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October 30 2013

22:14

74 Percent Of Voters Back EPA Power Plant Emissions Regulation

74% Of Voters Back EPA Power Plant Emissions Regulation (via Clean Technica)

Fighting emissions regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency must be a winning national electoral issue, right? Otherwise why would so many politicians fight so hard to allow power plants to keep spewing pollution into the air? Um, not so much…



The post 74 Percent Of Voters Back EPA Power Plant Emissions Regulation appeared first on Global Warming is Real.

October 21 2013

18:14

Enviro News Wrap: LA Times Says NO to Deniers; Economic Impact of Climate Change; Challenges to EPA Carbon Regulation, and more…

The Latest Environmental News HeadlinesGlobalWarmingisReal contributor Anders Hellum-Alexander wraps-up and comments on the climate and environmental news headlines for the past week:

  • The LATimes has decided to not publish any letters to the editor that contain factual inaccuracies regarding climate change. Not surprisingly, the conservative media freaked out and framed it as a repression of debate. Debate is healthy, but to be of any real value it needs to be based on fact. Ignoring facts makes a real debate impossible.
  • Climate change has an economic impact, and a large one at that. The Asian Development bank did a study and found that climate change could reduce the GDP of Asian countries.
  • Fighting climate change involves more technological development. We have the tools to do some mitigation, but the full effort to avoid climate change involves the continued development of technology. It seems like a trap though, the more we develop technology the more we can deal with the effects of past technologies, but the more we are able to hurt ourselves in the present. I hope its not a paradox that humans get caught in.
  • Environmentalists want the EPA to regulate carbon emissions as a pollutant thus allowing them to reduce carbon emissions. There is a challenge to the EPA’s authority to regulate carbon that will be decided in the Supreme Court.
  • SunPower produces the world’s most efficient commercially-available solar panel. They have been in business for 25 years and it has been a hard fight, especially with the rise of Asian manufacturers. SunPower is surviving and weathering the storm of low Asian prices. Now it is the Asian solar companies that are struggling to stay afloat.
  • The strength of an industry can be shown in the number of new patents it is creating. Solar is creating many new patents and hopefully the innovation will pay off with a future filled with inexpensive, well-built and efficient solar panels.
  • Nuns are allies to the environmental movement. Their voice should be elevated so church-goers are more sympathetic to the good cause.

The post Enviro News Wrap: LA Times Says NO to Deniers; Economic Impact of Climate Change; Challenges to EPA Carbon Regulation, and more… appeared first on Global Warming is Real.

September 23 2013

16:18

Enviro News Wrap: Latest IPCC Report; Colorado Flood Aftermath; Coal’s Long Goodbye, and more…

The Latest Environmental News HeadlinesGlobalWarmingisReal contributor Anders Hellum-Alexander wraps-up and comments on the climate and environmental news headlines for the past week:

  • I spent last weekend in Denver and it turned out to be a terrible time to visit. In the Boulder area floods carved out the land and roads. Gas and oil tanks were disrupted during the flood, spilling their contents. There is a fundamental problem with using dirty energy sources, in the end we spill it.
  • The newest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report expands on the certainty that humans are the cause of climate change. Arguing against the theory of climate change is like arguing against the theory of evolution. Well, I guess people try to do that too.
  • The International community has yet to agree on and act out a plan to address climate change. The balance of our climate should be of interest to every country and person. Earth is on track for increasingly disruptive climate change that continues to assault the wealth and health of humans. We need to address this issue both locally and globally.
  • Global warming is not the only reason to reduce emissions of pollutants. We live and breath in our ocean of air, the atmosphere. Pollutants have a real impact on human life, illustrated by this map from NASA.
  • A lot of the oil coming out of Nigeria has been illegally siphoned off of pipelines. Besides the damage to the oil industry the process of stealing oil from pipelines is really dirty and broken pipes are just left to spill after thieves have taken their fill. We should be dependent on less destructive energy sources.
  • Google has invested a lot of money in renewable energy. The effort continues with a wind energy contract.
  • Wind-Turbine-Syndrome is a thing. I really don’t know what to think of it. Maybe its a psychosomatic reaction of people that live next to wind turbines and politically don’t like renewable energy.
  • Coal in America will have to clean up its act. The EPA is enacting new stricter rules and its a win for us and our environment. Even with these new rules coal has been on the decline due to the booming natural gas industry. Coal and gas are easy substitutes and investors are choosing gas over coal. Coal is being attacked from two fronts and this might be the beginning of the end for the industry. This is not just happening in the US, China is another large stage for the decline of coal.
  • Ever wonder how the managers of evil corporations maintain their sanity? What if they weren’t? Dirty energy companies, banks, they make huge profits off of obviously hurting people. Maybe we are being played by sociopaths.
  • A negative externality is the cost of producing a good or service that is not included in the price paid by the consumer. Unaccounted for environmental externalities are messing up our economy because it creates a false market signal with dirty energy priced low and renewable energy priced high. But, renewable energy has a lower cost to society than dirty energy.

 

 

 

 

The post Enviro News Wrap: Latest IPCC Report; Colorado Flood Aftermath; Coal’s Long Goodbye, and more… appeared first on Global Warming is Real.

August 05 2013

18:34

Enviro News Wrap: Young U.S. Voters Want Climate Action; Fossil Energy Divestment Takes Hold; Utilities vs. Rooftop Solar…

The Latest Environmental News HeadlinesGlobalWarmingisReal contributor Anders Hellum-Alexander wraps-up and comments on the climate and environmental news headlines for the past week:

  • Young people in America know that global warming is real; as long as we can get them to vote we will never have another President that opposes a healthy environment. And, when did having a healthy environment become just a Democrat thing? Nixon passed the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and created the Environmental Protection Agency. Bush the First updated the Clean Air Act and created a market based solution to acid rain. Its weird days in the US when a powerful political party is actively trying to ruin the only land we have.
  • If you don’t want dirty energy companies affecting politics, then why invest in them? Divestment is becoming more popular and is a needed correction. You should vote the same way you buy products and invest your money. Don’t let your money speak louder than your vote.
  • Many utilities in the US are trying to kill the advance of solar. Instead they should embrace the movement of innovation in energy. Our current way of producing and delivering energy is antiquated and still, in the world’s richest nation most people lose power 1-7 days a year. We need new ideas about how to produce sustainable energy and overcome the inherent challenges of wind and solar, because it is true that the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine.
  • There are about 20 US states supportive of solar PV. If you live in one you should look into getting solar on your home. Solar energy is true energy independence.
  • Hybrid cars are selling well in America, 300,000 sold so far this year, but few all-electric cars (EV) have been sold. The electric car will have its time, but it is new to the mass market and needs to continue innovating. Batteries need to be smaller, cheaper, quicker to charge and have less of an environmental impact. The cool thing about electric vehicles is that they are as environmentally friendly as the fuel for the battery, so PV solar is a perfect companion for EVs.
  • The enormous Alberta Tar Sands operation has unintended consequences. Sometimes when drilling for oil a pipe just starts pulling up oil and spilling on the surface. This is happening in Canada and its awful. There is pressure in the EU to reclassify oil from the Tar Sands as a banned import.
  • Azerbaijan is going Green.
  • Laboratory meat has been achieved, its taste is described as “edible.” When we can grow authentic tasting steaks will it become the new standard? Without the land impact lab meat is the better option for the environment. Only problem is that lab meat could become cheap and abundant and encourage rich people to eat more of it and poor people to start eating it everyday (eating less local food). We would be increasing obesity, population growth and mechanizing and centralizing our food even further. Are we stuck in a cycle that we can not get out of?

 

The post Enviro News Wrap: Young U.S. Voters Want Climate Action; Fossil Energy Divestment Takes Hold; Utilities vs. Rooftop Solar… appeared first on Global Warming is Real.

June 27 2013

19:07

Landfill Folly & What Industries are Doing to Correct It

More than 3000 operating landfills in the US process tons of waste - much of which is hazardous  and/or could be recycled By Andrew Anderson

The amount of trash that the United States produces is staggering. There are more than 3,000 operating landfills and more than 10,000 abandoned landfills in the U.S., according to Zero Waste America. Industry leaders are focusing on improving manufacturing standards and processes that lessen the burden and create more sustainable products for today and our future.

What’s in the Landfill?

The unintended consequence of manufacturing materials, such as plastic, is the vast amount of space that slowly decaying material requires. The Environmental Protection Agency says plastics accounted for nearly 13 percent of the municipal solid waste stream in 2011. Many suggest that plastic, along with rubber and Styrofoam, will take centuries to decompose. Many scientists agree that a significant amount of hazardous material escapes through leaking landfill liners, but it’s difficult to accurately measure the full impact. Landfills located near lakes and streams could potentially allow chemicals and gases to seep into ground water and enter the food chain through marine animals. While landfill operators and environmental advocates look for efficient liner mechanisms to control leachate, which is a solid-containing liquid that is generated when groundwater “percolates” through solid waste, industries are searching for innovative ways to manage and reduce harmful effects of their products.

Rubber: What is the Industry Doing Today?

Tires don’t decompose, and it is expensive to collect and repurpose tires. They are heavy, take up a lot of room and are not easily broken down into other materials. Thirty-five states charge disposal fees to offset the expense of collection, storage and processing, TireBuyer.com has stated. The company makes efforts to sell tires that are manufactured using sustainable materials and manufacturing processes. Kumho Tires is one brand that is incorporating more eco-friendly manufacturing into their business plan; reducing air pollution and incorporating oil-free processing procedures.

Electronic Industry Contributions and Solutions

The EPA estimates that more than 150 million pieces of e-waste find their way into the landfill every year. To offset this huge impact and encourage more consumers to recycle old digital equipment and related waste, Dell provides opportunities for recycling that include scrubbing information from hard drives, refurbishing equipment for continued use and connecting consumers to non-profit organizations that put used computer equipment in schools and other public agencies. Dell also offers a free mail-back service for any brand of equipment and ink cartridges.

Styrofoam Products

Hasswell, a manufacturing company based in China, makes machines that reduce size and volume of Styrofoam and other material waste. Its equipment is designed to handle cardboard with balers, densifiers for Styrofoam, shredders for plastic bottles and crushers for glass. Its website reports that 1,369 tons of Styrofoam enter landfills every year and burning Styrofoam products releases more than four dozen harmful chemicals. Sun exposure also releases harmful chemicals from this non-biodegradable substance.

——————

Andy lives in San Jose, Calif., is a full-time surf rat and a part-time photographer and journalist.

The post Landfill Folly & What Industries are Doing to Correct It appeared first on Global Warming is Real.

June 24 2013

18:16

Enviro News Wrap: Obama to Address Climate Strategy; World Bank Commits Billions to Alleviate Climate Impacts; Learning the Lessons of Sandy (or not)

The Latest Environmental News HeadlinesGlobalWarmingisReal contributor Anders Hellum-Alexander wraps-up and comments on the climate and environmental news headlines for the past week:

  • Obama will outline a grand national climate change plan on Tuesday June 25th.  I hope this effort does not turn out like healthcare did, we need a real solution, not a watered down compromise that panders to skeptics. Obama has executive powers that he has been using, like executive orders and regulation via the EPA, but what legislation will he be able to push through the obstructionist legislature? Straight regulation of CO2 emissions is what we need. And not just because CO2 is a greenhouse gas, but because when you reduce CO2 emissions you also reduce emissions of a whole host of other environmentally damaging pollutants.
  • The World Bank has funded environmentally devastating projects for decades to “develop” the economies of the world. They have opened up markets in Asia, Africa and South America with transportation and energy projects. Now, after all those changes the World Bank is stepping in to help alleviate the effects of so much development. They are now funding projects to protect people from the effects of climate change.
  • Central America has a lot of support for environmental causes amongst the citizens - but an overall plan between the countries would advance the effort greatly.
  • How many people worldwide are employed in the renewable energy sector? Find out here.
  • I sell Solar PV to homeowners and commercial building owners for a living. The thing I spend most of my time talking about with customers is aesthetics and return on investment. The environmentally positive aspects of solar energy is only a small factor in the equation. The average American is willing to buy green, but only if it makes or saves them money. Incentives matter with a “free market” economy, if the incentives for green products is not there then few people will buy.
  • Learning lessons from Sandy? Government subsidized coastal development resumes after Super-storm Sandy tore apart the East coast. This happens all the time, it is both costly and dumb.

 

The post Enviro News Wrap: Obama to Address Climate Strategy; World Bank Commits Billions to Alleviate Climate Impacts; Learning the Lessons of Sandy (or not) appeared first on Global Warming is Real.

June 03 2013

16:52

EarthTalk: The Importance of Preserving Wetlands

EarthTalk® is a weekly environmental column made available to our readers from the editors of E/The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: Why are wetlands so important to preserve?  – Patricia Mancuso, Erie, PA

Wetlands serve a variety of important ecological functions including feeding downstream waters, trapping floodwaters, recharging groundwater supplies, removing pollution and providing fish and wildlife habitat.Wetlands include swamps, marshes, bogs, riverbanks, mangroves, floodplains, rice fields—and anywhere else, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), that saturation with water is the dominant factor determining the nature of soil development and the types of plant and animal communities there. They are widespread in every country and on every continent except Antarctica. If all the world’s wetlands were put together, they would take up an area one-third larger than the United States.

Environmentalists, biologists and others concerned about the health of the planet and its inhabitants recognize the key role wetlands play in life on Earth. The EPA points out that, besides containing a disproportionately high number of plant and animal species compared to other land forms, wetlands serve a variety of ecological services including feeding downstream waters, trapping floodwaters, recharging groundwater supplies, removing pollution and providing fish and wildlife habitat. Wetlands can also be key drivers of local economies, given their importance to agriculture, recreation and fishing.

According to Wetlands International, a global non-profit dedicated to the conservation and restoration of wetlands around the world, wetlands are on the “front-line” as development pressures increase everywhere. “Wetlands are vulnerable to over-exploitation due to their abundance of fish, fuel and water,” reports the group, which works on the ground in 18 countries to educate the public and policymakers about the health of local wetlands and to advocate for better policies. “When they are viewed as unproductive or marginal lands, wetlands are targeted for drainage and conversion.”

“The rate of loss and deterioration of wetlands is accelerating in all regions of the world,” the group adds. “The pressure on wetlands is likely to intensify in the coming decades due to increased global demand for land and water, as well as climate change.”

The widespread expansion of development in the U.S. in recent decades has brought the issue of wetlands loss to the forefront of debates on zoning and land use planning. One of the key and underlying issues is concern about endangered species: More than a third of species on the U.S. Endangered Species List live only in wetlands and almost half use them at some time during their lifecycles.

While the issue lingers on in municipal planning meetings around the country, the federal government does what it can to protect wetlands. It does so through regulations spelled out in the Clean Water Act, which include providing tax incentives for selling or giving wetlands to land trusts or other conservation groups, via cooperative efforts with state and local entities, and by acquiring wetlands outright to add acreage to public lands systems. And several states have passed laws to regulate activities in wetlands, and many municipalities include wetlands conservation in their development permitting and zoning processes.

Readers can do their part by staying current on local zoning laws, keeping an eye on local wetlands and speaking up if something looks amiss. Potential problems are much easier to resolve early on than after damage is done, so speaking up soon can often lead to more successful and less contentious outcomes.
——————-
EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E – The Environmental Magazine.

Image courtesy iStockPhoto

The post EarthTalk: The Importance of Preserving Wetlands appeared first on Global Warming is Real.

May 06 2013

18:56

Enviro News Wrap: Climate Change and National Security; Keeling Curve On the Brink of 400; Getting Beyond Politics Leads to Climate Action, and more…

The Latest Environmental News HeadlinesGlobalWarmingisReal contributor Anders Hellum-Alexander wraps-up and comments on the climate and environmental news headlines for the past week:

The post Enviro News Wrap: Climate Change and National Security; Keeling Curve On the Brink of 400; Getting Beyond Politics Leads to Climate Action, and more… appeared first on Global Warming is Real.

August 24 2012

19:08

July 28 2012

13:00

The Real Train Wreck: ALEC and "Other ALECs" Attack EPA Regulations

When business-friendly bills and resolutions spread like wildfire in statehouses nationwide calling for something as far-fetched as a halt to EPA regulations on greenhouse gas emissions, ALEC is always a safe bet for a good place to look for their origin.

In the midst of hosting its 39th Annual Meeting this week in Salt Lake City, Utah, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is appropriately described as an ideologically conservative "corporate bill mill" by the Center for Media and Democracy, the overseer of the ALEC Exposed project. 98 percent of ALEC's funding comes from corporations, according to CMD**.

ALEC's meetings bring together corporate lobbyists and state legislators to schmooze and then vote on what it calls "model bills." Lobbyists, as CMD explains, have a "voice and a vote in shaping policy." In short, they have de facto veto power over whether the prospective bills they present at these conferences become "models" that will be distributed to the offices of politicians in statehouses nationwide.

For a concise version of how ALEC operates, see the brand new video below by Mark Fiore.

 
ALEC Rock

ALEC, though, isn't the only group singing this tune.

As it turns out, one of the "Other ALECs," or a group that operates in a similar manner to ALEC, will be hosting its conference in the immediate aftermath of ALEC's conference: the Council of State Government's (CSG) regional offshoot, the Southern Leadership Conference (SLC).

Like ALEC, CSG produces its own "model bills," which it calls "Suggested State Legislation" (SSL). SSL is enacted via an "up or down" vote manner at CSG's national meetings. This process mirrors that of its cousin ALEC, with corporate lobbyists also able to vote in closed door meetings.

Some key differences between CSG and ALEC: the former is bipartisan in nature, while the latter is Republican Party-centric; CSG has a far larger budget, due to the fact that 43 percent of its funding comes from taxpayer contributions; and CSG is not explicitly ideological in nature because it was founded as a trade association for state legislators (not as a corporate front group like ALEC, although CSG is now heavily influenced by the same forces).

SLC's annual meeting will be held in Charleston, West Virginia from July 28-31.

TruthOut's ongoing "Other ALECs Exposed" series (written by yours truly) digs deep into the machinations of "Other ALEC"-like groups.

One of the key threads tying these two particular groups together is their agreement on derailing what they describe as "job-killing" EPA greenhouse gas emissions regulations. ALEC has referred to these sensible standards on multiple occassions as a "Regulatory Trainwreck."

ALEC, SLC and EPA "Regulatory Trainwreck" Resolutions

ALEC's "Regulatory Trainwreck" Resolution

ALEC has two model bills on the books that call for EPA regulations to be eliminated: the State Regulatory Responsibility Act and the Resolution Opposing EPA’s Regulatory Train Wreck. Essentially clones, the two bills passed nearly a decade apart from one another, the former in 2000, the latter in 2011.

ALEC's description of EPA regulations reads like the apocolypse is looming.

"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has begun a war on the American standard of living," it wrote. "During the past couple of years, the Agency has undertaken the most expansive regulatory assault in history on the production and distribution of affordable and reliable energy…These regulations are causing the shutdown of power plants across the nation, forcing electricity generation off of coal, destroying jobs, raising energy costs, and decreasing reliability."  

Former CMD reporter Jill Richardson wrote in a July 2011 story that the concept behind the resolution originated at ALEC's December 2010 policy summit. Richardson explained,

The policy summit included a session led by Peter Glaser of Troutman Sanders LLP law firm in which Glaser, an attorney who represents electric utility, mining and other energy industry companies and associations on environmental regulation, specifically in the area of air quality and global climate change, told the crowd that "EPA's regulatory trainwreck" is "a term that's now in common use around town. I think everybody should become familiar with it." (See the video here.) Along with the presentations, ALEC published a report called "EPA's Regulatory Trainwreck: Strategies for State Legislators" and provided "Legislation to Consider" on its site, RegulatoryTrainwreck.com. For the public, they created the website StopTheTrainwreck.com.

The Resolution calls for the EPA to stop regulating greenhouse gases for the next two years as a "jobs creation" mechanism.

After the midterm election ransacking, in which the GOP won large majorities in state legislatures nationwide, it was off to the races for "Regulatory Train Wreck" resolutions to pass around the country, and pass they did. 

The "Regulatory Trainwreck" resolution, according to ALEC, has been introduced in an astounding 34 states, passing in 13, as of a June 2011 press release.

This assault conducted by ALEC and its corporate backers is merely the tip of the iceberg. ALEC itself boasts,

There are 27 groups of state and local officials that opposerecent EPA action, including tens of thousands of state legislators, utility commissioners, agricultural department officials, foresters, drinking water administrators, fish and wildlife agencies, solid waste management officials, state wetland managers, mayors, counties, and cities.

One of these 27 groups included CSG's Southern Leadership Conference.

SLC Adopts the "Regulatory Train Wreck" Resolution as its Own

On July 19, 2011, the SLC adopted the ALEC Regulatory Train Wreck resolution at its 65th Annual Meeting in Memphis, TN. The Resolution called for, among other things, to

  1. "Adopt legislation prohibiting the EPA from further regulating greenhouse gas emissions for the next 24 months, including, if necessary, defunding the EPA greenhouse gas regulatory activity;"
  2. "Impose a moratorium on the promulgation of any new air quality regulation by the EPA, including, if necessary,the defunding of the EPA air quality regulatory activities, except to address an imminent health or environmental emergency, for a period of at least 24 months;"  

In other words, this is a copycat of the ALEC Resolution. SLC, like ALEC, chocks it up to the false dichotomy of regulation vs. jobs, and regulations "killing jobs." As DeSmogBlog has written, the opposite is actually the case.

The resolution's opening paragraph is a case in point. It reads,

"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed, or is in the process of proposing, numerous regulations regarding air quality and regulation of greenhouse gases that likely will have major effects on Southern state economies, impacting businesses, manufacturing industries and, in turn, job creation and U.S. competitiveness in world markets."

Lobbyists representing the Nuclear Energy Institute, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), Southern States Energy Board (a lobbying tour de force, which has a whole host of dirty energy clients in the oil, gas, and nuclear power sectors), Piedmont Natural Gas, Spectra Energy, and Southern Company were all in attendance to vote on this resolution. 

Dirty energy sponsors of the 2011 SLC meeting included the likes of Spectra, General Electric, ACCCE, Chevron, Honeywell, Piedmont Natural Gas, BP, Southern Company, and Atmos Energy, to name several.

If adopted at a federal level, this resolution would, of course, make all of these companies a hefty fortune.  

ALEC's Bifurcated Approach: Strip Federal Regs, Attack Local Democracy

Oil, gas, nuclear and utility corporations that fund ALEC and groups like CSG would like nothing more than to see EPA regulations disintegrate into thin air.

Part one of DeSmog's investigation on ALEC's dirty energy agenda showed that, along with pushing for the elimination of EPA regulations, it has also succeeded in promulgating legislation that would eliminate local democracy as we know it, including altering key standards such as zoning rights - a Big Business giveaway of epic proportions.

This would mean only extremely underfunded and understaffed state regulatory agencies like the New York Department of Environmental Conservation would have any oversight on environmental regulatory issues. 

If anything is clear, it's this: statehouses have become one of Big Business' favorite domiciles for pushing its "Corporate Playbook." 

Image CreditLane V. Erickson ShutterStock

(**Full Disclosure: Steve Horn is a former employee of CMD and worked on the ALECExposed project)

April 30 2012

16:37

E.P.A. Official Resigns Over 'Crucify' Comments

An official who spoke of seeking to "crucify" big polluters says that he does not want his remarks to distract people from the E.P.A.'s "important work."

April 26 2012

16:48

E.P.A. Official Spoke of 'Crucifying' Polluters

After the release of a video by a Republican senator, an E.P.A. administrator scrambles to apologize for "offensive" remarks.

April 18 2012

17:22

E.P.A. Sets Air Standards for Fracking

The agency plans the first limits on emissions of methane, benzene, and volatile organic compounds from hydraulic fracturing.
14:54

An Enemy in Your Sand Castle

A new study offers guidance on what levels of disease-causing bacteria in sand could pose a risk to children and other beachgoers.

April 17 2012

11:00

Q. & A.: Campaigning in an Age of Deadlock

Michael Brune, the Sierra Club's executive director, talks about the Obama administration's record on environmental issues, his group's priorities and the political landscape.

April 16 2012

18:55

U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Headed Up Again

An improvement in the U.S. economy led to a 3.2 percent rise in energy consumption in 2010, the E.P.A. reports.

April 03 2012

14:28

On Our Radar: A Soupçon of van Gogh?

Using advanced digital animation, scientists simulate ocean and sea-ice flows to better understand systems that move heat and carbon. The goal is to understand the ocean's role in future climate change.

March 27 2012

19:12

Breaking News: EPA Issues First Limits on Greenhouse Gas Emissions for Power Plants


The EPA proposes its first rule limiting GHG emissions from power plants. The rule could effectively end new construction of coal-fired plants in the USIn a move that could effectively end construction of any new conventional coal-fired power generation in the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today has proposed the first limits on greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants.

“Today we’re taking a common sense step to reduce pollution in our air, protect the planet for our children, and move us into a new era of American energy,” said EPA administrator Lisa Jackson. “Right now there are no limits to the amount of carbon pollution that future power plants will be able to put into our skies–in the health and economic threats of a changing climate continued to grow.”

The average US coal plant today emits about 2249 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour of power produced. The new EPA rules will limit those emissions to 1000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour or at about the level of a modern natural gas plant.

“This is an important common sense step towards tackling the ongoing threat of climate change,” said Jackson. “We build on where the industry is going and lock that trend in, which we believe is an important signal for investors.”

The initial impact of the emissions rule on utilities is expected to initially be negligible; with natural gas prices at 10 year lows most utilities are shutting down coal plants, not building new ones. By the end of 2011 the share of electrical power generation from coal-fired plants dropped below 40 percent, the lowest share since 1978 according to the Energy Information Administration.

Jackson said that the EPA has no plans to set rules on existing plants, and the new limit will apply only to the construction of new power plants. Fifteen plants with pending instruction permits are exempt from the proposed rule.

Joe Mendelson, climate policy director for the National Wildlife Federation characterized the new EPA rule as a “milestone in the fight to rein in climate change. The EPA is taking a big step toward protecting the world our children will inherit.”

Additional sources and reading:
Washington Post
Bloomberg

17:16
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