Day: September 23, 2014

Scientists Use ACS Sci-Mind: Case Study to Examine Biopolymers Industry

Read the full post at the ACS Green Chemistry Blog.

The field of Biopolymers is growing rapidly and with that growth comes renewed debate on what exactly constitutes a biopolymer. In addition, in today’s fast-paced chemical industry, it is crucial for a scientist to be able to quickly assess real industry issues and have hands-on experience to be able to solve real-world problems. Sci-Mind™ Biopolymers, launching this October, is bringing  together experts from different backgrounds and opinions to help scientists, engineers and business professionals learn more about the latest developments in the field.

European Golf Federations Unite for Sustainability

Read the full story at The Golf Environment.

As a leading example of sustainability in sport and golf’s strengthening voluntary responsibility for nature, resources and communities, the game’s leading administrative bodies have launched a pioneering initiative that will help ensure the sport of golf delivers the greatest combined economic, social and environmental value in the years ahead.

An Urban Lab Helps Cities Switching to LED to See the Light

Read the full story in CityLab.

Cities considering a move to LED street lamps can see them in action at the Danish Outdoor Lighting Lab.

Are sustainability reports driving change or just ‘losing the signal’?

Read the full story in The Guardian.

The avalanche of corporate sustainability information makes it hard to separate the wheat from the chaff – or the vitally important from the merely interesting, writes AMD’s Tim Mohin.

Personalising climate change through open data and apps

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Government-released open data is fuelling a whole new level of innovation in sustainability. Moving beyond hackathons, today’s climate data partnerships are creating unique ventures that cross boundaries between business, government and academia.

In the US, “datapaloozas” – gatherings focused on creating open data innovations in the areas of health, education, energy and safety across sectors – are popping up all over the place.

Recently, the geographic information system technology (GIS) company Esri held the Esri Climate Resilience App Challenge in conjunction with the White House’s Climate Data Initiative. The challenge’s winner, the University of Minnesota’s Minnesota Solar Suitability Analysis app, identified the best sites for solar panel installations across the state.

Hospitals Stop Purchasing Furniture with Toxic Flame Retardants

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

Advocate Health Care, Beaumont Health System, Hackensack University Medical Center, and University Hospitals will stop purchasing furniture treated with toxic flame retardant chemicals.

This legendary accounting firm ran the numbers on climate change

Read the full story at Grist.

With every year that passes, we’re getting further away from averting a human-caused climate disaster. That’s the key message in this year’s “Low Carbon Economy Index,” a report released by the accounting giant PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The report highlights an “unmistakable trend.” The world’s major economies are increasingly failing to do what’s needed to to limit global warming to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels. That was the target agreed to by countries attending the United Nations’ 2009 climate summit; it represents an effort to avoid some of the most disastrous consequences of runaway warming, including food security threats, coastal inundation, extreme weather events, ecosystem shifts, and widespread species extinction.

Water and Climate Risks Facing U.S. Corn Production: How Companies and Investors Can Cultivate Sustainability

Download the document (requires free registration).

Recent extreme weather events such as the devastating Midwest drought of 2012 helped drive record corn prices ($8/bushel). This provided a taste of what is predicted to become the new normal in many parts of the Corn Belt thanks to climate change—a point powerfully reinforced by the latest National Climate Assessment.

Growing irrigation demand for corn production, alongside unchecked withdrawals of groundwater from stressed water sources—in particular, the High Plains aquifer that spans eight Great Plains states and California’s overextended Central Valley aquifer—create additional risks for the $65 billion a year corn industry, which has nearly doubled in size over the past two decades.

Given the scale of the challenges facing U.S. corn production and the key industries that depend on it, investors need to understand how companies in the grain processing, food, beverage, livestock, ethanol, grocery and restaurant sectors are addressing these risks in their supply chains.

This report provides new data and interactive maps on the risks facing U.S. corn production, as well as detailed recommendations for how corn-buying companies and their investors can catalyze more sustainable agricultural practices that will reduce these risks, preserve and enhance yields, and protect precious water resources.

Short-Term Energy Outlook Data Browser: New in Beta

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) today launched an improved interactive, online Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) Data Browser that provides enhanced capabilities for analysis and visualization of the historical and forecasted data in EIA’s Short-Term Energy Outlook.

The STEO Data Browser works with all types of mobile devices and tablets to provide easy access to STEO data and forecasts covering everything from U.S. energy production, consumption, inventories, imports, exports, and prices to international petroleum supply and demand.

STEO Data Browser users can:

  • Select individual data series that can easily be displayed as graphs to assist in analytical interpretation of the data, or use EIA’s preselected data tables.
  • Save in Excel the source data used to create the graphic for their own analysis, or save the graphic directly to their computers.
  • Graph and compare multiple data series using up to four different units of measure on the same graph.

Pesticides in U.S. Streams and Rivers: Occurrence and Trends during 1992–2011

Wesley W. Stone, Robert J. Gilliom, and Karen R. Ryberg (2014). “Pesticides in U.S. Streams and Rivers: Occurrence and Trends during 1992–2011.” Environmental Science & Technology Article ASAP. DOI: 10.1021/es5025367

Abstract: During the 20 years from 1992 to 2011, pesticides were found at concentrations that exceeded aquatic-life benchmarks in many rivers and streams that drain agricultural, urban, and mixed-land use watersheds. Overall, the proportions of assessed streams with one or more pesticides that exceeded an aquatic-life benchmark were very similar between the two decades for agricultural (69% during 1992−2001 compared to 61% during 2002−2011) and mixed-land-use streams (45% compared to 46%). Urban streams, in contrast, increased from 53% during 1992−2011 to 90% during 2002−2011, largely because of fipronil and dichlorvos. The potential for adverse effects on aquatic life is likely greater than these results indicate because potentially important pesticide compounds were not included in the assessment. Human-health benchmarks were much less frequently exceeded, and during 2002−2011, only one agricultural stream and no urban or mixed-land-use streams exceeded human-health benchmarks for any of the measured pesticides. Widespread trends in pesticide concentrations, some downward and some upward, occurred in response to shifts in use patterns primarily driven by regulatory changes and introductions of new pesticides.

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