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Archive for the ‘Pollution’ Category

Strengthening the EPA’s Clean Power Plan

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014
FIGURE 1. The EPA’s Renewable Energy Targets under Its Proposed Clean Power Plan Are Modest

UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS
This brief outlines a better way to make the most of renewable energy in the Clean Power Plan, and to strengthen its state renewable energy targets as the cost of sources such as wind and solar power decline. The UCS proposal builds on the EPA’s approach while utilizing the latest available market data, demonstrated rates of growth in renewable energy, and existing state commitments to deploy renewables. Using our recommended modifications, the EPA could nearly double the amount of cost-effective renewable energy in their state targets—from 12 per-cent of total 2030 U.S. electric sales to 23 percent (Figure 1, p. 3).

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Automobiles, CO2 and Fuel Efficiency: Trends From 1975 to 2014

Monday, October 13th, 2014
Adjusted C02 Emissions by Model Year

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCYOverview of Long-Term TrendsWhile the most recent annual changes often receive the most public attention, the greatest value of the Trends database is to document long-term trends. This is because: 1) year-to-year variability can reflect short-term trends (two examples are the Cash for Clunkers rebates in 2009 and the impact of the tsunami […]

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Health Benefits of Carbon Standards for Power Plants

Friday, October 3rd, 2014
Figure 1: The Co-Benefits of Carbon Standards Study

HARVARD SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: CENTER FOR HEALTH AND THE GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT
SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL & ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING
BOSTON UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the nation’s first-ever carbon pollution standards for existing power plants on June 2, 2014. The EPA-proposed Clean Power Plan would achieve a 30% reduction in carbon emissions from U.S. power plants below 2005 levels by 2030 (USEPA 2014a). Carbon dioxide (CO2) is an important greenhouse gas and a major driver of human-induced global climate change. Fossil-fuel-fired power plants are the single largest source of anthropogenic CO2 emissions in the U.S. They emitted 2.2 billion tons of CO2 in 2012 (AOE 2014) and currently account for 39 percent of total U.S. CO2 emissions (USEPA 2014b).

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A Global High Shift Scenario: Impacts And Potential For More Public Transport, Walking, And Cycling With Lower Car Use

Thursday, September 18th, 2014
Figure 7: Total Urban Passenger Travel for Select Countries/Regions

INSTITUTE FOR TRANSPORTATION & DEVELOPMENT POLICY
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, DAVIS
This report is the first study to examine how major changes in urban transport investments worldwide would affect urban passenger transport emissions as well as mobility by different income groups. It starts with the most recent United Nations urban population forecasts and the most recent model framework and forecasts used by the International Energy Agency (IEA) for global mobility modeling. The study extends these with new research on the extent of various urban passenger transport systems in cities across the world, as well as new estimates of the extent of mobility by non-motorized transport and low power e-bikes.

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Los Angeles: Eastside Transit Corridor Environmental Impact Study

Thursday, September 4th, 2014
Figure ES-1: Existing and Proposed Regional Metro Rail Lines (2035)

LOS ANGELES COUNTY METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY
In addition to mobility benefits, the Eastside Transit Corridor Phase 2 Project would provide the project area with transportation, economic, land use, and environmental benefits. The analysis presented in this document shows that improved mobility to and from the project area has the potential to boost economic development in the project area and improve social justice by providing better access to employment, educational opportunities, and activity centers. Improved transit connectivity would increase transit ridership, which would also generate environmental benefits through reduced vehicle trips, less roadway congestion, and improved air quality.

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The External Costs of Fossil Fuels; Environmental and Health Value of Solar

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014
U.S. Net Electricity Generation

ENERGY & POLICY INSTITUTE
Ratepayers and customers have been led to believe that a power plant burning coal or natural gas is the cheapest form of electricity and therefore, should be prioritized over renewable energy generation. However, ratepayers are paying for more than the cost of the fossil fuel that is used to generate electricity. Utility customers pay for the cleanup of toxic spills and health costs associated with burning dirty energy sources. Furthermore, ratepayer’s money spent importing fossil fuels from other states causes unforeseen negative economic impacts when local renewable energy systems could provide economic benefits. Utilities have little economic incentive to reduce fuel costs since the cost of coal and natural gas are passed directly through to customers. Finally, customers ultimately pay for the impacts of climate change, including water scarcity, both of which are fueled and exacerbated by the burning of fossil fuels.

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The Societal Costs and Benefits of Commuter Bicycling

Monday, August 11th, 2014

NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH SCIENCES
Car use is the dominant mode of transport to work in many high-income cities. In car-oriented cities, commuting by private motor vehicle allows access to employment and training (crucial social determinants of health) while enabling households to manage competing responsibilities. However, car-dependent commuting has significant negative public health effects for commuters, the wider community, and local and global ecosystems. A mode shift to greater use of active transport would bring environmental, health, social, and equity benefits (de Nazelle et al. 2011; Hosking et al. 2011).

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EPA Program to Protect Underground Drinking Water Needs Improvement

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014
Figure 1: Injection Wells for Enhanced Production and Wastewater Disposal

UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE
Every day in the United States, at least 2 billion gallons of fluids are injected into over 172,000 wells to enhance oil and gas production, or to dispose of fluids brought to the surface during the extraction of oil and gas resources. These wells are subject to regulation to protect drinking water sources under EPA’s UIC class II program and approved state class II programs. Because much of the population relies on underground sources for drinking water, these wells have raised concerns about the safety of the nation’s drinking water.

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Water & Climate Risks Facing U.S. Corn Production

Thursday, July 17th, 2014
Competition for Water in Areas of Irrigated Corn Production

CERES
U.S. corn farmers are among the most productive and technologically advanced in the world, generating a record harvest of nearly 14 billion bushels in 2013—enough corn to fill a freight train longer than the circumference of the Earth. This production supports a mammoth agricultural sector comprised not just of farmers, but also major food, feed and energy companies that have an enormous stake in the long-term productivity and resilience of American agriculture. However, in the face of this bounty, three major threats to U.S. corn production loom: climate change, unsustainable water use and inefficient and damaging fertilizer practices.

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Wasting Our Waterways: Toxic Industrial Pollution and Restoring the Promise of the Clean Water Act

Friday, July 11th, 2014
Figure ES-1. Industrial Discharges of Toxic Chemicals to Waterways by Watershed Region

ENVIRONMENT CALIFORNIA
Industrial facilities continue to dump millions of pounds of toxic chemicals into America’s rivers, streams, lakes and ocean waters each year – threatening both the environment and human health. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), toxic discharges from industrial facilities are responsible for polluting more than 17,000 miles of rivers and about 210,000 acres of lakes, ponds and estuaries nationwide.

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