Swine Flu Behavior “Potentially Scarier Than the Outbreak of Avian Flu”

first_imgThe level of worry about a swine flu outbreak in the United States rose a notch today, as health officials linked the virus that has infected eight people here to a strain circulating in Mexico that may have spread to hundreds of people and caused dozens of deaths. “Our concern has grown since yesterday,” said Richard Besser, the acting director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . At a press conference today, Bresser said CDC scientists had done a partial genetic analysis of seven isolates from Mexico. “From everything we know to date, the virus appears to be the same,” said Besser. He said CDC also had confirmed one more case in the United States, a child from San Diego, California. All of the other U.S. cases were from people in southern California or San Antonio, Texas, and he said one of them recently had traveled to Mexico. Although both of these locales have large Mexican-American communities that have frequent contacts with Mexican immigrants, he didn’t answer a question that directly asked about the ethnicity of the U.S. cases.Bresser stressed that at the early stages of any outbreak, much uncertainty exists and the CDC’s approach and advice may likely change as the scope of the spread becomes more clear. For now, CDC has not issued any warnings about domestic or international travel, and the pandemic threat level has not been increased. “We do not know whether this virus will lead to next pandemic,” he said. 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WHO plans to convene an emergency committee under international health regulations, possibly as soon as tomorrow. Bresser said CDC has yet to send a team of its investigators to Mexico. “We are still in discussions with Mexico, but we anticipate that we will have folks there very soon.”Swine flu typically moves from pigs to humans, but this strain has caused particular alarm because it appears to transmit directly from one human to another. Two of the U.S. cases were a father and a son, and two others attended the same high school. None of the U.S. cases had any known contact with pigs. “Human-to-human transmission is really scary,” says virologist and influenza expert Douglas Richman of the University of California, San Diego. “It’s potentially scarier than the outbreak of avian flu.”last_img read more

Germany’s Withdrawal of Funding Threatens Plan to Save Ecuador Forest

first_imgThe Ecuadorian government’s plan to keep oil in the ground in Yasuni National Park in exchange for compensation from world governments has taken a severe blow in recent days. Germany had tentatively pledged up to $50 million a year for the so-called Yasuni ITT Initiative but had reportedly been having second thoughts. Last week, the Die Zeit newspaper disclosed that the country was indeed withdrawing its support, and German officials and others involved in the negotiations for the funding have confirmed that decision. Given this development, scientists and activists concerned about Yasuni are debating whether the initiative is dead and whether they should now concentrate on minimizing any damage from anticipated oil exploration. Hailed by some as “the world’s first really green oil deal,” Ecuador’s plan would leave almost a billion barrels of oil in the ground below Yasuni National Park in return for $3.6 billion, or about half the market value of the oil. Labeled the most biodiverse forest known on Earth, Yasuni National Park covers close to 1 million hectares on the eastern edge of Ecuador abutting the Peruvian border. (See a slideshow on the forest.) But more than concern about the forest’s animal and plant life has driven interest in the initiative. It would protect the indigenous tribes living in Yasuni and also offer a precedent for reducing future carbon emissions by forgoing fossil fuel extraction. Not exploiting the oilfields in Yasuni could prevent the emissions of around 410 million metric tons of carbon dioxide—equivalent to the annual emissions of France. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) Despite Germany’s change of heart, Yasuni activists say the initiative is still a work in progress. Yet they also acknowledge the need for political mobilization given the increased likelihood that Yasuni will again be considered open to oil exploration—what Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa has repeatedly characterized as his only plan B alternative if global funding doesn’t come through. “With or without German support—or even without the [Ecuadorian] government’s support—the initiative remains valid and legitimate, not only for the indigenous people that live within the borders of the national park but for Ecuadorian society and for the world as a whole,” said Ivonne Yanez, president of Acción Ecológica, a Quito-based environmental activist group which has been instrumental in raising the initiative’s profile. Given the self-imposed deadline set by President Correa’s government, Ecuador still has until the end of the year to collect $350 million, the annual amount proposed under the plan for the next 13 years. Since establishing a U.N.-administered trust fund in August 2010, Ecuador has only received roughly $40 million in multiyear commitments from an assortment of countries, including Italy, Spain, and Chile. Nevertheless, support in Ecuador for the initiative remains broad and deep, ranging as high as 75% favorability in some polls. “Without a doubt, the initiative has raised the profile of Yasuni and its importance on a national and international level,” says Kevin Koenig, the Amazon Oil Campaign coordinator for Amazon Watch. “Whether that is enough to stop Correa from drilling I’m not sure, though it obviously works in our favor.” However, some of the scientists who have lobbied hard to protect Yasuni are calling on environmentalists to work together with the oil industry on a sustainable extraction plan. “If Ecuador does not get this money, have no doubt, it will go for the oil–and plans are certainly already in place,” says Kelly Swing, a founding director of the Tiputini Biodiversity Station, one of two Yasuni research stations. “The only functional way to save this biodiversity hotspot is to reach a policy decision at the highest levels in Ecuador to place an absolute ban on road construction in the region.” So-called roadless oil extraction, in which oil companies use offshore exploration and production methods and leave less of an imprint on the area being drilled, is a viable alternative, argue Swing and others associated with Scientists Concerned for Yasuni, a network of independent researchers that first came together in 2004 to stop a proposed road project inside the park. “Proposed projects lacking this approach should be rejected,” says Margot Bass, a conservation biologist and founding member of Scientists Concerned for Yasuni. Roadless oil exploration practices are already in use in Ecuador’s Block 10, a region of Amazonian forest near Yasuni, notes Bass. “The process still involves opening a trail through the forest so that heavy equipment can operate along the entire route,” explains Swing. “This trail means … there is a narrow strip of deforestation, usually something like 15 to 20 meters in width, … to the point that some of the trees in the canopy actually remain in contact overhead, thereby allowing upper canopy species to move through their habitat without experiencing as much fragmentation as they would when ‘real’ access roads are built.” Yet Koenig contends Block 10 is far from a good example to follow as the limited road building there has, he argues, produced environmental impacts similar to traditional oil exploration. And roadless oil extraction also involves helicopter support and other invasive actions which could greatly affect the two uncontacted tribes still living in the park. “The problem is the Yasuni Initiative does not only involve biodiversity but also forest people,” said Yanez of Acción Ecológica. “This could be a genocide.” Matt Finer, a staff ecologist with Save America’s Forests in Washington, D.C., and an active member in the Scientists Concerned for Yasuni network, cautions discussions of the initiative’s demise were premature. “There are still 6 months left of life,” says Finer, who sees any plan B discussions at this time detracting from ongoing efforts. Indeed, there are some who believe that President Correa will again extend the deadline, and that if he decides to implement plan B, the parliament will not approve the decision. And perhaps even the German government will change its mind, suggest some. “The Initiative is strongly supported by a large number of parliamentarians, and it has the political support even from within the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development,” says Carlos Larrea, a technical adviser to the Yasuni Initiative’s negotiating team that recently returned from Germany. The German ministry confirmed it does not now plan to provide funding to the initiative, acknowledges Larrea, although a final decision would not be made until late October. “We still have hope the final decision will be positive.”last_img read more

FDA Fires Warning Shot at Australian Vaccine Maker

first_imgMELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA—A warning letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to Australian vaccine maker CSL Biotherapies has shaken confidence in the country’s biotech superstar. The 15 June letter accuses CSL of failing to adequately investigate why its Fluvax influenza vaccine last year caused a sharply elevated rate of febrile convulsions in some children under the age of five. “There was no analysis of all critical parameters and critical processing steps to try to determine differences in the 2010 lots associated with Adverse Event reports compared to lots from previous seasons” the letter states. The letter gave CSL 15 days to respond to its concerns or risk losing its license to sell Fluvax in the United States, where it is marketed under the name Afluria. “We are taking the warning letter very seriously,” said Jeff Davies, executive vice president of CSL Biotherapies, in a prepared statement. “Our technical team is in the process of preparing more substantive detail about our corrective actions to meet the FDA’s requirements.” CSL Biotherapies is one of Australia’s top biotech performers, with 2010 revenue of $4.8 billion; worldwide sales of Fluvax were $130 million, including $56 million in the United States. Following adverse reactions to the flu vaccine reported in 2010, FDA sent inspectors in June to CSL’s manufacturing plant in Melbourne. After a second visit last March, FDA issued its warning letter, which stated that CSL’s Quality Control Unit had failed to “fulfill its responsibility to assure the identity, strength, quality, and purity of your monovalent influenza bulks and final drug products.” Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) A recent study by Paul Armstrong at the Department of Health, Western Australia, and colleagues reported that the rate of febrile convulsions among young children was 3.3 per 1000 doses, 200 times that reported in a U.S. influenza vaccine safety study. The same study indicated that febrile convulsions were linked to CSL’s vaccine but not to equivalent vaccines such as Influvac and Vaxigrip. In the June issue of the journal Vaccine, Christopher Blyth at the University of Western Australia and colleagues found that Fluvax (but not other flu vaccines) triggered the release of high levels of cytokines in blood cells isolated from the children who had febrile seizures. Cytokines are natural molecules of the immune system that induce fever. Investigations by independent labs and CSL have failed to pinpoint why Fluvax appears to sharply raise cytokine levels. According to FDA’s letter, CSL’s manufacturing methods hindered the ability to root out the cause of the adverse reactions. CSL prepares the vaccine by killing flu virus and splitting it. The degree of splitting could influence how the vaccine triggers an immune response, said one influenza vaccine expert who asked for anonymity. But FDA says the degree of splitting was not determined in different batches. “You failed to determine optimal splitting conditions for new virus strains before the strains are used in production,” FDA said in its letter to CSL. FDA also claimed that the splitting agent used to fragment the virus, sodium taurodeoxycholate (TDOC), had failed a test to confirm the identity of the chemical. Another FDA criticism is that CSL failed to identify what FDA calls “dark particles” in some vials. Furthermore, FDA stated that CSL failed to adequately document its investigative procedures into why the vaccine caused adverse reactions. A CSL spokesperson told ScienceInsider in an e-mail that investigations by the company and by Australia’s drug regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Authority (TGA), so far have not identified any contaminant in the manufacturing process. Furthermore, they pointed out that although TDOC failed a first test, it passed a subsequent test for its identity. “We hope to be in a position to draw some conclusions [about the cause of the elevated rate of febrile convulsions] in the next few months and will be fully transparent about our findings,” wrote the CSL spokesperson. The concerns about Fluvax are causing angst in Australia’s biomedical research community. “I’ve never been convinced by the cost-benefit equations for vaccinating healthy people or children against influenza, but one of the things I didn’t think was that there was a problem with the manufacturing process,” says Peter Collignon, director of Infectious Diseases at Australian National University Medical School in Canberra. He says that he’s troubled by the fact that FDA, not TGA, first aired concerns about the vaccine. “This raises questions about the transparency of our own regulator,” he says. On 21 June, TGA revealed that it had sent letters since May 2010 to CSL after five audits flagged problems ranging from “inadequate investigations” to “poor management of corrective and preventative actions”, and “inadequate” cleaning and testing regimes. Davies of CSL told the media that TGA was “fully aware” of the issues, but didn’t feel it was appropriate to release correspondence with the regulatory agency. FDA’s warning letter raises the stakes. It “means they’ll either get it right pretty quickly or they won’t be making these vaccines anymore,” says Collignon. “If you can’t market in the U.S. because it’s not safe enough, then it’s not going to be very satisfactory for Australia either.”last_img read more

India China Trade

first_imgBilateral trade between India and China crossed $61.7 billion in 2010, driven by a surge in Indian imports from China. The two countries have set a target of increasing bilateral trade between them to $100 billion by 2015. Related Itemslast_img

Bihar Shows That in India Nothing Succeeds Like Unsuccess

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Bollywood Horror Filmed in UK

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In Indian Fashion, Grey Now Sells

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Air India Plans to Spread Its Wings in Africa, Scandinavia

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Coaching The Coaches

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Brexit Effect: TCS, Infosys Investors Rush For Cover

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Grandmothers can pass immunity to their grandchildren, at least in pigeons

first_imgAt the moment of birth, a newborn leaves behind its safe protective environment and enters a world teeming with bacteria, parasites, viruses, and infectious agents of all sorts. However, the babies do have one trump card: antibodies and immune compounds passed across the placenta from their mothers. These short-lived molecules can dip into mom’s immunological experience to protect the newborn until the immune system gets up to speed. Now, a new study in pigeons suggests that some baby birds owe their early immunity not just their mothers, but to their grandmothers as well.The specifics and mechanism remain unclear, but previous research has suggested that these early maternal immune compounds may have “educational effects” on the newborn’s developing immune profile—that they may somehow be priming the system to be on the lookout for common local diseases or parasites. If this is the case, a team of scientists from the Institute of Ecology and Environmental Sciences in Paris reasoned, individuals may be inheriting some immunological memory not just from their mothers, but from all their maternal ancestors: A grandmother’s immune system educates the mother’s, and those modifications are preserved as the mother then instructs the third generation. Pigeons provide a nice model for testing these hypotheses because they have short generation times, and researchers can easily test eggs for the presence of inherited antibodies.To find out whether older generations could indeed pass along immunity, the researchers injected 60 urban pigeons with haemocyanin—a protein that transports oxygen in some invertebrates, including keyhole limpets. They then injected another 60 pigeons with a saline solution. The birds injected with haemocyanin responded predictably: Before long, they developed antibodies that attacked the foreign proteins. Soon after, a second generation of chicks hatched, and the researchers injected the offspring with haemocyanin. Two years later, the second generation—88 birds in all—was old enough to mate and produced 33 eggs. All members of this third and final generation were injected with haemocyanin.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)All of the birds in the third generation showed an immune response to the foreign protein, but the chicks that descended from maternal grandmothers who had also been injected mounted a significantly larger response, they report today in Biology Letters. The results suggest that if both the mother and maternal grandmother have encountered a foreign molecule, the inherited immunity to a given foreign protein is stronger than if only the mother had encountered it.The results are intriguing and call for further work, says Thierry Boulinier, an immune ecologist at the Functional and Evolutionary Ecology Center in Montpellier, France, who was not involved in the study. “The pigeon is a very nice model for that and the study was well designed. It has potentially strong implications linking ecology and evolution.”But the researchers are still having trouble explaining the elevated immune response in chicks descended from haemocyanin-injected grandmothers. They originally hypothesized that the antibodies sent from mother to offspring somehow primed chicks’ immune systems to be on the lookout for the foreign proteins. If this were the case, the team reasoned, the second generation of pigeons would produce eggs with more antibodies if their mothers had been exposed. However, testing did not support this hypothesis: The concentration of antibodies in eggs laid by the second generation was unaffected by whether or not the grandmother pigeon received the real injection or a sham injection.Now, the researchers posit that the immune systems of the second and third generations might be “trained” by a molecule other than maternal antibodies—perhaps a hormone or nutrients that are transmitted from mother to egg. They say more studies are needed to determine how the grandmother’s immunological memory is transferred across two generations. But if the results can be confirmed, they carry implications for how scientists think about the role of ecology and genetics in the immune systems of individuals.last_img read more

House sharpens oversight of new NSF facilities

first_imgSpecifically, the bill would require NSF to reanalyze how much every large research project would cost within the first year of the start of construction. NSF officials say they do such “incurred cost” audits as needed, generally later in the process, because they are expensive and time-consuming. Such an audit would not have caught the problems that NEON is facing, they add. The officials also worry that putting additional restrictions on management fees will scare off some highly qualified would-be bidders for future projects.NSF officials and Democrat legislators are hoping the bill will be tweaked by the Senate. Although there is no equivalent legislation pending in that body, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation is putting the finishing touches on a new version of the America COMPETES Act, a broader bill to reauthorize programs at NSF and research at the departments of energy and commerce that could include language on NSF’s oversight of major facilities.Senator Cory Gardner (R–CO), a key player in drafting the bill, told ScienceInsider yesterday that he hopes the long-awaited COMPETES revision will be introduced before Congress recesses next month for the political conventions. The version adopted last year by the House contains several provisions that have angered the scientific community, and its lobbyists are counting on the Senate’s version to be more to their liking. Aiming to prevent a repeat of what legislators say were management lapses at the National Science Foundation (NSF), the U.S. Congress yesterday moved a step closer to tightening up the rules the agency must follow in building and operating large research facilities.By a vote of 412 to nine, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill (H.R. 5049) that proponents say will prevent the type of problems that have plagued NSF’s National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) under construction at dozens of sites across the country. The overwhelming margin of victory reflects both the popularity of such oversight legislation and a bipartisan political consensus that NSF stumbled in policing the $434 million project, which was downsized last year and then put under new management after it fell behind schedule and threatened to go $80 million over budget.The legislation, which covers details only an accountant could love, embraces recommendations from NSF’s inspector general, the agency’s in-house but independent watchdog, as well as from outside bodies such as the National Academy of Public Administration. NSF has already implemented some of them, including staffing up its Large Facilities Office and clarifying how management fees can be used. But agency officials told ScienceInsider they remain concerned about changes the legislation would make in how audits are conducted and the use of management fees for a contractor. (The first NEON contractor has admitted to using a portion of its fee on entertainment, which at the time was an allowable expense.)Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

Criminal charges against prominent Italian flu scientist dismissed

first_imgThe legal travails of one of Italy’s best-known scientists are over. Last week, a judge in Verona dismissed a host of criminal charges against veterinary researcher and former politician Ilaria Capua, including allegations that she deliberately set off avian influenza outbreaks that also caused a human epidemic—a crime that would have been punishable with life imprisonment if proven. Capua was also accused of “criminal conspiracy aimed at corruption,” handling stolen goods, and administration of drugs that endanger public health.Verona judge Laura Donati concluded that the statute of limitations on most charges had expired at the time the prosecutor requested a trial in 2014, but noted that even if it hadn’t, most charges had no merit. The judge criticized police investigators who handled the affair, even suggesting that some of the accusations had been fabricated.Capua, who became the head of the One Health Center of Excellence for Research and Training at the University of Florida in Gainesville last month, says she feels “relieved,” but also “embittered” because the affair has harmed her credibility. The alleged crimes took place while Capua was director of the Division of Biomedical Science of the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie, a government lab in Padua, Italy. Capua was also a member of the Chamber of Deputies, one of the two houses of the Italian Parliament, for 3 years.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) In 2014, the first prosecutor in the case, in Rome, informed the defendants that he had asked for a trial, an announcement that created a huge media storm with Capua at the center. Later, the case was split into four parts; the accusations against Capua and 15 others ended up with a prosecutor in Verona.Because the investigation had taken almost a decade, however, Italy’s strict statute of limitations had expired for all accusations but the most serious: “spreading epidemics.” Prosecutors held that Capua and other defendants were responsible for several major avian influenza outbreaks between 1999 and 2003 that led to the culling of millions of chickens. The bird flu virus also infected seven poultry workers, one of whom developed mild influenza symptoms.The prosecutor in Verona earlier this year issued a motion to drop the spreading epidemics accusation for lack of evidence, but not the others, even though the statute of limitations had run out. The case then moved to a “judge in charge of the preliminary hearing,” who in the Italian legal system decides whether a case goes to trial or not.In Capua’s case, Donati concluded in a verdict issued on 5 July that, regardless of the statute of limitations, the evidence for most of the charges was simply “unsubstantial” and that there won’t be a trial. The accusation that Capua and others set off a human epidemic made no sense, she said, because one mild flu case does not constitute an epidemic; moreover, the avian virus she allegedly spread was a different strain than the one that killed the birds in Italy. The Carabinieri’s investigators “built up accusations that are totally unfounded,” and in some cases “difficult to understand,” Donati wrote; she even used the expression “fabricating an accusation.”The only accusation Donati did not dismiss was that Capua put illegal pressure on a company named Intervet—now part of MSD Animal Health—to buy tests that can differentiate vaccinated from unvaccinated poultry. (Capua holds part of the royalties for the test, called DIVA). But even if that charge had gone to court, the judge wrote, Capua and other defendants would have to stand trial for a lighter version of the original allegation because there’s no evidence that Intervet gave in to the alleged pressure. And she agreed with a prosecutor in Padua who wrote that another interpretation of the taped phone conversations could be that Intervet put pressure on Capua instead of the other way around.Capua’s lawyer, Armando de Zuani, says it’s “unusual” for a judge in charge of a preliminary hearing to enter into the merits of a case, as Donati did, if the charges can be dismissed solely based on the statute of limitations. “We are very happy that the judge explained that there was no wrong-doing” on virtually all of the charges, he says. “Dr. Capua’s honor is fully restored.” De Zuani says it’s “highly improbable” that the prosecution will appeal Donati’s decision.Capua says she is still considering whether to appeal the part of the sentence concerning Intervet so as to get a full acquittal. Italian justice has been “slow” and “incapable of understanding science,” says Capua, who adds that she feels “safe in the knowledge that my scientific career is crystal clear.” The judge also dismissed charges against the other 14 defendants in the Verona part of the case. The prosecutor in Padua, where the case against a different group of defendants resides, has asked to dismiss all charges as well. The case originated with a U.S. investigation shortly after 9/11 that involved alleged trafficking of lethal viruses between Saudi Arabia, the United States, and Italy. (The case led to the indictment of six former executives of the Maine Biological Laboratories in 2005 for smuggling poultry viruses into the United States in 1998.) U.S. authorities transmitted information about the case to Italy because an Italian named Paolo Candoli, then an executive in Sanofi, was involved as well. The carabinieri, Italy’s military police, began wiretapping Candoli’s phone; his conversations with Capua made her a suspect as well. In the end, 39 others working in science, industry, and regulation were charged with various crimes.last_img read more

Nominee for Department of Energy’s undersecretary for science draws praise

first_img It looked like the sort of appointment that would make many scientists uneasy. Last week, the White House announced the nomination of Paul Dabbar, now an investment banker, as undersecretary for science for the Department of Energy (DOE). The position aims to coordinate scientific efforts and expertise across the sprawling agency, which has a $30.8 billion annual budget. Several sources familiar with DOE’s $5.3 billion Office of Science—the United States’s single largest funder of the physical sciences—told ScienceInsider that they did not know Dabbar, who has his Senate confirmation hearing tomorrow. But observers versed in DOE’s broader mission say that Dabbar is highly qualified and applaud his nomination.“He is one bright cookie,” says Beverly Ramsey, a systems ecologist at the Desert Research Institute in Reno, Nevada, who has worked at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee and Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and currently serves with Dabbar on DOE’s Environmental Management Advisory Board. “Dabbar has a great personality, he has a very easy way of making his points, and he asks great questions.”The White House announcement stresses Dabbar’s business experience. He’s the managing director for mergers and acquisitions at J.P. Morgan in New York City and, according to the White House announcement, “has over $400 billion in investment experience across all energy sectors.” But it’s Dabbar’s earlier career that DOE observers point to with interest. A graduate of the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Dabbar served as a nuclear submarine officer. “As a general principle, the nuclear navy is a really elite organization,” says Matthew Bunn, an expert on nuclear arms, energy, and proliferation at Harvard University, who says he doesn’t know Dabbar. “There ain’t no such thing as a stupid nuclear navy guy.”Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) Paul Dabbar By Adrian ChoJul. 19, 2017 , 4:00 PM Nominee for Department of Energy’s undersecretary for science draws praisecenter_img Those who do know Dabbar say he has the experience, skills, and disposition needed to succeed as undersecretary. In the greater DOE milieu, Dabbar is very well known, says Daniel Poneman, president and CEO of Centrus Energy Corp. in Bethesda, Maryland, who from 2009 to 2014 served as DOE’s deputy secretary of energy. “If you talk to utility CEOs, I think you would find that most if not all of them know Paul very well,” he says. “He’s got all the technical knowledge and the regulatory knowledge, but he’s also deeply practical.” Ramsey says Dabbar has already demonstrated the kind of insight that would benefit DOE’s mission. “He has been very good at looking at what are the emergent technologies and how we could apply them to do what DOE needs to do,” she says.The undersecretary need not be a scientist to be an effective administrator, says Poneman, a lawyer. Dabbar will have plenty of help with the scientific matters, Poneman predicts: “He’ll have 17 national lab directors to talk to who are rocket scientists.” Ramsey cautions against underestimating Dabbar’s scientific understanding. “The guy is certainly not science-free,” she says. “You don’t get to take the path he’s taken without knowing a lot about everything from mechanical engineering to nuclear physics.”Perhaps the biggest question surrounding Dabbar’s nomination is what role he will actually play if confirmed by Senate (which is expected). Congress created the undersecretary for science position in 2005, during the administration of former President George W. Bush, and it was first held by Raymond Orbach, a theoretical physicist who simultaneously served as director of the Office of Science. However, the position proved problematic during the administration of former President Barrack Obama when Steven Koonin, also a theoretical physicist, served as undersecretary for science. Koonin had little budget authority and direct responsibility for only the Office of Science, a situation that left numerous observers suggesting that he and the director were sharing a job. Koonin left DOE in 2011 after serving just 2 years.The position remained vacant until 2013, when then–Secretary of Energy Ernst Moniz reorganized DOE management. He combined the undersecretary for science and the parallel undersecretary of energy position to create an undersecretary for science and energy who had authority over the Office of Science, DOE’s nuclear and fossil energy programs, its energy efficiency and renewable energy program, and others. (Moniz also created an undersecretary for management and performance who was given control over the national laboratories, environmental clean-up, human resources, etc.) Last week’s White House announcement, and the current DOE organizational chart, suggest that Secretary of Energy Rick Perry will restore the undersecretary positions to their original specifications. The biggest question may then be whether Dabbar finds the downsized remit satisfying. © The Philadelphia Tribune Co., Inc. last_img read more

Biggest producer of coffee could see bean-growing land shrink nearly 90% by 2050

first_img Biggest producer of coffee could see bean-growing land shrink nearly 90% by 2050 The news isn’t getting any better for the future of coffee. Several studies have already predicted that climate change could halve the amount of farmland worldwide suitable for growing coffee by 2050, mainly because of increasing temperatures. Now, an ecological model of Latin America, the biggest producer, suggests even greater declines: Habitat for coffee could shrink by 88%, with particularly large losses in the lowlands of Nicaragua, Honduras, and Venezuela. The researchers also examined how future climate will impact the domesticated honey bee and 38 other bee species that pollinate coffee plants and boost yields. Although conditions will improve for pollinators on up to 22% of the future growing area for coffee—generally higher elevation areas, such as in Mexico—as much as 51% of the coffee-growing area will have fewer bee species, and that will likely dent yields, the researchers report today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. What can growers do? The study suggests they may need to cater to their bee populations by minimizing use of pesticides and keeping a diversity of native plants to provide other food for bees. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) By Erik StokstadSep. 11, 2017 , 3:00 PMcenter_img REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate last_img read more

USGS nominee vows to insulate science from political pressure

first_img Budget pressures, too, will challenge Reilly, as several Democrats noted.The Trump administration has proposed an $859.7 million budget for USGS in fiscal 2019, a 20 percent cut from the current year’s level. The proposed budget anticipates full-time agency staffing falling 15 percent, to 7,040 workers.Climate science comes in for an even bigger cut under the president’s proposal. Funding for USGS’s National and Regional Climate Adaptation Science Centers would shrink in half, while “climate research and development” funding would also fall to pay for what the budget request calls “higher priorities” (Greenwire, Feb. 8).”The first thing I would do when I get there is I would spend the first 30 days really just talking to everybody in the mission areas, and then finding out where are the places we can cut without seeing any significant impacts,” Reilly said.Reilly was accompanied by his wife, Allison, who is a science teacher, and two of his children.He was born in Idaho and resides in Colorado Springs, Colo. An avid fisherman, he earned three degrees in geosciences from the University of Texas, Dallas, with his 1995 doctoral dissertation titled “Geological Controls on the Distribution of Chemosynthetic Organisms in the Gulf of Mexico.””My history with the USGS began in the early 1970s,” Reilly recounted, noting that at a “scientific conference in 1976, I came upon a display of USGS literature which contained a publication on the first results of the Earth Resources Technology Satellite.”Reilly explained that he was “fascinated in seeing imagery of the geology and ecology of our planet at scales that were impossible to achieve previously.”The organisms Reilly studied rely on underwater oil and gas seeps, requiring him to spend 22 days in deep submergence vehicles. Earlier in his career, he took part in an expedition to Marie Byrd Land, West Antarctica, where the March temperatures hover around minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit.Reilly spent 17 years in the oil and gas industry before joining NASA in 1994. Flying aboard the space shuttles Atlantis and Endeavour, Reilly amassed more than 853 hours in space and completed five spacewalks before his 2008 retirement from NASA. Today, he drew some management lessons from his astronaut career.”I have found … that highly competent, motivated people require little direct supervision from the top, and I expect that would be the case at the USGS,” Reilly said.He currently provides “corporate training/team building” services through a Colorado Springs-based entity called Mach 25 Management. Clients have ranged from Lockheed Martin to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, according to his financial disclosure statement.As often happens at confirmation hearings, senators tended to focus their questions on uniquely home-state issues. Today, these ranged from invasive species problems confronting Minnesota lakes to the work of a West Virginia research center and oil drilling-related concerns off the Louisiana coast.Reilly offered to visit the relevant states. USGS nominee vows to insulate science from political pressure The hearing lasted less than an hour and showed that the 63-year-old Reilly enjoys widespread bipartisan support. His confirmation now appears all but assured, although with Senate procedures and potholes being what they are, the timing can’t be guaranteed (Greenwire, Jan. 30).”It’s good to finally have a geologist nominated to head the USGS,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the chairwoman of the committee, adding that she hopes to move Reilly’s confirmation “as soon as possible” along with several other stalled Interior nominees.At the same time, Democratic senators illuminated issues that will confront Reilly once he takes office. Repeated questions about scientific integrity, for instance, set Reilly up for answers that seemed targeted as much for USGS’s 8,200 employees as for the handful of senators.”It’s an independent organization that’s intended to deliver unbiased science to the decisionmakers,” Reilly said of USGS, “and that will be one of the highest priorities that I’ll have as the director.”The committee’s ranking Democrat, Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington, asked specifically about two geologists who left USGS following what they say was an improper request for energy information from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.The former USGS officials say Zinke breached scientific integrity policies when he sought information on the energy potential within the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska prior to its official publication (Greenwire, Feb. 22).Reilly offered a nuanced answer, citing his past experience.”I always felt I had a responsibility to deliver information to my leadership, particularly if it had an impact in how the leadership was supposed to respond to it … with the understanding that the leadership would hold it as tight as I would.” James Reilly flew on Space Shuttle Atlantis in 2001. I have found … that highly competent, motivated people require little direct supervision from the top, and I expect that would be the case at the USGS. NASA center_img Former astronaut James Reilly II pledged today to prevent undue political interference in U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientific research if he’s confirmed as the agency’s 17th director.In an easygoing confirmation hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Reilly repeatedly reassured lawmakers that he would protect the integrity of what one senator termed the Interior Department’s “premier science agency.””If someone were to come to me and say, ‘I want you to change this because it’s the politically right thing to do,’ I would politely decline,” Reilly said, adding, “I’m fully committed to scientific integrity.”Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) James Reilly, former astronaut By Michael Doyle, E&E NewsMar. 6, 2018 , 3:45 PM Read more…last_img read more

Trump’s effort to roll back auto efficiency rules could hinge on debate over safety

first_img The science is clear that air pollution kills people, particularly particulates. You would have to estimate what a fleet of nationwide heavier vehicles would mean in terms of mileage or heavy pollution, and do the same for lighter vehicles. By Scott Waldman, E&E News, Zack Colman, E&E NewsAug. 1, 2018 , 1:20 PM Trump’s effort to roll back auto efficiency rules could hinge on debate over safety David R. Frazier Photolibrary, Inc./Alamy Stock Photo William Schlesinger, Environmental Protection Agency Science Advisory Board Originally published by E&E NewsThe battle over car rules is a math problem, and it might have life-or-death consequences.At issue is how President Donald Trump’s administration will estimate potential fatalities in new cars that meet stringent standards on fuel efficiency established under former President Obama.The White House is making a central argument: More fuel-efficient cars and trucks will cost more money, so drivers could purchase fewer of these safer new models. The result? Older cars stay on the road longer, increasing the risk of injury to motorists and failing to reduce air pollution.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)center_img At the same time, though, the Trump administration has undervalued another important factor that contributes to mortality—climate change. By slashing the social cost of carbon, which places a monetary value on damages caused by greenhouse gases, the White House might be suggesting that its effort to allow more gasoline to be used in cars won’t incur a significant cost on the environment and people’s health.”It’s hard to say what the logic is or what the thought is from the [Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)] in the Trump administration,” said Carla Bailo, president for the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and a member of the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine fuel economy committee. “I can’t say that they’re looking into it holistically and looking at all those factors. But what I can say is that they should be.”The Trump administration is expected to announce its weakened car rules tomorrow, according to a source who’s knowledgeable about the timing. The Obama administration set a goal of 54.5 mpg in passenger vehicles by model year 2025. Trump’s plan would freeze the standard at 2020 levels, or 43.7 mpg, according to a leaked draft obtained by The New York Times. In practical terms, the change would reduce real-world fuel economy from about 36 mpg to 30 mpg.The plan also considers revoking a provision that allows California to exceed federal vehicle standards. A dozen other states and the District of Columbia use California’s standards.Critics of improved fuel efficiency have long argued that it leads to higher rates of death. The Trump administration contends that its proposal would avert nearly 1000 fatalities from crashes annually, while increasing oil consumption by 500,000 barrels per day, according to the leaked draft, which is a month old.The corporate average fuel economy, or CAFE, program is shared between two agencies: the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and EPA, which is the latecomer. It began jointly administering the program with NHTSA under Obama, after a decision by the Supreme Court gave EPA authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from tailpipes. Before then, these gases, which cause the planet to warm up, were not monitored by the government. The highway administration had always seen CAFE as a motorist safety program, not an environmental one.EPA wrested primacy away from NHTSA under Obama, and it began emphasizing the environmental effects of fuel efficiency over safety, said John Graham, dean of the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs in Bloomington.Yet he noted that most of the benefits—up to 85%—from the Obama-era standards came from the expected fuel savings that motorists would experience over the lifetime of their vehicle. Societal gains from reducing pollution or thwarting climate change were far from central to making the math work. He said the efficiency targets will do little good for the environment if they’re too expensive to get on the road in the first place.”CAFE is not a public health regulation,” said Graham, who is a member of EPA’s Science Advisory Board. “It’s possible that global air pollution will be worse with the higher fuel efficiency target.”All of these assumptions, however, involve complex arithmetic laced with value judgments.Perhaps the murkiest of these involve how potential car-buyers would respond to higher vehicle prices, resulting from more fuel-efficient technology requirements. The Trump administration appears to heed the findings of behavioral economists who believe that consumers undervalue future fuel savings when purchasing cars. That means they might not buy the newest, and safest, cars and trucks on the market.”There is some evidence, I think, supporting that tighter standards are going to delay turnover,” said Joshua Linn, at senior fellow at think tank Resources for the Future in Washington, D.C.Over the last 10 years, Linn said, every percentage-point increase in standards resulted in a 0.2% drop in new vehicle demand.Bailo said the concerns about slower fleet turnover are unjustified. She also noted that automakers are building cars for international markets, where escalating fuel efficiency requirements to confront climate change are the norm.”The customer, year over year, they expect the fuel economy to go up. That’s a natural expectation. And automakers are working on a global platform,” Bailo said. “This is just the way things are going.”The arguments about a slower turnover of the car fleet wouldn’t alone justify weaker standards, Linn said. That’s where the Trump administration’s move to lower the social cost of carbon could help tip the balance. The draft proposal noted that the social cost of carbon would account for only domestic, not global, health benefits. That, Linn said in a recent paper, could reduce the value of climate benefits from the Obama-era car rules by 87%.”You’re setting the social cost of carbon essentially to zero,” Linn said. “You’re making this a policy about consumers being better off. There’s no consideration of social benefits.” Read more… EPA cannot discount the air emissions part of the equation when weighing whether to roll back the vehicle efficiency rules, said William Schlesinger, a member of the agency’s Science Advisory Board and the former dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Any attempt to justify the rollback with traffic fatality numbers must also incorporate premature deaths from air pollution, he said. Millions of people worldwide die from air pollution, which is supported by an extensive body of research that can’t be ignored when weighing regulations related to one of the major global sources of that pollution, Schlesinger added.”The science is clear that air pollution kills people, particularly particulates,” he said. “You would have to estimate what a fleet of nationwide heavier vehicles would mean in terms of mileage or heavy pollution, and do the same for lighter vehicles.”But that’s a hard case to make. Showing the risks of climate change, stemming from tailpipes, is a lot more difficult than counting the number of traffic fatalities, said Jeff Holmstead, a former EPA air chief under President George W. Bush.”They’re just completely different issues. The data on traffic fatalities is much more obvious,” said Holmstead, who is now a lawyer at Bracewell LLP, headquartered in Houston, Texas.Even traffic deaths aren’t entirely clear. Bailo noted that 94% of accidents are caused by human error. Factors like weather and road conditions matter, too.CAFE opponents have been shifting their criticism after research had thrown cold water on their first line of attack: “down-weighting.” That’s the idea that automakers would focus almost entirely on making cars and trucks lighter to meet fuel marks. Those lighter vehicles are inherently less safe if involved in a crash with older, heavier models that would still be on the road, according to opponents of the CAFE program.But that rationale has largely been debunked, said David Greene, a civil and environmental engineering professor at the University of Tennessee and a member of the National Academies fuel economy committee.”The problem with that argument is that it didn’t take into account that all of the light-duty vehicles would be made lighter and the cars weren’t made smaller,” he said. That leads to a simple physics equation—if all cars are lighter, there’s less kinetic energy involved in any crash. Therefore, the force between two vehicles is reduced when they collide.The Obama-era standards incentivize reducing mass in the heaviest of vehicles to reduce the spread between vehicle weights across all classes, said Tom Wenzel, a research scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s (LBNL’s) energy efficiency standards group in California.Wenzel’s research has replicated recent NHTSA studies showing that carmakers can reduce mass while maintaining a vehicle’s footprint—the space between four wheels—and cause the same number of deaths, or possibly fewer. He was looking into whether a shrinking weight disparity between vehicles on the road also led to fewer fatalities, but the Energy Department stopped funding his research into that question last year.”I don’t think anyone was trying to prevent this from being analyzed,” Wenzel said. “We’ve done this study for many years. We’ve kind of resolved the issue that mass reductions do not inherently increase fatalities.”In addition to a fight over the validity of the administration’s safety analysis, the rollback could be legally vulnerable if it attempts to claim that car emissions are not a big contributor to greenhouse gas inventory, said Margo Oge, who headed EPA’s transportation office under Obama. In 2017, the transportation sector accounted for more greenhouse gas emissions than power plants. It was the first time.”They would have a pretty big legal challenge that they are not paying the right attention on the analysis of the greenhouse gas emissions,” she said. “They are going to have to say that the emissions from cars are not endangering public health and the environment, which they cannot do, downplaying climate analysis and air pollution.”A “massive court battle” is on the horizon between the federal government and California, plus the states that use its emissions standards, as a result of the rollback, said Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University.The way the administration accounts for greenhouse gases as a result of increased fuel consumption will be a major part of that case. He said the only way the administration would succeed in court is with a serious quantitative analysis that also considers air pollution levels and mortality rates related to them alongside traffic fatalities. If the administration hasn’t done that work, then it seems impossible to make a legally sound claim that traffic deaths would overcome deaths related to air pollution from more auto emissions, he said.”Emissions are the central focus of the Clean Air Act, and so any decision that is founded on the Clean Air Act necessarily has to take a serious look at air pollution,” Gerrard said.Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from E&E News. Copyright 2018. E&E provides essential news for energy and environment professionals at www.eenews.net President Donald Trump’s plan to reduce auto fuel efficiency requirements rests, in part, on the controversial claim that stiffer rules produce more fatal car accidents.last_img read more

Trump’s EPA scraps air pollution science review panels

first_img Read more… By Sean Reilly, E&E NewsOct. 12, 2018 , 2:55 PM Trump’s EPA scraps air pollution science review panels Originally published by E&E NewsAndrew Wheeler, the acting chief of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), yesterday fired a panel of scientific experts charged with assisting the agency’s latest review of air quality standards for particulate matter. He also scrapped plans to form a similar advisory panel to aid in a recently launched assessment of the ground-level ozone limits.Those steps, coupled with Wheeler’s previously announced decision to concentrate authority in a seven-member committee made up mostly of his appointees, quickly sparked objections that the agency is intent on skewing the outcome of those reviews in favor of industry.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) Francisco Kjolseth/The Salt Lake Tribune/AP “I think they are trying to rush through a process that will provide a result that is driven by political science, not health science,” said Paul Billings, senior vice president for public policy at the American Lung Association in Washington, D.C.Under the Clean Air Act, EPA is supposed to review the adequacy of the standards for particulate matter, ozone and four other common pollutants every 5 years with help from outside experts. While the seven-member committee, officially known as the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC), has the lead in the process, the review panels are supposed to provide additional know-how in assessing the relevant scientific literature, which can span a variety of academic disciplines.For the panel’s some two dozen members, most of whom are university researchers, news of their dismissal came late yesterday in an email from an EPA staffer who said Wheeler had tasked the CASAC with serving “as the body to review key science assessments for the ongoing review of the particulate matter” standards.”Therefore the CASAC PM Review Panel will no longer be involved with the agency’s … review and your service on the panel has concluded,” wrote the staffer, Khanna Johnston. In a separate message, Johnston similarly told applicants for membership on the ozone review panel that the agency would not be proceeding with its creation.”I guess I’m disappointed,” said Barbara Turpin, head of the environmental sciences and engineering department at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Turpin had been on the particulate matter review panel. Her colleagues there were among the best in their fields, Turpin said in an interview this morning. “In a sense, we serve as a check that the EPA is following the requirements of the Clean Air Act.”Jeremy Sarnat, another former member of the panel, who is an associate professor of environmental health at Emory University, called the move “depressing.””What the new and previous EPA administrators have done is dismantle a process which has, over many years, proven itself to be highly successful and effective,” Sarnat said in an email. The new process, he added, now consolidates input “to a small, and in some cases unqualified, group of individuals, and ultimately opens EPA up to the charge that it is politics, not science, that is driving this new policy.”Review panel members were considered “special government employees.”Asked why EPA scrapped the panel, agency spokesman John Konkus pointed to Wheeler’s decision to concentrate more authority in the seven-member CASAC. He did not reply to an email this morning seeking comment on the criticism from Billings and others.Earlier this week, Wheeler announced five new appointees to CASAC, the bulk of whom come from state and local regulatory agencies, not academia. Tony Cox, the committee’s chairman, is a Colorado consultant who had done work for the oil industry.Earlier this year, Cox told E&E News that he has also served as an expert in risk analysis for EPA and the World Health Organization, and had not made a decision on whether the particulate matter thresholds need revision.But under a timetable imposed by former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, the agency now plans to complete the review of the particulate matter standards by late 2020, or about two years ahead of the original schedule (Greenwire, 10 May). The new review of the ozone standards, which has barely begun, is also set to wrap up around the same time.As a reason for the fast-track approach, Pruitt and EPA air chief Bill Wehrum have pointed to the Clean Air Act’s requirement that the reviews be done every five years, a goal that in the past the agency has rarely met.But the disbanding of the particulate matter review panel comes as EPA’s Office of Research and Development is set to soon release a draft summary of the scientific research to be used in deciding whether the existing standards need to be changed.Andrew Rosenberg, who heads the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said he sees the two events as directly connected. He said that in light of evidence that the current limits on fine particulate exposure are not strong enough to adequately protect public health, “I’m really worried about [what EPA is] going to say.”Both ozone and particulate matter are closely connected to production or consumption of fossil fuels. Wheeler, before joining EPA, was a lobbyist whose clients included Murray Energy Corporation. The Ohio-based coal giant was a strident critic of Obama-era environmental regulations; CEO Bob Murray is a prominent supporter of President Trump.Murray has had no contact with Wheeler since the latter was sworn in as EPA deputy administrator in April, company spokesman Cody Nett said this morning. Asked whether the firm has a position on Wheeler’s decision to disband the particulate matter review panel, Nett declined to comment.Reprinted from Greenwire with permission from E&E News. Copyright 2018. E&E provides essential news for energy and environment professionals at www.eenews.net The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has disbanded panels that were supposed to review the science underpinning efforts to reduce air pollution, such as this blanket of smog in Salt Lake City in 2016.last_img read more

Top stories: A fragile existence, a new suspect for multiple sclerosis, and a humongous fungus

first_img(left to right): JUAN CRISTÓBAL COBO; MEHAU KULYK/SCIENCE SOURCE; ZOONAR GMBH/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO Why is a remote Colombian town a hot spot of an inherited intellectual disability?The small town of Ricaurte, Colombia, is home to the world’s largest known cluster of people with fragile X syndrome, a genetic condition that causes intellectual disability, physical abnormalities, and often autism in one in as many as 2000 men and 4000 women worldwide. Ricaurte has now become a focal point for fragile X studies, which could help develop drugs for autism and explain why individuals who carry “premutations” of the gene usually escape cognitive problems, but sometimes develop physical symptoms.An elusive molecule that sparks multiple sclerosis may have been foundSign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)In multiple sclerosis, immune cells, which normally go after foreign intruders in the body, instead attack the protective coating on the nerves. Now, researchers may have pinpointed a long-sought molecule called a self-antigen that provokes these attacks, pointing a way toward potential new treatments.‘Humongous fungus’ is almost as big as the Mall of AmericaIn the late 1980s, researchers discovered the biggest organism on record, a “humongous fungus” called Armillaria gallica on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula that covered 37 hectares, about the same size as the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. Now, the same team of scientists has found that this underground network of Armillaria, which gives rise to honey mushrooms, is about four times as big—and twice as old—as they originally thought.Was cancer scientist fired for challenging lab chief over authorship?Veteran cancer scientist Xiaoqi Xie was terminated last month from a research job in the lab of Eileen White, deputy director and chief scientific officer at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey in New Brunswick. Xie says her firing was in retaliation for challenging a powerful principal investigator on the authorship of a paper apparently accepted for publication in Nature. She is now deciding whether to appeal her dismissal in arbitration through her union or to sue Rutgers.Italy’s Mount Etna could be collapsing into the seaFor decades, scientists have known that the southeastern slopes of Mount Etna, an active volcano on the eastern shore of Sicily in Italy, are shifting toward the sea about 2 or 3 centimeters each year. In an 8-day period in May 2017, however, Mount Etna’s southeastern flank was recorded moving 4 centimeters to the east, suggesting the slope of the volcano is collapsing under its own weight. The researchers aren’t sure when the slow movement will translate into a full-fledge landslide, but the new measurements have them worried. Top stories: A fragile existence, a new suspect for multiple sclerosis, and a humongous funguscenter_img By Frankie SchembriOct. 12, 2018 , 3:10 PMlast_img read more

Probable line-ups: Gladbach-Roma

first_img Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/ Javier Pastore could be dropped for Diego Perotti when Roma face Borussia Monchengladbach in the Europa League on Thursday. Monchengladbach have surprised everyone in the Bundesliga this season, taking top spot after 10 rounds played, but remain bottom of Group J in the Europa League. Leonardo Spinazzola is suffering from a muscle problem, so Paulo Fonseca will have to call on Santon at right-back. Jordan Veretout and Gianluca Mancini are expected to continue together in the midfield double pivot, whereas Perotti could get the nod as Roma’s No 10, given Pastore started the 2-1 win against Napoli. Mert Cetin was sent off against Napoli, and it’s likely the Turk will be replaced in the heart of the defence by Federico Fazio tomorrow. Gladbach, meanwhile, could switch to a 4-3-3 formation, meaning recalls for Lars Stindl and reported Inter target Denis Zakaria. Borussia Monchengladbach (probable): Sommer; Lainer, Ginter, Jantschke, Wendt; Zakaria, Kramer, Neuhaus; Herrmann, Thuram, Stindl Roma (probable): Lopez; Santon, Fazio, Smalling, Kolarov; Veretout, Mancini; Zaniolo, Perotti, Kluivert; Dzeko Referee: Gil Manzano (ESP)last_img read more