|Issue of the Day Posts Tagged ‘Environmental Protection Agency’|
General Motors has kicked up its campaign for the new Chevy Volt, which is part of their strategy to address increasing fuel efficiency standards facing car makers and demand from buyers today. The Volt, which is expected to be available late next year, can be plugged into a normal household outlet and travel exclusively on electricity for 40 miles. After that, a small gasoline motor kicks in. The headline making the rounds is that the Volt will get 230 mpg for city driving only and assumes that the driver is operating mainly on electricity. A freeway number has not been released so far and GM states that it will be “fairly significantly lower…yet greater than 100 mpg.” The US Environmental Agency has yet to verify GM’s 230 mpg claim.
Plug-in electric cars may, at some point in the future, add significant demand to the grid. The time gap will allow for an improvements to the grid; today the net generation of electricity depends upon coal and natural gas generation. Without adding more renewable energy in electricity generation, plug-in electrics will simply shift carbon emissions from source to another, one that may or may not be more efficient, in particular when energy loss during transmission is taken into consideration.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) keeps taps on our trash and has reported its findings on the generation and disposal of trash in the U.S. for 30 years. The data is used to map the success of waste reduction and recycling programs across the country. In 2007, the most recent data, Americans generated 254 million tons of trash and recycled/composted 85 million tons of that trash, an equivalent of a 33.4% recycling rate. On average, the normal American recycled and composted 1.5 pounds of 4.6 pounds of personal waste generated per person per day.
Over the years of data collection, the EPA has mapped a current recycling rate that is 3 times that of 1980. Recycling programs have fallen to 8,660 curbside recycling programs nationwide, down from 8,875 in 2002. Community composting programs, the decomposition of biodegradable material (e.g., yard trimmings, food scraps), have grown by 283 programs to 3,510 programs nationwide. In 2007, nearly 31.9 million tons of materials or 12.6% of all refuse was combusted for energy. Waste combustion for energy has remained fairly flat since 1990. The Obama Administration has included energy recovery from refuse as a part of its energy and environment initiative, which strives to increase the use of refuse and other renewable sources for alternative energy.
EPA Calls Greenhouse Gases Hazard to the Public’s Health
Published Thursday, April 23rd, 2009 by Lacey Loftin
The Environmental Protection Agency has concluded a scientific review ordered by the US Supreme Court in 2007. Findings stated that Greenhouse gases contribute to air pollution and thus threaten public health or welfare. Concentrations of six gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride) are at an all time high due to human activities. The second finding stated that combined emissions from motor vehicles contribute to the atmospheric concentrations of the six greenhouse gases. This would mean the most complex assertion of authority over the US economy and individuals’ lifestyles. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and President Barack Obama have previously said they prefer comprehensive legislation on climate change over federal regulation. Congress is now considering such bills.
Impacts of such climate change include increased drought, more heavy downpours and flooding, more intense wildfires and heat waves, greater sea level rise, more intense storms and harm to water resources, agriculture, wildlife and ecosystems. The findings also suggested that the climate change has a disproportionate impact on the life expectancy of the poor, the very young, the elderly, those already in poor health, the disabled, those living alone and indigenous populations. Currently, the US stands at 50th in the world at a life expectancy of 78.11 years in 2009, with White women surviving at all ages better than all other sexes and races.