Webinar: Forensic Techniques for Differentiating PFAS Sources

Dec 9, 2021, 11 am CST
Register here.

Join SERDP and ESTCP for a webinar featuring DoD-funded research efforts to develop methods for differentiating between the sources of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) detected in impacted water. Specifically, investigators will discuss two approaches for differentiating between aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) and non-AFFF sources.

Dr. Christopher Higgins (Colorado School of Mines) will discuss an approach that uses liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) to measure specific PFAS compounds and a database of sources with PFAS chemical signatures. Then, Dr. David Sedlak (University of California, Berkeley) will present on using the total oxidizable precursor (TOP) analysis to measure PFAS and using advanced statistical tools to inform PFAS source forensics.

Webinar: Safer Cleaners & Degreasers for Electronics

Dec 15, 2021, 10 am CST
Register here.

Join Clean Production Action, Apple, Clean Electronics Production Network, and TCO Development to learn about safer cleaners and degreasers in the electronics sector. Learn the details of GreenScreen Certified for Cleaners & Degreasers. Hear how Apple is integrating green chemistry into its supply chains. Find out how CEPN is scaling safer chemicals in the manufacturing of electronics. Learn how CPA and TCO Development collaborated on TCO Certified Accepted Substances List and the addition of safer cleaners to that list.

Fighting Misinformation Online Summit 2021

Welcome to Fighting Misinformation Online, a new European Summit for those working to tackle mis and dis-information, and a forum to discuss media literacy and fact-checking.

Elevating authoritative information and tackling all forms of misinformation is a critical issue, and collaboration between academics, policymakers, publishers, and technology companies is key. That’s why we’re inviting governments, educators, nonprofits, technologists, and news organisations from around Europe to this summit to share ideas and knowledge.

Earlier this year, the European University Institute and Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation launched the new ‘European Media and Information Fund’ supported by Google and with the cooperation of the European Digital Media Observatory. This event will also be an opportunity to learn about the Fund, which aims to strengthen fact-checking, media literacy and help tackle misinformation.

To find out more about the ‘European Media and Information Fund’ please visit: www.emifund.eu

Satellites could help track if nations keep their carbon pledges

Read the full story from the New York Times.

Scientists used satellite measurements of carbon dioxide to detect small atmospheric reductions over areas under coronavirus lockdowns. The approach could help track emissions more quickly in the future.

Building artificial forests for microbats

Read the full story at Planet Ark.

President of Fraser Coast Microbat group, John Parsons, also known as ‘batman,’ has been studying, researching, and building microbat habitat for two decades. Along with fellow researchers he has spent years investigating the movement of microbats around the Fraser Coast area.

The imperative for a reuse economy and culture

Read the full story at Waste Dive.

Linda Pouliot, CEO of reusable dishware delivery service Dishcraft, shares lessons learned from the early stages of California’s shift toward reuse systems for food service packaging.

Glass is the hidden gem in a carbon-neutral future

Read the full story in Nature.

Recycling glass does not degrade it, and manufacturing it can be carbon-free. So why are many countries still burying glass in the ground?

LCA methodology application to assess the environmental impact of CCS and CCU: a review

Download the document.

This article is a literature review on the state of the art of LCA (life cycle assessment) methodology application to study the environmental impact of CCS (carbon capture and storage) and CCU (carbon capture and use), regarded as two promising solutions to limit CO2-emissions to the atmosphere from powerplants. In order to avoid burden shifting, CCS and CCU options have been examined and compared not only in terms of GHG (greenhouse gases) emissions, but also considering many other environmental impacts, and considering the whole life cycle of each application from raw materials extraction up to the end of life. The effect of different possible technologies for carbon capture is discussed too. At the end, a comparison between the main environmental impacts of CCS and different CCU options is provided, including the general considerations that can be drawn and that should guide future research on the topic. The big uncertainty that is still present in the available data, due to a lack of uniformity in the methodology followed in different LCAs, is underlined as the greatest limitation.

East Coast flooding is a reminder that sea level is rising as the climate warms – here’s why the ocean is pouring in more often

People walked down a flood sidewalk in Annapolis, Maryland, on Oct. 29, 2021. AP Photo/Susan Walsh

by Jianjun Yin, University of Arizona

The U.S. East Coast has been experiencing hurricane-like flooding in recent days, with Georgia and the Carolinas getting the latest round. High tides are part of the problem, but there’s another risk that has been slowly creeping up: sea level rise.

Since 1880, average global sea levels have risen by more than 8 inches (23 centimeters), and the rate has been accelerating with climate change.

Depending on how well countries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in the coming years, scientists estimate that global sea levels could rise by an additional 2 feet by the end of this century. The higher seas means when storm surges and high tides arrive, they add to an already higher water level. In some areas – including Charleston, South Carolina, where an offshore storm and high tide raised water levels 8.4 feet on Nov. 6, 2021 – sinking land is making the impact even worse.

I’m a geoscientist who studies sea level rise and the effects of climate change. Here’s a quick explanation of two main ways climate change is affecting ocean levels and their threat to the world’s coasts.

Ocean thermal expansion

Climate change, fueled by fossil fuel use and other human activities, is causing average global surface temperatures to rise. This is leading the ocean to absorb more heat than it did before the industrial era began. That, in turn, is causing ocean thermal expansion.

Thermal expansion simply means that as the ocean heats up, sea water molecules move slightly farther apart. The farther apart the molecules are, the more space they take up.

That expansion leads to the ocean rising higher onto land.

Line chart showing sea level rise attributed to thermal expansion and to melting
How thermal expansion and melting land ice combine to create sea level rise over time. The black line is observed sea level since the start of the satellite altimeter record in 1993. NOAA Climate.gov

During the past several decades, about 40% of global sea level rise was due to the effect of thermal expansion. The ocean, which covers just over two-thirds of the Earth’s surface, has been absorbing and storing more than 90% of the excess heat added to the climate system due to greenhouse gas emissions.

Melting land ice

The other major factor in rising sea levels is that the increase in average global temperatures is melting land ice – glaciers and polar ice sheets – at a faster rate than natural systems can replace it.

When land ice melts, that meltwater eventually flows into the ocean, adding new quantities of water to the ocean and increasing the total ocean mass.

During the past several decades, about 50% of global sea level rise was induced by land ice melt.

Currently, the polar ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica hold enough frozen waters that if they melted completely, it would raise the global sea level by up to 200 feet, or 60-70 meters – about the height of the Statue of Liberty.

Climate change is melting sea ice as well. However, because this ice already floats at the ocean’s surface and displaces a certain amount of liquid water below, this melting does not contribute to sea level rise.

Map with colors showing increase in sea level rise worldwide.
How average sea level rose from 1993 to 2018 across the world ocean. The rise was 6-8 inches (15-20 centimeters) in some basins. NOAA

While the surface height of the ocean is rising globally, the impact is not the same for every coastal region on Earth. The rate of rise can be several times faster in some places than others. This difference is caused by an area’s unique local conditions – such as shifts in ocean circulation and the uplift or subsidence of the land.

Risk will keep rising long after emissions stabilize

Nearly 4 in 10 U.S. residents live near a coastline, and millions of people are already dealing with coastal flooding during hurricanes and high tides that can damage homes, buildings and other coastal infrastructure and ecosystems. The Chesapeake Bay area was hit with flooding during high tides in late October, and the Miami area now deals with high-tide flooding several times a year.

Worldwide, researchers have estimated that sea level rise this century could cause trillions of dollars in damage. In some low-lying island nations, including the Maldives in the Indian Ocean and Kiribati in the Pacific Ocean, rising seas are already forcing citizens to make stark choices about building costly ocean protections that will only last so long or plan to abandon their islands.

Men laying sandbags along a coastal road in Kiribati that was damaged by flooding related to sea level rise.
The people of Kiribati, a small island nation in the South Pacific Ocean, have been grappling for years with the impacts of rising seas driven by climate change, although they’ve done very little to contribute to global carbon pollution. Jonas Gratzer/Getty Images

Officials from countries worldwide are meeting at the U.N. climate conference with a goal of agreeing to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions enough to keep global temperatures from rising too high.

Even when emissions come down, sea level will keep rising for centuries because the massive ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica will continue to melt and take a very long time to reach a new equilibrium. The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shows the excess heat already in the climate system has locked in the current rates of thermal expansion and land ice melt for at least the next few decades.

This article was updated Nov. 6 with the high tide level in Charleston, S.C.

Jianjun Yin, Associate Professor of Geoscience, University of Arizona

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Clean energy faces its own supply chain crisis

Read the full story at The Verge.

Joe Biden has pledged to get the US on a path to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, a key target that climate scientists have identified as necessary to stave off catastrophic effects of climate change. On the way there, Biden envisions a 100 percent “clean” power sector by 2035. He also wants half of all new cars sold in 2030 to be electric or hybrid vehicles.

Those ambitions, however, will depend on the US’s ability to get enough solar panels, wind turbines, lithium-ion batteries, and other critical clean energy technologies and raw materials. But supply chains for these technologies, and for the raw materials like lithium and cobalt that underpin them, are largely concentrated overseas. This was already creating challenges for the US before the pandemic screwed up supply chains, and there are even bigger hurdles to overcome now.