Key to Carbon-Free Cars? Look to the Stars

In a decade-long quest, scientists at Berkeley Lab, the University of Hawaii, and Florida International University uncover new clues to the origins of the universe – and land new chemistry for cleaner combustion engines

Mitigating emissions in the livestock production sector

A new study shows that emission intensity per unit of animal protein produced has decreased globally over the past two decades due to greater production efficiency, raising questions around the extent to which methane emissions will change in the future and how we can better manage their negative impacts.

Surge in Nitrogen Has Turned Sargassum into the World’s Largest Harmful Algal Bloom

Scientists have discovered dramatic changes in the chemistry and composition of Sargassum, floating brown seaweed, transforming this vibrant living organism into a toxic “dead zone.” Results suggest that increased nitrogen availability from natural and anthropogenic sources, including sewage, is supporting blooms of Sargassum and turning a critical nursery habitat into harmful algal blooms with catastrophic impacts on coastal ecosystems, economies, and human health. Globally, harmful algal blooms are related to increased nutrient pollution.

Argonne’s Wang and Streets named highly influential climate scientists

Michael Wang and David Streets, both of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, were named to Reuters’ “Hot List” of today’s 1,000 most influential climate scientists. Both are in Argonne’s Energy and Global Security-Energy Systems (EGS-ES) division.

2021 Posters on the Hill Spotlights Exemplary Undergraduate Research Projects for Policymakers, Scholars, and the Public

Via a virtual public poster session on April 28, undergraduate researchers from colleges and universities in 42 states and the District of Columbia will share their research projects in the 2021 Posters on the Hill event, sponsored by the Council on Undergraduate Research.

8 Things Argonne is Doing to Save the Earth

Stepping into their superhero gear, Argonne scientists are using science and the world’s best technology to combat some of Earth’s toughest foes, from pollution to climate change.

Argonne innovations and technology to help drive circular economy

In a collaborative effort to “recover, recycle and reuse,” Argonne strengthens research that addresses pollution, greenhouse gases and climate change and aligns with new policies for carbon emission reduction.

Microplastic Sizes in Hudson-Raritan Estuary and Coastal Ocean Revealed

Rutgers scientists for the first time have pinpointed the sizes of microplastics from a highly urbanized estuarine and coastal system with numerous sources of fresh water, including the Hudson River and Raritan River. Their study of tiny pieces of plastic in the Hudson-Raritan Estuary in New Jersey and New York indicates that stormwater could be an important source of the plastic pollution that plagues oceans, bays, rivers and other waters and threatens aquatic and other life.

Drones used to locate dangerous, unplugged oil wells

There are millions of unplugged oil wells in the United States, which pose a serious threat to the environment. Using drones, researchers from Binghamton University, State University of New York have developed a new method to locate these hard-to-locate and dangerous wells.

The 20 best places to tackle U.S. farm nitrogen pollution

A pioneering study of U.S nitrogen use in agriculture has identified 20 places across the country where farmers, government, and citizens should target nitrogen reduction efforts.

The 20 nitrogen “hotspots of opportunity”–which appear on a striking map–represent a whopping 63% of the total surplus nitrogen balance in U.S. croplands, but only 24% of U.S. cropland area.

Nitrogen inputs are so high in these areas that farmers can most likely reduce nitrogen use without hurting crop yields.

Up-trending farming and landscape disruptions threaten Paris climate agreement goals

Irvine, Calif., Jan. 27, 2021 — One of President Joe Biden’s first post-inauguration acts was to realign the United States with the Paris climate accord, but a new study led by researchers at the University of California, Irvine demonstrates that rising emissions from human land-use will jeopardize the agreement’s goals without substantial changes in agricultural practices.

Rutgers Legal Expert Available to Discuss Environmental, Climate Change Priorities

New Brunswick, N.J. (Jan. 21, 2021) – Rutgers University Professor Cymie R. Payne, an expert on United States and international environmental laws, is available for interviews on how the administration of President Biden can strengthen laws and regulations and efforts to…

Living near Trees May Prevent Vascular Damage from Pollution

Living near an abundance of green vegetation can offset the negative effects of air pollution on blood vessel health. The first-of-its-kind study is published ahead of print in the American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology.

Plastics pose threat to human health

Plastics contain and leach hazardous chemicals, including endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) that threaten human health. An authoritative new report, Plastics, EDCs, & Health, from the Endocrine Society and the IPEN (International Pollutants Elimination Network), presents a summary of international research on the health impacts of EDCs and describes the alarming health effects of widespread contamination from EDCs in plastics.

Four Rutgers Professors Named AAAS Fellows

Four Rutgers professors have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), an honor given to AAAS members by their peers. They join 485 other new AAAS fellows as a result of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. A virtual induction ceremony is scheduled for Feb. 13, 2021.

Study: Clean Air Act Saved 1.5 Billion Birds

U.S. pollution regulations meant to protect humans from dirty air are also saving birds. So concludes a new continentwide study published today in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Study authors found that improved air quality under a federal program to reduce ozone pollution may have averted the loss of 1.5 billion birds during the past 40 years.

Gut Microbiome Manipulation Could Result from Virus Discovery

Scientists have discovered how a common virus in the human gut infects and takes over bacterial cells – a finding that could be used to control the composition of the gut microbiome, which is important for human health. The Rutgers co-authored research, which could aid efforts to engineer beneficial bacteria that produce medicines and fuels and clean up pollutants, is published in the journal Nature.

A first-of-its-kind catalyst mimics natural processes to break down plastic and produce valuable new products

A team of scientists led by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory has developed a first-of-its-kind catalyst that is able to process polyolefin plastics, types of polymers widely used in things like plastic grocery bags, milk jugs, shampoo bottles, toys, and food containers.

Study First to Tally Biomass from Oceanic Plastic Debris Using Visualization Method

Scientists examined cell abundances, size, cellular carbon mass, and how photosynthetic cells differ on polymeric and glass substrates over time, exploring nanoparticle generation from plastic like polystyrene and how this might disrupt microalgae. Conservative estimates suggest that about 1 percent of microbial cells in the ocean surface microlayer inhabit plastic debris globally. This mass of cells would not exist without plastic debris in the ocean, and thus, represents a disruption of the proportions of native flora in that habitat.

UCI is No. 1 in Sierra magazine’s 2020 ‘Cool Schools’ ranking of sustainability leaders

Irvine, Calif., Sept. 28, 2020 — The green streak continues! Sierra magazine has named the University of California, Irvine No. 1 overall in its annual “Cool Schools” ranking of sustainability leaders among U.S. and Canadian universities and colleges, marking the fourth time in the last seven years that UCI has topped the widely acclaimed list.

Argonne scientists create water filtration membranes that can clean themselves

Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory have designed a new, low-cost means to address membrane fouling through the application of a light-activated coating that can make the membrane self-cleaning.

Bacteria Can Defuse Dangerous Chemical In Passaic River

Bacteria that can help defuse highly toxic dioxin in sediments in the Passaic River – a Superfund hazardous waste site – could eventually aid cleanup efforts at other dioxin-contaminated sites around the world, according to Rutgers scientists. Their research, published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, needs further work to realize the full potential of the beneficial bottom-dwelling microbes.

Consideration of both the potential and constraints of reforestation is needed to achieve climate mitigation goals: NUS-led study

A recent study led by NUS researchers showed that practical considerations, beyond where trees could be planted, may limit the climate change mitigation potential of reforestation. Hence, there is a need to understand how these constraints operate to inform climate policies.

Study Finds High Levels of Toxic Pollutants in Stranded Dolphins and Whales

Researchers examined toxins in tissue concentrations and pathology data from 83 stranded dolphins and whales from 2012 to 2018. They looked at 11 different animal species to test for 17 different substances. The study is the first to report on concentrations in blubber tissues of stranded cetaceans of atrazine, DEP, NPE and triclosan. It also is the first to report concentrations of toxicants in a white-beaked dolphin and in Gervais’ beaked whales.