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You may have seen pictures of hundreds of huge fuel transport trucks stranded on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The border was closed by the Pakistani government following a drone attack that killed several suspected terrorists. The trucks are a handy target for marauding insurgents, who sneak in and torch them under cover of darkness.

There may be something of a silver lining, however.

We are all familiar with the North-South divide that prevented agreement on a new climate treaty at Copenhagen last year. Relying on the principles of "Common But Differentiated Responsibility," the developing countries led by China, Saudi Arabia, Brazil and South Africa refused to adopt any proposal that would require them to reduce carbon emissions.

Meanwhile, the developed countries, most significantly the U.S., adamantly opposed any deal that would leave out these countries' large and growing contributions to the global climate problem.

What's the chance that President Obama was inspired by Tom Turner's blog item a few weeks ago, in which Tom noted that Obama's folks refused to re-install solar panels on the White House? Put up by President Jimmy Carter, the panels were promptly taken down when President Ronald Reagan took office.

Now there's news that solar power will again come to the White House roof—both passive and active. The announcement by Energy Sec. Stephen Chu included a re-statement of the administration's commitment to solar energy development:

This project reflects President Obama's strong commitment to U.S. leadership in solar energy and the jobs it will create here at home. Deploying solar energy technologies across the country will help America lead the global economy for years to come.

 

Bears, you’ve had it tough this past year.

Out in Yellowstone, the grizzly members of the family are being thwarted by voracious mountain pine beetles, who are depriving the bears of one of their key food sources (fatty and delicious whitebark pine seeds). A year ago, Earthjustice won ESA protections for the bears, but the federal government has appealed the court’s decision. The fight continues.

Though the Senate may be standing still, America's roads are moving fast toward a clean-energy future.Today the Obama administration announced its goals for its next set of clean cars standards, picking up where the first clean cars program left off and stepping up gas mileage standards and tailpipe emissions controls.

Cancer-causing substances have been discovered in the waters and air of the Gulf of Mexico near the BP oil spill area, at levels much greater than before the spill occurred, according to researchers from Oregon State University.

Increased levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs—some of which are known carcinogens—were found along the coastlines of Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, but the greatest increase was off Louisiana, where levels measured 40-times greater than before the spill. Ominously, the substances are available to be taken into the food chain.

The measurements were recorded in May and June, during the height of the BP oil spill, when hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil gushed into the Gulf each day. New measurements are now being taken to see if degradation of the PAHs is taking place.

Across the United States—from California's Central Valley to Chicago, Houston and New York—people are breathing polluted air and suffering. Asthma, bronchitis, heart disease, birth defects and even cancer are the prices paid by residents in scores of American communities where polluting facilities operate.

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About the Earthjustice Blog

unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders. Learn more about Earthjustice.