Posted on January 31, 2016 by Bob Berwyn
Mercury from the Craig Station power plant in northwest Colorado pollutes lakes in Rocky Mountain National Park. @bberwyn photo.
Local, regional controls help improve global picture
Global mercury emissions dropped by nearly a third between 1990 and 2010, according to a new study that tried to identify patterns and trends in mercury pollution.
Rapid economic development in Asia means higher mercury emissions, but reductions in North America were enough to offset the increases, according to scientists from China, Germany, Canada and the U.S.
Mercury is a metallic element that poses environmental health risks to both wildlife and humans when converted to methylmercury in ecosystems. It can be converted into gaseous emissions during various industrial activities, as well as natural processes like volcanic eruptions. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, Environment | Tagged: air quality, Environment, Mercury, methylmercury, pollution, toxic releases | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 27, 2016 by Bob Berwyn
Mercury emissions from power plants are a global issue.
Asia’s power plants affect U.S. environment
Mercury levels in precipitation are increasing in the central U.S. but steadily dropping along the East Coast, scientists reported in a new study.
The findings suggest that mercury emissions from coal-burning power plants in Asia are on the rise, while they are decreasing in North America, according to Peter Weiss-Penzias, an environmental toxicologist at UC Santa Cruz who was the lead author of the study.
Mercury is a toxic element released into the environment through a variety of human activities, including the burning of coal, as well as by natural processes. Rainfall washes mercury out of the atmosphere and into soils and surface waters. Bacteria convert elemental mercury into a more toxic form, methyl mercury, which becomes increasingly concentrated in organisms higher up the food chain. Mercury concentrations in some predatory fish are high enough to raise health concerns. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, Environment | Tagged: air pollution, air quality, Environment, Mercury | 2 Comments »
Posted on January 26, 2016 by Bob Berwyn
Fossil fuel dinosaurs make last-ditch effort to keep polluting the nation’s air with dangerous greenhouse gases
Mercury from the Craig Station power plant in northwest Colorado pollutes lakes in Rocky Mountain National Park.
By Bob Berwyn
Texas, West Virginia, Colorado and 26 other states are going to the U.S. Supreme Court with a last-ditch effort to slow the Obama administration’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas pollution.
The states want the court to block implementation of the EPA Clean Power Plan, which they describe as “the most far reaching and burdensome rule EPA has ever forced onto the States.”
Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected the same request, leading to the appeal to the Supreme Court. The states say the plan will require a massive shift away from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy, and claim the changes will cost jobs and money. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, climate and weather, climate change, Environment, global warming | Tagged: clean power plan, EPA, global warming, greenhouse gases, U.S. Supreme Court | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 26, 2016 by Bob Berwyn
Wildfire smoke may interact with other pollutants to raise ozone levels. @bobberwyn photo.
Across the U.S., ozone levels were higher on smoky days than on smoke-free days
Wildfire smoke on its own can trigger health warnings for direct exposure, and new research from Colorado State University suggests that there may be a more widespread impact after they linked smoke with elevated levels of ozone.
In globally warming world, where the number and size of wildfires keeps growing, the findings have significant implications for public health. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, climate and weather, climate change, Environment, wildfires | Tagged: air pollution, air quality, climate change, Environment, ozone, Wildfires | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 15, 2016 by Bob Berwyn
Coal is quickly becoming yesterday’s fuel.
Program review to take close look at climate impacts of fossil fuel development
The federal government will halt new coal leases on public lands pending a thorough review of the the program, including environmental impacts. Part of the proposal is to set up a public database to tally up carbon emissions from fossil fuels developed on public lands.
The Bureau of Land Management would also be required to post requests for leases and for royalty reductions, and to figure ways to better capture of waste mine methane, Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell announced this week. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, climate change, energy, Environment, global warming | Tagged: climate change, energy, Environment, federal coal leasing, global warming, greenhouse gas emissions, public lands | 1 Comment »
Posted on January 4, 2016 by Bob Berwyn
Emerging technologies could cut the airline industry’s carbon footprint. @bberwyn photo.
New designs, materials could also deliver huge cost savings for airlines
Airlines could cut costs and air pollution by adopting some of NASA’s latest green aviation technologies.
The nation’s airlines could realize more than $250 billion dollars in savings in the near future thanks to green-related technologies developed and refined by NASA’s aeronautics researchers during the past six years. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, climate and weather, climate change, Environment, transportation, Travel | Tagged: air pollution, airlines, climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, Travel | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 23, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
The Four Corners Power Plant in a 1972 photo via Wikipedia.
Climate impacts, environmental justice at issue in looming legal battle
Community and environmental activists say they’ll contest federal approval of continued operations at the giant pollution-spewing Four Corners Power Plant in court.
In a formal notice of their intent to sue, the groups said Office of Surface Mining, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other federal agencies failed to look at clean energy alternatives and didn’t adequately consider the carbon pollution, health and other environmental impacts when they approved operation of the plant last summer. The notice also says the environmental studies didn’t look at water contamination from coal ash waste, and impacts to Navajo culture. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, energy, Environment, global warming | Tagged: climate change, coal, Environment, Four Corners Power Plant, mercury pollution | Leave a comment »