Monday, December 28th, 2009
Carbon dioxide air emissions is one of the big issues in global warming debate. However, before you start controlling by putting the carbon in the ground, you first have to put lawyers in a room to argue. After a year that saw billions of dollars spent around a variety of carbon capture and storage pilot projects, the focus in 2010 will shift from press conferences and engineering discussion to court cases and conference tables.
Everyone has an opinion on what is the right thing to do in global warming. Far from just an engineering decision the task of making technology an effective weapon in the fight against climate change will take a lot more than working out funding details and letting the engineers work.
Monday, December 28th, 2009
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.
Sunday, December 27th, 2009
The Internet is becoming a great tool for getting information on facilities that are emitting air pollution, discharging water pollution, and generating hazardous wastes. In the past, this information was difficult for the public to access, and in some cases either was not made available to the public, or required a Freedom of Information Act filing to obtain. This is changing as more states and the federal government is making this information available on line.
The latest effort comes from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which has released enforcement results for fiscal year 2009, and has developed a new Web-based tool and interactive map that allows the public to get detailed information by location about the enforcement actions taken at approximately 4,600 facilities.
Saturday, December 26th, 2009
When the founder of the Whole Earth Catalog embraces nuclear power, genetically engineered crops, and geoengineering schemes to cool the planet, you know things have changed in the environmental movement. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, Stewart Brand explains how the passage of four decades — and the advent of global warming — have shifted his thinking about what it means to be green.
Stewart Brand helped shape the environmental consciousness of the 1960s and ‘70s with his Whole Earth Catalog, which became a bible of the counterculture and the back-to-the-land movement. An eclectic compendium of information and “tools” for innovative, environmentally friendly living, the Whole Earth Catalog reflected Brand’s ecological and technological interests, foreshadowing the rise of the San Francisco Bay Area’s computer and green cultures.
Saturday, December 26th, 2009
The headline on Tuesday’s editorial in Investor’s Business Daily – “Get the Frackin’ Gas” – is both clever and on the mark. The publication gets into trouble, however, when the body of its editorial veers into mischaracterizing ProPublica’s reporting on the environmental risks that need to be dealt with to produce the huge amounts of natural gas available underground in the United States.
Our reporters, led by Abrahm Lustgarten, have researched and written more than 50 stories on the subject over the past 18 months and are as expert on the topic as anyone in America.
Here is what is beyond dispute: The gas is highly desirable as a fuel, because it burns relatively cleanly and produces less greenhouse gas per unit of energy than oil or coal. There is lots of it obtainable within the U.S. using an enhanced version of an old drilling technology, called hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” – much more than was widely supposed just a few years ago. That means using natural gas to power cars and electrical generation doesn’t require sending huge sums abroad, weakening the dollar and strengthening countries that aren’t particularly friendly to ours – Russia, Iran and Venezuela among them.
Friday, December 25th, 2009
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced an agreement with U.S. dairy producers to accelerate adoption of innovative manure to energy projects on American dairy farms. The agreement represents a dynamic public/private partnership and is another demonstration of the Obama Administration’s commitment to curb the emissions of greenhouse gases.
“This historic agreement, the first of its kind, will help us achieve the ambitious goal of drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions while benefitting dairy farmers,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The “Use of manure to electricity technology is a win for everyone because it provides an untapped source of income for famers, provides a source of renewable electricity, reduces our dependence on foreign fossil fuels, and provides a wealth of additional environmental benefits.”
Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009
The US EPA and Duke Energy have reached a settlement in another New Source Review enforcement action.
Duke Energy, one of the largest electric power companies in the nation, will spend approximately $85 million to significantly reduce harmful air pollution at an Indiana power plant and pay a $1.75 million civil penalty, under a settlement to resolve violations of federal clean air laws, the Justice Department and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today. The settlement also requires Duke to spend $6.25 million on environmental mitigation projects.
The agreement, filed in federal court in Indianapolis, resolves violations of the Clean Air Act’s new source review requirements found at the company’s Gallagher coal-fired power plant in New Albany, Ind., located directly across the Ohio River from Louisville, Ky. (more…)
Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009
The US EPA has finalized a rule setting tough engine and 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.” (more…)
Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009
The bitter battle over health care legislation, fears that global warming legislation could harm the weak U.S. economy, and the failure of the Copenhagen climate summit to set binding CO2 emissions reductions targets will make U.S. Senate passage of a carbon cap-and-trade bill difficult in 2010, according to senators from both parties.
Politico reports that the partisan struggle over health care reform — in which 60 Democratic senators are poised to pass a bill with no Republican support — has alienated moderate Republicans whose votes are crucial to passage of climate legislation.
Monday, December 21st, 2009
Reverberations from the disappointing Copenhagen climate summit continued to be felt worldwide, with political leaders blaming each other for the meeting’s outcome, U.S. senators saying that the lack of progress will make it harder for Congress to pass a climate bill, European Union carbon prices falling, and some businesses lamenting the continuing lack of uncertainty about future CO2 cuts and carbon prices.
Britain’s Prime Minister, Gordon Brown told an environmental meeting on Monday that a handful of countries blocked a legally binding deal on climate change, adding,
“We will not allow a few countries to hold us back. What happened at Copenhagen was a flawed decision-making process. We’ve just got to find a way of moving this process forward.”
Although Brown did not mention any countries by name, Ed Miliband, Climate Change and Energy Secretary, specifically mentioned China, noting that it had vetoed proposals calling for a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and an 80 percent cut in emissions by developed nations by mid-century. Miliband said China exercised its veto despite support for the proposal by a broad coalition of industrialized nations and the vast majority of developing nations.