Environmental Policy

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.

Removing CO2 from the air required to safeguard children's future
July 18, 2017 12:55 PM - European Geosciences Union

Reducing greenhouse-gas emissions is not enough to limit global warming to a level that wouldn’t risk young people’s future, according to a new study by a team of scientists who say we need negative emissions. Measures such as reforestation could accomplish much of the needed CO2 removal from the atmosphere, but continued high fossil fuel emissions would demand expensive technological solutions to extract CO2 and prevent dangerous warming. The study is published today in Earth System Dynamics, a journal of the European Geosciences Union.

New rules urgently needed to protect our oceans, Oxford scientists warn
July 18, 2017 08:36 AM - University of Oxford

Marine scientists from Oxford’s, Department of Zoology, have presented a United Nations (UN) panel with an overview of the risks facing our oceans.The UN members were meeting for the latest round of negotiations towards a possible high seas treaty.

The Oxford report reveals the severe risk to the open ocean from climate change, over-fishing, deep-sea mining, farm and plastics pollution. The paper calls for immediate legal protection of the high seas.

Ozone Pollution Connected to Cardiovascular Health
July 17, 2017 02:09 PM - Duke University

Exposure to ozone, long associated with impaired lung function, is also connected to health changes that can cause cardiovascular disease such as heart attack, high blood pressure and stroke, according to a new study of Chinese adults.

These findings, by a team from Duke University, Tsinghua University, Duke Kunshan University and Peking University, appear in the July 17, 2017 edition of JAMA Internal Medicine.

Diesel is now better than gas
July 17, 2017 01:30 PM - University of Montreal

Modern diesel cars emit less pollution generally than cars that run on gasoline, says a new six-nation study published today in Scientific Reports whose groundwork was laid in part by an American chemist now working at Université de Montréal.

And since diesel is so much cleaner than before, environmental regulators should increasingly shift their focus to dirtier gasoline-powered cars and other sources of air pollution, says the UdeM scientist, Patrick Hayes.

Treated Fracking Wastewater Contaminated Watershed with Radium and Endocrine Disrupters, Study Finds
July 17, 2017 12:06 PM - Yale Environment 360

A study in the Marcellus Shale region of western Pennsylvania has shown that even after being treated, wastewater from hydraulic fracturing operations left significant contamination in a waterway downstream of treatment plants. 

Researchers from Penn State University, Colorado State University, and Dartmouth College studied sediments from Conemaugh River Lake — a dammed reservoir east of Pittsburgh — and found that they were contaminated with endocrine-disrupting chemicals called nonylphenol ethoxylates; polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are carcinogens; and elevated levels of radium. 

New model projects an increase in dust storms in the US
July 17, 2017 08:46 AM - Princeton University

Could the storms that once engulfed the Great Plains in clouds of black dust in the 1930’s once again wreak havoc in the U.S.? A new statistical model developed by researchers at Princeton University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts that climate change will amplify dust activity in parts of the U.S. in the latter half of the 21st century, which may lead to the increased frequency of spectacular dust storms that have far-reaching impacts on public health and infrastructure.

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