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S1 BLOG

More Action Announced Toward Climate Goals in the Wake of Climate Week NYC

As Climate Week NYC came to a close two weeks ago, Governor Hochul announced some major developments in plans to advance New York State’s ambitious climate goals for the coming decades.

First, the Governor announced completion of a major $460 million modernization and life extension effort at the New York Power Authority’s Lewiston Pump Generating Plant and the digitization of the first of 13 hydropower turbines at the Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant. The digitization is the first major milestone of Next Generation Niagara, a $1.1 billion, 15-year modernization and digitization program to significantly extend the operating life of the Niagara Power Project. Together, these projects represent nearly $1.6 billion of clean energy infrastructure investments at the Niagara Power Project that will help advance New York State’s aggressive clean energy goal to transition to 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2040.

At the end of Climate Week, the Governor also announced the latest round of communities to achieve certification as part of New York State’s Climate Smart Communities program, which supports local efforts to meet the economic, social, and environmental challenges posed by climate change. By taking meaningful steps to mitigate and adapt to climate change, 11 local governments met the criteria to be recognized as leaders for the first time.

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Celebrating Hispanic/Latino/Latinx STEM Heroes for National Hispanic Heritage Month

In the US, the monthlong period from September 15-October 15 is designated as National Hispanic Heritage Month, a great time to pay tribute to the Mexican-American, Puerto Rican, Colombian-American, Argentinian-American, Peruvian-American and Cuban-American (among many other) scientists, researchers, astronauts, doctors, mathematicians and physicists who have done so much work in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

This list from WeRepStem.com includes Nobel prize winners (Luis Walter Alvarez, Severo Ochoa, and César Milstein), the first Latinx woman to be elected president of the American Health Association (Helen Rodríguez-Trías), and two NASA astronauts (Ellen Ochoa and Carlos I. Noriega), among many distinguished and influential professionals.

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US & EU Pledge to Reduce Methane Emissions

In a bid to tackle climate change, the U.S. and the European Union pledged to reduce methane emissions by a third over the next decade and are urging other countries to follow suit.

Deservedly, carbon dioxide gets a lot of bad publicity because it is the most abundant man-made greenhouse gas but methane, the main component of natural gas, is responsible for about a third of the 1.1 degrees Celsius (2 degrees Fahrenheit) rise in global average temperature the world has suffered since the start of the industrial revolution.

Since then, concentrations of methane, which is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide when it comes to trapping heat in the atmosphere, have more than doubled.

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From 4% to 45%: US Energy Dept Recommends Huge Solar Expansion

The Biden administration on Wednesday released a plan to produce almost half of the nation’s electricity from the sun by 2050 as part of its effort to combat climate change.

Solar energy provided less than 4 percent of the country’s electricity last year, and the administration’s target of 45 percent would represent a huge leap and will most likely take a fundamental reshaping of the energy industry. In a new report, the Energy Department said the country needed to double the amount of solar energy installed every year over the next four years compared with last year. And then it will need to double annual installations again by 2030.

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Mussels Could Help Solve Our Microplastics Problem

Instead of shelling out for a water filtration plant, mussels’ constant filter feeding is being tested as a potential wide-scale application for microplastic clean-up in our oceans.
Belying their humble evolutionary stature, the mussel can do something that humanity could only achieve by spending millions on equipment, and that is cleaning microplastics smaller than 5mm out of the ocean.

A voracious filter feeder, mussels absorb microplastics and than excrete them, while doing no harm to the organism.

Microplastics are devilish pollutants that can come from tire wear, fracture off long-floating plastic debris, or get pulled off artificial textiles and end up in the ocean via sewage. They’re so small that often the required fineness of a net in order to collect them ensures that any marine life, even tiny ones, will be collected as well.

A trial near the Plymouth Marine Laboratory in England is looking to see how many mussels it would take to make a meaningful impact on microplastic pollution.

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