Legislative & Regulatory Update
Senators Kevin de León and Fran Pavley announced a package of new legislation that builds on Gov. Brown’s state of emergency declaration to ensure protections for Californians impacted by the natural gas leak in Porter Ranch. The new legislation will require: a moratorium on new injections into the Aliso Canyon storage facility until experts determine it is safe to resume and a study to see whether it makes sense to continue using the facility. (SB 875)that response costs – such as greenhouse gas mitigation, relocation, and emergency response costs – will be funded by the Gas Company shareholders, not the ratepayers who are suffering from this disaster. (SB 876)stronger laws regulating gas storage facilities, including increased inspections and health and safety measures. (SB 877)setting state climate pollution reduction targets and holding polluters accountable for meeting those targets. (SB 878)
This image from NASA's Dawn spacecraft shows Kupalo Crater, one of the youngest craters on Ceres. Image Credit: NASA/JPL Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDAFeatures on dwarf planet Ceres that piqued the interest of scientists throughout 2015 stand out in exquisite detail in the latest images from NASA's Dawn spacecraft, which recently reached its lowest-ever altitude at Ceres.Dawn took these images near its current altitude of 240 miles (385 kilometers) from Ceres, between Dec. 19 and 23, 2015.Kupalo Crater, one of the youngest craters on Ceres, shows off many fascinating attributes at the high image resolution of 120 feet (35 meters) per pixel. The crater has bright material exposed on its rim, which could be salts, and its flat floor likely formed from impact melt and debris. Researchers will be looking closely at whether this material is related to the "bright spots" of Occator Crater. Kupalo, which measures 16 miles (26 kilometers) across and is located at southern mid-latitudes, is named for the Slavic god of vegetation and harvest.
Low raw material costs have dealt a heavy blow to the recycling industry. The French recycling federation (FEDEREC) believes the sector needs a complete overhaul to stay afloat in the coming years.FEDEREC published its view of the future of recycling in a white paper entitled "The recycling industry by 2030." In the preface to this 70-page document, a frank discussion of the problems facing the industry and how they might be solved, Corinne Lepage, a Republican politician, evoked a sector "devastated by an oil price that is so low that it is driving us back towards a linear economy, as it is cheaper today to buy primary raw materials than recycled raw materials".
Protected areas such as rainforests occupy more than one-tenth of the Earth’s landscape, and provide invaluable ecosystem services, from erosion control to pollination to biodiversity preservation. They also draw heat-trapping carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and store it in plants and soil through photosynthesis, yielding a net cooling effect on the planet.Determining the role protected areas play as carbon sinks — now and in decades to come — is a topic of intense interest to the climate-policy community as it seeks science-based strategies to mitigate climate change. Toward that end, a study in the journal Ambioestimates for the first time the amount of CO2 sequestered by protected areas, both at present and throughout the 21st century as projected under various climate and land-use scenarios.
For the past six years, researchers at the Universitat Politènica de València (Polytechnic Univeristy of Valencia, UPV) have been studying the performance of twelve Aleppo pine varieties native to different regions of Spain in reforestation campaigns across three national forest areas. Different varieties or genotypes have different levels of resistance to cold and drought, which influence how well they perform in a given geographical region, and researchers wanted to find out which varieties worked best and where.To do so, the different national varieties or genotypes were used to repopulate forest areas in La Hunde, Valencia (as the control region), in the drier Granja d'Escarp, Lleida, to the north and further inland in Tramacastiel, Teruel, where the climate is much cooler."The varieties from Inland Levante and La Mancha performed the best overall, while those from further south seem to be perfect for reforestation efforts in regions already affected by climate change," observes Antonio del Campo, researcher at the UPV's Institute of Water and Environmental Engineering (IIAMA).
There were high-fives this week from Detroit to Washington, D.C., as carmakers celebrated record auto sales.Americans bought 17.5 million cars and trucks in 2015. That's a huge turnaround from 2009, and the Obama administration cheered the rebound as vindication of the president's decision to rescue General Motors and Chrysler from bankruptcy."Because of the policy decisions that were made by this administration to place a bet on those workers, America has won, and our economy has been better for it," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Wednesday.