Environmental Policy

In the News: Latest update of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species released
June 17, 2011 07:34 AM - Editor, ARKive.org

Released today, the latest update of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species shows that a staggering 19,265 species are currently threatened with extinction. Over 900 new species have been classified as threatened — that is, considered to be Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable — since the last update in 2010, showing that there is no let up in the extinction crisis threatening the world's biodiversity. Although more species are thought to be threatened than ever before, the IUCN are keen to highlight that there have also been major conservation success stories.

Verizon Exceeds AT&T’s Energy Efficiency Performace
June 15, 2011 06:02 AM - RP Siegel , Triple Pundit

Like AT&T, Verizon also recently released their 2010 Corporate Social Responsibility Report. Verizon's greenhouse gas emissions, which were 6.06 million metric tons (down 2.18% from 2009) beats AT&T (8.97 million) in absolute terms, per dollar of revenue and per terabyte of throughput. Their electrical energy consumption was 10.24 billion kWh. That's a carbon-intensity efficiency of 130.27. AT&T's was 415, more than three times as high. I don't have enough information to explain the difference here, but it looks like AT&T has some catching up to do in this area. They also did not provide data on actual energy usage, only their rate per terabyte.

The Energy Debate: Coal Vs. Nuclear
June 14, 2011 07:39 AM - Editor, Science Daily

ScienceDaily (June 13, 2011) — As America struggles down the road toward a coherent energy policy that focuses on a higher degree of self-reliance, policymakers face numerous issues and realities. These include: the finite supply and environmental impact of fossil fuels, the feasibility and costs to implement a widespread switch to renewable energy sources, and the variables that lead to consumers' preferences for particular types of power generation.

EPA delays rollout of CO2 rule on power plants
June 13, 2011 05:11 PM - Timothy Gardner, Reuters, WASHINGTON

The Environmental Protection Agency, under pressure from Republicans and big utilities, said on Monday it had extended a deadline by two months on draft rules that would for the first time limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. The EPA said it had moved the date for proposing the rule from July 26 to September 30 after listening to businesses and states that will have to implement the regulation. The rule, known as a performance standard, would limit the amount of carbon dioxide that U.S. power plants may emit. The move was expected as the EPA has taken on its most ambitious agenda in years. Republicans in Congress and big utilities have complained the rules could cost jobs and raise energy prices. The EPA said in a release that the "stakeholders have presented the agency with important input which deserves to be fully considered." The deadline for final standards remains May 16, 2012, the EPA said.

Court Rules France Not Doing Enough to Protect Its Hamsters
June 10, 2011 10:20 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

When the subject of hamsters comes up, most people would think about the cute furry pets that run on wheels and roll around in clear plastic balls. But in Europe, there is an endemic species of wild hamsters. Much like mice, they live a very fragile existence, always on the lookout for predators. Now, that predator has come in the form of the French, who are driving them toward extinction.

Proposed new environmental regulations will cause AEP to retire 6,000 MW of U.S. coal generation
June 10, 2011 06:50 AM - Reuters, HOUSTON

American Electric Power, one of the country's largest coal-burning utilities, said on Thursday it plans to retire nearly one-quarter of its coal fleet and retrofit other units at a cost of as much as $8 billion to comply with proposed environmental regulations. To meet stricter pollution limits for air, water and coal waste, AEP said it will retire 6,000 megawatts of coal-fired generation in Virginia, West Virginia and Ohio in 2014. It also plans to upgrade or install new advanced emissions reduction equipment on another 10,100 MW, convert 1,070 MW of coal generation to 932 MW of natural gas capacity and build 1,220 MW of natural gas-fueled generation. The Columbus, Ohio-based company, which operates utilities in 11 states serving 5 million customers, warned that costs of the proposed regulations to customers and local economies have "been vastly underestimated," especially in Midwestern states that rely heavily on coal to produce electricity.

China's CO2 emissions rise sharply
June 9, 2011 06:33 AM - Nina Chestney, Reuters, LONDON

China's carbon dioxide emissions rose 10.4 percent in 2010 compared with the previous year, as global emissions rose at their fastest rate for more than four decades, data released by BP on Wednesday showed. "All forms of energy grew strongly (last year), with growth in fossil fuels suggesting that global CO2 emissions from energy use grew at the fastest rate since 1969," energy major BP's annual Statistical Review of World Energy said. The rapid growth is happening as U.N. talks look unlikely to agree on a legally binding deal to curb emissions and fight climate change before the existing Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012. Global carbon dioxide emissions are widely seen as a major factor responsible for an increase in world temperatures. They grew 5.8 percent last year to 33.16 billion tonnes, as countries rebounded from economic recession, BP said. China's emissions accounted for 8.33 billion tonnes.

World Oceans Day is today, June 8th
June 8, 2011 07:05 AM - Editor, ENN, ARKive.org

The 8th of June is World Oceans Day, our annual chance to celebrate all things marine! Coordinated by The Ocean Project and The World Ocean Network, World Oceans Day encourages us to consider everything that the oceans provide us with — from oxygen to climate regulation, food to pharmaceuticals and of course, the breath taking beauty of this underwater wonderland. By raising awareness of the resources that the oceans provide, World Oceans Day hopes to encourage us to do our bit to protect this valuable environment, especially in these challenging times when factors like climate change, plastic waste, over-fishing and environmental disasters such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill all threaten to damage our oceans beyond repair.

MIT Study calculates cost of lax air pollution regulations in China
June 6, 2011 03:58 PM - Roger Greenway, ENN, based on materials provided by MIT

A new study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change looks at the cost to the Chinese economy of lax air quality regulations between 1975 and 2005. The MIT researchers found that air pollutants produced a substantial socio-economic cost to China over the past three decades. China has experienced unprecedented development over the past three decades, but this growth has come at a substantial cost to the country's environment and public health. China is notorious for extremely high levels of air pollution. As the country faces continuous environmental challenges that mirror its continuing development, there is a need to measure the health impacts of air pollution. What makes this study unique is that researchers looked at long-term economic impacts that arise from health damages, and how pollution-induced morbidity and mortality cases may have had ripple effects on the Chinese economy beyond the time period when those cases actually occurred. This method creates a comprehensive picture of the cumulative impacts of air pollution on a dynamic, fast-developing country.

New Jersey to Withdraw from Climate Change Initiative
June 3, 2011 09:04 AM - Jessica Albin, Sive Paget & Riesel, P.C.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced Thursday, May 26 that New Jersey would withdraw from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative ("RGG"), a cap-and-trade initiative of 10 northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector. New Jersey is the first state to withdraw from RGGI.

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