Category Archives: ΠΕΡΙΒΑΛΛΟΝ

Sunfield Inc. Reaches $1 Million Settlement with OSHA

Ohio auto parts manufacturer Sunfield Inc. must pay a hefty penalty and change safety procedures in a settlement with OSHA.The company must pay $1 million in fines and hire an EHS professional to resolve numerous safety and health violations.“Employers have an obligation under the law to ensure safe and healthy workplaces,” said OSHA’s Chicago-area Regional Administrator Ken Nishiyama Atha. “In addition to paying a $1 million penalty, this company has committed to invest in the safety and health of its employees and work cooperatively with OSHA.”The violations were found after OSHA investigated Sunfield’s Hebron, Ohio facility following January and February 2016 incidents in which two workers suffered severe injuries after coming into contact into moving machine parts.The inspection also found that the company lacked adequate power press guarding, and hazardous energy control procedures that could have prevented the incidents.As part of the settlement, Sunfield also agreed to revise die-change procedures, develop a program for ensuring installed light curtains and interlocks are functioning properly prior to each shift, work with third-party auditors to complete a safety and health audit of its facility, according to OSHA.In addition, the company must meet quarterly with OSHA staff to assure implementation of this agreement.Let's block ads! (Why?)

Ην. Βασίλειο: Νέο ρεκόρ παραγωγής αιολικής ενέργειας

Η αιολική ενέργεια στο Ηνωμένο Βασίλειο σημείωσε νέο ρεκόρ παραγωγής το Σάββατο, αγγίζοντας για πρώτη φορά τα 14 γιγαβάτ παραγωγής, που αποτελούν σχεδόν το 37% της ηλεκτρικής ενέργειας της χώρας.Συγκεκριμένα, στις 10 το πρωί του Σαββάτου, ο άνεμος ήταν υπεύθυνος για την παραγωγή 13,9 γιγαβάτ ισχύος, ή 36,9% της ηλεκτρικής ενέργειας του Ηνωμένου Βασιλείου, αγγίζοντας τα 14 γιγαβάτ περίπου μία ώρα μετά. Αργότερα, η αίθουσα ελέγχου του εθνικού δικτύου μεταφοράς ενέργειας επιβεβαίωσε ότι τα 13,9 γιγαβάτ αποτελούν την υψηλότερη επίδοση αιολικής παραγωγής που έχει μετρηθεί ποτέ στη χώρα. Το προηγούμενο ρεκόρ ήταν 13,6 γιγαβάτ, το οποίο σημειώθηκε τον Ιανουάριο του τρέχοντος έτους.Ενδεικτικά, το φυσικό αέριο ήταν υπεύθυνο για την παραγωγή 8,5 γιγαβάτ ή 23% της ηλεκτρικής ενέγειας, η πυρηνική ενέργεια προσέφερε 6,5 γιγαβάτ ή 17,3%, ο άνθρακας μόλις 4,7 γιγαβάτ ή 12,5% και η ηλιακή ενέργεια και η βιομάζα 1,5 γιγαβάτ ή 4,1%. Η υδροηλεκτρική ενέργεια είχε το μικρότερο μερίδιο στο ενεργειακό μείγμα, με 0,3 γιγαβάτ ή 0,9%.Η δραματική αύξηση της αιολικής παραγωγής οφείλεται τόσο στις υψηλότερες ταχύτητες των ανέμων όσο και στο άλμα στην εγκατεστημένη ισχύ που έχει πραγματοποιηθεί τα τελευταία χρόνια στη Βρετανία. Αρκετά μεγάλα υπεράκτια αιολικά πάρκα συνδέθηκαν στο δίκτυο, ενώ οι χερσαίες εγκαταστάσεις είχαν επίσης υψηλό ρυθμό ανάπτυξης.Τα υπεράκτια και χερσαία αιολικά πάρκα της χώρας παρήγαγαν το 15% της βρετανικής ηλεκτρικής ενέργειας το 2017, σημειώνοντας εντυπωσιακή άνοδο από 10% το 2016, σύμφωνα με μια έκθεση του σταθμού παραγωγής ενέργειας άνθρακα Ντραξ, με στοιχεία από το εθνικό δίκτυο.Let's block ads! (Why?)

Toyota Publishes Report on Hydrogen Use

Hydrogen, scaling upAs co-chair of the Hydrogen Council, Toyota Motor Corporation issued a statement on November 14, 2017, about the world's first detailed vision for the future role of hydrogen. The Hydrogen Council's vision (part of a study report) was developed by 18 leaders assembled from a variety of industries around the world, with support from consulting firm McKinsey & Company.With large-scale introduction, hydrogen has the potential to provide about one-fifth of global energy consumption by 2050. This would reduce about six billion tons of CO2 emissions annually compared to the present level, covering about 20% of the emission reduction required to keep global warming under two degrees Celsius.This vision provides a roadmap for a large-scale deployment of hydrogen as well as for energy transition, with hydrogen being one of the main pillars of an energy transition and having the potential to create 2.5 trillion dollars of business and more than 30 million jobs.The report predicts that the demand for hydrogen could be tenfold the current level by 2050, and about 80 EJ of energy could be produced by hydrogen, equivalent to about 18% of the world's final energy demand in 2050 in the 2-degree warming scenario. While the global population is expected to reach 9.8 billion by 2050, hydrogen technologies have the potential to create opportunities for sustainable economic growth.The Hydrogen Council was launched in early 2017 at the World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland. It is the first global initiative by CEOs to promote the role of the hydrogen technologies in the global energy transition.In its announcement, the Hydrogen Council called on investors, policy-makers, and businesses to accelerate the deployment of hydrogen for the energy transition.Let's block ads! (Why?)

Photographing a fragile, yet resilient, world

The following Q&A is an edited excerpt from the Bard MBA’s March 2 The Impact Report podcast. The Impact Report brings together students and faculty in Bard’s MBA in Sustainability program with leaders in business, sustainability and social entrepreneurship.I wish to illuminate the damage, the breakage, the fragmentation. Somehow, if I can make it beautiful, I can make it one again.Anne de Carbuccia is a French-American environmental artist working to document the effects of climate change. She first became interested in the era of human beings as a geological force, the Anthropocene, while studying art history and anthropology at Columbia University. De Carbuccia has spent the past five years traveling to the most extreme places on earth, creating photographs that capture human-caused threats to the environment, including water scarcity, pollution and species extinction. In 2014, she established the Time Shrine Foundationto raise awareness and protect vulnerable species, environments and cultures. Her permanent "One Planet One Future" exhibitions in New York and Milan serve as centers for education, collaboration and community, and are free to the public.Sustainability strategist, media expert and Bard MBA alum Amy Kalafa spoke with Anne de Carbuccia in January about her work for the Impact Report.Amy Kalafa: You create installations from elements found in landscapes, and some of your works even contain live animals. What’s your motivation for making this type of art?Anne de Carbuccia: "Time Shrines" and "One Planet One Future" are about raising awareness about our current issues, and certainly in my own way I’m channeling my anxieties for the future. There’s also the aspect of me being a mother and therefore my worries for the next generation and how the planet’s going to evolve.I’m addressing the main issues we’re going to face, from water shortages to refugees, to the extinction of endangered species, to trash. There’s a documentary aspect to my work. I actually go to these locations, and I show you the beauty of our planet and of these animals, and the horror of trash in these beautiful sanctuaries.These are momentary installations. They’re a human mark in the moment, but they’re basically made to remind the viewer that we’re in transition. At least that’s how I see it as an artist: I’m documenting what we have, what we’re about to lose, and sometimes what we’ve already lost.Kalafa: How do you support yourself as you create the change you’re looking for?De Carbuccia: As an artist with a message, it was very important for me to be the example. That’s why I founded this foundation. The art, which is fine art photography, is for sale, and sales from these works go directly to the foundation. So, I’m a foundation with a product, and that permits us to finance both of our educational projects.We have two permanent exhibitions, one in New York City and one in Milan, where we have a lot of school projects. Students can come and experience the art and hear more about the message. Most of our exhibits are in collaboration with institutions, from museums to art foundations. The goal is always that the exhibitions be free. Today, I’m in a position where I’m an artist who can work and do this project for free.  Kalafa: There are many layers to your work. What does your process look like?De Carbuccia: At the beginning, I didn’t even think about filming. But when I came back from Antarctica and created all of these surreal installations, people started doubting my work. Antarctica is otherworldly in so many ways, and people started to say, "This is all photoshopped; this can’t be true," so I realized I needed to start filming to validate the process.The consequences of our actions, our daily gestures, can really affect somebody on the other side of the planet.In the beginning, most of it was filmed by non-professionals, whether it was my friend, my daughter, a Sherpa — it was pretty hands-on. Since then, I’ve evolved and I’m trying to bring a one-person crew with me because content is important. Although the project has grown so much, that’s my maximum crew size because what I do is so intimate and personal and in places that are really hard to get to. Usually, I work with someone local. Kalafa: Some of your art features iguanas, elephants, a bear cub — where do these animals come from?De Carbuccia: Sometimes I work with wild animals. The elephants you mention were completely wild. That was an extraordinary shoot — we knew that they were going to come to that location because it was a watering hole, and all the male elephants come and drink there. For security reasons, I wasn’t allowed to have anyone on the ground besides myself, and it was just an incredible experience.In general, though, I work with species survival centers. The biggest problem we have today with endangered species is that most of them are interbred. That, in a way, is the end of the species. But there are some visionary humans who started, over 20 years ago, species survival centers. What they’re trying to do is create secure populations of endangered species that will hopefully be released back into nature when the world is ready for them.The animals I work with from the centers are wild and live in large sanctuaries, and they have the advantage of being used to human presence and smell. I connect with their keepers. The bond between animal and keeper is fundamental to my work, and it’s allowed me to capture these incredible images. Kalafa: How has your international perspective influenced your ability to see the world in a way that most of us don’t get to?De Carbuccia: The consequences of our actions, our daily gestures, can really affect somebody on the other side of the planet. We all need to be in this together, and we need to realize the consequences of our actions going forward. I think that’s fundamental. Perhaps my being a little bit international and traveling around the world has been helpful in creating those connections. Kalafa: Where are you going next?De Carbuccia: I’m going to West Papua in Indonesia. I’m working a lot with oceans now; my show that’s opening in Naples this summer will very much be linked to the ocean subject. West Papua is extremely beautiful, and they say the coral reefs there are still pristine. I don’t know what I’ll find — it’s always a surprise. Let's block ads! (Why?)

How genetically engineered salmon swims onto our plates

This story first appeared in bioGraphic, an online magazine from the California Academy of Sciences.One day in 1992, a technology entrepreneur sat down for a meeting with two biologists studying the genes of fish. The scientists, Choy Hew and Garth Fletcher, were working on a method of purifying "antifreeze proteins" that would help Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) survive so-called superchill events in the North Atlantic. Normally these salmon migrate out of the sub-zero ice-laden seawater of the far North Atlantic to overwinter in less frigid waters. Increasingly, though, such fish were being farmed, penned year-round in offshore cages, in near-Arctic waters to which they were not adapted. Fish farmers were looking for a way to keep the fish alive through the winter, and the antifreeze protein seemed like a possible solution.As the meeting drew to a close, Fletcher and Hew showed Elliot Entis, the entrepreneur, a photo of two fish of equal age. One dwarfed the other. "I sat back down," Entis recalled recently.Fletcher and Hew, it turned out, had not just been putting antifreeze proteins into Atlantic salmon. They also had figured out a way to add a growth hormone from Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), plus a fragment of DNA from the ocean pout (Zoarces americanus), an eel-like creature that inhabits the chilly depths off the coast of New England and eastern Canada. This genetic code acts like an "on" switch to activate the growth hormone. The result was a genetically engineered superfish that grew nearly twice as fast, on less food, as conventional salmon.Those salmon, grown and marketed by a company called AquaBounty Technologies founded by Entis, could be coming to United States grocery stores next year. And they could offer a way out of the deadly spiral of overfishing that is decimating wild fish stocks.Open-ocean fishing for wild species is no longer sustainable; it hasn’t been for a long time. While some of the most damaging forms of industrial fishing have been outlawed over the years, a combination of continued overfishing, habitat destruction and warming oceans dramatically has reduced salmon populations. According to the Northwest Fisheries Science Center, of the 17 distinct populations of Pacific salmon, all are considered either "in danger of extinction" or "likely to become endangered." Atlantic salmon, too, have been battered by commercial overfishing, climate change and cross-contamination by farmed salmon and the resulting spread of disease; according to a 2001 WWF report, their population fell by more than 75 percent between 1984 and 2001.At current rates, according to a 2006 article in the journal Science, the world will run out of all wild-caught fish by mid-century.Genetically engineered fish could provide a solution, taking the pressure off wild stocks and reducing the energy and carbon emissions required to feed the world’s seafood appetite. Because AquaBounty’s salmon are sterile and raised in land-based tanks, they can’t breed with wild populations. And because they efficiently convert fish feed into edible protein, they offer a potential low-cost solution for nourishing not only affluent consumers in North America but hungry people in the developing world with little access to meat.But there is something about genetically engineered fish that many find uniquely disturbing. In a 2013 poll by the New York Times, 75 percent of respondents said they would not eat genetically modified fish. (That number dropped to two-thirds for other forms of G.E. meat.) The nation’s largest grocery chains, including Safeway and Kroger as well as Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, have signed a statement saying they will not sell genetically modified fish.At current rates, according to a 2006 article in the journal Science, the world will run out of all wild-caught fish by mid-century.There is also a tangle of bureaucratic red tape to get through before G.E. fish finds its way into U.S.  grocery stores. The U.S.Food & Drug Administration approved AquaBounty salmon for sale more than two years ago, in November 2015. But an obscure rider attached to a budget bill by Alaska senator Lisa Murkowski the next month effectively blocked the FDA from allowing G.E. salmon into the U.S. That import ban still stands.It’s a strange paradox: If you could get the fish here, you could sell them; but you can’t legally bring G.E. salmon into the country.Undeterred, in June, AquaBounty, headquartered in Maynard, Mass., purchased a land-based fish farm near Albany, Indiana. If the import ban can be overturned, enabling the company to bring in transgenic eggs produced in Canada, AquaBounty could begin raising fish there sometime this year. That means the company’s salmon could be on sale in the U.S. by 2019, which would make it the first genetically modified animal food sold and eaten in this country.Opposition, naturally, is fierce. But to AquaBounty CEO Ron Stotish, bringing superfish to global markets is not just a promising business opportunity; it also has the potential to change an industry."We are providing technology to improve food production and make it sustainable," Stotish said. This, he said, will put society in a better position "to address the global food security issues we’ll face as the world’s population approaches 10 billion."Eager to see how AquaBounty got to this point and what the future of fish farming might look like, I travel to the company’s hatchery at Bay Fortune, on Prince Edward Island. The island — known as PEI — forms an arc in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence, just off the coasts of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Driving out from Charlottetown to the far eastern peninsula, we pass small, picturesque fishing villages and tidy farms flying Canadian flags. AquaBounty’s lab and hatchery is a metal-sided, two-story building, painted the cheery shade of ocean blue that has become the company’s trademark color. Belying the research and engineering under way inside, the exterior looks more like a roadside warehouse than a lab for mad fish science.Inside, in big green fiberglass tanks, swim the salmon: conventional and transgenic in separate tanks, each fish individually microchipped. Called "AquAdvantage Salmon" in the company’s marketing materials, the G.E. fish are more than twice the size of conventional fish at 12 months of age — around 2.2 pounds compared to 0.7-0.9 pounds for the regular salmon.This is Fletcher and Hew’s innovation, pictured in the photo they showed to Entis 25 years earlier. Entis, whose father ran one of the first companies to import farm-raised salmon from Norway, had seen a revolution in the making: "The first thing I thought was, 'My God, these guys don’t know what they’re sitting on.' To raise fish in half the time, that has enormous implications. I pretty quickly realized that this is the kind of massive breakthrough that could be critically important to an entire industry."What Entis didn’t realize at the time was just how long it would take to bring that breakthrough to market — nor that he would no longer be there to see it through. Along the way, both Entis and Fletcher — who joined the company in 1994 — were ousted.It’s a strange paradox: If you could get the fish here, you could sell them; but you can’t legally bring G.E. salmon into the country.In 2012, the company’s primary investor, Kakha Bendukidze, a biologist and entrepreneur who had served as minister of economy in the former Soviet Socialist Republic of Georgia, lost patience and pulled out. AquaBounty was close to collapse before receiving a $6 million investment in 2012 from Intrexon Corp., a synthetic biology company.Today, AquaBounty’s fish are available in Canadian grocery stores. Five tons were sold there in 2016 without being labeled as such. Canada has no law that requires labeling of genetically modified seafood.Back in the Bay Fortune hatchery, the transgenic fish patrol the tanks ceaselessly, the only sound the occasional splash as one breaks the surface, thinking we might have food. The salmon are stippled and banded in endless shades of gray, silver and black, with occasional flashes of green. Evolved to travel hundreds of miles from their freshwater spawning grounds to the open ocean and back, these fish will live out their existences in these tanks, fed by constantly circulating filtered freshwater, never leaving this building.Facility manager Dawn Runighan shows me the miniature tanks where the baby fish are raised, and the grow-out area where they reach maturity. There are big bags of fish feed, and canisters of sperm lined up like old-fashioned milk tanks. In another room are tubular incubators containing the eggs that will become superfish. If I were expecting a high-tech sanctum where Faustian scientists use supercomputers to meddle with the building blocks of nature, what I found was more quotidian: a few technicians in rubber boots moving equipment around and checking water levels. Much of the space in an adjoining room is taken up by an elaborate, three-phase filtration system that includes settling tanks, "bio-beads" impregnated with organisms that remove ammonia and organic matter from the water and finally an ultraviolet-light filter to finish the cleansing process. "It’s basically a wastewater treatment plant, with fish," cracked Runighan.Upstairs is a lab where quality control and R&D on the company’s proprietary gene technology take place. A white-coated technician dips a pipette and fills tiny tubes in a rack. These will go into a machine that multiplies copies of a specific sequence of DNA for later analysis. No actual gene-splicing goes on at Bay Fortune. In fact, none has gone on for 13 generations of AquaBounty salmon, dating back to a single ancestor fish that reproduced and died in 1992. Each descendant carries a copy of the genetic construct that combines the Chinook growth hormone gene with the promoter gene from the ocean pout."Today," said company spokesman Dave Conley, "we are in the business of breeding fish."It’s a messy business. At spawning time, conventional females are milked of their eggs by hand, a method that requires two fish wranglers per female — one to handle the fish and another to hold the container that collects the eggs. The technicians use the same squeeze technique to extract semen, or "milt," from the males.To prevent uncontrolled reproduction of genetically engineered fish, AquaBounty produces only transgenic females for market. To avoid the possibility of male eggs being produced, the male fish that produce the milt are actually "neomales": female fish that have undergone a sort of piscine sex change. Exposed to testosterone when juveniles, they produce milt that contains only female sex chromosomes. This is a common technique in aquaculture. When the sperm from neomales is used to fertilize the eggs (also with female sex chromosomes), only female fish can result.When combined, the eggs and milt produce fertilized eggs. The technicians place the developing embryos in a stainless-steel tube where they are subjected to high pressure. This renders all the embryos’ cells triploid, meaning they have three sets of chromosomes instead of two, which makes the fish incapable of reproducing — another biological barrier to the spread of transgenic salmon in the wild.After a period of incubation at the Bay Fortune hatchery, the sterile, all-female transgenic embryos are flown to a rearing facility in the highlands of Panama, where the resulting salmon are grown to maturity before being re-imported into Canada. (According to Conley, Panama was selected because the president of the company at the time had contacts there and the cost of building a facility was far less than it would have been in North America.) Eventually, AquaBounty plans to produce market-ready fish at a new facility under construction at Rollo Bay, on Prince Edward Island, and at the Indiana facility — an existing fish production factory that belonged to a now-defunct aquaculture company.The key fact about all of these places, existing and under construction, is their location: They are on land. Nearly all other aquaculture takes place in ponds, lakes or the sea — in pens designed to keep farmed fish in and wild ones out. Unlike fish produced using this conventional approach, AquaBounty salmon have no chance of escaping into wild habitats. That was key to the company’s application for approval by the FDA. But land-based aquaculture is expensive, and many previous attempts have failed. Finding cost-efficient ways to maintain water temperature and quality at levels needed to grow healthy fish — things nature does for free — is critical to AquaBounty’s business success."We saw the convergence of these two technologies: the improved biology of the fish, and the improved technology of contained aquaculture systems," said Stotish, a former pharmaceutical executive. He said the company has "altered the economics of growth and production."Producing salmon in Indiana, Stotish pointed out, would eliminate the need for long-distance flights that carry frozen fish from overseas farms to the U.S. market. Producing fast-growing fish on land reduces the amount of food and energy required to grow a given volume of food, while also reducing the use of fungicides, antibiotics and pesticides that are prevalent in conventional aquaculture. AquaBounty’s scientists said they have devised a sustainable, environmentally friendly and economical way of producing high volumes of healthy seafood, without the environmental risks of conventional aquaculture.Most scientists who have studied the matter concur — and believe that the significance of AquaBounty salmon extends far beyond the fishing industry. A 1992 article in Nature Biotechnology by Fletcher, Hew and five other scientists laid out the evidence behind the company’s claims, and since then those claims have been validated by a number of other studies. An article published in the journal Aquaculture in 2013 (by seven scientists independent of the company) concluded that transgenic AquAdvantage salmon had higher feed-conversion ratios, retained nitrogen more efficiently and achieved their target weight 40 percent faster than conventional Atlantic salmon fed the same diet."In 20 or 25 years we’re all going to be eating genetically modified animal products," said Eric Hallerman, a professor of marine biology at Virginia Tech who served on an expert panel that reviewed AquaBounty’s technology for the FDA application. "What’ll make it attractive to producers is the benefit to consumers."That potential benefit has not allayed the concerns of the vocal movement opposed to GMOs in general and to genetically engineered "Frankenfish" in particular.Humans have been consuming salmon virtually since we first arrived in North America, and salmon have become deeply intertwined with both the cultures and the ecosystems of the places where they thrived. Indeed, salmon in many ways shaped both the civilization and the environment of those places. And salmon have been an intensely managed food source all along."The anadromous fish resource was perhaps the most intensely managed and ecologically manipulated food resource among these aboriginal societies," wrote anthropologists Sean Swezey and Robert Heizer in a 1977 study."Ecological manipulation" is a good description of today’s salmon market. Even the wild salmon fishery of Alaska is helped along by human intervention: Each year the Department of Fish and Game releases nearly 2 billion juvenile salmon spawned in hatcheries into the waters of Prince William Sound and southeast Alaska. In 2015 Alaskan fishermen caught 93 million hatchery-born salmon, more than one-third of the total harvest of 263 million. Salmon stocks in the northern Pacific have recovered since bottoming out in the 1970s; that would not have happened without the coastal hatcheries.U.S. imports of salmon totaled 339,000 metric tons in 2016, worth more than $3 billion. The vast majority of that came from farmed Atlantic salmon raised in floating cages off the coasts of Canada, Chile, Norway and Scotland, and flown into the U.S. According to SINTEF, an independent research institute in Norway, accounting for feed, aquaculture and energy to freeze and transport the fish, 2.2 pounds of farmed salmon eaten in Paris or New York produces the equivalent of 6.4 pounds of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere. A 2016 paper in Aquaculture Engineering found that the carbon footprint of salmon produced in land-based closed systems, such as AquaBounty’s, is less than half of that of salmon produced in conventional fish farms in Norway and delivered to the U.S. by air.But carbon footprints don’t pack the emotional punch of cultural legacy. "The Coast Salish people have organized their lives around salmon for thousands of years," Valerie Segrest, project coordinator for the Muckleshoot Food Sovereignty Project, said in a 2017 statement. The group is based at the Northwest Indian College in Bellingham and works to preserve access to traditional foods. The Salish fear that G.E. salmon could wreak environmental havoc with native species, and that the combination of genetic engineering and aquaculture finally could overwhelm the traditional fishing methods that they still carry out. "Corporate ownership of such a cultural keystone is a direct attack on our identity and the legacy our ancestors have left us."In July 2016, the Quinault Indian Nation joined a lawsuit put forth by environmental groups and recreational fishermen that March. It challenged the FDA approval, saying the agency "has not adequately assessed the full range of potentially significant environmental and ecological effects presented by the AquaBounty application." That lawsuit is still pending. Led by the Center for Food Safety, anti-GMO activists are concerned that G.E. salmon could threaten native species if some piscine Houdini escaped and spread its transgenic kind in the wild.But scientists who have followed AquaBounty’s long road to regulatory approval believe that the quarter-century process signals a flawed and politicized approval mechanism. The delay "sends the message to the rest of the world that the science-based regulatory oversight as embodied in the FDA review process is subject to political intervention," testified the late Calestous Juma, of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, in a 2011 hearing before the House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Rural Development, Research, Biotechnology and Foreign Agriculture. "Furthermore, it signals to the world that the U.S. may cede its leadership position in the agricultural use of biotechnology."According to the scientific panel that reviewed the evidence submitted by AquaBounty to the FDA, the genetically engineered salmon "is as safe as food from conventional Atlantic salmon, and … there is a reasonable certainty of no harm from the consumption of food from this animal."The agency concluded that because AquaBounty salmon is "not materially different from other Atlantic salmon" — meaning it is nutritionally and chemically indistinguishable — no additional labeling was required.In the early 2000s, William Muir, a professor of genetics at Purdue University and a pioneer in the risk analysis for G.E. fish, and his colleague Richard Howard developed a quantitative model to assess risks associated with the other major fear about G.E. salmon: escape.In simple terms, Muir’s method quantifies the probability of an escaped transgenic fish interbreeding in the wild, and the level of harm it would cause if that should happen. The first part is itself the product of two factors: "the probability of the organism escaping into the wild, dispersing and becoming feral" and the ability of the new gene to spread.In my view, the risk of harm from G.E. salmon as developed and managed by AquaBounty is less than that of farmed salmon.If either of those terms is zero, according to the model, the risk of environmental damage from transgenic fish farming is zero. It’s a simple matter of multiplication. "If it can’t escape, then don’t worry about it," Muir said. "Or if it escapes and then can’t proliferate, don’t worry about it."By raising the fish on land, in contained tanks, far from cold-water environments, AquaBounty has reduced the risk of escape to near zero (unlike conventional aquaculture, where the farmed fish can and often do escape into the wild). The second factor — the risk of an escaped fish spreading its genetic material — also should be zero, because AquaBounty produces sterile, triploid females. Even if these fish did escape, wild salmon couldn’t successfully breed with them, so they wouldn’t be able to reproduce and persist in the environment. In contrast, when a net pen containing conventional farmed salmon breaks, the escapees can overwhelm an environment with their sheer numbers, and because they’re fertile, they can interbreed and bring down the fitness of native salmon."In my view, the risk of harm from G.E. salmon as developed and managed by AquaBounty is less than that of farmed salmon," said Muir, who is now retired.Alison Van Eenennaam, an animal genomics and biotechnology specialist at the University of California, Davis, who served as a subject-matter expert for the scientific panel that evaluated AquaBounty’s FDA application, said that conventional farmed fish carry different, and arguably higher, risks. "Conventionally bred Atlantic salmon undergo no food safety tests, grow faster as a result of selective breeding, are fertile and are raised in ocean net pens where they can escape to the ocean and transmit/acquire diseases and parasites," she said.Like most scientists who have examined the matter, Hallerman dismisses the claim that G.E. salmon pose a threat to existing fisheries: "This technology has been sitting on the shelf for way too long. People want more meat and this is a way to get it to them."But not all scientists agree with this consensus. In 2013, after the FDA issued its draft environmental assessment of the AquaBounty breeding program, Anne Kapuscinski, a professor of sustainability science at Dartmouth College, and Fredrik Sundstrom, an assistant professor of ecology and genetics at Uppsala University in Sweden, submitted comments criticizing the agency’s finding of "no significant impact."Ultimately, the future of AquaBounty’s superfish most likely will hinge more on marketing than on legal challenges.The two scientists wrote that they "found major scientific inadequacies" in the assessment. Among their many concerns was that while the risk of exposure to the open sea and harm to the marine environment from G.E. salmon is probably low at the existing PEI and Panama sites, those facilities are only the first of many probable hatcheries and production farms — and there is no guarantee that other locations will maintain the same standards."The future of G.E. fish farming will surely involve larger fish farms, with less confinement, in many different environments," wrote Kapuscinski and George Leonard, chief scientist at the Ocean Conservancy, in a 2015 opinion piece. The risks posed by those hypothetical future farms are harder to determine.Meanwhile, Murkowski, whose legislation is at this point the only remaining legal obstacle for AquaBounty in the U.S., has said allowing G.E. salmon would amount to "messing with nature’s perfect brain food." In July, vowing to continue her "years-long fight against 'Frankenfish,'" Murkowski introduced the Genetically Engineered Salmon Labeling Act, which not only would require plain-English labels for G.E. salmon but also would mandate a review of the FDA’s procedures for approving AquaBounty’s fish. AquaBounty officials say they have no problem with labeling their fish, if regulations require it; but Murkowski’s bill, co-sponsored by senators from Washington and Oregon, effectively would maintain the ban on AquaBounty salmon in the U.S. market.Ultimately, the future of AquaBounty’s superfish most likely will hinge more on marketing than on legal challenges. Will grocers carry the fish, and will consumers buy it? If the answer to those questions is yes, the sustained outcry over G.E. salmon ultimately will matter little. Muir pointed out that research on transgenic fish is proceeding worldwide, regardless of what happens with AquaBounty salmon in the U.S. market. Scientists in Cuba and the United Kingdom have engineered tilapia to add weight three times faster than normal fish. A mud loach developed in South Korea can grow up to 35 times faster than conventional varieties.At the end of my visit to Bay Fortune, I sat in the small company kitchen with Stotish and the AquaBounty staff and enjoyed some smoked salmon, grown in AquaBounty’s indoor fish farm and prepared by a local chef. It was delicious. I could not have told it from conventional salmon.Stotish hopes that Murkowski’s import ban will be dropped in an upcoming appropriations bill, should Congress ever manage to agree on a budget. He won’t say much about AquaBounty’s future plans for worldwide production, other than to mention that he’s talked to more than one Asian fish supplier who is interested in growing and marketing AquaBounty salmon. The U.S. market may be important to AquaBounty’s success as a company, but Stotish is working in other places where the opposition to G.E. seafood is less pitched and less political. In other words, whether AquaBounty ever gets to sell its fish in the U.S. ultimately may be moot, in terms of the future of G.E. aquaculture.Meanwhile, AquaBounty’s new indoor aquaculture facility at Rollo Bay, on PEI — two warehouse-sized buildings with enough space for more than 88,000 cubic ft of fish tanks — is nearing completion. It will supply 13 million to 15 million eggs a year when it reaches full capacity. The company expects to be producing eggs there by the second quarter of 2018.Let's block ads! (Why?)

Ο σκύλος που κάποιοι λένε πως έχει… ανθρώπινο πρόσωπο

Ένας σκύλος έχει βαλθεί να γεφυρώσει τις διαφορές ανθρώπων και σκυλιών με το ολότελα ιδιοσυγκρασιακό του πρόσωπο.Αυτός είναι ο Yogi που έχει τρελάνει κυριολεκτικά τη μεγάλη διαδικτυακή κοινότητα και, όπως εξομολογείται η ιδιοκτήτριά του Chantal Desjardins, δεν το είχε παρατηρήσει ποτέ, αλλά όλοι της οι φίλοι ορκίζονται πως το σκυλί παίρνει ανθρώπινες εκφράσεις.Viral πλέον ο Yogi, έχει πιστούς θαυμαστές που μας λένε πως έχει «ανθρώπινα μάτια», «ανθρώπινες εκφράσεις», ακόμα και «έναν άνθρωπο εγκλωβισμένο σε σώμα σκύλου».Ο Yogi κλείνει πράγματι το μάτι του ως χαιρετισμό, τρελαίνοντας κάποιους και τρομοκρατώντας κάποιους άλλους. Η νέα τρέλα του ίντερνετ είναι να βρει τώρα σε ποιον μοιάζει ο σκύλος και οι επικρατέστεροι είναι μέχρι στιγμής οι Τζέικ Τζίλενχαλ, Κρίστοφερ Γουόκεν, Τζάρεντ Λέτο, Νίκολας Κέιτζ, Πολ Ρουντ, ακόμα και ο Χαλκ Χόγκαν!Δείτε και αποφασίστε μόνοι σας αν έχει κάτι ανθρώπινο η νέα ηλεκτρονική διασημότητα που ξεπήδησε από την επικράτεια του ζωικού βασιλείου…[embedded content]ΚΑΝΤΕ LIKE ΣΤΟ NEWSBEAST.GRLet's block ads! (Why?)

Τα αποθέματα κοβαλτίου και λιθίου θα εξαντληθούν μέχρι το 2050

Τα παγκόσμια αποθέματα λιθίου και κοβαλτίου, των βασικών στοιχείων για την παραγωγή μπαταριών, θα φτάσουν σε κρίσιμο επίπεδο μέχρι το 2050, σύμφωνα με ανάλυση ερευνητών του Ινστιτούτου Helmholtz Ulm (HIU) στη Γερμανία.Η ερευνητική ομάδα προτείνει ότι οι τεχνολογίες μπαταριών χωρίς κοβάλτιο, συμπεριλαμβανομένων των τεχνολογιών που βασίζονται σε μη κρίσιμα στοιχεία όπως το νάτριο, το μαγνήσιο, ο ψευδάργυρος, το ασβέστιο και το αλουμίνιο, αποτελούν τον καλύτερο τρόπο αποφυγής μακροπρόθεσμων προβλημάτων εφοδιασμού.Εκτός από το λίθιο που λειτουργεί ως φορέας φορτίου, το κοβάλτιο αποτελεί επίσης θεμελιώδες συστατικό της καθόδου στις υπάρχουσες μπαταρίες ιόντων λιθίου, καθορίζοντας την υψηλή πυκνότητα ενέργειας και ισχύος καθώς και τη μεγάλη διάρκεια ζωής. Ωστόσο, αυτό το στοιχείο αντιμετωπίζει προβλήματα διαθεσιμότητας αλλά και τοξικότητας.Η ανάλυση δείχνει ότι έως το 2050 για διάφορες εφαρμογές μπαταριών είναι πιθανό να σημειωθεί έλλειψη και αύξηση των τιμών του κοβαλτίου, καθώς η ζήτηση κοβαλτίου από τις μπαταρίες μπορεί να είναι διπλάσια από τα σημερινά αποθεματικά.Αντίθετα, τα σημερινά αποθέματα λιθίου είναι σε υψηλότερη διαθεσιμότητα, αλλά η παραγωγή θα πρέπει να αναβαθμιστεί σημαντικά, ενδεχομένως πάνω από δέκα φορές, ώστε να καλύψει τη μελλοντική ζήτηση.Ωστόσο, και τα δύο στοιχεία χαρακτηρίζονται από ισχυρή γεωγραφική συγκέντρωση, ιδίως σε χώρες με μεγαλύτερη πολιτική αστάθεια. Αυτό δημιουργεί ανησυχίες για πιθανή έλλειψη και σχετική αύξηση των τιμών στο μέλλον.Τέλος, η μελέτη συνιστά τη δημιουργία μίας οικονομίας μπαταρίας με υψηλό ρυθμό ανακύκλωσης, για τη μείωση της πίεσης σε κρίσιμα υλικά όπως το λίθιο και το κοβάλτιο.Let's block ads! (Why?)

Αστεροειδής στο μέγεθος του Empire State ενδέχεται να μη μπορεί να αναχαιτιστεί

Οι ερευνητές της NASA αποκάλυψαν τα αποτελέσματα κάποιων ερευνών όσων αφορά το ταξίδι ενός αρκετά μεγάλου αστεροειδή. Σύμφωνα με δημοσιεύματα σε ΜΜΕ του εξωτερικού η NASA ενδέχεται να μη μπορέσει να υπερασπιστεί τον πλανήτη απέναντι στον Bennu, ο οποίος πιθανό να έρθει σε επαφή με τη Γη το 2135.Όπως γράφει η Daily Mail, οι ερευνητές διαπίστωσαν ότι ο αστεροειδής είναι λίγο πιο μεγάλος από το μέγεθος του Empire State Building. Οι επιστήμονες ερευνούν την πιθανότητα να χρησιμοποιήσουν ένα ειδικά σχεδιασμένο διαστημικό σκάφος που προσεγγίζει κοσμικά αντικείμενα με την ελπίδα ότι θα μπορούσε να εκτρέψει την απειλή.Η εκτροπή αυτή ενδεχομένως να γίνει με ένα ειδικό διαστημόπλοιο 8,8 τόνων που θα ονομάζεται «HAMMER» και θα μπορούσε να ανατινάξει τον αστεροειδή με τη χρήση πυρηνικής συσκευής.Όπως αναφέρει πάντως το Buzzfeed, η σύγκρουση του Bennu με τη Γη έχει 1 πιθανότητα στις 2.700 να χτυπήσει τον πλανήτη μας μέσα στον επόμενο αιώνα.[embedded content]ΚΑΝΤΕ LIKE ΣΤΟ NEWSBEAST.GRLet's block ads! (Why?)

Χιλιάδες Νορβηγοί σε λίστες αναμονής για ηλεκτρικά αυτοκίνητα

Η Νορβηγία είναι η χώρα με τον μεγαλύτερο αριθμό ηλεκτρικών αυτοκινήτων ανά κάτοικο στον κόσμο. Ένα από τα πέντε νέα αυτοκίνητα που πωλούνται είναι ηλεκτρικό και πάνω από το 50% των νέων αυτοκινήτων που πωλήθηκαν το 2017 ήταν αμιγώς ηλεκτρικά ή υβριδικά.Με κίνητρο τις γενναιόδωρες φορολογικές ελαφρύνσεις για τα ηλεκτρικά και τα αυξανόμενα οδικά τέλη για τα βενζινοκίνητα οχήματα, η ζήτηση για ηλεκτρικά αυτοκίνητα συνεχίζεται να αυξάνεται με ταχείς ρυθμούς στη σκανδιναβική χώρα. Λόγω αυτών των φορολογικών ελαφρύνσεων, τα ηλεκτρικά αυτοκίνητα μπορούν να πωληθούν στην ίδια τιμή με τα οχήματα κινητήρων εσωτερικής καύσης, αλλά η συντήρηση και λειτουργία  τους είναι κατά πολύ φθηνότερες.Αυτό καθιστά ελκυστικό για τους Νορβηγούς καταναλωτές να αντικαταστήσουν τα αυτοκίνητα ντίζελ ή βενζίνης με νέα, ηλεκτροκίνητα οχήματα. Μια πρόσφατη δημοσκόπηση έδειξε ότι σχεδόν το 50% των Νορβηγών που σχεδιάζουν να αγοράσουν ένα καινούριο αυτοκίνητο το 2018 επιθυμούν ένα ηλεκτρικό ή υβριδικό όχημα.Μάλιστα, η ζήτηση για ηλεκτρικά αυτοκίνητα στη Νορβηγία αναπτύσσεται αυτή τη στιγμή τόσο γρήγορα, ώστε οι παραγωγοί αυτοκινήτων δεν μπορούν να συμβαδίσουν με αυτή. Χιλιάδες Νορβηγοί περιμένουν μήνες για τα νέα οχήματα και οι πωλητές αυτοκινήτων έχουν παρατείνει επανειλημμένα τις ημερομηνίες παράδοσης.Ο χρόνος αναμονής για υπάρχοντα μοντέλα κυμαίνεται μεταξύ οκτώ μηνών και δύο ετών. Εν τω μεταξύ, χιλιάδες έχουν πληρώσει για να τεθούν σε λίστα αναμονής για νέα μοντέλα από τις Nissan, Tesla, Audi και Jaguar, τα οποία θα κυκλοφορήσουν τους επόμενους μήνες ή και χρόνια.Μια πρόσφατη έρευνα μεταξύ των Νορβηγών καταναλωτών, στα πλαίσια ενός ερευνητικού προγράμματος για την ενεργειακή απόδοση που χρηματοδοτείται από την ΕΕ, δείχνει ότι οι Νορβηγοί είναι διατεθειμένοι να πληρώσουν πολύ περισσότερο για αυτοκίνητα με χαμηλότερο κόστος λειτουργίας.Let's block ads! (Why?)

Episode 116: Former EPA chief Gina McCarthy is optimistic, drones meet clean energy

Week in ReviewTune in around 9:10 for a weekly roundup of news.Here’s what would drive even more electric buses into U.S. citiesWhy business needs women to lead on the SDGsHere’s how to use your company’s most powerful tool to change the worldFeatured stories1.  McCarthy's mantra: Go grassroots (25:45)Worried about the Trump administration's master plan to dismantle or at least dilute federal environmental regulations on clean water, chemicals, emissions, energy efficiency — and everything in between? The mastermind of the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan explains which she's actually feeling positive about the state, local and corporate support for a low-carbon economy. Plus, why she wants companies to be more transparent about their progress.2. How drones are lowering the cost of clean energy (32:15)Many of us still think of drones as personal gadgets, but this technology will also have an enormous impact in the corporate world. Indeed, there are numerous applications already being evaluated in the power sector — in particular, for handling and automating various maintenance tasks. A discussion about what's taking flight.What's new at GreenBiz?News, events, webcasts — the list goes on. Keep your finger on the pulse of the latest in sustainability by keeping up with GreenBiz.• Looking to change up your career? GreenBiz is hiring, and you can check out all the open positions here.• As demand for bottled water continues to grow and the expectations of communities and consumers change, so too must the processes used to source new spring water resources. Don't miss our webcast, "A #CommunityFirst Approach to Water Stewardship," which will discuss why corporate water stewardship — or indeed, the stewardship of any natural resource — is inextricably linked to community engagement and partnership. Register here for free for the webcast at 1 p.m. EDT/10 a.m. PDT March 27.• Check out Center Stage, which features the best of live interviews on sustainable business and clean technology, conducted on stage at GreenBiz and VERGE conferences.• The GreenBiz Intelligence Panel is the survey body we poll regularly throughout the year on key trends and developments in sustainability. To become part of the panel, click here. Enrolling is free and should take two minutes.Stay connectedTo make sure you don't miss the newest episodes of GreenBiz 350, subscribe on iTunes.Have a question or suggestion for a future segment? E-mail us at [email protected].Let's block ads! (Why?)