Pollution

Himalayan glacier meltdown warning being reconsidered
January 20, 2010 06:28 AM - Jonathan Leake and Chris Hastings, The Sunday Times

A warning that climate change will melt most of the Himalayan glaciers by 2035 is likely to be retracted after a series of scientific blunders by the United Nations body that issued it. Two years ago the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a benchmark report that was claimed to incorporate the latest and most detailed research into the impact of global warming. A central claim was the world's glaciers were melting so fast that those in the Himalayas could vanish by 2035.

UK planning to reintroduce insects
January 19, 2010 06:56 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM

When one thinks of reintroducing wildlife, one usually thinks of big charismatic mammals, such as wolves or beaver, or desperate birds like the Californian condor. But the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) in Scotland is going one step further to save the UK's unique ecology with plans to reintroduce four species of dwindling insects.

Putting a Value on Nature
January 19, 2010 06:05 AM - Economist.Com, The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)

The insight that nature provides services to mankind is not a new one. In 360BC Plato remarked on the helpful role that forests play in preserving fertile soil; in their absence, he noted, the land was turned into desert, like the bones of a wasted body. The idea that the value provided by such "ecosystem services" can be represented by ecologists in a way that economists can get to grips with, though, is rather newer. A number of the thinkers who have made it a hot topic in the past decade gathered at a meeting on biodiversity and ecosystem services held by the Royal Society, in London, on January 13th and 14th. They looked at the progress and prospects of their attempts to argue for the preservation of nature by better capturing the value of the things - such as pollination, air quality and carbon storage - that it seemingly does for free.

Why Go Green?
January 18, 2010 04:28 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

In a recent survey published by Eurostar, travelers in the UK were asked to select factors that were important in choosing their holiday or short break destination. "Cost of getting there" was selected seven times more often than "Carbon footprint," which ranked well below other factors as well, like "Going somewhere new." This is not an uncommon experience. How we get to where we want to go is overwhelmed by other factors. Even this in mind the greening of travel continues.

Why Do Most People Feel Happier on the Weekend?
January 15, 2010 07:02 AM - Editor, ENN

From construction laborers and secretaries to physicians and lawyers, people experience better moods, greater vitality, and fewer aches and pains from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon, concludes the first study of daily mood variation in employed adults to be published in the January 2010 issue of the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology. And that 'weekend effect' is largely associated with the freedom to choose one's activities and the opportunity to spend time with loved ones, the research found.

EPA agents search Chevron facilities in Alaska
January 15, 2010 06:30 AM - Yereth Rosen, Reuters

Agents from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency investigating possible air-pollution violations spent two days searching Chevron-owned oil facilities in Alaska, company and government officials said Thursday. Agents searched the facilities on Tuesday and Wednesday, said Andrew Ames, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. He declined to provide further information. Chevron spokesman Mickey Driver said the searches occurred at the company's Trading Bay production facility and Granite Point tank farm on the western side of Cook Inlet. EPA is investigating air-emission compliance at those facilities, Driver said in an email.

Settlement Reached in Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Lawsuit
January 14, 2010 03:20 PM - Vicki Shiah , Sive Paget & Riesel, P.C.

The parties to a lawsuit challenging New York State’s participation in, and its rules to implement, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative have reached a settlement. On December 23, 2009, a proposed consent decree in the matter of Indeck Corinth, L.P. v. Paterson, No. 5280-09, was filed with the Supreme Court of the State of New York in Albany. The litigation, which commenced on January 29, 2009, was brought against Governor Paterson, various State entities, and Consolidated Edison by Indeck Corinth, the operator of a gas-fired energy co-generation facility that held a long-term contract with ConEd. Two other gas-fired energy co-generation facilities with long-term ConEd contracts later intervened in support of Indeck. As described in the proposed consent decree, Indeck alleged that New York’s participation in RGGI was outside the scope of the State's lawful authority and unconstitutional, and that the rules implementing RGGI were arbitrary, capricious, and not supported by a proper record. Indeck contended that its long-term contract prevented it, unlike other generators without such contracts, from passing on to ratepayers the costs of complying with New York's rules implementing RGGI.

Amazonian Biochar
January 14, 2010 02:44 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Scientists are reporting that biochar, which is a material that the Amazonian Indians used to enhance soil fertility centuries ago, has the potential in the modern world to help slow global climate change. Mass production of biochar could capture carbon that otherwise would wind up in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas. Their report appears in ACS’ Environmental Science & Technology, a bi-weekly journal.

Parking Lot Problems
January 13, 2010 12:16 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Coal tar based seal coat, which is the black, shiny substance sprayed or painted on many parking lots, driveways, and playgrounds, has been linked to higher concentrations of the contaminants polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in house dust. Apartments with adjacent parking lots treated with the coal-tar based seal coat have house dust with much higher concentrations of PAHs than apartments next to other types of parking lots according to new research released today on-line by Environmental Science and Technology (ES&T). The main purpose of using a quality sealer is that the sealer coats the asphalt surface protecting it from harmful ultra violet as well as road salts and engine oils which dissolve the asphalt and create soft spots. If untreated areas are ignored, deterioration will occur and you will end up spending much more money trying to patch and repair the asphalt than if you properly maintain it.

Prius Top Seller in Japan
January 12, 2010 06:55 AM - E&E Publishing, The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)

Toyota Motor Corp.'s Prius was Japan's best-selling car last year, the first time a hybrid has topped annual sales. The Japan Automobile Dealers Association reported nearly 209,000 Prius cars sold in 2009, with buyers willing to wait up to six months for deliveries. Hybrids make up about 10 percent of new vehicle sales in Japan.

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