Posts Tagged ‘GHG’
While urbanization and returning to nature may seem incompatible, there’s a body of evidence that says increasing migration to cities has definite environmental benefits.
One obvious benefit is that living close to or even where you work takes cars off the road and reduces CO2 emissions.
Also, as people increasingly move to urban centers, pressure on global forests eases. Because forests double as the planet’s lungs, they are a natural and effective answer to sequestering carbon emissions, so the more these particular lungs can hold the better. Read the rest of this entry »
The Carbon Disclosure Project says broadband—and increased access to it on a global basis—is the key to stimulating new, sustainable economic growth.
CDP is a London non-profit that claims to hold the “largest database of primary corporate climate change information in the world.” It outlined the opportunity that broadband represents in a 24-page paper released late last month,” Building a 21st century communications economy.”
Global oil demand is forecast to grow 1 percent each year through 2030, according to CDP, with much of the increase coming from emerging economies, mainly China and India. Natural resources, especially oil, are becoming harder to access and more expensive to buy, so when talking about strategic action CDP says there is an alternative: Creation of a “low carbon, low-environmental impact economy through greater investment in advanced communication networks.” Read the rest of this entry »
It’s not necessarily an either/or proposition. Logistics managers trying to optimize supply chains for sustainability and emissions reductions face a tough question: how to implement those goals without breaking the bank.
The conventional thinking is that there’s always tradeoff: A transport company can reduce its CO2 emissions along a supply chain, but at a higher operating cost. Often much higher.
Findings released last month during a webinar sponsored by Finished Vehicle Logistics magazine suggest that in certain cases at least the best of both worlds is possible. Read the rest of this entry »
Arch Coal, the second largest coal supplier in the U.S., agreed to pay a $4 million fine for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act in Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky in a settlement reached earlier this month with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Justice Department.
In addition to the monetary settlement, Arch will implement changes to its mining operations in those states “to ensure compliance with the Clean Water Act,” the EPA said. The measures will prevent an estimated 2 million pounds of pollution from entering the nation’s waters each year. Arch will also implement a treatment system to reduce discharges of selenium, a pollutant found in mine discharges.
The joint federal-state complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of West Virginia alleged numerous violations of Arch Coal’s permits that set limits on the discharge of pollutants into streams. EPA said alleged excess discharges of iron, total suspended solids, manganese and other pollutants “reflect deficiencies in operation and maintenance of wastewater treatment systems” in place at four of Arch’s mining facilities: Coal Mac, Inc.; Lone Mountain Processing, Inc.; Cumberland River Coal Co.; and Mingo Logan Coal Co.
Arch also agreed to implement a series of inspections, audits and tracking measures to ensure treatment systems are working properly and that future compliance is achieved. In addition company is required to develop and implement a compliance management system to help foster a top-down, compliance and prevention-focused approach to Clean Water Act issues, EPA said.
Under the settlement, $2 million of the $4 million civil penalty will be paid to the U.S. The remaining $2 million will be divided between West Virginia and Kentucky based on the percentage of alleged violations in each state. The consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval.
In January the EPA revoked Arch’s water permit for Spruce No. 1 mine in West Virginia, saying the mountaintop removal operation there would pollute water, harm wildlife and Appalachian communities in West Virginia.
Meanwhile the EPA is extending the reporting deadline for greenhouse gas emissions from thousands of companies, which had been set for March 31, to an unspecified date later this year
“To ensure that the requirements are practical and understandable to the thousands of companies already registered to report under the program, the agency is in the process of finalizing a user-friendly online electronic reporting platform,” the EPA said.
EPA said it plans to have the final information uploading platform available this summer, with the GHG data scheduled to be published later this year. “This extension will allow EPA to further test the system that facilities will use to submit data and give industry the opportunity to test the tool, provide feedback, and have sufficient time to become familiar with the tool prior to reporting,” the agency said.
Is the EPA caving in to intense and mounting political and budgetary pressure? Perhaps—we’ll see how hard the Obama administration will fight for its most activist agency.
Is the Arch penalty enough? Will Arch really follow through and change its ways? Again, we’ll see. The penalty is a hefty chunk of change but keep in mind that Arch posted net profits of nearly $159 million last year, a 278 percent increase over its 2009 profit.
Arch moved $3.2 billion worth of coal in 2010, so in the great scheme of all things Big Coal, Arch can probably live with this slap-on-the-wrist settlement.
It’s very possible that short sea shipping, long touted as an economically viable and environmentally sound option for transporting domestic cargo and products, is not all it’s cracked up to be from an eco-friendly perspective, according to a Friends of the Earth report.
Short sea shipping is the regional transport—on lakes, bays, rivers, canals and coastlines—of freight by ship and tug and barge units, rather than by truck or railcar.
FOE’s report, funded by the San Francisco Foundation, says the environmental consequences of increased short sea shipping have not received enough scrutiny, especially with regard to potentially harmful health and environmental effects. Read the rest of this entry »
Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL), the Scandinavian ro-ro vessel operator and logistics company, cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 32 percent last year, mainly through reduced fuel consumption due to lower volumes and the use of lower sulfur fuels.
The Oslo-based WWL says it also cut sulfur dioxide emissions by 135,000 tons over the nine-year period from 2000-2009, an amount nearly equal to all of the SO2 emissions from road vehicles in the U.S. for an entire year.
The latter point is a little odd as a bragging point because WWL provides factory-to-dealer ocean transportation for the automotive, agricultural and construction equipment industries. In other words, its roll on-roll off fleet of car carriers move a good portion of the vehicles that wind-up pumping all those emissions into the U.S. each year. The company moved 1.23 million units last year by sea; it operates more than 60 “environmentally adapted car carriers and RoRo vessels” in operation on 20 trade routes to six continents.
The Environmental Protection Agency says various reduction scenarios could result in vehicle emission reductions of up to 27 percent through 2030, which helps to buttress the agency’s recent actions on greenhouse gas regulations in the transport sector along its general GHG reporting requirements for all companies.
EPA also says that implementation of those scenarios could reduce the transportation sector’s cumulative oil consumption by as much 28 percent by that date.
The Winter Olympics this year in Vancouver, BC is an opportunity to be little more than the usual venue for endless corporate advertising and big money sponsorship of “amateur” athletes, thanks to the Sierra Club and its campaign targetting Canada’s tar oil sands extraction industry.
Winter athletes, including sliers and snoboarders, are joining with various international environmental groups to call on Canada to “save the Winter Olympics” and end oil sands destruction.
It’s a combination of athletic self-interest and environmental activism, with the world watching.
The Port of Seattle may be running a bit ahead of the game, or at least ahead of the hammer of stringent pending Environmental Protection Agency rules with the results it is reporting from its activities in connection with the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy.
“Trucks, ships, and cargo-handling equipment will see lower emissions levels,” the port says.
The port’s staff last week reported favorable results to the five-member port commission, which oversees port activities, on the major components of the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy. Initial results from the At-Berth Clean (ABC) Fuels Program, Clean Truck Program, and retrofits on cargo handling equipment “show goals are either being met or exceeded, preventing tons of pollution from entering the local environment.”
The desire is there but not the political savvy, economic ability and the collective will to get a comprehensive and binding global agreement in place. Meanwhile the polar ice caps melt, the oceans continue to rise and degrade, the garbage mounts, species disappear, the oil majors play us like violins with their pricing strategies and Big Coal keeps dirtying the air while destroying mountains and streams.
But the climate talks in Copenhagen narrowly avoided a “complete breakdown,” as President Obama said in a broadcast interview Wednesday, and that’s slightly better than nothing. “People are justified in being disappointed about the outcome,” He acknowledged.
What happens next could turn the initial disappointment and frustration around.
So in the spirit of the season and because I think it’s important and worth preserving, here’s the text of President Obama’s speech in Copenhagen: