Day: April 30, 2018

Scott Pruitt pushes back hard, saying attacks on him are intended ‘to derail the president’s agenda’

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

With his status at the Environmental Protection Agency increasingly on the line, Administrator Scott Pruitt faced a tough grilling Thursday morning on Capitol Hill but was unapologetic about his leadership and activities.

Flooding Hot Spots: Why Seas Are Rising Faster on the U.S. East Coast

Read the full story in e360.

Scientists are unraveling the reasons why some parts of the world are experiencing sea level increases far beyond the global average. A prime example is the U.S. Eastern Seaboard, which has been experiencing “sunny day flooding” that had not been expected for decades.

Valuing Distributed Energy Resources: Combined Heat and Power and the Modern Grid

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In this paper we examine how decision makers can more precisely assess the costs of disruptive weather events and the value of resilient distributed energy systems such as combined heat and power (CHP). CHP makes up a small percentage of the energy infrastructure in the United States despite its substantial efficiency and resilience benefits. In part this is because the resilience value of CHP is not fully accounted for in energy infrastructure project cost screenings. To capture this benefit in investment decisions, we propose a framework for a metric called the Distributed Energy Resource Resiliency Value (DERRV) and discuss how such a metric might be applied to CHP.

Native Knowledge: What Ecologists Are Learning from Indigenous People

Read the full story at e360.

From Alaska to Australia, scientists are turning to the knowledge of traditional people for a deeper understanding of the natural world. What they are learning is helping them discover more about everything from melting Arctic ice, to protecting fish stocks, to controlling wildfires.

Sunlight weakens chemical dispersants used to cleanup oil spills, research shows

Read the full story in the New Orleans Times-Picayune. See also the press release from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.

The more sunny the day, the less effective the controversial chemicals used to cleanup large oil spills. That’s according to new research showing that sunlight greatly diminishes the potency of oil dispersants, including the ones sprayed across vast areas of the Gulf of Mexico during the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010.

Entries Invited for the Fifth Annual Yale Environment 360 Video Contest

The fifth annual Yale Environment 360 Video Contest is now accepting entries. The contest honors the year’s best environmental videos. Submissions must focus on an environmental issue or theme and be a maximum of 20 minutes in length. The contest aims to recognize work that has not previously been widely seen.

Videos that are funded by an organization or company and are primarily about that organization or company are not eligible.

The first-place winner will receive $2,000, and two runners-up will each receive $500. The winning entries will be posted on Yale Environment 360.

The contest judges will be Yale Environment 360 editor Roger Cohn, New Yorker writer and e360 contributor Elizabeth Kolbert, and Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Thomas Lennon.

Videos should be uploaded using the submission form below. Entries must include a valid contact email address and brief synopsis of the video. Send any questions to e360@yale.edu. The deadline for entries is Friday, June 8, 2018.

Previous e360 Video Contest winners can be found here: 201720162015, and 2014.

Ancient reaction inspires method for making porous catalysts

Read the full story in Chemical & Engineering News.

A recipe for better electrocatalysts takes inspiration from an ancient reaction used in fireworks, known as the pharaoh’s snakes. With heat and the foaming power of baking soda, a simple mix of ingredients can be turned into a high surface area, nanostructured catalyst for oxygen reduction in fuel cells and zinc-air batteries (ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2018, DOI: 10.1021/acsami.7b16936).

This spiraling sculpture can absorb the emissions of 90,000 cars

Read the full story at Inhabitat.

Kengo Kuma just unveiled a spiraling, air-purifying sculpture that can absorb the emissions produced by 90,000 cars in a year. Kuma’s “Breath/ng” is made from a cutting-edge fabric with a nano-molecule activated core that separates and absorbs toxic molecules. Developed by Anemotech, this pollution-neutralizing material uses the natural flow of air to purify the surrounding environment.

Banfi Vintners Adopts an Evolving Sustainability Strategy: Q&A with Cristina Mariana-May

Read the full interview at Environmental Leader.

Producing wine is no easy prospect given the constant environmental threats. In recent years, however, the pressure has increased for wine-makers to adopt sustainable practices.

For the booze business, going “green” is now a matter of survival, Popular Science reported. “In an industry that’s dependent on healthy ecosystems for good ingredients, turning a blind eye to wasteful practices, unsustainable agriculture, and the effects of climate change on crops isn’t an option,” Eleanor Cummins wrote.

This is true for Banfi Vintners, a leading US wine importer founded in New York in 1919 by John F. Mariani, Sr. The Mariani family continues to run the business, which includes the Castello Banfi vineyard estate in Montalcino, Tuscany.

“As a company whose product comes from the earth, we know that our success goes hand-in-hand with respect for the environment,” says Cristina Mariana-May, president and CEO at Banfi Vintners. “We’re also particularly cognizant of the savings and efficiencies that are realized with a solid sustainability plan in place.”

We caught up with Mariana-May to learn more about what is happening in the wine industry, and how her company is working to minimize its environmental footprint throughout the wine production process.

Energy Impacts of Smart Home Technologies

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Homeowners and renters are increasingly using technologies like smart thermostats and smart lighting, appliances, and outlets to enhance comfort and convenience. But these are not the only benefits. Smart technologies can also optimize a home’s energy use, reducing waste and lowering utility bills. This report provides an in-depth look at various smart technologies that regulate home heating, cooling, lighting, and plug loads to improve energy management. We explore the benefits driving consumer demand and examine barriers to more widespread adoption. We detail how utilities are incorporating smart technologies into their energy efficiency and demand response programs, concluding with recommendations for strengthening these offerings.

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