Connect with us

News

Back in Paris, the US faces tougher climate measures ahead of the Paris Pact

Published

on

Back in Paris, the US faces tougher climate measures ahead of the Paris Pact

 

World leaders welcomed the formal return of the United States to the Paris climate agreement on Friday, but President Joe Biden is facing politically trickier measures, including setting a challenging national target for reducing toxic fossil fuel emissions in the coming months.

And even as Biden acknowledged the country’s first day back in the climate deal, the dangerous warming of the globe was just one of a long list of urgent problems he posed on Friday, one month into his presidency, in a video speech to European leaders. He tackled the global pandemic, sputtering national economies and strained ties with China before addressing climate problems, among other issues that threaten to obstruct and postpone tackling the nation’s position as the world’s top carbon polluter after China.

We can no longer delay or do the bare minimum to tackle climate change, Biden said, amid all the other obstacles, speaking to the Munich Security Conference. This is a global existential problem, and if we fail, we will all suffer.

On his first day in office, Biden signed an executive order repealing the pullout ordered by President Donald Trump. Trump said shortly after he took office that he would initiate the process of taking the U.S. out of the Paris agreement, but because of the clauses of the agreement, it did not take effect until Nov. 4, 2020.

The United States was formally out of the 2015 global warming pact for 107 days only. It was part of the withdrawal of Trump from global allegiances in general and his often-stated but false view that the scientists of the world were laughably mistaken about global warming.

More generally, Trump overturned Obama-era efforts to reign in oil, gas and coal emissions and opened up mining and fracking for new federal lands and waters. Biden is seeking to undo these initiatives and has also vowed a $2 trillion remake of U.S. power grids, transportation networks and other facilities to slash fossil fuel emissions sharply.

While the return of Friday is highly symbolic, world leaders say they expect America to prove that the cause is serious. They are especially anxious for the United States to announce its new national 2030 target for reducing emissions of fossil fuels, which scientists believe will change the atmosphere of the Earth and intensify the extremes of drought, hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Thursday that the official reentry of the United States “is very important in itself,” as is Biden’s declaration that, as promised in 2009, the United States will return to providing climate assistance to poorer nations.

 

“It’s not a matter of how many days. “The political symbolism is that the largest economy refuses to see the opportunity to tackle climate change,” said Christiana Figueres, former climate chief of the United Nations. In hammering out the largely voluntary 2015 agreement in which nations set their own targets to mitigate greenhouse gases, she was one of the leading powers.

One concern was that in abandoning the climate war, other nations would join America, but none did, Figueres said. She said four years of climate inaction by the Trump administration was the real problem. American cities, states and corporations, but without the intervention of the federal government, were also trying to eliminate heat-trapping carbon dioxide.

“We lost too much time,” said Figueres.

Inger Andersen, director of the United Nations Environment Program, said America needs to prove its leadership to the rest of the world, but she said she has no doubt it will do so when it submits its targets for emissions reductions.

We hope that they will translate into a very substantial reduction in emissions, and they will be an example to be followed by other countries,” said Guterres.”

The administration of Biden is now working on a target that combines major emissions cuts with political and financial realities. By April, when Biden prepares to host world leaders for an Earth Day summit, agreeing on a U.S. carbon objective will help the administration prod other countries for aggressive emissions cuts as well. “John Kerry, Biden’s climate envoy, said Friday that spring meeting should see countries start “to put the down payments on the table.

Republican leaders are fighting against it already.

Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, the Senate Energy Panel’s top Republican, attacked Biden for rejoining the Paris Agreement, tweeting: “Returning to the Paris climate agreement will raise the cost of energy for Americans and will not solve climate change.” The Biden administration would set unworkable U.S. targets, while China and Russia will be able to continue business as normal.

University of Maryland environmental professor Nate Hultman, who served on the official Paris aim of the Obama administration, said he expects a target of cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 40 percent to 50 percent from the baseline levels of 2005 by 2030.

A long-standing international goal, included with an even more stringent goal in the Paris agreement, is to keep warming from pre-industrial times below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Since that time, the earth has already warmed by 1.2 degrees Celsius (2.2 degrees Fahrenheit).

The return of the United States to the Paris agreement and an ambitious target for emission cuts would make it much more likely to restrict warming “to well below 2 degrees, not just to 2 degrees but below 2 degrees,” said climate scientist Zeke Hausfather, the Breakthrough Institute’s energy and climate director.

google news

News

New Christmas movie drive-in at Red Rocks to screen favs from “Love Actually” to “Die Hard”

Published

on

New Christmas movie drive-in at Red Rocks to screen favs from “Love Actually” to “Die Hard”

The continuing, sold-out success of Denver Film’s annual Film on the Rocks series at Red Rocks Amphitheatre has now birthed a sibling.

Film on the Rocks: Holiday Drive-In Series kicks off Friday, Nov. 25, with a baker’s dozen of crowd-pleasing films that tap our nostalgia and seasonal sentimentality, such as “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” “Love Actually,” “Gremlins” and “Die Hard.”

Tickets cost $59.50 per car, per film, and will include a movie-themed snack pack. Passes are on sale at 10 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 29 via redrocksonline.com.

Like the warm-weather Film on the Rocks, the outdoor series — not to be confused with the Holiday Twin drive-in in Fort Collins — is set against the majestic natural backdrop of the famous amphitheater. As with summer 2020, it’s taking place in the parking lot and not in the seated amphitheater. (Although it’s easy to see people sitting happily in the snow for a couple of hours at Red Rocks, given that this is Colorado.)

“For more than two decades, Film on the Rocks has been delivering memorable summer traditions and experiences to our audiences,” said Kevin Smith, chief marketing officer for Denver Film, in a press statement. “Beginning this year, we’re excited to join our partners at Denver Arts & Venues to extend that experience and help create some stand-out winter memories for thousands of our guests around some of their favorite holiday films.”

Programmers will screen 13 “all-time holiday classics, including a season cartoon before each feature film,” according to the press statement. The program in partnership with Red Rocks owner and city agency Denver Arts & Venues, runs weekends through Dec. 12. It also kicks off just a couple of weeks after the finale of Denver Film’s 44th Denver Film Festival.

Holiday Drive-In movies will be presented on a 48-foot by 28-foot LED screen in the Red Rocks Lower South Lot 2 parking area, with sound delivered through a designated FM radio frequency. Guests are required to remain inside their vehicles for the duration of the events, organizers said, with gates opening an hour before the show with a 350-vehicle capacity.

Here’s the full lineup:

“Planes, Trains & Automobiles” — 4:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 26

“National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” — 8 p.m. Friday, Nov 26

“Polar Express” — 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 27

“Die Hard” — 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 27

“Home Alone” — 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 28

 “Gremlins” — 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3

“Jingle All the Way” — 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4

“Batman Returns” — 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4

“How the Grinch Stole Christmas” — 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5

google news
Continue Reading

News

Recipes: What to do with all those apples

Published

on

Recipes: What to do with all those apples

By Emily Weinstein, The New York Times

I went apple picking last weekend, along with about a million other people in the New York metro area. Is it me, or does recreational apple picking just continue to surge year over year as a fall activity? Some people are not into it, which I get, and yes, cynically speaking, it’s an excellent flannel-clad Instagram moment. But I’ve done it for years, and, for my small kids who live nowhere near a farm, it’s a very clear moment of connection: Fruit comes from trees!

There is one problem, though, which is that I somehow thought bringing home a half-bushel of apples was reasonable. It was not. So far I have baked one pie and dispensed apples to everyone in my home every day, and we have barely made a dent in the pyramid of fruit that now stands in my kitchen. Maybe you’re in this situation, too.

And so I’ve got a few ideas below for how to use them up at dinner. You could also make applesauce, apple butter or apple jelly. You could put them in muffins, crumbles and cakes. You could layer them in sandwiches. You could roast them with sausages or toss them into kale salad. You could serve them with sourdough pancakes or a Dutch baby.

1. Sheet-Pan Chicken With Apple, Fennel and Onion

Con Poulos, The New York Times

Sheet-pan chicken with apple, fennel and onion in New York on Sept. 27, 2018. This ultra-simple five-star recipe from Colu Henry matches chicken thighs with tart apple, which sweetens in the oven. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.

Chicken thighs are roasted with classic fall ingredients for a quick, flavorful sheet-pan supper. The toasted fennel seeds subtly amplify the anise flavor of the roasted fennel and play nicely with the apples and onions. Look for an apple on the tart side as it will naturally sweeten as it cooks in the oven. If you want to use bone-in chicken breasts you can, just make sure to cut the cooking time by a few minutes so they don’t dry out. Serve with a bright, bitter green salad flecked with blue cheese and toasted walnuts.

By: Colu Henry

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Total time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 2 1/2 to 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, patted dry
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, tough outer leaves removed, cored and thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 tart apple, such as Mutsu (Crispin) or Granny Smith, halved, cored and cut into 8 wedges
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • Flaky salt, for serving

Preparation

1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. In a small skillet, toast the fennel seeds over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes. Pound into a coarse powder with a mortar and pestle or, alternatively, roughly chop. In a large bowl, toss together the chicken with 1 tablespoon olive oil and the fennel seeds and season well with salt and pepper.

2. Place the onion, fennel and apple slices on the sheet pan. Toss with the remaining olive oil and season well with salt. Spread in an even layer. Add the chicken skin side up on top of the vegetables and lay the rosemary (distributing evenly) on top of the chicken. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the onions, fennel and apples are softened and have begun to caramelize at the edge of the pan.

google news
Continue Reading

News

Type of ultraviolet light most effective at killing coronavirus is also the safest to use around people

Published

on

Type of ultraviolet light most effective at killing coronavirus is also the safest to use around people

Scientists have long known that ultraviolet light can kill pathogens on surfaces and in air and waterUV robots are used to disinfect empty hospital rooms, buses and trains; UV bulbs in HVAC systems eliminate pathogens in building air; and UV lamps kill bugs in drinking water.

Perhaps you have seen UV wands, UV LEDs and UV air purifiers advertised as silver bullets to protect against the coronavirus. While decades of research have looked at the ability of UV light to kill many pathogens, there are no set standards for UV disinfection products with regard to the coronavirus. These products may work to kill SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, but they also may not.

I am an environmental engineer and expert in UV disinfection. In May 2021, my colleagues and I set out to accurately test various UV systems and see which was the most effective at killing off – or inactivating – SARS-CoV-2.

David Herring, NASA via WikimediaCommons

When UV light enters a cell, it breaks the bonds that hold DNA or RNA together.

How does UV light kill a virus?

Light is categorized by wavelength – the distance between peaks of a wave of light – and is measured in nanometers. UV wavelengths range from 100 to 400 nanometers – shorter in wavelength than the violet hues in visible light – and are invisible to the human eye. As wavelength shortens, photons of light contain higher amounts of energy.

Different wavelengths of UV light work better than others for inactivating viruses, and this depends on how well the wavelengths are absorbed by the virus’s DNA or RNA. When UV light gets absorbed, the photons of light transfer their energy to and damage the chemical bonds of the genetic material. The virus is then unable to replicate or cause an infection. Researchers have also shown the proteins that viruses use to attach to a host cell and initiate infection – like the spike proteins on a coronavirus – are also vulnerable to UV light.

The dose of light matters too. Light can vary in intensity – bright light is more intense, and there is more energy in it than in dim light. Being exposed to a bright light for a short time can produce the same UV dose as being exposed to a dim light for a longer period. You need to know the right dose that can kill coronavirus particles at each UV wavelength.

A sunburned man sits on a beach

Ian Hooton, Science Photo Library via Getty Images

Sunburns are caused by UV light damaging skin cells.

Making ultraviolet lights safe for people

Traditional UV systems use wavelengths at or around 254 nanometers. At these wavelengths the light is dangerous to human skin and eyes, even at low doses. Sunlight includes UV light near these wavelengths; anyone who has ever gotten a bad sunburn knows just how dangerous UV light can be.

However, recent research has shown that at certain UV wavelengths – specifically below 230 nanometers – the high-energy photons are absorbed by the top layers of dead skin cells and don’t penetrate into the active skin layers where damage can occur. Similarly, the tear layer around eyes also blocks out these germicidal UV rays.

This means that at wavelengths of UV light below 230 nanometers, people can move around more freely while the air around them is being disinfected in real time.

UV lamp test diagram

Karl Linden, CC BY-ND

Researchers used this setup to test multiple different UV lights at various doses to see what it took to kill SARS-CoV-2.

Testing different wavelengths

My colleagues and I tested five commonly used UV wavelengths to see which work best to inactivate SARS-CoV-2. Specifically, we tested how large a dose is needed to kill 90% to 99.9% of the viral particles present.

We ran these tests in a biosafety level three facility at the University of Arizona that is built to handle lethal pathogens. There we tested numerous lights across the UV spectrum, including UV LEDs that emit light at 270 and 282 nanometers, traditional UV tube lamps at 254 nanometers and a newer technology called an excited dimer, or excimer, UV source at 222 nanometers.

To test each device we spiked a sample of water with millions of SARS-CoV-2 viruses and coated a petri dish with a thin layer of this mixture. We then shined UV light on the petri dish until we achieved a specific dose. Finally we examined the viral particles to see if they could still infect human cells in culture. If the viruses could infect the cells, the dose was not high enough. If the viruses did not cause an infection, the UV source at that dose had successfully killed the pathogen. We carefully repeated this process for a range of UV doses using the five different UV devices.

While all of the wavelengths we tested can inactivate SARS-CoV-2 at very low doses, the ones that required the lowest dose were the systems that emit UV light at a wavelength of 222 nanometers. In our experiment, it took a dose of less than 2 millijoules of energy per square centimeter to kill 99.9% of viral particles. This translates to needing about 20 seconds to disinfect a space receiving a low intensity of short wavelength UV light, similar to that used in our test.

These 222-nanometer systems are almost twice as effective as conventional UV tube lamps, which are often used in ultraviolet disinfecting systems. But importantly, the winning lamp also happens to be the safest for humans, too. At the same UV light intensity it takes to kill 99.9% of SARS-CoV-2 in 20 seconds, a person could be safely exposed to 222-nanometer light for up to one hour and 20 minutes.

What this means is that widely available types of UV lamp lights can be used to safely knock down levels of the coronavirus with people present.

Better use of existing tech

Many places or organizations – ranging from the U.S. Air Force to the Space Needle in Seattle to Boeing – are already using or investigating ways to use UV light in the 222 nanometer range to protect public health.

I believe that our findings are important because they quantify the exact doses needed to achieve various levels of SARS-CoV-2 control, whether that be killing 90% or 99.9% of viral particles.

Imagine coffee shops, grocery stores, school classrooms, restaurants and concert venues now made safe by this technology. And this is not a solution for just SARS-CoV-2. These technologies could help protect human health in public spaces in future times of crisis, but also during times of relative normalcy, by reducing exposure to everyday viral and bacterial threats.


1635268335 206 Type of ultraviolet light most effective at killing coronavirus is

google news
Continue Reading

Trending