Yale Climate Connections: New tool called ‘Vulcan’ could help cities better estimate their carbon dioxide emissions

Yale Climate Connections: New tool called ‘Vulcan’ could help cities better estimate their carbon dioxide emissions. “To create the tool, the researchers analyzed publicly available data on carbon emissions from power plants, factories, buildings, and vehicles across the entire United States in detail in space and time….So far, Vulcan has been used primarily by scientists. But the researchers have made it publicly available.”

Chemical & Engineering News: New database amasses toxicity studies on PFAS

Chemical & Engineering News: New database amasses toxicity studies on PFAS. “A first-of-its-kind database assembles hundreds of toxicology studies on 29 per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The database is aimed at assisting communities exposed to PFAS contamination and helping policy makers access scientific literature on these substances, says Katherine E. Pelch, a professor at the University of North Texas School of Public Health.”

Impacts of coronavirus lockdowns: New study collects data on pollutants in the atmosphere (ScienceDaily)

ScienceDaily: Impacts of coronavirus lockdowns: New study collects data on pollutants in the atmosphere. “One consequence of the coronavirus pandemic has been global restrictions on mobility. This, in turn, has had an effect on pollution levels in the atmosphere. Researchers from across the world are using this unique opportunity to take measurements, collect data, and publish studies. An international team has now published a comprehensive review providing an overview of results up to September 2020.”

Duke University: New Webpage Highlights 52 Technologies to Fight Plastic Pollution in Our Oceans

This is from November, but I just found it and it’s so cool I’m exceptioning it in. Duke University: New Webpage Highlights 52 Technologies to Fight Plastic Pollution in Our Oceans. “Duke University researchers have created a new online resource designed to help local governments, conservation groups, businesses and other stakeholders identify the best technologies to clean up plastic pollution in our oceans or prevent it from getting there in the first place. The Plastic Pollution Prevention and Collection Technology Inventory includes 52 different technologies, from solar-powered catamarans that use conveyor belts to scoop up floating debris, to underwater bubble tubes that force submerged bits of plastic to the surface where they can more easily be collected.”

University of Massachusetts Amherst: UMass Amherst Political Economy Research Institute Launches New Tool to Track Air Pollution at Every U.S. School

University of Massachusetts Amherst: UMass Amherst Political Economy Research Institute Launches New Tool to Track Air Pollution at Every U.S. School. “Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) today unveiled a new interactive, web-based tool for tracking industrial toxic air pollution at every school in the United States. The tool, Air Toxics at School, reports toxicity-weighted concentrations of pollutants to show individual chronic human health risk from industrial toxic air pollutants at the schools’ locations.”

AP: Discarded masks litter beaches worldwide, threaten sea life

AP: Discarded masks litter beaches worldwide, threaten sea life. “Discarded masks and gloves started showing up on beaches not long after the virus began circulating widely last year, and continued to appear as quarantine-weary people sought an escape at the beach. In the second half of 2020, more than 107,000 items of PPE were collected by volunteers around the world according to the Ocean Conservancy group — a figure its members believe is a vast undercount of the year’s true totals.”

Coast Reporter (Canada): Mapping project illuminates links between poor environment, historical racism

Coast Reporter: Mapping project illuminates links between poor environment, historical racism. “A new tool that measures the environmental quality of any urban street in Canada — and maps it out in colour — illustrates vividly the many neighbourhoods in the country that have poor environment scores, neighbourhoods that are often home to racialized communities.”

Washington State Department of Health: New interactive mapping tool can pinpoint pollution hotspots in effort to improve health equity

Washington State Department of Health: New interactive mapping tool can pinpoint pollution hotspots in effort to improve health equity. “The Washington State Department of Health (DOH), in collaboration with the University of Washington, announces new interactive mapping tools to help utilities improve environmental health equity as they transition to cleaner energy generation. These tools identify communities in Washington that are disproportionately impacted by fossil fuel pollution and vulnerable to climate change impacts so that these inequities can be addressed.”

Stanford: Algorithmic approaches for assessing pollution reduction policies can reveal shifts in environmental protection of minority communities, according to Stanford researchers

Stanford: Algorithmic approaches for assessing pollution reduction policies can reveal shifts in environmental protection of minority communities, according to Stanford researchers. “Applying machine learning to a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency initiative reveals how key design elements determine what communities bear the burden of pollution. The approach could help ensure fairness and accountability in machine learning used by government regulators.”

Phys .org: Air pollution fell sharply during lockdown

Phys .org: Air pollution fell sharply during lockdown. “The far-reaching mobility restrictions at the beginning of the COVID pandemic in March 2020 created a unique situation for atmospheric sciences: ‘During the 2020 lockdown, we were able to directly investigate the actual effects of drastic traffic restrictions on the distribution of air pollutants and on the emission of climate gases,’ says Innsbruck atmospheric scientist Thomas Karl. With his team, he has now published a detailed analysis of air quality during the first lockdown in the city of Innsbruck, Austria, in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics.”

NLM Launches a New Online Exhibition – Fifty Years Ago: The Darkening Day (National Library of Medicine)

National Library of Medicine: NLM Launches a New Online Exhibition – Fifty Years Ago: The Darkening Day . “The National Library of Medicine (NLM) announces Fifty Years Ago: The Darkening Day, a new online exhibition recognizing the 50th anniversary of The Darkening Day, an NLM exhibition on the health aspects of environmental pollution, which opened at the library in 1970 and was subsequently reviewed in the September 29, 1970, issue of the NIH Record, page 11. Featuring selected works from the NLM collection, Fifty Years Ago: The Darkening Day highlights examples of research, programs and policies, public messaging, and action taken by the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare and federal scientists from the Public Health Service (PHS), as awareness of pollution’s detrimental impacts on health grew in the years preceding 1970.”

Washington Post: Covid-19 sparked a run on outdoor heaters and fire pits. Which is better for the planet?

Washington Post: Covid-19 sparked a run on outdoor heaters and fire pits. Which is better for the planet?. “Nelson Bryner has set a lot of things on fire in his career. Buses. Trash cans. Life-sized mannequins dressed in firefighting gear. A five-piece wooden dining set. As chief of the fire research division at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Bryner spends many of his working days inside the division’s 20,000-square-foot laboratory, analyzing how much heat is generated and what byproducts are produced when various items are set ablaze. With coronavirus cases spiking and the mercury dropping, sparking a run on backyard heating devices, I knew Bryner could tell me what will happen when the fuel for those heaters is burned.”

Mother Jones: Hygiene Theater at Restaurants Is Creating Endless Plastic Waste

Mother Jones: Hygiene Theater at Restaurants Is Creating Endless Plastic Waste. “…it’s not clear exactly how many restaurants have switched to disposables. But extrapolating from pre-pandemic studies of California restaurants, a midsize restaurant with 30 seats went through 17,800 disposable cups and utensils in a year. Multiply that by 520,000—the number of US restaurants that the consulting firm McKinsey estimates survived the COVID-19 shutdowns—and you get more than 9 billion pieces of trash in one year. And bursting landfills aren’t the only problem: The uptick in plastic restaurant waste, advocates point out, will be especially acute in Black and Brown communities.”