|Environment: Climate Change|
The overall surface air temperature anomalies.
California Adopts New Regulation Ahead of Summit
Published Monday, April 27th, 2009
Governor Schwarzenegger’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard, which calls for a 10% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, has been adopted by California’s Air Resources Board. According to the Board, the regulation aims to increase the market for alternative-fuel vehicles and achieve 16 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emission reductions by 2020. This is a regulation under California’s Global Warming Solutions Act. The regulation means that fuel providers must prove that their California fuels meet an average declining standard of “Carbon Intensity.” Intensity is a figure related to the sum of greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production, transportation and consumption of a specific fuel. California’s regulation efforts have come under fire from those who claim the new regulation will indirectly affect land use changes that further inflate grain prices and reduce forests. This move comes ahead of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, to which President Obama has invited the 16 states with the highest emissions of greenhouse gases.
The total summary of on-road alternative fuel and hybrid vehicles has Ethanol (E85) far surpassing all other fuels, which have remained flat (Compressed Natural Gas, Liquefied Natural Gas, and Hydrogen) or have reduced (Liquefied Petroleum Gas). The price of a bushel of wheat, a growing Alternative Fuel ingredient, has skyrocketed from $3.42 in 2005 to $6.65 in 2007. A bushel of corn, the main ingredient in ethanol, has also doubled from $2.00 in 2005 to $4.00 in 2007.
EPA Calls Greenhouse Gases Hazard to the Public’s Health
Published Thursday, April 23rd, 2009
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.
World Temperatures and Population Growth
Published Friday, December 12th, 2008
As the United Nations climate conference in Poznan, Poland considers how to reduce greenhouse gases, the talk is about setting emissions standards and funding for renewable energy projects. What is not on the table is the consideration that population stabilization. The subject is a definite point of contention between the developed/developing world and differing religious beliefs. The developing world would see the introduction of population as an unfair punishment and the religious objection is the moral concern regarding abortion and birth control. However, “A lot of people say population pressure is a major driving force behind the increase in emissions, and that’s absolutely true,” the U.N.’s top climate official Yvo de Boer said.
The data suggest that the world surface temperature anomalies have been rising since the 1960’s with no negative anomalies since 1977. Proponents of the population stabilization plan point to the world population and anomaly data to illustrate a correlation, but this does not confirm a direct relation. The opponents, barring the religious debate, point to the fact that North America, Europe, Eurasia and the Middle East are the main contributers to the greenhouse gases, not just countries with high populations. Either way, it seems that slowing population growth will factor into climate policies for many countries, even if it does not for multilateral agreements.
The Impact of Agriculture vs Transportation on Greenhouse Emissions
Published Wednesday, September 10th, 2008
The UN Panel on Global Warming and Rajendra Pachauri has warned the world that eating meat is contributing to global warming more than greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization calculated that the demand for meat contributes 18% and transportation (cars, trains, planes and boats) contributes 13% of the Greenhouse Emissions.
Pachauri referred to deforestation, manure (nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas that has 296 times the warming effect of CO2) and flatulence (Methane gas, up to 200 L a day) as the by-products of the growing demand for meat. So, the logic follows, as economies grow around the world, so does the demand for meat and the emissions that accompany that demand. However, even if we, in the developed world, cut our intake, we will be eclipsed by the developing world at first bite.
However, as the article suggest, it is the transportation emissions that get the most attention. In fact, Edmund’s (the all things car review site) reported that the Port of Los Angeles’ clean-truck replacement program has gotten its first two trucking company endorsements and the courts have given its blessing to start on October 1, 2009. The Clean Truck Program, the most ambitious program of its kind in the world, is designed to encourage rapid improvement of air quality at the port through use of grants and financial incentives that would allow trucking companies to accelerate the replacement of older, high-polluting trucks with newer, cleaner trucks. This port also inaugurated the world’s largest electric car.
It just goes to show that political incentive has the most power in changing the world’s emissions problem plaguing the world’s temperature.
Environmental Protection Agency - http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/
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Environmental Protection Agency - http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/wyl.html
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