Environment

Save the Date: DOD Maintenance Symposium to Be Held Dec. 7-10, 2015 in...

PR Web - 1 hour 11 min ago

SAE International announces the 2015 DOD Maintenance Symposium, which will be held Dec. 7-10 in Phoenix, Arizona, at the Phoenix Convention Center.

(PRWeb August 03, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/08/prweb12884080.htm

Categories: Environment

Seed Treatment Market Growing at 10.8% CAGR to 2020

PR Web - 1 hour 11 min ago

The global seed treatment market research identifies the driving and restraining factors of the market with analyses of trends, opportunities, burning issues, and challenges – New Research Available...

(PRWeb August 03, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/seed-treatment-market/research-report-2020/prweb12882092.htm

Categories: Environment

World Benzene Market to Surpass 46 MMT by 2020, According to TechSci...

PR Web - 1 hour 11 min ago

New report, “Global Benzene Market Forecast and Opportunities, 2020” prepared by TechSci Research, is now available at MarketPublishers.com.

(PRWeb August 03, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/08/prweb12883687.htm

Categories: Environment

This video explains America’s love affair with meat

Grist.org - 1 hour 37 min ago

Americans eat a lot of meat. We eat nearly twice as much as the average Norwegian and roughly nine times as much as the average Ghanaian. Why’s that? Well, our past informs our future (and our present), so I called a meat historian, Maureen Ogle, to find out. Watch the video to find out more.


Filed under: Article, Food, Living
Categories: Environment

Soil Health Field Days Kick Off Throughout Midwest

PR Web - 4 hours 11 min ago

Soil Health Partnership events share economic, sustainability benefits of best practices.

(PRWeb August 03, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/soil_health_partnership/field_day/prweb12882607.htm

Categories: Environment

GOLD AstroTurf Field for Belle Vernon Area High School

PR Web - 4 hours 11 min ago

Belle Vernon's choice to install a gold field is an unprecedented display of school pride.

(PRWeb August 03, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/08/prweb12882986.htm

Categories: Environment

"Farmland" Movie to be Screened at Harvest Ridge Winery

PR Web - 7 hours 11 min ago

The Delaware Soybean Board is hosting the screening of "Farmland" at Harvest Ridge Winery on August 15.

(PRWeb August 03, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/de_soybean_board/farmland_screening/prweb12881332.htm

Categories: Environment

Medicine Lake Aquifer could ease California drought says fresh water...

PR Web - 7 hours 11 min ago

Kleyne will discuss Medicine Lake, Ahjumawi Lava Springs and the California drought on her Sharon Kleyne Hour™ Power of Water® radio broadcast of August 3, 2015.

(PRWeb August 03, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/08/prweb12883659.htm

Categories: Environment

What’s the best way to get rid of rats?

Grist.org - 8 hours 58 min ago

Q. We have a rat in the house. How can we get rid of it?

Kristin M.
Gabriola, BC

A. Dearest Kristin,

Oh, my. I am a lover of all fauna, including the scaly, the squirmy, and the somewhat pestilential, but even I feel a shiver go down my spine at the thought of sharing my abode with a rat. They chew wires. They have a nasty disease named after them, Rat-Bite Fever. They are big, yet they can somehow squeeze through the tiniest of gaps. It’s unnatural, I tell you. All this to say that it’s high time you gave your rat its walking papers.

I have one hard-and-fast rule for you regarding this matter: Do not use rat poison. For one, it’s truly awful stuff that slays rodents in a most unpleasant fashion — the most popular formulas use anticoagulants, which make rodents slowly bleed to death internally. (The alternatives, such as nerve toxins and killer stomach gases, are no picnic, either.) And rats have a tendency to crawl somewhere inaccessible before they expire, then stink up your home in a kind of posthumous revenge. Rat poison is also highly toxic to more than rats — it’s dangerous for curious kiddos and pets, too.

But perhaps you care not a whit for rodents. Well, how do you feel about wise owls, majestic hawks, dapper foxes, and fuzzy bobcats? Rat poison kills all of these and more every year. Because anticoagulants take a while to work their dark magic, rodents tend to eat lots of them, concentrating the toxins in their bodies before they die. And when they don’t end up decaying in your crawlspace, rats and mice head back outdoors, where they become poisoned prey for predators and scavengers. These creatures are trying to give us a hand with our rat problems naturally, and this is how we repay them.

This problem has gotten so bad that our own EPA recently ordered a phase-out of the worst kinds of anticoagulants, though they may still be on some store shelves right now; you can still get them in Canada, albeit with restrictions. Other types of rat poisons also pose a risk to wildlife, though, so steer clear.

What to do instead? Well, depending on how much you like these clever little intruders, you can trap ‘em or outright kill ‘em. If you want to spare the critter’s life, you can bait a reusable trap and then release it back into the wild. You’ll probably want to take it farther than your backyard, Kristin, to keep it from waltzing right back inside. If this is more of a Wanted: Dead or Alive situation, then the classic snap trap delivers swift and humane justice. Just make sure to use enough of them: Experts recommend setting a dozen.

And if your one rat turns out to have friends, or you’d rather outsource this dilemma, then by all means call a professional. Look for wildlife control organizations or outfits that use Integrated Pest Management tactics (IPM) rather than garden-variety exterminators, as you don’t want someone else mining your home with rat poison, either (and in the States, the pros can still use the worst of the anticoagulants).

Unlike in basketball, the best offense is a good defense when it comes to pest control. Once you’ve evicted your unwelcome guests, Kristin, make sure they don’t come back by sealing up all gaps, holes, or vents in your home with caulk or steel wool (just stuff it right in the cracks). Trim back tree branches that come within about six feet of your roof, if you suspect that’s how the little buggers are getting in. You might also try some natural repellants: I’m hearing good things about peppermint oil-soaked cloths, but I can’t personally vouch for them. (Here’s a delightful video from the EPA with a few more anti-rat tips.)

Finally, I’d be remiss not to mention the most natural of rat control strategies: predators. A cat (or a rat terrier) might be just the thing to scare the rodents away. Or chew on this: A barn owl family can eat 3,000 rodents every year. Building a barn owl box can lure these rat assassins right to your yard – as long as your whole neighborhood promises not to use rat poison, that is. The food web: Sometimes it works against us (shark attacks), but hey, sometimes it works for us.

ROUSsly,

Umbra


Filed under: Living
Categories: Environment

With lab-grown meat, can have our animals and eat them too?

Grist.org - 10 hours 4 min ago

Quick question: Which of these images is less appealing to you?

J Ken Crozier

A few weeks ago, we were trying to decide which one to use in a story about animals genetically modified to grow extra muscle. In a non-unanimous decision, the full-bull glamour shot won out over the closeup. The latter, for some reason, seemed off-putting, like it might force readers to think too hard about what meat actually is.

This exercise in denial, which you perform each time you’re confronted with a late-night hot dog stand, has a name: “strategic ignorance,” according to Core van der Weele, a bioethicist in the Department of Applied Philosophy at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. If we know too much about that juicy steak, she says, we might not want to eat it anymore — and that would be tragic, because juicy steaks are delicious. But the problem, van der Weele says, is that we end up with a lot of people who actually do feel uneasy about meat production, but just never do anything about it.

But for nearly 10 years, van der Weele has been studying something that she thinks could finally free us from our strategic ignorance: cultured meat. She first stumbled upon the stuff when she heard about a 2003 art exhibit in France called “Disembodied Cuisine.” The artists, Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr, grew little pieces of frog meat in a lab and then fed the tiny “steaks” to diners in a gallery while the frog who supplied the starter cells looked on from a nearby terrarium. The frog, we presume, spent the rest of its life in therapy, while van der Weele became fascinated with cultured meat and has been studying it ever since.

“Inevitably, when you think more about [cultured meat], it loses some of its initial strangeness,” van der Weele says, “and at the same time, meat as we know it becomes more strange.”

—–

Cultured meat, otherwise known as lab-grown or in-vitro meat, hit the big time in 2013 when Maastricht University tissue engineer Mark Post held his (in)famous “frankenburger” taste test. The cultured beef patty looked weird, reportedly tasted OK, and was in no way ready for mass production. But none of that mattered — the burger was a proof of concept, lab-grown chum for hungry investors.

The basic process behind Post’s patties is this: Take a muscle biopsy from a cow, isolate the cells responsible for muscle repair (there can be a couple hundred in just a few muscle fibers), and then put those cells in a so-called bioreactor full of a nutrient-rich serum. There, the cells will multiply — if all goes well, each will turn into more than a trillion new muscle cells. Next, place those new cells onto some kind of temporary support surface so that they can connect into muscle fibers. (Post currently uses an animal-derived gel surface, but says he’s experimenting with an algae-derived alternative.) Finally, knead the fibers — each about one millimeter in diameter and about two-and-a-half centimeters long — into a patty with salt, bread crumbs, and egg white, and voila! You’re ready for the grill.

Back in 2011, researchers assessed the environmental impacts of culturing 2,200 pounds of meat using an algae-based feedstock for the cells. The study accounted for everything in the production process with the exception of indirect land use for energy input materials and decommission of the production facility, and the results made for a pretty compelling case:

“The results showed that production of 1000 kg cultured meat requires 26–33 GJ energy, 367–521 m3 water, 190–230 m2 land, and emits 1900–2240 kg CO2-eq GHG emissions. In comparison to conventionally produced European meat, cultured meat involves approximately 7–45 percent lower energy use (only poultry has lower energy use), 78–96 percent lower GHG emissions, 99 percent lower land use, and 82–96 percent lower water use depending on the product compared.”Hanna L. Tuomisto and M. Joost Teixeira de Mattos

Since no one is actually mass-producing cultured meat yet, the assessment is entirely theoretical and contains many uncertainties. Still, the results suggest that growing meat in metal bioreactors could be much more sustainable than growing meat in the flesh bioreactors that we call cows.

What’s more, proponents of cultured meat say that it could finally free us from the nasty business of killing animals altogether — an unfortunate fate for even the happiest organically raised, grass-fed, antibiotic-free, local, cage-free, free range animal. PETA, the world’s largest collection of in-your-face vegans, got on the cultured meat bandwagon a few years ago, offering up $1 million to the first researchers who could create commercially viable in-vitro chicken meat (the deadline has since come and gone).

Ben Wurgaft, a historian interested in the culture and anthropology of food, has been researching cultured meat for the past two years. He says that most of the people he’s encountered in the field actually cite animal welfare as their primary motivation more so that environmental concerns. (Incidentally, he also says that most of the people working in the field seem to be very nice: “I rarely meet people in the cultured meat world I wouldn’t want to hang out with.”)

But despite all its potential benefits, there’s one big problem standing in the way of a cultured meat revolution: There just aren’t that many people working on it. A group at Tel Aviv University is trying to engineer a cultured chicken breast, and a Brooklyn-based startup called Modern Meadow is culturing flat sheets of beef and leather, but by Wurgaft’s count, there are no more than 10 research labs and (maybe) three companies working in the field, only one of which — Modern Meadow — is actually funded and working on a product, he says.

“The thing that will make me think that cultured meat is approaching fast on the horizon is when there are a bunch of labs doing this work,” he says. “It’s hard to believe that a breakthrough product like [cultured meat] is going to emerge out of a singular facility and that it will then create massive change in the food system.”

Isha Datar, the executive director of New Harvest, a nonprofit that supports early-stage biotech researchers developing sustainable ways to make animal products, agrees: “It is something that is very worth pursuing, but that pursuit is not taking place,” she says.

Datar, who has tried Modern Meadow’s “steak chips” (which she describes as  tasting like beef broth with the mouthfeel of potato chips) says that there are a variety of different techniques for culturing meat that scientists still need to try: different starter cells, serums, surfaces for tissue growth. What if you want a whole steak instead of quarter-pounder? The odds of finding a complete process that works at scale go way up as more researchers get in the game, Datar says, and who knows? Maybe cultured meat turns out to be just too hard or expensive to mass produce, but “we’ll only find that if we start investigating.”

In the mean time, Post is at least willing to try. He and his team have already made a few improvements to their method since the 2013 tasting. For one, they’ve started culturing fat tissue (the original burger was all muscle). They’ve also improved the proteins in their meat to avoid having to add things like beet juice and saffron for coloring, which they did back in 2013. And perhaps most importantly, they’ve started using a synthetic serum that can almost entirely replace the bovine serum that they originally used to feed the cells.

Bovine serum is not ideal because it comes from the blood of fetal calves and therefore has all kinds of animal welfare and quality control issues associated with it, Post says. Plus, he says, it would be in short supply in a world where cultured meat drastically reduces the number of cows we have on the planet.

The synthetic serum that the lab now uses comes from a commercial proprietor, but the researchers do eventually want to try an algae-based serum like the one used in the environmental impact study. Growing large quantities of algae, however, could come with issues of its own, like keeping the plants alive while they fight off disease and compete for nutrients, as synthetic biologist Christina Agapakis pointed out in a 2012 Discover Magazine article.

As for scaling, Post says, the group wants to gradually work its way up from the half-liter bioreactors that it currently uses to 25,000-liter vats. A reactor of that size, he estimates, could feed about 10,000 people for one year, assuming people eat just under 90 pounds of meat annually — a considerably low estimate for the U.S., where the average person ate about 70 pounds of red meat and about 55 pounds of poultry in 2012.

At that scale, Post estimates, the meat would cost about $30 per pound. That’s pretty high compared to the bargain prices you’ll find on those plastic-wrapped trays of meat at your local supermarket, but it’s not bad considering how many people (including Grist) freaked out over the $325,000 price-tag on the original 2013 burger — a freakout that was kind of unfair. That whopping figure was the budget for an entire tissue engineering lab, not the cost of a consumer product.

And besides, that burger was just a demonstration of what was possible. When the Wright brothers flew at Kitty Hawk for the first time, no one gave them a hard time for not offering competitively priced airfares that could compete with the railroads.

But all that — the 25,000-liter bioreactor, the $30-per-pound price tag, the 10,000 people who will be fed — only happens assuming that everything goes smoothly. And it won’t, because turning a lab experiment into a commercial process never does. Post will almost surely have to tweak his process along the way.

Funding, too, will be a big obstacle, Post says. The 2013 tasting did attract investors, he says; but without a company, he doesn’t really have anything for them to invest in yet. That’ll be a problem as each step up in bioreactor size comes with high equipment costs.

Money is actually a major issue throughout the field, Datar says, partly because cultured meat is a long-term, high-risk investment and partly because the research lies in a kind of no-man’s land between the medical world, where there’s plenty of tissue engineering research going on, and the food science world, where there isn’t.

Post himself is actually a physician who got his start in tissue engineering making human blood vessels. He says that the methods for human tissue engineering and other types of tissue engineering are pretty much the same, but that researchers in the medical world don’t have to worry about scale and cost the same way that people trying to engineer a competitively priced happy meal do.

Still, Post says he thinks he can have a commercial product ready in five or six years. It won’t be a $3.79 Cultured Quarter Pounder with Cheese, but Post is confident that people will want it.

“If this gets accepted, and you can do this in an efficient and animal-friendly and environmentally friendly way, it has to at some point take over the market,” he says, “or at least create a new market for itself. We are not targeting vegetarians; we are targeting all the meat eaters.”

—–

Shortly after she first heard about cultured meat, van der Weele, the bioethicist, held a series of workshops in which she asked participants how they felt about the strange new meat.

“When I first started to talk about cultured meat with people, first there were some responses of disgust — not as many as you might expect, but some — and people then said, ‘Well, this is not something I want to think about.’”

But then van der Weele observed something interesting. After just a brief conversation — sometimes only a few minutes — many who reacted negatively at first started to reconsider, van der Weele says. It seemed that just thinking about cultured meat forced people to confront the way we currently produce meat, she says. That, in turn, brought out all the uneasy feelings that strategic ignorance so conveniently keeps at bay.

“All of a sudden, it’s no longer a threat to think about meat as something that may be morally very satisfactory,” she says.

Many of van der Weele’s workshop participants were especially taken with what she calls the “pig-in-the-backyard scenario.” She and a colleague explained the scenario and how people reacted to it in a paper published back in 2013:

In the future we might all have a pig in our backyard or in our local community, from which some stem cells are taken every few weeks in order to grow our own meat, either in a machine on our kitchen sink or in a local factory. It is an idea that in some form or another often turns up in conversations on cultured meat. It typically takes the form of pigs or cows in urban farms or backyards, held as pets and serving as donors of muscle stem cells. …

The degree of shared enthusiasm in response to this idea was remarkable; it was so large that the preferred future of cultured meat was completely clear, as far as the participants of this workshop were concerned. A combination of joy, inspiration and amazement characterized the atmosphere.

For Datar, the future of cultured meat looks something like the current beer industry (they’re both, after all, just examples of biotechnology in big metal vats, she says). There could, for example, be giant meat factories — or “carneries” — out in rural areas, small artisanal ones in cities, and everything in between, she says.  Since there’s no clear way to patent the cell division process like there is with, say, GMOs, she says, this beer-like trajectory seems more probable than a future where just a few giant corporations churn out cultured meat for the masses.

Another crucial difference between cultured meat and GMOs, Datar says, is the fact that we’re already talking about cultured meat.

“The first GMO was for sale in ‘93, and the first Right to Know campaign was 2003, so there was a real feeling of betrayal that the public didn’t know what was going on. Whereas with cultured meat, we’re having this conversation way in advance of it being ready for market,” she says.

But that’s if it’s ever ready for market. For now, the rest of what Wurgaft calls the “post-animal bioeconomy” seems to be taking off. Companies are already making animal-free rhino horns, spider silk, eggs, and milk. (The latter two started as New Harvest ventures and recently closed on $1.75 and 2 million in seed funding, respectively.) Culturing these kinds of products is easier than meat, Datar says, because it involves genetically engineering microbes to produce the necessary proteins — something that we’ve been doing for a long time to make things like insulin.

Wurgaft, who’s writing a book about cultured meat, says that for him, the interesting questions aren’t when or if or how lab-grown meat is going to take over the market. He prefers instead to think like an anthropologist, focusing on the culture and philosophy of cultured meat: Who are these people trying to grow meat in a lab? What are their motivations? Do they prefer to call their product cultured meat or just meat? What would a lab-grown meat industry mean for society?

Any predictions about the future of cultured meat would just add to the all the other clickbaity claims about the elusive “future of food,” Wurgaft says.

“That narrative stops being interesting after three seconds,” he says. “We don’t know what the future of food is, and we’re not gonna know by continuing to read the story.”

And yet, many in the cultured meat world are selling us visions of the future. They, like practically every early-stage technologist since Gutenberg, have had to do so in order to attract investors.

Of course, we don’t know what our cyborg progeny will be eating decades from now: Insects? Soylent? Plant blood? Maybe cultured meat will revolutionize the meat industry, or maybe it’ll turn out to be just another overhyped fantasy. Either way, perhaps the most constructive thing we can do now is simply consider the possibility and face up to our strategic ignorance in the process. And we’re sorry, but that means you may just have to walk away from the hot dog stand.


Filed under: Article, Food, Science
Categories: Environment

Resale Clothing Chain Turns Donated Clothes into Cash for Building...

PR Web - 10 hours 11 min ago

Kid to Kid and Uptown Cheapskate resale franchises throughout the U.S. raised money from a charity sale to help build the first of three schools in Africa. The sale raised $51,613 funding the...

(PRWeb August 03, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/resalefranchise/newschool/prweb12878291.htm

Categories: Environment

Arkansas Environmental Federation (AEF) Annual Health & Safety...

PR Web - 10 hours 11 min ago

Health and Safety Seminar offered to members and non-members of AEF, August 18th, 2015 at the Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (Little Rock) and qualifies for CEU credit hours at affordable...

(PRWeb August 03, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/08/prweb12882938.htm

Categories: Environment

Smart Greenhouse Market Value to Surpass USD 1.2 Bln by 2020, Says...

PR Web - 10 hours 11 min ago

New study “Smart Greenhouse Market by Technology (HVAC, LED Grow Light, Communication Technology, Irrigation System, Material Handling, Valves & Pumps, Control System, and Others), Type...

(PRWeb August 03, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/08/prweb12881260.htm

Categories: Environment

Sterlitech Launches New Line of Vacuum Pumps

PR Web - 10 hours 11 min ago

TLD3000 and TLD5000: Relaible, Maintenance-free Vacuum Sources

(PRWeb August 03, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/08/prweb12882958.htm

Categories: Environment

Algoid Technologies Launches Alginique™ Cosmetic Line

PR Web - 10 hours 11 min ago

Algoid Technologies, a certified Florida aquaculture company, is pleased to announce the launch of their new line of organic cosmetics made from marine and freshwater phytoplankton.

(PRWeb August 03, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/08/prweb12883422.htm

Categories: Environment

Albert Okura shares 30 years of success in new book

PR Web - 10 hours 11 min ago

‘Albert Okura the Chicken Man’ details author’s rise in restaurant industry

(PRWeb August 03, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/AlbertOkura/AlbertOkuratheChickenMan/prweb12883526.htm

Categories: Environment

Margaret Williams Asprey’s autobiography receives Gold Seal award

PR Web - 10 hours 11 min ago

‘A True Nuclear family’ details author’s experience as woman in field of science while raising family of seven technologists

(PRWeb August 03, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/MargaretWilliamsAsprey/ATrueNuclearFamily/prweb12883539.htm

Categories: Environment

Los Angeles Selects Remediation Materials by AquaBlok®

PR Web - 10 hours 11 min ago

Isolation Layer Enables Lake Ecosystem Rehabilitation

(PRWeb August 03, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/08/prweb12879013.htm

Categories: Environment

Obama’s big climate plan is now final — and it’s even stronger than expected

Grist.org - 13 hours 10 min ago

It’s finally here, the biggest climate action of Obama’s presidency: On Monday morning, the EPA will issue a final Clean Power Plan rule that will, for the first time, govern carbon emissions from power plants. And it’s stronger in several ways than the draft plan that was released in June 2014.

The White House began bragging about its accomplishment on Sunday. First it released a feel-good video. Then there was a press call with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. On Monday, President Obama himself will speak about the plan.

Even before any of that, the accolades from environmental and public health groups started rolling in. Carol Browner, former EPA administrator and now chair of the League of Conservation Voters, was typical in calling it “a visionary policy that sets our nation on the path to cleaner, renewable energy for the future.”

Here’s why: The Clean Power Plan, assuming it survives legal challenges, is set to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. It’s the biggest component of Obama’s Climate Action Plan, and the centerpiece of any realistic program to meet our emission-reduction pledges from the 2009 Copenhagen Accord and the intended targets we have outlined ahead of the Paris climate talks that will take place later this year.

One big change from the proposed rule a year ago is that states will have two more years — until 2022 instead of 2020 — to start meeting emission-reduction requirements. While this sounds like a step backward, it is part of a correction to an odd feature of the original proposal, which is that it required sizeable cuts at the front end and little further improvement in the later years. The path now starts with lesser demands but grows steeper.

With its draft plan, the EPA estimated that emissions would be cut 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030; now it’s bumped that estimate up to 32 percent. Administration officials argue it therefore will actually reduce emissions more in the long run, especially if you look beyond 2030. “That will help drive deeper decarbonization not just in 2030, but in subsequent years as well,” said Brian Deese, a top Obama policy advisor, on the press call Sunday afternoon. “This rule gives us a strong foundation to keep pushing forward against our international commitments and is stronger when you look out at 2030 and beyond.”

Aside from steepening the decarbonization curve, the other way the final plan attempts to compensate for the later implementation date is by establishing a clean energy incentive program that will give credits for electricity generated from renewables in 2020 and 2021. The credits are tradable between states, so they create an economic incentive for renewables investment.

This also addresses a weakness in the original proposal, which was that it threatened to replace many coal-fired plants with natural gas ones. While natural gas has only half the carbon emissions of coal when burned, leakage of natural gas in the drilling and piping process might wipe out its climate change advantage over coal. And even if it is somewhat better than coal, climate hawks would generally prefer to build up renewable infrastructure rather than building pipelines and power plants that would encourage use of another fossil fuel for decades to come. With the new renewable incentives, the administration projects more of a flatlining in natural gas usage, with the shift away from coal being replaced by wind and solar.

The main goal of the plan is, of course, to fight climate change, but it will have other human health benefits. Getting off of coal will reduce particulate pollution, translating into thousands of asthma attacks averted. And the plan could help keep smog in check, since warmer weather contributes to the formation of smog. That’s why the final Clean Power Plan rule is drawing praise from public health groups like the American Lung Association.

This isn’t to say the plan doesn’t have its weaknesses. The 32 percent cut from 2005 levels is only an estimate, not a guarantee. EPA will require states to cut the amount of carbon emitted per megawatt-hour of electricity produced, but not total carbon. If electricity demand goes up unexpectedly, emissions cuts would be lower. Even if the plan’s projected carbon savings are achieved, it’s not as big as it sounds. Note the 2005 baseline: That isn’t an accident, the administration is purposely counting from the highest point possible. As Vox’s Brad Plumer notes, “Power plant emissions have already dropped 15 percent between 2005 and 2013 — thanks to a crushing recession, cheap natural gas pushing out coal, the rise of wind power, and improved efficiency. So utilities are already halfway there.”

And as Plumer also points out, only 30 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions come from power plants. While they are the biggest single source, this plan would by itself would only cut total U.S. emissions 6 percent between 2013 and 2030.

What that reveals, though, is not a lack of ambition in the Clean Power Plan but the need for carbon regulation in other sectors of the economy. Obama has also raised fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks. What the next president must do, and Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley has proposed to do, is regulate carbon emissions from industrial and agricultural sources.

The two candidates running ahead of O’Malley in the Democratic primary race, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, both issued statements praising the Clean Power Plan. But if they wanted to really show commitment to fighting climate change, they’d start talking about what they would have EPA do next.


Filed under: Article, Business & Technology, Climate & Energy, Politics
Categories: Environment

#SolarVets Prep for Jobs Thanks to TVA Solar Scholarships

PR Web - 13 hours 11 min ago

Since the announcement of scholarships for a solar photovoltaic training course in Southern California, The Veteran Asset has been prepping for placement of 18 soon-to-be solar graduates.

(PRWeb August 02, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/08/prweb12883039.htm

Categories: Environment

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