Environmental Policy

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.

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.

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