Pollution

Polluters pay in Obama's 'green' budget
February 27, 2009 08:57 AM - Agence France-Presse

US President Barack Obama is banking on a landmark carbon gas cap-and-trade system to both fight climate change and pump 80 billion dollars into the Treasury purse to fund renewable energy programs. The innovative program -- similar to one already in place in Europe -- would rev up US efforts against global warming by reducing the output of carbon dioxide and other polluting gases, while raising direly-needed revenue.

Study urges U.S.-China climate change summit
February 26, 2009 08:43 AM - Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) - The United States and China should hold a summit featuring an agreement on climate change, helping to create international support for a new global pact by the end of 2009, a former White House adviser said on Thursday. China and the United States have often been icy rivals over trade and security, and they are also the world's top two emitters of the greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels that are stoking global warming.

EPA Set to Move Toward Carbon-Dioxide Regulation
February 23, 2009 09:48 AM - The Wall Street Journal

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama's climate czar said the Environmental Protection Agency will soon determine that carbon-dioxide emissions represent a danger to the public and propose new rules to regulate emissions of the greenhouse gas from a range of industries. Carol Browner, special adviser to the president on climate change and energy, said in an interview Sunday that the EPA is looking at a 2007 Supreme Court ruling that requires the agency to determine whether carbon dioxide endangers public health or welfare. And the agency "will make an endangerment finding," she said.

UN Reaches Landmark Agreement to Reduce Global Mercury Pollution
February 23, 2009 09:20 AM - Organic Consumers Association

Representatives from more than 140 countries today committed to reduce global mercury pollution, which will help protect the world's citizens from the dangerous neurotoxin. This agreement was propelled by the United States' reversal in policy, which also influenced policy reversals of other countries, including China and India. The announcement is a historic step forward in the fight against mercury pollution, according to scientists and policy experts at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). "This is great news for reducing mercury pollution around the world, and shows a commitment from the Obama Administration to international environmental issues," said Susan Egan Keane, policy analyst for NRDC. "The United States has taken a leadership role that will chart a new course on mercury protections around the world. We have set a strong example that is already influencing others to do the same."

A collapsing carbon market makes mega-pollution cheap
February 23, 2009 09:05 AM - The Guardian

'Roll up for the great pollution fire sale, the ultimate chance to wreck the climate on the cheap. You sir, over there, from the power company - look at this lovely tonne of freshly made, sulphur-rich carbon dioxide. Last summer it cost an eyewatering €31 to throw up your smokestack, but in our give-away global recession sale, that's been slashed to a crazy €8.20. Dump plans for the wind turbine! Compare our offer with costly solar energy! At this low, low price you can't afford not to burn coal!" Set up to price pollution out of existence, carbon trading is pricing it back in. Europe's carbon markets are in collapse.

Western states' climate laws: the cost of inaction
February 19, 2009 09:37 AM - LA Times

If Western states don't substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions, they could face billions of dollars in health care and other related costs by 2020, according to reports by economists for the University of Oregon's Climate Leadership Initiative's Program on Climate Economics. Washington, Oregon and New Mexico will probably face associated annual costs of $3.8 billion, $3.3 billion and $3.2 billion by 2020, respectively, if they don't rein in greenhouse gas emissions, logging and other factors that drive climate change, according to reports released Monday.

E.P.A. Expected to Regulate Carbon Dioxide
February 19, 2009 09:34 AM - NY Times

WASHINGTON - The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to act for the first time to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that scientists blame for the warming of the planet, according to top Obama administration officials. The decision, which most likely would play out in stages over a period of months, would have a profound impact on transportation, manufacturing costs and how utilities generate power. It could accelerate the progress of energy and climate change legislation in Congress and form a basis for the United States’ negotiating position at United Nations climate talks set for December in Copenhagen.

Sun-powered device converts CO2 into fuel
February 18, 2009 09:24 AM - New Scientist

Powered only by natural sunlight, an array of nanotubes is able to convert a mixture of carbon dioxide and water vapour into natural gas at unprecedented rates. Such devices offer a new way to take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and convert it into fuel or other chemicals to cut the effect of fossil fuel emissions onglobal climate, says Craig Grimes, from Pennsylvania State University, whose team came up with the device.

EPA May Reverse Bush, Limit Carbon Emissions From Coal-Fired Plants
February 18, 2009 09:01 AM - Steven Mufson and Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post

The Environmental Protection Agency will reopen the possibility of regulating carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants, tossing aside a December Bush administration memorandum that declared that the agency would not limit the emissions. The decision could mark the first step toward placing limits on greenhouse gases emitted by coal plants, an issue that has been hotly contested by the coal industry and environmentalists since April 2007, when the Supreme Court ruled that carbon dioxide should be considered a pollutant under the Clean Air Act.

Fires and climate change prompt soul-searching in Australia
February 17, 2009 09:43 AM - Herald Tribune

Scientists say that Australia can expect more of the scorching conditions that fanned the firestorms that killed at least 181 people this month, prompting a nationwide debate about how to prepare for a hotter, more fire-prone future. As investigators pick through the tangled wreckage left by Australia's deadliest wildfires, which flattened townships and destroyed more than 1,000 homes starting Feb. 7, a wide-ranging discussion has begun about the way the country handles wildfires - from greenhouse-gas emissions standards to planning codes to an emergency protocol that encourages people to stay and defend their properties.

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