Playing ‘tag’ with pollution lets scientists see who’s It

Read the full story from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Using a climate model that can tag sources of soot from different global regions and can track where it lands on the Tibetan Plateau, researchers have determined which areas around the plateau contribute the most soot — and where. The model can also suggest the most effective way to reduce soot on the plateau, easing the amount of warming the region undergoes.

The work, which appeared in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics in June, shows that soot pollution on and above the Himalayan-Tibetan Plateau area warms the region enough to contribute to earlier snowmelt and shrinking glaciers. A major source of water, such changes could affect the people living there. The study might help policy makers target pollution reduction efforts by pinpointing the sources that make the biggest difference when cut.

Tiny grains of rice hold big promise for greenhouse gas reductions, bioenergy

Read the full story from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Rice serves as the staple food for more than half of the world’s population, but it’s also the one of the largest manmade sources of atmospheric methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Now, with the addition of a single gene, rice can be cultivated to emit virtually no methane from its paddies during growth. It also packs much more of the plant’s desired properties, such as starch for a richer food source and biomass for energy production, according to a study in Nature.

Extreme weather influences climate change perception

Listen to the full story at Great Lakes Echo. See also NASA’s explanation of the difference between weather and climate.

Americans have strongly polarized beliefs about whether global warming is a reality. A survey run by the University of Michigan that’s been going on for seven years indicates that people are more likely to believe it is when they have witnessed extreme drought or brutal winter weather.

Current State’s Melissa Benmark speaks with Barry Rabe, a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D. C. and a Professor at Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. He’s also the  the co-director of the National Surveys on Energy and Environment, which produced the survey and the report.

Outrage over EPA emissions regulations fades as states find fixes

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

Even after years of talk about a “war on coal,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell startled some of his constituents in March when he urged open rebellion against a White House proposal for cutting pollution from coal-fired power plants.

The Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan is “extremely burdensome and costly,” the Kentucky Republican said in letters advising all 50 states to boycott the rule when it goes into effect this summer.

The call for direct defiance was unusual even for McConnell, who has made a career of battling federal restrictions on coal. Yet more striking is what has happened since: Kentucky’s government and electric utilities have quietly positioned themselves to comply with the rule — something state officials expect to do with relatively little effort.

In this coal-industry bastion, five of the state’s older coal-burning power plants were already scheduled to close or switch to natural gas in the next two years, either because of aging equipment or to save money, state officials say. As a result, Kentucky’s greenhouse-gas emissions are set to plummet 16 percent below where they were in 2012 — within easy reach of the 18 percent reduction goal proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency in a draft of the agency’s controversial carbon-cutting plan.

Report: Power Plant Carbon Emissions on Decline

Read the full story at FutureStructure.

Carbon emissions from U.S. power plants are decreasing, according a new 54-page report (PDF) based on the study and analysis of the nation’s 100 largest electric power producers, which account for 87 percent of the nation’s reported emissions. CO2 emissions for power plants, the report found, declined 12 percent between 2008 and 2013, despite economic growth.

The report, by M.J. Bradley & Associates, includes rankings of each electricity producer, market analysis and a state-by-state emissions summary. Texas, Florida and Idaho were identified as having the highest average CO2 emission rates in 2013, while Vermont, Idaho and Maine had the lowest CO2 emission rates.

Studies Link Rejection of Established Climate Science with Conspiracist Ideation

Read the full post at the Climate Law Blog.

A new psychology study has strongly linked rejection of the scientific consensus on climate change to conspiratorial thinking.  The study, led by Dr. Stephen Lewandowsky, builds on his previous research connecting a general belief in conspiracy theories with denial of established findings on climate change – research that has been, perhaps not surprisingly, itself accused of being the product of a conspiracy.

California, Hawaii Lead Way on Climate Change Targets

Read the full story at StateNet Capitol Journal.

Prodded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and led by California and Hawaii, states are tackling climate change and promoting renewable energy. But the fossil fuel industry and skeptical Republicans are pushing back.