February, 2024

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Rain Comes to the Arctic, With a Cascade of Troubling Changes

Yale E360

Rain used to be rare in the Arctic, but as the region warms, so-called “rain-on-snow events” are becoming more common. The rains accelerate ice loss, trigger flooding, landslides, and avalanches, and create problems for wildlife and the Indigenous people who depend on them.

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New study suggests the Atlantic overturning circulation AMOC “is on tipping course”

Real Climate

A new paper was published in Science Advances today. Its title says what it is about: “Physics-based early warning signal shows that AMOC is on tipping course.” The study follows one by Danish colleagues which made headlines last July, likewise looking for early warning signals for approaching an AMOC tipping point (we discussed it here ), but using rather different data and methods.

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Investing in Public Transit Is Investing in Public Health

Union of Concerned Scientists

Last week, I interviewed a patient who was hospitalized for severe and persistent asthma attacks. Ms. S had been perfectly healthy until her respiratory symptoms commenced one year ago. She described her struggle to breathe on her worst days as feeling as though “an elephant was sitting on her chest.” I asked about smoking history and exposure to any potential indoor irritants (i.e. dust, mold), all of which she denied.

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Covid-19 vaccines seem to cut the risk of heart attacks and strokes

New Scientist

Many covid-19 vaccines occasionally cause side effects such as blood clots or heart inflammation, but, overall, they appear to be beneficial in preventing heart and circulatory conditions

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Manufacturing Sustainability Surge: Your Guide to Data-Driven Energy Optimization & Decarbonization

Speaker: Kevin Kai Wong, President of Emergent Energy Solutions

In today's industrial landscape, the pursuit of sustainable energy optimization and decarbonization has become paramount. Manufacturing corporations across the U.S. are facing the urgent need to align with decarbonization goals while enhancing efficiency and productivity. Unfortunately, the lack of comprehensive energy data poses a significant challenge for manufacturing managers striving to meet their targets.

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Environmental and Labour Groups Join Forces to Demand the Federal Government Expedite Sustainable Jobs Bill

Enviromental Defense

BLUE GREEN CANADA, CANADIAN CENTRE FOR POLICY ALTERNATIVES, CANADIAN LABOUR CONGRESS, CLIMATE ACTION NETWORK CANADA, THE COUNCIL OF CANADIANS, DAVID SUZUKI FOUNDATION, ECOJUSTICE, ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE, ÉQUITERRE, IRON + EARTH, PEMBINA INSTITUTE, 350.org In a letter sent earlier today, twelve major climate and labour organizations called on Prime Minister Trudeau, Natural Resources Minister Wilkinson, and all parties’ House Leaders to expedite the passage of Bill C-50, the Sustainable Jobs Act,

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New Research from Antarctica Affirms The Threat of the ‘Doomsday Glacier,’ But Funding to Keep Studying it Is Running Out

Inside Climate News

In a worst case scenario, rising global temperatures and marine heatwaves could melt enough of the Thwaites Glacier and other Antarctic ice to raise sea levels 10 feet by the early 2100s. By Bob Berwyn When he saw the 75-mile wide ice front of the remote Thwaites Glacier looming out of the Amundsen Sea for the first time in 2019, ice researcher James Kirkham felt a sense of foreboding.

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Could Neanderthals Make Art?

Scientific American

Scientists are finding ever-earlier examples of artistic expression in the archaeological record that reshape what we know about the abilities of Neanderthals and other archaic humans

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Ask a Scientist: Gas Plants Disproportionately Harm Marginalized Communities

Union of Concerned Scientists

Just how bad is fossil “natural” gas? Its primary component is methane. Responsible for 12 percent of all US global warming emissions from human activities, methane traps significantly more heat per molecule than carbon dioxide, making it 86 times more harmful for the first 20 years after it is released into the atmosphere. And, as it turns out, the infrastructure used to produce, store, distribute, transmit, and burn gas leaks like a sieve , making gas as bad as coal for the climate.

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First gene-edited meat will come from disease-proof CRISPR pigs

New Scientist

Pigs that have been given genetically engineered immunity to porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, a major and costly disease, could be on the market within two years

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Couples therapy – let’s fix our relationship with the financial sector

Enviromental Defense

Roses are red, violets are blue. I love climate-aligned financial regulations, and you should too. You have a relationship with your bank and pension, but the way they are managing your money might not be in the best interest of you or the climate. Maybe it’s started to grind your gears. This Valentine’s Day, we ask: how can we fix the broken relationship between financial institutions and climate action, so you can feel good about your bank again?

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Implementing D.E.J.I. Strategies in Energy, Environment, and Transportation

Speaker: Antoine M. Thompson, Executive Director of the Greater Washington Region Clean Cities Coalition

Diversity, Equity, Justice, and Inclusion (DEJI) policies, programs, and initiatives are critically important as we move forward with public and private sector climate and sustainability goals and plans. Underserved and socially, economically, and racially disadvantaged communities bear the burden of pollution, higher energy costs, limited resources, and limited investments in the clean energy and transportation sectors.

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Extreme Climate Impacts From Collapse of a Key Atlantic Ocean Current Could be Worse Than Expected, a New Study Warns

Inside Climate News

Disruption of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Current could freeze Europe, scorch the tropics and increase sea level rise in the North Atlantic. The tipping point may be closer than predicted in the IPCC’s latest assessment. By Bob Berwyn A new study affirms that a critical system of Atlantic Ocean currents that shunt warm and cold water between the poles is “on course” to a tipping point.

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What Will It Take to Save Our Cities from a Scorching Future?

Yale E360

The U.N. named Eleni Myrivili its first-ever global chief heat officer based on her record as a city official in Athens. In an e360 interview, she talks about why extreme heat is a health crisis and what cities must do to protect the most vulnerable from rising temperatures.

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Embattled Climate Scientist Michael Mann Wins $1 Million in Defamation Lawsuit

Scientific American

Michael Mann secured a win in his legal battle against conservative bloggers who said the climatologist “molested and tortured data” and compared him to a convicted child abuser

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Plug-in Hybrids: Are They Really a Solution to Reducing Emissions?

Union of Concerned Scientists

It’s immediately clear how fully-electric battery electric vehicles (BEVs) can help reduce emissions; eliminating gasoline and tailpipes in favor of increasingly clean electricity helps limit both climate change and air pollution. Plug-in hybrids are a bit more complicated. A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (or PHEV) has both a gasoline engine and one or more battery-powered electric motors.

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Shaping a Resilient Future: Climate Impact on Vulnerable Populations

Speaker: Laurie Schoeman Director, Climate & Sustainability, Capital

As households and communities across the nation face challenges such as hurricanes, wildfires, drought, extreme heat and cold, and thawing permafrost and flooding, we are increasingly searching for ways to mitigate and prevent climate impacts. During this event, national climate and housing expert Laurie Schoeman will discuss topics including: The two paths for climate action: decarbonization and adaptation.

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ADHD may have evolved to help foragers know when to cut their losses

New Scientist

Symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, such as impulsivity, may have helped foragers in hunter-gatherer communities quickly move on to new areas when food sources were low

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Statement on Proposed Act to Ban Fossil Fuel Advertising & Greenwashing

Enviromental Defense

Statement by Emilia Belliveau, Energy Transition Program Manager Montréal/Tiohtià:ke | Traditional, unceded lands of the Kanien’kehá:ka/Mohawk Nation, a gathering place for many First Nations, including the Anishinaabeg – We applaud the introduction of the Private Member’s Bill C-372 , banning false advertising by the oil and gas industry in Canada.

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‘Nobody Really Knows What You’re Supposed to Do’: Leaking, Abandoned Wells Wreak Havoc in West Texas 

Inside Climate News

A recent well blow-out in West Texas highlights the challenges of finding and plugging thousands of wells across the state. By Martha Pskowski, Inside Climate News and Carlos Nogueras, Texas Tribune IMPERIAL, Texas—Mounds of dirt towered over Bill Wight, who stared helplessly at the piles that had once been pasture for his cattle.

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How a Solar Revolution in Farming Is Depleting World’s Groundwater

Yale E360

Farmers in hot, arid regions are turning to low-cost solar pumps to irrigate their fields, eliminating the need for expensive fossil fuels and boosting crop production. But by allowing them to pump throughout the day, the new technology is drying up aquifers around the globe.

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Sustainability at Retail

Sustainability impacts every nation, company, and person around the world. So much so that, in 2015, the United Nations (UN) issued a call for action by all countries to work toward sustainable development. In response to this and as part of a global Sustainability at Retail initiative, Shop! worked collaboratively with its global affiliates to address these critical issues in this white paper.

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Flimsy Antiabortion Studies Cited in Case to Ban Mifepristone Are Retracted

Scientific American

Outside experts found that two studies cited in a federal case on medication abortion had serious design problems and that their authors had undisclosed conflicts of interest

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Restoring Landscapes: Cairngorms Connect – a wild landscape in the making

The Applied Ecologist

In this new series, we hope to promote knowledge exchange in restoration and invite restoration practitioners to share their stories: successes, failures, implementation of learnings from other places and anything in between! To kick off the series, Sydney Henderson and Dr Pip Gullett share their story from Cairngorms Connect.

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Thousands of humpback whales starved to death after marine heatwave

New Scientist

A study estimating humpback whale numbers in the North Pacific Ocean from crowdsourced photos reveals a sharp decline from 2012 to 2021 after decades of slow population growth

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Indigenous and Environmental Groups Denounce Government Inaction on First Anniversary of Imperial Oil Tailings Disaster

Enviromental Defense

ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE, KEEPERS OF THE WATER Ottawa | Traditional, unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabeg People – A year ago, news broke that Imperial Oil’s Kearl mine had been leaking toxic industrial wastewater for over nine months while keeping local Indigenous communities in the dark. The public only learned about the leak after a subsequent spill at the same facility, which released 5.3 million litres of industrial waste into the environment.

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Chemours and DuPont Knew About Risks But Kept Making Toxic PFAS Chemicals, UN Human Rights Advisors Conclude

Inside Climate News

A UN human rights panel calls on the UN Environment Assembly to take on “forever chemicals” at a meeting in Nairobi, citing a North Carolina PFAS plant as an example of environmental negligence. By James Bruggers In advance of a United Nations meeting next week where pollution is on the agenda, a U.N. human rights team has called out a PFAS manufacturing plant in North Carolina as a poster child for irresponsible behavior.

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As Use of AI Soars, So Does the Energy and Water It Requires

Yale E360

Generative artificial intelligence uses massive amounts of energy for computation and data storage and billions of gallons of water to cool the equipment at data centers. Now, legislators and regulators — in the U.S. and the EU — are starting to demand accountability.

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Space Lasers Will Seek a New Kind of Gravitational Waves

Scientific American

The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) will open a new era in astronomy that brings scientists to the brink of studying gravitational waves from the beginning of time

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Citizen Complaint Leads DEP To Breakout Of Mariner East Pipeline Drilling Mud That Contaminated The Lake At Marsh Creek State Park, Chester County; Sunoco Pipeline Starts Cleanup

PA Environment Daily

In response to a citizen complaint on February 15, DEP inspected a tributary that feeds the lake at Marsh Creek State Park in Chester County on February 16 and found a clay-like material contaminating the stream and a portion of the nearby wetlands. DEP’s inspection report said the area is the same location where a sinkhole developed and an “inadvertent return” of drilling mud used in the construction of the Energy Transfer/Sunoco Mariner East Pipeline occurred in August 2020.

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Rising greenhouse gases have cooling effect on Antarctica’s atmosphere

New Scientist

A "negative greenhouse effect" means rising concentrations of CO2 and methane have slightly cooled parts of Antarctica’s upper atmosphere, but that could change as the air becomes more humid

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Ontario Government Proposes to Further Gut Endangered Species Rules for Developers

Enviromental Defense

Toronto | Traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishinaabeg, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat – This week, 68 organizations across Ontario expressed their strong opposition to a proposal from Ontario’s Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) to amend regulations under the provincial Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA).

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The World Is Losing Migratory Species At Alarming Rates

Inside Climate News

A first of its kind U.N. study by conservation scientists finds nearly half of internationally protected migratory species are on their way to extinction. By Katie Surma Humans are driving migratory animals—sea turtles, chimpanzees, lions and penguins, among dozens of other species—towards extinction, according to the most comprehensive assessment of migratory species ever carried out.

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In Rush for Lithium, Miners Turn to the Oil Fields of Arkansas

Yale E360

The Smackover Formation in southern Arkansas was once a major oil producer. Now, companies hope to extract lithium — a key metal for electric vehicle batteries — from its underground brines using technologies they say could reduce mining’s carbon emissions and water use.

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New Linguistics Technique Could Reveal Who Spoke the First Indo-European Languages

Scientific American

Linguists and archaeologists have argued for decades about where and when the first Indo-European languages were spoken and what kind of lives those first speakers led

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Bed or breakfast? Roe deer balance food and safety according to crop phenology

The Applied Ecologist

Noa Rigoudy and co-authors talk us through their latest work, highlighting how behavioural adjustment may buffer the consequences of the reduction in natural habitats that accompanies intensification of agricultural production. This has implications for understanding how agricultural practices shape the food-safety trade-off of wildlife living in these highly modified landscapes.

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AIs get better at maths if you tell them to pretend to be in Star Trek

New Scientist

Chatbots vary their answers depending on the exact wording used to prompt them, and now it seems that asking an AI to answer as if it were a Star Trek captain boosts its mathematical ability

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