Day: February 3, 2021

Minnesota governor accelerates state’s carbon-free power target 10 years, to 2040

Read the full story at Utility Dive.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, D, on Thursday proposed a series of policies that would bring the state to 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040, a decade earlier than the goal he proposed in 2019.

His proposed policy goals follow a report from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency issued earlier this month, finding the state is not on track to meet its previous goals of reducing economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions 30% below 2005 levels by 2025, and 80% by 2050. Overall, greenhouse gas emissions have declined 8% since 2005, according to the agency’s latest data, which measures emissions through 2018.

Minnesota’s largest investor-owned utilities (IOUs) — Xcel Energy and Minnesota Power — are pursuing 100% carbon-free energy by 2050 targets, and said their plans are more realistic.

NJ meets first goal in reducing carbon emissions, but still has ‘incredible hill to climb’

Read the full story at NJ Spotlight News.

New Jersey has achieved its first milestone in reducing global warming pollution, but attaining a target of curbing 80% of carbon emissions by 2050 will be much more difficult, according to a top state official.

The state hit its 2020 goal of reducing emissions from power plants by 20%, but that was helped by the transition of coal plants being replaced by cleaner natural gas units.

50 million-year-old fossil assassin bug has unusually well-preserved genitalia

Read the full story from the University of Illinois.

The fossilized insect is tiny and its genital capsule, called a pygophore, is roughly the length of a grain of rice. It is remarkable, scientists say, because the bug’s physical characteristics – from the bold banding pattern on its legs to the internal features of its genitalia – are clearly visible and well-preserved. Recovered from the Green River Formation in present-day Colorado, the fossil represents a new genus and species of predatory insects known as assassin bugs.

The find is reported in the journal Papers in Palaeontology.

Should Universities Try to Capture More Value from Their Research?

Read the full story from Knowledge@Wharton.

A pair of newly published research papers co-authored by Wharton management professor David H. Hsu benchmark and explore commercialization drivers of academic science. The papers find that university research has produced pathbreaking innovations across many disciplines, many of which have been commercialized successfully. Yet, on average, universities capture 16% of the value they help create through licensing revenues or equity stakes in the startups their research spawns. Furthermore, some researchers and universities are much better able to commercialize their discoveries compared to others, even holding constant the discovery itself.

The first research paper, which Hsu wrote with Po-Hsuan Hsu, Tong Zhou and Arvids A. Ziedonis, is titled “Benchmarking U.S. University Patent Value and Commercialization Efforts: A New Approach” and was published this month in Research Policy. The second paper, “Revisiting the Entrepreneurial Commercialization of Academic Science: Evidence from ‘Twin’ Discoveries,” co-authored with Matt Marx, is forthcoming in Management Science.

NGOs demand action not promises as EU accused of ‘failing to protect seas’

Read the full story in The Guardian.

A coalition of NGOs is calling for an urgent ban on destructive bottom trawling in EU marine protected areas, after the failure of member states to defend seas.

The ban is part of a 10-point action plan to “raise the bar” to achieve biodiversity targets, which they say will not be met by current promises, such as last year’s high-profile pledge by world leaders at the UN summit on biodiversity in New York to reverse nature loss by 2030.

Dove Launches its First Refillable Deodorant in Effort to Cut Plastic Use

Read the full story at Environment + Energy Leader.

Dove has launched its first refillable deodorant in an effort to tackle the global plastic waste crisis. Dove has worked with international campaign group A Plastic Planet to revolutionize its use of materials.

The Grass Is Greener in Virginia

Read the full story at Hakai Magazine.

Once decimated by disease, eelgrass is now recovering in the state’s lagoons after scientists spent decades trying to restore it.

ISWS watershed science team tackles new projects

Read the full story from the Prairie Research Institute.

Through its long history, the Water Survey’s scientific endeavors in collecting and analyzing water samples from precipitation, lakes, rivers, and streams have guided scientific data collection and modeling efforts and informed decisions locally and statewide about water quality and water resources management. Ongoing projects in watershed science continue to contribute to long-term databases, while new projects tackle some of today’s tough challenges.

In the ISWS Watershed Science Section led by Laura Keefer, Illinois State Hydrologist and head of the section, field data are collected year-round. Field personnel and scientists gather and analyze data on-site and remotely, whether analyzing raingage measurements across a precipitation network or wading into surface waters to collect measurements or gather samples for analysis. A few of the Watershed Science Section projects are highlighted.

2021 Outlook: Will hydrogen experience a breakthrough?

Read the full story at Utility Dive.

Industry analysts say 2021 could be the year U.S. policy on hydrogen catches up with the EU and China, but other key milestones could take longer.

New Orleans restaurants’ oyster shells helped save the coast; can they again?

Read the full story at Nola.com.

In an eroding bay south of New Orleans, where the sea is rapidly claiming land, your dinner leftovers were being stacked into an 800-ton wall nearly a mile long.

The shells of oysters, shucked or slurped at the city’s restaurants, are the raw material for this bulwark against waves, storms and rising seas.

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