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Category Archives: Environmental Law

Evidence for declining forest resilience to wildfires under climate change

Evidence for declining forest resilience to wildfires under climate change. Ecology Letters, (2018) 21: 243–252 doi: 10.1111/ele.12889

“Forest resilience to climate change is a global concern given the potential effects of increased disturbance activity, warming temperatures and increased moisture stress on plants. We used a multi-regional dataset of 1485 sites across 52 wildfires from the US Rocky Mountains to ask if and how changing climate over the last several decades impacted post-fire tree regeneration, a key indicator of forest resilience. Results highlight significant decreases in tree regeneration in the 21st century. Annual moisture deficits were significantly greater from 2000 to 2015 as compared to 1985–1999, suggesting increasingly unfavourable post-fire growing conditions, corresponding to significantly lower seedling densities and increased regeneration failure. Dry forests that already occur at the edge of their climatic tolerance are most prone to conversion to non-forests after wildfires. Major climate-induced reduction in forest density and extent has important consequences for a myriad of ecosystem services now and in the future.”

Boulder, Colorado latest city to sue Big Oil over climate change

Grist: “Remember those lawsuits California and New York filed against major oil producers for knowingly heating up the planet? Two counties in Colorado just teamed up with the city of Boulder to file a similar lawsuit of their own. The complaint alleges that oil companies contributed greenhouse gases to the atmosphere for decades while knowing the… Continue Reading

State of the Global Air 2018

“How clean is the air you breathe? This second issue of the State of Global Air report expands on last year’s report by adding household air pollution and total air pollution to our discussion of air quality and health for all countries around the globe. It is based on the most recent data available (for… Continue Reading

Guardian – Scientists accidentally create mutant enzyme that eats plastic bottles

The breakthrough, spurred by the discovery of plastic-eating bugs at a Japanese dump, could help solve the global plastic pollution crisis. “Scientists have created a mutant enzyme that breaks down plastic drinks bottles – by accident. The breakthrough could help solve the global plastic pollution crisis by enabling for the first time the full recycling… Continue Reading

Report: Boosting Energy Efficiency Would Bring Vast Health Benefits

Environmental Working Group: “A new report estimated the sweeping public health benefits that a 15 percent reduction in energy demand would yield in one year. The February report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, or ACEEE, and Physicians for Social Responsibility, or PSR, found that the savings from modestly cutting energy demand in… Continue Reading

GAO: EPA Administrator Pruitt Broke Law in Buying $43K Private Phone Booth

Summary – “Section 710 of the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, 2017 (section 710) prohibits an agency from obligating an amount in excess of $5,000 to furnish, redecorate, purchase furniture for, or make improvements for the office of a presidential appointee during the period of appointment without prior notification to the appropriations committees… Continue Reading

EWG’s 2018 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce

“All adults and children should eat more fruits and vegetables, whether they are organic or conventionally grown. With EWG’s 2018 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™, you can choose healthy produce while minimizing unwanted doses of multiple toxic pesticides. Many shoppers don’t realize that pesticide residues are common on conventionally grown produce, even after it… Continue Reading

Seeking to normalize and expand biking centric cities

Fast Company: “Mikael Colville-Andersen rides his bike everywhere in Copenhagen, but he would never introduce himself as a cyclist. “I’m just one of the 400,000 people riding a bike in this city because it makes our daily lives more effective,” he tells Fast Company…At the center of…Colville-Andersen’s mission: To renormalize the bicycle. A successful cycling… Continue Reading

The World’s Wilderness: Going, Going and Soon Gone?

Outside: Recent studies have arrived at the same blunt conclusion: the world’s last, big wildlands are disappearing at an alarming rate. Is there anything to be done? ““We are running out of wilderness,” James Watson, director of the science and research initiative at the Wildlife Conservation Society, told fellow scientists last summer at the International… Continue Reading

WH reviewing proposal to remove protections for threatened species

CNN: “The White House is reviewing a proposal that environmentalists fear would remove protections for hundreds of threatened species, according to a government database. The proposal’s obscure name — “Removal of Blanket Section 4(d) Rule” — refers to protections covering approximately 300 animal and plant species, such as the northern spotted owl and manatee, that… Continue Reading

Anticipated Park Service Report on risks from sea level rise delayed after extensive data censorship

Reveal – Center for Investigative Reporting: “National Park Service officials have deleted every mention of humans’ role in causing climate change in drafts of a long-awaited report on sea level rise and storm surge, contradicting Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s vow to Congress that his department is not censoring science. The research for the first time… Continue Reading

Study: wind and solar can power most of the United States

The Guardian – John Abraham: “In order to combat climate change, we need to rapidly move from fossil fuel energy to clean, renewable energy. The two energy sources I am most interested in are wind and solar power; however, there are other sources that have great potential. Some people doubt how much wind and solar… Continue Reading