Sabin Center launches climate attribution database

Read the full post at the Climate Law Blog.

Climate change attribution science provides the evidentiary basis for establishing that anthropogenic climate change is real, that it is already here, and that predicted future changes must be taken seriously. Faced with this growing body of research, courts, policy-makers, and private actors are addressing critical and urgent legal questions, such as whether governments are doing enough to reduce emissions and adapt to climate risks, and whether corporations can be held liable for their contributions to the problem. 

Today the Sabin Center and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory are launching the Climate Attribution Database, a thematically organized repository of state-of-the-art climate change attribution science.

What Will Trump’s Most Profound Legacy Be? Possibly Climate Damage

Read the full story in the New York Times.

President-elect Biden can restore many of the 100-plus environmental regulations that President Trump rolled back, but much of the damage to the climate cannot be reversed.

How Much Longer Will Insurers Cover Wildfire Loss Near You?

Read the full SEJ TipSheet.

As thousands of structures burn in this year’s West Coast fires, insurers are increasingly reluctant to cover homes in the wildland-urban interface.

New Climate Maps Show a Transformed United States

Read the full story at ProPublica.

According to new data from the Rhodium Group analyzed by ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine, warming temperatures and changing rainfall will drive agriculture and temperate climates northward, while sea level rise will consume coastlines and dangerous levels of humidity will swamp the Mississippi River valley.

Taken with other recent research showing that the most habitable climate in North America will shift northward and the incidence of large fires will increase across the country, this suggests that the climate crisis will profoundly interrupt the way we live and farm in the United States. See how the North American places where humans have lived for thousands of years will shift and what changes are in store for your county.

Scientists find Madagascar chameleon last seen 100 years ago

Read the full story from the Associated Press.

Talk about good camouflage!

Scientists say they have found an elusive chameleon species that was last spotted in Madagascar 100 years ago.

Researchers from Madagascar and Germany said Friday that they discovered several living specimens of Voeltzkow’s chameleon during an expedition to the northwest of the African island nation.

In a report published in the journal Salamandra, the team led by scientists from the Bavarian Natural History Collections ZSM said genetic analysis determined that the species is closely related to Labord’s chameleon.

Why aren’t solar water heaters more popular in the U.S., even in solar-friendly states like California?

Read the full story at Ensia.

Despite widespread global success and huge opportunity for reducing fossil fuel demand, solar water heating is virtually unheard of in the U.S. Evidence suggests our demand for simple fixes is to blame.

Cleaner Production Action releases several New and updated GreenScreen Certification standards

Clean Production Action has launched several new certification standards. They are:

Where Energy-Efficient Homes Are Being Built

Read the full story in the New York Times.

The Energy Star rating is not just for refrigerators; homes are certified for energy efficiency too.

What Now? Post-Election Environmental Outlook

Read the full post at JD Supra.

Shortly after the 2016 Presidential election, we predicted a rapid and dramatic shift in environmental policies under a Trump administration including regulatory reform, energy deregulation, a 180-degree shift on climate change, and a shift in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Enforcement Initiatives. Many of these predictions came true and some are currently in the works. Four years later, what can we expect to see under a potential Biden administration?

EPA Researchers Study Aerosol Transport and Mitigation Measures to Reduce COVID-19 Transmission

Read the full story from U.S. EPA.

As we learn more about SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, there is mounting evidence that aerosols – airborne particles that are released through normal human breathing and speech, as well as through coughing and sneezing – are playing a role in transmission of the disease. Larger respiratory particles or droplets are commonly released during coughing or sneezing but only travel short distances before settling out of the air. Risks from exposure to these larger droplets are a primary reason for the public health recommendation for 6 feet of physical distancing. However, we also know that respiratory aerosols include many smaller particles that have the potential to carry viruses within them and can linger in the air, much like smoke. These smaller particles can travel longer distances and can build up in indoor air, especially when ventilation is poor. These factors can increase the potential for viral exposures.

As people gather in indoor spaces, such as schools and businesses, and increase ridership on mass transit, safe and effective mitigation measures and technologies are needed to help reduce the spread of the disease.

EPA researchers are working on a variety of projects to learn more about this issue. To determine how far exhaled aerosols spread in an office environment, EPA researchers are studying indoor air pathways. The focus of this work will be on an “open office” or a cubicle work environment where there is concern about the potential for direct movement of aerosols from an infected (though likely asymptomatic) individual to the breathing zones of individuals at other workstations in the office space. EPA researchers will first seek to determine baseline levels of exposure from aerosol transport and then test the impact of practical office modifications that could potentially reduce viral exposure.