ENVIRONMENT AND CLIMATE
Yves Ducrot 1, Jul 31 secs
31 secs
The Ritz Herald
U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, Oct. 26, 2020. © Bloomberg / Getty Images
SCOTUS decision to weaken the regulatory power of the EPA could result in preventable human health and ecological damages, putting not just air quality, but also water quality, at risk

The Supreme Court has curtailed the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce carbon emissions from power plants in a decision that could limit other federal agencies’ regulatory powers.

Catherine Kling is an environmental economist and an expert in water quality modeling who served for 10 years on the EPA’s Science Advisory Board. Kling says the Supreme Court’s decision to weaken the regulatory power of the EPA could result in preventable human health and ecological damages, putting not just air quality, but also water quality, at risk.

Kling says: “Weakening the power of the EPA to regulate and enforce dangerous air pollutants that were not mentioned explicitly in the Clean Air Act raises concerns for other pollutants. For example, we now understand that PFAS pollution of water is very dangerous, yet this contaminant was unknown when the Clean Water Act was passed 50 years ago. As our scientific understanding of the effect of water and air pollution advances, the ruling suggests that unless legislation can promptly be passed in each instance, unnecessary and avoidable human health and ecological damages will occur.”

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Democrats for the Illinois House Announce Leadership Change
Democrats for the Illinois House, the official political arm of the Illinois House Democratic Caucus,
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101st Airborne Arrives in Europe to Support NATO Allies
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Tsunami Threats Underestimated in Current Models, New Research Shows
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The 2004 Sumatra earthquake generated one of the most destructive tsunamis ever recorded, with 100-foot waves that killed nearly 230,000 and resulted in an estimated $10 billion in damage. It also ushered in a new understanding that potent tsunamis are triggered by shallow earthquake ruptures of underwater fault lines….

Global, Multi-Stakeholder Digital Coalition Presents Plan for a Green Digital Revolution
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A UN-backed coalition of 1,000 stakeholders from over 100 countries launched an Action Plan to steer digitalization towards accelerating environmentally and socially sustainable development. The Coalition for Digital Environmental Sustainability (CODES) aims to help reorient and prioritize the application of digital technologies to meet the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable…

Biden Administration Launches Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Initiative to Connect More Clean Energy to the Grid
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The Biden Administration through the U.S. Department of Energy launched the Interconnection Innovation e-Xchange (i2X) — a new partnership funded by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that brings together grid operators, utilities, state and tribal governments, clean energy developers, energy justice organizations, and other stakeholders…

Wealthiest Homeowners Most at Risk of Wildfire Hazard
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The top ten percent of most valuable homes in the western United States are 70% more likely to be in high wildfire hazard areas than median-value properties, measured by county, according to a new study published today in Environmental Research Letters.

Researchers at Resources for the Future, an…

7 mins
Mosaic of forests, pastures, and agriculture in the Brazilian Amazon. © Marizilda Cruppe / Rede Amazônia Sustentável
The Ritz Herald
Linking land-use and land-cover transitions to their ecological impact in the Amazon

A major study into landscape changes in the Brazilian Amazon sheds new light on the many environmental threats the biome faces – but also offers encouraging opportunities for ecological sustainability in the world’s most biodiverse tropical forest.

The study’s findings are critical because as the Amazon moves closer towards a ‘tipping point’, they provide a robust evidence base to inform urgently needed conservation and regeneration priorities in the forest. They show that gains can be achieved through a range of actions – including, but not limited to, halting deforestation.

The research, which is published today in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), was conducted by an international team of scientists from Brazil and the UK. They examined the ecological impacts caused by changes people are making to forest landscapes in two regions of the Brazilian State of Pará – Santarém and Paragominas.

“While the focus to date has been on deforestation, we know tropical forest landscapes are being altered by a much broader range of human activities,” said lead researcher Dr. Cássio Alencar Nunes from Universidade Federal de Lavras in Brazil and Lancaster University in the United Kingdom. “These modifications include deforestation and degradation…

7 mins
U.S. Capitol, Washington D.C. © Eleven Photographs
The Ritz Herald
Move follows Animal Wellness Action's submission of more than 330 pages of written testimony and collateral material on past and safe acts last month

Today, Animal Wellness Action and its affiliates applauded the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce,  led by Chairwoman Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., and Ranking Member Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., for advancing two key pieces of equine protection legislation in a markup, the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, H.R. 5441, and the Save America’s Forgotten Equines (SAFE) Act, H.R. 3355. The action today puts them in motion and creates an opportunity for additional legislating in the House and Senate.

The anti-soring legislation has been in similar form for a decade, and the anti-horse-slaughter legislation has been around for nearly a quarter century. PAST would amend the Horse Protection Act (HPA) of 1970 make it a federal felony  to inflict pain on Tennessee Walking Horses’ front limbs to achieve the artificial high step known as the “Big Lick” that’s prized in some parts of the South, mainly Tennessee and Kentucky. SAFE would bring an end to the gruesome trade in horse meat and the slaughter of American equines shipped to Mexico and Canada – a trade that not long ago claimed the lives of 140,000 horses a year but has been reduced to some 23,000 of…

Climate Change on Course to Hit U.S. Corn Belt Especially Hard
The Ritz Herald

Climate change will make the U.S. Corn Belt unsuitable for cultivating corn by 2100 without major technological advances in agricultural practices, an Emory University study finds.

Environmental Research Letters published the research, which adds to the evidence that significant agricultural adaptation will be necessary and inevitable in the Central and…

Researchers Have Developed a Potential Super Wheat for Salty Soils
The Ritz Herald

Researchers at the University of Gothenburg have developed several new varieties of wheat that tolerate soils with higher salt concentrations. After having mutated a wheat variety from Bangladesh, they now have wheat with seeds that weigh three times more and that germinate almost twice as often as the original…

U.S. Department of Energy Announces Nearly $25 Million to Study Advanced Clean Hydrogen Technologies for Electricity Generation
The Ritz Herald

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $24.9 million in funding for six research and development projects to support the advancement of clean hydrogen for electricity generation. DOE will partner with private companies to research advanced technology solutions that could make hydrogen a more available and effective fuel for…

Sea Ice Can Control Antarctic Ice Sheet Stability, New Research Finds
The Ritz Herald

Despite the rapid melting of ice in many parts of Antarctica during the second half of the 20th century, researchers have found that the floating ice shelves which skirt the eastern Antarctic Peninsula have undergone sustained advance over the past 20 years.

Ice shelves – floating sections of ice that are…

4 mins
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© United Airlines
United and United Airlines Ventures also announced that they will invest in the research and development of Dimensional Energy, as a step toward reaching the airline’s own net-zero commitment by 2050 – without needing carbon credit offsets
By / Technology Reporter

United Airlines will fly greener through its friendly blue skies one day, as the airline group agreed June 15 to purchase at least 300 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel from Cornell University startup Dimensional Energy, a company that turns captured carbon dioxide into liquid fuel with renewable energy.

United and United Airlines Ventures also announced that they will invest in the research and development of Dimensional Energy, as a step toward reaching the airline’s own net-zero commitment by 2050 – without needing carbon credit offsets.

Since 2018, Dimensional Energy – based in Ithaca, New York – has been enrolled in Cornell’s Kevin M. McGovern Family Center for Venture Development in the Life Sciences, a business incubator.

“United Airlines is a huge partner for us,” said Jason Salfi, Dimensional Energy CEO and co-founder. “It’s an amazing partnership and they’re a tremendously friendly group of people. In a way, it feels like United is a small company – there are no barriers to getting things done. We work together gracefully.”

For the last half-dozen years, Dimensional Energy has developed a way to gather carbon dioxide from a sources like industrial sites (cement plants) or from direct-air capture, then add renewable energy and hydrogen to their novel system of reactors, to transform it into an environmentally friendly fuel. Salfi estimates that a fuel will be ready for a testing phase in about one year.

Dimensional Energy started in serendipitous way.

Tobias Hanrath, the professor of engineering, in the Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering; and…

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Climate Change Will More Than Double the Risk of Intense Tropical Cyclones by 2050
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Human-caused climate change will make strong tropical cyclones twice as frequent by the middle of the century, putting large parts of the world at risk, according to a new study published in Scientific Advances. The analysis also projects that maximum wind speeds associated with these…

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Flames lick above vehicles on Highway 162 in Oroville, California, Sept 9, 2020. © Noah Berger
The Ritz Herald
New Geology science published online ahead of print

While wildfires over recent years have raged across much of the western United States and pose significant hazards to wildlife and local populations, wildfires have been a long-standing part of Earth’s systems without the influence of humans for hundreds of millions of years.

“Wildfire has been an integral component in earth-system processes for a long time and its role in those processes has almost certainly been underemphasized,” said Ian Glasspool, lead author of a study published in Geology that describes the earliest record of wildfire found yet to date.

In the study, Glasspool and co-author Robert Gastaldo document 430-million-year-old charcoal produced by wildfires found in samples from Wales and Poland. Their discovery pushes back the earliest record of wildfire by an additional 10 million years.

Glasspool explained that wildfire has three essential ingredients: a source of fuel, a source of ignition (which comes in the form of lightning strikes), and sufficient atmospheric oxygen.

“It looks now as though our evidence of fire coincides closely with our evidence of the earliest land plant macrofossils. So as soon as there’s fuel, at least in the form of plant macrofossils, there is wildfire pretty much instantly,” said Glasspool.

However, the types of plants that existed 430 million years…

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Rising Temperatures May Cause a Rise in Carbon Dioxide, but This Does Not Refute Human-caused Climate Change

Ducrot / RH
Scientists have known that Earth’s climate has changed dramatically over its 4.5 billion-year history, from ice ages to warming periods. Several factors have caused these drastic changes in climate, including
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Nearly 9 Million More Americans Impacted by Deadly Particle Pollution
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A new report from the American Lung Association reveals that nearly 9 million more people were impacted by particle pollution, which can be deadly, than in last year’s report. The Lung Association’s 23rd annual “State of the Air” report also shows more days with “very unhealthy” and “hazardous” air…

Pacific Northwest Wildfires Alter Air Pollution Patterns Across North America
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Increasingly large and intense wildfires in the Pacific Northwest are altering the seasonal pattern of air pollution and causing a spike in unhealthy pollutants in August, new research finds. The smoke is undermining clean air gains, posing potential risks to the health of millions of people, according to the…