Environmental Policy

Circles in the sand reveal boating damage to marine biodiversity
July 27, 2017 05:22 PM - Swansea University

The findings of a study by Swansea and Cardiff University scientists highlights the need for boating activities along the UKs beautiful coastlines to be conducted in a more environmentally friendly manner.

Seagrass meadows are an important marine habitat in support of our fisheries and commonly reside in shallow sheltered embayments typical of the locations that provide an attractive option for mooring boats. Research led by scientists at Swansea University provides evidence for how swinging boat moorings have damaged seagrass meadows throughout the UK (and globally) and create lifeless halos within the seagrass. The creation of these halos devoid of seagrass fragments the meadow and reduces its support for important marine biodiversity.

Australia is Building a 1,250-Mile Highway for Electric Vehicles
July 27, 2017 04:54 PM - Yale Environment 360

Australia will install 18 electric vehicle fast-charging stations along a nearly 1,250-mile stretch of coastal highway in Queensland, creating one of the world’s longest EV roadways, Reuters reported

The network, which will cost $3 million to build and open within six months, will stretch from Cairns to Coolangatta and west to Toowoomba, running parallel to the Great Barrier Reef. The charging stations will power a vehicle in 30 minutes. Drivers will be able to charge their vehicles for free for at least a year.

Projected Precipitation Increases Are Bad News for Water Quality
July 27, 2017 04:40 PM - Carnegie Institution for Science

If climate change is not curbed, increased precipitation could substantially overload U.S. waterways with excess nitrogen, according to a new study from Carnegie’s Eva Sinha and Anna Michalak and Princeton University’s Venkatramani Balaji published by Science. Excess nutrient pollution increases the likelihood of events that severely impair water quality. The study found that impacts will be especially strong in the Midwest and Northeast.

On International Day, UN spotlights threatened coastal mangrove ecosystems
July 26, 2017 03:55 PM - United Nations News Centre

Coastal mangroves are among the most imperiled ecosystems on earth, with current estimates indicating that up to 67 per cent have been lost to date – according to the United Nations science wing.

“The stakes are high, because mangrove ecosystems provide benefits and services that are essential for life,” said Irina Bokova, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in a message on the International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem.

The World Lost a Nebraska-Sized Chunk of Forest in 2015
July 26, 2017 03:36 PM - Yale Environment 360

The world lost nearly 49 million acres of forest in 2015 to logging, wildfires, palm oil plantations, and other development activity, according to new data by the conservation group Global Forest Watch. That is equal to an area roughly the size of Nebraska, Climate Central reported

New robotic lab tracking toxicity of Lake Erie algal bloom
July 22, 2017 12:41 PM - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

A new research tool to safeguard drinking water is now keeping a watchful eye on Lake Erie. This week, a robotic lake-bottom laboratory began tracking the levels of dangerous toxins produced by cyanobacteria that bloom each summer in the lake's western basin.

The goal is to provide advance warning to municipal drinking water managers and thereby prevent a recurrence of the water crisis that left more than 400,000 Toledo-area residents without safe drinking water for about two days in early August 2014 due to high levels of microcystin toxins.

Shale gas development spurring spread of invasive plants in Pa. forests
July 20, 2017 02:35 PM - Penn State

Vast swaths of Pennsylvania forests were clear-cut circa 1900 and regrowth has largely been from local native plant communities, but a team of researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences has found that invasive, non-native plants are making significant inroads with unconventional natural gas development.

The spread of invasive non-native plants could have long-term negative consequences for the forest ecosystem in a region where the ubiquitous woods provide timbering revenue, wildlife habitat and ecotourism, warns team member David Mortensen, professor of weed and applied plant ecology.

Shading and Lighting Retrofits Slash Energy Use in New York ''Living Lab'' Office Demonstration
July 20, 2017 02:30 PM - DOE / Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

By using advanced lighting and automated shades, scientists from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) found that occupants on one floor of a high-rise office building in New York City were able to reduce lighting energy usage by nearly 80 percent in some areas.

The dramatic results emerged at a “living laboratory” set up to test four sets of technologies on one 40,000 square-foot floor of a building.

Cash for carbon: A cost-effective way to reduce deforestation
July 20, 2017 02:08 PM - Northwestern University

A new Northwestern University study suggests that paying people to conserve their trees could be a highly cost-effective way to reduce deforestation and carbon emissions and should be a key part of the global strategy to fight climate change.

The study, led by Seema Jayachandran, associate professor of economics in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern, sought to evaluate how effective “Payments for Ecosystems” (PES) is at reducing deforestation. PES is a program in which people are given financial rewards for pro-environment behaviors.

Climate impacts of super-giant oilfields go up with age
July 18, 2017 03:10 PM - Stanford University

Even oilfields aren’t immune to the ravages of time: A new study finds that as some of the world’s largest oilfields age, the energy required to keep them operating can rise dramatically even as the amount of petroleum they produce drops.

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