• End of the Road: Are Diesel Cars on the Way Out in Europe?

    For two decades, environmentalist Jürgen Resch has locked horns with Germany’s mighty automobile industry, the backbone of Europe’s most powerful economy. And Resch has shown that he will do what Berlin’s top politicians won’t: hold carmakers — and German municipalities — to the letter of the law when it comes to the high levels of pollution spewed from diesel automobiles. His indispensable ally in this against-the-odds mission has been Germany’s court system.

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  • Green Technologies Friendly to Environment, Profits

    Companies looking to reduce their environmental impact without negatively affecting profits may want to consider increasing their investment in green technology and other sustainable IT solutions, according to a new study on information technology and sustainability published in Production and Operations Management.

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  • Carbon taxes could make significant dent in climate change, study finds

    Putting a price on carbon, in the form of a fee or tax on the use of fossil fuels, coupled with returning the generated revenue to the public in one form or another, can be an effective way to curb emissions of greenhouse gases. That’s one of the conclusions of an extensive analysis of several versions of such proposals, carried out by researchers at MIT and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

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  • A Ban on Captive Animals Could Speed Up Extinction

    The recent death of the last male Northern white rhinoceros — and the imminent extinction of the vaquita porpoise — is a stark reminder we are not going to win every battle to save endangered species in the wild. We can rescue some from total extinction — and have already — but only with the help of zoos and aquariums.

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  • Rapid Emissions Reductions Would Keep CO2 Removal and Costs in Check

    Rapid greenhouse-gas emissions reductions are needed if governments want to keep in check both the costs of the transition towards climate stabilization and the amount of removing already emitted CO2 from the atmosphere. To this end, emissions in 2030 would need to be at least 20 percent below what countries have pledged under the Paris climate agreement, a new study finds – an insight that is directly relevant for the global stock-take scheduled for the UN climate summit in Poland later this year. Removing CO2 from the atmosphere through technical methods including carbon capture and underground storage (CCS) or increased use of plants to suck up CO2 comes with a number of risks and uncertainties, and hence the interest of limiting them.

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  • Anthropogenic lead still present in European Shelf Seas

    Lead (PB) is one of few elements for which the impact of human activity on the marine environment is clearly evident. It has no biological function and is toxic to humans and marine organisms. The anthropogenic perturbation dates back to the middle of the 19th century, with coal and leaded gasoline combustion serving as major Pb sources to the atmosphere. Anthropogenic Pb is transported in the atmosphere over long distances and deposited in remote areas resulting in enhanced Pb concentrations in surface oceans of >190 pmol kg-1 during the peak of the Pb emissions in 1970-80. These are about 100 times higher than natural background levels.

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  • Trump Administration Takes Key Step To Rolling Back Auto Fuel Standards

    The Trump administration has begun the process of rolling back tough fuel standards for America's car and light truck fleet.

    The Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Department have opened the public comment period on the rewriting of standards for greenhouse gas emissions for cars and light trucks for model years 2022-2025.

    "We are moving forward with an open and robust review of emissions standards, consistent with the timeframe provided in our regulations," EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said Friday. The 45-day period allows for the public to comment about regulations before proposed changes.

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  • New National Academies' report lays out path forward for methane research

    A new National Academies of Sciences' report calls on several federal agencies to work together to improve techniques for measuring one of the most important greenhouse gases produced by humans - methane.

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  • A Bill of Rights for Clean Water

    The protection of our shared environment has long been among government’s most fundamental responsibilities. Ancient Rome’s Code of Justinian, one of the first efforts at constitutional governance, guaranteed to all citizens the use of the “public trust” or “commons” — those shared resources that cannot be reduced to private property, including the air, water, forests and fisheries. Throughout Western history, the first acts of tyrants have invariably included efforts to deliver public-trust assets into private hands. During the Dark Ages, when Roman law broke down in England, King John attempted to sell off the country’s fisheries, place navigational tolls on England’s rivers, and seize its woodlands and game animals. Enraged at that theft of public-trust assets, England’s people confronted John at Runnymede in 1215, forcing him to sign the Magna Carta. That seminal democratic document included a powerful articulation of the principle that the commons of water, fisheries and woodland were not commodities to be bartered away by a prince, but the rightful property of all citizens.

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  • Many environmental protection programs around the world poorly designed, ineffective

    Incentive programs to encourage farmers and other landowners to protect the environment are key to conservation, but new research shows issues such as lack of enforcement undermine their effectiveness on a global scale.

    These programs, called Payments for Environmental Services (PES), are a way to improve environmental management and livelihoods by attaching a dollar value to the benefits nature provides, such as clean water and air. They have been in place for two decades, but their design and cost-effectiveness are a concern for experts.

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