#science
One 2020 Thing: 80 Leading Scientists Endorse Biden

One 2020 Thing: 80 Leading Scientists Endorse Biden

Yesterday 80 scientists signed onto an open letter endorsing Joe Biden for president. According to the Biden campaign’s press release, the letter includes some of the most prominent scientists and public health experts in the country, including: Five Nobel Laureates or National Medal of Science winners; Several MacArthur Genius Grant Award Winners; More than 20 […]

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It’s Earth Day — Here Are Some Ways To Participate and Make It Count From Home!

It’s Earth Day — Here Are Some Ways To Participate and Make It Count From Home!

It’s Earth Day and many of us are working from home, while others are on the front lines keeping our health care and essential services going. No big marches or demonstrations are possible. So how can we all make the day meaningful?  Here are some ideas of things you can do to make a difference today. 

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Ten Years Ago, An Explosion and the Worst Environmental Disaster In History Ensued

Late on April 20, 2010, the deepest oil well in history at that time (operating at a vertical depth of 35,050 feet) exploded killing 11 people and it began spewing oil.  An estimated 210 million gallons flowed into the ocean over the course of 87 days.

Why This Matters:  It is a faded memory, but for those who lost everything in the spill, it is hauntingly familiar to the current COVID crisis.

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How Low Can It Go??  Oil Futures In Unprecedented Negative Territory

How Low Can It Go?? Oil Futures In Unprecedented Negative Territory

The oil markets on Monday plunged to their lowest price ever — meaning oil and gas suppliers are paying people to take the oil that would reach the market by the end of May (you read that right.)  At the end of the day, oil futures prices closed at negative $37.63, the lowest price since the New York Mercantile Exchange began trading them in 1983.

Why This Matters:  The oil and gas markets are subject to lots of ups and downs — but this was — that word again — unprecedented.

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The Original Earth Day Led to a Lasting Movement and Fundamental Change

The Original Earth Day Led to a Lasting Movement and Fundamental Change

This week we celebrate 50 years since the first Earth Day. It was the brainchild of Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, led to a “cascade” of groundbreaking laws and a much greater societal awareness of the environment and conservation that persists today.

Why This Matters:  Despite the President’s efforts to divide the nation by creating a false dichotomy between economic growth and conservation, ensuring a clean environment and addressing climate change have bipartisan support.

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Giant Ozone Hole Over The Arctic

Scientists at the European Space Agency have found an enormous hole in the Earth’s ozone layer, and it is unusual because it is over the North Pole. 

Why This Matters:  This is believed to be the largest hole ever to have formed above the Arctic.

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The EPA Relaxes Rule on Mercury Pollution By Greatly Tipping Scales to Favor Polluters

The EPA Relaxes Rule on Mercury Pollution By Greatly Tipping Scales to Favor Polluters

On Thursday, the Trump Administration continued its environmental armageddon by changing the way costs and benefits of rules are calculated in favor of polluters and thus fundamentally weakening current regulatory protections from mercury and other toxic metals emitted by oil and coal-fired power plants.

Why This Matters:  The polluters win again – President Trump continues to deliver for his big donors.

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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

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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