The science of climate change arrived at the doctor’s office last week.
The setting was the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) in Phoenix. There, on Nov. 12 a packed symposium of allergist/immunologists heard U.S. Department of Agriculture researcher Lewis Ziska connect the dots between increasing temperatures and CO2 levels in the environment and a longer, more intense pollen season in the U.S.
It’s a connection that promises added misery for 30 million allergy sufferers.
“Global warming is having an effect on people’s allergies,” Ziska, a Ph.D. plant physiologist with the USDA in Beltsville, Maryland, said in an interview following the CO2 symposium, which was funded by the Environmental Protection Agency.
WASHINGTON—It turns out there is more than one way to stir up the color purple on the post-midterm elections paint palette.
Look, for instance, to Colorado and Pennsylvania for variations on that hue.
While geographically distant, the two political battleground states share numerous characteristics. Both supply bountiful energy resources—Colorado with coal, oil, natural gas and uranium, Pennsylvania with coal and natural gas—and are split between urban progressives with a wide green streak and rural conservatives who tend to be more leery of environmental initiatives.
And until Election Day, both states had bold Democrats in their respective governor’s mansions who are disciples of renewable energy, clean technology and low-carbon economies. However, results from Nov. 2 indicate that while that legislative momentum likely remains intact in Colorado, it could backslide in Pennsylvania.
Jiang Kejun, senior researcher at the National Development and Reform Commission’s , was one of the first Chinese academics to study the concept of low-carbon cities. With his colleagues, he is currently producing a low-carbon program for Shenyang in north-east China. During the recent climate-change talks in Tianjin, Liu Jianqiang spoke to Jiang about low-carbon cities.
MEXICO CITY—Mayors of more than 2,000 cities worldwide will gather in this Latin American megalopolis next week for two summits where they will develop climate initiatives and pledge reductions in carbon emissions at the municipal level.
Mexico City’s Mayor Marcelo Ebrard aims to be more than just a good host. He wants to make an example of the ambitious climate policies he’s pushing to transform the sprawling, polluted capital city into a green urban leader.
At both the Third World Congress of (UCLG), a three-day event that kicks off Nov. 16, and the on Nov. 21, Ebrard is likely to reiterate a stance he has held throughout his four years in office: Cities need a stronger voice in global climate talks.
You’ll forgive for being a little impatient these days. After all, you would be too if you were in his position. As a geologist specializing in Greenland's glaciers and climate at Ohio State’s , in the summer of 2009 Box placed high resolution, wide-angle time-lapse cameras along the Petermann Glacier in northwestern Greenland, near where it flows into the sea.
GUANGZHOU, China—On the the eve of the opening of the , the world's second largest sports event, host city is looking greener—at least cosmetically.
In a last-ditch push to reduce air pollution in this smog-choked industrial powerhouse, capital of China's Guandong Province, a few weeks ago government officials issued a raft of measures, big and small, intended to minimize pollutants.
No barbequeing, the city commanded its inhabitants. Stop construction. Stop driving. Take the subway—it’s now free.
Last week, Guangzhou Environmental Protection Bureau head Ding Hongdu said the agency was using an “iron fist” to clean the air.
But skeptics doubt the impact of these short-term tactics, and there are no reliable measurements to indicate whether they are having any effect on Guanzhou’s air quality. Moreover, noncompliance abounds.
The next big offshore disaster could take place in the remote seas where hurricane-force winds, 30-foot seas, subzero temperatures and winter darkness would overwhelm any clean-up attempts, a new report warns.
With the ban on offshore drilling lifted in the Gulf of Mexico, big oil companies such as Royal Dutch Shell are pressing hard for the Obama Administration to grant final approval to Arctic drilling. Shell has invested more than $2 billion to drill off Alaska's north coast, and is campaigning to begin next summer.
But the report, , by the , warns that oil companies are not ready to deal with a spill, despite the lessons of the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
"There is a lot of pressure by Shell to drill this summer," Marilyn Heiman, director of the U.S. Arctic program at Pew, said. "But the oil companies are just not prepared for the Arctic. The spill plans are thoroughly inadequate."
With campuses nationwide getting energy from coal plants, student protests and lawsuits over power generation have become a part of the college experience.
Earlier this month the Department of Justice filed a suit against the state of Pennsylvania over what it called repeated at Slippery Rock University’s coal-fired boiler plant.
And last month the Sierra Club and the Hoosier Environmental Council petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to look into an Purdue University got in July. It was signed by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and it will allow the school to continue operating and even expand its coal-powered boilers. The petition claims the permit violates the Clean Air Act.
Both lawsuits come at a time when American colleges are continuing to rethink the wisdom of having coal-fired plants on their campuses as a primary energy source.
WASHINGTON—Call it Bill Richardson’s last green hurrah.
Even though cap-and-trade measures were maligned as poison for the tottering economy during the midterm election cycle, New Mexico’s Democratic governor is finally able to boast that his state has endorsed such a method for slicing global warming pollutants.
Fittingly, it was Election Day when a regulatory body named the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board voted 4-3 to approve a controversial and relatively aggressive plan to restrict greenhouse gases beginning in 2012. The New Mexico Department of Environment–backed policy requires major polluters such as coal-fired power plants and the oil and gas industry to curb carbon dioxide emissions 2 percent per year until 2020.
But with Republican governor-elect Susana Martinez opposed to the initiative, will Richardson’s joy be short-lived?
Bill Fraser’s decades-long research on the impact of climate change on the Antarctic Peninsula's decreasingly icy ecosystem—and, most famously, its tuxedoed inhabitants—is the subject of a .
(Henry Holt and Co., $26) details the five months senior editor and author Fen Montaigne () spent in Antarctica with the ecologist studying thousands of Adélie penguins during their breeding season.
“It’s the tale of how Fraser came to believe—and I think it’s widely accepted now—that warming is the main cause behind the drop in the penguin populations,” Montaigne told SolveClimate News.