Highlights of the report on the climate impact of potential shale gas production in the EU

Highlights proposed by  GreenFacts of the report: Climate impact of potential shale gas production in the EU delivered to the  European Commission DG CLIMA by AEA, in collaboration with CE Delft and Milieu.

http://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/eccp/docs/120815_final_report_en.pdf

1. Objectives of this report The objective of this study is to provide state-of-the-art information to the European Commission on the potential climate implications (via greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions) of possible future technically recoverable shale gas (gas reserves trapped within shale rock[1]) resources in Europe to produce electricity.  According to the report, these resources are of a similar scale to those technically recoverable in theU.S.

The study provides also an assessment of the adequacy of GHG emissions reporting frameworks to cover fugitive emissions of the production of shale gas and, if needed, propose measures for its improvement. Continue reading

Highlights of the US-EPA draft report on the health and environmental impact of the production of the transgenic salmon AquAdvantage

A short summary followed by the Highlights of the report in nine questions.

SHORT SUMMARY The salmon evaluated by the FDA is a genetically modified (“engineered” or also “transgenic”) Atlantic salmon to be produced and grown under specified conditions. This fish, named AquAdvantage Salmon, is a triploid (effectively sterile) female fish containing a rDNA construct designed to exhibit a rapid-growth phenotype that allows it to reach smolt  size (or approximately 100 g) faster than non-genetically modified farmed salmon. The objective of the project is to meet increasing demand for fish protein in light of declining stocks and diminishing capture of wild fish.

FDA has made the preliminary determination, based on the evidence collected and evaluated,  that it is reasonable to believe that approval of the AquAdvantage Salmon NADA will not have any significant impacts on the quality of the human environment of the United States, and on the populations of endangered Atlantic salmon when produced and grown under the conditions of use for the proposed action. 

The US-FDA regulates animals containing rDNA constructs under the new animal drug provisions of the FD&C Act, must meet environmental review requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and FDA’s regulations.

The FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) has evaluated both the direct and indirect food safety impacts of AquAdvantage Salmon and any potential impacts of the rDNA insertion on target animal safety. CVM has also thoroughly evaluated the potential environmental impacts of approving an NADA for AquAdvantage Salmon.

The potential hazards and harms to the environment include the hypothesis that the transgenic salmon would escape the conditions of confinement but, as the transgenic salmon would be produced and grown-out in secure facilities that have been verified and validated by FDA, the possibility that transgenic fish could escape from containment, survive and reproduce is extremely remote. In addition, because populations produced will be triploid (effectively sterile), all-female animals, the possibility of their reproducing in the wild is likewise extremely remote. FDA, has also considered that approval of the AquAdvantage Salmon will not jeopardize the continued existence of United States populations of threatened or endangered Atlantic salmon.

The potential effects on the local environments of Canada and Panama have not been considered and evaluated in this draft assessement because the US NEPA does not require an analysis of environmental effects in foreign sovereign countries, except if  there would be significant effects on the environment of the United States.

With respect to food safety, FDA has concluded that food from AquAdvantage Salmon is as safe as food from conventional Atlantic salmon, and that there is a reasonable certainty of no harm from consumption of food from triploid AquAdvantage Salmon.

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1. What is the genetically modified (“engineered” or also transgenic) salmon which is evaluated by the FDA?

The development of a genetically modified salmon is the end result of advances in genetic engineering within the past 30+ years. Recombinant DNA technology was first used to produce genetically modified (engineered or transgenic) animals in 1973.  Although initial interest centered primarily on mammals, by the late-1990s, genetically modified (or engineered – GE) carp, trout, loach, tilapia, catfish, and salmon had been produced.

AquaBounty Technologies, Inc. (ABT or the sponsor) has provided data and information in support of a New Animal Drug Application (NADA) for a genetically modified Atlantic salmon1 to be produced and grown under specified conditions. This fish, named AquAdvantage Salmon, is designed to exhibit a rapid-growth phenotype that allows it to reach smolt  size (or approximately 100 g) faster than non-genetically modified farmed salmon.

The AquAdvantage Salmon founder animal was generated in 1989 by micro-injecting a recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid (rDNA) construct, composed of a element from an ocean pout antifreeze protein gene and a protein-coding sequence from a chinook salmon growth hormone gene into the fertilized eggs of wild Atlantic salmon. Continue reading

Climate impact of potential shale gas production in the EU – Highlights of a report to DG Environment

Highlights proposed by  GreenFacts of the report: Climate impact of potential shale gas production in the EU delivered to the  European Commission DG CLIMA by AEA, in collaboration with CE Delft and Milieu.

1.       Objectives of this report

The objective of this study is to provide state-of-the-art information to the European Commission on the potential climate implications (via greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions) of possible future technically recoverable shale gas (gas reserves trapped within shale rock[1]) resources inEurope to produce electricity.  According to the report, these resources are of a similar scale to those technically recoverable in theU.S.

The study provides also an assessment of the adequacy of GHG emissions reporting frameworks to cover fugitive emissions of the production of shale gas and, if needed, propose measures for its improvement.

Drawing upon existing research this report provides an examination of the potential climate impacts of shale gas production in the EU. It begins with a review of existing estimates of GHG emissions from shale gas production and of the potential options for abating emissions from shale gas processes. This evidence is then used to estimate the potential emissions that might be associated with shale gas exploitation in the EU about 60-70 g CO2 /MJ, see graph in the report p 64) . The reports estimates also, through the use of appropriate models, each step of the lifecycle GHG emissions of electricity production from shale gas, taking into account the direct and indirect GHG gas emissions associated with gas extraction, transportation and use, including pre-production and production phases (excluding the exploration stage). Continue reading

Shale gas : identification of potential dangers and risks for the environment and human health arising from hydraulic fracturing in Europe.

Support to the identification of potential risks for the environment and human health arising from hydrocarbons operations involving hydraulic fracturing in Europe. 

A report to the EU Commission DG Environment 

A short presentation prepared by The GreenFacts Initiative from the original report.(*)

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/energy/pdf/fracking%20study.pdf

1.Aim of this report  This report sets out the key environmental and health risk issues associated with the potential development and growth of high volume hydraulic fracturing in Europe. The study focused on the net incremental impacts and risks that could result from the possible growth in use of these techniques. This addresses the impacts and risks over and above those already addressed in regulation of conventional gas exploration and extraction. The study distinguishes shale gas associated practices and activities from conventional ones that already take place in Europe, and identifies the potential environmental issues which have not previously been encountered, or which could be expected to present more significant challenges.

The study reviewed available information on a range of potential risks and impacts of high volume hydraulic fracturing. The study concentrated on the direct impacts of hydraulic fracturing and associated activities such as transportation and waste water management. The study did not address secondary or indirect impacts such as those associated with materials extraction (stone, gravel etc.) and energy use related to road, infrastructure and well pad construction. Continue reading

The risks from exposure to mixture of chemicals : adequately evaluated ?

Excerpts selected by GreenFacts of a summary of a recent state-of-the-art report and of a Preliminary Opinion approved for Public Consultation on  Toxicity and Assessment of Chemical Mixtures expressed by the non-food Scientific Committees of the EU Commission.

1. – THE REPORT details the scientific state of the art findings of a project on mixture toxicology and ecotoxicology commissioned by the  European Commission, DG Environment.

According to it, there is strong evidence that chemicals with common specific modes of action work together to produce  combination effects that are larger than the effects of each mixture component applied singly. In the case of such combinations of chemicals that interact with the same sub-system of an organism, the concept of dose addition is applicable for the prediction of their effects when the toxicities of individual mixture components are known.

The currently available scientific evidence as well as pragmatic considerations, says the report, support the idea of adopting dose addition as the preliminary default concept for the assessment and prediction of mixture effects. Indeed, deviations from predicted additivity, indicative of synergisms or antagonisms, are comparatively rare, relatively small and largely confined to mixtures with only a few compounds.

This approach, says the report is borne out by current practice in many regulatory bodies in the EU, USA and by recommendations of international bodies.

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Mobile phone and brain cancer: radiofrequency electromagnetic fields classified by IARC (WHO) as possibly carcinogenic to humans.

mobile phone

Highlights summarized by GreenFacts of the IARC classification and of the Interphone study, update of  Nov 2011.

On May 31, 2011 the WHO/International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B)[2] , based on an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer, associated with wireless mobile phone (or cell phone) use.

http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2011/pdfs/pr208_E.pdf

The evidence was reviewed critically, and overall evaluated as being limited among users of wireless mobile telephones for glioma and acoustic neuroma, and inadequate to draw conclusions for other types of cancers. The evidence from the environmental exposures mentioned above was similarly judged inadequate. The Working Group did not quantitate the risk; however, one study of past mobile or cell phone use (up to the year 2004), showed a 40% increased risk for gliomas in the highest category of heavy users (reported average: 30 minutes per day over a 10‐year period).

This has relevance for public health, says the report, particularly for users of mobile phones, as the number of users is large and growing, particularly among young adults and children.

Continue reading