Posted on March 28, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Sensitive instruments to track methane, VOCs and other airborne toxins from New Mexico to North Dakota
The Four Corners area (red) is the major U.S. hot spot for methane emissions in this map showing how much emissions varied from average background concentrations from 2003-2009 (dark colors are lower than average; lighter colors are higher). Image courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Michigan.
FRISCO — A recent study of satellite data showing a hotspot of potent heat-trapping methane pollution over the Four Corners region makes it clear that we’re digging an ever-deeper global warming hole by fracking every last corner of the country.
As NOAA put it, “Vast regions west of the Mississippi River are under development for oil and gas extraction … but while one focus is on what comes out of the ground, NOAA and Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences researchers and their colleagues are studying what escapes to the air—and how it is transformed in the atmosphere and affects air quality and climate.
Scientists hope to learn much more about the massive quantities of pollution escaping from fossil fuel development areas in the next few months as they launch this year’s Shale Oil and Natural Gas Nexus (SONGNEX 2015) field campaign, using airborne instruments to measure greenhouse gases and other toxic emissions.
Filed under: air quality, climate and weather, climate change, Environment, global warming | Tagged: air pollution, climate change, fracking, methane, ozone, smog, VOCs | 1 Comment »
Posted on March 26, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Study links climate change and pollution with growing allergy epidemic
FRISCO — Global warming has already been implicated in the rising tide of allergies, simply because a warmer climate extends the growing season for many plants, or causes them to produce more pollen.
But there’s more to it, according to scientists, who say that a pair of air pollutants linked to climate change could also be a major contributor to the unparalleled rise in the number of people sneezing, sniffling and wheezing during allergy season. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, climate change, Environment, global warming | Tagged: air pollution, allergies, Environment, global warming | 3 Comments »
Posted on March 20, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Wind farming in the West.
Clean energy saves lives and money in the long run, reduces water demand from power sector
FRISCO — Boosting the role of wind power in the country’s energy portfolio would have significant economic, environmental and health benefits, the Department of Energy found in a new report that outlines the path needed to achieve 10 percent wind by 2020, 20 percent by 2030, and 35 by 2050.
Currently, wind power generates about 4.5 percent of the country’s energy. Reaching the 2050 goal would reduce cumulative greenhouse gas emissions by 14 percent, saving $400 billion in avoided global damages, the report found. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, energy, Environment, global warming, renewable energy | Tagged: air pollution, Environment, public health, renewables, wind energy | 1 Comment »
Posted on February 16, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Traffic haze settles on a busy street in Buenos Aires. Simple traffic control measures like synchronizing stoplights and using flyovers could reduce human exposure to toxic auto exhaust pollution. bberwyn photo.
New traffic pollution data screams out for better transit planning and improved emissions control technology for motor vehicles
FRISCO — Pollution from auto exhaust can quickly build to dangerous levels at stoplights, where drivers are exposed to about 25 percent of their total exposure during a typical commute.
More and more research is proving that the nanoparticles from exhaust contribute significantly to respiratory and heart disease, so University of Surrey scientists decided to study the exposure. Drivers spend just 2 percent of their journey time passing through traffic intersections managed by lights, this short duration contributes to about 25 percent of total exposure to these harmful particles.
Signalized traffic intersections were found to be high pollution hot-spots due to the frequent changes in driving conditions. With drivers decelerating and stopping at lights, then revving up to move quickly when lights go green, peak particle concentration was found to be 29 times higher than that during free flowing traffic conditions. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, Technology, transportation | Tagged: air pollution, Environment, transportation | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 21, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
EPA challenged on decision to designate polluted region as unclassifiable
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Environmental advocates and the EPA are facing off in a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. today over air quality in Utah’s remote Uinta Basin, where ozone levels often exceed standards set to protect human health.
In a weird twist to the case, the fossil fuel industry is claiming that its own air pollution data is of poor quality and unreliable, and shouldn’t be used by the EPA to designate the Uinta Basin as a nonattainment area, despite the fact that the area regularly sees some of the highest ozone pollution levels in the country.
At issue in the oral arguments is the EPA’s refusal to designate the Uinta Basin as a nonattainment area despite monitoring showing serious air quality degradation in northeastern Utah. The EPA’s decision to designate the area as unclassifiable is a clear violation of the Clean Air Act, according to WildEarth Guardians, one of the groups involved in the case. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: air pollution, air quality, fracking, oil and gas drilling, ozone, public health, Uinta Basin | 1 Comment »