Day: October 21, 2020

Webinar: Technology Tools for Regional Disaster Planning

Nov 5, 2020 10:00 am
Register here.

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Office of Water Resources (IDNR-OWR), and the Prairie Research Institute (PRI) at the University of Illinois identified three projects that use technology to move beyond reactionary response to flooding and instead develop information systems to help communities plan, educate, and adapt to changing conditions. These projects provide an overall benefit that will help reduce flood impacts, help reduce damage to property, and promote resiliency.

As administrator of the Community Development Block Grant Illinois “Ike” Disaster Recovery Program (IDRP), DCEO funded PRI’s Illinois State Geological Survey and Illinois State Water Survey to develop and provide technology solutions that provide a foundation for community and regional disaster planning. The three projects funded between 2017 and 2020 are:

  • LiDAR data acquisition and processing for 16 Illinois counties ( $3,274,830)
  • Structural risk assessment studies and losses avoided Studies ($1,269,156)
  • Rainfall frequency atlas ($506,014)

This webinar will report on the products produced from these projects. The webinar is open to the public, and there will be an open Q&A after the presentations. 

Webinar agenda

  • Opening remarks, scope of project & funding source, how to use the chat function (5 minutes)
  • Status of high-resolution topographic data in Illinois acquired through LiDAR (15 minutes )
  • Structure-specific flood risk assessments inform mitigation planning (10 minutes)
  • Updated rainfall frequency data show increasing precipitation (10 minutes )
  • Q & A (15 minutes) 

U.S. climate report moves ahead after complaints about delays

Read the full story in Science.

President Donald Trump’s administration has quietly restarted the National Climate Assessment after public outcry over its delay.

A key step in the progress of the National Climate Assessment—the solicitation for authors to work on the project—was delayed for months, E&E News has reported (Climatewire, 5 October). After public outcry, NASA restarted the process, publishing a Federal Register notice Thursday on behalf of the U.S. Global Change Research Program that it was seeking lead authors and researchers for the assessment.

The Trump Administration Is Reversing Nearly 100 Environmental Rules. Here’s the Full List.

Read the full story in the New York Times.

Over four years in office, the Trump administration has dismantled major climate policies and rolled back many more rules governing clean air, water, wildlife and toxic chemicals.

While other administrations have emphasized cutting regulations, calling them burdensome to industries like coal, oil and gas, the scope of actions under Mr. Trump is “fundamentally different,” said Hana V. Vizcarra, a staff attorney at Harvard Law School’s Environmental and Energy Law Program.

In all, a New York Times analysis, based on research from Harvard Law SchoolColumbia Law School and other sources, counts more than 70 environmental rules and regulations officially reversed, revoked or otherwise rolled back under Mr. Trump. Another 26 rollbacks are still in progress.

A field guide to the election and climate change

Read the full story in the New York Times.

The presidential election is just weeks away, and climate change has broken through as a defining issue for Americans this year, even amid a historic pandemic and deep economic uncertainty weighing upon the nation.

Two-thirds of Americans say the government isn’t doing enough to reduce the effects of global warming, according to a June survey from the Pew Research Center, and the two presidential candidates’ approaches couldn’t be further apart. President Trump has often dismissed global warming as a hoax; his rival, Joseph R. Biden Jr., calls climate change an “emergency” that requires rapidly overhauling the nation’s energy system.

Their differences raise profound questions about the government’s role in shaping the United States economy and America’s place on the world stage. Here’s a guide to major climate questions in the election.

Webinar: Pollution Prevention Opportunities for Ammonia Emissions in the Food and Beverage Sector

Wed, Nov 18, 2020 1-2 pm CST
Register here.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) will cover their recently completed food and beverage pollution prevention (P2) work funded under EPA Region 5’s Pollution Prevention Grant Program.

The webinar will provide attendees with:

  1. an overview of the sources of emissions of ammonia from the industrial refrigeration systems commonly used in food and beverage processing facilities;
  2. a summary of refrigerant inventory determination methods for industrial ammonia systems, including an Ammonia Inventory Calculator, which is a new online resource to estimate the operating charge of existing systems; and
  3. the use of dynamic charge calculations for flagging refrigerant losses from systems that would otherwise go undetected.

Applications of these methods, along with best practices for identifying and eliminating fugitive ammonia leaks identified during field work in Wisconsin food and beverage plants will also be discussed.

Food Waste Facility Opens In Massachusetts

Read the full story in Biocycle.

Totally enclosed operation is designed to preprocess 250 tons/day of food waste, much of it in packaging. Slurried feedstocks are hauled to dairy farms equipped with AD systems.

The Essential Principles of Climate Literacy

Climate Literacy: The Essential Principles of Climate Science presents information that is deemed important for individuals and communities to know and understand about Earth’s climate, impacts of climate change, and approaches to adaptation or mitigation.  Principles in the guide can serve as discussion starters or launching points for scientific inquiry. The guide aims to promote greater climate science literacy by providing this educational framework of principles and concepts. The guide can also serve educators who teach climate science as a way to meet content standards in their science curricula.

Food giants launch new deforestation pledge after missing 2020 objectives: ‘Our approach was not agile enough’

Read the full story in Food Navigator.

The Consumer Goods Forum has launched a fresh initiative to tackle deforestation in the food chain. FoodNavigator takes a look at this new effort – and asks why the CGF’s previous zero-deforestation commitment missed the mark.

Video: Tracing embedded water in US meat and ethanol supply chains

Read the full story from the University of Minnesota.

Water is embedded in everything we eat. There’s water inside a banana, a leaf of lettuce, an ear of corn — but the most water, by far, is in meat. In part because water goes into corn and soybeans – and then animals eat those feeds. So swearing off meat should be a great way to lower your water footprint, right? Well… not exactly.

Some corn and soybeans are grown where water is plentiful; some require irrigation – sometimes in water-scarce places. New research from experts at the University of Minnesota and the University of New Mexico analyzed the embedded irrigation water in U.S. chicken, pork, beef, and ethanol by tracing the water through the supply chain – identifying meat and fuel “fed” corn and soybeans grown with irrigated water in water-scarce areas.

Associated journal article: Kate A Brauman et al (2020). “Unique water scarcity footprints and water risks in US meat and ethanol supply chains identified via subnational commodity flows.” Environmental Research Letters 15 105018. https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/ab9a6a [open access]

EIA raises forecast for coal generation bump in 2021, and more carbon emissions

Read the full story at Utility Dive.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its latest Short Term Energy Outlook (STEO) on Tuesday, forecasting that coal’s share of U.S. electric generation will rise to 24% in 2021, after falling to 20% in 2020 amid ongoing plant closures. In its prior STEO report, released in September, EIA forecast a smaller rebound for coal, to 22% in 2021.

The increase in forecasted coal generation for 2021 comes with an increase in forecasted energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. EIA previously expected those emissions to rise 4.8% in 2021, after projecting a 10% drop in 2020, due to decreased energy use in the commercial and industrial sectors amid the coronavirus pandemic. Now, EIA expects energy-related carbon emissions to increase 5.4% in 2021.

EIA sees higher CO2 emissions in 2021 “as the economy recovers and energy use increases.” It also expects a 19% increase in coal production in 2021 compared to 2020, “reflecting rising demand for coal from U.S. electricity generators because of higher natural gas prices compared with 2020.”

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