Day: June 4, 2019

Government argues for a halt to youth climate lawsuit, saying there is no constitutional right to a stable climate

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

A group of young Americans who have spent nearly four years trying to compel the federal government to take action on climate change found themselves back in court Tuesday, arguing that their unprecedented lawsuit should move forward.

And the Trump administration, like the Obama administration before it, was there to argue once again that the lawsuit should be tossed out before it ever goes to trial, both because the plaintiffs do not meet the legal requirements to bring such a suit and because “there is no fundamental constitutional right to a ‘stable climate system.’”

‘Citizen scientists’ help track foxes, coyotes in urban areas

Read the full story from the University of Illinois.

As foxes and coyotes adapt to urban landscapes, the potential for encounters with humans necessarily goes up. A team of scientists from the Illinois Natural History Survey and the University of Wisconsin-Madison is taking advantage of this fact to enlist the eyeballs and fingertips of humans — getting them to report online what they see in their own neighborhoods and parks.

The hunt for the lesser-known funding source

Read the full story in Nature.

Scientists can use search skills and solid connections to find grants from foreign governments, foundations and crowdfunding.

FDA food testing finds contamination by PFAS and other ‘forever chemicals’

Read the full story from PBS.

The Food and Drug Administration’s first broad testing of food for a worrisome class of nonstick, stain-resistant industrial compounds found substantial levels in some grocery store meats and seafood and in off-the-shelf chocolate cake, according to unreleased findings FDA researchers presented at a scientific conference in Europe.

What three generations of California families can tell us about the links between our health and the environment

Read the full story at Ensia.

A decades-long study offers valuable insights into the relationship between the environment in which we live and cancer, autoimmune diseases and other disorders.

A step for a promising new battery to store clean energy

Read the full story from Ohio State University.

Researchers have built a more efficient, more reliable potassium-oxygen battery, a step toward a potential solution for energy storage on the nation’s power grid and longer-lasting batteries in cell phones and laptops.

In Pittsburgh, Phipps Conservatory And Botanical Gardens Hosts “Big Green Block Party”

Read the full story at Facility Executive.

In Pittsburgh, PA this week, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens unveiled the Exhibit Staging Center (ESC), a facility that showcases the latest advancements in green building technology. Formerly an old public works building, ESC was transformed from a dilapidated space on a former brownfield into a safe, healthy environment for people, plants and animals.

Founded in 1893, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is a globally recognized green leader with a mission to inspire and educate all with the beauty and importance of plants; and to advance sustainability and promote human and environmental well-being through action and research. The Phipps site encompasses 15 acres including a historic 14-room glasshouse, 23 indoor and outdoor gardens, and sustainable architecture and operations.

May 16, 2019 marked the opening of the ESC, as over 500 attendees were among the first to tour the state-of-the-art facility at the Big Green Block Party event.

Mars Wrigley Accepting Pitches For Farm Greenhouse Gas Reduction Solutions

Read the full story at Candy & Snack Today.

Mars Wrigley Confectionery U.S., LLC, in partnership with Land O’Lakes, Inc., is accepting submissions for ideas, products and services that accelerate on-farm dairy sustainability with a focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the candymaker reports.

Pitches can be submitted until June 24 on cvent.com, and during August the companies will select participants to present their ideas to Land O’Lakes teams members and industry experts. Pitch event participants will receive input, coaching and advice from dairy and agriculture technology leaders to help scale up their ideas.

How the ancient Maya adapted to climate change — and survived to this day

Read the full story in Newsweek.

Carbon dioxide concentrations in Earth’s atmosphere have reached 415 parts per million—a level that last occurred more than three million years ago, long before the evolution of humans. This news adds to growing concern that climate change will likely wreak serious damage on our planet in the coming decades.

While Earth has not been this warm in human history, we can learn about coping with climate change by looking to the Classic Maya civilization that thrived between A.D. 250-950 in Eastern Mesoamerica, the region that is now Guatemala, Belize, Eastern Mexico, and parts of El Salvador and Honduras.

Many people believe that the ancient Maya civilization ended when it mysteriously “collapsed.” And it is true that the Maya faced many climate change challenges, including extreme droughts that ultimately contributed to the breakdown of their large Classic Period city-states.

However, the Maya did not disappear: Over 6 million Maya people live mainly in Eastern Mesoamerica today. What’s more, based on my own research in the Northern Yucatan Peninsula and work by my colleagues throughout the broader Maya region, I believe Maya communities’ ability to adapt their resource conservation practices played a crucial role in allowing them to survive for as long as they did. Instead of focusing on the final stages of Classic Maya civilization, society can learn from the practices that enabled it to survive for nearly 700 years as we consider the effects of climate change today.

Climate change: sea level rise could displace millions of people within two generations

Read the full story at The Conversation.

Antarctica is further from civilisation than any other place on Earth. The Greenland ice sheet is closer to home but around one tenth the size of its southern sibling. Together, these two ice masses hold enough frozen water to raise global mean sea level by 65 metres if they were to suddenly melt. But how likely is this to happen?

The Antarctic ice sheet is around one and half times larger than Australia. What’s happening in one part of Antarctica may not be the same as what’s happening in another – just like the east and west coasts of the US can experience very different responses to, for example, a change in the El Niño weather pattern. These are periodic climate events that result in wetter conditions across the southern US, warmer conditions in the north and drier weather on the north-eastern seaboard.

The ice in Antarctica is nearly 5km thick in places and we have very little idea what the conditions are like at the base, even though those conditions play a key role in determining the speed with which the ice can respond to climate change, including how fast it can flow toward and into the ocean. A warm, wet base lubricates the bedrock of land beneath the ice and allows it to slide over it.

These issues have made it particularly difficult to produce model simulations of how ice sheets will respond to climate change in future. Models have to capture all the processes and uncertainties that we know about and those that we don’t – the “known unknowns” and the “unknown unknowns” as Donald Rumsfeld once put it. As a result, several recent studies suggest that previous Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports may have underestimated how much melting ice sheets will contribute to sea level in future.

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