in global history, Chernobyl’s exclusion zone has turned into a paradise for animals of all species and sizes. A variety of raptors, deer, big cats, foxes, bears and birds have moved into the region, taking advantage of a vast habitat with almost no humans. That habitat, though, is contaminated with radioactive materials, and scientists still hotly debate the potential costs of radiation exposure to the animals of Chernobyl, some of whom have become famous.Researchers have seen an explosion of wildlife at the site in recent years, with camera traps providing an opportunity to look deep into the world of the region’s animals without disturbing them. Stunning photography shows animals like wolves and bears roaming freely in the exclusion zone, unconcerned about the potential for human visitors. Perhaps most astonishingly, a population of Przeswalski’s horses, an endangered species critical to the biological and evolutionary history of modern equids, is booming in the region—which isn’t exactly what one might expect, given the radioactive contamination.

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