U.S. greenhouse gas emissions set to drop to lowest level in three decades

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

Greenhouse gases generated by the U.S. economy will slide 9.2 percent this year, tumbling to the lowest level in at least three decades, a new BloombergNEF study says.

Battered by the coronavirus pandemic, the stalled economy is projected to have generated 5.9 billion metric tons of emissions, about the same level as 1983, according to the private research organization.

As a result, the United States has been inadvertently pushed back on track to meet the commitments the Obama administration made at the Paris climate agreement in December 2015, despite the fact the Trump administration pulled the country out of the pact. Before 2020, the United States had fallen badly behind its targets under the accord.

Still, net emissions are expected to be 6.4 percent lower after taking into account the unusually extreme forest fires that swept the West Coast and Rocky Mountains earlier this year, pumping carbon dioxide and other pollution into the air and offsetting much of the drop in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

An economic rebound in 2021 could further negate the drop in greenhouse gas emissions, the BloombergNEF study says. Without the impact of the coronavirus, greenhouse gas emissions this year would have been only 1 percent lower than 2019, the organization says.

Associated report: New Energy Outlook 2020 (BloombergNEF)

Winners: SEJ 19th Annual Awards for Reporting on the Environment

The Society of Environmental Journalists is pleased to announce the winners of the SEJ Awards for Reporting on the Environment, which honor the best articles, radio broadcasts and videos released from March 1, 2019, through February 29, 2020, and the best books on environmental topics published in 2019.

The SEJ contest is the world’s largest and most comprehensive environmental journalism competition. The number of entries in the 2020 contest peaked at 499, another all-time high for the contest. Entries were judged by independent panels of journalists and professors.

Winners were honored at the #SEJ2020 Virtual Conference on Sept. 16, 23 and 30, including the live announcement of the winner of the Nina Mason Pulliam Award and $10,000 cash prize, selected from the first-place winners in all categories.

SEJ’s 2020 Awards for Reporting on the Environment are…

Ameresco completes energy efficiency project for the city of Virginia, MN

Read the success story.

Energy conservation measures across municipal buildings, parks and public areas guarantee annual energy and maintenance cost savings of nearly $108,000.

5 Things We Know About Climate Change and Hurricanes

Read the full story in the New York Times.

Scientists can’t say for sure whether global warming is causing more hurricanes, but they are confident that it’s changing the way storms behave. Here’s how.

EPA Develops National Picture of Underground Storage Tank Facilities and Leaking Underground Storage Tank Sites

Read the full story from U.S. EPA.

EPA researchers, in collaboration with the Office of Underground Storage Tanks and the Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials began collecting publicly available information in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. EPA scientists Alex Hall and Fran Kremer used the data to develop the UST Finder, a  web mapping tool and database that provides users with the first-ever comprehensive national picture of the physical attributes and locations of active and closed USTs, UST facilities, and LUST sites. Providing locations of LUST/UST facilities for many of the states that didn’t have geolocations was also a major contribution in this effort.  

ERI launches platform to boost accessibility of environmental change data

Read the full story from Indiana University.

Environmental change data takes many forms—land use maps, tree canopy imagery, species distribution charts, and more. Now, researchers in Indiana and beyond can sift through it all in one place.

This fall, Indiana University’s Environmental Resilience Institute (ERI), part of IU’s Prepared for Environmental Change Grand Challenge initiative, launched the ERI Data Platform, an open-data tool that allows users to explore environmental change data in new ways. The platform gives users the ability to overlay national, global, and Indiana-specific datasets, add new data, and navigate to geographic areas of interest.

Fed flags climate change as financial risk, seeks transparency from banks

Read the full story in Utility Dive.

The declaration comes as another big North American bank — TD — committed to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 for the projects it finances.

University of Bath Project aims to cut microplastics in pharmaceutical and chemical industries

Read the full story at British Plastics.

Naturbeads, based at the University of Bath, is working with companies to replace microplastics with biodegradable microbeads made from cellulose.

They have been awarded £47,000 by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, for a three-month project as part of the competitive Small Business Research Initiative which enables organisations to research and develop products that provide innovative solutions. This is the 3rd Innovate UK grant awarded to the company since January 2019 for a total funding of over £1m. 

Outerknown Finds a Natural Stretch Fabric For Its Iconoclast Jean

Read the full story in Apparel News.

Outerknown’s Iconoclast high-rise skinny jean is its first pair of biodegradable stretch-denim pants, which is scheduled for November deliveries.

Over 90% of Consumers Expect to Be Able to Recycle Glass

Read the full story at Waste360.

Ninety percent of residents and consumers still expect to be able to recycle glass, according to members of the recycling value chain. The third annual survey by the Glass Recycling Coalition (GRC), released at the GRC Fall 2020 Member Meeting, queried more than 200 municipal officials, top glass industry professionals, and materials recovery facility (MRF) operators in an open survey from August to September 2020.