Can carbon capture systems make incinerators a net-zero solution? European operators aim to find out.

Read the full story at Waste Dive.

Climate goals are inspiring European operators to explore new technologies for their emissions, yet the environmental and financial outcomes remain to be seen.

Wisconsin PFAS lawsuit latest to target manufacturers

Read the full story at the National Law Review.

On July 20, 2022, the state of Wisconsin filed a lawsuit against 18 manufacturing companies in which the state seeks to recover “billions of dollars” that it says that it has and will spend on remediating PFAS issues in the state. While the Wisconsin PFAS lawsuit targets PFAS manufacturers and AFFF manufacturers that utilized PFAS in their products, which several states have done, the lawsuit is nevertheless notable due to the scope of damages alleged in the case. Downstream commerce companies that used PFAS in non-AFFF applications in the state of Wisconsin must pay attention to this case, as it is certainly conceivable that in the future, they, too, may find themselves the targets in similar lawsuits.

Funding notice: Community Geothermal Heating and Cooling Design and Deployment

Office: Geothermal Technologies Office 
FOA number: DE-FOA-0002632  
Link to apply: Apply on EERE Exchange
FOA Amount: $13 million
Applications Due: October 11, 2022

On July 12, 2022, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the Community Geothermal Heating and Cooling Design and Deployment Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), which will award $300,000–$13 million for projects that help communities design and deploy geothermal district heating and cooling systems, create related workforce training, and identify and address environmental justice concerns. The FOA will help expand community-scale geothermal by supporting new systems and developing case studies to be replicated throughout the country. 

The FOA will support the formation of U.S.-based community coalitions that will develop, design, and install community geothermal heating and cooling systems that supply at least 25% of the heating and cooling load in communities. Eligible applications must demonstrate that switching to geothermal district heating and cooling system would result in greenhouse gas emission reductions for the community where the system is installed.

Widespread adoption of geothermal heating and cooling systems will help decarbonize the building and electricity sectors, reduce energy costs for families, and boost resilience. The FOA will also advance the objectives of DOE’s Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO) to realize the potential of community-scale geothermal heating and cooling nationwide.

GTO anticipates making approximately 1–10 awards under the initial phase of this FOA, with individual awards varying between $300,000 and $750,000. In the second phase, following a downselect, GTO anticipates making 1–4 awards, with individual awards between $2.5 million and $10 million.

Forming a Team to Apply

Circle illustrating the four roles needed in a community geothermal coalition: community voice deployment, analysis/design, and workforce.

GTO seeks diverse teams to form U.S. community coalitions including representatives for four key roles: 

  1. Community voice team member(s) who understand and can communicate the energy, environmental, economic, social, and/or other relevant needs that the proposed system would address, as well as local development and regulatory requirements. 
  2. Workforce team member(s) who know the community labor market and can help the coalition with apprenticeship opportunities, job placement, and developing training or lesson plans for the applicable trades. 
  3. Analysis/Design team member(s) who have experience designing geothermal systems as well as analyzing the economic and technical aspects of such systems. 
  4. Deployment team member(s) who have experience building new or retrofitting existing energy systems.

Examples of each role are in the FOA. Coalitions can be from urban, suburban, rural, remote, island, or islanded communities where geothermal can reduce dependence on fossil fuels such as natural gas or heating oil.

To assist coalition formation, GTO is providing a Teaming Partner List where interested parties can provide contact information and their expertise, which can be used by potential applicants or entities interested in partnering with other applicants for this FOA. The list will be updated at least biweekly until the close of the full application period, to reflect new teaming partners who have provided their information.

Key Dates

FOA Issue Date: July 12, 2022
Informational Webinar:  July 26, 2022, 12:00 p.m. ET Register here
Submission Deadline for Full Applications: October 11, 2022, 5:00 p.m. ET
Expected Date for EERE Selection Notifications: March 2023
Expected Timeframe for Award Negotiations: Spring 2023

Additional Information

Two habitat restoration and coastal resilience funding opportunities open under Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, one focused on underserved communities

NOAA Fisheries is announcing two funding opportunities for habitat restoration and coastal resilience, including one focused on underserved communities. Funding has been made available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.  

Transformational Habitat Restoration and Coastal Resilience Grants

Up to $85 million in funding is available for habitat restoration and coastal resilience through the FY2022 NOAA’s Transformational Habitat Restoration and Coastal Resilience Grants Notice of Funding Opportunity.

This funding will support transformational projects that restore habitat for our nation’s fisheries and protected resources, while also strengthening the resilience of coastal communities and ecosystems. It will invest in projects that have the greatest potential to provide holistic benefits, through habitat-based approaches that strengthen both ecosystem and community resilience.

Projects selected through this opportunity will help:

  • Restore marine, estuarine, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems
  • Rebuild sustainable fisheries and contribute to the recovery of threatened and endangered species 
  • Protect the safety and well-being of coastal communities by using natural infrastructure to reduce damage from flooding and storms
  • Support the many benefits that healthy habitats provide, such as clean drinking water and industries like boating, fishing, and tourism

NOAA will accept proposals between $1 million and $15 million total over the award period. The application deadline is September 6, 2022.

Coastal Habitat Restoration and Resilience Grants for Underserved Communities

Up to $10 million in funding is available for habitat restoration and resilience awards for underserved communities though NOAA’s FY2022 Coastal Habitat Restoration and Resilience Grants for Underserved Communities Notice of Funding Opportunity

Through this funding, NOAA will engage underserved communities in habitat restoration activities that promote resilient ecosystems and communities. This funding will provide capacity for these communities to more fully participate in developing future transformational habitat projects.  This capacity is intended to ensure that communities are integral to the visioning and decision-making for coastal habitat restoration projects that affect them, and that they directly benefit from these projects.  

Projects selected through this opportunity may include: 

  • Capacity building activities, including participation in municipal or regional-scale resilience planning, project planning and feasibility studies, stakeholder engagement, and proposal development for future funding.
  • Restoration activities, including demonstration projects, engineering and design, permitting, and on-the-ground implementation.

NOAA will accept proposals between $75,000 to $1 million total over the award period. The application deadline is September 30, 2022.

Habitat Restoration and NOAA

NOAA invests in habitat restoration across the country to support our nation’s fisheries and protected resources, while also strengthening the resilience of coastal communities and ecosystems. Efforts like restoring coastal wetlands and removing outdated dams can improve coastal resilience—helping communities recover from and adapt to the impacts of extreme weather and climate change. 

NOAA’s Office of Habitat Conservation has a long history conducting habitat restoration efforts with large-scale competitive funding opportunities and expert technical assistance through its Community-based Restoration Program. Since 1996, the program has partnered with more than 2,600 organizations to take on more than 2,200 projects. These efforts have restored more than 93,000 acres of habitat and opened up more than 4,400 miles of streams and rivers to fish migration. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law presents an once-in-a-generation opportunity for NOAA to continue making an impact for fisheries, protected resources, and coastal communities.

Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Technical Assistance Guide

Download the document.

This guide provides a list of over 65 technical assistance resources and programs across the federal government to help communities deliver infrastructure projects. The guide is organized by types infrastructure investments such as transportation, clean energy and power, high-speed internet, water, resilience, and environmental remediation. The guide also highlights a number of “place-based” initiatives focused on specific communities and geographies as well as generally applicable technical assistance resources. For each of these programs, the guide includes a description of the program, eligible participants, and information on how to get in touch.

Improving public understanding of climate change by supporting weathercasters

Read the full letter in Nature Climate Change.

A one-year field experiment conducted in 2010 with the TV station WLTX (Columbia, South Carolina) tested the premise that weathercasters are well positioned to educate audiences about the local relevance of global climate change. With technical support from climate and social scientists at George Mason University and Climate Central, WLTX chief meteorologist Jim Gandy produced and aired 13 Climate Matters stories over one year that illustrated the current impacts and future risks of climate change in Columbia. The test was successful: surveys of news viewers showed that, in comparison with viewers of other local channels, WLTX viewers developed a more science-based understanding of the relevance of climate change5. Moreover, based on their important business metrics, WLTX management was pleased with the programming; they continue to participate today.

Judge rejects bid to force Arwady deposition in General Iron case

Read the full story in the Chicago Sun-Times.

A bid to force the city’s top public health official to answer questions under oath about rejecting a Southeast Side scrap-metal operation was denied by an administrative judge Monday…

Southeast Side residents fought against the opening of the business and even filed a federal civil rights complaint over the matter. Federal officials recently accused the city of discriminatory zoning and land-use practices that led up to the proposed relocation of General Iron from white, wealthy Lincoln Park to a South Side Latino-majority community surrounded by Black neighborhoods.

Pottery Barn debuts 150 pieces of furniture for people with disabilities

Read the full story at Fast Company.

The Accessible Home modifies some of the brand’s most popular products so they’re better suited for people with disabilities.

Heat risk and young athletes — rising temperatures lead to lawsuits and environmental injustice

Many young athletes spend hours in the hot sun every day. Nancy Lane/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images

by Jessica R. Murfree, Texas A&M University and Natasha Brison, Texas A&M University

At least 50 high school football players in the U.S. have died from heat stroke in the past 25 years. And high school athletes in other sports are not immune from the risks – female cross-country athletes are twice as likely to suffer from heat-related illnesses as athletes in any other high school sport.

The numbers are especially shocking when you consider that heat-related illnesses and deaths are entirely preventable.

While sports equipment has improved over time to protect against concussions, young players and college athletes are facing increasing risks from rising heat.

We study sport ecology and legal aspects of sport. With summer temperatures rising, we believe many youth sports leagues and school districts will need to aggressively update their practice rules and heat policies to keep their players safe. We suggest particular attention be paid to low-income, minority neighborhoods and regions that can get excessively hot.

Heat risks in youth sports

Each year, summer marks the return of discussions of just how severe the sweltering heat is. Nine of the 10 hottest years on record globally have been since 2012, and this year’s late-spring and early-summer heat waves were previews for what forecasters warned would be a brutal summer of 2022.

Yet many interscholastic and preparatory sport summer camps have kids running hard through the summer months, sometimes on days that reach triple-digit temperatures.

In a period of rapid climate change, ensuring heat risks remain preventable is critical.

A young player sits against a fence next to a track looking exhausted while a man crouches down next to him and talks to him.
An athletic trainer helps a teenage football player who had trouble after running during August training at a Maryland high school. Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images

Heat is the most frequent climate-related killer in the United States, with more deaths associated with it than tornadoes, floods and cold temperatures. And days of extreme heat and humidity are now surpassing concerning levels for human health. Overall, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported an average of more than 700 heat-related U.S. deaths each year between 2004 and 2018. Some of the hottest years ever recorded have happened since then, and preliminary data detailing heat deaths in the U.S. indicates the rate increased 56% from 2018 to 2021.

Extreme heat due to climate change is making sport participation progressively challenging.

For high school athletes, the prevalence of extreme heat is leading to escalating heat-related illness, injuries, hospitalizations and deaths. In fact, heat stroke is a leading cause of death in sports.

Unsurprisingly, the greatest concentration of heat illness in young athletes occurs in August: the back-to-school and back-to-sports season.

When heat risks trigger lawsuits

Recognizing the warning signs can be especially challenging for children and teens. Young people are still learning how to communicate their feelings and experiences, and that can be more difficult in sport environments that promote toughness and perseverance. Ultimately, young athletes must trust adults to protect them.

Evidence suggests the prevalence of exertional heat stroke among high school athletes is largely due to young athletes’ not acclimatizing, or physically adjusting to the heat, particularly in the first few weeks of practice. Although heat policies related to temperature and hydration exist at the high school level, they aren’t always enforced. And they may need to be improved to reflect the warming climate given the rate of heat illness.

Illustration of human body listing symptoms of heat strike and heat exhaustion
Signs of heat illness and what to do. Elenabs via Getty Images

As a result, parents and guardians are faced with how best to advocate for their children.

In some cases, families have sued after heat injuries, both to recover money for their child’s suffering and to drive change in the hope that no other child will have to endure what others have. However, the heat injuries continue to rise.

Adults’ responsibility to keep children safe in sport settings becomes blurry as the growth in legal challenges related to heat illness demonstrates a disconnect between adults’ duty of care and athletes’ well-being. Negligence is a common claim associated with these lawsuits. Allegations of child endangerment or wrongful death can lead to civil or criminal legal disputes. But can reactive legal action prevent these heat injuries in the long run?

The fact that heat injuries are preventable is often why legal cases alleging negligence and wrongful death are successful. Still, heat stress, heat exhaustion, heatstroke and sunstroke are not uncommon in sports. Medical researchers have described heat illness among athletes as one of the most prominent pieces of evidence of climate change’s hazards and effect on sport.

Climate injustice for young athletes

Extreme heat can also enhance existing injustices and inequities.

For example, non-Hispanic Black Americans suffer heat-related deaths at a rate higher than the U.S. average. That doubles for Indigenous and Native Americans, who report the highest death rate from heat.

For athletes, the consequences of extreme heat can further complicate environmental and climate injustice. For instance, racial minorities and those in lower socioeconomic brackets have greater chances of living in the warmest areas, including urban heat islands, where heat trapped by pavement and buildings can make temperatures several degrees hotter than the city average.

A map showing hospitalizations peak at heat indices in California and the Northwest than other parts of the country.
The heat index is a combination of heat and humidity. Heat-related hospitalizations begin rising at lower heat index values in normally cooler parts of the country. Climate Central, CC BY-ND

At the same time, efforts are underway to diversify the sport landscape and provide equitable access to sport and recreation for all people. A vicious cycle spins between social justice – efforts to diversify sports – and environmental and climate justice, in which the most vulnerable communities face the greatest climate harm and health risks but are underresourced and ill-equipped to adapt to the changing climate.

Moving forward

Sports leagues and athletes have taken a stand on many social issues, but they are often reactive when implementing and advocating for change.

For instance, leagues implemented regulatory policies regarding brain safety only after countless tragedies. People began to focus on traumatic brain injury and chronic traumatic encephalopathy after the deaths of numerous NFL players and a blockbuster film.

The heat-related deaths of collegiate and NFL football players, notably Minnesota Vikings player Korey Stringer, have drawn some attention to the risks. Tokyo 2020 Olympians and FIFA World Cup organizers have cited the need for regulatory changes because of the effects of extreme heat on athlete health. But it’s often only after a tragedy that improvements are made to protect young athletes from heat illness.

Two teenage players drink from large coolers near a playing field
Requiring breaks that allow athletes to cool off can save lives. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

The sport sector can make immediate practical and policy-related adaptations to extreme heat to protect children. These include modifying practice schedules, increasing the number of water breaks, revising athletic heat policies to reflect climate change, and implementing procedures to ensure compliance by coaches and athletic administrators.

Texas A&M students Ariana Taylor and Ashwin Mathew in the DeBakey Executive Research Leadership Program contributed to this article.

Jessica R. Murfree, Visiting Assistant Professor of Sport Management and ACES Faculty Fellow, Texas A&M University and Natasha Brison, Assistant Professor of Sport Management, Texas A&M University

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

Circ raises $30 million for textile-blend recycling

Read the full story at Chemical & Engineering News.

The Virginia-based textile recycling start-up Circ has raised $30 million in a series B funding round. The investment was led by the Bill Gates-founded Breakthrough Energy Ventures and joined by the clothing retailer Inditex and the textile manufacturer Milliken, among other new and existing investors.

Circ’s central claim is that it can recycle cotton-polyester textile blends containing any ratio of the two fiber types. The dual outputs can then be used to make cellulosic textiles such as lyocell or viscose on the one hand and new polyester textiles on the other. The firm is guarded about the chemical details of its process, saying “Circ’s technology is based in hydrothermal technology—water, pressure, and responsible chemistry.”