Day: August 1, 2019

Animals failing to adapt to speed of climate crisis, study finds

Read the full story in The Guardian.

The speed of climate disruption is outstripping many animals’ capacity to adapt, according to a study that warns of a growing threat to even common species such as sparrows, magpies and deer.

Scientists behind the research described the results as alarming because they showed a dangerous lag between a human-driven shift in the seasons and behavioural changes in the natural world.

Previous academic work has shown that species respond to warming temperatures by earlier timing of biological events, for example egg-laying by birds, budding of plants and flying of insects. The new metastudy, published in Nature Research, examines how effective this is in terms of reproduction and survival.

Happy 35th anniversary to the Minnesota Technical Assistance Program

The Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) was founded 35 years ago to provide waste reduction technical assistance to Minnesota businesses. Learn more about their legacy, which includes their pollution prevention intern program, in MnTAP Source.

MnTAP/TURI training on finding effective alternatives to TCE

The Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) at the University of Minnesota and the Toxic Use Reduction Institute (TURI) at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell are partnering to provide no cost, technical assistance to find effective, safer cleaning options than trichloroethylene (TCE) for Minnesota businesses.

On June 11, 2019 MnTAP and partner TURI offered a training session on finding effective alternatives to TCE and more information about the TCE Alternatives Project.  Recordings of the event are now available for review on the MnTAP website.

Ingersoll Rand’s new plan for giving its products a second life

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

The concept of remanufacturing end-of-life equipment and mining it for valuable components and metals is nothing new to Ingersoll Rand: It has operated an aftermarket service organization in Charlotte since 1974. After all, many metals used to make its Trane heating, ventilation and air-conditioning equipment have a demonstrable value, and there are well-established processes for recovering it.

But in more recent years, the 183,000-square-foot operation, which employs about 72 people, also has become involved with activities focused on a different sort of mission: keeping older Trane equipment in the field for as long as possible by updating them with components and materials that help Ingersoll Rand accounts address their own carbon reduction and climate goals. 

Trump EPA Proposes Weaker Coal Ash Rules, More Use at Construction Sites

Read the full story at Inside Climate News.

The latest proposed rule change would also relax some of the safeguards intended to prevent water contamination from that type of dumping of toxic ash.

Efficiency requirements for residential central AC and heat pumps to rise in 2023

Read the full story from the Energy Information Administration.

Beginning in 2023, all new residential central air-conditioning and air-source heat pump systems sold in the United States will be required to meet new minimum energy efficiency standards. The most recent minimum energy efficiency standards for these equipment types went into effect in 2015, and for the first time, separate standards were set for cooling central air conditioners sold in the northern parts of the United States and those sold in the southern parts. The new standards continue to set different cooling efficiency levels for air conditioners in the south, and they also require an increase in the heating efficiency of all air-source heat pumps.

Solar panels cast shade on agriculture in a good way

Read the full story from the Ecological Society of America.

Combining solar panel (photovoltaic) infrastructure and agriculture creates a mutually beneficial relationship. This practice of co-locating the two by planting crops under the shade of solar panels is called agrivoltaics.

The Conflation of Motives in Science Communication — Causes, Consequences, Remedies

Weingart, P. and Joubert, M. (2019). ‘The conflation of motives of science communication — causes, consequences, remedies’. JCOM: Journal of Science Communication 18 (03), Y01. https://doi.org/10.22323/2.18030401.

Abstract: We explore and discuss the diverse motives that drive science communication, pointing out that political motives are the major driving force behind most science communication programmes including so-called public engagement with science with the result that educational and promotional objectives are blurred and science communication activities are rarely evaluated meaningfully. Since this conflation of motives of science communication and the gap between political rhetoric and science communication practice could threaten the credibility of science, we argue for the restoration of a crucial distinction between two types of science communication: educational/dialogic vs promotional/persuasive.

Could Climate Change Spark a Financial Crisis? Candidates Warn Fed It’s a Risk

Read the full story at Inside Climate News.

Some of the Democrats running for president are urging the U.S. central bank to actively confront climate risks to protect the nation’s financial system.

The plan to mine the world’s research papers

Read the full story in Nature.

A giant data store quietly being built in India could free vast swathes of science for computer analysis — but is it legal?

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