The Eco News Roundup brings stories and commentary about issues related to climate change, renewable energy and the environment.
(Bonn, 5 May 2012) Ministers and high-level officials from 32 countries meeting informally in Bonn 4-5 May have expressed determination to build on the strong momentum of the UN Climate ChangeConference in Durban to curb greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the inevitable impacts of climate change.
EPA Updates Clean Air Act Requirements for Gas Stations to Reflect New Vehicle Technologies / Widespread use of advanced vehicle technologies capture harmful gasoline vapors when refueling, delivering more cost-effective emissions reductions
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that the systems used at gas station pumps to capture harmful gasoline vapors while refueling cars can be phased out. Modern vehicles are equipped to capture those emissions. This final rule is part of the Obama Administration’s initiative to ensure that regulations protect public health and the environment without being unnecessarily burdensome to American businesses.
(DALLAS – May 9, 2012) The Gulfsouth Youth Biodiesel Project is training 70 out-of-school youths to collect and recycle used cooking oil into biodiesel fuel. Operation REACH, Inc. is receiving $50,000 from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Environmental Education Grants program to introduce students to opportunities in the Green Collar workforce. The participants will learn about diesel engines and the process of converting used cooking oil and raw feedstock into biodiesel fuel. Operation Reach has commitments from Zeon Global Energy and the Goshen Energy Initiatives to employ graduates, and is partnering with several local restaurants and industrial kitchens across Jefferson and Orleans parishes to collect used cooking oil.
When the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded April 20, 2010, residents feared that their Gulf of Mexico shores would be inundated with oil. And while many wetland habitats and wildlife were oiled during the three-month leak, the environmental damage to coastal Louisiana was less than many expected, in part because much of the crude never made it to the coast. Research by a trio of geoscientists, including the University of Pennsylvania’s Douglas Jerolmack, now offers an explanation for why some of the oil stayed out at sea.
Scientists at the University have found that genetic information on the Antarctic octopus supports studies indicating that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet could have collapsed during its history, possibly as recently as 200,000 years ago. Genes from more than 450 Turquet’s octopuses, collected from species in the Southern Ocean that surrounds Antarctica, were analysed to shed new light on how animals disperse across the varied ocean landscape.
As people pump groundwater for irrigation, drinking water, and industrial uses, the water doesn’t just seep back into the ground — it also evaporates into the atmosphere, or runs off into rivers and canals, eventually emptying into the world’s oceans. This water adds up, and a new study calculates that by 2050, groundwater pumping will cause a global sea level rise of about 0.8 millimeters per year.
A 100-fold upsurge in human-produced plastic garbage in the ocean is altering habitats in the marine environment, according to a new study led by a graduate student researcher at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. In 2009 an ambitious group of graduate students led the Scripps Environmental Accumulation of Plastic Expedition (SEAPLEX) to the North Pacific Ocean Subtropical Gyre aboard the Scripps research vessel New Horizon. During the voyage the researchers, who concentrated their studies a thousand miles west of California, documented an alarming amount of human-generated trash, mostly broken down bits of plastic the size of a fingernail floating across thousands of miles of open ocean.
One popular climate record that shows a slower atmospheric warming trend than other studies contains a data calibration problem, and when the problem is corrected the results fall in line with other records and climate models, according to a new University of Washington study.
ScienceDaily (May 12, 2012) — Its construction now complete, the science instrument that is the heart of NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) spacecraft — NASA’s first mission dedicated to studying atmospheric carbon dioxide — has left its nest at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and has arrived at its integration and test site in Gilbert, Ariz.
ScienceDaily (May 11, 2012) — Having natural habitat in farming areas that supports ladybugs could help increase their abundance in crops where they control pests and help farmers reduce their costs, says a Michigan State University study.
Here are some other links you may find worthwhile:
• Climate Change News Digest
• Climate Progress from Center for American Progress
• Rocky Mountain Institute “an independent, entrepreneurial nonprofit think-and-do tank™ that drives the efficient and restorative use of resources.”
At BPI Campus our Progressive Agenda is:
1. People matter more than profits.
2. The earth is our home, not our trash can.
3. We need good government for both #1 and #2.
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