2010-11 Reading List

September 7, 2010 at 5:26 am Leave a comment

Will there be a Green Science Project in Fall 2010? You bet!

Although the weekly meeting time and agenda for the Project have not been set, Julie and I have been gathering together recently published ‘green science’ articles. We could discuss these. We could also rotate in films and podcasts into the mix. All we need are your suggestions and interest (send them to either alan@reed.edu or fry@reed.edu).

Possible readings for 2010-2011:

Drought-Induced Reduction in Global Terrestrial Net Primary Production from 2000 Through 2009

M. Zhao and S.W. Running, Science, 20 August 2010, 329, 940-3. Climate change will alter precipitation patterns world-wide. Does this mean climate change will trigger a reduction in ecosystem primary production?

Evolution of Organic Aerosols in the Atmosphere

J.L. Jimenez et al., Science, 11 December 2009, 326 1525-9.

New Opportunities for an Ancient Material

F.G. Omenetto et al, Science, 30 July 2010, 329, 528-31. Spiders and silkworms generate silk protein fibers that embody strength and beauty …

Putting Chemicals on a Path to Better Risk Assessment

Science, 7 August 2009, 325, 694-5. Industry and regulators are embracing new technologies to move beyond slow, expensive, and perplexing animal tests.

A New Wave of Chemical Regulations Just Ahead?

Science, 7 August 2009, 325, 692-3. The United States’s flagship law for controlling toxic compounds is ripe for overhaul …

Terrestrial Gross Carbon Dioxide Uptake: Global Distribution and Covariation with Climate

C. Beer et al., Science, 13 August 2010, 329, 834-8. Predicting the future of CO2 exchange between terrestrial vegetation and the atmosphere under climate change. This article is accompanied by a Perspective, “The Carbon Dioxide Exchange”, P.B. Reich, Science, 13 August 2010, 329, 774-5.

The Growing Human Footprint on Coastal and Open-Ocean Biogeochemistry

S.C. Doney, Science, 18 June 2010, 328: 1512-6. The title speaks for itself!

The Biofuels Landscape Through the Lens of Industrial Chemistry

P.A. Willems, Science, 7 August 2009, 325, 707-8. Replacing petroleum feedstock with biomass in the production of fuels and value-added chemicals carries considerable appeal …

Natural Gas from Shale Bursts onto the Scene

R.A. Kerr, Science, 25 June 2010, 328, 1624-6. New technologies have sparked a rush of drilling in the United States, but environmental concerns and economic unknowns could still keep shale gas from becoming a bridge to clean energy… (also see “Not Under My Backyard, Thank You“on p. 1625 about the hazards of “fracing”)

Scaling Up Alternative Energy

Science magazine published a special section on this topic in the 13 August 2010 issue. Links to all of the following articles (and a podcast) can be found by following the Scaling Up Alternative Energy link.

  • Getting Better to Get Bigger. p 779 Scaling up alternative energy.
  • Do We Have Energy for the Next Transition? p. 780-1 Past energy transitions to inherently attractive fossil fuels took half a century; moving the world to cleaner fuels could be harder and slower.
  • Sending African Sunlight to Europe, Special Delivery. p. 782-3 Europe wants clean power. North Africa has lots of sun. Can Desertec move solar electricity across the Mediterranean Sea?
  • Is There a Road Ahead for Cellulosic Ethanol? p. 784-5 After early optimism, alcohol brewed from farm and forest waste struggles to fulfill its promise as the next great biofuel.
  • Energy’s Tricky Tradeoffs. p. 786-7 The world’s “energy problem” is in fact a slew of technological and sociological challenges involving the use of the land, water, and air we share.
  • Out of Site. p. 788-9 Renewables like wind turbines are spreading fast, but can they survive complaints that they mar neighborhoods and threaten wildlife?
  • Feedstocks for Lignocellulosic Biofuels. p. 790-2 In 2008 essentially all of the world’s biofuel production was based on food crops. What plants could serve as alternatives for biofuel production?
  • Challenges in Scaling Up Biofuels Infrastructure. p. 793-6 Demand for lignocellulosic bioenergy is expected to grow rapidly. Is the supply chain infrastructure ready to meet demand?
  • An Outlook on Microalgal Biofuels. p. 796-9 Microalgae are considered one of the most promising feedstocks for biofuels. What problems prevent their use? How far are we from obtaining fuel from microalgae?
  • Generating the Option of a Two-Stage Nuclear Renaissance. p. 799-803 The authors describe a two-stage strategy for replacing fossil fuels with nuclear energy over the next 20-30 years.

In Feast of Data on BPA Plastic, No Final Answer

D. Grady, NY Times – Science, September 6, 2010. Conflicting studies continue to confuse our understanding of the hazards of BPA-containing plastic. In the meantime, lawmakers and interest groups continue to wrangle over what should be done to protect the public.

Trying to Measure Sustainability

A.H. Tullo, C&E News – Business, April 19, 2010. Studies that rank corporate sustainability performance are works in progress. Reports on attempts by several organizations to define and measure sustainability. Especially interesting is the group known as Sustainable Value Research which recently published a freely available study, “Sustainable Value Creation by Chemical Companies”.


Entry filed under: In the News, On Deck!.

Guns, Germs, and Steel and DIRT OMSI – Learn about the BP Oil Spill, M, Oct 4

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