Legislative & Regulatory Update

Molecular signature shows plants are adapting to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide

Climate Change News - ENN - October 26, 2016 - 10:53am
Plants are adapting to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide according to a new study from the University of SouthamptonThe research, published in the journal Global Change Biology, provides insight into the long-term impacts of rising CO2 and the implications for global food security and nature conservation.Lead author Professor Gail Taylor, from Biological Sciences at the University of Southampton, said: “Atmospheric CO2 is rising – emissions grew faster in the 2000s than the 1990s and the concentration of CO2 reached 400 ppm for the first time in recorded history in 2013.

UCI and NASA document accelerated glacier melting in West Antarctica

Climate Change News - ENN - October 25, 2016 - 3:12pm
Two new studies by researchers at the University of California, Irvine and NASA have found the fastest ongoing rates of glacier retreat ever observed in West Antarctica and offer an unprecedented look at ice melting on the floating undersides of glaciers. The results highlight how the interaction between ocean conditions and the bedrock beneath a glacier can influence the frozen mass, helping scientists better predict future Antarctica ice loss and global sea level rise.The studies examined three neighboring glaciers that are melting and retreating at different rates. The Smith, Pope and Kohler glaciers flow into the Dotson and Crosson ice shelves in the Amundsen Sea embayment in West Antarctica, the part of the continent with the largest decline in ice.

Better water splitting advances renewable energy conversion

Washington State University researchers have found a way to more efficiently create hydrogen from water – an important key in making renewable energy production and storage viable.The researchers, led by professors Yuehe Lin and Scott Beckman in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, have developed a catalyst from low cost materials. It performs as well as or better than catalysts made from precious metals that are used for the process.

The Methane Riddle: What Is Causing the Rise in Emissions?

Climate Change News - ENN - October 25, 2016 - 10:34am
The stomachs of cattle, fermentation in rice fields, fracking for natural gas, coal mines, festering bogs, burning forests — they all produce methane, the second most important greenhouse gas, after carbon dioxide. But how much? And how can we best cut these emissions? And is fracking frying the planet, or are bovine emissions more to blame? 

Globally Averaged CO2 Levels Reach 400 parts per million in 2015

Climate Change News - ENN - October 25, 2016 - 8:11am
Globally averaged concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached the symbolic and significant milestone of 400 parts per million for the first time in 2015 and surged again to new records in 2016 on the back of the very powerful El Niño event, according to the World Meteorological Organization's annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin.

Amazon Study Reveals that Rainstorms Transport Atmospheric Particles Essential for Cloud Formation

Climate Change News - ENN - October 24, 2016 - 2:10pm
Understanding how tiny particles emitted by cars and factories affect Earth's climate requires accurate climate modeling and the ability to quantify the effects of these pollutant particles vs. particles naturally present in the atmosphere. One large uncertainty is what Earth was like before these industrial-era emissions began. In a paper just published in Nature, scientists collaborating on the GoAmazon study describe how they tracked particles in the largely pristine atmosphere over the Amazon rainforest, which has given them a way to effectively turn back the clock a few hundred years.  

Climate Change Impairs the Survival Instincts of Fish and Can Make Them Swim Towards Predators

Climate Change News - ENN - October 24, 2016 - 10:20am
Climate change is disrupting the sensory systems of fish and can even make them swim towards predators, instead of away from them, a paper by marine biologists at the University of Exeter says.Research into the impact of rising CO2 has shown it can disrupt the senses of fish including their smell, hearing and vision.

From Ancient Fossils to Future Cars

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering have developed an inexpensive, energy-efficient way to create silicon-based anodes for lithium-ion batteries from the fossilized remains of single-celled algae called diatoms. The research could lead to the development of ultra-high capacity lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and portable electronics.

Non-metal catalyst splits hydrogen molecule

Hydrogen (H2) is an extremely simple molecule and yet a valuable raw material which as a result of the development of sophisticated catalysts is becoming more and more important. In industry and commerce, applications range from food and fertilizer manufacture to crude oil cracking to utilization as an energy source in fuel cells. A challenge lies in splitting the strong H-H bond under mild conditions. Chemists at Goethe University have now developed a new catalyst for the activation of hydrogen by introducing boron atoms into a common organic molecule. The process, which was described in theAngewandte Chemie journal, requires only an electron source in addition and should therefore be usable on a broad scale in future.

New perovskite solar cell design could outperform existing commercial technologies, Stanford and Oxford scientists report

A new design for solar cells that uses inexpensive, commonly available materials could rival and even outperform conventional cells made of silicon.Writing in the Oct. 21 edition of Science, researchers from Stanford and Oxford describe using tin and other abundant elements to create novel forms of perovskite – a photovoltaic crystalline material that’s thinner, more flexible and easier to manufacture than silicon crystals.

Protecting people and planet from "invisible killer" is focus of UN health campaign to tackle air pollution

Regulatory news - ENN - October 20, 2016 - 5:50pm
The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) in partnership with the Coalition for Climate and Clean Air (CCAC) and the Government of Norway has launched a global awareness campaign on the dangers of air pollution – especially ‘invisible killers’ such as black carbon, ground-level ozone and methane – for the health of individuals and the planet.Titled BreatheLife: Clean air. A healthy future, the campaign aims to mobilize cities and their inhabitants on issues of health and protecting the planet from the effects of air pollution. Moreover, By WHO and CCAC joining forces, ‘BreatheLife’ brings together expertise and partners that can tackle both the climate and health impacts of air pollution.

Scientists find link between tropical storms and decline of river deltas

Climate Change News - ENN - October 20, 2016 - 5:36pm
Research by the University of Southampton shows that a change in the patterns of tropical storms is threatening the future of the Mekong River delta in Vietnam, indicating a similar risk to other deltas around the world.The study, funded by the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and undertaken in collaboration with the universities of Exeter (UK), Hull (UK), Illinois (USA) and Aalto University (Finland), found that changes in the behaviour of cyclones mean less sediment is running into rivers upstream of the Mekong delta, starving it of material vital for guarding against flooding. The findings are published in the journal Nature.

New 13-year Study Tracks Impact of Changing Climate on a Key Marine Food Source

Regulatory news - ENN - October 20, 2016 - 4:08pm
A new multiyear study from scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has shown for the first time how changes in ocean temperature affect a key species of phytoplankton. The study, published in the October 21 issue of the journal Science, tracked levels of Synechococcus—a tiny bacterium common in marine ecosystems—near the coast of Massachusetts over a 13-year period. As ocean temperatures increased during that time, annual blooms of Synechococcus occurred up to four weeks earlier than usual because cells divided faster in warmer conditions, the study found.

New 13-year Study Tracks Impact of Changing Climate on a Key Marine Food Source

Climate Change News - ENN - October 20, 2016 - 4:08pm
A new multiyear study from scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has shown for the first time how changes in ocean temperature affect a key species of phytoplankton. The study, published in the October 21 issue of the journal Science, tracked levels of Synechococcus—a tiny bacterium common in marine ecosystems—near the coast of Massachusetts over a 13-year period. As ocean temperatures increased during that time, annual blooms of Synechococcus occurred up to four weeks earlier than usual because cells divided faster in warmer conditions, the study found.

Safe new storage method could be key to future of hydrogen-powered vehicles

Climate Change News - ENN - October 20, 2016 - 2:38pm
Hydrogen is often described as the fuel of the future, particularly when applied to hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles. One of the main obstacles facing this technology – a potential solution to future sustainable transport – has been the lack of a lightweight, safe on-board hydrogen storage material.

Safe new storage method could be key to future of hydrogen-powered vehicles

Hydrogen is often described as the fuel of the future, particularly when applied to hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles. One of the main obstacles facing this technology – a potential solution to future sustainable transport – has been the lack of a lightweight, safe on-board hydrogen storage material.

Monthly record-warm streak ends, September 2nd warmest on record for globe

Climate Change News - ENN - October 20, 2016 - 8:12am
August's warmth spread into September, contributing to the warmest year to date for the globe, but not enough to continue the recent 16-month streak of record warmth. Even so, September 2016 ranked as the second warmest September on record.  

Reducing ammonia pollution from cattle

Climate Change News - ENN - October 19, 2016 - 5:13pm
Agriculture is responsible for 90% of all ammonia pollution in Europe, a considerable part of which comes from cattle manure management: a new study shows what steps to take to reduce this pollution.Improved barn design, cleaning processes, and manure treatment could reduce ammonia emissions from commercial dairy cattle barns by 17 to 50%, according to a new study published in the journal Science of the Total Environment. The study provides a list of techniques and technologies that could provide the greatest reductions in ammonia emissions.

Reforesting Kilimanjaro could ease East Africa's severe water shortages

Climate Change News - ENN - October 19, 2016 - 5:09pm
There is a need to reforest Africa’s highest mountain to help protect vital water supplies that are under threat across large parts of East Africa, a UN Environment report urged today.The loss of Mount Kilimanjaro’s forests could trigger water crisis as rivers begin to dry up, notes the report, entitled Sustainable Mountain Development in East Africa in a Changing Climate, which was launched at the World Mountain Forum in Uganda today.

Discovery of Carbon Storage Signaling Mechanism in Algae Offers New Potential for Sustainable Biofuel Production

James Umen, Ph.D., associate member at Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, and colleagues have discovered a way to make algae better oil producers without sacrificing growth. The findings were published September 6, in a paper titled, “Synergism between inositol polyphosphates and TOR kinase signaling in nutrient sensing, growth control and lipid metabolism in Chlamydomonas,” in The Plant Cell. Umen and his team including lead author Inmaculada Couso, Ph.D., and collaborators Bradley Evans Ph.D., director, Proteomics & Mass Spectrometry and Doug Allen, Ph.D., USDA Research Scientist at the Danforth Center identified a mutation in the green alga Chlamydomonas which substantially removes a constraint that is widely observed in micro-algae where the highest yields of oil can only be obtained from starving cultures.

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