U.S. Department of Transportation Releases Framework for Considering Climate Change in Transportation and Land Use Planning

Based on lessons learned from an interagency pilot project on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center has developed a guidebook for integrating climate change into transportation and land-use scenario planning. Through a process of data collection and scenario development, the pilot project resulted in a multi-agency transportation and land use development scenario for Cape Cod, with a focus on reducing future greenhouse gas emissions and considering the potential impacts of sea-level rise on the region.

The guidebook is intended to serve as a resource for organizations that may be interested in, or stand to benefit from, incorporating climate change considerations into transportation and land use planning. The report is available at http://www.volpe.dot.gov/publiclands/projects/interagencypilotproject.html.

EPA Releases Climate Ready Water Utilities Toolbox

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently updated its Climate Ready Water Utilities Toolbox, which provides access to more than 500 resources that support climate adaptation planning at water utilities, including reports and publications, information about funding programs, upcoming workshops and training sessions, models and tools, and climate response materials that focus on mitigation and adaptive strategies. The toolbox is organized into two sections: one that provides a selection of resources from each category, along with a map to help users select resources by geographic region; and a second section with a search function that helps users to select resources based on their location, the size and type of their utility, and resources of interest.

The toolbox is available at http://www.epa.gov/safewater/watersecurity/climate/toolbox.html.

EPA Accepts First GHG Reporting Data/Agency launches electronic GHG reporting tool

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is launching a new tool to allow 28 industrial sectors to submit their 2010 greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution data electronically. Prior to being finalized, more than1,000 stakeholders, including industry associations, states and NGOs tested the electronic GHG Reporting Tool (e-GGRT) to ensure clarity and user-friendliness.

The data collected with e-GGRT will provide the public with important information about the nation’s largest stationary sources of greenhouse gas pollution. Industries and businesses can also use the data to help find ways to decrease carbon pollution, increase efficiency and save money.

EPA expects to receive 2010 GHG data from approximately 7,000 large industrial GHG emitters and suppliers, including power plants, petroleum refineries and landfills.

EPA’s GHG Reporting Program, launched in October 2009, requires the reporting of GHG data from large emission sources across a range of industry sectors. Suppliers of products that would emit GHGs if released, combusted, or oxidized are also required to report GHG data. Under this program, covered entities are required to submit GHG data to EPA annually and the first round of data will be submitted electronically by September 30, 2011. EPA plans to publish non-confidential GHG data collected through the GHGRP by the end of 2011.

For more information on the GHG Reporting Program: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/ghgrulemaking.html

USDA develops method to gauge ethanol potential of switchgrass

Read the full story in Ethanol Producer.

USDA researchers say they have developed a cost-effective method of determining the ethanol potential of energy grasses that could be used to evaluate the feedstock at the ethanol plant’s loading dock. Using near-infrared sensing (NIRS), Agricultural Research Service scientists measured 20 components in switchgrass, including cell wall sugars, soluble sugars and lignin, that can help determine its potential value to ethanol producers.

American Chemical Society’s “Bytesize Science” Podcasts

The American Chemical Society’s award-winning kid- and teen-friendly chemistry podcast series features high-definition video episodes. The new Bytesize Science will reward viewers with a wide variety of topics appealing to people of all ages. The 2011 update includes a new logo and theme (“Uncover the Chemistry All around You”); shorter episodes that package information in 3-4-minute snippets to better fit fast-paced lifestyles; and a sharpened focus on chemistry’s often unrecognized role in everyday life. That focus is on food, energy, the environment, health and a range of other topics.

Download audio and video episodes at www.bytesizescience.com or www.youtube.com/BytesizeScience. New episodes of the video podcasts will be posted the first Wednesday of every month. New episodes of the audio podcast will appear biweekly.

PBS Learning Media

This new digital platform for preK–college educators offers more than 12,000 learning objects to supplement classroom curricula. The standards-aligned resources include videos, documents, images and activities in mathematics, science, social studies and other core subjects. With objects as diverse as a video clip exploring measurement with Curious George (K–2) to an audio podcast discussing climate change in Africa (grades 7–college), the Web site offers pertinent material for a wide audience.

GLOBE Student Climate Research Campaign

The GLOBE Student Climate Research Campaign aims to engage students in measuring, investigating and understanding the climate system in their local community and around the world. As part of the program, students take climate-related measurements and investigate research questions about climate. Resources and a teacher guide are provided online for participating schools and classrooms.

Lexus Eco Challenge

Submission deadline October 31

The Lexus Eco Challenge offers an opportunity for students in grades 6-12 to address environmental issues in three challenges: Land/Water; Air/Climate; and a Final Challenge. Teams have the opportunity to win $10,000 in each of the first two challenges and up to $30,000 in the final challenge. For each challenge, teams must choose a topic and use PowerPoint to illustrate an action plan. Participants are required to show how their ideas were implemented and also evaluate the results of their plan.

America’s Home Energy Challenge

Submission deadline December 31

America’s Home Energy Challenge is designed to teach students in grades 3-8 about energy, its use and the link between saving money and energy. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and administered by the National Science Teachers Association, the Challenge aims to enhance and extend existing energy-focused programs, provide specific home energy-saving tips and make materials that support the learning of science and energy available to schools. Participating schools compete for more than $200,000 in prizes distributed at the regional and national levels of the competition.

School of Ants will be Opening Soon

The School of Ants project is a citizen-scientist driven study of the ants that live in urban areas, particularly around homes and schools. Collection kits are available to anyone interested in participating. Teachers, students, parents, kids, junior-scientists, senior citizens and all ant enthusiasts are involved in collecting ants in schoolyards and backyards using a standardized protocol. Sampling kits will be available soon. Visit http://schoolofants.org/index.html for details.