Olympic Athletes facing London pollution, city accused of not following EU rules
July 19, 2012 06:18 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN
With the Summer Olympics only days away, athletes are facing some of the worst air pollution in Europe. London's NOx and Ozone concentrations have the potential to adversely affect athletes, and the huge crowds that will be attending the games. Athlete performance is likely to be impacted, and attendees with health conditions should be aware to take care to not overdue their own exertion. Environmental lawyers are preparing to ask Britain’s highest civil court to force the government to comply with EU air quality standards. The ClientEarth legal organisation argues that the British government is breaching the 1 January 2010 EU deadline for complying with air quality plans for London and 16 other cities. The group contends that the government is neglecting its EU obligations to reduce emissions that contribute to urban smog and particulate pollution. "We've seen lots of headlines but very little action from the government," Alan Andrews, a ClientEarth lawyer in the case, told EurActiv in a telephone interview. Air quality, he said "just doesn’t get the attention it should deserve."
July 18, 2012 09:58 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
A debate has raged for years as to whether natural gas is better or worse overall than coal and oil from a global warming perspective. The back-and-forth findings have been due to length of the studied time, the details of natural gas extraction, and the electricity-generating efficiency of various fuels. A new study from Cornell addresses this question by comparing the reduction of greenhouse warming that would result from substituting gas for coal and some oil to the reduction which could be achieved by instead substituting zero carbon energy sources. It was shown that substitution of natural gas reduces global warming by 40% of that which could be attained by the substitution of zero carbon energy sources. the study does not consider secondary considerations, such as economic, political, or other environmental concerns and focuses instead on global warming only.
Which Species Must Die?
July 18, 2012 09:37 AM - Sarah Simpson, Discovery News
Looks like you're on your own, rockhopper penguins. If you can't wing it in this world alone, we'll just have to say adieu. The costly, long-shot measures needed to protect you are more than most cash-strapped conservation organizations can justify.
Johnson & Johnson making great progress on aggressive sustainability goals
July 18, 2012 06:45 AM - Gina-Marie Cheeseman, Triple Pundit
Johnson & Johnson just released its new CSR report, which highlights the company’s many achievements. In a few areas the company exceeded its goals, including reducing carbon emissions by seven percent by the end of 2010 from 1990 levels. Johnson & Johnson exceeded that goal by achieving a 23 percent reduction. Waste reduction is another area where the company exceeded its goal to reduce hazardous waste disposed by 10 percent and non-hazardous waste disposed by 10 percent from its 2005 baseline. The company decreased hazardous waste disposed by 25 percent and decreased non-hazardous waste disposed by 12 percent. Every CSR report touts a company’s achievements, and when it comes to managing climate change risks, Johnson & Johnson is on top of things. Every year it provides $40 million for energy and green gas reduction projects. In the last seven years, 112 energy reduction projects have been approved, and 94 of them have been completed. To date, $208 million has been spent.
Pet owners show greater concern for the environment
July 17, 2012 10:39 AM - Staff, ClickGreen
Two-thirds of pet owners say they try to be good to the environment for the sake of their pet as much as a family member, according to new research from the Purina Together We Can campaign. The survey suggests that pet owners want to ensure that their pets can enjoy the great outdoors and they also want to preserve the planet for future generations of their beloved cats and dogs. When asked specifically about recycling, 29% of pet owners said that they do it to protect the environment for their pet. Overall, Britain's pet owners are setting a great example with 88% of them recycling their household waste either 'always' or 'often'.
Aquarius Reef Base
July 17, 2012 09:47 AM -
The NOAA Aquarius Reef Base is an underwater habitat located in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, adjacent to Conch Reef. It is one of the few underwater research facilities in the world dedicated to science. The 25-year-old facility, built by the federal government, has hosted everyone from marine biologists studying endangered coral reefs to NASA astronauts training for weightless missions in space. After some years of declining budgets, the Obama administration has eliminated funding for the base, leaving its staff with just two options: either shutdown or find other independent funding. Part of this week's mission is outreach and education aimed at helping save Aquarius Reef.
Bill Clinton on Managing Scarce Resources
July 16, 2012 10:34 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN
Oxford University held its Re|Source forum recently, and former US President Bill Clinton addressed the group on the subject of scarce resources and how to manage their development and use in a way that is fair and equitable. The most important decision of the 21st century is whether the human race can learn to share its scarce natural resources for the common good, President Bill Clinton told delegates at Re|Source 2012 during a two-day forum at the University of Oxford. Clinton said: 'The only strategy that makes sense is the one that says we are going to share the world with other human beings and we will share its natural resources.' This, he said, 'is the fundamental decision of the 21st century.' This is an important issue, and the extent to which it can be fairly managed will make an enormous difference to us all.
Apple Repeats love of EPEAT
July 16, 2012 06:26 AM - Akhila Vijayaraghavan, Triple Pundit
Last week ENN Affiliate TriplePundit covered Apple's withdrawal from EPEAT. Shortly after this, the city of San Francisco banned all its employees from using Apple products for city business as by law it is necessary that all IT equipment be 100 percent EPEAT certified. It was also expected that several education and government bodies would follow suit. Now, however, Apple has done a total U-turn and has come back to EPEAT. Apple's sustainability has always been under speculation for various reasons and the company has been reluctant to disclose many of its practices. EPEAT is an initiative spearheaded by the company itself, so it came as quite a shock when they withdrew from the standard. The main reason why the company pulled out in the first place was because of its new Macbook Pro with the retina screen which could not be easily recycled. One of the conditions to be EPEAT-certified is ease of recyclability of old electronics.
Coal Miners suffering as energy mix shifts
July 15, 2012 08:30 AM - GUY RAZ and LAUREN SILVERMAN, NPR
At some point today, you will probably flip on a light switch. That simple action connects you to the oldest and most plentiful source of American electricity: coal. Since the early 1880s — when Edison and Tesla pioneered the distribution of electrical power into our homes — most of that power has come from the process of burning coal. Four years ago, something started to change. First it was slow, and then this past month that change became dramatic. Coal now generates just 34 percent of our electricity, down from about 50 percent just four years ago. Now, the loss of coal as the dominant energy source is having damaging effects on the towns that once relied on the black rock for their livelihood.
Population Issues - What China Needs to do Now
July 14, 2012 08:02 AM - Population Matters
China, perhaps more than any other country, faces many important and difficult population challenges: reproductive health and reproductive rights, rural-urban migration and reform of the hukou system, and imbalances in the sex ratio at birth. And two deeply connected population issues, the rapid aging of the population, on the one hand, and the low birth rate and the family planning policy on the other, are of great significance to China's future development. China's population is aging as rapidly as anywhere in the world and its low birth rate means it faces a significant population decline in the not too distant future. In part, China’s population will age because people are living longer, an important dimension of China’s great progress. But the country’s low birth rate is the most important reason for population aging, leading to a very top-heavy age structure with many elderly, fewer workers, and even fewer children.