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The Hill

A new study by MIT researchers finds that “the energy required to run computers in a future global fleet of autonomous vehicles could produce as much greenhouse gas emissions as all the data centers in the world,” reports Sharon Udasin for The Hill. The researchers found that “1 billion such cars, each driving for an hour daily, would use enough energy to generate the same amount of emissions that data centers do today.”

The New York Times

Prof. Steven Barrett speaks with New York Times reporter Paige McClanahan about the pressing need to make air travel more sustainable and his research exploring the impact of contrails on the planet’s temperature. “Eliminating contrails is quite a big lever on mitigating the climate impact of aviation,” said Barrett.

Politico

Politico reporter Derek Robertson writes that a new study by MIT researchers finds the computing power required to replace the world’s auto fleet with AVs would produce about the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions as all the data centers currently operating. Robertson writes that the researchers view the experiment “as an important step in getting auto- and policymakers to pay closer attention to the unexpected ways in which the carbon footprint for new tech can increase.”

BBC News

Graduate student Soumya Sudhakar speaks with BBC Digital Planet host Gareth Mitchell about her new study showing that hardware efficiency for self-driving cars will need to advance rapidly to avoid generating as many greenhouse gas emissions as all the data centers in the world.

Popular Science

Using statistical modeling, MIT researchers have found that the energy needed to power a fleet of fully autonomous EVs could generate as much carbon emissions as all the world’s data centers combined, reports Andrew Paul for Popular Science.

The Washington Post

Washington Post reporter Pranshu Verma writes that a new study by MIT researchers finds the “future energy required to run just the computers on a global fleet of autonomous vehicles could generate as much greenhouse gas emissions as all the data centers in the world today.” 

Forbes

Harry McNamara PhD ’19, David Heller ’18, and Shara Ticku co-founded C16 Biosciences, a biotechnology company that uses synthetic biology to address environmental concerns, reports John Cumbers for Forbes. The company “wants to replace conflict palm oil with a sustainable alternative made in yeast using precision fermentation,” writes Cumbers.

Fortune

Prof. Kripa Varanasi and Vishnu Jayaprakash PhD ’21, MS ’19 have launched AgZen, a company that is trying to reduce pesticide use through the development of additives that allow more pesticide droplets to stick to plants, reports Ian Mount for Fortune. “Globally, farms are spending about $60 billion a year on these pesticides, and our goal is to try to get them to cut that down while still not compromising on pest control,” says Jayaprakash.

The Verge

The Verge reporter Justine Calma writes that a new study by MIT researchers finds that while wind energy has measurably improved air quality, only 32% of those benefits reached low-income communities. “The research shows that to squeeze out the greatest health benefits, wind farms need to intentionally replace coal and gas power plants,” writes Calma. “And to clean up the most polluted places — particularly those with more residents of color and low-income households — those communities need to be in focus when deploying new renewable energy projects.”

HealthDay News

A new study by MIT researchers finds that increased usage of wind power is improving air quality in parts of the U.S., however only a third of the health benefits are being seen in disadvantaged communities, reports Alan Mozes for HealthDay. "Going forward," explains Prof. Noelle Selin, "more targeted policies are needed to reduce the disparities at the same time, for example by directly targeting [fossil fuel] sources that influence certain marginalized communities."

The Hill

Increased usage of wind energy has led to health benefits, but does not affect all communities equally, reports Saul Elbein for The Hill. The researchers found that in order to increase the benefits of wind energy, “the electricity industry would have to spin down the most polluting plants at times of high wind-supply — rather than their most expensive ones,” writes Elbein.

Forbes

Alumna Geeta Sankappanavar founded Akira Impact, an investment firm that directs capital to support the UN Sustainable Development Goals, reports Cheryl Robinson for Forbes. “The firm invests in companies that support gender equality, clean water and sanitation, clean energy and responsible consumption and production,” writes Robinson.

Salon

A new study by MIT scientists finds that Earth can self-regulate its temperature thanks to a stabilizing feedback mechanism that works over hundreds of thousands of years, reports Troy Farah for Salon. “The finding has big implications for our understanding of the past, but also how global heating is shaping the future of our home world,” writes Farah. “It even helps us better understand the evolution of planetary temperatures that can make the search for alien-inhabited exoplanets more fruitful.”

US News & World Report

Researchers at MIT have found indoor humidity levels can influence the transmission of Covid-19, reports Dennis Thompson for US News & World Report. “We found that even when considering countries with very strong versus very weak Covid-19 mitigation policies, or wildly different outdoor conditions, indoor — rather than outdoor — relative humidity maintains an underlying strong and robust link with Covid-19 outcomes,” explains Prof. Lydia Bourouiba.

Fortune

MIT researchers have found that relative humidity “may be an important metric in influencing the transmission of Covid-19,” reports Sophie Mellor for Fortune, “Maintaining an indoor relative humidity between 40% and 60% – a Goldilocks climate, not too humid, not too dry – is associated with relatively lower rates of Covid-19 infections and deaths,” writes Mellor.