Billions more needed to address climate infrastructure needs of US cities: report

Read the full story at Utility Dive.

new report from the nonprofit CDP identified more than 300 sustainable infrastructure projects across 97 U.S. cities, with a collective funding and financing gap of at least $10.6 billion. 

The report, based on 2020 data from the CDP-ICLEI Unified Reporting System, found a total of $25.6 billion in sustainable infrastructure funding, ranging from climate adaptation and clean transportation to energy efficiency and water system upgrades. The true national scope of the infrastructure needs across the country is likely much larger, said Katie Walsh, CDP North America head of cities, states and regions.  

Walsh said the findings should demonstrate to federal policymakers and investors the scale of infrastructure funding needs in cities. “We want to show how these projects can make an impact on emissions … but also in growing local economies, creating jobs and racial and social equity,” Walsh said. 

Corporate ‘greenwashing’ poses growing threat to ESG goals: report

Read the full story at CFO Dive.

Sustainability-related financing has tripled since 2015, with a tenfold increase in flows to environmental, social and governance (ESG) funds, an eight-fold increase in sustainable debt issuance and a doubling in the value of ESG-related deals by private equity and venture capital firms, according to a report by Generation Investment Management.

Yet “failure to tackle greenwash poses a serious risk to the sustainable transition,” Generation said, noting “growing unease at the low quality of some net zero commitments, the gap between goals and actions and the absence of guardrails for those utilizing natural solutions, including as offsets.”

“The time for celebrating vague, distant goals on net zero or ‘nature positive’ has long passed,” Generation said, adding “investors need clarity over how companies will turn goals to actions in the next few years.”

PFAS update: Current state-by-state groundwater regulations

Read the full story at JD Supra.

In the absence of federal cleanup standards for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”) in groundwater, several states have started the process of regulating PFAS in groundwater themselves. As a result, states have adopted a patchwork of regulations and guidance standards which presents significant compliance challenges to impacted industries. This client alert explores the current landscape of state regulations regarding the guidance, notification, and cleanup levels for PFAS – typically perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (“PFOS”) and perfluorooctanoic acid (”PFOA”) – in groundwater.

Scientific publishers expedite name changes for authors

Read the full story in Nature.

Safety and equity concerns prompt some journals and scientific societies to hasten use of new names on transgender authors’ works.

Test Your Well Water Act introduced

Read the full story at Water Quality Products.

The tool aims to promote transparency and modernize access to EPA resources in an effort to educate Americans about their drinking water.

New study measures how nitrogen is managed in agriculture around the world

Read the full story from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.

A new paper published in Nature Food offers the first comprehensive comparison of the most advanced international efforts to measure how nitrogen is managed in agriculture. Zhang et al synthesize results from nearly thirty researchers from ten different research groups across the world, including universities, private sector fertilizer associations, and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). They each estimated how much nitrogen is added to croplands as fertilizer and manure, how much of the added nitrogen is harvested in crops, and how much is left over as potential environmental pollution.

Why investors worth $5 trillion want to put the spotlight on agriculture’s carbon emissions

Read the full story at Forbes.

A global investor coalition is urging today governments to disclose specific targets for reducing agricultural emissions as part of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in the lead up to COP26. Research by WWF found that there are only a handful of countries that specifically mention agriculture in their sectoral targets. Without that information, decarbonization efforts in the agricultural sector may fail.

Excess fertilizer causes a new challenge: Low crop yields during drought

Read the full story at Civil Eats.

New research suggests that farmers who over-fertilize grassland crops like corn and wheat could face significant problems in dry conditions.

Can new technology incentivize farmers to capture carbon in their soil?

Read the full post at State of the Planet.

Farmers have, for years, known about their theoretical ability to offset carbon emissions by managing their land in a way that captures carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and stores it in the soil — a set of practices sometimes referred to as regenerative agriculture. But measuring the carbon drawdown within the soil as a result of such practices has proven difficult and nuanced over time, and farmers have generally eschewed these practices, which require more labor than conventional agriculture.

But thanks to a wave of new technological developments, there is hope that the incentive structure might change for farmers, who collectively can make a significant dent in reducing carbon emissions. By some estimates, if the 1.2 billion acres of American agricultural land (more than half of the U.S. land base) transitioned towards regenerative farming practices, it could sequester up to 20 percent of the carbon required to reach the Biden administration’s goal of fully offsetting America’s carbon emissions by 2050.

The climate impact of wild pigs greater than a million cars, study finds

Read the full story from the University of Queensland.

By uprooting carbon trapped in soil, wild pigs are releasing around 4.9 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide annually across the globe, the equivalent of 1.1 million cars, according to new research.