Category Archives: General

The Clean Air Act Turns 40

From The New York Times, Tuesday, September 14, 2010:

The federal Clean Air Act, one of the most consequential pieces of environmental and health legislation in American history, celebrated its 40th birthday on Tuesday. The law, which has been attacked by business interests since its birth as overly costly and prescriptive, is under siege again as the Environmental Protection Agency begins to invoke the law to rein in the gases that contribute to global warming.

Lisa P. Jackson, the E.P.A. administrator, delivered an impassioned defense of the law Tuesday morning at a daylong symposium on the Clean Air Act in Washington. She said that lobbyists had falsely claimed for years that the measure and the agency’s application of it would shutter factories, kill jobs and cost billions for compliance. But each of these doomsday predictions was proved wrong, she said, asserting that the bill saves tens of thousands of lives each year and returns $40 in health and environmental benefits for every dollar in compliance cost.

“Say what you want about E.P.A.’s business sense,” she told an audience of agency officials, environmental advocates and business lobbyists, “but we certainly know how to get a return on our investment.”

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New home sales hit slowest pace on record

From The Associated Press, Wednesday, August 25, 2010;

Sales of new homes dropped sharply last month to the slowest pace on record, the latest sign that the economic recovery is fading.The Commerce Department said Wednesday that new home sales fell 12.4 percent in July from a month earlier to a seasonally adjusted annual sales pace of 276,600. That was the slowest pace on records dating back to 1963. The past three months have been the worst on record for new home sales.

The weak housing numbers worried Wall Street, dragging the Dow Jones industrial average below 10,000 for a second day.

Weak home sales mean fewer jobs in the construction industry, which normally powers economic recoveries. Each new home built creates, on average, the equivalent of three jobs for a year and generates about $90,000 in taxes, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

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The Best Green School Supplies

From The Daily Green:

Back-to-school time is right around the corner. Soon you’ll be bombarded with so many advertisements for notebooks, planners, pens and other supplies, it will be hard to avoid buying products – unfortunately, many of these items take a toll on the environment. So rather than running from store to store trying to find the greenest school supplies, look through this list compiled by The Daily Green to see this year’s eco-friendly choices.

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Alaska Airlines tests 'greener' landing at Sea-Tac

From The Associated Press, Thursday, July 22, 2o1o:

Alaska Airlines says it’s flown another test flight of landing procedures at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport that can save fuel, reduce noise and cut emissions by a third.

The procedures, already used in Alaska and at several Lower 48 airports, use satellite technology to guide a plane to a landing. That permits the aircraft to fly a shorter, more direct and slower approach.

Alaska Airlines is working with the Port of Seattle, Boeing and other airlines to get Federal Aviation Administration approval to use the techniques at Sea-Tac. If so, Alaska Airlines estimates that more than 2 million gallons of fuel could be saved each year. The project began last summer, and this week’s test involved a 737 jetliner making eight approaches to the airport.

Fairbanks professor among signers of climate-change letter

From The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Sunday, March 16, 2010:

A University of Alaska Fairbanks professor is one of about 250 members of the U.S. National Academy of Science who have signed a well-publicized letter supporting climate-change science.

The letter, published in the May 6 issue of the journal Science, defends climate science against “the recent escalation of political assaults on scientists in general and climate scientists in particular.”

Terry Chapin, a longtime professor at UAF’s Institute of Arctic Biology, said he and other signatories were motivated to address a debate that has become increasingly politicized.

The letter defends the integrity of the climate change science, which has come under increased scrutiny in the past year.

“There is compelling, comprehensive, and consistent objective evidence that humans are changing the climate in ways that threaten our societies an ecosystems on which we depend,” the letter reads.

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Greening the Olympic Games

From Crunchy Chicken: Putting the mental in environmental:

If you are like me, you’ve been watching the Olympic Games and enjoying the competition. I always look forward to the games, winter or summer, because it’s inspiring to see how dedicated these athletes are to their sports.

One thing to think about, anytime there are large events like these, is what is the environmental impact? Along the lines of global climate change, these games have been impacted by the effects of a warm winter. With Vancouver being within a few hours of Seattle, it’s something I think about, particularly knowing that they have been having the same warmer than usual temperatures which has been affecting their snow pack this year.

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Past Decade Warmest on Record, NASA Data Shows

From The New York Times, Thursday, January 21, 2010:

The decade ending in 2009 was the warmest on record, new surface temperature figures released Thursday by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration show.

The agency also found that 2009 was the second warmest year since 1880, when modern temperature measurement began. The warmest year was 2005. The other hottest recorded years have all occurred since 1998, NASA said.

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Earth-Friendly Elements, Mined Destructively

From the New York Times, Friday, December 25, 2009;

Some of the greenest technologies of the age, from electric cars to efficient light bulbs to very large wind turbines, are made possible by an unusual group of elements called rare earths. The world’s dependence on these substances is rising fast.

Just one problem: These elements come almost entirely from China, from some of the most environmentally damaging mines in the country, in an industry dominated by criminal gangs.

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Storm contiues to swirl around Climategate, as multiple investigations get under way

From The Christian Science Monitor, Thursday, December 3, 2009:

When e-mails of climate scientists hacked from a British University were published online, the reverberations were heard around the world.

Skeptics of human-caused climate change were elated: Several of the e-mails could be read to indicate that data was inaccurate or fudged, and some seemed to imply collusion about who and what was posted about global warming in peer-reviewed journals.

A couple of weeks later, the controversy continues to swirl like a tornado. Even Jon Stewart has weighed in on it.

Among the latest news, the University of East Anglia announced an independent reviewer of the e-mails and outlined exactly what he would investigate.

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Seas Grow Less Effective at Absorbing Emissions

From The New York Times, Wednesday, November 18, 2009:

The Earth’s oceans, which have absorbed carbon dioxide from fuel emissions since the dawn of the industrial era, have recently grown less efficient at sopping it up, new research suggests.

Emissions from the burning of fossil fuels began soaring in the 1950s, and oceans largely kept up, scientists say. But the growth in the intake rate has slowed since the 1980s, and markedly so since 2000, the authors of a study write in a report in Thursday’s issue of Nature.

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