Environmental Policy

Los Angeles IS cool! Even the roofs!
December 23, 2013 07:24 AM - Gina-Marie Cheeseman, Triple Pundit

Los Angeles, the second most populous city in the U.S., has made history by becoming the first major city to require all new and refurbished homes have a "cool roof." On December 17, 2013 the Los Angeles City Council unanimously passed an update to its Municipal Building Code. A cool roof is one that "reflects and emits the sun's heat back to the sky instead of transferring it to the building below," according to the Cool Roof Rating Council.

Turkey constructing undersea water pipeline to Cyprus
December 22, 2013 10:09 AM - Karin Kloosterman, GreenProphet

Turkey has started constructing what will be the world’s longest undersea water pipeline. The 107 kilometer pipe will draw water from the Dragon River and unite the Turkish mainland with northern Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea. Proponents are hoping it will unify the island, divided for the past 39 years. The suspended pipeline, moored to the floor of the seabed and well lower than where submarines can go, will carry freshwater from Turkish sources as much as 280 meters (919 feet) under water, Bloomberg is reporting. The first kilometer of pipe has been laid, in what will be a $484 million project. The divided island is one of the most water-stressed places on Earth, and Turkey and Turkish Cypriots in the north have bickered with Cyprus over offshore natural gas discoveries recently.

Climate change and livestock
December 21, 2013 07:46 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

Climate change, and man's role in it is being extensively studied by universities and government agencies around the world. The impact of ruminant livestock has been studied, but the effects of livestock emissions may have been underestimated. A team of international scientists, including Oregon State University Professor William Ripple concludes that while climate change negotiators struggle to agree on ways to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, they have paid inadequate attention to other greenhouse gases associated with livestock, according to an analysis by an international research team. A reduction in non-CO2 greenhouse gases will be required to abate climate change, the researchers said. Cutting releases of methane and nitrous oxide, two gases that pound-for-pound trap more heat than does CO2, should be considered alongside the challenge of reducing fossil fuel use.

Brown trout crowding out native brook trout
December 20, 2013 08:50 AM - Editor, ENN

Native brook trout, Salvelinus fontinalis, populations could be at risk as a result of the introduction of Brown trout, Salmo trutta, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study. Both species are valuable sport fish that coexist in many parts of the world due to stocking introductions.

Top conservation threats and opportunities
December 20, 2013 08:00 AM - Tamera Jones, Planet Earth Online

Governments being forced to choose between preventing climate change or averting a financial crisis, carbon solar cells as an alternative source of energy and accelerated loss of rhinos and elephants are among 15 conservation issues scientists say may become significant in 2014. Other threats and opportunities include emerging snake fungal disease, exploitation of Antarctica by nations such as China and Russia, and using synthetic biology to resurrect extinct species.

GMO Labeling Law in Connecticut
December 20, 2013 07:33 AM - Jan Lee, Triple Pundit

Connecticut's new GMO-labeling law is a first – in more than one way. With ceremonious flourish last week, Governor Dannel Malloy signed into law a bill that would require labeling on all products meant for human consumption that contain genetically modified ingredients (GMO). The legislation was passed by voters in June and actually received the governor's formal endorsement at that time.

Good news for corn farmers worth millions of dollars
December 19, 2013 12:01 PM - Sara LaJeunesse, Penn State

Good news for corn farmers: a major corn crop pest, the European corn borer (ECB) has seen a significant population decline in the eastern United States. This information comes from Penn State researchers on the heels of reports of similar population declines in the Midwest. As a result, farmers will save millions of dollars in some parts of the country because they will no longer need to treat for this pest.

Damming the Congo
December 18, 2013 09:42 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is looking to capture the more of powers of the Congo River in what will be the largest and most powerful hydroelectric dam in the world. The Grand Inga Hydropower Project will produce up to 40,000 megawatts of electricity, doubling current dam champion, Three Gorges in China. The dam will generate more than one third of the electricity currently produced in Africa as it captures the force of the 1.5 million cubic feet per second cascading into the Atlantic Ocean.

EPA settles an unsettling amount of reactive hazardous waste in Oregon
December 17, 2013 08:29 PM - Staff, ENN

Oregon Metallurgical of Albany and TDY Industries of Millersburg have agreed to pay a combined $825,000 to resolve alleged violations related to the improper storage, transportation, and disposal of anhydrous magnesium chloride, a reactive hazardous waste that poses fire and explosion threats. The EPA asserts that both companies must improve their hazardous waste management practices and upgrade their record keeping for wastes generated at their facilities to avoid potential injuries and accidents.

Rutgers University study looks at climate change and interrelated variables
December 17, 2013 07:38 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

The changing climate is more complicated to model than we assumed. There are interrelated variables that work together to amplify the effects. For example, as summer sea-ice and snow shrink back in the Arctic, the number of summertime "extreme" weather events in the middle latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere is increasing, according to research published recently in Nature Climate Change by two Chinese scientists and their Rutgers colleague. "It's becoming increasingly clear, I think, that the loss of sea ice and snow cover is setting up the conditions that jump-start summer," said Jennifer Francis, research professor at the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences in Rutgers’ School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. "The soil dries out earlier and that allows it to get hotter earlier. This phenomenon is also changing circulation patterns in the atmosphere."

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