Concerns grow about hormone disrupters in Wisconsin water

Read the full story in Great Lakes Echo.

Wisconsin has not systematically looked for endocrine disruptors statewide. Research and regulation of them is poorly funded and loosely coordinated, according to a Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism review of records and interviews with government officials and environmental experts.

Special biochar issue of the open access journal Agronomy

Agronomy, an open access international and cross-disciplinary scholarly journal on agronomy and agroecology, has published a special issue entitled Biochar as Option for Sustainable Resource Management. Five articles have been published to date. They are:

Visit the special issue page to access the above articles, as well as review the planned articles that have not yet been published.

Submit an Abstract to Biochar Symposium at SETAC North America 34th Annual Meeting (Due May 28)

SETAC North America 34th Annual Meeting, Nashville, TN, 17-20 November 2013
Environmental or Analytical Chemistry Track “Environmental implications of biochar” symposium

Submit an abstract for the SETAC North America 34th Annual Meeting, 17-20 November 2013, in Nashville, Tennessee, for the Environmental or Analytical Chemistry symposium:  Environmental implications of biochar.

Abstracts are due by May 28, 2013.

Session Topic:  The application of biochar to soil has been proposed as a long-term sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide in terrestrial ecosystems while providing improved soil fertility and increased crop production with concurrent energy from and constructive use for waste biomass. However, variations in formation conditions and feedstock can produce biochar with wide ranges in characteristics, and subsequent field trials can then give mixed results. This session will explore environmental implications of incorporation of biochar into soil and related field studies, with factors such as crop yield, water and nutrient holding capacity, chemical sorption, and drought tolerance.

Topics pertaining to all aspects of black carbon research are welcome and students are encouraged to submit abstracts.

For meeting information go to the SETAC website under meetings at:

Biochar reduces nasty nitrous oxide emissions on farms

Read the full story in the Cornell Chronicle.

In the quest to decrease the world’s greenhouse gases, Cornell scientists have discovered that biochar – a charcoal-like substance – reduces the nemesis nitrous oxide from agricultural soil on average by about 55 percent and stanches emissions into the atmosphere. The research is reported in the new journal from Nature, Scientific Reports, April 25.

What will it take to change packaging recycling in the U.S.?

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

The recycling rate in the U.S. has been stuck in a rut, slowly inching up year by year, a signal that any major increases will need to be spurred by major actions.

Those on all sides of the issue may agree that changes need to be made to recycling systems, but a recent dustup over a trade group’s position paper shows they’re not seeing eye-to-eye on some ideas.

Take extended producer responsibility (EPR). It’s the concept that makes those who produce items also responsible for funding (and sometimes also operating) recycling systems for those same items.

For brands it means added costs, but also incentives to use easily and readily recyclable material. For governments, it shifts away some waste disposal and recycling expenses. And for recyclers, it means possible changes to the way they operate as well as potential new or expanded material streams.

U.S. Energy Information Administration suspends Annual Energy Review, but will provide more annual data through the Monthly Energy Review

Due to budget considerations, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) will not publish the Annual Energy Review (AER) or its companion publication, Energy Perspectives, in 2013 (for data year 2012). To meet the needs of its customers, EIA will expand the Monthly Energy Review (MER) to incorporate annual data as far back as 1949 for data series from about 70 key tables that are currently included in both publications.

While this plan provides benefits for some AER users as well as resource savings, it does not provide a new dissemination channel for other annual data that were previously presented only in the AER. EIA will work with its customers to understand which of these data are most important, and will develop plans for the future dissemination of such data as allowed by its budget.

The expanded MER will improve and simplify the user experience by combining the historical data of the AER with the most up-to-date data from the MER. The MER will feature new graphs covering the 1949-to-2013 period in clear, easily understandable formats. Customers will have one current and comprehensive source with more than 60 years of data on several energy topics, including the following:

  • Energy production, consumption, and trade
  • Energy prices
  • Overviews of the U.S. petroleum, natural gas, coal, electricity, nuclear energy, and renewable energy industries
  • Carbon dioxide emissions

U.N. chemicals summit expected to adopt new controls

Read the full story in R&D Magazine.

At the start of a major conference to regulate chemical and hazardous waste safety, top officials voiced optimism Saturday that delegates will approve new international controls on several industrial compounds and agree to clamp down on some cross-border pollution.

The three key international treaties that govern chemicals and hazardous waste, each headquartered in Geneva, are holding an unprecedented joint two-week convention of more than 1,500 delegates from 170 nations that is meant to consider new limits on some substances and look at ways the treaties can be better put to use together.

The conference will culminate in a high-level meeting among about 80 ministers on May 9-10.