• Iran’s nukesU.S. Ending Sanctions Waivers on Iran's Civilian Nuclear Program

    The United States has announced it will end sanctions waivers that allow Russian, Chinese, and European firms to carry out civilian nuclear cooperation with Iran, effectively scrapping the last remnants of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, a move dismissed by Tehran as “desperate.”

  • Iran’s nukesSnapback of Sanctions under the Terms of the Nuclear Deal Is Fully Justified Today

    By David Albright

    “If Iran today wants a serious discussion about sanctions relief, it should start by abandoning the key threat Tehran poses to international peace and security: its uranium enrichment program,” writes David Albright, a nuclear weapons expert and the president of the Institute for Science and International Security. “Instead, Iran holds its own people hostage over the deadly coronavirus outbreak in a cynical campaign for wholesale sanctions relief.” The willingness of Iran’s leadership to refuse epidemic aid and thus dramatically, and unnecessarily, increase the number of sick and dying Iranians; the willing of the leadership to intensify and deepen the severe economic deprivation and misery across the country – and do all that in order to grow an economically nonviable, menacing uranium enrichment program — “That alone should lead all to consider just what is the real purpose of Iran’s enrichment program,” Albright writes.

  • HurricanesThe USGS Prepares to Respond During the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season

    The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season starts1 June, and the U.S. Geological Survey says it is prepared to provide science that can help guide efforts to protect lives and property if a major storm makes landfall this season. USGS brings many capabilities to help communities deal with hurricanes: the ability to forecast coastal change; track storm surge, river and stream levels and flow; capture high-resolution ground elevation and topographic data; create detailed maps that can be used by disaster teams responding in the aftermath of storms; and measure coastal and inland flooding across entire regions.

  • FloodsRising Tide: Seeking Solutions to S.C.’s Mounting Nuisance Floods

    While a rising tide may lift all boats, it spells trouble for South Carolina coastal communities where flooding has already long been a fact of life. Low-lying areas such as the state’s more than 2,000 miles of coastline are increasingly prone to floods and storm surge as sea levels rise — driven by a more variable global climate system. Researchers are examining green solutions to help those communities fight back.

  • Water securityOilfield Water Can Safely Be Reused for Irrigation in California

    Reusing low-saline oilfield water mixed with surface water to irrigate farms in the Cawelo Water District of California does not pose major health risks, as some opponents of the practice have feared, a new study finds.

  • FloodsMichigan Governor Vows Legal Action After Devastating Floods

    Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer says the state will pursue “every line of legal recourse” against the owners of one of two dams that failed earlier this week, causing severe flooding in several communities. More than 10,000 residents in the central town of Midland were evacuated Wednesday as the Tittabawassee River overran its banks hours after the Edenville Dam, located 32 kilometers north, failed after several days of heavy seasonal rains.

  • PerspectiveBans on Foreign Equipment in U.S. Critical Infrastructure

    One executive order does not a trend make, but maybe two do. On May 1, President Trump issued an executive order banning the acquisition, importation, transfer or installation of any bulk electric power system equipment where the secretary of energy has determined, first, that the equipment was manufactured by a company controlled by—or subject to the jurisdiction of—a foreign adversary and, second, that the transaction poses an undue risk to the U.S. bulk-power system, economy or national security. Jim Dempsey writes “The order’s issuance signals that the administration’s efforts to purge from the nation’s telecommunications network any equipment made in China may represent a new approach to critical infrastructure in general.”

  • Water securityComparing Water Risk Tools for Companies and Investors

    Faced with worsening water security across the globe, companies and investors are increasingly concerned about the water risks faced by their operations, supply chains and investments – and looking for tools to help to assess these risks. New report details similarities and differences between three leading water tools.

  • Coastal challengesHarnessing Wave Power to Rebuild Islands

    Many island nations, including the Maldives in the Indian Ocean, are facing an existential threat as a result of a rising sea level induced by global climate change. Researchers are testing ways of harnessing nature’s own forces to help maintain and rebuild threatened islands and coastlines.

  • Coastal challengesAs Sea Levels Rise, Are We Ready to Live Behind Giant Walls?

    By Hannah Cloke

    Of all the many varied impacts in a warming planet, sea level rise is one of the most straightforward to predict because sea water expands as it warms and because extra water is flowing from melting glaciers and ice sheets. Given the costs of flooded coastal cities, European Commission scientists suggest that it would save money in the long run to build improved sea defenses around 70% of the continent’s coastline. Do we really want to live in a world in which we all live behind huge walls? Is this the only way to adapt?

  • TsunamisPark-Like Tsunami Defenses: Sustainable Alternative to Towering Seawalls

    In tsunami preparedness, it turns out there can be strength in beauty. Rows of green hills strategically arranged along coastlines can help to fend off destruction from tsunamis while preserving ocean views and access to the shore. For some communities, they may offer a better option than towering seawalls.

  • Coastal challengesSea Level Could Rise More than 1 Meter by 2100 if Emission Targets Are Not Met

    Global mean sea-level rise could exceed 1 meter by 2100 and 5 meters by 2300 with unchecked emissions, a survey among 100 leading international experts finds. The risk assessment is based on the increasing body of knowledge of the systems involved – while the scientists highlight the remaining uncertainties, they say it is clear now that previous sea-level rise estimates have been too low.

  • Urban designCities Will Endure, but Urban Design Must Adapt to Coronavirus Risks and Fears

    The long-term impacts of coronavirus on our cities are difficult to predict, but one thing is certain: cities won’t die. Diseases have been hugely influential in shaping our cities, history showsCities represent continuity regardless of crises – they endure, adapt and grow. Silvia Tavares and Nicholas Stevens write in The Conversation that urban designers and planners have a long-term role in ensuring urban life is healthy. To fight infectious diseases, cities need well-ventilated urban spaces with good access to sunlight. The design of these spaces, and public open spaces in particular, promotes different levels of sociability. Some spaces congregate community and are highly social. Others may act as urban retreats where people seek peace with their coffee and book. How urban spaces perform during disease outbreaks now also demands our close attention.

  • Nuclear powerAn Atomic Catch 22: Climate Change and the Decline of America's Nuclear Fleet

    By Eric Scheuch

    Nuclear energy in the United States has become deeply unprofitable in the last decade, driven by a combination of aging infrastructure and other electricity sources like renewables and natural gas simply becoming cheaper to build and operate. While some in the environmental community may cheer nuclear’s decline, others are concerned. Love it or hate it, nuclear plays a unique role in the American electric sector, one for which we currently have no market-ready replacement, and its decline will likely make other environmental issues, particularly climate change, harder to solve.

  • Water securityChanges in Snowmelt Threaten Farmers in Western U.S.

    Farmers in parts of the western United States who rely on snowmelt to help irrigate their crops will be among the hardest hit in the world by climate change, a new study reveals. The study pinpointed basins globally most at risk of not having enough water available at the right times for irrigation because of changes in snowmelt patterns. Two of those high-risk areas are the San Joaquin and Colorado river basins in the western United States.

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