17th Annual P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – as part of its People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) Award Program – is seeking applications proposing to research, develop, design, and demonstrate solutions to real world challenges.

The P3 competition highlights the use of scientific principles in creating innovative technology-based projects that achieve the mutual goals of improved quality of life, economic prosperity and protection of the planet – people, prosperity, and the planet. The EPA offers the P3 competition to respond to the needs of people in the United States (U.S.)—including those in small, rural, tribal and/or disadvantaged communities.

Please see the People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) Student Design Competition website for more details about this program. Proposed projects must embody the P3 approach, which is that they have the intention and capability to simultaneously improve the quality of people’s lives, provide economic benefits and protect the environment.

The four research areas include:

  • EPA-G2020-P3-Q1 – Air Quality
  • EPA-G2020-P3-Q2 – Safe and Sustainable Water Resources
  • EPA-G2020-P3-Q3 – Sustainable and Healthy Communities
  • EPA-G2020-P3-Q4 – Chemical Safety

The closing date for applications is November 19, 2019.

China’s tree-planting drive could falter in a warming world

Read the full story in Nature.

Researchers warn that the country’s push to hold back its deserts could strain water resources.

Climate Change Threatens the World’s Fisheries, Food Billions of People Rely On

Read the full story in Inside Climate News.

More than 3 billion people depend on fish as a major source of protein. By the end of the century, a quarter of the sustainable fish catch could be gone.

Damage estimates for hurricanes like Dorian don’t capture the full cost of climate change-fueled disasters

Read the full story at The Conversation.

Scientists say climate change is causing powerful hurricanes like Dorian to increasingly stall over coastal areas, which leads to heavy flooding. Officials in the Bahamas feared “unprecedented” devastation after Dorian hovered over the islands for two days, pummeling it with rain.

But beyond more intense and slow-moving hurricanes, the warming climate has been blamed for causing a sharp uptick in all types of extreme weather events across the country, from explosive wildfires in California to severe flooding across the U.S. and extensive drought in the Southwest.

Late last year, the media blared that these and other consequences of climate change could cut U.S. GDP by 10% by the end of the century – “more than double the losses of the Great Depression,” as The New York Times intoned. That figure was drawn from a single figure in the U.S. government’s Fourth National Climate Assessment. (Disclosure: I reviewed that report and was the vice chair on the third one, released in 2014.)

If that sounds scary, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that that figure was drawn incorrectly from a significant misreading of the report – which actually offered a range of a loss of GDP from as low as 6% to as high as 14% by 2090.

The bad news, however, is that a more meaningful assessment of the costs of climate change – using basic economic principles I teach to undergrads – is a hell of a lot scarier.

4 climate change apps every tech-savvy advocate needs to download

Read the full story from Mashable.

Climate change can often feel like a huge problem with few actionable solutions. Just look at the facts: July was the hottest month on record. Eighteen of the last 19 years have been the warmest recorded. And the rate of CO2 increase in the atmosphere is unprecedented in the geologic record

While it’s true that politicians and entire countries hold many of the keys to fixing these issues, there are simple way you can help — through apps.

Your smartphone isn’t only your connection to the world — it can also be your connection to the conversation around climate change. With these four apps, awareness and action are at your fingertips.

New research identifies a climate signature in rivers globally

Read the full story from the University of Bristol.

A new study, led by scientists from the University of Bristol and published in the journal Nature, discovers a clear climatic signature on rivers globally that challenges existing theories.

New report says the building and construction sector can reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050

Read the full story at Envirotec.

As part of the 10th annual World Green Building Week, the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) has issued “a bold new vision” for how buildings and infrastructure around the world can reach 40% less embodied carbon emissions by 2030, and achieve 100% net zero emissions buildings by 2050.

Together, building and construction are responsible for 39% of all carbon emissions in the world[1], with operational emissions (from energy used to heat, cool and light buildings) accounting for 28%. The remaining 11% comes from embodied carbon emissions, or ‘upfront’ carbon that is associated with materials and construction processes throughout the whole building lifecycle. WorldGBC’s vision to fully decarbonise the sector requires eliminating both operational and embodied carbon emissions.

What’s the right balance of energy, security and sustainability?

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

An energy transition is unfolding around the world. In efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and air pollution, governments are installing increasing amounts of wind and solar. Since 2000, renewable installations in the power sector have risen from 20 GW per year to around 160 GW per year and account for almost two-thirds of new generation capacity.

But the challenge for policymakers is not only to decarbonize energy systems, it is to do so while simultaneously ensuring the security and affordability of energy. Should either goal be seriously compromised, the economic, social and political ramifications may be severe.

The World Energy Trilemma 2019 examines the progress governments have made in the continual struggle to balance the critical policy objectives of security, equity and sustainability. By objectively measuring individual countries’ performance on each since 2000, it provides a unique insight into policymakers’ achievements and failures.

Workers Are Falling Ill, Even Dying, After Making Kitchen Countertops

Read the full story from NPR.

Artificial stone used to make kitchen and bathroom countertops has been linked to cases of death and irreversible lung injury in workers who cut, grind and polish this increasingly popular material.

The fear is that thousands of workers in the United States who create countertops out of what’s known as “engineered stone” may be inhaling dangerous amounts of lung-damaging silica dust, because engineered stone is mostly made of the mineral silica.

Tackling the Marine Microplastic Threat: Michida Yutaka and the Ocean Debris Project

Read the full story at Nippon.com.

University of Tokyo oceanographer Michida Yutaka talks about an integrated research project he heads that is studying the scope and effects of marine microplastic.