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Pollution

China says Beijing Olympics "basically" carbon neutral
May 8, 2008 04:43 AM - Reuters

This summer's Beijing Olympics will be "basically" carbon neutral thanks to a series of energy saving measures such as the use of solar power and an afforestation program, a senior official said on Thursday. Technology Minister Wan Gang said that the event was expected to generate 1.18 million tonnes of carbon, in part because so many athletes and spectators were traveling long distances.

Celulose Irani - Biomass to Electricity

Located in Vargem Bonita, Brazil, the Celulose Irani Project demonstrates how one paper manufacturer is finding economic value in what was once considered waste. The facility uses byproduct biomass from their paper production process to generate sustainable energy for their facility. Irani thus provides a model for biomass projects that reduce both waste and greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), promoting sustainable development through the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).

Collaboration Calls for New U.N. Agency to Oversee Transport Emissions
May 7, 2008 10:00 AM - Ben Block , Worldwatch Institute

A newly formed watchdog of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is proposing that the U.N. establish a new authority to regulate emissions from high-carbon international activities such as aviation and shipping. The International Scientific and Business Congress on Protecting the Climate, a group of climate change policy negotiators, scientists, and business stakeholders, suggested that the UNFCCC establish a World Carbon Authority to oversee a global emissions cap-and-trade scheme that would apply initially to the transport sector.

Unmanned Aircraft to Study Southern California Smog and its Consequences
May 6, 2008 09:41 AM - Scripps Institution of Oceanography

"These monthly UAV flights will provide unprecedented data for evaluating how long range transport of pollutants including ozone, soot and other particulates from the northwest United States, Canada, east Asia and Mexico mix with local pollution and influence our air quality and regional climate including the early melting of snow packs," said Ramanathan.

Working towards a greener postal sector
May 6, 2008 09:33 AM - United Nations Environment Programme

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Universal Postal Union (UPU) have agreed to work together to slash the CO2 emissions caused by members of the postal sector. Under the agreement signed in Berne last week by Achim Steiner, Executive Director of UNEP, and Edouard Dayan, Director General of the UPU, UNEP will help the UPU calculate the volumes of greenhouse gases generated by the postal sector, using a clearly-defined methodology.

Environmentalists divided about burying CO2
May 5, 2008 09:17 AM - Reuters

Greenpeace and more than 100 other environmental groups denounced projects for burying industrial greenhouse gases on Monday, exposing splits in the green movement about whether such schemes can slow global warming. Many governments and some environmental organizations such as the WWF want companies to capture heat-trapping carbon dioxide from the exhausts of power plants and factories and then entomb them in porous rocks as one way to curb climate change.

Fungi have a hand in depleted uranium's environmental fate
May 5, 2008 09:05 AM - Cell Press

Fungi may have an important role to play in the fate of potentially dangerous depleted uranium left in the environment after recent war campaigns, according to a new report in the May 6th issue of Current Biology, a publication of Cell Press. The researchers found evidence that fungi can “lock” depleted uranium into a mineral form that may be less likely to find its way into plants, animals, or the water supply.

EPA dangles prospect of tougher lead standard, but hedges its bets
May 5, 2008 08:38 AM - , Clean Air Watch

Like a Kentucky Derby contender that came up lame, EPA Administrator Steve Johnson was a late scratch at his own press conference today to discuss a proposed tougher standard for lead concentrations in the air. As you may know, the lead standard hasn’t been updated since 1978. And we know now that virtually any level of lead in the air can get into the blood stream, leading to possible brain damage for children and other bad health effects. EPA is under a court order to issue a final new standard by September of this year.

Japan, China to join in $300 mln CO2 project: paper
May 3, 2008 07:41 AM - Reuters

Japan and China will cooperate in a $300 million project to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from a thermal power plant, a Japanese daily reported on Saturday. Under the plan of the project, emitted carbon dioxide from a thermal power plant will be injected into a major Chinese oil field to extract more crude oil, the Nikkei business daily said.

Toilet Truths
May 1, 2008 09:34 AM - , Global Policy Innovations Program

Despite modern marvels such as the space toilet, much of the world still endures a medieval level of sanitation. Nearly 2.6 billion people live without basic services, forced to defecate on the ground or line up to pay for the use of soiled latrines. Some historians give the flush toilet mythological origins in the court of King Minos of Crete. Queen Elizabeth I had one as well, built by her godson in 1596. In the nineteenth century, architects started to incorporate water closet innovations into their designs and the modern toilet was born. Thomas Crapper, a British plumber, had a hand in perfecting the cistern to make flushing quieter and more polite.

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