Pollution

Houston, LA named top CO2 polluters
April 18, 2008 08:05 AM - Reuters

Counties in the main U.S. petrochemical and driving hubs top the country's output of the planet-warming gas carbon dioxide, emitting about three times more CO2 than the top county in New York does, researchers said on Thursday. Harris County in Texas emitted more than 18.6 million tons of CO2 in 2002, the latest year for which data was available, according to Vulcan, a three-year project funded by NASA and the U.S. Department of Energy. The county is home to oil and natural gas plants and Houston, which has about 2 million people.

BigBelly Solar Trash Receptacle
April 17, 2008 08:56 AM - , The Alternative Consumer

Upon first glance you may think that a solar trash can is an extravagance municipalities can certainly do without, but perhaps we need to take a closer look. The BigBelly is a self-powered compacting trash receptacle. Instead of drawing electricity from the power grid this trash can uses solar power for 100% of its energy. From the company: “The unit takes up as much space as the ”˜footprint’ of an ordinary receptacle—but its capacity is five times greater. Increased capacity reduces collection trips and can cut fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions by 80%. BigBelly also provides cost efficiencies from labor savings, fuel cost and maintenance savings, as well as environmental benefits from reduced emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants.”

Toxic Chemical in Plastic Bottles & Cans Damaging Children's Brains & Reproductive Organs but Government & Chemical Industry Remain Unconcerned
April 17, 2008 08:44 AM - Marla Cone , Global Policy Innovations Program

A controversial, estrogen-like chemical in plastic could be harming the development of children's brains and reproductive organs, a federal health agency concluded in a report released Tuesday. The National Toxicology Program, part of the National Institutes of Health, concluded that there was "some concern" that fetuses, babies and children were in danger because bisphenol A, or BPA, harmed animals at low levels found in nearly all human bodies.

Bush climate plan criticized for lacking urgency
April 17, 2008 08:38 AM - Reuters

PARIS (Reuters) - The world needs tougher action to combat global warming than a plan by President George W. Bush to halt a rise in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions only by 2025, delegates at a climate conference in Paris said on Thursday. South Africa, one of 17 nations at the two-day global warming talks that started on Thursday, called Bush's proposals "disappointing" and unambitious when many other industrialized economies are already cutting emissions.

Bush to announce intermediate goal for CO2 emissions
April 16, 2008 07:20 AM - Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush plans to announce on Wednesday an intermediate goal to limit greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, but will not make specific proposals, the White House said on Tuesday. Bush will "articulate a realistic intermediate goal for reducing greenhouse gasses" and press for incentives for technology aimed at cutting emissions, said White House spokeswoman Dana Perino.

Top emitters meet in Paris, worries on UN overlap
April 15, 2008 08:17 AM - Reuters

OSLO (Reuters) - The world's top greenhouse gas emitters meet in Paris this week to work out ways to slow global warming with uncertainty about whether the U.S.-backed talks will help or hinder plans for a new U.N. climate treaty. Washington says the April 17-18 meeting, with a workshop on sectoral industrial greenhouse targets on Wednesday, is a step towards agreement by the end of 2008 on curbs by countries that emit 80 percent of the world's greenhouse gases.

Solar Energy: Popcorn-ball Design Doubles Efficiency Of Dye-sensitized Solar Cells
April 15, 2008 08:15 AM - University of Washington

A new approach is able to create a dramatic improvement in cheap solar cells now being developed in laboratories. By using a popcorn-ball design -- tiny kernels clumped into much larger porous spheres -- researchers at the University of Washington are able to manipulate light and more than double the efficiency of converting solar energy to electricity. The findings were presented in New Orleans at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society April 10.

Nature's Answers to the Sanitation Challenge
April 14, 2008 08:56 AM - United Nations Environment Programme

At a prison on the East coast of Africa, in-mates are pioneering a sanitation project that is working with nature to neutralize human wastes. The initiative, involving the development of a wetland to purify sewage, is expected to cost a fraction of the price of high-tech treatments while also triggering scores of environmental, economic and social benefits.

EU carbon market sets up another round of windfall profits for dirtiest power generators
April 14, 2008 08:52 AM - WWF

Polluting electricity generators in Europe are set to reap another round of extraordinary windfall profits from the carbon trading scheme meant to curb their carbon emissions, a new report revealed today. The study, commissioned by WWF from world-leading carbon market analysts Point Carbon, estimates that the windfall to electricity generators in just the five states of UK, Germany, Spain, Italy and Poland over the current five year phase of the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) could be between 23 and 71 billion Euros ($US 36 -111 billion ).

Sea Salt Worsens Coastal Air Pollution
April 14, 2008 08:50 AM - University of Calgary

Air pollution in the world's busiest ports and shipping regions may be markedly worse than previously suspected, according to a new study showing that industrial and shipping pollution is exacerbated when it combines with sunshine and salty sea air. In a paper published in the journal Nature Geoscience, a team of researchers that included University of Calgary chemistry professor Hans Osthoff report that the disturbing phenomenon substantially raises the levels of ground-level ozone and other pollutants in coastal areas.

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