Understanding AC Refrigerant Standards
April 23, 2013 09:13 AM - Andrew Burger, Triple Pundit
Back in 1987, alarm about emissions of ozone layer-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), and bromine gases led national governments worldwide to sign the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, a United Nations (UN) environmental agreement in which 197 countries and the European Union (EU) pledged to phase out production and use of CFCs, HCFCs and bromine gases. Though revised, more aggressive reduction targets for new refrigerant standards are being met, subsequent developments — rapid industrialization in large emerging market countries and the growing threats and costs of global warming — have complicated matters further.
UN Urges Member Nations Renew Pledges to Respect Earth
April 23, 2013 06:19 AM - United Nations News Service
Top United Nations officials today urged the 193 Member States to renew their pledges to honour and respect Mother Earth marking the day selected by the world body to promote harmony with nature and sustainable development. Today is a "chance to reaffirm our collective responsibility to promote harmony with nature," Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the Interactive Dialogue on Harmony with Nature held to mark International Mother Earth Day. Noting this year's theme, Faces of Climate Change, Mr. Ban urged the UN General Assembly "to confront the hard truth that our planet is under threat."
Geochemical Climate Testing
April 22, 2013 04:40 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
New test results are providing further evidence that the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide and Earth's surface temperature are inextricably linked. Nearly thirty-four million years ago, the Earth underwent a transformation from a warm and high-carbon dioxide greenhouse state to a lower-CO2, variable climate of the modern icehouse world. Massive ice sheets grew across the Antarctic continent, major animal groups shifted, and ocean temperatures decreased by up to 5 degrees. Various studies of how this drastic change affected temperatures on land have had mixed results. Some show no appreciable terrestrial climate change; others find cooling of up to 8 degrees and large changes in seasonality. Now, a group of American and British scientists have used a new chemical technique to measure the change in terrestrial temperature associated with this shift in global atmospheric CO2 concentrations.
Earth Day - Hollywood Style
April 22, 2013 03:14 PM - BILL KEITH, The Credits
For years, Hollywood has celebrated Earth Day in order to raise awareness about environmental issues and to strike up a memorable dialogue about sustainable practices. And the film studios’ embrace of Earth Day has only strengthened over time. From PSAs to Paramount’s new micro-turbines, we take a look at the industry’s dedication to spotlighting one of the most important advocacy dates on the calendar. In 1990, the holiday got a pretty big boost from Hollywood when Time Warner called on some of their favorite talent to hammer home proactive things Americans could do to reduce their footprint on the planet. (Our favorites? A pony-tailed Kevin Costner teaching Meryl Streep how to recycle and Neil Patrick Harris as Doogie Howser giving a press conference about the health of his patient, "Mother Earth.") But in 2013, the film business's efforts have far exceeded PSA productions, and the good news is that a lot of progressive practices like electric car fueling stations, composting, a ban on plastic bags in commissaries, and required carbon emission reporting have become all but de rigueur on most major lots. As each of the main studios shoot to achieve "100% sustainable" status in the coming years, the pressure is on to determine creative ways to be the first to get there, and then some. In honor of Earth Day, we take a look at some of the ways Hollywood is committed to 'greening' up their practices:
US Greenhouse Gas Emissions are Down
April 21, 2013 10:01 AM - ANDREW BURGER, Global Warming is Real
Anthropogenic US greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) amounted to a CO2-equivalent 6,702.3 million metric tons in 2011, down 1.6 percent from 2010 and 6.9 percent below 2005 levels. Longer term, US GHG emissions have increased at an annual average rate of 0.4 percent since 1990, according to the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) 18th annual US Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks (Inventory) report, which was released April 15. A decrease in the carbon intensity of fuels used in electricity generation due to increased use of natural gas as opposed to coal, a "significant increase in hydropower" generation, and "relatively mild winter conditions, especially in the South Atlantic Region of the US" were the main factors underlying the drop in national GHG emissions in 2011, according to the EPA’s "The Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2011."
Freeway Air Pollution Travels Farther than Previously Thought
April 19, 2013 11:11 AM - Editor, ENN
Los Angeles is known not only for its celebrity clientele, but also for its congested roadways and heavy traffic, which consequently has led to severely polluted air, and the title of the "smoggiest city" in the United States. While air quality has improved somewhat in LA, a joint study by UCLA and the California Air Resources Board suggests that nearly a quarter of Angelenos are exposed to noxious plumes of freeway fumes almost every morning, far more people than previously thought.
Wildlife Sanctuaries Along Coasts and Sea Level Rise
April 19, 2013 06:18 AM - Science Daily
A new report on the potential effects of climate change on NOAA's Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary uses existing observations and science-based expectations to identify how climate change could affect habitats, plants and animals within the sanctuary and adjacent coastal areas. It also outlines new management recommendations for the sanctuary, and sanctuary officials called it the first step toward addressing them. They also said the report issued by the sanctuary, Climate Change and the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary: Interpreting Potential Futures, will provide a foundation of information and identify key issues facing the sanctuary.
Aerosols confirmed rising over India
April 18, 2013 09:49 AM - T.V. Padma, SciDevNet
While satellite data has shown aerosols — tiny polluting particles in the air — to be rising over India, a new study based on primary data gathered from measuring instruments installed in a network of stations confirms the trend. The study, by a team from the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, and Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, published online in Geophysical Research Letters last month (14 March), is based on the principle that aerosols absorb the sun's rays as they reach the earth's surface.
Antarctica Peninsula Climate Reconstruction
April 17, 2013 04:00 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
The Antarctic Peninsula is the northernmost part of the mainland of Antarctica. It is the section closest to another continent (South America). A new 1000-year Antarctic Peninsula climate reconstruction shows that summer ice melting has intensified almost ten-fold, and mostly since the mid 20th Century. Summer ice melt affects the stability of Antarctic ice shelves and glaciers. The research, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, adds new knowledge to the international effort that is required to understand the causes of environmental change in Antarctica and to make more accurate projections about the direct and indirect contribution of Antarctica’s ice shelves and glaciers to global sea level rise.
U.S. Air Force is Really Reducing Energy Use
April 17, 2013 09:00 AM - Gina-Marie Cheeseman, Triple Pundit
The U.S. Air Force is the largest energy user in the federal government. The federal government accounts for about one percent of total U.S. energy use, most of that is used by the Department of Defense (DOD). The Air Force accounts for 48 percent of the DOD's energy costs, which equates to about 2.5 billion gallons of aviation fuel, 64 trillion BTUs a year, and 35 metric tons of carbon. In 2012, the Air Force spent over $9 billion on energy, and 85 percent went to aviation fuel, which accounted for eight percent of the Air Force's budget. In 2003, energy was only three percent of the total budget.