Day: March 15, 2016

Electricity, heating most climate-friendly uses for natural gas

Read the full story from Rice University.

Rice University researchers have determined a more effective way to use natural gas to reduce climate-warming emissions would be in the replacement of existing coal-fired power plants and fuel-oil furnaces rather than burning it in cars and buses.

The Rice study by environmental engineer Daniel Cohan and alumnus Shayak Sengupta compared the net greenhouse gas-emission savings that could be realized by replacing other fuels in vehicles, furnaces and power plants.

They found that gas-fired power plants achieved the greatest reduction – more than 50 percent – in net emissions when replacing old coal-fired power plants. The use of compressed natural gas in vehicles yielded the least benefit, essentially matching the emissions of modern gasoline or diesel engines.

The study, funded in part by Rice’s Energy and Environment Initiative, appears in the International Journal of Global Warming.

UF/IFAS Study: Mow Less Along Highways; Preserve Pollinators

Read the full story from the University of Florida.

Mowing less frequently along Florida’s highways boosts pollinator and wildflower biodiversity and would likely save money on gasoline and manpower, new University of Florida research shows.

NASA Awards SIUE $11.5 Million to Expand Citizen Science Education

Read the full story from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

NASA has awarded Southern Illinois University Edwardsville $11.5 million to expand its citizen science and educational activities through CosmoQuest, a second-generation citizen science facility. CosmoQuest Project Director Dr. Pamela Gay, assistant research professor in the SIUE STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) Center, will lead the initiative as principal investigator.

Study suggests impact of climate change on agriculture may be underestimated

Read the full story from Brown University.

Studies of how climate change might affect agriculture generally look only at crop yields — the amount of product harvested from a given unit of land. But climate change may also influence how much land people choose to farm and the number of crops they plant each growing season. A new study takes all of these variables into account, and suggests researchers may be underestimating the total effect of climate change on the world’s food supply.

Siftr: Web tool for citizen science, ethnography, teaching

Read the full story from the University of Wisconsin.

In the world of Web apps, simple, intuitive and visual are the operative words. And an emerging app from the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery’s Field Day Lab called Siftr seems to be hitting all the right notes.

“The vision is to create a clearinghouse for the creation of citizen science projects,” explains David Gagnon, who serves as the program director for the Field Day Lab, a collaboration of researchers, educators, software developers, artists and storytellers engaged in creating new mobile media, game design and simulation. “It’s a tool to help teachers use the real world to inspire and illustrate learning, a tool to intentionally blend formal and informal learning.”

In Flint Crisis, A New Model For Environmental Journalism

Read the full story from Yale Environment 360.

Curt Guyette is an investigative reporter who dug deeper into the Flint water crisis. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, he explains his work as a journalist employed by a Michigan nonprofit and how it could be a model for in-depth, local reporting on the environment.

The Carbon Counters: Tracking Emissions in a Post-Paris World

Read the full story from Yale Environment 360.

In the wake of the Paris climate agreement, developing countries find themselves in need of analysts capable of monitoring their emissions. It’s a complex task, but organizations are stepping in with online courses to train these new green accountants.

Heavy Metals

Read the full story at Pacific Standard.

A new book traces our dependence on rare elements—and the environmental costs of a revolution in global mining.

The Future of Environmental Justice

Read the full story in Pacific Standard.

“Environmental justice” isn’t only about what is put in whose backyard—it’s the future of the environmental movement.

Building Better Energy Efficiency Programs for Low-Income Households

Download the document.

Of the total spending on residential energy efficiency programs in 2014, 18% of electric efficiency expenditures and 34% of natural gas efficiency spending went toward low-income programs. Particularly for electricity expenditures, there is a need for more equitable spending on efficiency programs targeted to low-income households, which make up roughly 33% of the population nationally. This report addresses the key questions and challenges around low-income programs for single-family homes. It draws from a range of programs to provide recommendations for increasing the savings and reach of efficiency programming in this sector. We detail practices that program administrators are using to overcome challenges, and we explore strategies to use underutilized technologies and measures to realize greater savings.

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