Environmental Policy

The most effective individual steps to tackle climate change aren't being discussed
July 12, 2017 09:53 AM - IOP Publishing

Governments and schools are not communicating the most effective ways for individuals to reduce their carbon footprints, according to new research.

These 100 Companies Are to Blame For 71% of The World's Greenhouse Gas Emissions
July 11, 2017 04:09 PM - Signe Dean

Since 1988, a mere 100 companies have been responsible for 71 percent of the entire world's industrial greenhouse gas emissions.

This data comes from an inaugural report published by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), an environmental non-profit. Charting the rapid expansion of the fossil fuel industry in the last 28 years, they have now released some truly staggering numbers on the world's major carbon polluters.

Water scarcity hotspots shifting
July 11, 2017 12:43 PM - , SciDevNet

Reservoirs, dams and irrigation systems have shifted global patterns of water scarcity over three decades, “causing a distinct pattern of beneficiaries and losers”, according to recent research.

Can the Monarch Highway Help Save a Butterfly Under Siege?
July 11, 2017 11:21 AM - Yale Environment 360

Interstate 35 lies at the heart of a vast circulatory system, one of the massive transportation arteries that enable Americans to move long distances quickly. The highway also cuts through the heart of the eastern monarch’s central flyway, which produces the vast majority of brilliant orange and black butterflies that undertake one of the world’s most grueling insect migrations.

En route from as far away as southern Canada to their wintering grounds in steep, fir-clad slopes northwest of Mexico City, monarchs must fly through numerous metropolitan areas strung along the 1,568-mile river of asphalt, including Minneapolis-St. Paul, Kansas City, and Dallas-Fort Worth. Once a vast expanse of prairie, today the I-35 corridor not only bisects cities and suburbs but also passes through the Corn Belt, an ever-expanding patchwork of corn and soybean monocultures laced with the pesticide glyphosate. According to Chip Taylor, director of Monarch Watch and a biologist at the University of Kansas, the resulting loss of monarch habitat has been “tremendous.”

New way to predict when electric cars and home batteries become cost effective
July 10, 2017 03:45 PM - Imperial College London

The future cost of energy storage technologies can now be predicted under different scenarios, thanks to a new tool created by Imperial researchers.

Using a large database, the team can predict how much consumers will have to pay in the future for energy storage technologies based on cumulative installed capacity, current cost and future investment.

A simple solution for terrible traffic
July 10, 2017 09:14 AM - Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cities plagued with terrible traffic problems may be overlooking a simple, low-cost solution: High-occupancy vehicle (HOV) policies that encourage carpooling can reduce traffic drastically, according to a new study co-authored by MIT economists.

The results show that in Jakarta, Indonesia, travel delays became 46 percent worse during the morning rush hour and 87 percent worse during the evening rush hour, after an HOV policy requiring three or more passengers in a car was discontinued on important city center roads.

McMaster hosts researcher looking for ways to help pregnant women safely fight malaria
July 7, 2017 08:08 AM - McMaster University

Titus Divala has seen the effects of malaria first-hand.

Now a University of Maryland researcher, he was born and raised in Malawi, where the mosquito-borne infectious disease is the third most common cause of death.

Rising temperatures are curbing ocean's capacity to store carbon
July 6, 2017 05:01 PM - Massachusetts Institute of Technology

If there is anywhere for carbon dioxide to disappear in large quantities from the atmosphere, it is into the Earth’s oceans. There, huge populations of plankton can soak up carbon dioxide from surface waters and gobble it up as a part of photosynthesis, generating energy for their livelihood. When plankton die, they sink thousands of feet, taking with them the carbon that was once in the atmosphere, and stashing it in the deep ocean.

Volvo to Drop Combustion Engines and Take All its Cars Electric in 2019
July 5, 2017 04:35 PM - Yale Environment 360

The Swedish-based carmaker, Volvo, will build only electric or hybrid-electric cars beginning in 2019, making it the first big auto company to abandon conventional gasoline-powered engines. 

The legendary auto manufacturer, now a wholly owned subsidiary of a Chinese company, had earlier set a goal of selling one million electric cars and hyrids by 2025. “This is how we are going to do it,” President and CEO Hakan Samuelsson said in a statement. 

Bolstering public support for state-level renewable energy policies
July 5, 2017 03:39 PM - Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Since the 1980s, the United States has often been a world leader in supporting renewable energy technologies at the state and federal level. Thirty-seven states have enacted binding or voluntary renewable portfolio standards (RPS) requiring that a portion of the electricity mix come from renewable sources by a given date. But since 2011, adoption of such standards has slowed, and in the past several years there have been many attempts — some of them successful — to weaken, freeze, or repeal renewable energy laws.

Given the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, increased federal investment in renewable energy is unlikely for the foreseeable future. As a result, state-level renewable energy policies will likely be central to driving new deployment. Past research has shown that public opinion plays a crucial role in facilitating a political consensus around new policies in U.S. states. If that’s true for renewable energy policies, then people’s views may have a major influence on future actions taken by their states. 

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