Science Briefs | June 2020

Green economic recovery from COVID-19

Companies worth more than $2.4 trillion are calling for a green economic recovery from the global pandemic, according to Bloomberg Law.

Two-thirds of these 150 companies signing a statement calling for a green recovery are headquartered in Europe, reflecting stricter environmental regulations there and clearer understanding of the economic costs of Climate Change.

Adobe and Unilever are among the signatories.

The statement was coordinated by the United Nations Science Based Targets initiative that was set up to help companies align with the Paris Agreement.

The plan taps some of the pandemic disaster recovery money being spent by countries around the world to help companies reach green environmental goals. That collaboration makes the costs more affordable and incentivizes the work.

Annica Bresky, president and chief executive officer of Stora Enso Oyj, a Finnish paper and packaging company that signed the statement, told Bloomberg, “Climate change will continue, regardless of COVID. We should use this opportunity that we have been given when restarting and recovering the economy to have the strategies in place that align with climate goals.”

Carine de Boissezon, sustainable development director at French energy company EDF SA, told Bloomberg, “What is critical is how we will recover from the crisis. What we learned from 2008 is that the choices that are being made now will shape the future.”

The complete article can be linked to here:

EPA “anti-transparency” rule

Top scientific organizations and academic institutions filed objections to a new Environmental Protection Agency regulation, misleadingly labeled “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science,” that would diminish the role of science in decisions affecting the environment and health of Americans.

According to Inside Climate News, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest scientific society, and many other professional groups and universities, strongly opposed the rule, which they said is “not about strengthening science, but about undermining the ability of the EPA to use the best available science in setting policies and regulations.”

Inside Climate News reports the rule would restrict the EPA’s use of scientific studies relying on health data that excludes names or other identifying information to protect patients’ confidentiality or that are not “capable of being substantially reproduced.”

Critics say the regulation will knock out from consideration some of the most important human health research, while giving industry opponents of environmental protection rules a new avenue to challenge the agency’s actions, even after Donald Trump leaves the White House.

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler has vowed to finalize the rule this year and has characterized the plan as a “good government” effort that will increase public confidence in the agency’s decisions.

The complete article can be linked here:

Dust Bowl conditions predicted to return to American heartland

According to a report in The Guardian, dust bowl conditions of 1930s in the United States are now more than twice as likely to reoccur because of climate change.

The conditions are caused by a combination of heat waves, drought and farming practices that have largely replaced native prairie vegetation.

Two record-breaking heat waves in 1934 and 1936 are still the hottest summers on record in the United States.

The conditions could be expected to occur naturally only about once a century, The Guardian reported, but with rising concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, dust bowl conditions are likely to become much more frequent events.

They are now at least two and a half times more likely to occur, with a frequency probability of about once in 40 years, according to projections by an international group of scientists published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Contributing to a return of dust bowl episodes are farming practices that rely on huge fields that encourage erosion, increase in monoculture farming relying on chemicals and lack of natural vegetation including trees.

The complete article can be linked to here:

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