Day: July 1, 2013

A Song of Our Warming Planet

Read the full post and watch the video at Ensia.

When faced with the challenge of sharing the latest climate change discoveries, scientists often rely on data graphics and technical illustrations. University of Minnesota undergrad Daniel Crawford came up with a completely different approach. He’s using his cello to communicate the latest climate science through music.

July 2013 issue of Environmental Health Perspectives now available

The July 2013 issue of Environmental Health Perspectives is now available. Feature articles include:

Science Selections




Children’s Health





Webinar: Estimating Environmental Footprints Using SEFA (Spreadsheets for Environmental Footprint Analysis)

Aug. 22, 2013, 1-3 pm CDT
Register at

The process of cleaning up a hazardous waste site uses energy, water and other natural or materials resources and consequently creates an environmental footprint of its own. In 2012, the EPA released the “Methodology for Understanding and Reducing a Project’s Environmental Footprint” which presents green remediation metrics associated with contaminated site cleanup and a process to quantify those metrics in order to achieve a greener cleanup. In conjunction with the Methodology, the EPA developed a set of analytical workbooks known as “SEFA” (Spreadsheets for Environmental Footprint Analysis), which can be used to quantify the environmental footprint of a site cleanup. This 2-hour internet seminar will provide an overview of the SEFA tool, demonstrate how to use the tool and provide case studies on sites where the tool has been used. Opportunities will be provided throughout the seminar for participants to submit questions and observations regarding the SEFA tool.

Prior to attending this webinar, participants are strongly requested to: (1) watch the EPA’s Methodology for Understanding and Reducing a Project’s Environmental Footprint Internet seminar available at, and (2) download and review the SEFA Workbooks and SEFA Tutorial which are available at

Webinar: Renewable Energy Projects on Federal Lands: A Practical Guide and Examples

Aug 8, 2013 1-3 pm CDT
Register at

This webinar will present a practical guide developed by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Federal Energy Management Program (DOE/FEMP) to help navigate the complexities of developing large renewable energy projects at Federal Facilities and attracting the necessary private capital to complete them. The guide is available for download from the DOE FEMP website.

In addition, two specific areas will be discussed in which renewable energy was sited on Federal sites with historic contamination:

  • The Massachusetts Military Reservation (MMR), a property historically used for military training activities, has renewable energy projects — wind, solar and geothermal — installed and in development by multiple organizations within the Department of Defense, the U.S Coast Guard and the Department of Veterans Affairs. The MMR site participated in the first EPA-NREL RE-Powering Feasibility Studies in 2009 and is among the first feasibility study sites to move forward with a renewable energy development project. For more information on that solar study, go to the RE-Powering Feasibility Study webpage or access the report directly.
  • At the DOE Pantex site near Amarillo, Texas, an 11.5 MW wind energy farm is being developed to generate approximately 45 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, meeting more than 60% of the installation’s annual energy needs.

Webinar: Green & Sustainable Remediation

July 23, 2013, 2:00 PM – 4:15 PM, EDT
Register at

The ultimate goal of remediation systems is to protect human health and the environment from contaminants. Historically, remedies have been implemented without consideration of green or sustainable concepts in order to meet this goal. This includes the potential for transferring impacts to other media. For instance, many remedial decisions do not assess greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, energy usage, or community engagement factors prior to the investigation or remedy implementation. Considering these factors throughout the investigation and remedy implementation process may lessen negative effects of the overall cleanup impact while the remediation remains protective of human health and the environment. The consideration of these factors is Green and Sustainable Remediation (GSR) – the site-specific employment of products, processes, technologies, and procedures that mitigate contaminant risk to receptors while making decisions that are cognizant of balancing community goals, economic impacts, and net environmental effects.

Many state and federal agencies are just beginning to assess and apply green and sustainable remediation into their regulatory programs. This training provides background on GSR concepts, a scalable and flexible framework and metrics, tools and resources to conduct GSR evaluations on remedial projects. The training is based on the ITRC’s Technical & Regulatory Guidance Document: Green and Sustainable Remediation: A Practical Framework (GSR-2, 2011) as well as ITRC’s Overview Document, Green and Sustainable Remediation: State of the Science and Practice (GSR-1, 2011).

Beyond basic GSR principles and definitions, participants will learn the potential benefits of incorporating GSR into their projects; when and how to incorporate GSR within a project’s life cycle; and how to perform a GSR evaluation using appropriate tools. In addition, a variety of case studies will demonstrate the application of GSR and the results. The training course provides an important primer for both organizations initiating GSR programs as well as those organizations seeking to incorporate GSR considerations into existing regulatory guidance.

World Bank Calls for Europe and Central Asia to move from ‘Brown’ to ‘Green’ Growth

Read the full press release from the World Bank.

The economic costs and social impacts of climate change threaten the prosperity of the Europe and Central Asia region.  But well-designed climate action can bring numerous benefits, while also being cost-effective. A set of three World Bank reports launched today in Brussels with the European Commission focus on the ‘here and now’ of policies to fight climate change..

The three new reports identify the local and immediate benefits of climate action.  They identify what countries in Europe and Central Asia should be doing, and how they can best do it:

  • Growing Green: the Economic Benefits of Climate Action identifies energy efficiency, cleaner energy, and natural resource management as the main components of a growth-friendly climate action strategy, and shows that the biggest gains will come from improving energy efficiency.
  • Energy Efficiency: Lessons Learned from Success Stories analyzes the policies of countries in the European Union that have improved energy efficiency the most – Denmark, Germany, Ireland, and Sweden in the west, and Lithuania, Poland, and Romania in Central Europe.  The report shows that the quickest gains are in industry, while residential energy efficiency improvements tend to be more difficult.
  • Balancing Act: Cutting Energy Subsidies While Protecting Affordability proposes that with well-designed energy tariffs and social protection policies, the fiscal and environmental benefits of eliminating energy subsidies do not have to come at the expense of increased poverty and hardship. It shows that reducing consumption subsidies is possible and the welfare gains can be sizeable.

U of Delaware’s pollution-fighting algae

Read the full story in Algae Industry Magazine.

New research at the University of Delaware has identified a hardy algae species showing promise in both reducing power plant pollution and making biofuel. The microscopic algae Heterosigma akashiwo grows rapidly on a gas mixture that has the same carbon dioxide and nitric oxide content as emissions released from a power plant.