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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.
World Environment Day
June 2, 2011 01:31 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
World Environment Day is a day that is supposed to stimulate awareness of the environment and enhance political attention and public action. The official day is June 5. This was the day that the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment began. The first World Environment Day was on 1973. The theme this year is Forests-Nature At Your Service. Forests cover one third of the earth’s land mass, performing vital functions and services around the world which make our planet alive with possibilities. In fact, 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihoods. They play a key role in the world ecology, releasing oxygen into the atmosphere while storing carbon dioxide. Thousands of activities are typically organized worldwide, with beach clean-ups, concerts, exhibits, film festivals, community events and much more. Each year there is a different host city. For 2011 it is New Delhi, India.
Amazon mega-dam gets final approval
June 2, 2011 08:43 AM - Editor, MONGABAY.COM
Brazilian authorities gave final approval to the controversial Belo Monte dam, reports AFP. The project — which has been widely opposed by human rights groups, environmentalists, and indigenous tribes — will dam the Xingu river, one of the largest tributaries of the Amazon River.
"The Garden of Eden Had Been Turned Into The Ashes of Hell"- Azzam Alwash On The Destruction Of The Marshlands of Iraq
June 1, 2011 01:00 PM - Arwa Aburawa, Green Prophet
The United Nations environmental program described Saddam's destruction of the Mesopotamian Marshlands as the worst engineered environmental disaster of the last century. Thousands of Marsh Arabs were killed, their reed huts were burnt down and water sources were poisoned to drive them out until half a million of Marsh Arabs were displaced either into Iran or North Iraq. Once considered to be the largest wetland ecosystem in the Middle East, the Marshlands shrunk to just 10 percent of their original size.