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U.S. EPA Releasing Smog Rule
August 4, 2017 05:03 PM - Yale Environment 360

Faced with a lawsuit by 15 states, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced this week it would no longer delay the implementation of a rule requiring states to reduce emissions of smog-creating air pollution. 

Crafted by the Obama administration in 2015, the regulation calls for states to begin meeting stricter ozone standards as of October 1, 2017, lowering the air pollution limit from 0.075 parts per million to 0.070 ppm.  Ground-level ozone, or smog, is created when pollutants from cars, power plants, and other common industrial activities react with sunlight.  It can cause respiratory and other health problems.  In June, U.S. EPA head Scott Pruitt announced the agency would delay implementation of the new standards by one year.

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Flexible, organic and biodegradable: Stanford researchers develop new wave of electronics
May 2, 2017 09:48 PM - Sarah Derouin, Stanford University

As electronics become increasingly pervasive in our lives – from smart phones to wearable sensors – so too does the ever rising amount of electronic waste they create. A United Nations Environment Program report found that almost 50 million tons of electronic waste were thrown out in 2017—more than 20 percent higher than waste in 2015. Troubled by this mounting waste, Stanford engineer Zhenan Bao and her team are rethinking electronics. “In my group, we have been trying to mimic the function of human skin to think about how to develop future electronic devices,” Bao said. She described how skin is stretchable, self-healable and also biodegradable – an attractive list of characteristics for electronics. “We have achieved the first two [flexible and self-healing], so the biodegradability was something we wanted to tackle.”

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SPOTLIGHT

Thanksgiving Dinner's Carbon Footprint: A State-by-State Comparison

Carnegie Mellon University

The environmental impact of your Thanksgiving dinner depends on where the meal is prepared.

Carnegie Mellon University researchers calculated the carbon footprint of a typical Thanksgiving feast – roasted turkey stuffed with sausage and apples, green bean casserole and pumpkin pie – for each state. The team based their calculations on the way the meal is cooked (gas versus electric range), the specific state’s predominant power source and how the food is produced in each area.

They found that dinners cooked in Maine and Vermont, states that rely mostly on renewable energy, emit the lowest amounts of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that is tied to climate change. States that use coal power, such as Wyoming, West Virginia and Kentucky, have the highest carbon dioxide emissions.

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