Day: May 7, 2014

As U.S. Climate Changes, White House Embraces the Science Like Never Before

Read the full story in Science.

The White House has just released its new National Climate Assessment (NCA), and its central scientific message will be familiar to climate scientists and the White House press corps. Climate impacts are already apparent in the United States, they are likely to worsen, and communities should begin factoring climate change into all kinds of decisions. From Hawaii to Maine, from the fishing industry to manufacturing, the report’s 30 chapters emphasize that “evidence of human-induced climate change continues to strengthen and that impacts are increasing across the country.”

What’s new, however, is that after putting climate issues somewhat on the back burner prior to the 2012 elections, the Obama administration is now giving a full-throated, multiday endorsement to the 1300-page document. Top White House adviser John Podesta and several climate scientists are briefing the press this morning, and President Barack Obama will be sitting down today with TV meteorologists in a series of interviews pegged to the report. This afternoon, visiting “stakeholders” from around the country will gather for a high-profile White House briefing and listening session, the first of a series planned around the country in the coming months.

Substantial Improvements Made in EPA’s IRIS Program, Report Says

Read the press release from the National Research Council.

A new congressionally mandated report from the National Research Council says that changes EPA has proposed and implemented into its Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) process are “substantial improvements.”  While acknowledging the progress made to date, the report offers further guidance and recommendations to improve the overall scientific and technical performance of the program, which is used to assess the hazards posed by environmental contaminants.

Taking the lead out of a promising solar cell

Read the full story in R&D Magazine.

Environmentally friendly solar cell pushes forward the ‘next big thing in photovoltaics’

Northwestern University researchers are the first to develop a new solar cell with good efficiency that uses tin instead of lead perovskite as the harvester of light. The low-cost, environmentally friendly solar cell can be made easily using “bench” chemistry—no fancy equipment or hazardous materials.

A plan to kill off fluorescent lighting

Read the full story at Smart Planet.

If you’ve worked in an office or factory then you’re familiar with linear fluorescent tubes—the ubiquitous commercial lighting source that’s prone to flicker, buzz and chatter, much to the chagrin of workers everywhere.
Despite some of its flaws, fluorescent lighting has dominated the commercial lighting industry. On Monday, Cree unveiled a light-emitting diode (LED) T8 lamp, a new product that it hopes will disrupt fluorescent lighting’s foothold in the industry.

ACEEE lauches new database of state and local energy efficiency policies

ACEEE’s new State and Local Policy Database includes comprehensive information on energy efficiency policies currently implemented at the state and local level. The database tracks policy activity across multiple sectors, including state and local governments, utilities, transportation, buildings, combined heat and power, and appliance standards. Users can click on a state or city on the database map to learn more about the specific policies that encourage energy efficiency. Users can also look at a particular policy type and compare the approaches of all states or cities to that topic.

TODAY: Minnesota Pollution Control Agency holding live Twitter chat about composting at 11 am

Did you know that between 28 and 38 percent of all waste is compostable? And that composting isn’t limited to just fruit and veggie scraps? Tea bags, tissues and even lint can be added to the compost bin. Every Minnesotan can choose to compost at home by establishing a backyard compost bin or worm compost bin.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is hosting a live Twitter chat about composting on Wednesday, May 7 at 11 a.m., in celebration of International Compost Awareness Week (May 5-11). Get answers to your composting questions by following @MnPCA or #MNCompost and joining the conversation. Compost experts will share information that will help you take action to reduce Minnesota’s waste stream, save space in landfills, save money on trash disposal and improve the quality of the soil in your yard.

MPCA organics and recycling specialists Emily Barker and Tim Farnan will participate in the chat, along with the Recycling Association of Minnesota’s executive director Maggie Mattacola.

To participate, sign into your own Twitter account at 11 a.m. CDT on May 7 and submit a question on the topic using the hashtag #MNcompost.

If you aren’t a Twitter user, you can still follow the chat online at twitter.com/mnpca at the starting time. Post your questions to the MPCA’s Facebook page or email them to communication.pca@state.mn.us. The MPCA will respond to as many tweets and questions on the topic as possible during the chat.

Read more about composting on the MPCA’s Living Green website.

Government leaders dive in to G4 reporting

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Something interesting is happening within governments around the world: Sustainability is taking hold. Governments are increasingly writing sustainability into law, developing new national guidelines around sustainability and even beginning to examine sustainability within their own supply chains.