Sat.Dec 02, 2023 - Fri.Dec 08, 2023

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How Mounting Rubber Demand Is Driving Loss of Tropical Forests

Yale E360

The growing market for rubber is a major, but largely overlooked, cause of tropical deforestation, new analysis shows. Most of the rubber goes to produce tires, more than 2 billion a year, and experts warn the transition to electric vehicles could accelerate rubber use.

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Fossil Fuel Disinformation Threats Aim to Hinder Meaningful Action at COP28 

Union of Concerned Scientists

While there are thousands of people here in Dubai at COP28 fighting for genuine change, the climate summit is facing a barrage of disinformation. Combatting climate change has never been more urgent, and COP28 is poised to advance critical global action. Yet, driven by vested interests in the fossil fuel industry , misleading narratives aim to distort and hinder meaningful climate commitments.

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The New Frontier of Methane Regulation?

Legal Planet

Methane is ready for its close-up. The first week of COP28, the UN climate talks taking place in Dubai, saw a handful of big announcements about how world leaders plan to tackle human-made climate change by targeting methane, a powerful short-term climate pollutant. The UCLA Emmett Institute is also drawing attention to the issue of methane. Several members of the Emmett Institute team are at COP28, where we are hosting a side event on methane in conjunction with the release of our new discussio

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Master Service Agreement Dispute Turns on Definitions

Energy & the Law

The outcome of a multimillion-dollar suit was in the hands of a jury of 12 good and honorable citizens. The question: Was a certain party an agent, consultant, contractor, or none of the above? One side wanted the jury to be instructed on the legal definitions of those terms. The other wanted the words to be interpreted in their “ordinary and popular sense”.

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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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Another Record-Hot Month Puts 2023 on Track to Be Hottest Year Ever

Yale E360

November was the sixth month in a row of record-warm weather, according to a new analysis that finds 2023 will almost inevitably end as the hottest year ever recorded.

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We Need an Agreement to Phase out Fossil Fuels at COP28

Union of Concerned Scientists

We’re well into the first week of COP28, the annual UN climate talks, and have secured a promising early win on operationalizing the Loss and Damage Fund. The United States has made important announcements on standards to limit methane emissions , along with a contribution to the Green Climate Fund. But things are definitely getting harder here in Dubai.

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Light Can Travel Backward in Time (Sort Of)

Scientific American

Light can be reflected not only in space but also in time—and researchers exploring such “time reflections” are finding a wealth of delightfully odd and useful effects

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Report Alleges Intimidation of Families in Path of East African Pipeline Project

Yale E360

A new report implicates French oil giant TotalEnergies in the bullying and intimidation of families living in the path of its proposed oil pipeline in East Africa.

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Overcoming Unprecedented Oil and Gas Industry Influence at UN Climate Talks 

Union of Concerned Scientists

Fossil fuel industry influence has been front and center in the UN international climate negotiations—the 28 th conference of the parties (COP28)—in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. This is alarming but not surprising, given that the nations of the world are finally working toward an agreement to phase out fossil fuels. They know it’s the end of the fossil fuel era, and they’re showing up in force because they’re scared.

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Climate Change and the Hard-Headed Realist

Legal Planet

It’s not surprising that Bernie Sanders said, rather emphatically, that he was not a friend of Kissinger’s. Yet there was one issue where they did agree: climate change. If there was one thing that Henry Kissinger stood for, it was the hard-headed “realist” view of foreign policy — a view that prioritizes national interest at all costs, rejecting idealism as weak-minded sentimentality.

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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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Jumping spiders seem to recognise each other if they have met before

New Scientist

Regal jumpers, a type of jumping spider, appear to be less interested in each other if they have met before, suggesting that the arachnids recognise individuals within their species

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Extreme Weather Inflicting Higher Costs but Fewer Deaths, Report Finds

Yale E360

The last decade saw weather grow more extreme, with cyclones, floods, and fires incurring greater costs. But thanks to improved early warning systems, deaths from extreme weather fell, a new report finds.

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Climate Litigation: Reflection and Anticipation for 2024

Union of Concerned Scientists

Last year, I made three predictions for what would happen in climate litigation in 2023. Two of my predictions hit the mark, while the other one revealed the complexity of the legal battles waged against climate injustice. Below I reflect on my predictions before venturing into the uncharted territory of 2024. 2023 in Review US cases heard on merits: A mixed bag.

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Is “carbon management” just another COP-out?

Legal Planet

Emissions cuts alone will (almost certainly) not keep the global average temperature rise below 1.5°C. But some optimism remains. Alongside a rapid phase-out of fossil fuels, substantial deployment of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) techniques might avert – or at least limit – overshoot of 1.5°C. At COP 28 this week the US and several partners launched a ‘Carbon Management Challenge’ with an aim to collectively store 1.2 Gt of CO2 by 2030.

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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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Ancient climate analysis suggests CO2 causes more warming than thought

New Scientist

A reconstruction of 66 million years of climate history indicates global temperature may be even more sensitive to carbon dioxide levels than current models estimate

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In the Search for Life beyond Earth, NASA Dreams Big for a Future Space Telescope

Scientific American

Astronomers are moving ahead in planning NASA’s Habitable Worlds Observatory, a telescope designed to answer the ultimate question: Are we alone in the universe?

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For Black STEM PhDs, the “D” Also Means Debt

Union of Concerned Scientists

As hard as it is for Black students to earn advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering and medicine (STEM) fields, a final insult accompanies the diploma. They leave school dragging a ball and chain of debt far heavier than that for most White graduates. The latest evidence of this comes in a report last week by the Research Triangle Institute and the Sloan Foundation.

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The COP28 Halftime Report

Legal Planet

We’ve reached the midpoint of the annual, two-week international climate conference known as COP (for “conference of parties”), so it’s a good time to reflect on what’s gone down in Dubai. I’m attending along with a delegation of UCLA Law students and colleagues here to follow a range of issues, from methane regulation to China’s global role to regenerative agricultural practices.

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Having children earlier in life is genetically linked to dying younger

New Scientist

An analysis of over 270,000 people's genomes has found that people with genes linked to having children earlier in life are also more likely to die before the age of 76

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FDA Approves First CRISPR Gene Editing Treatment for Sickle Cell Disease

Scientific American

Most people with sickle cell disease who received a new gene editing treatment saw their pain resolve for at least one year, but longer follow up is needed

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What Is the Justice40 Initiative?

NRDC

This Biden administration directive is the historic effort to ensure that federal climate, clean energy, and infrastructure investments reach the communities who need them most.

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Pearl Harbor Today

Legal Planet

Today is Pearl Harbor Day, the anniversary of the Japanese attack that launched the U.S. into World War II. Those of us who don’t live in Hawaii may not think much about the harbor, but I started to wonder how things were going environmentally there. The geography is more complex than I had expected. I think of a harbor as just an area where boats can park, maybe in a protected bay.

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Brain implant could ease the effects of a traumatic injury years later

New Scientist

A device that was implanted into the brains of people with traumatic brain injuries substantially improved their cognitive function a year later, a small study suggests

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IBM Releases First-Ever 1,000-Qubit Quantum Chip

Scientific American

The company announces its latest huge chip—but will now focus on developing smaller chips with a fresh approach to “error correction”

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How Neonics Can Harm Soil Health and Soil Biodiversity

NRDC

This World Soil Day, let's acknowledge the effects that neonic pesticides can have on soil health and biodiversity, and the farms that depend on them

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A $1 Billion Investment in the ‘New Forest Economy’

Legal Planet

On December 5, as the 28 th Conference of the Parties ( COP28 ) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change continues full swing in Dubai, Governors, Indigenous Peoples, and other partners of the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force (GCF Task Force), launched an urgent call-to-action to finance what they are calling the “New Forest Economy.

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Great Wall of China protected from erosion by coat of lichen and moss

New Scientist

Much of the Great Wall of China is covered in a biocrust of lichen, moss and cyanobacteria – it turns out this isn’t slowly destroying the wall, as was previously thought, but is slowing its degradation

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Unless We Cut Emissions, Ice Sheets, Forests and Ocean Currents Are Headed for Catastrophe

Scientific American

Hundreds of scientists warn that the world must rapidly phase out planet-warming emissions to avoid crossing dangerous climate “tipping points”

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Sabin Center’s Network of Peer Reviewers Responds to African Commission’s Call for Comments on Climate Change and Human Rights

Law Columbia

Last week, the Sabin Center’s Peer Reviewer Network provided a detailed comment in response to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights’ Call for Comments on the draft study concerning the impact of climate change on human rights in Africa. The comment offers recommendations to strengthen the draft study’s approach to the human rights implications of climate change and addresses key areas of climate change law.

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When Communities Take Over Their Energy Systems

Legal Planet

This Post was Co-Authored by Sharon Jacobs and Dave Owen For many decades, most people in the United States have obtained their electricity from a large investor-owned utility company (IOU). They had no real choice. Much of U.S. energy law was built on the belief that the best way to provide electricity was to give investor-owned utilities monopolies over large areas but to require regulators to review and approve those utilities’ rates to prevent pricing that was either “unjust” or “unreasonabl

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How bad is vaping for your health? We’re finally getting answers

New Scientist

As more of us take up vaping and concerns rise about the long-term effects, we now have enough data to get a grip on the health impact – and how it compares to smoking

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Municipal Compost is Key for Regenerative Farms and Sustainable Cities

NRDC

Compost is a physical reminder that soils, farms, and farmers are all part of a larger food system inextricably linked with municipalities and urban areas

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Indigenous Nations and Environmental Advocates Denounce Alberta Premier Danielle Smith’s Greenwashing at COP28

Enviromental Defense

ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE, INDIGENOUS CLIMATE ACTION Indigenous nations impacted by pollution in the tar sands counter the Government of Alberta’s COP28 narrative of being a “clean energy leader” Dubai, United Arab Emirates – Today, members from Indigenous communities downstream of the tar sands and environmental advocates held a demonstration in response to Alberta Premier Danielle Smith’s presence at COP28.

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Could Blood Transfusions and Tissue Transplants Spread Certain Dementias?

Scientific American

Scattered evidence suggests that aberrant proteins act as “seeds” to transmit neurodegenerative disease, but the jury is still out

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