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ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

Atmospheric CO2 Levels

(Weekly Averages)


May 30, 2021: 419.552 ppm
This time last year: 417.46 ppm
10 years ago: 394.43 ppm
Pre-industrial base: 280 Safe level: 350

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Page Updated:
June 15, 2021


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  • Up Arrow

    Environmental Impact News
    (for the past 2 months)

  • Plastic-Eating Bacteria Turns Waste Into Vanilla Flavoring
    A Tasty Solution to
    Our Plastic Waste Problem.

    June 14, 2021 (ZME Science)-The invention of plastic has been one of the most important cornerstones to raising our standard of living in the past century. However, the same qualities that make plastic so desirable to consumers — in particular, its very low cost and high durability — also make it a bane to the environment.

    This is why scientists across the world are busy researching sustainable solutions to our growing plastic litter problem, either at the source (i.e. finding biodegradable alternatives) or during waste treatment.

    One such effort focused on the latter. Researchers at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland devised an experimental method that converts treated polyethylene terephthalate (PET) — the lightweight plastic used to package everything from beverages to food — into vanillin, the primary ingredient extracted from vanilla beans that creates the characteristic taste and smell of vanilla.

  • G7 Leaders’ Summit Must Prioritize Climate Finance
    The Climate Will Not
    Improve Without Financial Action

    June 13, 2021 (CleanTechnica)-At the summit, the leaders of the G-7 countries — the UK, USA, Canada, Japan, Germany, France and Italy, and the EU — will be joined by guest nations Australia, India, South Korea, and South Africa. Tackling climate change is one of the four policy priorities on the agenda.

    Ahead of the Leaders’ Summit, the finance ministers of the G-7 nations met last week. The highlight of that meeting was the announcement of a commitment to a global minimum tax rate of 15% for major corporations.

  • Developers Call Off Kalama Methanol Plant
    The Site on the Columbia River
    Would Have Occupied 90 Acres

    June 11, 2021 (Oregon Public Broadcasting)-Developers appear to be calling it quits on a long-planned and controversial proposal to build a $2 billion methanol plant on the banks of the lower Columbia River.

    The Port of Kalama announced Friday that the developer, NW Innovation Works, had terminated its lease, effectively ending the project. It would have converted fracked natural gas into methanol to be shipped to Asia.

  • Shipping's Toll on the Environment
    Innovative Ideas on How to Fix That

    June 11, 2020 (THE CONVERSATION)-Ships carry more than 80% of world trade, and they rely heavily on some of the least environmentally friendly transportation fuels available.

    There are no cheap, widely available solutions that can lower the shipping industry’s planet-warming carbon emissions – in fact, shipping is considered one of the hardest industries on the planet to decarbonize – but some exciting innovations are being tested right now.

  • Scientists Cut Dengue Fever Cases by 77%
    The Trick:
    Using Bacteria-Infected Mosquitoes

    June 10, 2021 (ZME Science)-Researchers affiliated with the World Mosquito Program, a non-profit concerned with protecting communities across the world from mosquito-borne diseases, just reported that its most recent trial meant to cull dengue in Indonesia was a stunning success.

    After releasing treated mosquitoes that were infected with a bacteria that makes them sterile, over the course of three years the number of dengue cases plummeted by nearly 77% while the number of dengue hospitalizations dropped by 86%.

  • How Foreign Mining Destroyed Banaba
    It Became a Waterless Island

    June 9, 2021 (The Guardian)-The last decent rain on Banaba was more than a year ago.

    Without rain, people on the isolated central Pacific island, which is part of the country of Kiribati, have been forced to rely on a desalination plant for all their water for drinking, bathing and growing crops.

    But in late November the plant broke down and the situation became desperate for the nearly 300 people living there. Harrowing stories emerged of people forced to drink contaminated water, outbreaks of diseases and fears of starvation.

  • 'Glacier Blood’ Is Our Latest Nightmare
    The Red Stains Aren't Actual
    Blood, But They're Still a Sign of Danger.

    June 8, 2021 (GIZMODO)-Glaciers in the French Alps look like the scene of a massacre. Normally topped with pristine, white snow, they’re increasingly covered with dark, bloody-looking spots dubbed “glacier blood.”

    The blotches aren’t actually blood—they’re microalgae blooms. It’s a phenomenon known as Chlamydomonas nivalis, wherein species of green algae that contain a red pigment undergo photosynthesis and stain the snow. But while the scenes may not show an actual murder, they do portend a dangerous future for ice in the Alps.

  • Bringing Tech Innovation to Fighting Wildfires
    4 Recommendations For Smarter
    Firefighting as Megafires Menace the US

    June 8, 2020 (THE CONVERSATION)-Record-breaking fires over the past decade suggest the western U.S. has entered a new era of megafires.

    Fire itself is not the problem – it has been characteristic of the North American West for millennia. The problem is when fires, fueled by dry and overgrown forests, grow into giant blazes that move fast, fill the skies with smoke, and threaten homes and cities.

  • Into the Blue: Celebrating Healthy Oceans
    Can We Protect All of
    Our Oceans by 2030?

    June 8, 2021 (DW News)-Central to ocean sustainability is stopping widespread overfishing and illegal fishing, which is threatening highly biodiverse marine life around the world. While Chinese trawlers are in the spotlight for plundering waters in Latin America for example, Greenpeace has long called out the "massacre" of threatened bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean, and is demanding the creation of marine reserves.

    Click now for other actions and a slideshow.
  • CO2 Levels Reached a Record High
    It's Been Almost 5 Million Years
    Since CO2 Levels Were This High

    June 8, 2021 (ZME Science)-Carbon dioxide levels have hit an all-time high — again. In May (the month scientists use to compare year-to-year CO2 shifts), carbon dioxide in the atmosphere averaged 419 parts per million, according to data from Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

    Unfortunately, that in itself would hardly even classify as news anymore. But what really is striking is that CO2 levels haven’t been this high since before humans emerged as a species. We’d have to go to the Pliocene Epoch, between 4.1 to 4.5 million years ago, to see similar levels — a period when sea levels were nearly 80 feet higher and temperatures were about 7°F above the preindustrial era.

  • Cattle Could Produce More Methane Than Thought
    Manure, and Not Chemical
    Fertilizer, Could Help

    June 8, 2021 (ZME Science)-A new review of eight existing studies published in the journal Environmental Research Letters has found that livestock farms and feedlots in North America may be emitting far more methane than previously assumed.

    The researchers from New York University and Johns Hopkins University found that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) — which estimates methane from livestock as part of a greenhouse gas inventory — does not verify its estimates by measuring concentrations of the gas in the air.

  • The World’s Fish Are Swimming In Microplastics
    Would You Like a Little
    Plastic With Your Salmon?

    June 7, 2021 (ZME Sciencey), -The Field Museum made news recently, as it published findings from its unique library. The library, described sometimes as a bunker, an underground warehouse, or even a “library of life on Earth”, contains fish specimens preserved in jars. In their latest study, researchers from Loyola University looked at the presence of microplastics in fish.

    Tim Hoellein, a professor, and grad student Loren Hou have been examining the timeline of the microplastics buildup in fish, looking to see when and how plastic started accumulating in fish — and what we can expect for the future.

  • EU Considers Border Tariffs On Steel, Cement, & Electricity?
    A Draft Proposal By the
    European Commission Would Impose
    Carbon-Based Tariffs On
    Imports From Outside the EU

    June 7, 2021 (INHABITAT), -According to Reuters, the European Union is considering a draft proposal that would impose tariffs carbon emissions-based tariffs on a variety of imported goods, including steel, cement, and electricity. The news was first reported by Bloomberg last Wednesday. The new tariffs are designed to protect the 27 member nations of the EU from lower cost products made in countries with few or no carbon emission restrictions.

    The draft under consideration may be amended before final publication on July 14. The proposed tariffs would be applied in full beginning in 2026, with a potential transitional period starting in 2023. The products subject to the new tariffs include iron, steel, aluminum, cement, fertilizers, and electricity.

  • The Importance of Green Steel
    It's the Next Big
    Thing in Australian Industry

    June 4, 2021 (pv magazine), -Steel is a major building block of our modern world, used to make everything from cutlery to bridges and wind turbines. But the way it’s made – using coal – is making climate change worse.

    On average, almost two tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) are emitted for every tonne of steel produced. This accounts for about 7% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Cleaning up steel production is clearly key to Earth’s low-carbon future.

  • The Destruction of Nature Adds to Pandemics Risks
    Ending the Destruction of Nature
    to Stop Outbreaks at Source
    is More Effective and Cheaper than
    Responding to Them, Scientists Say

    (The Guardian), June 4, 2021 -The root cause of pandemics – the destruction of nature – is being ignored, scientists have warned. The focus of world leaders on responding to future outbreaks overlooks the far cheaper and more effective strategy of stopping the spillover of disease from animals to humans in the first place, they have said.

    The razing of forests and hunting of wildlife is increasingly bringing animals and the microbes they harbor into contact with people and livestock. About 70% of new infectious diseases have come from animals, including Covid-19, Sars, bird flu, Ebola and HIV.

  • The Vulnerability of Table Corals
    Helping to Protect Them
    Would Go a Long Way

    (ZME Science), June 2, 2021 -By now, you probably all know that coral reefs around the world are struggling. Waters that are too warm and too acidic are causing corals to bleach — to eject their symbiotic algae under stress. If this happens enough times in rapid succession, reefs can see massive damage and coral death.

    We’ve been trying to find a solution to this problem for quite a while. New research may have found something that will help us, in the form of the table coral Acropora. These can regenerate habitats in reefs such as the Great Barrier Reef faster than any other coral type.

  • America’s Top Methane Emitters
    Some Will Surprise You

    (NY Times), June 2, 2021 - As the world’s oil and gas giants face increasing pressure to reduce their fossil fuel emissions, small, privately held drilling companies are becoming the country’s biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, often by buying up the industry’s high-polluting assets.

    According to a startling new analysis of the latest emissions data disclosed to the Environmental Protection Agency, five of the industry’s top ten emitters of methane, a particularly potent planet-warming gas, are little-known oil and gas producers, some backed by obscure investment firms, whose environmental footprints are wildly large relative to their production.

  • UK Ranked Last in Europe for Bathing Water Quality in 2020
    European Environment Agency Judges
    Only 110 British Coastal and
    Inland Sites to be Excellent

    (The Guardian), June 1, 2021 - Swimmers in the UK hoping to enjoy waters certified clean and healthy this summer have been let down again. Only 110 coastal and inland sites were judged excellent in the latest bathing water quality data from Europe’s environmental watchdog.

    Most of the UK’s bathing sites were not classified in 2020, however, because Covid-19 restrictions prevented sampling. This meant that out of 640 sites, 457 received no verdict in the rankings, compiled annually by the European Environment Agency and published on Tuesday.

  • Tearing Out These Dams Is A Good Thing
    It Will Open Rivers Up For
    Recreation—and Save Lives

    (National Geographic), June 1, 2021 -Across the flatlands of the American Midwest, concrete low-head dams served for decades as important tools in flood management, as gauging stations, and for irrigation. They’re also highly dangerous—nicknamed “drowning machines” by some water management agencies.

    The hydrodynamics caused by the fast flow off the dam’s ledge result in water moving in a reverse circular motion between the dam wall and the water boil point, typically a couple of yards downstream. Anything—or anyone—caught in the current gets pushed underwater, turned up and pushed back down again.

  • Ocean Bottom: The New Home for Intact Plastic Waste
    Plastic Waste is
    All Over the Place, Even
    Where you it's Least Expected

    (ZME Science), May 31, 2021 -If you’re an explorer visiting for the first time one of the deepest trenches of the ocean, you’re probably expecting to find many cool and new things, such as deep-sea creatures. For Dr. Deo Florence Onda, who just returned from visiting the Philippine Trench, the findings included something much more ubiquitous – plastic waste.

  • Prison Terms Over Ilva Pollution Sentenced in Italy
    City of Taranta Mayor
    Rinaldo Melucci Welcomed the Ruling,

    (REUTERS), May 31, 2021 - An Italian court on Monday sentenced the former owners of the Ilva Steelworks, Fabio and Nicola Riva, to 22 and 20 years in jail respectively for allowing it to spew out deadly pollution.

    Once the largest steel producer in Europe, the factory emitted a lethal cocktail of carcinogenic dioxins and mineral particles for more than half a century, that medics say caused a surge in cancer in the adjacent city of Taranto.

  • ‘Forever Chemicals’ Found in Home Fertilizer Made From Sewage Sludge
    Alarming Toxic PFAS Levels Revealed
    Raise Concerns that the
    Chemicals Contaminate Vegetables

    (The Guardian), May 28, 2021 - Sewage sludge that wastewater treatment districts across America package and sell as home fertilizer contain alarming levels of toxic PFAS, also known as forever chemicals, a new report has revealed.

    Sludge, which is lightly treated and marketed as biosolids, is used by consumers to fertilize home gardens, and the PFAS levels raise concerns that the chemicals are contaminating vegetables and harming those who eat them.

  • We May Not Have Mexico City to Kick Around Anymore
    The City is Sinking

    (ZME Science), May 28, 2021 -If you’d take a time-lapse view of some parts in Mexico City, you’d probably notice a lot of differences. Buildings, historic sites, and streets all seem to exhibit a growing number of cracks and fissures. Hidden from the surface eye, the same thing is happening to sewage, gas, and water lines in the city.

    At first glance, you’d be inclined to attribute this to the strong earthquakes that sometimes strike Mexico City. But while earthquakes can cause their own damage, they’re not the main culprit here. Instead, it’s something much more inconspicuous: subsidence.

  • War's Environmental Bootprint
    Scorched Earth:
    The Climate Impact of Conflict

    (Deutsche Welle), May 28, 2021 -From the dumping of defoliants like Agent Orange on forests in Vietnam to oil wells set ablaze during the Gulf War and the contamination of the aquifers bombed in Gaza, environmental destruction has long been a by-product of conflict.

    Less talked about is the impact of war and the military on the climate crisis. This is partly because military emissions have been largely exempted from international climate treaties, starting with the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

  • Can Removing Highways Fix America’s Cities?
    These Aerial Photos Show
    American Cities Before the Highway
    Boom of the 50's & 60's

    (NY Times Climate Forward), May 27, 2021 -Built in the 1950s to speed suburban commuters to and from downtown, Rochester’s Inner Loop destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses, replacing them with a broad, concrete trench that separated downtown from the rest of the city.

    Now, the city is looking to repair the damage. It started by filling in a nearly-mile-long section of the sunken road, slowly stitching a neighborhood back together. Today, visitors of the Inner Loop’s eastern segment would hardly know a highway once ran beneath their feet.

  • Dutch Court to Shell: Lower Emissions by 45%
    Other Companies Could Soon
    Face Similar Legal Pressure

    (ZME Science), May 27, 2021 -Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell will have to reduce its carbon emissions by 45% by 2030 (from 2019 levels) following a ruling of a Dutch court. That’s a much larger drop than the company’s current aim of 20%. Civil society largely celebrated the move, which they argue will have implications for other fossil fuel companies around the world.

    This is the first time that a court has ruled a company has to reduce its emissions in line with the global climate targets, according to Friends of the Earth, the environmental organization that brought the case against Shell. It comes a week after the International Energy Agency asked fossil companies to stop drilling for oil and gas right now.

  • Food That's Good for You and the Planet
    A New Food Pyramid Explains It All

    (ZME Science),May 27, 2021 -A new report claims that a dietary tool can be used to simultaneously reduce unhealthy eating and climate change impacts. The “double-pyramid”, which takes into account cultural differences in the consumption of food, has already been used with success in areas such as Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America, researchers say.

    The article contains a graph for a better understanding of the Double Pyramid.

  • 500,000 Bbls of Toxic Waste Dumped Near Santa Catalina Island
    Montrose Chemical Corp. Is the Culprit

    (Center for Biological Diversity), May 27, 2021 -Following the recent discovery that up to 500,000 barrels of the banned pesticide DDT were dumped into the Pacific Ocean off Southern California, the Center for Biological Diversity sent Montrose Chemical Corp. and its successor parent company, Bayer Corp., a notice of intent to sue them today. Today’s notice letter calls for the companies to take responsibility for this toxic threat to public health and wildlife.

    Starting in 1947 and continuing through at least 1961, Montrose employees transported barrels of DDT and acid sludge waste from the company’s Torrance, Calif. facility to barges, where they were dumped into the ocean near Santa Catalina Island.

  • Trials to Suck CO2 From the Air to start Across the UK
    A Major £30m Project Will Test
    Trees, Peat, Rock Chips, and Charcoal as
    Ways of Removing These Emissions

    (The Guardian), May 24, 2021 -Scientists said the past failure to rapidly cut emissions means some CO2 will need to be removed from the atmosphere to reach net zero by 2050 and halt the climate crisis. The £30m project funded by UK Research and Innovation will test ways to do this effectively and affordably on over 100 hectares (247 acres) of land, making it one of the biggest trials in the world.

    Degraded peatlands will be re-wetted and replanted in the Pennines and west Wales, while rock chips that absorb CO2 as they break down in soil will be tested on farms in Devon, Hertfordshire and mid-Wales.

  • Honeybee Bodies are Accumulating Airborne Microplasticss
    A New Way to Monitor
    Airborne Plastic Particles

    (National Geographic), May 24, 2021 -As honeybees make their way through the world, they are ideally suited to pick up bits and pieces of it along the way. Bees are covered with hairs that have evolved to hold tiny particles that the bee collects intentionally or simply encounters in its daily travels.

    These hairs become electrostatically charged in flight, which helps attract the particles. Pollen is the most obvious substance that gets caught up in these hairs, but so do plant debris, wax, and even bits of other bees.

    Now, another material has been added to that list: plastics. Specifically, 13 different synthetic polymers, according to a study of honeybees and microplastics in Denmark.

  • Food Waste's Environmental Impact
    You Might Not Have
    Known Just How Bad

    (greener ideal), May 21, 2021 -Almost one-third of all food produced in the U.S. In 2017 alone, for example, 103 million tons of food was ultimately thrown out. That kind of waste represents a serious problem for both the environment and your family’s pocketbooks.

    Food waste, in fact, is the leading source of garbage in landfills and accounts for a staggering 17% of American methane emissions.

  • Tree Farts and Greenhouse Gas Emissions
    The Findings Help Researchers
    Get a Detailed Accounting
    of Earth’s Carbon Budget

    May 20, 2021(ScienceNews), - If a tree farts in the forest, does it make a sound? No, but it does add a smidge of greenhouse gas to the atmosphere.

    Gases released by dead trees — dubbed “tree farts” — account for roughly one-fifth of the greenhouse gases emitted by skeletal, marshy forests along the coast of North Carolina, researchers report online May 10 in Biogeochemistry. While these emissions pale in comparison with other sources, an accurate accounting is necessary to get a full picture of where climate-warming gases come from.

  • Humans Have ‘Stressed Out’ Earth
    For Far longer, and More
    Dramatically, Than Realized

    (National Geographic), May 20, 2021 -Officially, we’re in what’s known as the Holocene, the geological epoch that began at the end of the last ice age. But the influence of human activity on the Earth’s ecosystems has become so extreme that it now seems to be the central driver of environmental change, leading some scientists to argue that we should think of ourselves as living in a new epoch called the Anthropocene.

    Usage of the term is still being debated, though, and one of the central disputes is when the start of this new epoch would be. The mid-twentieth century? The Industrial Revolution? Or might it be earlier than that—say, when agriculture took hold as a dominant feature of human life?

  • There's Hope for Corals After All
    5 Cutting-Edge Developments Could
    Help Restore and Maintain Reefs

    (National Geographic), May 19, 2021 -Coral reefs are some of the most beautiful and biodiverse ecosystems on the planet, covering less than one percent of the ocean floor, but containing a quarter of all marine life. However, all is not well in this underwater paradise.

    In the last 20 years, around half of all coral reefs have died, and the remainder are threatened by pollution, overfishing, and climate change. It’s increasingly recognized that the best way to ensure the future of coral reefs is to work to reverse climate change, protect the ocean, and actively restore reefs that cannot recover on their own. Here are five innovative ways that the world’s colorful coral reefs are being restored and given hope.

  • A Thousand Rivers Bring Plastic Into the Oceans
    Both Big and Small Rivers
    Contribute to the Problem

    May 19, 2021(ZME Science), - The global plastic problem just got more complicated. In a new study, researchers found nearly 80% of the plastic pollution in the oceans comes from 1,000 rivers around the world. This contradicts previous studies that suggested only a handful of large continental rivers were the main culprits behind plastic pollution.

  • Iran’s Groundwater Resources are Rapidly Depleting
    The World Should Be Paying Attention

    May 19, 2021(ZME Science), - People have been relying on groundwater resources for all their drinking and washing needs since time immemorial. But some seem to be depleting fast when faced with today’s levels of demand, a new paper reports, explaining more than three-quarters of Iran’s groundwater resources are being overexploited.

    Over 75% of Iran’s land is faced with “extreme groundwater overdraft”, the paper reports. This describes the state where the natural refill rate of an area’s groundwater deposits is lower than the rate people are emptying them at.

  • Twenty Firms Produce 55% of World’s Plastic Waste
    Plastic Waste Makers Index
    Identifies Those Driving Climate
    Crisis With Virgin Polymer Production

    May 18, 2021(The Guardian), - Twenty companies are responsible for producing more than half of all the single-use plastic waste in the world, fueling the climate crisis and creating an environmental catastrophe, new research reveals.

    Among the global businesses responsible for 55% of the world’s plastic packaging waste are both state-owned and multinational corporations, including oil and gas giants and chemical companies, according to a comprehensive new analysis.

  • The IEA's Fossil Fuel Alert
    Our Hope For a
    Livable World Rests on a
    Series of Crucial Sentences

    May 18, 2021(The New Yorker), by Bill McKibben - The crucial turning points of the climate era can be found in a series of sentences, some of them pretty opaque, but all of them critical. The latest came on Tuesday morning in a report from the International Energy Agency, in Paris, and it could very well signal the start of the end of the fossil-fuel era. So it’s important to first set it in the context of a few other such statements.

    In 1995, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said, “The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate.” Ever since NASA’s Jim Hansen told Congress, in 1988, that climate change was under way, the world’s scientists and governments had been scrambling to reach workable conclusions on which to base policy.

  • Nations Must Drop Fossil Fuels, Fast
    The International Energy Agency Warns

    May 18, 2021(NY Times Climate Forward), -Nations around the world would need to immediately stop approving new coal-fired power plants and new oil and gas fields and quickly phase out gasoline-powered vehicles if they want to avert the most catastrophic effects of climate change, the world’s leading energy agency said Tuesday.

    In a sweeping new report, the International Energy Agency issued a detailed road map of what it would take for the world’s nations to slash carbon dioxide emissions to net zero by 2050. That would very likely keep the average global temperature from increasing 1.5 Celsius above preindustrial levels — the threshold beyond which scientists say the Earth faces irreversible damage.

  • Who’s Behind the Global Surge in Single-Use Plastic?
    Big Companies and Banks
    - Who'd Have Guesed It?

    May 18, 2021(NY Times Climate Forward), -The throwaway plastic that holds our takeout food and wraps our dry cleaning is widely seen as one of the world’s biggest environmental hazards. It pollutes as it is produced, through the extraction of fossil fuels, and, no sooner than it is used, it pollutes again. It is thrown away and can end up clogging waterways and choking animals or sometimes is burned, sending hazardous fumes into the air.

    A detailed report published Tuesday sheds new light on who makes all this single-use plastic, 130 million tons a year at last count, and who makes money from it. A surprisingly small group of giant manufacturers and investors are at the heart of the global industry.

  • Gas Explosion Rocks Baltimore County Neighborhood
    A Pretty Devastating Day
    on Birch Hollow Road

    May 18, 2021(CleanTechnica), -A gas explosion injured several people, including one critically in Pikesville, Maryland on Friday. Baltimore Gas & Electric crews were working on the gas line when it exploded.

    The blast, which launched flames 60 feet into the air, ignited a fire that burned for three hours, and power and gas service were shut down for more than 250 homes for several hours.

    This is the second gas explosion in less than a year in the Baltimore region. A massive and deadly explosion ripped through multiple row houses in the Reisterstown Station neighborhood last August. “In the corner of our eyes, we saw this giant burst of flame,” Rubin Schechman told WBAL. “Just a horrific incident, it’s horrible. To see people coming out to work, doing what they’re supposed to, getting hurt like that, it’s horrible.”

  • Sierra Leone Sells Rainforest for Chinese Harbor
    Controversial Deal with
    China Would Be ‘Disastrous’
    for Fishing and Protected Rainforest

    May 17, 2021(The Guardian), -A $55m (£39m) deal struck by the government of Sierra Leone with China to build an industrial fishing harbor on 100 hectares (250 acres) of beach and protected rainforest has been criticized as “a catastrophic human and ecological disaster” by conservationists, landowners and rights groups.

    The gold and black sands of Black Johnson beach fringe the African nation’s Western Area Peninsula national park, home to endangered species including the duiker antelope and pangolins. The waters are rich in sardines, barracuda and grouper, caught by local fishermen who produce 70% of the fish for the domestic market.

  • First Open-Air Genetically Modified Mosquitoes Take Flight
    Oxitec Pits a GM Mosquito
    Against a Florida Invasive Species
    Spreading Zika and Dengue

    May 14, 2021 (ScienceNews) -The first genetically modified mosquitoes that will be allowed to fly free outdoors in the United States have started reaching the age for mating in the Florida Keys.

    In a test of the biotech company Oxitec’s GM male mosquitoes for pest control, these Aedes aegypti started growing from tiny eggs set out in toaster-sized, hexagonal boxes on suburban private properties in late April.

    On May 12, experiment monitors confirmed that males had matured enough to start flying off on their own to court American female mosquitoes.

  • Alarming Levels of PFAs in US Mothers’ Breast Milk
    Toxic "Forever-Chemicals"
    Found in All 50 Samples Tested

    May 13, 2021 (The Guardian)-A new study that checked American women’s breast milk for PFAS contamination detected the toxic chemical in all 50 samples tested, and at levels nearly 2,000 times higher than the level some public health advocates advise is safe for drinking water.

    The findings “are cause for concern” and highlight a potential threat to newborns’ health, the study’s authors say.

  • Climate Emissions Are Shrinking the Stratosphere
    Thinning Indicates Profound Impact of Humans and
    Could Affect Satellites and GPS

    May 12, 2021 (The Guardian)-Humanity’s enormous emissions of greenhouse gases are shrinking the stratosphere, a new study has revealed.

    The thickness of the atmospheric layer has contracted by 400 metres since the 1980s, the researchers found, and will thin by about another kilometer by 2080 without major cuts in emissions. The changes have the potential to affect satellite operations, the GPS navigation system and radio communications.

  • Forest the Size of France Regrown Worldwide Over 20 Years
    Nearly 59m Hectares of Forests
    Have Regrown Since 2000

    May 11, 2021 (The Guardian)-An area of forest the size of France has regrown around the world over the past 20 years, showing that regeneration in some places is paying off, a new analysis has found.

  • A Common Antibiotic Slows a Mysterious Coral Disease
    Amoxicillin is 95% Effective at Healing
    Infected Tissues on Stony Coral Colonies

    May 10, 2021 (ScienceNews) -Slathering corals in a common antibiotic seems to temporarily soothe a mysterious tissue-eating disease, new research suggests.

    Just off Florida, a type of coral infected with stony coral tissue loss disease, or SCTLD, showed widespread improvement several months after being treated with amoxicillin, researchers report April 21 in Scientific Reports. While the deadly disease eventually reappeared, the results provide a spot of good news while scientists continue the search for what causes it.

  • Meat Production Leads to Thousands Of Human Deaths Annually
    Agriculture is a Major Source of Air
    Pollution, Killing an Estimated 17,900
    People in the U.S. Annually,

    May 10, 2021 (National Geographic) -Air pollution remains a major cause of death in the United States, one usually associated with tailpipe exhaust and factory and power plant smokestacks. Now new research shows that 16,000 U.S. deaths are the result of air polluted by growing and raising food—and 80% of those result from producing animal products like meat, dairy, and eggs.

    Additional deaths are attributable to products we don’t eat, including ethanol, leather, or wool. That brings the total number of deaths from agricultural air pollution to 17,900 a year.

  • How Green Is Your Opera House?
    Some Houses Are Finding Ways to
    Make Their Spaces and Performances
    More Environmentally Sustainable.

    May 10, 2021 (NY Times) -The coronavirus pandemic has challenged day-to-day norms in the opera industry. But while addressing those challenges, some houses have found new ways to tackle another crisis with potentially broader implications: climate change.

    One of them is La Scala, in Milan, which will install solar panels on the roof of its new office tower in December 2022 while further digitizing operations to cut back on an estimated 10 tons of paper per year. The house has reduced carbon emissions by over 630 tons since 2010 through a partnership with the energy company Edison, which has been illuminating the theater since 1883 and now provides LED bulbs and smart lighting.

  • Mega-Warehouses, a Smog Source, Face New Pollution Rule
    The L.A. Area has the Nation’s Largest
    Concentration of Warehouses, Contributing to Some of
    the Worst Air Pollution in the US.

    May 10, 2021 (NY Times Climate Forward)-Southern California is home to the nation’s largest concentration of warehouses — a hub of thousands of mammoth structures, served by belching diesel trucks, that help feed America’s booming appetite for online shopping and also contribute to the worst air pollution in the country.

    On Friday, hundreds of residents flocked to an online hearing to support a landmark rule that would force the warehouses to clean up their emissions.

  • American Exposure to Unhealthy Air
    More than 40% of
    Americans are Affected

    May 10, 2021 (CleanTechnica)-With the work-from-home trend’s emergence; lockdowns and closures of various typical gathering spaces like cinemas, restaurants, cafes, and shopping centers; most of us are driving less than we did before the pandemic. Air pollution levels declined during the pandemic, but the decrease may have been overstated.

    Air pollution remains a public health hazard, and as the pandemic winds down, people will resume their normal driving activities, resulting in more typical air pollution levels. Using fossil fuels also obviously contributes greatly to climate change.

  • France Will Spend €30 Billion on Decarbonising its Economy
    Speeding Up Its Target of Becoming
    Europe's First Major Country to
    Achieve Carbon Neutrality by 2050

    May 7, 2021 (euronews) -The money is part of the so-called France Relance recovery plan, which is designed to address the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The whole investment plan is worth €100 billion, representing the equivalent of 1/3 of the annual state budget.

    Just over €40 billion of this will be provided by the EU, as part of the bloc's so-called Recovery and Resilience Facility in order to support businesses, rethink production models, transform infrastructure and invest in training.

  • Mangrove Forests on the Yucatan Store Much Carbon
    The Trees Stockpile Up
    to About 2,800 Metric Tons
    of Carbon Per Hectare In the Soil

    May 7, 2021 (ScienceNews) -Coastal mangrove forests are carbon storage powerhouses, tucking away vast amounts of organic matter among their submerged, tangled root webs.

    But even for mangroves, there is a “remarkable” amount of carbon stored in small pockets of forest growing around sinkholes on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, researchers report May 5 in Biology Letters. These forests can stock away more than five times as much carbon per hectare as most other terrestrial forests.

  • China’s Emissions Now Exceed
    All Developed Countries Combined
    It's a Massive Country
    with Massive Emissions

    May 7, 2021 (ZME Science) -It’s a powerhouse for renewable energy, but it still heavily relies on coal plants. It has committed to being carbon neutral by 2060 but presented no clear roadmap on how this will happen. It has the world’s largest population, with a growing climate footprint as purchasing power increases.

    Evidently, it’s not easy for China to take action on climate its emissions significantly — and unfortunately — it’s about to get worse...

    The article includes a planetary emissions graph.

  • Climate-Friendly Microbes
    They Recycle Carbon
    Without Producing Methane

    May 6, 2021 (ScienceNews) -Earth’s hot springs and hydrothermal vents are home to a previously unidentified group of archaea. And, unlike similar tiny, single-celled organisms that live deep in sediments and munch on decaying plant matter, these archaea don’t produce the climate-warming gas methane, researchers report April 23 in Nature Communications.

    “Microorganisms are the most diverse and abundant form of life on Earth, and we just know 1 percent of them,” says Valerie De Anda, an environmental microbiologist at the University of Texas at Austin. “Our information is biased toward the organisms that affect humans. But there are a lot of organisms that drive the main chemical cycles on Earth that we just don’t know.”.

  • Wildfires are Contaminating Drinking Water Systems
    it’s More Widespread
    Than People Realize

    May 6, 2021 (THE CONVERSATION) -More than 58,000 fires scorched the United States last year, and 2021 is on track to be even drier. What many people don’t realize is that these wildfires can do lasting damage beyond the reach of the flames – they can contaminate entire drinking water systems with carcinogens that last for months after the blaze. That water flows to homes, contaminating the plumbing, too.

    Over the past four years, wildfires have contaminated drinking water distribution networks and building plumbing for more than 240,000 people.

  • The North Sea Transition Deal
    Off-Shore Electrification and Much More

    May 6, 2021 (Energy Central) -Seven points are made in this article, beginning with:

    1. The sector committing to early targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from production against a 2018 baseline and the government identifying potential funding opportunities for early offshore electrification.

    2. The Deal will commit to deliver investment of up to £14-16 billion by 2030 in new energy technologies, with the government delivering a business model to enable CCUS and hydrogen at scale.

    For the rest, click now to read the full report.

  • 600 California Communities at Risk of Water-System Failures
    A Public Health Crisis
    Looms as a Result

    May 5, 2021 (The Revelator) -A familiar scene has returned to California: drought. Two counties are currently under emergency declarations, and the rest of the state could follow.

    It was only four years ago when a winter of torrential rain finally wrestled the state out of its last major drought, which had dragged on for five years and left thousands of domestic wells coughing up dust.

    That drinking-water crisis made national headlines and helped shine a light on another long-simmering water crisis in California: More than 300 communities have chronically unsafe drinking water containing contaminants that can come with serious health consequences, including cancer.

  • 11 Years After the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
    A $100 Million Look Ahead

    (National Wildlife Federation), May 4, 2021 - Eleven years ago, the BP Deepwater Horizon explosion killed 11 people and for 87 days oil flowed into the Gulf, injuring critical habitat, fish, and wildlife. Even now, the impacts of this disaster are still being felt in the Gulf of Mexico.

    As a result of the legal settlements with BP and the other oil companies, more than $16 billion is available for ecological restoration in the Gulf. These funds will be paid out through 2032.

  • Ag. Pesticides Cause Harm to Soil Health, Threaten Biodiversity
    Pesticide Impacts on Soil Finds Harm
    to Beneficial Invertebrates Like
    Beetles, Earthworms in 71% of Cases

    May 4, 2021 (Center for Biological Diversity)- A new study published today by the academic journal Frontiers in Environmental Science finds that pesticides widely used in American agriculture pose a grave threat to organisms that are critical to healthy soil, biodiversity and soil carbon sequestration to fight climate change. Yet those harms are not considered by U.S. regulators.

    The study, by researchers at the Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth U.S. and the University of Maryland, is the largest, most comprehensive review of the impacts of agricultural pesticides on soil organisms ever conducted.

    The researchers compiled data from nearly 400 studies, finding that pesticides harmed beneficial, soil-dwelling invertebrates including earthworms, ants, beetles and ground nesting bees in 71% of cases reviewed.

  • Inactive Oil Wells and Methane Pollution
    Uncapped Oil Wells Could Leak Millions
    of Kg of Methane into the Atmosphere
    and Surface Water Each Year

    May 3, 2021 (ZME Science) -Even when you’re done with an oil well, you’re not really done with it. Idle wells could still be leaking methane, a potent greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere, according to a new study carried out on oil wells in Texas.

    Click now to read or listen to the story.
  • The Effects of Carbon Pricing on CO2 Emissions
    Carbon Pricing Alone, Even if
    Implemented Globally, is Unlikely to Be
    Sufficient to Achieve Emission Reductions

    May 3, 2021 (Energy Central)-We study the impact of carbon pricing on CO2emissions across five sectors for a panel of 39 countries over 1990-2016.

    Using newly constructed sector-level carbon price data, we implement a novel approach to estimate the changes in CO2 emissions associated with (i) the introduction of carbon pricing regardless of the price level; (ii) the implementation effect as a function of the price level; and (iii) post-implementation marginal changes in the CO2price.We find that the introduction of carbon pricing has reduced growth in CO2emissions by 1% to 2.5% on average relative to counterfactual emissions, with most abatement occurring in the electricity and heat sector.

    Exploiting variation in carbon pricing to explain heterogeneity in treatment effects, we find an imprecisely estimated semi-elasticity of a 0.05% reduction in emissions growth per average 1/metric ton of CO2, which has temporarily lowered the growth rate of CO2 emissions by only around 0.01%.

  • Rivers Are the Conduit for Plastics into the Oceans
    It's Time to Do Something About it

    Apr. 30, 2021 (National Geographic) - The problem with plastic waste just got more complicated—and so did the effort to stanch its flow into the world’s oceans.

    Rivers are the primary conduits for plastic waste to the seas. In 2017, two separate groups of scientists concluded that 90 percent of river-borne plastic waste that flushes into the oceans is conveyed by just a handful of large, continental rivers, including the Nile, Amazon, and Yangtze, the world’s three longest rivers. Cleaning up those rivers—10 rivers were named in one study and 20 in the other—could go a long way toward solving the problem, experts agreed.

  • How About Some Dead Bodies in Your Soil?
    The Departed Could Soon Become
    Compost in Colorado

    Apr. 29, 2021 (NY Times)-Food scraps and biodegradable utensils are common fodder for compost, but in Colorado, human remains could soon be transformed into soil too.

    The Colorado State Legislature passed a bill on Tuesday that would allow composting of human remains in lieu of traditional processes like burial and cremation.

  • Removing Micrioplastics With Bacteria
    Scientists Have Just Found the Way

    Apr. 28, 2021 (The Guardian)-Microbiologists have devised a sustainable way to remove polluting microplastics from the environment – and they want to use bacteria to do the job.

    Bacteria naturally tend to group together and stick to surfaces, and this creates an adhesive substance called “biofilm” – we see it every morning when brushing our teeth and getting rid of dental plaque, for example. Researchers at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) want to use this sticky bacteria property and create tape-like microbe nets that can capture microplastics in polluted water to form an easily disposable and recyclable blob.

  • Possible Toxic DDT Found Dumped in California Ocean
    Extent of Possible Toxic Waste
    Site Near Catalina Island ‘Staggering’

    Apr. 28, 2021 (The Guardian)-Marine scientists say they have found what they believe to be as many as 25,000 barrels possibly containing DDT dumped off the southern California coast near Catalina Island, where a massive underwater toxic waste site dating back to the second world war has long been suspected.

    The 27,345 “barrel-like’” images were captured by researchers at the University of California San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography. They mapped more than 36,000 acres of seafloor between Santa Catalina Island and the Los Angeles coast in a region previously found to contain high levels of the toxic chemical in sediments and in the ecosystem.

  • Lawsuit Challenges DJT's Approval of Idaho Phosphate Mine
    Ore to Be Used to Produce
    Cancer-Linked Glyphosate

    Apr. 27, 2021 (Center for Biological Diversity)-Conservation groups filed a lawsuit today challenging a decision made by the Trump administration to greenlight the Caldwell Canyon phosphate mine in southeast Idaho.

    In 2019 the Bureau of Land Management approved the mine on some 1,559 acres of ecologically important land that’s essential to the imperiled greater sage grouse and other species.

    Phosphate from the mine will be used by the German multinational chemical company Bayer AG to manufacture glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup herbicides. Glyphosate has been linked to cancer and harm in hundreds of endangered plants and animals.

  • U.S. Steel Drops Plan for Fracking at Steel Mill
    The Company is Pulling
    the Fracking Plug

    Apr. 27, 2021 (Allegheny Front)-U.S. Steel says it’s dropping plans for a fracking company to drill for gas at a Pittsburgh-area steel mill. The decision comes after years of opposition to the project from some residents.

    A turning point on the project came last fall when a local zoning board denied a permit extension to Merrion Oil and Gas, the company developing the well.

  • The True Costs of Our Cheap Food
    A Warning From Mark Bittman

    Apr. 25, 2021 (Organic Consumers Association)-The global, industrialized food system faces increasing scrutiny for its environmental impact, given its voracious appetite for land is linked to mass deforestation, water pollution and a sizable chunk of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

    The implied trade-off has been that advances in agriculture have greatly reduced hunger and driven societies out of poverty due to improved productivity and efficiencies. But Mark Bittman, the American food author and journalist, argues in his new book Animal, Vegetable, Junk that these supposed benefits are largely illusionary.

  • California Will End Fracking and Eventually, Oil Extraction
    Executive Order is a Reversal
    for Governor Newsom, Who Faced
    Pressure From Environmental Groups

    Apr. 23, 2021 (The Guardian), -California’s governor has moved to ban new fracking permits by 2024 and halt all oil extraction by 2045.

    California, the most populous US state, produces the third largest amount of oil in the country. It would be the first state to end all extraction.

  • Odor from Caribbean Refinery Prompts
    School Closures and Investigation
    A Warning to Those With
    Allergies,Lung Disease or Asthma

    Apr. 23, 2021 (REUTERS), -A "noxious" gaseous smell coming from St Croix's recently reopened refinery that caused schools to close was caused by excess emissions of hydrogen sulfide, U.S. Virgin Islands officials said on Friday.

    The Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR) is advising people with respiratory ailments to consider taking protective actions such as staying indoors or relocating to less affected areas.

  • Lead Detected in 80% of Allegheny County, Pa., Water Systems
    There is No Safe Level
    of Lead in Drinking Water

    (Environmental Health News), Apr. 22, 2021 -Lead was detected in 80 percent of water systems in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, which encompasses Pittsburgh, in 2019, according to a new two-year analysis.

    While the federal limit for lead in drinking water is 15 parts per billion (ppb), experts—including those at the American Academy of Pediatrics, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention , and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—have long warned that there is no safe level of lead in drinking water.

  • Biden Wants to Slash Emissions
    Success Would Mean
    a Very Different America

    Apr. 22, 2021 (NY Times Climate Forward)-President Biden’s new pledge to slash America’s greenhouse gas emissions over the coming decade is long on ambition and short on specifics, but experts say that success would require rapid and sweeping changes to virtually every corner of the nation’s economy, transforming the way Americans drive to work, heat their homes and operate their factories.

  • Why are These Planes Still Using Toxic Fuel?
    Piston-Engine Aircraft Remain
    the Single Largest Source of
    Highly Toxic Airborne Lead

    Apr. 22, 2021 (NBC NEWS), -Miguel Alarcon made a habit of wiping down his white Ford pickup truck parked in the driveway of his East San Jose home in California.

    Like clockwork, a layer of grey film appeared on his car every few days, which he believed was an accumulation of exhaust from leaded-fuel planes flying overhead in and out of Reid-Hillview Airport.

    “My car was always dirty from the pollution,” said Alarcon, 42, who lived across the street from the airport from 2014 to 2017.

  • Interactive Map Shows All the Conservation Land Near You
    Water Conservation Fund has Helped
    Conserve Land From Segments of the
    Appalachian Trail to Neighborhood Parks

    Apr. 22, 2021 (FastCompany), -If you’ve ever set foot on the Appalachian Trail, visited a national park like Joshua Tree, or even taken advantage of a neighborhood park in your home town, you’ve probably reaped the benefits of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

    Established in 1964 by Congress to conserve land and provide outdoor recreational spaces, the program has funded hundreds of thousands of projects. Now, there’s an interactive map that lets you explore where they all are.

  • Pittsburgh’s Air Still Gets an ‘F’ From American Lung Association
    It Has Improved, But
    Obviously Not Enough

    Apr. 22, 2021 (Allegheny Front), -Despite improvements to air quality in recent years, the Pittsburgh region still has some of the worst air pollution in the country, according to the American Lung Association’s latest State of the Air report.

    Pittsburgh’s air showed improvement, but it still got an F in ozone and particulate matter and ranked 9th worst in the country for long-term particle pollution, which is associated with heart and lung disease.

  • Making Some Trash Compostable at Home
    Embedding Enzymes in the Material
    Causes it to Rapidly Break
    Down Without Creating Microplastics

    Apr. 21, 2021 (ScienceNews, -A pinch of polymer-munching enzymes could make biodegradable plastic packaging and forks truly compostable.

    With moderate heat, enzyme-laced films of the plastic disintegrated in standard compost or plain tap water within days to weeks, Ting Xu and her colleagues report April 21 in Nature.

    “Biodegradability does not equal compostability,” says Xu, a polymer scientist at the University of California, Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. She often finds bits of biodegradable plastic in the compost she picks up for her parents’ garden. Most biodegradable plastics go to landfills, where the conditions aren’t right for them to break down, so they degrade no faster than normal plastics.

  • US Honey Still Has Radioactive Fallout From Nuclear Tests
    Demonstrates Just How Pervasive
    Nuclear Fallout Can Be

    Apr. 21, 2021 (ZME Science, -Radioactive fallout from nuclear tests done in the 1950s and 1960s is still present in honey from the United States, a new study shows. While the levels of radiation aren’t considered harmful, they highlight the lingering persistence of environmental contaminants in the nuclear age – more than half a century after the bomb tests finished.

    Five countries, including the US, have tested over 500 nuclear weapons in the air, which, taken together released far more ionizing radiation to the atmosphere than any other event or combination of events in human history.

    Click now to read or listen to the story.
  • Carbon Emissions to Soar in 2021
    It's the Second Highest Rate in History

    Apr. 20, 2021 (The Guardian), -CO2 emissions are forecast to jump this year by the second biggest annual rise in history, as global economies pour stimulus cash into fossil fuels in the recovery from the Covid-19 recession.

    The leap will be second only to the massive rebound 10 years ago after the financial crisis, and will put climate hopes out of reach unless governments act quickly, the International Energy Agency has warned.

  • Sewage Island: Britain Spews Its Waste Out to the Sea
    Untreated Waste Regularly Flows Into
    Waters Across England and Wales.

    Apr. 19, 2021 (The Guardian), -The pandemic has not been the only crisis we’ve been wading through over the past 12 months: 2020 was a banner year in much of Britain for sewage spills.

    Last July a Guardian investigation revealed that raw sewage had been pumped into English rivers via storm overflows more than 200,000 times in 2019. In November, Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) published data showing that untreated wastewater was discharged on to English and Welsh beaches on 2,900 occasions in a year.

  • Can We Paint Our Way Out of the Climate Crisis?
    A New White Roof Paint
    Reflects 98% of Sunlight

    Apr. 19, 2021 (ZME Science),What if paint could cool off a building enough to not need air conditioning? A group of US researchers has produced just that: the whitest ever paint. It cooled surfaces by 4.5ºC below the ambient temperature and reflected 98% of sunlight.

    Cooling represents a significant sector of energy consumption in both residential and commercial applications. This is set to become a growing problem as the climate heats up more and more, as more people buy air conditioning equipment to cope with rising temperatures. Urban areas are especially problematic: cities act as “hot islands” as vegetation is replaced with concrete and asphalt, infrastructure that’s darker and absorbs more heat.

    Click now to read or listen to the story.
  • Caribbean Volcanic Ash Reaches as Far as India
    La Soufrière Eruption was Intense
    Enough to Send SO2 9,000 Miles Away

    Apr. 20, 2021 (ZME Science)- On April 10-11, the La Soufrière volcano in Saint Vincent island had one major eruption, following several minor ones. The plume reached 20 km in the air, leaving the island covered in ashes and with poor visibility. Around 20,000 people needed to evacuate due to the eruptions, triggering a humanitarian crisis in the area.

    Click now to read or listen to the story.
  • Time To Repeal New England’s Anti-Consumer Dirty Energy Rule
    It Costs the Consumer
    and Hurts the Environment

    Apr. 18, 2021 (CleanTechnica),Within the arcane rules that govern New England’s regional power grid, there’s a ticking time bomb that threatens to frustrate the region’s efforts to tackle the climate crisis while raising electricity bills by $3 billion over 10 years.

    Known as the Minimum Offer Price Rule or MOPR (pronounced “mo-per”), this provision has already locked in hundreds of millions of dollars in excess charges to households and businesses from Nashua, New Hampshire, to New Haven, Connecticut, by preventing inefficient, polluting power plants from being replaced by cleaner ones. Unless changed, this rule will force the region to pay even more for dirty power it neither wants nor needs.

    Repealing or significantly reforming the costly, outdated Minimum Offer Price Rule is in the best interests of New England’s consumers, their health, and our climate.

  • Back Arrow




    Interactive Map:

    Explore the air quality anywhere in the world
    WorldAirQuality
    Air pollution continues to pose one of the biggest threats to human health, with 90% of the global population breathing unsafe air.
    The latest data compiled by IQAir, published in the 2019 World Air Quality Report and the most polluted cities ranking, reveals the changing state of particulate pollution (PM2.5) around the world during 2019.
    The new dataset highlights elevated air pollution levels as a result of climate change events, such as sandstorms and wildfires, and pollution gains from the rapid urbanization of cities, in regions such as Southeast Asia.
    While some achievements have been made in air quality monitoring infrastructure globally, there are still huge gaps in access to data around the world.
    Click the image to see where your atmosphere stands.

    Back Arrow






    x s

    Oil Spill History
    Site Title

    "Birds and Oil Don't Mix"

  • Mystery: Origin of the Oil Killing Brazilian Sea Turtles?
    Oil Is Killing Brazil’s Turtles
    Where Is It From?

    Oct. 12, 2019  (TIME)- More than a month since oil started washing up on some of Brazil’s most touristic beaches, dotting sand with b lack patches, killing sea turtles and scaring off fishermen, the origin of the crude is still a mystery.

    “We don’t know the oil’s origin, where it came from or how it got here,” Energy Minister Bento Albuquerque said at an offshore exploration auction in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday


    Click now for more details
  • One Dead in Gulf of Mexico Rig Accident
    One dead in Gulf of Mexico
    Rig Accident - But No Pollution

    July 21, 2019 (UPI) -There is no pollution associated with an explosion on a drilling platform about 12 miles off the coast of New Orleans in the Gulf of Mexico, a regulator said.

    The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said it was notified by oil and gas operator Fieldwood Energy of an explosion on its Echo Platform.

    Fieldwood said one contract worker was killed and three other employees were treated for injuries at an onshore medical facility.

    Click now for the whole story.
  • 14-Year-old Oil Leak in Gulf: Far Worse Than Taylor Energy Says
    New Estimate for an Oil Leak:
    1,000x Worse Than Rig Owner Says

    June 25, 2020 (NY Times Climate Forward) -A new federal study has found that an oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico that began 14 years ago has been releasing as much as 4,500 gallons a day, not three or four gallons a day as the rig owner has claimed.

    The leak, about 12 miles off the Louisiana coast, began in 2004 when a Taylor Energy Company oil platform sank during Hurricane Ivan and a bundle of undersea pipes ruptured. Oil and gas have been seeping from the site ever since.

    Click now to read all about it.
  • It’s Been Nine Years Since the Deepwater Horizon Incident
    Nine Years After Deepwater Horizon

    April 16, 2017 (National Wildlife Federation) - It has been nine years since BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded off the coast of Louisiana, killing eleven men and unleashing an 87 day-long torrent of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. National Wildlife Federation has taken an active role in Gulf recovery, advocating for science-based decision-making to benefit wildlife and their habitats as Gulf leaders invest recovery funds into restoration.

    While there are still decades of recovery ahead, significant strides have been made over the last eight years to restore the Gulf for coastal communities and wildlife. As we reflect on the lives lost and the damage wrought, we should also consider how we can prevent a similar disaster from happening in the future.

    Click now for the complete story

  • Torrey Canyon Oil Spill - Learning From History
    Torrey Canyon Disaster –
    the UK's Worst-Ever Oil
    Spill 50 Years On

    Mar. 18, 2017 (The Guardian) - “I saw this huge ship sailing and I thought he’s in rather close, I hope he knows what he’s doing,” recalled Gladys Perkins of the day 50 years ago, when Britain experienced its worst ever environmental disaster.

    The ship was the Torrey Canyon, one of the first generation of supertankers, and it was nearing the end of a journey from Kuwait to a refinery at Milford Haven in Wales. The BP-chartered vessel ran aground on a rock between the Isles of Scilly and Land’s End in Cornwall, splitting several of the tanks holding its vast cargo of crude oil.

    Click now for the complete story

  • The Prospect of Cuba Drilling In The Gulf Concerns Tampa Bay.
    Advocates of Gulf Oil-Drilling
    Ban Worried By Talks With Cuba

    Aug. 18, 2016 (Tampa Bay Times) - Progress in international talks over who owns a piece of the Gulf of Mexico has raised the specter of a Deepwater Horizon tragedy along local shores.

    A few hundred miles from the west coast of Florida is a 7,700-square-mile area of the Gulf of Mexico known as the Eastern Gap, thought to be rich with oil but with no clear owner.

    The U.S., Cuban and Mexican governments are now negotiating how to split the area among the three nations. Once that happens, each country can drill for oil in its allotted portion.

  • Shell Oil Mimics BP With 90,000 Gal. of Crude
    Shell Oil Spill Dumps Nearly
    90,000 Gallons of Crude Into Gulf

    May 13, 2016 (EcoWatch) -An oil spill from Royal Dutch Shell’s offshore Brutus platform has released 2,100 barrels of crude into the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

    The leak—roughly 88,200 gallons—created a visible 2 mile by 13 mile oil slick in the sea about 97 miles south of Port Fourchon, Louisiana, according to the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.

    Officials said that the accident occurred near Shell’s Glider field, an underwater pipe system that connects four subsea oil wells to the Brutus platform, which floats on top of the water with a depth of 2,900 feet.

    Click now for more
    (if you can bear it).

  • Blowout Highlights Gulf Drilling Dangers
    Blowout Highlights
    Gulf Drilling Dangers

    July 25, 2013 (Mother Nature Network) -Flames erupted from an offshore drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico, torching a natural gas plume that had been leaking since a blowout earlier in the day. All 44 rig workers were evacuated before the fire began, according to the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, but the rig continued spewing gas until Thursday morning, when its scorched frame finally collapsed enough to cut off the leak.

    Click now for the whole story.
  • Obama White House Lifts Deepwater Drilling Ban
    Obama White House Lifts Deepwater Drilling Ban

    Oct. 12, 2010 (CBS News) -The Obama administration on Tuesday lifted the deep water oil drilling moratorium that the government imposed in the Gulf of Mexico in the wake of the disastrous BP oil spill.

    The administration has been under heavy pressure from the industry and others in the region to lift the six-month ban on grounds it has cost jobs and damaged the economy. A federal report said the moratorium likely caused a temporary loss of 8,000 to 12,000 jobs in the Gulf region.

    While the temporary ban on exploratory oil and gas drilling is lifted immediately, drilling is unlikely to resume immediately. Drilling companies must meet a host of new safety regulations before they can resume operations, officials said.

    Click now for more
    if you can bear it.
  • Enter the No-Spin Zone of the Deep: the BP Live Feed
    The No-Spin Zone of the Deep

    June 5, 2010 (Christian Science Monitor) - It was the last thing BP wanted: An open, high-definition live video feed – a "spillcam," if you will – showing in excruciating detail the massive oil geyser fouling the Gulf of Mexico, a situation admittedly caused by the giant extractive firm.

    But after a series of PR disasters – waffling, obfuscating, misplaced optimism, a gaffe-prone CEO – the decision by BP, under pressure from Congress, to put the live feed on the air reaped some unexpected plaudits for the company.

    Click now for the complete
    story from the archives.
  • Can We Restore the Gulf of Mexico?
    Gulf Oil Spill:
    Dispersants Have Potential
    to Cause More Harm Than Good

    May 11, 2010 (CISTON PR Newswire) -The chemical dispersants being used to break up the oil leaking into the gulf following the explosion of British Petroleum's Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig have the potential to cause just as much, if not more, harm to the environment and the humans coming into contact with it than the oil possibly would if left untreated.

    That is the warning of toxicology experts, led by Dr. William Sawyer, addressing the Gulf Oil Disaster Recovery Group, a group of lawyers working to protect the rights and interests of environmental groups and persons affected by the Deepwater Horizon disaster. The group represents the United Fishermen's Association and the Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN), among others.

    Click now to learn more.
  • Exxon Valdez: The Story That Never Goes Away
    20 Years After Exxon Valdez
    Oil Spill, Alaskan
    Coastline Remains Contaminated

    Mar. 24, 2009 (Democracy Now) - Today marks the twentieth anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, one of the worst environmental disasters in history. The Exxon Valdez spilled between 11 and 38 million gallons of crude oil into the fishing waters of Prince William Sound.

    The spill contaminated more than 1,200 miles of Alaska’s shoreline and killed hundreds of thousands of seabirds and marine animals. It also dealt a staggering blow to the residents of local fishing towns, and the effects of the disaster are still being felt today. We speak with Riki Ott, a community activist, marine toxicologist, former commercial salmon fisherma’am and author of two books on the spill. Her latest is Not One Drop: Betrayal and Courage in the Wake of the Exxon Valdez Spill.

    Click now for the story
    deep in the archives.
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    America's Greenest Cities
    Back Arrow

    Provided by Mother Nature Network

    # 1 - Portland, Ore

    The city of microbrewery mania and home to megastore Powell's Books — one of the few remaining independent booksellers in the country — is No. 1 in sustainability. Declared the most bikeable city in the United States for its 200 miles of dedicated bike lanes, Portland certainly makes forgoing gas-powered travel easy. And for lessons in DIY sustainable food sources, classes are available for container gardening and cheese making, or beekeeping and chicken keeping.

    # 2 - San Francisco, Cal.

    San Francisco

    Declared by Mayor Gavin Newsom to be America's solar energy leader, this vibrant city of cultural tolerance was a 1960s icon and epicenter for the Summer of Love. But in addition to peace, love and solar power, there's also an innovative recycling program with an artist-in-residence at the recycling facility. The artist uses his work to inspire residents to recycle and conserve. San Francisco is also the first U.S. city to ban plastic grocery bags, a concept that supports its effort to divert 75 percent of landfill waste by 2010.
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    # 3 - Boston, Mass.

    Boston

    It's hard to think of this city without also thinking of tea — as a commodity, not a drink. Boston ranks high among the urban green elite. Sustainability efforts include a "Green by 2015" goal to replace traditional taxi cabs with hybrid vehicles, recycle trash to power homes, use more solar panels, and use more electric motorbikes for transportation.

    The city's first annual Down2Earth conference was held in 2008. It's designed to educate residents about how to live the most sustainable lifestyle.

    # 4 - Oakland, Calif.

    Boston

    Residents of this port city have access to an abundance of fresh, organic food, much of which is locally sourced. It's also home to the nation's cleanest tap water, hydrogen-powered public transit and the country's oldest wildlife refuge.

    Oakland also plans to have zero waste and be oil-independent by 2020, and already gets 17 percent of its energy from renewable sources.
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    # 5 - Eugene, Ore.

    Eugene
    Known as the Emerald City for its natural green beauty, this baby boomer haven and second largest city in the state has been doing the "green" thing since the 1960s. In 2008, after only one year of service, the Emerald Express, a hybrid public transit system, won a Sustainable Transport award. Cycling is the preferred mode of transportation, made possible by the 30 miles of off-street bike paths and 29 dedicated bike routes, which total a whopping 150 miles of smog-free travel throughout the metro area.

    # 6 - Cambridge, Mass.

    Cambridge

    In 2008, Prevention Magazine named Cambridge "the best walking city." Thoreau's Walden Pond can be found in nearby Concord, and education powerhouses Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University are located here. In 2002, city officials implemented a major climate protection plan and today most city vehicles are fueled by B20 biodiesel or electricity. All new construction or major renovations must meet LEED standards. And a project called "Compost that Stuff" collects and processes organic waste from residents, restaurants, bars and hotels.

    # 7 - Berkeley, Calif.

    Berkeley

    A great place to find an abundance of organic and vegetarian restaurants is also on the cutting edge of sustainability. Berkeley is recognized as aleader in the incubation of clean technology for wind power, solar power, biofuels and hydropower.

    # 8 - Seattle, Wash.

    Seattle

    The unofficial coffee klatch capitol of the country is also sustainable-living savvy. More than 20 public buildings in Seattle are LEED-certified or under construction for LEED certification. Through an incentive program, residents are encouraged to install solar panels on their homes for energy conservation. Sustainable Ballard, a green neighborhood group and sustainability festival host, offers ongoing workshops about how to live in harmony with the environment.
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    # 9 - Chicago, Ill.

    Chicago

    The Windy City has embraced land sustainability far longer than you may think. In 1909, pioneering city planner Daniel Hudson Burnham created a long-range plan for the lakefront that balanced urban growth, and created a permanent greenbelt around the metropolitan area.
    This greening of the city continues through the Chicago Green Roof Program. More than 2.5 million SQF city roofs support plant life — including Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) and the city hall building. Also, about 500,000 new trees have been planted.

    # 10 - Austin Tex.

    Austin

    Carbon neutral by 2020 — it's an ambitious goal, but Austin Energy is the nation's top seller of renewable energy among 850 utility-sponsored programs, which makes its goal to power the city solely on clean energy within reach. As the gateway to the scenic Texas Hill Country, acreage in Austin devoted to green space includes 206 parks, 12 preserves, 26 greenbelts and more than 50 miles of trails.


    Safer Habitats Table of Contents

    (Click on a link below to get the full picture.)

    Clean Air Council Climate Emergency Network Common Dreams Earthworks
    Env. Impact Assessment Environmental Working Group Florida Black Bears Fly California
    Gold Rush vs Salmon Habitat Guardian Sustainable Business Los Angeles Mass Transit Mass.gov
    Sierra Club UNLV Recycling Virginia Dept of Env. Quality Your Cities, Yourselves
         
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    Organizations for Safer Habitats

    (Click on an image for more of the story)

    The Guardian Sustainable Business

    EWG Logo
    Read articles like "Famers Turn Tobacco into Airplane Fuel," Infographics on Air Pollution and Your Health, Cardboard Boxes You Sleep In, and much, much more.






    Florida Black Bears are in trouble, and they can't hire their own lawyers. -but we can help.

    Gold Rush vs Salmon Habitat

    Transboundary Watershed Map
    Five major mining projects have been proposed for the transboundary watershed – the waters shared by British Columbia and southeast Alaska. The region is home to important salmon producing rivers that originate in British Columbia and run through Alaska to the sea. A number of environmental groups, Alaskan Natives and commercial fishermen strongly oppose some of these mining developments across the border. They argue mining could have negative impacts on the salmon and water quality, and irrevocably alter the region's economy, environment and way of life

    Environmental Working Group

    EWG Logo
    Two-thirds of produce samples in recent government tests had pesticide residues. Don't want to eat bug- and weed-killers? EWG's Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce helps you shop smart. We highlight the cleanest and dirtiest conventionally-raised fruits and vegetables. If a conventionally grown food you want tests high for pesticides, go for the organic version instead. And remember - the health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh risks of pesticide exposure. Dirty Dozen™ Plus highlights hot peppers and leafy greens - kale and collard greens - often tainted with unusually hazardous pesticides.
    Earhworks Logo
    Hydraulic Fracturing (AKA Fracking). Another assault to the environment for which we can thank Haliburton and others. Read all about this extreme method of natural gas extraction , and its impact on water quality and other serious health issues (human and other species). Click the Earthworks icon to learn more.
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    100 Coal Plants Unplugged. This Sierra Club milestone, 100 coal plants defeated, marks a significant shift in the way Americans are looking at our energy choices. Read on and/or view video.
    What Massachusetts is doing about Climate Change?
    Flooded Village Files Suit, Citing Corporate Link to Climate Change.
    The eroding village of Kivalina in the Northwest Arctic is suing Exxon Mobil and 23 other energy companies for damage related to global warming.  Read all about it.
    This is the web page for Climate Emergency Network news.
    Click now to get there.
    Impact reports for the high speed rail system. You can fly California without leaving the ground, or the carbon footprint associated with air travel. Includes maps of the extensive rail system. ALL ABOARD!



    The Cape Wind Project will bring clean energy to Nantucket Sound. The project has been delayed by NIMBY (not in my back yard) issues by some who claim to be environmentalists.
    An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is an assessment of the likely positive and/or negative influence a project may have on the environment. “Environmental Impact Assessment can be defined as: The process of identifying, predicting, evaluating and mitigating the biophysical, social, and other relevant effects of development proposals prior to major decisions being taken and commitments made.”[1] The purpose of the assessment is to ensure that decision-makers consider environmental impacts before deciding whether to proceed with new projects.
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    EIR + Facts about the Los Angeles Metro - yes, L.A. has a mass transit system. Also read about the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)

    Your Cities, Yourselves


    Smart-growth advocates offer tips for changing your neck of the woods.

    Virginia Dept. of
    Environmental Quality


    The Office of Environmental Impact Review coordinates the Commonwealth's response to environmental documents for proposed state and federal projects. The environmental impact review staff distributes documents to appropriate state agencies, planning districts and localities for their review and comment. Upon consideration of all comments, the staff prepares a single state response.
    Discover how Networkfleet can help lower fleet fuel costs and greenhouse emissions with technology that combines GPS vehicle tracking with onboard engine diagnostics.
    Monitoring the environmental impact of Pennsylvania's energy generation. A steward in validating the state's compliance with the Clean Air Act. What happens in Pennsylvania doesn't necessarily stay in Pennsylvania.
    Between 2003 and 2006, the UNLV Rebel Recycling Program recycled 2,144.5 tons of materials. Paper/Fiber (cardboard, paper, books) recycled was 1,641.6 tons. The diversion of these materials from the Apex landfill to the manufacturing process resulted in a positive impact on the global environment. Click on the logo for more.
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    Companies Producing Cleaner Power

    (More companies will be
    added to this page shortly)


    1366 One Step Closer to
    Opening US Solar PV Wafer Facility

    1366 Technologies Logo

    Solar silicon wafer innovator 1366 Technologies has landed new funding led by newest partner Tokayama, and is ready to scale up to a 250-MW production line ahead of an anticipated upswing in demand.
    Ten months ago 1366 moved into a new 25-MW pilot facility in Bedford, Massachusetts, to nail down process and tweak equipment for its solar silicon wafering technology to take the next step toward commercialization. In June of 2013 the firm inked a R&D deal with Japanese silicon producer Tokuyama with hints that it could expand to an equity investment.

    Clearsign Logo

    What if a cost-effective air pollution control technology could actually increase energy efficiency? What if it were possible to prevent harmful emissions from the combustion of any fuel, including gas, biomass, coal — even tire-derived fuel and municipal solid waste — in the flame, before those pollutants were ever formed?

    Redox Power Systems Logo

    The executives at Fulton-based Redox Power Systems are making a bold bet: The homes and businesses of the future will be powered by an extraterrestrial-looking apparatus loaded with fuel cells that convert natural gas and air into electricity.
    The technology promises to be more efficient and environmentally friendly than the systems that power many buildings today, but the company has to first overcome the economic and social barriers that often beset renewable energy ventures.
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    Mesothelioma is a Disease Brought
    On By Exposure to Asbestos

    Disclaimer: There are many sites that focus on treatment, but we lack the credentials to recommend the best ones*. We've provded a short list:

    *Always consult with a professional
    before making your choice.