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Natural gas is leaking beneath streets near you, though you might not realize it.
While the leaks might not show obvious effects right away, the methane within natural gas warms the planet about 120 more than carbon dioxide. Google and the Environmental Defense Fund entered a partnership to track pipe leak risks with innovative online maps. The maps are part of a pilot project that uses specially equipped Google Street View mapping cars in hopes of gauging the potential of new sensing and analytical technologies to measure environmental indicators in ways that previously too difficult or impossible.
Google and the EDF began their project observing natural gas pipes in Boston, MA;, Indianapolis, IN; and Staten Island, NY.
“New technology has given us vastly greater ability to make environmental data available for everyone to see, and to use that information to solve environmental problems by making better decisions,” said Steven Hamburg, EDF’s chief scientist. “Methane leaks are a pervasive challenge throughout the natural gas industry. This is an ideal chance to put new science to work and to solve a major real-world challenge.”
The EDF and researchers at Colorado State University developed and tested the system for two years to the point that it could assess the amount of gas escaping from leaks of all sizes detected amid 15 million individual readings that were collected under thousands of miles of roads. The two entities believe natural gas companies fail to do such monitoring themselves, putting the public at risk.
"Environmental quality is an issue that affects everyone. Making this information more accessible can make a meaningful difference in people’s quality of life,” said Karin Tuxen-Bettman, program manager for Google Earth Outreach. “This pilot project is meant to explore and understand the potential for EDF and others to map and visualize important environmental information in ways that help people understand both problems and solutions.”
The EDF and Google plan on detecting other pollutants and in more cities. Click here to nominate your city.
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Europe is gearing up for another extreme heat wave that could set all-time records for several European countries.
Micro-Naps for Plants: Flicking the Lights on and off Can Save Energy Without Hurting Indoor Agriculture Harvests
By Kevin M. Folta
A nighttime arrival at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport flies you over the bright pink glow of vegetable production greenhouses. Growing crops under artificial light is gaining momentum, particularly in regions where produce prices can be high during seasons when sunlight is sparse.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) former head of the Office of Air and Radiation who was instrumental in drafting policies that eased climate protection rules and pollution standards is under investigation by a federal watchdog for his dealings with the fossil fuel industry he was supposed to be regulating, according to the New York Times.
It's no secret that the Trump administration has championed fossil fuels and scoffed at renewable energy. But the Trump administration is trying to keep something secret: the climate crisis. That's according to a new analysis from the watchdog group Environmental Data and Governance Initiative (EDGI) who found that more than a quarter of the references to climate change on .gov websites vanished.
By Adrienne Hollis
Climate change is a threat multiplier. This is a fact I know to be true. I also know that our most vulnerable populations, particularly environmental justice communities — people of color and/or low socioeconomic status — are suffering and will continue to suffer first and worst from the adverse effects of climate change. Case in point? Extreme heat.