As this infographic courtesy of AutoPawn indicates, maybe you can’t have everything—at least not yet.
Large water desalinization plant installations that will replenish water supplies hit by shrinking aquifers are good and necessary things, but those plants require a tremendous amount of energy produced from heavily polluting coal-fired plants, a story in the March 18 New Yorker reported.
Devouring a passel of “mega-crabs” from the Chesapeake Bay is pretty great if you’re a big fan of the Maryland Blue Crab, but not so good if that enjoyment comes at the expense of the Bay’s oyster population.
It’s hard not to get the feeling that addressing climate change and pollution is often a case of one step forward and two steps back. Or like a perverse game of whack-a-mole. Read the rest of this entry »
Good news about the air we breathe is, well, good news indeed. Also rare. But there is some good news regarding ground level ozone, or smog, courtesy of research from Rice University and the EPA.
This can get a bit technical, but thanks to the EPA the difference between ground level ozone and high-altitude ozone, in simple terms, is: ozone is “good up high, bad nearby.” We need that high altitude ozone layer to protect the atmosphere and us. But ground level ozone, created by chemical reactions between oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) in the presence of sunlight, is harmful. Read the rest of this entry »
Guest post by Danielle Nierenberg, co-founder of Food Tank: The Food Think Tank
The United States is one of the world’s biggest users of water: many Americans use as much water as about 900 Kenyans. Water resources in the U.S. are shrinking. In the last five years, water shortages have occurred in almost every part of the country, including the worst drought in at least 25 years that hit 80 percent of the country’s farmland in 2012. Even worse, the damaged land won’t fully recover this year and at least 36 states are expecting local, regional, or statewide water shortages, even without the impact of drought.
The Natural Resources Defense Council expects water scarcity to affect the American South, West, and Midwest the most. Fourteen states in these regions already have “extreme” or “high” risk of water scarcity. Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Nevada, and Texas face the most danger because they are expected to see some of the largest population increases by 2030. Read the rest of this entry »
The short answer is: probably not. There are many reasons to question the wisdom of exporting U.S. coal to Asia through five planned terminals in the Pacific Northwest, including huge health, safety and environmental risks.
But what if the entire underlying economic rationale for this whole exercise—China’s supposed insatiable and never-ending demand for U.S. coal exports—is non-existent? What if that perceived and anticipated market, even if it once existed, is disappearing?
That’s the conclusion of a recent Greenpeace report, “The Myth of China’s Endless Coal Demand: A missing market for US Exports.”
“The US coal industry – reeling from sagging domestic demand, plummeting profits, and tanking stock prices – is desperate for a new market for its wares, and it thinks it has found one in China,” Greenpeace says. “But in reality, the Chinese market for US coal exports may dry up before major new US coal shipments ever reach its ports.” Read the rest of this entry »
I practically spewed coffee and other detritus all over the front page of Tuesday’s Seattle Times when I saw this headline:
‘Green’ strategists now back coal trains
WTF? The Times subsequently backtracked on that egregiously misleading headline on its website: ‘Green’ strategists hired by coal companies to push train proposals.
However it’s titled, the story has engendered a firestorm of controversy and push-back on the astounding sell-out of the three “green strategists” so politely quoted by the newspaper. Maybe in a different life they were green, but now they – Bruce Gryniewski, Lauri Hennessey and Roger Nyhus — are simply a clueless and pathetic group of feckless mercenary weasels sucking at coal’s black tit. Read the rest of this entry »