Day: September 9, 2014

Warning over vulnerability of soil carbon to warming

Read the full story from BBC News.

The huge stores of carbon locked in the world’s soils are more vulnerable to rising temperatures than previously thought.

Researchers found that microbes in the soil were more likely to enhance the release of CO2 in a warming world. Soils from colder regions and those with greater amounts of carbon were seen to emit more as temperatures went up.

The research has been published in the journal Nature.

Retail Horizons: Will we need physical stores in the future?

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

This article is the second in a 12-part series about the future of U.S. retail for the Forum for the Future-led 2014 Retail Horizons project in partnership with Retail Industry Leaders Association. For more about the project, read the previous post.

The future looks promising for online retail. Technological advances will continue to make mobile payments more widespread and simpler, delivery more efficient and supply chains more transparent. Online giants, including Amazon and eBay, already offer same-day delivery in urban areas, getting products into the hands of consumers as quickly as possible. Census data shows that online shopping is 6.4 percent of all retail sales (PDF) and it’s predicted to reach 10 percent — and $370 billion — by 2017.

Tempting though it may be to look at these numbers and imagine a Jetsons-style future where products arrive home at the push of a button, it isn’t time to write off the traditional storefront just yet.

Think the Southwest’s Drought Is Bad Now? It Could Last a Generation

Read the full story in CityLab.

The late summer of 2014 has brought uncomfortable news for residents of the American Southwest—and I’m not talking about 109-degree heat in Phoenix.

new study by Cornell University, the University of Arizona, and the U.S. Geological Survey researchers looked at the deep historical record (tree rings, etc.) and the latest climate change models to estimate the likelihood of major droughts in the Southwest over the next century. The results are as soothing as a thick wool sweater on a midsummer desert hike.

The researchers concluded that odds of a decade-long drought are “at least 80 percent.” The chances of a “megadrought,” one lasting 35 or more years, stands at somewhere between 20 percent and 50 percent, depending on how severe climate change turns out to be. And the prospects for an “unprecedented 50-year megadrought”—one “worse than anything seen during the last 2,000 years”­—checks in at a nontrivial 5 to 10 percent.

12th Annual P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announces the posting of the Request for Applications, People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) Award Program, with the goal to research, develop and design solutions to real world challenges involving the overall sustainability of human society. The P3 competition supports scientific and technological research efforts to create innovative projects focused on sustainability. The P3 Award program was developed to foster progress toward sustainability by achieving the mutual goals of improved quality of life, economic prosperity and protection of the planet- people, prosperity, and the planet – the three pillars of sustainability. The EPA offers the P3 competition in order to respond to the technical needs of the world while moving towards the goal of sustainability. Applications will be accepted from September 5-December 16, 2014.

Supporting the development of sustainable methods is in line with the Sustainable and Healthy Communities (SHC) Research Program. EPA’s SHC Research Program provides useful science and tools for decision makers at all levels to help communities advance sustainability as well as achieve regulatory compliance. SHC is collaborating with partners to conduct research that will result in science-based knowledge to guide decisions that will better sustain a healthy society and environment in America’s communities. The research is intended for decision-makers at the federal, regional, state and community levels.

Knight News Challenge: How might we leverage libraries as a platform to build more knowledgeable communities?

From the Knight Foundation:

This is an open call for ideas. We view libraries as key for improving Americans’ ability to know about and to be involved with what takes place around them. The library has been a vital part of our communities for centuries—as keepers of public knowledge, spaces for human connection, educators for the next generations of learners. While habits are changing, those needs have not. We want to discover projects that help carry the values of libraries into the future.

We don’t have specific projects in mind, and you don’t need to be a library to apply. This contest is open to anyone, from public libraries to universities to businesses, nonprofits and individuals. We believe passionately in the role libraries have played in helping people learn about and participate in the world around them, and want to support the next generation of that essential endeavor.

What captures your imagination about the future of libraries? From September 10 to September 30, we’re inviting you to submit your idea to win a share of $2.5 million, which we’ll award in January of 2015 to the most compelling teams and projects. After submissions close, participants will have the opportunity to refine their submission during the feedback and refinement phases.

U.S. Aircraft Greenhouse Gas Rulemaking Process

Download the document.

This information paper describes the rulemaking process in the United States to issue proposed endangerment and cause or contribute findings for the regulation of aircraft greenhouse gas emissions.
The National Journal previously reported that EPA faces a lawsuit to force regulation of airline carbon emissions. The Center for Biological Diversity and Friends of the Earth delivered a a formal “notice of intent” to sue letter to U.S. EPA on August 5.

Green management and the nature of pollution prevention innovation

George Deltas, Donna Ramirez Harrington & Madhu Khanna (2014). “Green management and the nature of pollution prevention innovation”, Applied Economics, 46:5, 465-482, DOI: 10.1080/00036846.2013.857004

Abstract: Management systems have a strong impact on the level of innovation and on production operations. Understanding this impact sheds light on how firms function. This article examines the relationship between a firm’s approach to environmental management and the nature of the pollution prevention activities or practices that it undertakes. We differentiate pollution prevention activities according to (i) four functional characteristics and (ii) visibility to consumers. We find that the application of the total quality management (TQM) approaches on pollution prevention has a stronger effect for practices that involve procedural changes or are of a customized nature. These are indeed the type of practices where one would expect TQM to have a disproportionate impact in decision-making effectiveness. There seems to be no corresponding effect on the adoption of practices that are visible to consumers. Our results corroborate the notion that a well-designed management system can help stimulate innovation, but only for specific types. They also help identify the types of firms that are more likely to benefit from adoption of TQM principles.

Challenges to EPA’s Proposed Carbon Rules: What If They Succeed?

Read the full post at the Climate Law Blog.

The Clean Power Plan proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency in June is the centerpiece of the Obama Administration’s efforts to fight climate change. Coal-fired power plants are by far the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, and the EPA proposal would require the states to prepare plans to reduce those emissions.

Members of Congress from states that mine or use a lot of coal are trying to halt this plan, and already three lawsuits have been filed against it. These lawsuits may well be dismissed as premature; ordinarily suits cannot be brought against regulations that are not yet final.

But what happens if any of these challenges is successful?

Call for Papers: 30th International Conference on Solid Waste Technology and Management

The International Conference on Solid Waste Technology and Management is an annual conference where researchers, government officials, consultants, educators, managers and community leaders from 40 countries meet to present and discuss important topics of solid waste technology and management. The conference will be held in Philadelphia on March 15-18, 2015.

Abstract submissions are invited for oral or poster presentation at the Conference.

Abstracts are encouraged from all areas of solid waste technology and management. See the Call for Papers for a complete list of topics or to submit an abstract.

The deadline for submission of abstracts is October 31, 2014.  Early submission is encouraged.

  • A discounted Conference registration fee will be available for authors of accepted papers.
  • Student presentations will be included in the Conference.
  • Written versions of papers presented at the Conference may be published in the Conference Proceedings.
  • Papers presented at the Conference may be reviewed for possible publication in the Journal of Solid Waste Technology and Management.
  • Authors may submit multiple abstracts.  However, no person may present more than two papers at the Conference.
  • To learn about the Conference structure, you may wish to view the agenda of the 29th Conference: 29th Agenda

If you have any questions, please contact

Avian Knowledge Network (AKN)

The Avian Knowledge Network (AKN) is a partnership of people, institutions and government agencies supporting the conservation of birds and their habitats based on data, the adaptive management paradigm, and the best available science. AKN partners act to improve awareness, purpose, access to, and use of data and tools at scales ranging from individual locations to administrative regions (e.g., management areas, states, countries) and species ranges. The Illinois Natural History Survey is a network partner.

AKN’s resources include data sets and data manipulation tools. You can also add your data.

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