Stressed street trees: mapping the urban forests to save them – and us

Read the full story in The Guardian.

City trees are under increased threat but research tools show that looking after them will lower temperatures, prevent flooding and reduce pollution.

Google’s Street View Cars Are Helping Scientists Hunt Down Natural Gas and Methane Leaks

Read the full story in Futurism.

Google Earth’s Street View cars are being used for more than just maps: scientists have equipped them with pollution trackers so they can help spot natural gas leaks.

How Global Warming Is Threatening Genetic Diversity

Read the full story at JSTOR Daily.

There is a huge unknown when it comes to protecting the meltwater stonefly and other species. Biologists are missing a huge piece of the puzzle — knowing which genetics will give species the evolutionary lift that allows them to adapt successfully to a warmer world. This hidden DNA and the possibly important traits it represents are known as “cryptic diversity,” and much of it is being lost, experts say, as the range of species contracts, fragments, and otherwise changes. Yet this DNA is vital because it contains information on different lineages and on species that are emerging, the cutting edge of evolution. Losing it will greatly complicate the task of assessing how climate change will affect biodiversity and what to protect.

Methane Regulation Under Trump: New Administration Looks to Remove Obama-Era Controls

Read the full story at the Climate Law Blog.

Around this time of year, back in 1859, the first oil well was drilled by Edwin Drake in north-west Pennsylvania. After a slow start – drilling initially progressed at a rate of just three feet per day – Drake struck it lucky and hit oil at a depth of 69.5 feet. The oil was brought to
the surface with a primitive hand pump and collected in a bathtub while the associated natural gas escaped into the atmosphere.

A lot has changed in the subsequent 150 years. The oil and gas industry has developed into one of the country’s most technologically advanced, able to drill deeper and access reserves that Drake never would have foreseen. Despite these advances, however, some things have remained the same. To this day, oil drillers still often allow natural gas to escape into the atmosphere, rather than capturing it. Releases also occur during gas production due to accidental leaks, intentional venting, and incomplete flaring at well sites, storage facilities, and transport systems. The Obama Administration had tried to change that, adopting various regulations to reduce gas leaks, venting, and flaring. These regulations are unlikely to survive under President Trump, however. That’s bad news for anyone concerned about climate change. Or the environment and public health more generally.

Legal Resources for Climate Change Adaptation

Legal solutions are needed to ensure that government decision-makers, engineers, architects, planners, and other stakeholders account for known climate risks when making decisions about the built and natural environment. The Sabin Center has compiled this database of legal resources for adaptation, which includes information about specific legal provisions that could be interpreted as requiring consideration of climate-related risks, articles discussing the nature of legal obligations to adapt, and resources to facilitate adaptation planning efforts undertaken by government and private actors. This database is intended as a complement to their Handbook of Adaptation Advocacy Strategies.

 

Combined heat and power could boost greenhouse emissions

Read the full story at EnvironmentalResearchWeb.

At first glance, combined heat and power (CHP) plants sound ideal. Heat that would otherwise go to waste can drive industrial processes or heat buildings. And as gas prices fall and electricity prices rise, installing CHP is becoming more attractive to businesses to help keep energy costs down. But now a study shows that in some locations increasing CHP could boost greenhouse-gas emissions.

How Americans Think About Climate Change, in Six Maps

Read the full story at the New York Times.

Americans overwhelmingly believe that global warming is happening, and that carbon emissions should be scaled back. But fewer are sure that the changes will harm them personally. New data released by Yale researchers gives the most detailed view yet of public opinion on global warming.