Archive for the ‘climate change’ Category
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 »
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 »
Climate change is real, and it’s coming to your neighborhood. This comprehensive and disturbing infographic, “How Climate Change is Destroying the Earth,” comes courtesy of LearnStuff.
According to LearnStuff, “Thanks to extensive research and noticeable changes in weather and storm prevalence, it’s getting harder to turn a blind eye to the reality of climate change. Since the Industrial Age spurred the increasing usage of fossil fuels for energy production, the weather has been warming slowly. In fact, since 1880, the temperature of the earth has increased by 1 degree Celsius.
“Although 72% of media outlets report on global warming with a skeptical air, the overwhelming majority of scientists believe that the extreme weather of the last decade is at least partially caused by global warming.”
So check it out:
Climate Change by LearnStuff.com is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at http://www.learnstuff.com/climate-change/.
The Supreme Court will hear a trucking industry challenge to rules Los Angeles adopted five years ago that are designed to curb truck emissions at the nation’s busiest port.
The case (American Trucking Associations vs. City of Los Angeles) will determine the constitutionality of certain provisions of the Clean Truck Program at the Port of Los Angeles. Similar rules are also in force at the nearby Port of Long Beach. The question centers on whether cities and states have authority to limit pollution from trucks moving long-haul cargo.
The answer to that question would seem a no-brainer, especially in environmental circles, but the ATA contends that the local clean truck regulations run afoul of a federal law that deregulated motor carriers. So complications ensue. There is a provision in the law that preempts any state or local measure that is “related to the price, route or service of any motor carrier.” The purpose of that provision is to speed the free flow of trucks, buses and other shippers and to prevent local or state rules that would add to costs to those movements. Read the rest of this entry »
It was a big year for Big Coal — in the sense of big losses and setbacks for the coal industry’s agenda, which made it a very good year indeed.
When thousands of people show up at the Seattle Convention Center for a technical “scoping” hearing to comment on and protest plans to export coal through Pacific Northwest terminals to Asian markets – Big Coal’s master export plan is in doubt. One coal plant each week was retired during 2012, which perhaps helps to explain why there is such zest on the part of the industry to ship the stuff overseas.
The Sierra Club‘s nationwide campaign—Beyond Coal—to phase out coal burning in the United States won victories from coast to coast, including the coal plant retirements and record investments in wind and solar. The coal industry experienced numerous setbacks in 2012 as its market share fell and stock prices tanked.
“With an overarching goal to move America off coal and slash carbon pollution, an unprecedented coalition including Sierra Club and more than a hundred local, regional and national organizations has helped to secure the largest drop in U.S. coal burning ever,” the club said in its year-ean review.
The campaign, which received major backing with a four-year $50 million commitment from Bloomberg Philanthropies in 2011, now includes legal and grassroots fights that target every stage of the coal lifecycle in more than 40 states. It has grown to become one of the largest and broadest grassroots environmental campaigns in the nation’s history, according to the club.
The following Sierra Club info-graphic tells the campaign tale of the tape:
Many investors lost big on coal, with numerous bankruptcies of coal mining companies and coal-burning utilities including Midwest Generation in Illinois, Patriot in West Virginia, and Dynegy in Texas. After declaring bankruptcy, Patriot – Appalachia’s third largest coal company – reached an agreement with the Sierra Club and its allies to end the practice of mountaintop removal coal mining and retire much of its large scale surface mining equipment. Coal’s poor economics were underscored news that the Great River Energy Spiritwood coal plant in North Dakota has sat idle since it was completed at a cost of $440 million earlier this year.
NRG Texas Energy announced this month that it will not proceed with plans to build the Limestone 3 coal unit in Jewett, Texas, 120 miles south of Dallas. NRG filed the initial applications to build the plant in 2006, when a handful of other Texas utilities were filing similar proposals to build more than a dozen new coal boilers in Texas. As of December 2012, the majority of these proposals have been cancelled, due to the changing economics of coal plants, the growth of wind energy in the state, and because of legal challenges and grassroots opposition.
Coal is on the run and battling on many fronts – 2012 may turn out to be a watershed year in its downward spiral, especially if 2013 sees the fall of Big Coal’s PNW export plans. That will be a great new year indeed.
So the election is over and we can breathe a sigh of relief. There’s general agreement that jobs are a priority for the coming months and the Sierra Club Magazine has helpfully illustrated where those jobs might come from. The short article and infographic debunks the fossil fuel industry’s well-heeled insistence about the huge loss of jobs that will occur in a switch to a clean energy economy. It’s just not so, according to the club, and its sees big opportunities in the concentrating solar and solar photovoltaic sectors.
Peter and Maria Hoey did the graphic and the text is by Paul Rauber.
Image: From Sierra’s Grapple page.