Growing rooftop spinach in CO2 recycled from building ventilation quadruples growth

Read the full story at Anthropocene Magazine.

In buildings with lots of people, CO2 emissions from human respiration is surprisingly high; a research team wondered if HVAC could be unlikely companion to food production.

Royal Society of Chemistry will make all its journals open access

Read the full story in Chemistry World.

The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) has committed to making all of its journals open access within the next five years. It is the first chemistry publisher to commit to a 100% open access model and hopes to fund the move in a way that will avoid individual authors having to pay article processing charges (APCs).

DOJ to appoint third-party manager in Jackson following water crisis

Read the full story at The Hill.

The Justice Department will appoint a third-party manager as part of its oversight of Jackson, Miss., following the city’s water crisis earlier in the year.

The manager, who has not been named, would be responsible for stabilizing the drinking water system for the city, which saw its second crisis in as many years this August.

The department said in a federal court filing Tuesday that the city and the Mississippi State Department of Health have agreed to the terms of the proposal.

Interior Department takes action to reduce methane releases on public and tribal lands

“The Biden-Harris administration has taken unprecedented action to tackle methane emissions and support a clean energy economy – this proposed rule will bring our regulations in line with technological advances that industry has made in the decades since the BLM’s rules were first put in place, while providing a fair return to taxpayers.”

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland

The Department of the Interior has announced a proposed rule from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to address the waste of natural gas during the production of oil and gas on federal and Tribal lands. The proposed rule would generate $39.8 million a year in additional royalties for the American public and prevent billions of cubic feet of gas from being wasted through venting, flaring and leaks, boosting efficiency.

Venting and flaring activity from production on public lands has significantly increased over several decades. Between 2010 and 2020, the total venting and flaring reported by federal and Indian onshore lessees averaged approximately 44.2 billion cubic feet per year, enough to serve roughly 675,000 homes. This contrasts to an average of 11 billion cubic feet lost per year between 1990 and 2000.

The proposed rule will protect communities while delivering significant economic benefits through increased recovery of wasted gas. It would modernize requirements that are outdated and ill-suited for current technology and operations, including by requiring operators of federal and Indian oil and gas leases to take reasonable steps to avoid the waste of natural gas. If implemented, the proposed rule would also ensure that, when federal or Indian gas is wasted through excessive venting or flaring, the public and Indian mineral owners are compensated through royalty payments.

“No one likes to waste natural resources from our public lands. This draft rule is a common-sense, environmentally responsible solution as we address the damage that wasted natural gas causes. It puts the American taxpayer first and ensures producers pay appropriate royalties. We look forward to hearing from the public on this proposal.”

BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning

The proposed rule responds to a series of U.S. Government Accountability Office reports highlighting the potential revenue being lost due to the BLM’s outdated regulations. Several states, including Colorado, Wyoming, Pennsylvania and New Mexico, as well as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, have taken steps to limit venting, flaring and/or leaks from oil and gas operations.

Key elements of the proposed rule include:

  • Technology Upgrades: The rule would require the use of “low-bleed” pneumatic equipment as well as vapor recovery for oil storage tanks, where economically feasible. These requirements would reduce losses of natural gas from pneumatic equipment and storage tanks on federal and Indian leases.
  • Leak Detection Plans: The rule would require operators to maintain a Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) program for their operations on federal and Indian leases.
  • Waste Minimization Plans: Requires applicants to develop waste minimization plans demonstrating the capacity of available pipeline infrastructure to take the anticipated associated gas production. The BLM may delay action on, or ultimately deny, a permit to drill to avoid excessive flaring of associated gas.
  • Monthly Limits on Flaring: Places time and volume limits on royalty-free flaring. Importantly, this includes a monthly volume limit on royalty-free flaring due to pipeline capacity constraints—the primary cause of flaring from Federal and Indian leases.

Flaring is the process of burning excess natural gas at a well. Venting is the direct release of natural gas into the atmosphere. While some amount of venting and flaring is expected to occur during oil and gas exploration and production operations, venting and flaring can be minimized when operators take reasonable precautions to avoid waste.

The proposed rule will be published in the Federal Register in the coming days. The draft Environmental Assessment and other supporting documents will be available on Public comments will be accepted via for 60 days after the publication of the rule.

The quiet invasion of ‘big information’

Read the full story in Wired, which is adapted from Data Cartels: The Companies That Control and Monopolize Our Information, by Sarah Lamdan.

When people worry about their data privacy, they usually focus on the Big Five tech companies: Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft. Legislators have brought Facebook’s CEO to the capitol to testify about the ways the company uses personal data. The FTC has sued Google for violating laws meant to protect children’s privacy. Each of the tech companies is followed by a bevy of reporters eager to investigate how it uses technology to surveil us. But when Congress got close to passing data privacy legislation, it wasn’t the Big Five that led the most urgent effort to prevent the law from passing, it was a company called RELX.

You might not be familiar with RELX, but it knows all about you. Reed Elsevier LexisNexis (RELX) is a Frankensteinian amalgam of publishers and data brokers, stitched together into a single information giant. There is one other company that compares to RELX—Thomson Reuters, which is also an amalgamation of hundreds of smaller publishers and data services. Together, the two companies have amassed thousands of academic publications and business profiles, millions of data dossiers containing our personal information, and the entire corpus of US law. These companies are a culmination of the kind of information market consolidation that’s happening across media industries, from music and newspapers to book publishing. However, RELX and Thomson Reuters are uniquely creepy as media companies that don’t just publish content but also sell our personal data.

Sustainability of vertical farming scrutinised amid rising energy prices: ‘Surging costs could be the final nail in the coffin for many vertical farms’

Read the full story at Food Navigator.

According to new research out of Scandinavia, vertical farming has a ‘mixed sustainability performance’, often requiring more energy than field agriculture. Given the dramatic rise in energy costs, how can the sector survive?

Who’s driving climate change? New data catalogs 72,000 polluters and counting

Read the full story in the New York Times.

A nonprofit backed by Al Gore and other big environmental donors says it can track emissions down to individual power plants, oil fields and cargo ships.

Yesterday’s wind turbine blades are tomorrow’s playgrounds

Read the full story at Fast Company.

In 2006, a team of architects were tasked with building a playground with volumes that kids could crawl into and play. Jos de Krieger—then an intern, now a partner at the Rotterdam-based architecture practice Superuse Studios—remembers looking at airplane fuselages and grain siloes, before stumbling upon a stack of decommissioned wind blades in an industrial part of town. An idea was born.

How this skincare company turned a manufacturing mistake into a brand-new body wash

Read the full story at Fast Company.

If you purchase a new body wash from skincare company KraveBeauty, you’ll be taking advantage of something that might otherwise have been waste. The body wash wasn’t a planned product, but a happy accident after a batch of the brand’s face cleanser didn’t quite meet its standards.

The climate power of rural women

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Frontier Markets creates networks of women entrepreneurs to help rural communities consume with sustainability in mind.