Day: November 16, 2017

Could indoor farming help address future food shortages?

Read the full story from PBS NewsHour.

By 2050, Earth’s population is expected to rise to 10 billion, while the resources on the planet continue to shrink. Researchers in the Netherlands are experimenting with one way to feed more people with less: growing crops indoors. NewsHour Weekend’s Ivette Feliciano takes a look at how indoor farming could shift our relationship with food.

How the threat of climate change spurs ethnocentrism

Read the full story in Pacific Standard.

The prospect of a dangerously warming planet inspires us to cling more tightly to our tribe. That is the discouraging finding of two newly published studies.

One reports that confronting people with climate-change warnings provoked higher levels of ethnocentrism among residents of a central European nation—and decreased their intentions of acting in Earth-friendly ways. The other finds the threat of global warming increases group conformity, leading people to more tightly endorse the truisms their circle subscribe to.

Hidden tour at Epcot teaches sustainable gardening

Read the full story at WKMG.

If you’ve ever ventured through the “Living with the Land” boat tour at Walt Disney World’s Epcot theme park, there’s a hidden adventure inside the greenhouses.

News 6 anchor Kirstin O’Connor took a “Behind the Seeds” tour alongside Les Frey, a horticulturist for Walt Disney World. From backstage, visitors can touch, taste and even test their knowledge of more than 150 plants grown around the world.

Solar Boom in Trump Country: It’s About Economics and Energy Independence

Read the full story at Inside Climate.

When Brandon Presley was elected to the Mississippi Public Service Commission in 2007, he said, he couldn’t have found a solar farm “with a SWAT team and a search warrant.”

A decade later, Mississippi is one of the fastest-growing solar markets in the United States, according to GTM Research. The state’s public service commission approved several solar projects this summer, and the state is expected to gain more than 700 megawatts of solar capacity over the next five years.

Champaign-Urbana: Paper2Tree, a new University-Community partnership, launches today

Via Smile Politely.

The University of Illinois has teamed up with the community to introduce a new partnership, Paper2Tree, which launches today.

Founded by Mattia Gazzola, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering, Paper2Tree will connect researchers in the University with members of the community and the environment by encouraging anyone who publishes a scientific paper to plant a tree in one of the participating local parks.

Trees will be associated to the publication reference, geo-localized, and visualized on a map — all data to be made publicly available, along with tree species, scientific area, and associated university department.

Paper2Tree has also partnered with the Champaign Park DistrictUrbana Park District,the Cities of Champaign and Urbana, Champaign and Urbana School districts, along with many university units, including the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering, the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment, and others.

Emissions Gap Report 2017: Governments, non-state actors must do more to reach Paris Agreement

Download the document.

The goal of the Paris Agreement on climate change, as agreed at the Conference of the Parties in 2015, is to keep global temperature rise this century to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. It also calls for efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The UN Environment Emissions Gap Report 2017 presents an assessment of current national mitigation efforts and the ambitions countries have presented in their Nationally Determined Contributions, which form the foundation of the Paris Agreement.

The report has been prepared by an international team of leading scientists, assessing all available information. The governments of countries mentioned specifically in the report have been invited to comment on the specific assessment findings; independent experts have also been invited to review the different chapters.

Key takeaways from the report include:

  • Paris pledges only a third of what is needed to avoid worst impacts of climate change
  • Adopting new technologies in key sectors, at investment of under US$100/tonne, could reduce emissions by up to 36 gigatonnes per year by 2030, more than sufficient to bridge the gap
  • Kigali Amendment to Montreal Protocol, action on short-lived climate pollutants, and increased pre-2020 G20 ambition on Cancun pledges can also help minimize climate impacts

The report lays out practical ways to slash emissions through rapidly expanding mitigation action based on existing options in the agriculture, buildings, energy, forestry, industry and transport sectors.

Former EPA attorneys slam ‘sue and settle’ policy

Read the full story in The Hill.

Dozens of former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) attorneys are assailing the Trump administration’s policy meant to curb legal settlements with environmental groups.

The 57 attorneys, who all served in nonpolitical career roles, accused EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt of deliberately misrepresenting legal settlement practices and the work of attorneys both at the EPA and the Justice Department.

Trump’s EPA chemical safety nominee may be too toxic even for Republicans

Read the full story in The Intercept.

Massive conflicts of interest no longer stand in the way of confirmation to the Environmental Protection Agency’s highest posts, as Scott Pruitt, the EPA’s sworn enemy, demonstrated when he ascended to the agency’s top job. Last Thursday, the Senate confirmed a second highly conflicted EPA nominee, fossil fuel lobbyist Bill Wehrum, who will now oversee air pollution protections despite his clear record of working to undermine those very same protections. With only one Republican opposing Wehrum, the 49-47 vote was a reminder of how little Senate Republicans expect of those who are meant to protect us from environmental threats.

Yet Michael Dourson, the industry scientist Trump nominated to head EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, may be unable to clear even this low bar. Though the Senate’s Environment and Public Works committee voted to advance Wehrum’s and Dourson’s nominations at the same October 25 hearing, only Wehrum’s advanced to the floor of the Senate, an indication that Republicans don’t yet have the votes to confirm Dourson.

White House coal pitch sparks climate outcry in Bonn

Read the full story at Politico.

The Trump administration’s effort to pitch coal at the international climate change meeting backfired on Monday, drawing heckling and booing at White House officials and energy industry representatives at a U.S. event.

The White House-sponsored panel discussion — held on the sidelines of the annual international climate change conference — was designed to promote more efficient use of coal and natural gas as well as nuclear power, but the event quickly turned into an outpouring of anger at the U.S. for pushing for energy sources blamed for boosting the Earth’s temperatures.

Lawmaker Seeks Records of Lobbyist Contacts with Agriculture Official

Read the full story in ProPublica.

A House Democrat wants more information on the contacts and testimony of Rebeckah Adcock, who leads the Department of Agriculture’s deregulation team.

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