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In the Media

The Guardian
Alison Moodie
The most widely used class of insecticides in the world is facing a slow death. Called neonicotinoids, or neonics, these bug killers have long been used to treat millions of acres of farmland in the US. Neonics, the nicotine-based pesticides, gained popularity because they are powerful killers. Introduced in the 1990s, sales of neonics-coated seeds took off in the US in the mid-2000s, and by 2011, at least a third of soybean acres and nearly 80% of corn acres were treated with these pesticides, according to researchers at Penn State University.
The Washington Post
Darryl Fears
Outside the government, scientists who’ve studied how 670 miles of walls and fences erected as part of the Secure Fence Act under former president George W. Bush in 2006 tell stories of animals stopping in their tracks, staring at barriers they couldn’t cross. “At the border wall, people have found large mammals confounded and not knowing what to do,” said Jesse Lasky, an assistant professor of biology at Penn State University. Deer, mountain lions, jaguar and ocelots are among the animals whose daily movement was disrupted, he said.
Brian Kahn, Climate Central
When it comes to climate change, the facts are clear. The world had its hottest year ever recorded in 2016, the third year in a row that mark has been set. Arctic sea ice has been decimated by repeated heat waves, seas continue to rise and researchers have warned of instability driven by climate shocks. The cause is human's pouring carbon pollution into the atmosphere. Yet despite knowing all of that, scientists have stressed that world is not doing enough to put humanity on course to avoid catastrophic climate change. David Titley, a professor at Penn State and one of the authors of the new doomsday clock report, said that while the Paris Agreement represents a positive step, the climate talks in Morocco late last year didn't move the ball forward enough.
Hannah Hickey
A dramatic pattern in our planet’s climate history involves paroxysms in Arctic temperatures. During the last ice age, tens of thousands of years ago, Greenland repeatedly warmed by about 10 degrees Celsius over just a few decades and then gradually cooled. Meanwhile the Southern Hemisphere climate stayed fairly stable, with only weak and long-delayed echoes of the temperature chaos up north. But new research shows the fierce winds circling Antarctica—an important lever on the global climate—shifted quickly in response to the Northern Hemisphere temperature spikes.
American Geophysical Union
Richard B. Alley was awarded the 2016 Climate Communication Prize at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, held on 14 December 2016 in San Francisco, Calif. The Climate Communication Prize is funded by Nature's Own, a purveyor of fossils, minerals, and handcrafted jewelry in Boulder, Colo. The prize honors an AGU member-scientist "for the communication of climate science" and "highlights the importance of promoting scientific literacy, clarity of message, and efforts to foster respect and understanding of science-based values as they relate to the implications of climate change."
Onward State
Elissa Hill
The TED conference series will return to State College for its seventh annual TEDxPSU conference, this year dubbed “Breach” to be held February 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Schwab Auditorium. This year’s conference will feature 11 speakers, including some Penn State students and faculty. To reserve your spot at TEDxPSU, register for free online here. Here’s a summary of the lineup, with biographical information courtesy of TEDxPSU.
Jim Hook
The Penn State Mont Alto Arboretum is treating some of its specimen, or valuable, ash trees and removing others too badly infested, according to Beth Brantley, instructor of forest technology at Penn State Mont Alto. Established in 1903, the forestry school's collection contains more than 1,000 trees representing 174 species. The outlook is grim, but not hopeless.
Jesse Westbrook
Penn State professor is researching the trickle-down effects that melting tropical glaciers have on food security and biodiversity, and what regional communities, like Cusco and Huaraz in Peru, can do about it.
The Times Herald
Elizabeth Dell
Thanks to Congresswoman Candice Miller for showing leadership on climate change solutions during her last days in office. Miller became the 16th Republican to co-sponsor House Resolution 424, a non-binding resolution recognizing the impacts of climate change and calling for Congress to work on solutions to reduce future risk. While the resolution expired with the end of the last Congress, it is expected to be reintroduced by another Republican sponsor. When it is, constituents of the 10th District should encourage Congressman Paul Mitchell to follow Miller’s lead. This resolution takes seriously the almost 100 percent consensus among scientists that our planet is warming at an unprecedented rate. It outlines numerous climate change impacts including extreme weather, wildfires, pollution related health problems, agricultural disruption, and finally, national security concerns. The latter were highlighted for me last fall, when I had the opportunity to spend time with Rear Adm. David Titley, U.S. Navy (ret.) when he visited Michigan to present about the national security risks of a changing climate. Titley, now director of the Penn State Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk, said it’s fundamentally about people, water and change.
Julia Franz
2016 is a wrap — and with it, likely the hottest year ever recorded. Temperatures weren’t the only anomaly: Louisiana, for instance, saw floods so severe they should only happen every 1,000 years. According to Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Penn State University, the two events are related: “The bottom line here is that the atmosphere is warmer than it was, [meaning it] holds more moisture than it used to,” he says. “When conditions are conducive to rainfall, you’re going to get more of it.” But the heat can be drying, too. Just talk to ranchers in Texas or Oklahoma who recently suffered through the worst drought on record, Mann says, or look to the drought currently baking California: “For all those people, catastrophic climate change has already arrived.”
Reading Eagle
Marylouise Sholly
If you've ever wondered if a turtle has ears, Matt Marsden would be your go-to guy. Marsden is an environmental educator with the Shaver's Creek Environmental Center of Penn State University. Educators from the center are presenting programs every day at the Pennsylvania Farm Show to explain the center's goals and programs, and, hopefully, foster a greater appreciation of the natural world. The Center will hold a program at 2 p.m. Saturday on the Main Floor.
The Durango Herald
Seth Borenstein
With steamy nights, sticky days and torrential downpours, last year went down as one of the warmest and wildest weather years on record in the United States. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Monday that 2016 was the second hottest year in the U.S. as Alaska warmed dramatically and nighttime temperatures set a record. “The fact that the U.S. has seen the two warmest years (2012 and 2016) within the past five years cannot be explained by chance. It bears the fingerprint of human-caused climate change,” Pennsylvania State University climate scientist Michael Mann said in an email.
Caroline Newman
Amid uncertainty about how President-elect Donald Trump's administration will address climate change and the Paris Agreement struck last spring, many of those concerned about climate change are debating how to move forward, both within and outside the political arena. Thomas Bateman, a professor of management in the University of Virginia's McIntire School of Commerce, offers insight into leadership strategies that are not only effective, but required when facing big, complex issues like climate change. Bateman, who directs the Commerce School's leadership minor, studies proactivity and what it takes to accomplish extremely long-term goals – those that may take decades or even a century to reach. Along with former UVA environmental science professor Michael Mann, now Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science and director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, he co-wrote a paper, "The Supply of Climate Leaders Must Grow," recently published in the academic journal Nature Climate Change.
Lebanon Daily News
Merriell Moyer
- "Honey bees are in trouble," a pamphlet at the Pennsylvania State Beekeepers Association (PSBA) booth at the 2017 state farm show proclaimed. A former PSBA president reinforced that proclamation. The PSBA is also working with researchers on finding new nutritional sources for honey bees. "We are encouraging more pollinator gardens and crops, and Penn State's Center for Pollinator Research is doing a good job finding those things, and is trying to identify more of them," Vorisek said.
SF Gate
Brian King, Pennsylvania State University
The potential withdrawal of the United States from the Paris climate agreement has broad implications for society and the environment. While much attention has concentrated upon melting glaciers, rising sea levels and conflicts over scarce resources, another area represents a major cause for concern: human health. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), global climate change has direct health impacts tied to changes in the frequency of extreme weather events including heat, drought and intense rain. Additionally, increasing temperatures alter ecosystem dynamics, making it easier for mosquitoes and other organisms to come into contact with human populations and spread infectious disease (Smith et al. 2014).
The Guardian
Laura Secorun
Tall, spindly and grey, croton trees grow everywhere in Kenya. Although they tend to be used for little more than firewood or shade, their nuts turn out to be an excellent source of biofuel. This overlooked plant could be the answer to Africa’s growing demand for cheap, low-carbon energy. Kenya currently imports all of its oil and, while some rural communities can barely afford to buy diesel for their water pumps, car exhausts in the capital Nairobi are causing dangerous levels of air pollution. “Croton has a lot of potential as a sustainable fuel,” says Michael Jacobson, chair of the forest ecosystem management programme at Penn State University.
The New York Times
Kenneth Chang
In a few years, you could be eating the next generation of genetically altered foods — potatoes that do not turn brown or soybeans with a healthier mix of fatty acids. And you may have no idea that something is different, because there may be no mention on the labeling even after a law passed by Congress last year to disclose genetically modified ingredients takes effect. A new generation of crops known as gene-edited rather than genetically modified is coming to the market. Created through new tools that snip and tweak DNA at precise locations, they, at least for now, largely fall outside of current regulations. Other companies also developing gene-edited crops including DuPont Pioneer, which has used the technology for a new variety of waxy corn, used most commonly not for food but for starch in adhesives. Scientists at Pennsylvania State University have used Crispr to create mushrooms that do not turn brown as quickly.
Lancaster Farming
Virginia Ishler
The summer and fall of 2016 will go down as one of the driest and hottest stretches on record for some parts of Pennsylvania. Many dairy producers had their lowest crop yields in decades, and I have heard of homeowners whose springs or wells dried up. Some dairy farmers will have to purchase hay for the first time while others had to harvest all of their corn as silage.
EDM Digest
Glynn Cosker
From climate-change contrarians to the mostly highly regarded scientists, most agree that humans don’t have a precise understanding of how global warming will impact everyday living in the next few decades. President-elect Donald Trump’s nomination for secretary of state, ExxonMobil chief executive Rex Tillerson, is among the high-profile voices who have espoused the idea that climate change will be manageable. They downplay scientists who warn of catastrophic effects from Earth’s rising temperatures, insisting that new technologies and good planning are better than what they see as unreasonable laws based on less than rock-solid long-term projections from climate researchers. “The real scientific debate at this point is not about if but about where, when and how bad,” said Michael Mann, co-author of the report and director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University.