Sci/tech

Earthquake Deaths Lower in 2009
January 11, 2010 08:56 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

The US Geological Survey reports that earthquake related deaths numbered 1783 worldwide, a big decrease from 2008 when more than 88,000 died, with more than 87,000 of the deaths occurring in the Eastern Sichuan, China earthquake in May 2008. In 2009, the worst earthquake was the September 30th earthquake in Southern Sumatra, Indonesia in which 1,117 people were killed.

The Origin of Green Chemistry
January 5, 2010 04:41 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Where does "Green Chemistry" come from? What is it? J.A. Linthorst, who is affiliated with Descartes Center (Utrecht University) and Maastrict University, has studied the matter and the history of the term in an article entitled: "An Overview: Origins and Development of Green Chemistry". He has found where the term begins and how it has evolved.

Underwater rocks could be used for massive carbon storage on America's East Coast
January 5, 2010 07:55 AM - Jeremy Hance, Mongabay

Considering it is unlikely that global carbon emissions will start dropping anytime soon, researchers are beginning to look at other methods to combat climate change. One of these is to hook polluting power plants up to massive carbon sinks where instead of the carbon going into the atmosphere it would be stored away in rocks. The process is known as carbon capture and storage or CCS. But before one can even debate the pros and cons of setting up CCS, scientists must see if high-quality sites exist.

Carbon Dioxide Recovery and Use
January 4, 2010 04:40 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

The Middle East's first carbon dioxide recovery plant has been opened at the Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company. This is also one of the first in the world to successfully recycle carbon dioxide air emissions. The $55 million facility at the company's Sitra facility was formally inaugurated by GPIC chairman and adviser to the Prime Minister for oil and industrial affairs Shaikh Isa bin Ali Al Khalifa, in the presence of board members, company officials and guests.

Lithuania shuts Soviet-era nuclear plant
January 4, 2010 07:45 AM - EurActiv

Lithuania shut down its nuclear power plant in Ignalina last week, raising fears of increased energy dependency on Russia and of a further blow to an already recession-hit economy. The Baltic state shut down the last reactor at the Ignalina plantexternal on Thursday (31 December). It agreed to shut the plant, which has the same kind of reactors as at Chernobyl, the site of the worst nuclear accident in 1986, under its agreement to enter the European Union. Some analysts have forecast rising power prices, dealing a further blow to the economy, and more dependence on power supplies from Russia.

Chemicals of Concern
December 31, 2009 02:05 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

As part of Administrator Lisa P. Jackson’s commitment to strengthen and reform chemical management, the US EPA today announced a series of actions on four chemicals raising serious potential health or environmental concerns, including phthalates. For the first time, EPA intends to establish a “Chemicals of Concern” list and is beginning a process that may lead to regulations requiring significant risk reduction measures to protect human health and the environment. The agency’s actions represent its determination to use its authority under the existing Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to the fullest extent possible, recognizing EPA’s strong belief that the 1976 law is both outdated and in need of reform.

Volcano Monitoring to Benefit from Stimulus Funds
December 30, 2009 07:17 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

The US Geological Survey will use Recovery Act funding to improve its ability to monitor volcanoes and to predict their eruptions. Some of the funds will be used to modernize instrumentation and information systems to state-of-the-art, providing the necessary tools to communicate hazard information quickly to those who need it. The United States and its territories contain 169 volcanoes considered capable of erupting. One, Kilauea in Hawaii, has been erupting continuously for the past 26 years, at times inundating residential areas with lava and at other times requiring national park closures due to explosions and toxic gas.

Middle East/Med Region Could Solar Power World
December 28, 2009 06:47 AM - Maurice Picow, Green Prophet

Middle Eastern and North African countries, often referred to under the umbrella term MENA countries, have the potential to create more than 3 times the world's power needs, according to a new study reported in the Dubai-based Khaleej Times. Countries that move fast, the study suggests, could have the competitive advantage. Who could take the lead: MENA countries, especially ones located on the Arabian Peninsula, as well as others like Jordan, Lebanon, and Israel could be. These countries are no strangers to the notion of solar energy, and Green Prophet has covered countless articles touting solar energy in the Middle East.

EPA Updates Mobile Source Emissions Model
December 27, 2009 01:31 PM - Roger Greenway, ENN

The US EPA is the source of most air quality impact assessment models used in the US for regulatory purposes, such as predicting the potential impacts from proposed stationary sources of air pollutants and mobile sources such as motor vehicles. Since motor vehicle emissions vary with regulatory changes in required emission level, it is important that impact modeling be performed with the most up-to-date models. EPA recently announced that an updated version of the Motor Vehicle Emission Simulator (MOVES) model – MOVES2010 – is now available for use to estimate air pollution from cars, trucks, and other on-road mobile sources. The model can also calculate the emissions reduction benefits from a range of mobile source control strategies, such as inspection and maintenance programs and local fuel standards.

EPA Curbs Ship Emissions
December 24, 2009 12:04 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

The US EPA has finalized a rule setting tough engine fuel standards for large US flagged ships, a major milestone in the agency's coordinated strategy to slash harmful marine diesel emissions. The regulation harmonizes with international standards and will lead to significant air quality improvements throughout the country. "There are enormous health and environmental consequences that come from marine diesel emissions, affecting both port cities and communities hundreds of miles inland. Stronger standards will help make large ships cleaner and more efficient, and protect millions of Americans from harmful diesel emissions," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "Port communities have identified diesel emissions as one of the greatest health threats facing their people especially their children. These new rules mark a step forward in cutting dangerous pollution in the air we breathe and reducing the harm to our health, our environment, and our economy."

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