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Science for Environment Policy, Issue 397

05.01.2015
Obecné
Science for Environment Policy, Issue 397

A service from the European Commission..

Alder tree decline in Europe: how does climate affect the spread of damaging pathogen?
Milder winters under climate change could increase the extent of alder tree (Alnus glutinosa) decline in Europe due to the increased spread of the pathogen Phytophthora alni, a recent study has found. However, this may be offset by hotter summers, which reduce the severity of the disease.
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Decommissioning is a significant part of nuclear power's GHG impact
The greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions produced during the decommissioning phase of nuclear power plants may have been underestimated in previous assessments, new research suggests. The study estimated that the decommissioning process for a German plant resulted in 1 651 265 tonnes of CO2 (or equivalent) emissions, or 0.825 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per tonne of waste. While the researchers acknowledge that impact is highly dependent on the unique characteristics of each decommissioning project, these results raise questions as to whether this phase has been accurately assessed in earlier research.
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Citizen engagement with national policy: energy project shares its experiences
Ensuring successful public engagement in policy can be difficult. Four key challenges - communicating complexity, providing balanced information, creating space for deliberation and accessing broader values - are highlighted by a new study. Its authors show how they dealt with these challenges in a UK programme, designed to gather public views on the future of national energy policy.
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Deadly effects of particulate matter pollution shown in French study
Particulate matter (PM) pollution has a significant effect on death rates in French cities, a new study shows. The research confirms the short-term impacts of PM10, but also sheds new light on the effects of smaller particulates: PM2.5 and PM10-2.5. Its results could help inform public health advice, the authors propose.
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Wider gaps between cycle paths and traffic reduce active commuters' air pollution dose
Setting cycle and footpaths further back from the road can significantly lower the amount of air pollution that cyclists and pedestrians inhale, suggests new research. While wide gaps are not always practical, the study shows that even small increases in distance could substantially reduce the dose of pollution.
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What influences motorists' intentions to switch to electric vehicles?
What drives people to behave in more environmentally friendly ways? A new study explores factors that affect Dutch motorists' intentions to switch to electric vehicles. The authors found that they could reliably predict the intention to switch by applying a theoretical framework--Protection Motivation Theory--based on perceptions of the threat of environmental damage.
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