Pandemic Causes Gap In Data Collection That Could Impact Weather Forecasts

Pandemic Causes Gap In Data Collection That Could Impact Weather Forecasts

In yet another painful ripple effect of the coronavirus pandemic, according to Scientific American, scientists are being forced to pause critical data collection and research that could reduce the quality of weather forecasts in the near term, and threaten long-standing climate studies.

Why This Matters:  There’s that word again — unprecedented.  The loss of water and air data that is critical for use in weather forecasting models is unprecedented.

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EPA Refuses to Tighten Air Quality Standard, Overruling Agency Scientists’ Recommendation

EPA Refuses to Tighten Air Quality Standard, Overruling Agency Scientists’ Recommendation

On Tuesday, the Trump administration proposed to leave in place the national ambient air quality standards for Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5) or soot, even though the Agency’s science staff recommended tightening it, saying that a tougher standard would save 12,000 lives each year.

Why This Matters:  Industry groups such as the American Petroleum Institute and the Chamber of Commerce “cheered” the decision saying the air in the U.S. is clean enough.

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New Mutant Enzyme Breaks Down Plastic Fast – Could Solve Recycling Problems

New Mutant Enzyme Breaks Down Plastic Fast – Could Solve Recycling Problems

Researchers at Carbios, a French company, report in the Journal Nature that they’ve “engineered an enzyme that can convert 90% of that same plastic back to its pristine starting materials” and they are working to open a demonstration plant next year.  The enzyme breaks down plastic all the way into a recyclable form — the company, in collaboration with Pepsi and L’Oréal, hopes to have market scale production within 5 years.

Why This Matters: 70 million tons of Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is produced annually.

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Coronavirus – How to Get Out of This Madness

Coronavirus – How to Get Out of This Madness

by Lee Hannah, Senior Scientist, Conservation International Right now, money is flowing from Capitol Hill to provide us with much needed economic support in response to the coronavirus pandemic. As this happens, we need to make sure that money also flows towards preventing similar pandemics from happening in the future. To stop this cycle of […]

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Trump Administration Had Secret Industry Backchannel for Comments on NEPA Rollback

Trump Administration Had Secret Industry Backchannel for Comments on NEPA Rollback

Environmental groups and Democratic Senators decried the White House Council on Environmental Quality using a separate, non-public email address for its select friends in industry and business to submit views on the administration’s proposal to weaken the regulations implementing a bedrock environmental law, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). 

Why This Matters:  The whole point of NEPA is for the public to know the environmental impacts of government actions and have a chance to comment on them — it is a sunshine law at its core.

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Park Service Closes Shenandoah National Park But Some DC Monuments Remain Open

Park Service Closes Shenandoah National Park But Some DC Monuments Remain Open

The National Park Service continues to close parks on a piecemeal basis, this week Shenandoah National Park closed, but even after an appeal from D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) to close them before the weekend crowds descend, the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials in Washington, D.C. remain open.

Why This Matters:  Delegate Holmes Norton is right when she argues that “Federal agencies must do their part to flatten the curve,” but the Park Service is certainly not leading by example. 

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