Sustainability Reads: 6/29-7/5

In a major day for climate policy, China, Brazil, and the U.S. all announce new commitments

at the Washington Post.

Water Used for Hydraulic Fracturing Varies Widely Across United States

A comprehensive, national-level study was just released that provides insight into the water use associated with fracking. Main takeaways: the amount of water required to hydraulically fracture oil and gas wells varies widely across the country, ranging from 2,600 gallons to as much as 9.7 million gallons per well. In addition, between 2000 and 2014, the amount of water used per well has increased. More specifically, the median annual water volume estimates for hydraulic fracturing in horizontal wells increased from about 177,000 gallons per oil and gas well to more than 4 million gallons per oil well and 5.1 million gallons per gas well. Vertical well water use didn’t increase that much. The study provides information on water use at specific watersheds across the U.S. and helps fill in the knowledge gaps in regards to how fracking interacts with the surrounding environment. By the U.S. Geological Survey.

Solar-powered plane lands in Hawaii, pilot sets nonstop record

A plane powered only by solar energy just finished the seventh leg of its around-the-world trip. The Swiss pilot landed the Solar Impulse 2 aircraft in Hawaii on Friday, after a record-breaking five-day (120-hour) nonstop solo flight across the Pacific Ocean from Japan. The previous record stood at 76-hours and was set in 2006 by an American. The next leg is from Honolulu to Phoenix, Arizona, and then two pilots will fly together across the Atlantic on a return path to Abu Dhabi. The project was 12-years in the making. On Reuters.

Also, check out this WRI graph highlighted on Climate Central that breaks down the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Interesting stats:

  • 6/10 emitters are developed countries
  • China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico and Iran account for 38 % of the world’s emissions
  • The energy sector makes up about 76% of the world’s emissions; agriculture and industry are the other largest sectors that add to global emissions
  • The small South Asian country Brunei has the highest per capita emissions in the world with almost 49 tons per person, but on the world scale, the country only contributed 0.04% of emissions
  • Of the top 10 emitters, the U.S. remains the highest, with nearly 20 tons per capita in 2012
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