Climate: Big greenhouse gas cuts possible in Europe

The U.S. is the second-largest producer of coal in the world, thanks in part to massive surface mines like this one in Wyoming. Photo courtesy BLM.

Continued use of coal will make it tough for Europe to meet emissions targets.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Europe could cuts it greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent at a moderate cost, using existing technologies, according to an international multi-model analysis by the Stanford Energy Modeling Forum.

The researchers shared their findings just as the European Commission prepares to announce whether it will scale up its efforts on emissions reduction in the next decade. Continue reading

EU ‘stops the clock’ on airline emissions regulations

The world community once again will try to find a way to limit airline greenhouse gas emissions.

Hopes are high for a global agreement

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — In a move that was emblematic of this congressional session’s futility, the House Tuesday passed an unprecedented bill that would give the executive branch the power to ban airlines from complying with recognized international law — the only problem is, the law that it’s aimed at has already been temporarily suspended for a year.

At issue are European Union regulations regarding airline carbon emissions. The EU rules are aimed at reducing heat-trapping greenhouse gases, but have been put on hold for flights to and from the EU pending the outcome of talks aimed at developing a global plan for the airline industry, which, for the most part, has been kicking and screaming all the way to the table.

The EU rules added a few dollars to the cost of a transatlantic flight, hardly a financial burden, but U.S. airlines whined and lobbied Congress for relief rather than working proactively to address the problem. The EU announced its decision in this press conference (video), saying it wanted to contribute to “positive climate” surrounding the new international talks. Continue reading

Environment: Pesticide pollution common in European rivers

The Elbe River.

Ibuprofen and chemicals from personal care products found in surprising concentrations as part of EU water quality research

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — After a major in-depth analysis of organic pollutants in four major European river basins, scientists concluded that pesticides are an even bigger problem than previously assumed. At least 38 percent of the substances studied are present in concentrations high enough to affect aquatic organisms.

Most of the substances classified as a risk to the environment in the study were pesticides and the majority of these are not on the European list of priority substances which have to be monitored regularly. As a result, the scientists said there is an urgent need to update the EU water framework directive. The study, published last week in the  journal Science of the Total Environment, clearly shows that contamination by organic chemicals is a problem throughout Europe. Continue reading

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