Grind for December 19th, 2018
“Nothing can have value without being an object of utility.”
– Karl Marx
Nearly 200 nations commit to new rules at COP24 climate change summit
The UN climate change conference in Katowice, Poland this month resulted in nearly 200 nations agreeing to a set of rules designed to reduce emissions and increase transparency.
The summit got off to a rocky start when the US, Russia, and Saudi Arabia refused to discuss a landmark report which warned countries were not doing enough to avoid the catastrophic effects of climate change.
Included in the rulebook negotiated at COP24 is a section on transparency, which mandates what information nations must share with each other about emissions.
Issues that remain unsolved include: whether countries will agree to transition to clean energy faster than expected and to what extent wealthy countries will help poor countries pay for that transition.
The COP24 rulebook is a crucial step towards implementing the 2015 Paris Accord, but does not commit nations to the level of reductions necessary to slow global warming.
“Given the broader geopolitical context, this is a pretty solid outcome,” says clean energy expert Elliot Diringer. “It delivers what we need to get the Paris Agreement off the ground.”
For President Trump, who pulled the US from the Paris Accord last summer, the summit was overshadowed by political concerns including trade negotiations with China and the legal drama surrounding Michael Cohen.
In Europe, the meeting took second place to the Yellow Vest protests in France and the continuing failure of Brexit negotiations.
New study links moon dust with cancer
Moon dust is nasty stuff.
During the 1969 Apollo 11 mission to the moon, we found out that moon dust (also called “regolith”) could irritate the lungs, cause vehicles to overheat, and tear holes in spacesuits.
In studying samples collected from the Moon’s surface, researchers at Stony Brook University in New York recently determined that exposure to moon dust can produce highly reactive “hydroxyl radicals” – which in past studies have been linked to lung cancer.
Based on the team’s findings, study author Donald Hendrix believes moon dust is a “major health concern for future astronauts.”
In a separate study, 90% of human lung cells exposed to simulated lunar soil died.
“Dust is the number one concern in returning to the Moon,” says astronaut John Young, who visited the Moon in 1972 as part of the Apollo 16 mission.
Scientists will hopefully learn more about moon dust by way of China’s Chang’e 4 rover, which is expected to touch down on the dark side of the Moon in January.
In addition to collecting samples, the probe will study the effects of solar wind on the Moon’s surface and conduct experiments with potato seeds and silkworm eggs.
GOOD TO THE LAST DROP:
Did you know… Wilson the volleyball, from the movie ‘Cast Away’, won an award for ‘Best Inanimate Object’.