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  1. Wilkening, Jennifer Lee (Ed.)
    The Endangered Species Act (ESA) was a landmark protection for rare organisms in the United States. Although the ESA is known for its protection of wildlife, a majority of listed species are actually plants and lichen. Climate change will impact species populations globally. Already-rare species, like those listed in the ESA, are at an even higher risk due to climate change. Despite this, the risk climate change poses to endangered plants has not been systematically evaluated in over a decade. To address this gap, we modified previously existing qualitative assessment toolkits used to examine the threat of climate change in federal documentation on listed wildlife. These modified toolkits were then applied to the 771 ESA listed plants. First, we evaluated how sensitive ESA listed plants and lichens were to climate change based on nine quantitative sensitivity factors. Then, we evaluated if climate change was recognized as a threat for a species, and if actions were being taken to address the threats of climate change. We found that all ESA listed plant and lichen species are at least slightly (score of 1) sensitive to climate change, and therefore all listed plants and lichens are threatened by climate change. While a majoritymore »of ESA listing and recovery documents recognized climate change as a threat, very few had actions being taken in their recovery plans to address climate change directly. While acknowledging the threat that climate change poses to rare plants is an important first step, direct action will need to be taken to ensure the recovery of many of these species.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 26, 2024
  2. The state of New York has ambitious mandates for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing renewable energy generation. Solar energy will play an important role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the electric energy sector. Concerns over solar installations’ impacts to host communities and the environment have led to growing conflicts over solar energy siting on Long Island, in other parts of New York, and throughout the US. Understanding community members’ perspectives is critical for reducing conflict. Solar energy can be deployed more quickly and at lower cost if projects are structured to address the concerns and meet the needs of the community. This paper presents the results of a survey of residential utility ratepayers that examined their perceptions, preferences, and priorities concerning mid- to large-scale solar development on Long Island (250 kW and larger). The survey asked respondents to consider specific installation types, financial models, and other aspects of solar development. Results indicate that respondents were overwhelmingly supportive of mid- to large-scale solar development in their communities. The most highly supported development types were solar systems on rooftops and solar systems that are co-located with other land uses (mixed use) at a particular site, such as parking canopies, landfills,more »or integration with agriculture. The most highly supported financial models included privately funded projects by local developers and community solar projects. The largest concern about solar development expressed by respondents did not involve tree removal or visibility (as initially hypothesized to be the most significant considerations) but rather the fairness of the distribution of economic benefits associated with solar development. This paper provides concrete insight into particular models of solar development that may invoke less conflict and more community support.« less