Legislative & Regulatory Update

Study predicts climate change and pollution will combine to impact food production

Climate Change News - ENN - August 2, 2014 - 10:50am
Many studies have shown the potential for global climate change to cut food supplies. But these studies have, for the most part, ignored the interactions between increasing temperature and air pollution -- specifically ozone pollution, which is known to damage crops. A new study involving researchers at MIT shows that these interactions can be quite significant, suggesting that policymakers need to take both warming and air pollution into account in addressing food security.

Surf's Up for Clean Technology

Unless your skin is about a foot thick, swimming and surfing in the Pacific Ocean for hours at a time requires a wetsuit to stay warm and comfortable. That comfort, however, comes at a price as the vast majority of wetsuits are made from petroleum-based neoprene. The material is durable and does the job, but its manufacture is a carbon-intensive and toxic process. Now Patagonia is aggressively promoting its plant-based wetsuit technology with the goal to have it become a game-changer in the surf industry.

Defending against sea level rise could make the problem worse

Climate Change News - ENN - August 1, 2014 - 10:12am
A combination of coastal defences and rising sea levels could change typical UK tidal ranges, potentially leading to a higher risk of flooding, say scientists. The researchers wanted to find out how tides around the UK might respond to changes in sea level over the next century depending on the level of coastal defences in place.

Drilling in the Dark

Regulatory news - ENN - August 1, 2014 - 9:54am
As production of shale gas soars, the industry's effects on nature and wildlife remain largely unexplored, according to a study by a group of conservation biologists published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment on August 1. The report emphasizes the need to determine the environmental impact of chemical contamination from spills, well-casing failure, and other accidents. "We know very little about how shale gas production is affecting plants and wildlife," says author Sara Souther, a conservation fellow in the Department of Botany at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "And in particular, there is a lack of accessible and reliable information on spills, wastewater disposal and the chemistry of fracturing fluids. Of the 24 U.S. states with active shale gas reservoirs, only five maintain public records of spills and accidents." The 800 percent increase in U.S. shale gas production between 2007 and 2012 is largely due to the use of hydraulic fracturing. Also called fracking, the process uses high-pressure injection of water, laden with sand and a variety of chemicals, to open cracks in the gas reservoir so natural gas can flow to the well.

Drilling in the Dark

As production of shale gas soars, the industry's effects on nature and wildlife remain largely unexplored, according to a study by a group of conservation biologists published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment on August 1. The report emphasizes the need to determine the environmental impact of chemical contamination from spills, well-casing failure, and other accidents. "We know very little about how shale gas production is affecting plants and wildlife," says author Sara Souther, a conservation fellow in the Department of Botany at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "And in particular, there is a lack of accessible and reliable information on spills, wastewater disposal and the chemistry of fracturing fluids. Of the 24 U.S. states with active shale gas reservoirs, only five maintain public records of spills and accidents." The 800 percent increase in U.S. shale gas production between 2007 and 2012 is largely due to the use of hydraulic fracturing. Also called fracking, the process uses high-pressure injection of water, laden with sand and a variety of chemicals, to open cracks in the gas reservoir so natural gas can flow to the well.

Boat noise impacts development and survival of marine invertebrates

The development and survival of an important group of marine invertebrates known as sea hares is under threat from increasing boat noise in the world's oceans, according to a new study by researchers from the UK and France. While previous studies have shown that marine noise can affect animal movement and communication, with unknown ecological consequences, scientists from the Universities of Bristol and Exeter and the École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE) CRIOBE in France have demonstrated that boat noise stops embryonic development and increases larval mortality in sea hares.

CO2 decrease cause of Antarctic ice sheet growth in ice age

Climate Change News - ENN - July 31, 2014 - 7:15am
Climate modelers from the University of New Hampshire have shown that the most likely explanation for the initiation of Antarctic glaciation during a major climate shift 34 million years ago was decreased carbon dioxide (CO2) levels. The finding counters a 40-year-old theory suggesting massive rearrangements of Earth's continents caused global cooling and the abrupt formation of the Antarctic ice sheet. It will provide scientists insight into the climate change implications of current rising global CO2 levels. In a paper published today in Nature, Matthew Huber of the UNH Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space and department of Earth sciences provides evidence that the long-held, prevailing theory known as "Southern Ocean gateway opening" is not the best explanation for the climate shift that occurred during the Eocene-Oligocene transition when Earth's polar regions were ice-free.

Deep-Sea Octopus' Egg-Brooding Period Breaks Record!

Climate Change News - ENN - July 30, 2014 - 5:55pm
Robins sit on their eggs for about two weeks after they are laid. Male seahorses usually carry eggs for 9 to 45 days. Deep-sea octopuses? Four and a half years! Researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) have observed this unique brooding phenomenon and have declares this species to have a longer brooding time than any other known animal. Egg brooding happens after the parent species lays the eggs. The parents then do everything in their power to protect those eggs so that offspring can develop. This includes cleaning the eggs and guarding them from predators, which evidently risks the parents' own ability to survive. In May 2007, during a deep-sea survey, researchers from MBARI, led by Bruce Robison, discovered a female octopus (Graneledone boreopacifica), clinging to a rocky ledge just above the floor of the canyon, about 1,400 meters (4,600 feet) below the ocean surface. Over the next four and one-half years, the researchers dove at this same site 18 times.

Deep-Sea Octopus' Egg-Brooding Period Breaks Record!

Robins sit on their eggs for about two weeks after they are laid. Male seahorses usually carry eggs for 9 to 45 days. Deep-sea octopuses? Four and a half years! Researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) have observed this unique brooding phenomenon and have declares this species to have a longer brooding time than any other known animal. Egg brooding happens after the parent species lays the eggs. The parents then do everything in their power to protect those eggs so that offspring can develop. This includes cleaning the eggs and guarding them from predators, which evidently risks the parents' own ability to survive. In May 2007, during a deep-sea survey, researchers from MBARI, led by Bruce Robison, discovered a female octopus (Graneledone boreopacifica), clinging to a rocky ledge just above the floor of the canyon, about 1,400 meters (4,600 feet) below the ocean surface. Over the next four and one-half years, the researchers dove at this same site 18 times.

Catching Waves in the Arctic

Climate Change News - ENN - July 30, 2014 - 9:52am
As the climate warms and sea ice retreats, the North is changing. An ice-covered expanse now has a season of increasingly open water that is predicted to extend across the whole Arctic Ocean before the middle of this century. Storms thus have the potential to create Arctic swell – huge waves that could add a new and unpredictable element to the region. A University of Washington researcher made the first study of waves in the middle of the Arctic Ocean, and detected house-sized waves during a September 2012 storm. The results were recently published in Geophysical Research Letters.

General Motors, OnStar, EV's and the Smart Grid

Climate Change News - ENN - July 29, 2014 - 2:09pm
General Motors is bringing its OnStar-enabled Smart Grid solutions, to one of the largest electric vehicle collaborations to take place within the industry. Eight global automakers, including GM, and 15 electric utilities are working with the Electric Power Research Institute to develop and implement a standardized Smart Grid integration platform. "One thing that’s missing from most Smart Grid programs is a sense of collaboration," said Tim Nixon, chief technology officer, Global Connected Consumer, GM. "Companies will showcase a meaningful solution, but without widespread acceptance in the industry, its usability is limited. That's what makes this partnership unique."

Ozone + Rising Temperatures = Problems for Food Security

Climate Change News - ENN - July 28, 2014 - 3:37pm
A new study shows that interactions between increasing temperature and air pollution can be quite significant when it comes to addressing food security. Conducted in part by researchers at MIT, a study looked in detail at global production of four leading food crops — rice, wheat, corn, and soy. It predicts that effects will vary considerably from region to region, and that some of the crops are much more strongly affected by one or the other of the factors

Astro Physics has a new mystery

Astro Physicists love to look for reasons current theories are correct. When data are obtained that do not fit a current theory, the race is on to come up with an explanation! The Universe is a big place, full of unknowns. Astronomers using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory have just catalogued a new one. "I couldn't believe my eyes," says Esra Bulbul of the Harvard Center for Astrophysics. "What we found, at first glance, could not be explained by known physics."

New fossils suggest ALL dinosaurs had feathers

The first ever example of a plant-eating dinosaur with feathers and scales has been discovered in Russia. Previously only flesh-eating dinosaurs were known to have had feathers so this new find indicates that all dinosaurs could have been feathered. The new dinosaur, named Kulindadromeus zabaikalicus as it comes from a site called Kulinda on the banks of the Olov River in Siberia, is described in a paper published today in Science.

The important role of community forests

Climate Change News - ENN - July 25, 2014 - 8:49am
Expanding and strengthening the community forest rights of indigenous groups and rural residents can make a major contribution to sequestering carbon and reducing CO2 emissions from deforestation, according to a new report. The World Resources Institute (WRI) and the Rights and Resources Initiative said that indigenous people and rural inhabitants in Latin America, Africa, and Asia have government-recognized rights to forests containing nearly 38 billion tons of carbon, equal to 29 times the annual emissions of all the world’s passenger vehicles. By enforcing community rights to those forests, the study said, governments can play a major role in tackling climate change. In the Brazilian Amazon, for example, deforestation rates are 11 times lower in community forests than in forests outside those areas. In areas where community forest rights are ignored, deforestation rates often soar. The report made five major recommendations, from better enforcement of community forest zones to compensating communities for the climate and other benefits their forests provide.

Groundwater depletion and western US water supply

Regulatory news - ENN - July 24, 2014 - 5:34pm
A new study by NASA and University of California, Irvine, scientists finds more than 75 percent of the water loss in the drought-stricken Colorado River Basin since late 2004 came from underground resources. The extent of groundwater loss may pose a greater threat to the water supply of the western United States than previously thought. This study is the first to quantify the amount that groundwater contributes to the water needs of western states. According to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the federal water management agency, the basin has been suffering from prolonged, severe drought since 2000 and has experienced the driest 14-year period in the last hundred years.

Groundwater depletion and western US water supply

Climate Change News - ENN - July 24, 2014 - 5:34pm
A new study by NASA and University of California, Irvine, scientists finds more than 75 percent of the water loss in the drought-stricken Colorado River Basin since late 2004 came from underground resources. The extent of groundwater loss may pose a greater threat to the water supply of the western United States than previously thought. This study is the first to quantify the amount that groundwater contributes to the water needs of western states. According to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the federal water management agency, the basin has been suffering from prolonged, severe drought since 2000 and has experienced the driest 14-year period in the last hundred years.

Climate warming may not drive net losses of soil carbon from tropical forests

The planet's soil releases about 60 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere each year, which is far more than that released by burning fossil fuels. This happens through a process called soil respiration. This enormous release of carbon is balanced by carbon coming into the soil system from falling leaves and other plant matter, as well as by the underground activities of plant roots.

Climate warming may not drive net losses of soil carbon from tropical forests

Climate Change News - ENN - July 23, 2014 - 1:16pm
The planet's soil releases about 60 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere each year, which is far more than that released by burning fossil fuels. This happens through a process called soil respiration. This enormous release of carbon is balanced by carbon coming into the soil system from falling leaves and other plant matter, as well as by the underground activities of plant roots.

Wind energy not growing in Europe as quickly as expected

Regulatory news - ENN - July 23, 2014 - 12:30pm
Europe's installed wind capacity will increase at a slower rate to the end of the decade than previously estimated, due to regulatory uncertainty and weak economic growth, an industry association said on Wednesday (23 July). European Union countries will have a combined 192.4 gigawatts (GW) of installed wind energy capacity by 2020, 64% higher than 2013 levels, the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) said in a report.

Pages

Subscribe to AIChE aggregator - Legislative & Regulatory Update