Day: September 29, 2020

Ameren Sets Goal of Net-Zero by 2050, Plots Major Wind and Solar Expansion in Midwest

Read the full story at Greentech Media.

Ameren Missouri’s IRP calls for 5.4 GW of renewables by 2040, but it keeps some coal and retains natural gas as an option.

Wildfires and weather extremes: It’s not coincidence, it’s climate change

Read the full story from CBS News.

Right on the heels of arguably the West Coast’s most intense heat wave in modern history comes the most ferocious flare-up of catastrophic wildfires in recent memory. Meanwhile, just a few hundred miles east, a 60-degree temperature drop over just 18 hours in Wyoming and Colorado was accompanied by an extremely rare late-summer dumping of up to 2 feet of snow.

It’s not coincidence, it’s climate change. 

West Coast Fires: Climate, Forest Management, Lax Rules, Plenty Of Blame To Go Around

Read the full story from NPR.

It’s no surprise in an already polarized country that debate over what’s causing the wildfires ravaging the West Coast would get partisan, especially with this being an election year.

Visiting California this week, President Trump again tried to put the blame on forest management, while his rival, former Vice President Joe Biden pointed to climate change.

The truth is somewhere in the middle, with the caveat that pretty much everyone in the West rolled their eyes at Trump’s bizarre assertion that raking leaves on the forest floor would reduce the fire risk.

To be clear, climate change certainly plays a central role in these fires’ alarming scale and severity, but it’s not the only reason we’re seeing such deadly and destructive blazes, especially in the iconic — and typically wet — woods of the Pacific Northwest.

Emails Show How Pesticide Industry Influenced U.S. Position in Health Talks

Read the full story in the New York Times.

The U.S. insisted that new international guidelines on combating drug resistance omit any mention of fungicides — a demand that the industry made but that ran counter to science.

Rare flowers are sprouting in Cook County’s forest preserves: ‘It was like a dead zone and now it’s come alive’

Read the full story in the Chicago Tribune.

An almost tropical-looking pink flower in the hibiscus family grows tall at the edge of a wetland in the Cook County forest preserves near Palos Park.

The flower, a swamp rose mallow, is a rare sight in the Chicago area because its habitat has been damaged by development and generations of settlers who brought nonnative plants to the area from Europe and Asia, experts say.

But the swamp rose mallow and other rare flowers are increasingly returning to county forest preserves as crews work to restore the habitats that allow such plant life to grow. Ecologists have identified dozens of them over this summer.

Key findings to know from the IPBES report on Biodiversity

Read the full story from the United Nations Foundation.

new global report by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) finds that 1 million species are at risk of extinction — more than ever before in human history.

The Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, prepared by 145 leading experts from 50 countries, examines the causes of biodiversity and ecosystem change, the implications for people, as well as policy options and likely future pathways over the next three decades. It provides an integrated overview of where the world stands in relation to key international goals, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on climate change. In addition to including more than 15,000 scientific and government sources, the report also cites indigenous and local knowledge.

Growing Demand For Wilderness Education May Widen Learning Inequality

Read the full story from NPR.

Demand has surged for outdoor and wilderness programs, driven by parents desperate to get their kids off-screen and out of the house. Numerous New England wilderness schools report they could double or triple their already increased programming and still have waiting lists…

But who gets to participate in wilderness education? Like the much-hyped learning pod phenomenon, the rush to secure spots in wilderness home-school groups can easily become another example of the opportunity hoarding that leads to learning inequality.

Farms show ‘irreversible contamination’ of soil

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Mary Beth Kirkham hadn’t studied microplastics when she was invited to co-edit a new book about microplastics in the environment—but something stood out to her about the existing research.

“I had read in the literature that … cadmium and other toxic trace elements [are] increased when we have these particulate plastics in the soil. So that was of concern to me,” Kirkham, a plant physiologist and distinguished professor of agronomy at Kansas State University, told EHN.

Kirkham’s expertise is in water and plant relations and heavy metal uptake, so she decided to conduct her own research in which she cultivated wheat plants exposed to microplastics, cadmium and both microplastics and cadmium. Then she compared these plants to those grown without either additive. She chose cadmium because it’s poisonous, carcinogenic and ubiquitous in the environment due to human activity — it’s shed from batteries and car tires, and is naturally found in the phosphate rock used to make agricultural fertilizers.

“Cadmium is everywhere,” said Kirkham.

At the end of the experiment she sent her wheat plants off for analysis and, validating previous reports, the plants grown with microplastics were more cadmium-contaminated. “The plastics really were acting as the vector for uptake of the cadmium,” she said.

Her experiment became a chapter in the new book “Particulate Plastics in Terrestrial and Aquatic Environments.”

Device to curb microplastic emissions wins James Dyson award

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Tyre attachment designed by four students aims to reduce road transport pollution.

Can we just drown our carbon emissions in the ocean?

Read the full story at Grist.

Q. Dear Umbra,

Is there a maximum amount of CO2 that the ocean can absorb? What will be the effects should this happen?

— Some Questions Underestimate Imminent Doom

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