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“European Union Nations Unanimously Agree to Ban Single-Use Plastics By 2021”

 

“The European Union (EU) is playing no games with its waste. All 28 countries within the union agreed Wednesday to phase out single-use items like plastic straws and cutlery, as well as polystyrene drink and food containers, by 2021. The 10 items covered in the ban make up 70 percent of Europe’s marine litter, per the EU. A couple U.S. cities and even California have taken similar actions, but this is the largest move the world to eliminate single-use plastics the world has seen thus far. Countries like Australia and India have banned plastic bags, but none have yet to outlaw the sale of straws, forks, and knives. Now, we’ve got a whole coalition of nations that’s decided our pollution problem is so dire that drastic action is necessary. The ban is no surprise—the European Commission announced plans for the move back in May. The ball is just finally rolling! The European Parliament and Council must now approve this measure, and then member states will have two years to fully implement it. This ban should avoid the emission of more than 3 million tons of carbon dioxide and save the union 22 billion euros (25 billion USD) in environmental damage by 2030. Consumers will save money, too: an estimated 6.5 billion euros (7.5 billion USD).”

 

 

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“One of El Niño’s key ingredients is missing”

 

“El Niño, the climate cycle in the tropical Pacific Ocean that can reconfigure weather patterns, is slowly but steadily building for 2019 — but there is a component of it that is still missing in action. Why it matters: El Niño events are one of the most consequential forces that can tip the odds in favor of particular weather patterns. But they require both unusually warm ocean temperatures in the tropical Pacific and changes in the atmosphere — and so far, the atmosphere hasn’t changed. The big picture: El Niño events can make or break a ski season in the Western U.S. by directing storms across the southern tier of the country, and they tend to favor milder-than-average conditions in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest. They can also boost global average temperatures, adding to the influence of human-caused global warming, which acts on far longer timescales. During the past two decades, scientists have become adept at forecasting the onset and intensity of El Niño events. A telltale sign of El Niño’s arrival is a sharp increase in equatorial tropical Pacific Ocean temperatures. Part of its definition is now being met, as sea surface temperatures in part of the Pacific have reached 1°C, or 1.8°F, above average for this time of year.”

 

 

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“This AI Just Mapped Every Solar Panel in the United States”

 

“From rooftop configurations to utility-scale facilities, solar panels are springing up like popcorn across the United States. Putting an exact figure on the nation’s total solar power output, however, is proving to be notoriously difficult. Thankfully, it’s a problem well suited to artificial intelligence, as new research from Stanford University shows. In some states, solar energy accounts for upwards of 10 percent of total electricity generation. It’s definitely a source of power that’s on the rise, whether it be to lessen our dependence on fossil fuels, nuclear power, or the energy grid, or simply to take advantage of the low costs. This form of energy, however, is highly decentralized, so it’s tough to know how much solar energy is being extracted, where, and by whom. “Currently, there is no scalable way to build a complete national map of the adoption of solar systems, particularly rooftop PV [photovoltaics], including precise locations and panel sizes,” said Ram Rajagopal, a civil engineering professor at Stanford and the co-author of a new studypublished today in the science journal Joule. “Such maps help utilities, system operators, policymakers and tech vendors understand the adoption patterns of solar systems. We wanted to develop a methodology that could be applied in most countries in the world and required limited human intervention.”

See more from Gizmodo HERE:

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“2018’s deadly hurricane season, visualized”

 

“Over the span of just 70 days, 22 major hurricanes struck land around the Northern Hemisphere in 2018. They began earlier, continued later, and some took unexpected paths before hitting land. Between record-breaking hurricanes in both the Atlantic and Pacific, billions of dollars in damages were seen. All told, 2018 was one of the most active hurricane seasons on record, and some studies are speculating that a warming climate may be making these storms more frequent and more intense. A number of factors, however, can determine the strength of a hurricane when it hits land. Over the course of weeks, tropical storm systems must gather strength, survive wind shear, and pass over land obstacles before striking land as a hurricane.”

See more from NatGeo HERE:

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“Where, exactly, is the edge of space? It depends on who you ask.”

“ASK SOMEONE WHERE outer space is, and they’ll probably point at the sky. It’s up, right? Simple. Except, no one really knows where “air space” ends and “outer space” begins. That might sound trivial, but defining that boundary could matter for a variety of reasons—including, but not limited to, which high-flying humans get to be designated as astronauts. Now, with Virgin Galactic seemingly on the cusp of launching paying passengers onto suborbital trajectories, many people are wondering whether those lucky space tourists will earn their astronaut wings. As of right now, they will, according to U.S. practices. Is that a problem? “No, I think it’s great!” says NASA astronaut Mike Massimino, who helped repair the Hubble Space Telescope. Here, we take a look at the ways space is currently defined, the confusion surrounding the demarcation, and what the future might bring.”

See more from NatGeo HERE:

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“Scientists slam door on the alleged ‘pause’ in global warming”

“Today, climate change deniers will resurrect the tired old argument that Earth’s global warming stalled sometime at the beginning of this century. The evidence for such a slowdown, however, doesn’t exist. A diverse group of global researchers published two papers in the scientific journal Environmental Research Letters on Tuesday, affirming why such claims of a global warming hiatus are and always were misleading, at best. “We find there never was any statistical evidence for it,” Stefan Rahmstorf, head of Earth System Analysis at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and coauthor of the research, said over email.”

See more from Mashable HERE:

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Thanks for checking in and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWX

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