Day: August 28, 2015

Texas teenager creates $20 water purifier to tackle toxic e-waste pollution

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Consumer electronics, including computers and mobiles, are leaving a legacy of toxic waste in countries including China and India. Recycling factories across Asia are recovering e-waste exported from around the world, but discharging heavy metals and chemicals into local water supplies in the process.

How to safeguard drinking water for local residents is an ongoing battle, with existing solutions such as chlorination, distillation, boiling and high-tech filtration prohibitively expensive and often reliant on fossil fuels.

Now a new filtering device, invented by a US teenager, could provide a cheap and easy way to purify water.

 Hawaii’s Governor Dumps Oil and Gas in Favor of 100 Percent Renewables

Read the full story in The Nation.

At the Asia Pacific Resilience Innovation Summit held in Honolulu, Hawaii, this week, Governor David Ige dropped a bombshell. His administration will not use natural gas to replace the state’s petroleum-fueled electricity plants, but will make a full-court press toward 100 percent renewables by 2045. Ige’s decisive and ambitious energy vision is making Hawaii into the world’s most important laboratory for humankind’s fight against climate change. He has, in addition, attracted an unlikely and enthusiastic partner in his embrace of green energy—the US military.

Twelve college campuses leading the way for sustainable dining

Read the full story in the Christian Science Monitor.

Many cafeterias around the United States are working to provide students with healthy, sustainable meal options. To do this, colleges and universities are changing the way that they purchase and prepare food in their cafeterias, and many of them are beginning to source food locally.

 

 

Why Your Sustainability Strategy Can Be Pivotal to Employee Engagement

Read the full post at Triple Pundit.

The business case for implementing sustainable practices is clear, and regardless of what industry you’re in, the strain on natural resources is rising as a result of population growth and climate change.  Today, many companies are shifting to a sustainable business model to protect the ecosystem, realize associated cost-savings and support future business growth because a healthier, more vibrant society makes for a healthy economy. To achieve this vision, a business cannot only adopt purpose into its operations, opportunities, solutions and profit, but the notion of purpose must be embedded within its culture.

Argonne researchers develop new non-precious-metal fuel cell catalyst with performance comparable to platinum

Read the full post at Green Car Congress.

Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory have developed a new fuel cell catalyst using earth-abundant materials with performance that is comparable to platinum in laboratory tests. The nanofibrous non-precious metal catalyst (NPMC) is synthesized by electrospinning a polymer solution containing a mixture of ferrous organometallics and metal-organic frameworks and then is thermally activated.

Grand challenge: build resilient communities

Read the full story from the University of Minnesota Institute on Environment.

More than half of all people live in cities, a number expected to rise to 60 percent by 2050, according to the United Nations. That means that how we build and manage our urban areas is “one of the most important development challenges of the 21st century,” wrote John Wilmoth, director of the United Nations Population Division, in a recent report.

It’s not surprising, then, that the University of Minnesota has recognized the need to focus on cities in its recently released strategic plan detailing the first of a series of grand challenges it aims to address over the next 10 years: cultivating a sustainable, healthy, secure food system; advancing industry while conserving the environment and addressing climate change; and building vibrant communities that enhance human potential and collective well-being in a diverse and changing world.

Among the tools the University is using to deliver on that commitment is the Resilient Communities Project, an initiative supported by IonE and the Center for Urban Regional Affairs that organizes yearlong partnerships between the University and Minnesota communities, matching hundreds of graduate students to sustainability-related projects identified by the chosen community.

RCP director Mike Greco describes the program and how it is helping build more sustainable cities in this Q&A. 

Potential Liability of Governments for Failure to Prepare for Climate Change

Read the full post at the Climate Law Blog.

As governments turn a blind eye to the accumulating risks of climate change, do they expose themselves to potential legal liability? A new working paper by former Sabin Center fellow Jennifer Klein explores three possible legal claims against state and local governments for their failure to prepare for climate change.

EPA Report: For the US, Global Action Now Saves Lives and Avoids Significant Climate Change Damages

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released one of the most comprehensive analyses to date on the economic, health and environmental benefits to the United States of global climate action. The peer-reviewed report, Climate Change in the United States: Benefits of Global Action, examines how future impacts and damages of climate change across a number of sectors in the United States can be avoided or reduced with global action. The report compares two future scenarios: a future with significant global action on climate change, where global warming has been limited to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), and a future with no action on climate change (where global temperatures rise 9 degrees Fahrenheit). The report then quantifies the differences in health, infrastructure and ecosystem impacts under the two scenarios, producing estimates of the costs of inaction and the benefits of reducing global GHG emissions.

“Will the United States benefit from climate action? Absolutely. This report shows us how costly inaction will be to Americans’ health, our environment and our society. But more importantly, it helps us understand the magnitude of benefits to a number of sectors of the U.S. with global climate action,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “We can save tens of thousands of American lives, and hundreds of billions of dollars, annually in the United States by the end of this century, but the sooner we act, the better off America and future generations of Americans will be.”

The report examines how the impacts and damages of climate change across a number of sectors in the United States can be avoided with global action. The findings include:

Global action on climate change reduces the frequency of extreme weather events and associated impacts. For example, by 2100 global action on climate change is projected to avoid an estimated 12,000 deaths annually associated with extreme temperatures in 49 U.S. cities, compared to a future with no reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. This is more than a 90 percent reduction from what we would expect with no action.

Global action now leads to greater benefits over time. The decisions we make today will have long-term effects, and future generations will either benefit from, or be burdened by, our current actions. Compared to a future with unchecked climate change, climate action is projected to avoid approximately 13,000 deaths in 2050 and 57,000 deaths annually in 2100 from poor air quality. Delaying action on emissions reductions will likely reduce these and other benefits.

Global action on climate change avoids costly damages in the United States. For nearly all of the 20 sectors studied, global action on climate change significantly reduces the economic damages of climate change. For example, without climate action, we estimated up to $10 billion in increased road maintenance costs each year by the end of the century. With action, we can avoid up to $7 billion of these damages.

Climate change impacts are not equally distributed. Some regions of the United States are more vulnerable than others and will bear greater impacts. For example, without action on climate change, California is projected to face increasing risk of drought, the Rocky Mountain region will see significant increases in wildfires, and the mid-Atlantic and Southeast are projected to experience infrastructure damage from extreme temperatures, heavy rainfall, sea level rise, and storm surge.

Adaptation can reduce damages and costs. For some sectors, adaptation can substantially reduce the impacts of climate change. For example, in a future without greenhouse gas reductions, estimated damages from sea-level rise and storm surge to coastal property in the lower 48 states are $5.0 trillion dollars through 2100. With adaptation along the coast, the estimated damages and adaptation costs are reduced to $810 billion.

The report is a product of the Climate Change Impacts and Risks Analysis (CIRA) project, led by EPA in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Pacific Northwest National Lab, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and other partners. The CIRA project is one of the first efforts to quantify the benefits of global action on climate change across a large number of U.S. sectors using a common analytic framework and consistent underlying data inputs. The project spans 20 U.S. sectors related to health, infrastructure, electricity, water resources, agriculture and forestry, and ecosystems.

Explore the report at http://www2.epa.gov/cira

Exposure of U.S. population to extreme heat could quadruple by mid-century

Read the full story from the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the City University of New York.

U.S. residents’ exposure to extreme heat could increase four- to six-fold by mid-century, due to both a warming climate and a population that’s growing especially fast in the hottest regions of the country, according to new research.

The study, by researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the City University of New York (CUNY), highlights the importance of considering societal changes when trying to determine future climate impacts.

Recordings and Presentations Available from Webcast on Communicating the Connection Between Climate Change and Heat Health

Audio recordings, presentation files, and transcripts are now available for the EPA webcast held on July 22, 2015, entitled “Communicating the Connection Between Climate Change and Heat Health.” See the Heat Island site’s Webcasts page for details.

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