Day: January 13, 2021

A Late Burst of Climate Denial Extends the Era of Trump Disinformation

Read the full story in the New York Times.

Two Trump administration officials have been reassigned over the posting of debunked papers, with the imprimatur of the White House, that questioned the scientific consensus on climate change.

Distant Cousins Of Food Crops Deserve Respect And Protection

Read the full story from NPR.

Hundreds of native North American plants, often dismissed as weeds, deserve a lot more respect, according to a new study. These plants, distant cousins of foods like cranberries and pumpkins, actually represent a botanical treasure now facing increased threat from climate change, habitat loss and invasive species.

PFAS chemicals are ubiquitous. A Pitt scientist is working to protect you from thousands of types at once.

Read the full story at PublicSource.

Two of the ‘forever chemicals’ have been studied widely and show a wide range of harmful effects. A Pitt researcher is helping to tackle the problem: What do we do about the other 4,000+?

Utility interest in hydrogen ‘beyond staggering’: GE

Read the full story at Utility Dive.

Utility interest in hydrogen is “beyond staggering” and may soon begin showing up in long-term integrated resource plans, according to GE Gas Power Emergent Technologies Director Jeffrey Goldmeer.

“You may not see it publicly yet, but we’ve talked with customers, and privately they’ve shared to us that when they make their next filing, [hydrogen] will be part of their filing,” he said in an interview. Particularly for large companies with public commitments to eliminate carbon emissions entirely or become neutral by mid-century, hydrogen is becoming more and more attractive, he said.

GE has been accused by market analysts of misjudging the clean energy transition in its focus on gas turbines over renewable energy resources during the natural gas boom earlier this decade, but the company is eager to play a role in the power sector’s growing focus on hydrogen.

Answering the Call: EnviroAtlas Team Supports Teachers and Educators during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Read the full story from U.S. EPA.

EPA’s response during the COVID-19 pandemic has been broad—ranging from developing an approach for monitoring the virus in wastewater to finding the best approaches for cleaning and disinfection. EPA is also assisting in an unexpected way: helping educators quickly adjust to teaching in the virtual environment.

EPA’s EnviroAtlas team is no stranger to environmental education. Over the past four years they have worked to create educational lesson plans that help K-12 and higher-ed educators incorporate EPA science into their curricula. Starting with the 2016 Building a Greenway Case Study, to the suite of ecosystem services mini-lessons published in early 2020, EnviroAtlas lesson plans on ecosystems, mapping, watersheds, and eco-health connections are aligned with state and Next Generation Science Standards and give students the opportunity to engage with real science, data, and maps from EPA.

As the reality of COVID-19 set in, the need for online-based resources surged. The EnviroAtlas team worked with EPA regions and programs, teachers, and education-focused organizations to not only get educators up to speed on EPA’s existing online educational resources, but also to adapt lesson plans for complete virtual use to meet the new demand. One such partnership came from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, who hosted a virtual summer course for educators called, “A Right to Nature in the City: The Importance of Urban Environmental Education” that explored an investigation of how natural systems can help communities and schools create change for a greener, more equitable future. The EnviroAtlas team partnered with members of EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice to include environmental justice considerations in their Greenway Case Study educational activity and convert it into a fully virtual format.

The curse of ‘white oil’: electric vehicles’ dirty secret

Read the full story in The Guardian.

The race is on to find a steady source of lithium, a key component in rechargeable electric car batteries. But while the EU focuses on emissions, the lithium gold rush threatens environmental damage on an industrial scale

In Boost for Renewables, Grid-Scale Battery Storage Is on the Rise

Read the full story from e360.

Driven by technological advances, facilities are being built with storage systems that can hold enough renewable energy to power hundreds of thousands of homes. The advent of “big battery” technology addresses a key challenge for green energy — the intermittency of wind and solar.

Gut Microbiome Snapshot Could Reveal Chemical Exposures in Children

Read the full story from Duke University.

Researchers at Duke University have completed the most comprehensive study to date on how a class of persistent pollutants called semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) are associated with the gut microbiome in human children.

Years After Flint Water Crisis, Lead Lingers in School Buildings

Read the full story at Great Lakes Now.

The federal appropriations bill for the 2021 fiscal year, signed into law this week, included $26.5 million to test for lead in schools and child care centers, a nod to the legacy of the Flint water crisis, which lifted the issue of lead in drinking water into the national spotlight.

The bill was signed a week after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency introduced new requirements for water utilities to test water in elementary schools and day cares for lead.

The Flint crisis spurred a national conversation on the dangers of exposing children to lead. “It really alters the entire life-course trajectory of a child,” Mona Hanna-Attisha, a Flint pediatrician, told Circle of Blue. Hanna-Attisha’s research helped uncover the extent of the city’s lead contamination, revealing elevated lead levels in the blood of children who ingested drinking water supplied from the Flint River.

Flint’s water is now being mended and its lead pipes are nearly all replaced. But the toxic metal still lingers elsewhere. A 2019 report from Environment America, a national network of environmental groups, showed elevated lead levels in the water systems of schools across the country.

Michigan plans to charge ex-Gov. Snyder in Flint water probe

Read the full story from the Associated Press.

Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, his health director and other ex-officials have been told they’re being charged after a new investigation of the Flint water scandal, which devastated the majority Black city with lead-contaminated water and was blamed for a deadly outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, The Associated Press has learned.

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