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Scientists Find a Cleaner Way to Extract Methane From Permafrost
An international team of scientists says a new way of extracting methane gas trapped in permafrost has the potential to harvest more gas while burning fewer fossil fuels in the extraction process, as Newsweek reported.
The scientists from Skoltech University in Russia and Heriot-Watt University in Scotland looked at the gas hydrates, which are ice-like structures made up of water and gas. Frequently, the gas trapped with the water is methane. They found that they could use flue gas, which is generated during fuel combustion, to recover methane. Their findings were published in the journal Scientific Reports, as Newsweek reported.
By injecting hot waste flue gas from industrial plants into the gas hydrates, the scientists may have found a carbon sink that can trap the greenhouse gases created by industrial fuel combustion, according to New Atlas.
The new method is important because gas and oil explorations in the Arctic have the potential to accidentally release a lot of trapped methane into the atmosphere. Recently, the Arctic waters around Russia have become a hotbed of oil and gas exploration, but safely extracting the resources poses risks. The area is remote and desolate and lacks infrastructure, plus gas hydrates that are not handled properly may lead to unacceptable methane-levels released into the local atmosphere, according to New Atlas.
The climate crisis has triggered large swaths of ice melt in Russia's Arctic waters. The country is looking to exploit the new openings by rapidly expanding oil and gas development. Russia has offered large tax cuts to energy companies willing to tap into the fossil fuels from its recently discovered reserves that opened up due to melting sea ice, as Newsweek reported.
And yet, according to the scientists, those gas hydrates are also a potential source for natural gas and a place to put unwanted greenhouse gases.
"Our approach not only helps extract methane and prevent its free release into the atmosphere, but also reduces carbon dioxide emissions," said Evgeny Chuvilin, a leading research scientist at the Skoltech Center for Hydrocarbon Recovery (CHR), in a statement. "I would say our method offers a double dividend in terms of environmental safety."
The method the scientists developed takes flue gas from coal-powered plants, metal refineries and other furnaces that use fuel combustion. It then takes the hot flue gas and pumps it into the gas hydrates. That starts a reaction where the methane is released and carbon dioxide replaces it and forms a new hydrate, as New Atlas reported.
The researchers found they were able to capture almost 82 percent of the carbon dioxide contained in the flue gas, as Newsweek reported.
Finding a way to trap flue gas could reap large benefits in reducing global greenhouse emissions, since it consists of several gases produced during fuel combustion. In addition to carbon dioxide, it contains carbon monoxide, nitrogen, sulfur dioxide, and water vapor, according to New Atlas.
As for the liberated methane, it can be used in a closed cycled where the gas powers an industrial plant and the flue gases are recycled to reduce emissions and to release more methane for the plant to use, as New Atlas reported.
"In comparison with potential methods such as thermal stimulation, depressurization, chemical inhibitor injection, CO2, or CO2-mixed gases (e.g., flue gas) injection is more environmentally friendly because of the potential to capture CO2 simultaneously with methane recovery," the authors wrote in the study.
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'How Dare You Put Our Lives at Risk': Pennsylvania Democrat Brian Sims Rips GOP Members for 'Coverup' of Positive COVID-19 Tests
Brian Sims, a Democratic representative in the Pennsylvania legislature, ranted in a Facebook Live video that went viral about the hypocrisy of Republican lawmakers who are pushing to reopen the state even though one of their members had a positive COVID-19 test.
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In another reversal of Obama-era regulations, the Trump administration is having the National Park Service rescind a 2015 order that protected bears and wolves within protected lands.
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By Linda Lacina
World Health Organization officials today announced the launch of the WHO Foundation, a legally separate body that will help expand the agency's donor base and allow it to take donations from the general public.
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Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
By Nicholas Joyce
The coronavirus has resulted in stress, anxiety and fear – symptoms that might motivate a person to see a therapist. Because of social distancing, however, in-person sessions are less possible. For many, this has raised the prospect of online therapy. For clients in need of warmth and reassurance, could this work? Studies and my experience suggests it does.
Telehealth Versus Traditional Therapy<p><a href="https://www.cigna.com/hcpemails/telehealth/telehealth-flyer.pdf" target="_blank">Private insurance companies</a> like Cigna and Aetna, have come around; they now provide coverage for what they see as a "legitimate" service. And <a href="https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/american-wells-2019-consumer-survey-finds-majority-of-consumers-open-to-telehealth-adoption-continues-to-grow-300906438.html" target="_blank">surveys show</a> consumers are receptive to telehealth counseling: no driving to an appointment, no searching for a parking space, no worries about childcare while they're away, no need to switch providers if they move, and no problem if the specialist happens to be far away.</p><p>Online therapy opens doors for clients who wouldn't otherwise seek help, <a href="https://www.worldcat.org/title/empirical-examination-of-the-influence-of-personality-gender-role-conflict-and-self-stigma-on-attitudes-and-intentions-to-seek-online-counseling-in-college-students/oclc/941976505" target="_blank">particularly patients</a> who feel stigmatized by therapy or intimidated by a stranger sitting across the room from them. Often, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1089/1094931041291295" target="_blank">people open up</a> more easily in telehealth sessions. Firsthand accounts have detailed <a href="https://www.romper.com/p/i-tried-online-therapy-for-a-month-this-is-what-happened-13630" target="_blank">positive experiences from consumers</a>.</p>
Overcoming Prejudices About Online Counseling<p>Now COVID-19 is forcing most traditional psychotherapists to adapt their practice to <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/expressive-trauma-integration/202003/covid-19-etherapy-in-times-isolation" target="_blank">online counseling</a>. After experiencing the medium, they are <a href="https://www.wecounsel.com/blog/why-every-therapist-in-private-practice-needs-a-telehealth-option/" target="_blank">overcoming their prejudices</a>. Many will convert some or all of their caseloads to telehealth after the pandemic ends. Most of our clients seem to be good with it: responding to a satisfaction survey, 85% of USF students strongly or somewhat agreed their telehealth experience was comparable to an in-person visit.</p><p>All this allows a continuity of care for clients that before was impossible; there is, however, a caveat. Because of the coronavirus, some of my clients at USF who live out-of-state have moved back home. That means, legally, I can no longer serve them. Even though they are still USF students, my license is valid only in Florida.</p><p>For telehealth to work effectively, our national system of licensing and regulation law needs to adapt. Although the federal government temporarily halted HIPAA regulations to promote telehealth during this time, not all states are allowing out-of-state practice. The coronavirus may not be here forever, but spring break and Christmas holidays always will. We need seamless telehealth across state lines.</p>
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As many parts of the planet continue to open their doors after pandemic closures, a new pest is expected to make its way into the world. After spending more than a decade underground, millions of cicadas are expected to emerge in regions of the southeastern U.S.
Kevin Frayer / Stringer / Getty Images
By Jessica Corbett
Even after the world's largest economies adopted the landmark Paris agreement to tackle the climate crisis in late 2015, governments continued to pour $77 billion a year in public finance into propping up the fossil fuel industry, according to a report released Wednesday.
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Twenty-three states and Washington, DC launched a suit Wednesday to stop the Trump administration rollback of Obama-era fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks.
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