Author: dg645i

Alliance of World Scientists List Six Key Factors Requiring Critical Actions to Address Climate Emergency

The Alliance of World Scientists (AWS), an alliance of over 11,000 scientists coming from 153 countries across the globe, has issued a new warning that Earth is currently facing a climate emergency. All AWS members have affixed their signatures on a new study about the rapid effects of the greenhouse gas emissions brought about by human activities during the past four decades and the slow progress by which governments are resolving the emerging climate change crises.

In a report published recently by the association in the BioScience journal, the scientists identified six key factors that governments must immediately address. That way, the world can immediately curtail, if not arrest the rapid effects of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions and the emergency climate conditions faced by the planet.

Six Areas of Concern that Governments Must Immediately Address

Lead authors of the research, William Ripple and Christopher Wolf, who are ecologists at Oregon State University, said that first and foremost of the six areas that require changes, is the world’s continuously growing population. The authors said that inasmuch as the world population increases by as many as 80 million people each year, governments should implement policies promoting family planning and gender equality, in order to stabilize population growth.

The second emergency action that countries must promote is the use of energy from renewable sources, as opposed to energy derived from fossil fuels. At the same time, this action comes with the need for governments to invest in emerging technologies that can capture much of the carbon dioxide that have been released in the atmosphere.

In relation to the scientists’ recommendations for renewable energy replacement, governments should cease granting subsidies to companies engaged in fossil fuel extractions. Through their report, the AWS scientists are also calling on wealthier countries, to provide support instead to poorer nations to help them transition to clean energy sources and usage.

Nations must also greatly reduce emissions of other potent pollutants like soot, methane and human-made compounds known as hydrofluorocarbons used in refrigerators, air conditioners and aerosols. According to the report, the reduction of such pollutants can retard the emergency climate conditions by more than 50 percent throughout the next few decades.

Vigorous mitigation efforts should be geared toward protecting and restoring the planet’s ecosystems that exist in forests, wetlands, coral reefs and savannas. Mainly because they naturally capture and store CO2 occurring in the atmosphere,

Lastly, the scientists are encouraging people to consume more plant-based food. Doing so not only improves health, but can also help in reducing greenhouse gas emissions produced by livestock. Rather than prioritizing initiatives for promoting Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in relation to pursuit of gaining wealth in economies, governments must have more focus on sustaining the planet’s various ecosystems and achieving goals to keep the atmosphere carbon-free.

Geography and Environmental Resources professor at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Leslie Duram, said that she is concerned that governments are making environmental problems and actions, political partisan issues, which should not be the case. As one of the endorsers of the AWS report, she wants everyone to realize that

”We, as human beings and inhabitants of this planet, have to come together to take action in helping preserve the Earth’s environment.”

Ongoing Wildfires in Brazilian and Bolivian Amazon Forests Expected to Produce Large Amounts of Tarballs

The wildfires currently engulfing the Brazilian and Bolivian sections of the Amazon Forest, with which scientists expect to see huge amounts of biomass burning that can cause greater environmental problems. That is because biomass burning (BB) produces emissions of gases and aerosol particles that can adversely impact health, visibility and cause further changes in both local and global climates.

Tarballs, the dominant and light-absorbing aerosol particles present in BB smoke are known to create a negative impact on the Earth’s climate. Yet exactly how tarballs are formed and the scope of its influence on climate change are questions that still call for clear answers.

Kouji Adachi, a senior researcher at the Meteorological Research Institute in Tsukuba, Japan, and Professor Peter Buseck of the Schools of Molecular Sciences and Earth and Space Exploration at the Arizona State University are currently collaborating on the study of tarball particles and their potential effects on climate change.

Actually, their collaboration will expand the range and diversity of Buseck’s previous research on BB burning and resulting tarball formation.

The current study conducted by Adachi and Buseck revealed tarball formation processes, as evidenced by microphysical and chemical analyses. The findings can improve interpretations of BB smoke, when captured as sattelite and ground-base data feeds. The tarball shape, compositional changes during aging, and their viscosity can furnish better estimates of their impact in climate models.

Background of Professor Buseck’s Earlier Assessments of Biomass Burning

Professor Buseck, is the recipient of this month’s 2019 Roebling Medal, the highest award bestowed for outstanding original research in mineralogy by the Mineralogical Society of America. The ASU professor and his group had previously developed a unique and interesting method in the use of transmission electron microscopy, as a means to study shapes and compositions of more than 10,000 particles.

Tarballs were analyzed for chemical compositions with the use of scanning transmissions obtained from X-ray spectroscopy. Buseck’s research team had studied tarballs collected from the Biomass Burning Observation Project (BBOP) that was held in the U.S. in the summer of 2013. The purpose of which was to acquire better insights on how aerosol particles generated by biomass fires affect climate and the atmosphere.

The project estimated that about 40% of carbonaceous aerosol particles (tarballs) present in the atmosphere are results of biomass burning. The huge proportion of tarball composition in the Earth’s atmosphere has potential effects that can alter regional and global climates.

Tasball assessments revealed tarball increase in direct relation to a particle’s age. Moreover, the ratios of oxygen and nitrogen in tarball, as relative components of potassium, and a particle roundness, can also increase when a particle ages.

Washington D.C. Ranks #1 in 2019 List of Top 10 Cities with the Best Park Systems

Washington. D.C. has emerged as the top ranking U.S. metropolis in The Trust For Public Land’s 2019 assessment of U.S. cities with the best park system. The non-profit organization performs annual assessments of U.S. city park systems using four metrics: accessibility, acreage, amenities and investment.

 

 

The Trust For Public Land measured accessibility based on the number of city residents who can access the park by way of a 10-minute walk. In terms of amenities, Amenities include popular recreations such as basketball, playgrounds and swimming pools. Amenity-assessments also include recreational facilities for senior citizens, bathrooms and dog parks.

AllTimeList.com helped us compile in brief, important details about each of the top ten cities, based on the metrics used by the organization.

Top Ten U.S. Cities with the Best Park Systems

1. Washington, D.C. – Ninety-eight (98%) of D.C.’s residents are within a 10-minute walking distance to a city park; of which there are as many as has 629 in all. The number represents about 21% of the city land. As of survey period, the city had spent $257 per resident on parks and recreations.

2. St. Paul, Minnesota – St. Paul has 264 parks, which is about 15 % of the city land. Like Washington D.C., 98% of the residents can access a park by way of a 10-minute walk. The city spent as much as $201 per resident for all parks’ upkeep and improvement.

3. Minneapolis, Minnesota – The city of Minneapolis has a total of 266 parks, accessible to 96% of its community residents via a 10-minute walk. All parks combined yields a total area occupied by parks at 15% of the city land. Compared to other top ranking cities, the local government had the highest spend for park upkeeps, at a rate of $347 per resident.

4. Arlington, Virginia – About 11% of Arlington City’s land is devoted to parks, furnishing 181 green recreational spaces that 98% of city residents can access within a 10-minute walking distance. The city government devoted funding for parks at a rate of $233 per resident.

5. Portland, Oregon Portland residents have 325 parks in all, distributed in about 18% of the city land, and are accessible to 89% of the population by way of a 10-minute walk. The latest records show that the city spent $234 per resident to maintain the quality of the parks.

6. Irvine, California – The City of Irvine has 127 parks, dispersed in about 27% of the metropolitan area. They are reachable by way of a 10-minute walk to 80% of the residents. The local government had allocated park-upkeep spending at a rate of of $206 per resident.

7. San Francisco, California – An impressive score of one hundred percent (100%) of San Francisco’s residents can take a 10-minute walk, to easily access one or more of the city’s 471 parks. Parks occupy about 20% of the metropolitan area, for which the city government had spent $260 per resident.

8. Cincinnati, Ohio – Cincinnati’s 259 parks are reachable via 10-minute walk from residents of 77% of the city population. Here, parks occupy about 14% of Cincinnati’s land area, to which the local government incurred costs at a rate of $153 per resident

9. New York, New York – Ninety-nine percent (99%) of New Yorkers can take a 10-minute walk and reach one or more of the city’s 2,311 parks, the largest number enjoyed by city residents. Total area of all parks combined represents 22% of the Big Apple’s jurisdiction, to which the city government allocated a spending rate of only $163 per resident.

10. Chicago, Illinois – Although only 10% of Chicago City’s land is used for parks, a total of 1,230 are located across the metropolis, making recreational and green spaces available by way of a 10-minute walk to 98% of Chicago residents.

Biologists Innovate Bacteria-Based Graphene that Can Handle Large Scale Graphene Productions

Environment-friendly, large scale production of graphene, the innovative nanomaterial essential for the production of computer technologies, medical equipment and other advanced applications, is now possible.

Researchers at the University of Rochester in New York and Delft University of Technology (DUT) in the Netherlands, have found a time-saving and cost-efficient way to produce graphene in large volumes, without causing harm to the environment. More importantly, the new method will ensure that large scale production will not affect the amazing properties of graphene.

In a report published in the ChemOpen Journal, researchers led by Anne S. Meyer, an associate professor at the Department of Biology at the University of Rochester, along with her former colleagues at the DUT in Netherlands, described the new method as one that combines graphite oxidants with bacteria.

Meyer explained that real applications require large amounts. Yet producing bulk amounts of graphene presented difficulties because the resulting substance became denser, and at the same time less pure.

That being one of the stumbling blocks to large-scale graphene production, they were able to tackle the problem by mixing oxidized graphite with bacteria, instead of the present method of using chemicals. Their solution therefore is not only cost efficient and less time-consuming but also environmentally friendly.

Professor Meyer and her team of researchers combined graphene oxidants (GO) with a bacteria known as Shewanella. The bacteria demonstrated capability to remove most of the groups of oxygen, which in time made the GO a highly conductive graphene material. She takes pride in saying that their bacterially-produced graphene is far superior. She added that they were able to develop “bacterial lithography,” a technique that can lead to the development of other nanocomposite materials, using graphene materials that are highly conductive only on one side.

What is Graphene and What Makes Graphene Important

Graphene is best described as a flake of graphite carbon that is equivalent to a single layer of atoms arranged in a pattern resembling a honeycomb. It is actually a nanomaterial, which despite its thinness is regarded as the strongest material with the highest capability for conducting heat and electricity. It was discovered in 2004 by scientists at the University of Manchester in the UK who later received the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics for its discovery.

Touted as the world’s strongest material, it is widely used in enhancing the strength of other materials like plastic and metals even only with a trace amount of graphene. Composite graphene, possessing greater mechanical strength, high degree of conductivity, and greater capacity for storing energy, found excellent use in the aerospace industry, as well as in the manufacture of construction materials, mobile devices, advanced hospital equipment and many other technological innovations and applications.

Alliance to End Plastic Waste : Top Companies Unite in Launching Green Initiatives on Global Scale

In January 2019, more than 30 companies, including leading plastic manufacturers, chemical firms, and multinational oil companies came together to form a non-profit organization called Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW). The newly formed alliance committed to launch a $1,5 billion initiative aimed at addressing the plastic waste problem that has been plaguing the environment.

More than 30 companies, mostly leaders in their respective industry such as Procter & Gamble, Chevron, Dow, Exxon Mobil,Mitsubishi Chemical, Formosa Plastics, Poly-One and Shell, all agree to lessen the impact of plastics on the environment by undertaking projects that would see to the collection of plastic wastes on a global scale and put them through better recycling practices.

The ultimate goal of the AEPW is to make plastic a valuable resource rather than an environmental nuisance.

Underscoring and Understanding the Value of Plastic

There is no denying that the use of plastics helped in improving hygiene, nutrition, health preservation, sanitation, as well as in adding convenience in several aspects of modern life. The problem with the introduction of plastics though was the lack of foresight on how the accumulation of non-biodegradable wastes in landfills and bodies of water would create adverse impacts on the environment.

Currently, there are calls to reduce and eventually, to end plastic wastes; but should be done with an understanding that there is also a need to maintain the critical benefits afforded by the use of plastic products. That being the case, approaches to plastic waste reduction must involve use of strategic and comprehensive recycling methods.

Alliance to End Plastic Waste to Sponsor Renew Oceans

Renew Oceans is a localized initiative, which the AEPW will sponsor by providing materials and logistics capabilities in preventing river-borne plastic wastes from flowing into ocean. The initiative aims to address the issue raised by environmental researchers in 2017, with regard to the 93% plastic wastes coming from 10 major rivers that subsequently flows to the ocean.

The first Renew Oceans project will focus on the Ganges River in India, using the biofence technology developed by Renewlogy. The method involves collecting and diverting plastic wastes flowing in rivers and tributaries, in order to prevent them from entering the ocean.

The project also involves participation by local communities and innovators in converting the diverted collection of plastic into usable materials.Part of the Renew Oceans project includes providing economic opportunities to the economically disadvantaged members of local communities, by allowing them to take part in the recycling aspects of the project