Tag: Climate

EPA Ruling Seeks to Discount Science and Aid the Fossil Fuel Industry

By Kaushal Kumar and Sudhit Rao

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was founded in the seventies with the sole goal of protecting the environment from harmful contamination. It has since been regarded as successful and extremely effective in its endeavors. However, with Trump’s elected officials under control, the goals of the EPA have shifted to instead benefit large fossil fuel companies and push back restrictions set in place by previous administrations.  

The newest rule that the EPA is pushing for is called “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science,” but don’t let the name fool you. The name was specifically chosen to make the bill seem more appealing and to encourage members of the congress to accept the bill, even though the motives and reasoning for the passing of the bill are corrupt, and contradicts the role that the EPA is supposed to play in the US. In reality, this bill was passed to help strengthen the fossil fuel industry and try to prevent climate scientists from regulating factories in the industry.

The bill will effectively allow the EPA to ignore any scientific data or study where all of the information about the study is not fully available to the American public. This means that if things like private information of participants in studies are not made available to the general public, the EPA can invalidate the study and move forward without taking into consideration the findings. 

This would be a huge win for fossil fuel companies, as they are the ones who are usually targeted by scientists to ensure that their procedures are sustainable and are not too damaging or dangerous, and without the EPA having to listen to these scientists, they will not have to ask for these large gas and oil companies to regulate their production.

Many scientists and public health experts have criticized the proposed ruling and have spoken out against it. The American Association for Advancement of Science said that the proposed ruling would “exclude the best available science from informing EPA regulations, making it difficult for the agency to fulfill its mission to protect environmental and human health.” Steve Pierson and Roger Peng, well known biostatisticians petitioned for the proposition to be dropped and said, in an article, that it “weakens EPA’s scientific process and undermines its mission to protect the environment and the health of the U.S. population.”

This proposition seeks to ignore science while instead benefiting the giants in the fossil fuel industry and destroying our already depreciating state of our environment. Only time will tell the magnitude of damage this proposed rule might have on Mother Nature.

Antarctica is Turning Green… but it has Nothing to do with Grass

By Saarang Kashyap

In coastal Antarctica, some snow isn’t the typical white. Green snow, created by blooms of algae, are giving the continent an increasingly green tinge. Warming temperatures due to climate change are helping the formation and spread of this green snow, which is more prevalent along the coast.

Using data collected over two years by the European Space Agency’s Sentinel 2 satellite, together with on-the-ground observations, a research team from the University of Cambridge and the British Antarctic Survey have created the first map of the algae blooms on the Antarctic Peninsula coast. The study reports that over 1,600 algal blooms were spotted on the snow surface, especially near hotspots for marine birds and mammals. This is because these animals strongly contribute to the growth of algae as their excrement serves as a fertilizer for growth. “Over 60% of blooms were found near penguin colonies, and others were found near birds’ nesting sites” (Woodyatt, CNN).

There may be a benefit to having a sudden growth of algae in Antarctica’s snow. “The algal blooms in Antarctica are equivalent to about the amount of carbon that’s being omitted by 875,000 average UK petrol car journeys,” Davey said. However, this number pales in comparison to the global carbon budget, with the algae not making a significant enough dent to be considered useful in reducing CO2. 

Climate change will play a key role in the inevitable “greening” of Antarctic snow. “As Antarctica warms, we predict the overall mass of snow algae will increase, as the spread to higher ground will significantly outweigh the loss of small island patches of algae,” said University of Cambridge plant scientist Andrew Gray, lead author of the paper. Scientists are additionally investigating red and orange algae, which are also erupting in small blooms not currently visible from space. Who knows? Antarctica might have snow in all colors of the rainbow soon.