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Adopting low-carbon energy can reduce racial disparities in air pollution

in Environment

Switching to low carbon fuels for transportation, cooking, heating, power generation and other needs would help fight climate change and also reduce racial and ethnic disparities in exposure to air pollution, according to researchers at the University of California, Davis.

Research published in the journal Science of the Total Environment found that differences in exposure to fine and ultrafine particle pollution could be reduced between 20 and 40% in 2050 if solar, wind and electric sources were used rather than fossil fuels.

Continue Reading on PHYS ORG

California Can Reliably Hit 85% Clean Energy By 2030 Without Risking Outages – En Route To A 100% Clean Grid

in Environment

Power crises during California’s August 2020 heat waves raised questions about how reliable the state’s grid will be on the road to its target of 100% clean energy by 2045.

But new research provides clear answers: California can reliably achieve an 85% clean electricity grid by 2030 with a diverse mix of renewables and batteries, flexible demand, trade with neighboring states, and some existing power plants—under multiple build-out assumptions and possible future conditions. It turns out a cleaner grid is a more reliable grid.

State regulators and elected officials can achieve this important step toward the state’s 100% clean energy future through policy actions that accelerate diverse clean energy deployment, reduce gas generation dependence, incentivize demand-side resources, and improve regional electricity trading coordination with neighboring states.

Continue Reading on Forbes

Monarch butterfly numbers have plunged. This project near Modesto could help them

in Environment

Three scientists trudged Friday through a riverside preserve near Modesto, in search of a certain kind of caterpillar.

Dos Rios Ranch has joined the effort to reverse the decline of the Western monarch butterfly. The staff last May planted about 150 acres of milkweed, where this species lays its eggs.

A year later, the plants are about 2 feet tall and the scientists have started to sample the stems and leaves for monarch eggs and caterpillars.

“The hope is that this habitat will support Western monarchs along with many other different pollinators,” said Angela Laws, endangered species conservation biologist for the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

Continue Reading on The Modesto Bee

Renewable electricity powered California 100% for the first time in history

in Environment

Renewable electricity met 100% of California's electricity demand for the first time ever on Saturday, most of it from large amounts of solar power now produced along Interstate 10, an hour east of the Coachella Valley.

While partygoers celebrated in the blazing sunshine at the Stagecoach music festival, energy demand statewide hit 18,672 megawatts at 2:45 p.m. local time, and 37,172 megawatts were available to meet it. Of that, 101% of the power provided came from renewables, according to a continuous tracker provided by California Independent System Operator, or CAISO, a nonprofit that oversees the state's bulk electric power system and transmission lines.

Two thirds of the 18,000 megawatts needed was provided by solar power loaded into the energy grid — or 12,391 megawatts. The milestone lasted almost 15 minutes before edging back down to about 97% renewables.

Continue Reading on USA TODAY

Researchers look at how biofilters can protect waterways

in Environment

LOS ANGELES — Onja Davidson Raoelison, a doctoral candidate in environmental engineering at UCLA, has been working to keep waterways safe.

Her research and studies focus on green infrastructure and how wildfires impact water systems.

“I think we all hear about air quality all the time,” she said. “Even at UCLA, we receive a lot [of news] about the air quality being bad when you’re not supposed to go outside. I never knew that the impact of wildfires on water quality would be an issue and how it impacts aquatic ecosystems and human health.”

Raoelison was born in Madagascar, where water-borne diseases are common. They drove her passion for protecting rivers, lakes, groundwater and surface water.

Continue Reading on Spectrum News

3 Earth-Friendly Tactics for Every Small Business

in business/Environment

Living in California, it's hard to ignore the impact humans have on the natural world. Between drought, wildfires, and the underlying threat of climate change that feeds these disasters, I'm constantly reminded of what's at stake if we don't all make a concerted effort to protect our planet.

Thankfully, there's a growing awareness in the business world that companies need to step up their commitments to eco-friendliness -- and that includes small businesses. A recent survey found that a majority of entrepreneurs around the world are willing to turn down an investor with a poor track record on sustainability. In theory, that kind of commitment is great, but how do those good intentions translate into everyday business practices?

Continue Reading on Inc.

California gives rivers more room to flow to stem flood risk

in Environment

MODESTO, Calif. (AP) — Between vast almond orchards and dairy pastures in the heart of California’s farm country sits a property being redesigned to look like it did 150 years ago, before levees restricted the flow of rivers that weave across the landscape.

The 2,100 acres (1,100 hectares) at the confluence of the Tuolumne and San Joaquin rivers in the state’s Central Valley are being reverted to a floodplain. That means when heavy rains cause the rivers to go over their banks, water will run onto the land, allowing traditional ecosystems to flourish and lowering flood risk downstream.

The Dos Rios Ranch Preserve is California’s largest single floodplain restoration project, part of the nation’s broadest effort to rethink how rivers flow as climate change alters the environment. The land it covers used to be a farm, but the owners sold it to the nonprofit River Partners to use for restoring wildlife habitat.

Continue Reading on FOX40

Yelp: California ranked 2nd most eco-friendly state

in Environment

CALIFORNIA – California is one of the most eco-friendly states to live and work in, according to Yelp.

While “The Golden State” may not have taken the number one spot, California did come in as the second-most eco-friendly place in the United States.

So, who took the top spot?

Yelp says that Oregon’s “sustainability mentions in professional, home and local services, as well as restaurants and food categories” all helped to give the state the highest ranking. California’s heavy emphasis on electric vehicles is what pushed it into the top two, the review site stated.

Continue Reading on FOX5 San Diego

How California’s last remaining nuclear power plant transformed marine life off the coast

in Environment

Take a dip into the Pacific Ocean along most of California’s Central Coast, and the cold water will send you running for a wetsuit.

But there’s one spot where the water isn’t so teeth-chattering and insteadfeels much like a lukewarm bath: Diablo Cove, the oblong 40-acre inlet that sits at the base of PG&E’s Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant near Avila Beach.

There, the ocean waters are heated by the power plant’s cooling system, which sucks in and spits out billions of gallons of seawater every day.

Water in the cove directly adjacent to the discharge structure hovers at an abnormal 70 to 80 degrees — notably warmer than the 50 to 60 degrees typical here.

That has created a unique phenomenon in Diablo Cove, significantly altering the makeup of its marine ecosystem and turning the area into a case study of how cold-water ocean species are impacted by warmer waters.

Continue Reading on The Sacramento Bee

Visit Tuolumne County and enjoy the nature and history of California this winter

in Around California/Environment

When you think of California, images of sunshine and the stunning Pacific coastline are likely the first to pop in your head. Between the beaches and nearby mountains and lakes, there's much to see. The state has even more to offer, especially in Tuolumne County, where you can have a memorable winter vacation for the whole family.

Tuolumne County offers wide-open spaces, small crowds and plenty of activities to entertain the whole family. It’s close to other California destinations like San Francisco and the larger Bay Area. It's also a hot spot for eco-friendly tourism and adventure.

"Tuolumne County has much to offer, and the local community is doing its part to make sure it's around for generations to come," said Lisa Mayo, president and CEO of Visit Tuolumne County. "Visitors can enjoy the county's nature and experience California’s rich history."

Continue Reading on MySA

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