Sustainability Reads: January 12- January 18

Driven by Climate Change, ‘Nuisance’ Flooding to Become Commonplace in US Coastal Areas
A new study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows that a majority of U.S. coastal areas—including urban centers such as Baltimore, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Boston—will likely be threatened by 30 or more days of flooding each year due to dramatically accelerating sea level rise by 2050. Paper published Thursday in the American Geophysical Union’s online peer-reviewed journal Earth’s Future, article on Common Dreams.

Obama’s Crackdown on Methane Emissions Is a Really Big Deal
This week the Obama administration announced plans to regulate methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. We agree, this is a big deal. Through the EPA’s authority to regulate pollution under the Clean Air Act the regulation seeks to reduce methane emissions 40 to 45% by 2025. The new rules will regulate the amount of methane that oil and gas producers are allowed to vent or leak from their wells, pipelines, and other equipment. This article provides great background information on the current lack of regulation on methane  and why it is a key aspect of addressing climate change. For example, it is 20 times more potent than carbon and 7.9% of the methane from natural gas production is released into the air. By Tim McDonnell on Mother Jones.

 The 50 most critical scientific & technological breakthroughs required for sustainable global development
This new study identifies specific innovations to pave the path towards sustainable development. Scientific and technological advances cover 9 areas including global health, human rights, and resilience against climate change and environmental damage. Although it is worth reading the entire list, here is a sample of the innovations needed on the environmental side:

  • A new method for desalination: scalable, low cost, and using renewable energy
  • New methods to produce fertilizers to replace current processes, which are extremely capital intensive and have significant environmental footprints
  • A ‘utility-in-a-box’ for making it simpler, cheaper and faster to set up and operate renewable energy mini-grids.
  • Affordable off-grid refrigeration for smallholder farmers and small agribusinesses.
  • Affordable homes that are resilient to extreme weather events, for the poor living in areas vulnerable to extreme weather.

By the Institute for Globally Transformative Technologies at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.


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