Natural Resources Defense Council
A new, interactive map-based web program shows links between climate change, pollution, and health risks by tracking the impacts of climate in all 50 states. “Click on a state on the map for more information on climate-health threats, actions being taken to prepare communities, and what you can do.”
August 2, 2011
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Australia’s first community-run wind farm began operation on June 22. Over the next 12 months, it will produce enough power to provide electricity to 2300 homes. The project follows in the footsteps of others in Germany and Denmark, where community-based wind projects have long been welcomed.
August 1, 2011
A new study, published in Nature Geoscience this past week, finds that greenhouse gas emissions from hydroelectric plants are actually far less than originally estimated, producing just 1/6 of the carbon dioxide and methane previously assigned to them. Article in Nature Geoscience: online here.
July 29, 2011
White House Press Release
The Obama Administration has made an agreement with 13 major automakers to pursue the next phase in the Administration’s national vehicle program, increasing fuel economy to 54.5 miles per gallon for cars and light-duty trucks by Model Year 2025. The programs are projected to save families $1.7 trillion at the pump, and an average of over $8,000 per vehicle by the year 2025. The White House has also released a report about the new fuel economy standards, which can be found here (pdf). Update: Obama plans to unveil new fuel efficiency standards for heavy-duty trucks next Tuesday in Virginia (The Hill.com)
July 25, 2011
San Francisco Chronicle
July 22, 2011
Oregon State University
Researchers at Oregon State University and the USDA Forest Service Pacific NW Research Station have found that the Northwest Forest Plan has had a significant, albeit unintended, consequence of carbon sequestration on public lands. The plan was enacted in 1993 and was designed to conserve old-growth forests and protect endangered species such as the Northern Spotted Owl; the original goals had nothing to do with carbon emissions. From the article/ study:
“When forest harvest levels fell 82 percent on public forest lands in the years after passage of this act, they became a significant carbon “sink” for the first time in decades, absorbing much more carbon from the atmosphere than they released. At the same time, private forest lands became close to carbon neutral.”
July 22, 2011
Sydney Morning Herald
A new study has found that some reefs may be able to adapt and survive in the coming decades if greenhouse gas emissions are reduced. The researchers stated “Our expectation is that some regions are less likely to completely collapse in the next few decades than others.” It is unknown which regions will fare better, but the capacity for reefs anywhere to adapt is compromised greatly by human activities such as over-fishing, pollution and habitat destruction.
This technical report finds that coal burning plants facing increasing pressure to reduce emissions are much better off adding biomass to the energy mix than waiting for expensive carbon capture and storage technology. Biomass from forestry waste, logging residues or commercially produced wood pellets would costs a fraction of what carbon capture and storage technology abatement would, the study finds.
August 3, 2011
National Wildlife Federation
“North American Indian Tribes are especially harmed by climate change, as more ecological shifts and more frequent, more extreme weather events occur…”, a new report find. Indian tribes are more affected by severe weather events than the general population because they tend to rely heavily on natural resources, and are often struggling from a lack of resources to begin with. The full report is available at the site.
International Energy Agency Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme (IEAGHG)
This study examines how carbon capture systems, which are typically attached to coal plants, can remove CO2 from the air, reducing global emissions, when attached to biomass-burning plants. The study finds that: “Combining biomass with carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) could result in an annual global saving of up to 10 gigatonnes of negative CO2 emissions by the year 2050, an International Energy Agency (IEA)-commissioned study has predicted” (siliconrepublic.com).