Category: Publications

Mapping the US Energy Economy to Inform Transition Planning

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Over the next several decades, the United States and the world will need to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the worst effects of climate change. This imperative implies an unprecedented transition in the energy system away from greenhouse-gas-emitting fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) and toward clean energy sources, such as wind, solar, and nuclear, along with emerging technologies, such as large-scale energy storage and carbon capture, use, and storage. This transition will be challenging for a variety of technical, political, and socioeconomic reasons.

This report seeks to inform transition planning by identifying the regions of the United States that will experience substantial economic changes due to a shift away from fossil fuels. These communities will require considerable attention and funding from federal policymakers to support employment, economic development, public finances, and more as the production and consumption of fossil fuels decline.

Roads pose significant threat to bee movement and flower pollination

Read the full story from the University of Michigan.

Roads can be barriers to wildlife of all sorts, and scientists have studied road impacts on animals ranging from Florida panthers and grizzly bears to box turtles, mice, rattlesnakes and salamanders.

But much less is known about the impact of roads on pollinating insects such as bees and to what extent these structures disrupt insect pollination, which is essential to reproduction in many plant species.

In a paper published online May 10 in the Journal of Applied Ecology, University of Michigan researchers describe how they used fluorescent pigment as an analog for pollen. They applied the luminous pigment to the flowers of roadside plants to study how roads affected the movement of pollen between plants at 47 sites in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Illinois Climate Assessment Summary Webinar – May 17, 2021

Illinois is undergoing a rapid change in weather patterns that already has started to transform the state. A major scientific assessment by The Nature Conservancy, in collaboration with experts at the University of Illinois and Northwestern University, foretells long-term, serious effects on cities and rural communities alike from climate change that include periods of extreme heat, increased precipitation and more intense storms, particularly if immediate actions aren’t taken to lessen the threat. 

On May 17, 2021, assessment lead authors summarized the report findings in a public webinar. The full report is available through the Illinois Data Bank.

For more information, contact Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford at twford@illinois.edu. 

Indigenous Climate Knowledges and Data Sovereignty

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In this episode of Warm Regards, we talk to two Indigenous scientists about traditional ecological knowledges and their relationship with climate and environmental data. In talking with James Rattling Leaf, Sr. and Krystal Tsosie, Jacquelyn and Ramesh discuss how these ideas can challenge Western notions of relationality and ownership, how they have been subject to the long history of extraction and exploitation of Indigenous communities (practices which continue today), but also how Indigenous scientists and activists link sovereignty over data created by and for Indigenous people to larger sovereignty demands.

New research may explain shortages in STEM careers

Read the full story from the University of Georgia.

A new study revealed that more college students change majors within the STEM pipeline than leave the career path of science, technology, engineering and mathematics altogether.

To enhance creativity, keep your research team fresh

Read the full story from Bar-Ilan University.

Network scientists address the effect of team freshness on the originality and multidisciplinary impact of produced work, by systematically investigating prior collaboration relations between team members. Among other things, their study reveals that papers of fresher teams are significantly more effective than those of older teams in creating studies of higher originality and greater multidisciplinary impact.

STEM jobs see uneven progress in increasing gender, racial and ethnic diversity

Read the full story from the Pew Research Center.

Chart showing detailed data of representation of Black, Hispanic, Asian, other, and White workers in STEM workforce

Black and Hispanic workers remain underrepresented in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workforce compared with their share of all workers, including in computing jobs, which have seen considerable growth in recent years.

The representation of women varies widely across STEM occupations. Women make up a large majority of all workers in health-related jobs, but remain underrepresented in other job clusters, such as the physical sciences, computing and engineering.

Current trends in STEM degree attainment appear unlikely to substantially narrow these gaps, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of federal employment and education data. Black and Hispanic adults are less likely to earn degrees in STEM than other degree fields, and they continue to make up a lower share of STEM graduates relative to their share of the adult population. And while women now earn a majority of all undergraduate and advanced degrees, they remain a small share of degree earners in fields like engineering and computer science – areas where they are significantly underrepresented in the work force.

Satellites may have underestimated warming in the lower atmosphere

Read the full story from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

New research by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) climate scientists and collaborators shows that satellite measurements of the temperature of the troposphere (the lowest region of the atmosphere) may have underestimated global warming over the last 40 years.

Communicating Science LibGuide

I developed the Communicating Science LibGuide to help the Prairie Research Institute‘s researchers more effectively communicate their expertise and the impact of their work. Although there are some resources that are specific to the Institute and the University of Illinois, most of the material included in the guide will be useful for any science communicator.

Contact me if you have a favorite resource that I missed.

Reshore, Reroute, Rebalance: A U.S. Strategy for Clean Energy Supply Chains

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This report looks at how the United States can strengthen supply chains for clean energy technologies through the lens of industrial competition, cybersecurity and trade policy. It finds that the United States can apply some of the mental models, tools, and institutions used for conventional energy sources to think about supply chains in clean energy—and grow its economy and boost its national security in doing so.

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