Day: May 26, 2021

Turkey struck by ‘sea snot’ because of global heating

Read the full story in The Guardian.

When seen from above, it looks like a brush of beige swirled across the dark blue waters of the Sea of Marmara. Up close, it resembles a creamy, gelatinous blanket of quicksand. Now scientists are warning that the substance, known as sea snot, is on the rise as a result of global heating.

For clean energy, buy American or buy it quick and cheap?

Read the full story in the New York Times.

President Biden says slowing climate change will create jobs. Tension between unions and environmentalists shows it’s not so simple.

Magic mushrooms: This scammer is twisting science in a scheme to save the world

Read the full story at Buzzfeed News.

Joseph Kelly has an easy fix to climate crisis — and he’ll take down anyone who tries to stop him from selling it to you.

Michelin wants to make tires out of recycled plastic bottles

Read the full story at Auto Blog.

Michelin says its goal of “achieving 40% sustainable materials (of renewable or recycled origin) by 2030 and 100% by 2050” is one step closer to reality. The French tire giant has successfully tested a plastic recycling technology by French biochemistry company Carbios that can be used in tire production.

Advice clients clamour for ESG investments

Read the full story at International Adviser.

Two-thirds of financial advisers are investing more of their clients’ money in dedicated ESG fund propositions compared to this time last year, according to research from FE fundinfo.

The 2021 Financial Adviser Survey found that just 1% are choosing to invest less in ESG options.

And the driving force behind the change seems to be coming from the clients.

Last year, interest in ESG strategies came from a combination of investor demand and institutional sales pressure.

This year, however, 73% of advisers report that their clients are more interested in ESG investing compared with 2020.

And the rising demand shows little indication of slowing, with 76% of advisers believing that their clients will have more than a quarter of their portfolios invested in environmental, social and governance strategies within the next five years.

The mess of meth lab cleanups

Read the full story at The Regulatory Review.

Regulations on decontaminating former meth labs vary across federal and state governments.

Regulation and Jobs: The Unequal Employment Effects of Regulatory Uncertainty

Download the document.

The effects of regulation on jobs have been a heated theme in contemporary political debate. In
economic research, the empirical work suggests that regulation plays little role in affecting the
aggregate number of jobs in the United States. However, the existing research has mostly focused
on the volume or stringency of regulation. Little attention has been paid to regulatory uncertainty,
and yet its impact on employment has a basis in the economic theory.

The economic literature generally suggests that increased uncertainty can lead to significant
declines in hiring, investment, consumption, and output in the economy. This Regulatory Insight
discusses how regulatory uncertainty may affect employment and presents some empirical
evidence that increased regulatory uncertainty leads to a temporary drop in aggregate employment.
Moreover, the employment effects of regulatory uncertainty are unequal, affecting workers with
low levels of education disproportionately.

Unrules

Download the document.

At the center of contemporary debates over public law lies administrative agencies’ discretion to impose rules. Yet, for every one of these rules, there are also unrules nearby.

Often overlooked and sometimes barely visible, unrules are the decisions that regulators make to lift or limit the scope of a regulatory obligation, for instance through waivers, exemptions, and exceptions.

In some cases, unrules enable regulators to reduce burdens on regulated entities or to conserve valuable government resources in ways that make law more efficient. However, too much discretion to create unrules can facilitate undue business influence over the law, weaken regulatory schemes, and even undermine the rule of law.

In this paper, we conduct the first systematic empirical investigation of the hidden world of unrules. Using a computational linguistic approach to identify unrules across the Federal Register, the Code of Federal Regulations, and the United States Code, we show that unrules are an integral and substantial feature of the federal regulatory system.

Our analysis shows that, by several conservative measures, there exists one obligation-alleviating word for approximately every five to six obligation-imposing words in federal law. We also show that unrules are surprisingly unrestrained by administrative law. In stark contrast to administrative law’s treatment of obligation-imposing rules, regulators wield substantially more discretion in deploying unrules to alleviate regulatory obligations. As a result, a major form of agency power remains hidden from view and relatively unencumbered by law. Recognizing the central role that unrules play in our regulatory system reveals the need to reorient administrative law and incorporate unrules more explicitly into its assumptions, doctrines, and procedures.

UIUC’s largest geothermal system goes online

Read the full story from the University of Illinois.

The largest geothermal energy system implemented at the university so far went online in April, at the Campus Instructional Facility (CIF) ahead of its opening this coming fall. The CIF system is the fifth geothermal installation at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and can provide 135 tons of heating and/or cooling, twice as much as the next most recent geothermal installation on campus property.

Located at the southeast corner of Springfield Avenue and Wright Street in Urbana, the $75M CIF is a state-of-the-art 122,000 gross square foot facility that will support The Grainger College of Engineering’s transformative learning and teaching environments. The geothermal system comprises 40 vertical borehole exchange loops in the adjacent Bardeen Quadrangle and has enough capacity to handle the energy needed for approximately 30 American homes.

First person: The sounds, tastes and biology of cicadas

Read the full story at WBUR.

It’s been 17 years since we last heard the sound of the Brood X cicada. Any day now, trillions of them will emerge out of the ground in parts of the eastern and Midwestern United States. It’s a wonder of nature that we get to witness once every 17 years.

Now, cicadas and Brood X have been an inspiration to researchers well beyond the world of entomology. Below, we’ve got three stories on the remarkable things humankind has learned from these insects.

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