puffin in flight

Climate Change & Conservation eNews


Dairy Cow
Judy Anderson

Climate change, antibiotics may threaten soil

Researchers say livestock antibiotic residues can degrade microbe activity when combined with rising temperatures. That doesn't mean making animals suffer, however.

study by researchers at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York, has shown that when rising temperatures combine with antibiotic residues expelled by livestock, it degrades soil microbe efficiency, soil resilience to future stress, and its ability to trap carbon…

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Judy Anderson

Breaking down the Inflation Reduction Act program by program, incentive by incentive

The GOP is out to gut the Inflation Reduction Act. Ironically, study after study notes that it's more cost-effective to slow down climate change than to deal with increasing disasters. And that doesn't factor in the loss of life. Here's what's at stake.

The Inflation Reduction Act is the biggest investment in clean energy and climate solutions in American history, so it can be hard to keep track of everything in it. This spreadsheet breaks down the funding opportunities in the bill in a way that allows a variety of users to easily find out which IRA programs and tax incentives can benefit them.

In particular, this spreadsheet was developed for use by:

  • State and local/municipal governments
  • Tribal Nations
  • Businesses
  • Non-profits
  • Institutions of higher education
  • Individual consumers
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Urban Trees
Cokko Swain via American Forests

Cities are rethinking what kinds of trees they’re planting

Inclusive conservation means working with, and for, people and of diverse landscapes, including villages, hamlets, town centers, and cities (and if your region has different language for more populated areas, let me know). That's true with climate change action, too.

The U.S. Forest Service estimates that cities are losing some 36 million trees every year, wiped out by development, disease and, increasingly, climate stressors like drought. In a recent study published in Nature, researchers found that more than half of urban trees in 164 cities around the world were already experiencing temperature and precipitation conditions that were beyond their limits for survival.

“So many of the trees that we’ve relied upon heavily are falling out of favor now as the climate changes…”

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A fresh look into grasslands as carbon sinks

While scientific interest in grassland soil for carbon sequestration is not new, researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Colorado State University have provided a fresh analysis of the existing research on soil carbon sequestration in grasslands.

The researchers also found that continuous livestock grazing reduces plant cover, diversity, and productivity, and that seasonal or rotational grazing show the least negative effects and can even promote soil carbon storage.

“[We found that grassland ecosystems’] plant and microbial biodiversity and functions can be restored by improving grassland management, leading to substantial carbon removal from the atmosphere thus contributing to climate change mitigation”…

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Talking climate in a red state

If you are interested in connecting with people from all walks of life, this is a good talk to watch. Her insights are something that all of us can emulate. It's not rocket science — but so few are doing this.

Climate change has become one of the most politically-polarized topics in the entire country. Today, the extent to which we agree with the simple facts that climate is changing, humans are responsible, the impacts are serious, and action is needed has nothing to do with how much science we know and everything to do with where we fall on the political spectrum.

In such a polarized environment, how can we have constructive conversations that move us forward together rather than driving us farther apart? Katharine Hayhoe untangles the science behind how our beliefs shape our identity and highlights the key role our values can play in shaping our conversations on this crucial topic.

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New 50-year study offers insight into effects of climate on bird reproduction

Study co-author Jeffrey Hoover, an avian ecologist at the Illinois Natural History Survey, describes the findings in an interview with University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign life sciences editor Diana Yates.

Beyond effects of a warming climate on individual species’ reproductive output, the study also considered whether climate change may affect offspring production by interacting with other attributes of the birds…

Warming temperatures also were associated with less offspring production among relatively large birds. These changes were not necessarily caused directly by climate change but by the effects of climate change on the life histories and ecological traits of species that influence clutch size and rates of nesting failure over time…

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Future of many North American crops may depend on ground beetles’ response to climate change

A new study by researchers at Penn State University, Duke University, and the University of Saskatchewan suggests not all of the nearly 2,000 species of ground beetles found in North America will thrive under climate change. Some could decline. And that could have far-reaching implications for agriculture, forestry, and conservation.

By analyzing data on 136 different ground beetle species from diverse habitats across continental North America, Puerto Rico and Hawaii, the researchers found that a species’ odds of success in a changing climate depend on several core traits, such as its habitat preference, body size, and whether it flies, burrows, climbs, or runs.

“We found that less mobile, nonflying ground beetles, which are critical pest control agents, are more likely to decline over time in a warmer, dryer climate,” said Tong Qiu, assistant professor of multifunctional landscapes at Penn State, who led the study. “That means you’re going to have more pests that can impact agricultural and forest ecosystems…”

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Werner Slocum/NREL

New Jersey approves pilot program to demonstrate feasibility of agrivoltaics

Other states are paying attention and figuring out how elevated solar (a form of agrivoltaics that allows for greater farm diversification) can be part of farm and ranch viability, soil health, and water management strategy going forward.

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) has approved an agreement with the Rutgers University Agrivoltaics Program (RAP) to facilitate the development and implementation of a Dual-Use Solar Energy Pilot Program over the next three years.

The pilot program will provide incentives to solar electric generation facilities located on unpreserved farmland that plan to maintain the land’s active agricultural or horticultural use. Dual-use solar can provide farmers with an additional stream of revenue, assisting with farm financial viability enabling continued agricultural or horticultural production of land while also increasing the statewide production of clean energy…

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Creative Commons

Research report: Antibiotics and temperature interact to disrupt soil communities and nutrient cycling

A study by researchers at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York, has shown that when rising temperatures combine with antibiotic residues expelled by livestock, it degrades soil microbe efficiency, soil resilience to future stress, and its ability to trap carbon.

Soils contain immense diversity and support terrestrial ecosystem functions, but they face both anthropogenic and environmental stressors. While many studies have examined the influence of individual stressors on soils, how these perturbations will interact to shape soil communities and their ability to cycle nutrients is far less resolved. Here, we hypothesized that when soils experience multiple stressors their ability to maintain connected and stable communities is disrupted, leading to shifts in C and N pools.

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Politics And Policy

Climate Change in the American Mind: Politics & Policy, December 2022

Climate action needs to be focused on what people can relate to in an authentic way — with solutions they can trust, and to which they can relate. You might appreciate this report, Climate Change in the American Mind: Politics & Policy, from December 2022.

This report is based on findings from a nationally representative survey – Climate Change in the American Mind – conducted jointly by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication. Interview dates: December 2 –12, 2022. Interviews: 1,085 adults (18+), 938 of whom are registered to vote.

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