Rex Tillerson advises diplomats to sidestep questions about the Paris climate deal

August 9, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

US Secretary of state Rex Tillerson told diplomats to sidestep questions about whether the US will reconsider its withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, according to the Guardian. Last Friday Tillerson sent a cable to embassies that also directs diplomats to tell foreign officials the United States is prepared to help facilitate fossil fuel transactions in other countries – despite the unanimous agreement that climate change comprises one of most significant threats to existence humanity has ever encountered. In 2015, nearly 200 countries signed the Paris deal , agreeing to limit global warming by spewing less carbon dioxide emissions . The Obama administration signed the agreement, but Trump promptly reneged on America’s commitment to cut emissions by up to 28 percent by 2025. The cable warns diplomats to expect questions similar to the following: “Does the United States have a climate change policy?” and “Is the administration advocating the use of fossil fuels over renewable energy?“ “What is the process for consideration of re-engagement in the Paris Agreement?,” the answer should be vague, according to the cable. For example, “We are considering a number of factors. I do not have any information to share on the nature or timing of the process.” Related: CA communities sue several fossil fuel companies over climate change While Trump hinted in June that he might reconsider his withdrawal from the agreement, that’s probably not going to happen, according to the cable Tillerson sent. He wrote, “there are no plans to seek to re-negotiate or amend the text of the Paris Agreement.” However, it clarifies, “The president is sincere in his commitment to look for a path to re-engage that takes into account his concerns for US economic growth and energy security.” Meanwhile, scientists from 13 federal government agencies compiled a draft report that shows in no uncertain terms that the effects of climate change pose a direct threat to the United States – today, not tomorrow. The New York times released the draft report yesterday . The EPA has not responded to Guardian requests for comment. Via The Guardian Images via US State Department

Continued here:
Rex Tillerson advises diplomats to sidestep questions about the Paris climate deal

NASA is hiring a Planetary Protection Officer and the job pays six figures

August 3, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on NASA is hiring a Planetary Protection Officer and the job pays six figures

If you grew up loving Men in Black and Independence Day , we may have found the gig for you. NASA is hiring a “planetary protection officer” to defend Earth from alien contamination, and the job comes with a six-figure salary. The individual chosen for the position will be tasked with ensuring humans in space do not contaminate planets and moons, as well as making sure “alien matter” does not infect Earth. All in all, the ideal candidate can expect to make $187,000 (£141,000) annually with benefits. The NASA job post reads: “Planetary protection is concerned with the avoidance of organic-constituent and biological contamination in human and robotic  space exploration .” It continues, “Nasa maintains policies for planetary protection, applicable to all space flight missions that may intentionally or unintentionally carry Earth organisms and organic constituents to the planets or other solar system bodies, and any mission employing spacecraft , which are intended to return to Earth and its biosphere with samples from extraterrestrial targets of exploration.” Related: NASA video of the aurora borealis from space will make you catch your breath The Independent reports that the three-year-position was created after the United States signed the Outer Space treaty of 1967. The document vowed to “pursue studies of outer space … and conduct exploration of them so as to avoid their harmful contamination and also adverse changes in the environment of the Earth resulting from the introduction of extraterrestrial matter.” Some speculate that the new hire will be part of the upcoming NASA expedition to Europa , a moon of Jupiter. The $2.7bn (slightly over £2bn) mission seeks to map the moon’s surface and analyze whether or not it is habitable. The probe will probably crash-land, but the planetary protection officer will likely be prepared for such an arrival. Though the gig might be a dream job for many, only select individuals may apply. Candidates must have at least one year’s experience as a top-level civilian government employee, as well as an advanced degree in physical science, engineering or mathematics. They must also have “advanced knowledge” of planetary protection, which we assume NASA will supply. Furthermore, the position requires “demonstrated skills in diplomacy that resulted in win-win solutions during extremely difficult and complex multilateral discussions.” Finally, only US citizens or US nationals may apply. + NASA Job Post Via The Independent Images via Pixabay,  USA Jobs

View post:
NASA is hiring a Planetary Protection Officer and the job pays six figures

My three wishes for America

August 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on My three wishes for America

Can climate change become the defining characteristic of the next (yes, next) president of the United States?

Read the original post:
My three wishes for America

Doctor warns falling sperm counts could lead to human extinction

July 26, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Doctor warns falling sperm counts could lead to human extinction

Will our lifestyle lead to our extinction ? New findings from an international team of eight researchers indicate sperm counts in men from North America, New Zealand, Australia, and Europe have halved in under 40 years. Lead author epidemiologist Hagai Levine of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem told the BBC, “If we will not change the ways that we are living and the environment and the chemicals that we are exposed to, I am very worried about what will happen in the future.” Sperm count studies have been controversial in the past. This recent one, published this week in the Oxford Academic journal Human Reproduction Update , is one of the biggest assessments ever undertaken, according to the BBC. Researchers pored over 185 studies between 1973 and 2011. Levine detected a 52.4 percent decline in sperm concentration and 59.3 percent drop in total sperm count in the men from those regions of the world listed above. The rate of decline continues and may even be increasing, according to the researchers. They didn’t see the same decline in men from Africa, Asia, or South America, but said there have been fewer studies from these regions. Related: Alarming new study suggests Zika virus could cause infertility in men Levine told the BBC, “Eventually we may have a problem, and with reproduction in general, and it may be the extinction of the human species.” Skeptics say a large proportion of past studies that have pointed to sperm count drops have been flawed, such as only including men who have gone to fertility clinics, and would be likely to possess low sperm counts. But the researchers involved in the new study said they accounted for some of the flaws. Professor Allan Pacey of Sheffield University told the BBC, “I’ve never been particularly convinced by the many studies published so far claiming that human sperm counts have declined in the recent past. However, the study today by Dr. Levine and his colleagues deals head-on with many of the deficiencies of previous studies.” Other scientists praised the quality of the new study but said it may be too soon to come to the conclusion that humans could be on the path to extinction. Researchers at institutions in Denmark, the United States, and Spain were also part of the research. Via the BBC Images via Wikimedia Commons and Pixabay

Continued here: 
Doctor warns falling sperm counts could lead to human extinction

Conservative billionaire to build America’s largest wind farm

July 25, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on Conservative billionaire to build America’s largest wind farm

Carbon County, Wyoming could soon be home to the United States’ biggest wind farm , complete with 1,000 turbines . Conservative billionaire Philip Anschutz, who got his start in his father’s oil business, is behind the massive wind farm, which will be large enough to power every single home in both San Francisco and Los Angeles. But wind power in Wyoming could face an uphill battle as legislators angle to increase the tax on the renewable energy . Wyoming is currently the only state in America to tax wind energy , but some lawmakers have attempted to raise that tax even higher – from $1 per megawatt hour to $3 or $5. So far, neither tax increase made it past committee – Anschutz’s business helped fight the hikes – but legislators are trying to fill out the state budget as the state lacks income tax and used to make money off coal , which is in its downward spiral. Related: The wind turbine manufacturer putting unemployed coal miners to work In 2015, the state produced more coal than West Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois, and Pennsylvania combined, but coal consumption is declining. Meanwhile the state sees some of the continent’s strongest winds, which rival strong ocean gales. According to NexusMedia, wind power comprises a multi-billion opportunity for the state – Anschutz’s massive wind farm and a new 700-mile transmission line are priced at $8 billion, and there are two other $3 billion wind projects in the works. Experts say it might be a bad idea to raise the tax right as the state is trying to drum up new jobs. Economist Robert Godby at the University of Wyoming told NexusMedia, “Wyoming is perceived by many wind developers to be kind of anti-wind. Suddenly the state is suggesting that we might raise the tax by four or five times? That’s not conducive to economic development. Tax uncertainty is almost as bad as having high taxes.” Instead, Godby suggested a tax break for developers who will manufacture components and build wind farms in the state to attract projects, creating jobs and generating tax revenue. He described wind energy as “the biggest opportunity presenting itself to the state.” Via NexusMedia Images via Penny Higgins on Flickr ( 1 , 2 )

Read the original post: 
Conservative billionaire to build America’s largest wind farm

Lyme disease shot could offer 100% protection

July 24, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Lyme disease shot could offer 100% protection

Lyme disease is a growing issue in the United States. Since the 1990’s, the number of cases has more than doubled . Scientists at a laboratory associated with the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Medical School are working on an answer, and have made progress on a shot that could protect people against contracting the disease . Lyme disease, which is contracted after infected ticks transmit a bacterium to humans, is on the rise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is “ the most commonly reported vectorborne illness in the United States .” 14 states, most on the East Coast of the country, have reported 95 percent of confirmed cases. Every year 30,000 cases are reported to the CDC, and that number is only increasing. Related: GUIDE: Effective Non-Toxic Bug Repellents for You and Your Family The shot – which Western Mass News makes clear is not a vaccine – could be groundbreaking. Professor Mark Klempner said the scientists have isolated one antibody that could prevent Lyme disease from being transmitted to humans. The antibody could kill the bacteria in the tick’s gut when it bites so a person won’t get the disease. One injection could last from the spring through the fall. So far, the team has tested the antibody in mice . Klempner told Western Mass News, “We take ticks that carry the bacteria – many of them – six or seven, put them on a small rodent, and then give that mouse a little bit of that antibody. It’s been 100 percent effective in preventing many ticks from transmitting.” The method has been entirely effective in preventing mice from contracting the disease. Klempner said the discovery of the antibody came during research in which he was involved for a vaccine, now discontinued. With the new research, the team thus far has not seen any unfavorable side effects, but needs to do more testing. Undergoing Food and Drug Administration trials could take around two to three years. Via Western Mass News Images via Pixabay and U.S. Department of Agriculture on Flickr

Read the original here:
Lyme disease shot could offer 100% protection

US DOI scientist claims he was reassigned for speaking up on climate change

July 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on US DOI scientist claims he was reassigned for speaking up on climate change

Is the Donald Trump administration reassigning employees who speak out on the dangers of climate change ? Joel Clement, former Office of Policy Analysis director at the Department of the Interior (DOI), seems to think so. He penned an opinion piece for The Washington Post saying he was moved into an “unrelated job in the accounting office.” He said he’s a scientist and policy expert, not an accountant – “…but you don’t have to be one to see that the administration’s excuse for a reassignment such as mine doesn’t add up.” Clement said he began working in the DOI almost seven years ago, and worked with communities in Alaska to help them prepare for the impacts of climate change. On June 15, he received a letter informing him of his reassignment to “improve talent development, mission delivery and collaboration.” He was one of around 50 senior employees to receive a letter, and was shuffled to the role of senior adviser in the Office of Natural Resources Revenue – an office he said gathers royalty checks from fossil fuel companies. Related: Trump launches “witch hunt” for government employees who worked on climate change policy Clement’s background is not in accounting. He has a Master of Environmental Studies degree in Forest Sciences and Canopy Biology from The Evergreen State College . But he said he spoke out on the challenges stemming from climate change that Alaska Native communities face in the months before his reassignment, even bringing the threat up with White House officials. Clement said in his op-ed, “It is clear to me that the administration was so uncomfortable with this work, and my disclosures, that I was reassigned with the intent to coerce me into leaving the federal government.” Indeed, a few days following his reassignment, new Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke testified before Congress that reassignments might be used to eliminate employees. Clement suggested Zinke might think fed-up employees might quit, and said he has colleagues who are being moved to other locations in the country, at taxpayer expense, to jobs that don’t align well with their skill set. Clement said the Kivalina, Shishmaref , and Shaktoolik villages are “one superstorm from being washed away.” He wrote, “I believe that every president, regardless of party, has the right and responsibility to implement his policies. But that is not what is happening here. Putting citizens in harm’s way isn’t the president’s right…The threat to these Alaska Native communities is not theoretical. This is not a policy debate.” Read Clement’s full piece here . Via The Washington Post Images via Wikimedia Commons and screenshot

Originally posted here: 
US DOI scientist claims he was reassigned for speaking up on climate change

16-year-old inspires U.S. city to pass law requiring solar panels on all new homes

July 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on 16-year-old inspires U.S. city to pass law requiring solar panels on all new homes

More United States cities are taking strong measures to move the clean energy economy forward. This week, South Miami passed a law requiring new houses to be outfitted with solar panels . The law will even apply to some renovations. It’s the first of its kind in Florida , and passed four to one – and some of the inspiration for the law came from a high school student. High schooler Delaney Reynolds, who was 16 at the time, learned about San Francisco’s 2016 measure requiring solar panels on all new buildings of 10 stories or less. She thought cities in Florida could do the same. Reynolds, who started a nonprofit called The Sink or Swim Project to tackle climate change in South Florida, wrote mayors of around half a dozen cities in her area, according to InsideClimate News, and South Miami mayor Philip Stoddard was the first to reply. He asked Reynolds to help write the ordinance. Related: San Francisco approves measure to require solar panels on new buildings Under the law, new homes will have to have 175 square feet of solar panels per 1,000 square feet of roof area in the sun, or 2.75 kilowatts per 1,000 square feet of living space – whichever one is less. If the house is constructed beneath trees already there it may be exempt. If more than 75 percent of an existing home is being replaced by renovations , or if a home is being extended by 75 percent, the new law will apply as well. On Tuesday, the law passed, with only commissioner Josh Liebman voting against it. Liebman said he’s not against solar power but is for freedom of choice. The law will go into effect in September. Only around 10 new homes are built in the area a year, so Stoddard acknowledges the measure won’t change the world. But he said officials in other areas like Orlando and St. Petersburg have indicated interest, so the idea could spread. Via InsideClimate News and Miami Herald Images via Wikimedia Commons and The Sink or Swim Project Facebook

Read more from the original source:
16-year-old inspires U.S. city to pass law requiring solar panels on all new homes

New stacked solar cell absorbs energy from almost the entire solar spectrum

July 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Comments Off on New stacked solar cell absorbs energy from almost the entire solar spectrum

Most traditional solar cells aren’t able to convert long-wavelength photons into electricity . A team of researchers led by Matthew Lumb at The George Washington University is hoping to change that in order to capture more power. They’ve designed a solar cell that can harvest just about all of the energy in the solar spectrum – and could become the world’s most efficient solar cell with an efficiency of 44.5 percent. The scientists created a prototype of their solar cell that differs from most others: they stacked multiple solar cells to create a single device that can capture nearly all the solar spectrum’s energy. And as opposed to the solar panels that adorn many rooftops , this new solar cell utilizes concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) panels that concentrate sunlight onto micro-scale cells using lenses. Related: SunPower nabs record for world’s most efficient rooftop solar panel The cell works something like a sieve for sunlight, as each layer absorbs a certain set of wavelengths, to capture nearly half of available energy – most traditional cells only capture around one quarter. Efficiency is one of the main goals of any researcher working on solar cells, and these scientists obtained what could be the highest efficiency in the world using materials based on gallium antimonide (GaSb) substrates. A technique called transfer-printing allows the tiny cells to be constructed with great precision. But this groundbreaking solar cell wasn’t cheap. Still, though the materials utilized were expensive, the scientists think the technique to build the cells is promising to show how efficient a solar cell could be. In the future they think a similar product could hit markets “enabled by cost reductions from very high solar concentration levels and technology to recycle the expensive growth susbtrates.” The journal Advanced Energy Materials published the research this week. 12 scientists from the United States Naval Research Laboratory and other American institutions collaborated with Lumb on the paper. Via Newswise Images via Matthew Lumb and Pixabay

Read more from the original source:
New stacked solar cell absorbs energy from almost the entire solar spectrum

Colossal iceberg weighing a trillion metric tons finally breaks off in the Antarctic

July 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Colossal iceberg weighing a trillion metric tons finally breaks off in the Antarctic

It finally happened. For several months scientists have had their eyes on the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica , where a massive iceberg has been dangling by a thread. Now they report the iceberg has indeed calved, and is floating in the Weddell Sea. The volume of this iceberg is twice that of Lake Erie. It’s thought to be one of the 10 biggest icebergs we’ve ever recorded. The new iceberg, which will likely be called A68, is around 2,239 square miles. It weighs over a trillion metric tons. Project Midas , which has been monitoring the Larsen C ice shelf, reported the calving happened sometime between July 10 and July 12. Scientists noted the break in NASA satellite data. Related: A colossal iceberg is breaking off Antarctica right now – and it’s big enough to fill Lake Michigan The Larsen C ice shelf has been reduced by 12 percent, meaning it’s at its lowest extent we’ve ever recorded. There isn’t evidence this event is linked to climate change , according to Project Midas leader Adrian Luckman of Swansea University . He said it is possible, but recent data shows that the ice shelf has actually been thickening. United States National Ice and Snow Data Center glacial expert Twila Moon agreed but did say climate change makes it easier for such events to occur. Project Midas team member and Swansea University glaciologist Martin O’Leary said in a statement, “Although this is a natural event, and we’re not aware of any link to human-induced climate change, this puts the ice shelf in a very vulnerable position. This is the furthest back that the ice front has been in recorded history.” Scientists don’t yet know what will happen to the rest of the Larsen C ice shelf. Luckman said more icebergs might break off, or the ice shelf could regrow. But the team’s prior research indicates an ice shelf is likely less stable now that A68 is floating free. Luckman told The Guardian, “We will have to wait years or decades to know what will happen to the remainder of Larsen C.” Via The Guardian and Project Midas Images via NASA/John Sonntag and Project Midas

See the rest here:
Colossal iceberg weighing a trillion metric tons finally breaks off in the Antarctic

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 2824 access attempts in the last 7 days.