Environmental Policy

Clean power planning
April 21, 2017 04:47 PM - Massachusetts Institute of Technology

With a single executive order issued at the end of March, the Trump administration launched a robust effort to roll back Obama-era climate policies designed to reduce U.S. carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Chief among those policies is the Clean Power Plan, which targets coal and natural gas-fired electric power plants that account for about 40 percent of the nation’s CO2 emissions. Private and public-sector investors may see the executive order as a green light to double down on relatively cheap fossil fuels and reduce holdings in more costly, climate-friendly, non-carbon generation technologies such as wind, solar and nuclear. But they may want to think twice before making such transactions.

Degradable electronic components created from corn starch
April 19, 2017 03:25 PM - American Chemical Society

As consumers upgrade their gadgets at an increasing pace, the amount of electronic waste we generate continues to mount. To help combat this environmental problem, researchers have modified a degradable bioplastic derived from corn starch or other natural sources for use in more eco-friendly electronic components. They report their development in ACS’ journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research.

Degradable electronic components created from corn starch
April 19, 2017 03:25 PM - American Chemical Society

As consumers upgrade their gadgets at an increasing pace, the amount of electronic waste we generate continues to mount. To help combat this environmental problem, researchers have modified a degradable bioplastic derived from corn starch or other natural sources for use in more eco-friendly electronic components. They report their development in ACS’ journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research.

Water Is Streaming Across Antarctica
April 19, 2017 02:57 PM - Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory - Columbia University

In the first such continent-wide survey, scientists have found extensive drainages of meltwater flowing over parts of Antarctica’s ice during the brief summer. Researchers already knew such features existed, but assumed they were confined mainly to Antarctica’s fastest-warming, most northerly reaches. Many of the newly mapped drainages are not new, but the fact they exist at all is significant; they appear to proliferate with small upswings in temperature, so warming projected for this century could quickly magnify their influence on sea level. An accompanying study looks at how such systems might influence the great ice shelves ringing the continent, which some researchers fear could collapse, bringing catastrophic sea-level rises. Both studies appear this week in the leading scientific journal Nature.

UNH Helps Lead the Way for Campuses to Measure Their Nitrogen Footprints
April 18, 2017 06:33 PM - University of New Hampshire

Sustainability leadership efforts at the University of New Hampshire have contributed to a groundbreaking initiative to measure and reduce the nitrogen footprint left behind by campus activities like food waste and energy consumption. The new research is highlighted in the April 2017 special issue of Sustainability: The Journal of Record. The publication outlines research being done at UNH, and seven other institutions, to reduce emissions of reactive nitrogen (all forms of nitrogen except unreactive N2 gas) and prevent negative impacts on such things as water quality, air pollution, and climate change.

UNH Helps Lead the Way for Campuses to Measure Their Nitrogen Footprints
April 18, 2017 06:33 PM - University of New Hampshire

Sustainability leadership efforts at the University of New Hampshire have contributed to a groundbreaking initiative to measure and reduce the nitrogen footprint left behind by campus activities like food waste and energy consumption. The new research is highlighted in the April 2017 special issue of Sustainability: The Journal of Record. The publication outlines research being done at UNH, and seven other institutions, to reduce emissions of reactive nitrogen (all forms of nitrogen except unreactive N2 gas) and prevent negative impacts on such things as water quality, air pollution, and climate change.

Prescribed Forest Fire Frequency Should Be Based on Land Management Goals
April 18, 2017 05:17 PM - University of Missouri-Columbia

In recent decades, scientists and land managers have realized the importance of controlled forest fires for reaching specific forest management objectives. However, questions remain about how often forests should be burned. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have studied forests subjected to different frequencies of fires to determine what effects fire can have on oak forests over long periods of time. They found that the frequency of prescribed forest fires should be determined based on the long-term goals of land managers.

Prescribed Forest Fire Frequency Should Be Based on Land Management Goals
April 18, 2017 05:17 PM - University of Missouri-Columbia

In recent decades, scientists and land managers have realized the importance of controlled forest fires for reaching specific forest management objectives. However, questions remain about how often forests should be burned. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have studied forests subjected to different frequencies of fires to determine what effects fire can have on oak forests over long periods of time. They found that the frequency of prescribed forest fires should be determined based on the long-term goals of land managers.

Banned industrial solvent sheds new light on methane mystery
April 17, 2017 03:28 PM - University of Bristol

Since 2007, scientists have been searching to find the cause of a sudden and unexpected global rise in atmospheric methane, a potent greenhouse gas, following almost a decade in which concentrations had stayed relatively constant.

Recent studies have explored a range of possible causes. Suggestions have included a rise in oil and natural gas extraction, increased emissions from tropical wetlands or increases in emissions from growing East Asian economies.

Banned industrial solvent sheds new light on methane mystery
April 17, 2017 03:28 PM - University of Bristol

Since 2007, scientists have been searching to find the cause of a sudden and unexpected global rise in atmospheric methane, a potent greenhouse gas, following almost a decade in which concentrations had stayed relatively constant.

Recent studies have explored a range of possible causes. Suggestions have included a rise in oil and natural gas extraction, increased emissions from tropical wetlands or increases in emissions from growing East Asian economies.

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