Pollution

Air Quality is improving in much of the US
March 18, 2010 08:00 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

Do we really need all the regulatory programs at the federal and state levels of government? Do they really work to improve the quality of our air and water? Are they worth their cost in terms of regulatory burden and costs of compliance? In short, yes! To some extent, our regulatory programs are a trial and error affair. We can't always know the ultimate effectiveness of a new program nor its ultimate costs. We can't always predict the economic benefits of new regulations either since they invariably lead to innovation and generate new inventions and jobs. The US has been monitoring the quality of our air and water for decades, so we can track the effectiveness of our programs. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is making the most recent data available.

Deal nearing on Senate climate bill
March 18, 2010 06:25 AM - Richard Cowan and Timothy Gardner, Reuters

The Senate is close to wrapping up talks ahead of introducing a compromise climate change bill, said a top Democratic lawmaker who discussed ideas with industry groups on Wednesday. "We're planning to button up our efforts somewhere I hope next week," Senator John Kerry told reporters after meeting with a coalition that represents automakers, forestry and paper companies, Big Oil, steel, mining, electricity and others. Kerry is working with Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and independent Senator Joseph Lieberman on a bill to require U.S. industry to cut emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases associated with global warming.

CO2 at new highs despite economic slowdown
March 16, 2010 07:11 AM - Alister Doyle, Reuters

Levels of the main greenhouse gas in the atmosphere have risen to new highs in 2010 despite an economic slowdown in many nations that braked industrial output, data showed on Monday. Carbon dioxide, measured at Norway's Zeppelin station on the Arctic Svalbard archipelago, rose to a median 393.71 parts per million of the atmosphere in the first two weeks of March from 393.17 in the same period of 2009, extending years of gains.

EPA Makes Chemical Information More Accessible, and for Free
March 16, 2010 06:23 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

The web has been a valuable source of information on the releases of toxic chemicals in our communities, and for citizens and environmental action groups to see what companies and facilities are emitting air pollutants, discharging water pollution, and generating hazardous wastes. Finding the information you were looking for was not always easy, and not always free. Now things are getting a little easier, and more information is obtainable for free. US EPA announced that it is providing web access, free of charge, to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Chemical Substance Inventory. This inventory contains a consolidated list of thousands of industrial chemicals maintained by the agency. EPA is also making this information available on Data.Gov, a website launched to provide public access to important government information.

Salt and Smog
March 15, 2010 02:46 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

The smell of sea salt at the beach is a pleasant thought for many beach goers. Wind and waves kick up spray sending salt (sodium chloride into the air. Most salt of this sort falls back into the sea or nearby beach. The bit of chloride lingering in the air can react with nitrogen oxides (NOx) to form nitryl chloride which is a forerunner of chlorine gas, the most reactive form of chlorine. Those gas can contribute to smog formation in coastal areas. However, in a surprise, researchers have found that this air chemistry thought to be restricted to sea spray occurs at similar rates in the air above Boulder, Colorado which is nearly 900 miles away from any ocean. What's more, local air quality measurements taken in a number of national parks across the United States imply similar conditions in or near other non-coastal metropolitan areas.

California Caps SF6 Emissions for Utilities
March 15, 2010 06:04 AM - Editor, Sustainable Life Media

The California Air Resources Board recently announced that they will begin monitoring and limiting the emissions of sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) in high-voltage electrical equipment starting in 2011. SF6 is the most potent of all greenhouse gases which contribute to climate change. SF6 is approximately 23,900 times as potent as carbon dioxide, the world’s most prevalent greenhouse gas, at trapping heat in the atmosphere.

Global Trade’s Dirty Secret: Outsourced Emissions
March 12, 2010 07:22 AM - Leon Kaye, Triple Pundit

The Carnegie Institution of Science released a new study this week finding that one-third of the carbon dioxide emissions developed countries release into the atmosphere result from goods and services produced outside their borders. The report’s details are troubling: Carnegie’s researchers estimate that 2.5 tons of CO2 per person are consumed in the United States but are produced elsewhere, and that figure spikes to 4 tons per European. Another point that will cause considerable disagreement among global climate negotiators is Carnegie’s analysis that one-quarter of the emissions in China are actually the result of its exports to its trading partners such as the United States.

US EPA to regulate Green House gas emissions from cars
March 12, 2010 06:35 AM - Tom Doggett, Reuters

The White House is finalizing rules on the first U.S. greenhouse gas emission standard for automobiles, which would raise average fuel economy 42 percent by 2016 in a bid to slash oil imports and fight climate change. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Department sent the final rules this week to the White House's Office of Management and Budget, according to a notice posted on the OMB website. The higher mileage requirements will reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 900 million metric tons and save 1.8 billion barrels of oil over the life of vehicles built during the 2012-2016 model years, according to the EPA.

Heinz Redesigns Ketchup Package. Landfills Groan.
March 11, 2010 04:13 PM - Nick Aster, Triple Pundit

In case you’ve been under a rock, the big news on the street is the incredible new Heinz Ketchup Packet which will apparently revolutionize french fry enjoyment for the 21st century. The packet contains a larger amount of ketchup than the traditional sachet and opens in two ways – the traditional "squeeze" and the newfangled "dip." Blogs and other media are aflutter with excitement, and Heinz's corporate communications department is no doubt popping the champagne at a veritable coup d'etat of publicity.

Compact fluorescents - Recycle them?
March 11, 2010 06:30 AM - Editor, The Ecologist

An investigation by The Ecologist reveals that three-quarters of London councils giving out wrong advice on the safe disposal of mercury-containing compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) The majority of local authorities in London are advising residents to throw compact fluorescent lightbulbs in their general waste, despite the hazard posed by their mercury content.

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