Study provides data on gains and losses attributable to individual countries, including the finding that a group from the world’s leading national emitters of GHGs have caused $6 trillion in global economic losses through warming caused by their emissions from 1990 to 2014.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced two listening sessions to collect input on the development of a new grant opportunity made possible by the $100 million investment in the agency’s Pollution Prevention (P2) program from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The new grant opportunity will encourage products, purchasing, and/or supply chains that are safer, more sustainable, and environmentally preferable and advance the Biden-Harris Administration’s bold environmental agenda.
The P2 program also delivers on President Biden’s Justice40 commitments to deliver 40% of benefits from climate, clean energy and pollution reduction investments, including from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, to underserved or overburdened communities.
“The products that we buy, use, and work with every day can have a real impact on our health and the environment like air and water pollution, waste disposal issues, and climate change,” said EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Deputy Assistant Administrator for Pollution Prevention Jennie Romer. “This new grant opportunity would leverage our existing tools and programs to increase access to safer and more sustainable products, like products that conform to EPA’s recommended standards and ecolabels, especially in disadvantaged and other communities with environmental justice concerns.”
A listening session on Sept. 7 will seek input from tribes on this new grant opportunity. Another session on Sept. 8 is for all potential applicants and stakeholders. Eligible applicants include U.S. states, Tribes, territories, or entities of these governments such as colleges and universities. Eligible applicants may also partner with interested stakeholders. Matching funds will not be required for these grants, making this funding opportunity more accessible to underserved and overburdened communities. The funding cycle for the new grant opportunity announced today would run in the off years of the traditional P2 grants.
EPA is interested in understanding how these grants can be most accessible and useful to applicants. EPA will also seek additional insight into how funded projects can increase supply and demand for safer, environmentally preferable products, such as those certified by EPA’s Safer Choice program or identified by EPA’s Environmentally Preferable Purchasing program. Additionally, the agency is also interested in feedback on which projects would best support the grant’s goals, how to best encourage grantees to partner with other organizations to maximize project impact, how to best encourage projects that will benefit underserved communities and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and which barriers exist to potential applicants and what can be done to minimize those barriers.
This new grant opportunity is in addition to the P2 grant opportunities announced earlier this year for states and Tribes to develop and provide businesses with information, training, and tools to help them adopt P2 practices. These included a new P2 grant opportunity of approximately $14 million funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which built upon the traditional P2 grants program that has been administered by the agency for over 25 years. EPA anticipates announcing the awardees for these opportunities in the coming months.
Register for the webinars using the following links:
A University of Minnesota Twin Cities-led team of data scientists has published a first-of-its-kind comprehensive global dataset of the lakes and reservoirs on Earth showing how they have changed over the last 30+ years.
The data will provide environmental researchers with new information about land and fresh water use as well as how lakes and reservoirs are impacted by humans and climate change. The research is also a major advancement in machine learning techniques.
A paper highlighting the Reservoir and Lake Surface Area Timeseries (ReaLSAT) dataset was recently published in Scientific Data, a peer-reviewed, open-access journal published by Nature.
In thousands of communities across the United States, drinking water is contaminated with chemicals known as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). PFAS are used in a wide range of products, such as non-stick cookware, water and stain repellent fabrics, and fire-fighting foam, because they have properties that repel oil and water, reduce friction, and resist temperature changes. PFAS can leak into the environment where they are made, used, disposed of, or spilled. PFAS exposure has been linked to a number of adverse health effects including certain cancers, thyroid dysfunction, changes in cholesterol, and small reductions in birth weight.
This report recommends that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) update its clinical guidance to advise clinicians to offer PFAS blood testing to patients who are likely to have a history of elevated exposure, such as those with occupational exposures or those who live in areas known to be contaminated. If testing reveals PFAS levels associated with an increased risk of adverse effects, patients should receive regular screenings and monitoring for these and other health impacts. Guidance on PFAS Exposure, Testing, and Clinical Follow-Up recommends that the CDC, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), and public health departments support clinicians by creating educational materials on PFAS exposure, potential health effects, the limitations of testing, and the benefits and harms of testing.
I am a policy expert who studies international research collaboration as it relates to global problems and geopolitical polarization. I understand the need for democratic countries to respond to the the growing strength of authoritarian countries such as China and acute crises like the Russian invasion of Ukraine. But reducing or stopping international research comes with its own risks. It slows down the production of knowledge needed to address long-term global problems and reduces the potential for future scientific collaboration.
First, the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 led to an increased openness in global scientific exchange. In particular, there was growth in the number of students from developing and non-Western countries going to universities in the West. This movement formed networks of researchers from many countries. Second, massively collaborative scientific efforts – such as the Human Genome Project – as well as the ever-growing importance of expensive, large research laboratories and instruments have fueled international collaboration. Finally, the digital revolution has made it much easier to communicate and share data across borders. This all resulted in collaborative and fruitful research in many fields including gene technology, climate science and artificial intelligence.
In the latter half of the 20th century, China, India, Russia, Turkey, Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and many other nations all significantly improved their scientific capabilities. In doing so they have greatly contributed to human knowledge. China in particular has invested heavily in its scientific capabilities and today is the world’s largest producer of scientific publications.
The development of scientific capacity in many parts of the world and the building of academic ties is critical when it comes to responding to a new virus or tracking changes in climate. The more countries that share data and coordinate policy responses, the easier it should be to contain a virus or understand global warming.
In May 2022, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said: “China is the only country with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to do it. Beijing’s vision would move us away from the universal values that have sustained so much of the world’s progress over the past 75 years.”
China’s rise in science and technology has been met with stern responses from the West. Australia passed legislation in 2020 that gave the federal government veto power over foreign agreements in research. In the U.S., the Export Control Reform Act of 2018 was designed to reduce dependence on China for emerging and foundational technologies.
Science as a tool of politics
Given this framing of research as a part of international competition between China and the West, it is not surprising that science is increasingly being used as a political tool.
The U.S. government has taken significant steps to try to limit China’s scientific progress and international influence. In 2018, the U.S. launched a large-scale anti-espionage effort called the China Initiative. Under this initiative, the FBI broadly investigated U.S.-Chinese links within the corporate and academic sectors. The China Initiative failed to find any Chinese spies. But three U.S.-based scholars were convicted for failing to disclose Chinese ties.
China is also using science, technology and scholarly research generally to serve national interests. The government has explicitly pushed the idea that research shall primarily serve national needs, and Chinese scholars are increasingly under political control. In 2021 there were 18 research centers devoted to studying and promoting Xi Jinping’s ideas on matters such as rule of law, economics and green development.
Many researchers in the U.S., Europe and China have voiced concerns that geopolitical rivalries are curtailing international research collaboration at a time when the world needs it the most.
There is a major risk that the impediments to international scientific collaboration will further increase, further harming data sharing, the quality of research and the ability to disseminate results that contributing to solving problems. I often hear researchers, university leaders and funding agencies in Europe, the U.S. and China vent their frustration with the current situation. Many in the research community would like to see a more open and global science landscape.
It is possible to work toward a future where science is more separate – but not naively isolated – from changing power dynamics. As issues like climate change increase in severity, it will become only more important that researchers build international relationships that are responsible, reciprocal, transparent and equitable.
The smaller plastic particles are, the more easily they can be taken up by cells. In addition, the shape, surface and chemical properties play an important role in answering the question of how the particles could affect human tissue, according to new research.
The Plan S open-access initiative has announced its support for newly emerging ways of producing research papers, in which peer review takes place independently from publication in journals or on platforms.
Plan S said on 6 July that most of its funders—who require the researchers they support to make resulting papers openly available immediately—will consider scholarly work that has been peer-reviewed without publication in a journal or on a platform to be of “equivalent merit and status” as papers published in these traditional venues.
For the past decade, researchers in academia and the nonprofit world have had access to increasingly sophisticated information about the Earth’s surface. Now, any commercial or government entity will have access to Earth Engine
As summer kicks off and California braces for more record-breaking temperatures, a new toolco-developed by UCLA researchers will help government officials, school administrators and communities visualize the neighborhoods most in danger from extreme heat. Low-income residents and communities of color are impacted most by hot weather, which is the deadliest effect of climate change in California.