Posts tagged: Climate and Energy

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

Climate and Energy


    SIGN-UP for our latest news and action alerts:
   Please leave this field empty

Facebook Fans

Featured Campaigns

Everyone has The Right To Breathe clean air. Watch a video featuring Earthjustice Attorney Jim Pew and two Pennsylvanians—Marti Blake and Martin Garrigan—who know firsthand what it means to live in the shadow of a coal plant's smokestack, breathing in daily lungfuls of toxic air for more than two decades.

Coal Ash Contaminates Our Lives. Coal ash is the hazardous waste that remains after coal is burned. Dumped into unlined ponds or mines, the toxins readily leach into drinking water supplies. Watch the video above and take action to support federally enforceable safeguards for coal ash disposal.

ABOUT EARTHJUSTICE'S 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.

View Terry Winckler's blog posts
30 October 2009, 3:19 PM
Wealthy, big polluters still on sidelines as Copenhagen approaches

As the world's richest and largest polluters—the U.S. and China—remain ambigous about taking significant climate change action, the world's lowest income contributors are getting support to clean up their acts.

1 Comment   /   Read more >>
View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
28 October 2009, 4:51 PM
Mountaintop removal mining begins at Coal River Mountain
Coal River Mountain as seen from nearby Kayford Mountain. Photo: Coal River Mountain Watch.

The halls of Congress are echoing this week with debate over proposed legislation to fight global warming—a fight that can't be won without addressing a primary cause of global warming: our dependence on coal. As the rumpus goes on there, a real-life battle between coal and the future of American energy has reached a pivotal moment in Appalachia.

In an effort to protect their familial homes and water resources, residents of West Virginia's Coal River Valley have long fought to prevent Coal River Mountain from being blown apart for the coal beneath it. Local groups like Coal River Mountain Watch, an Earthjustice client, have argued compellingly that the mountain is an ideal site for a wind power facility, which could make the region a model for sustainable, green economic growth.

1 Comment   /   Read more >>
View Terry Winckler's blog posts
27 October 2009, 11:16 AM
President hands out grants, hints at clean energy system
Photo: NASA/DSMP

President Barack Obama handed out a passel of money today for "smart grid" projects, much of it going towards house electrical meters that can be controlled by power companies. The meters allow companies to manipulate how much electricity each house uses at any given time -- useful in times of power shortages and for being able to shift power from where it's least needed to where it's most needed. The grants also went to  modernizing various components of the grid to make it "smarter."

The federal stimulus grants, while not directly funding clean energy alternatives, are aimed at improving how the nation uses our current electrical transmission set-up, so that such alternatives as solar and wind can be more easily integrated. To emphasize the smart grid connection to alternative energy sources, the president made the announcement while standing in a new, Florida solar energy "farm." Legal efforts by Earthjustice paved the way for the facility.

Clearly, this is just a start towards a highly sophisticated electrical distribution and consumption system. To that end, a Wall Street Journal graphic illustrates a "smart grid city" experiment being conducted in Boulder, Co. In the experiment, smart metering in connection with solar powered battery storage allows total manipulation of a house's electrical input and appliances, even to the extent that the house could be feeding the power grid.

1 Comment   /   Read more >>
View Terry Winckler's blog posts
26 October 2009, 4:06 PM
President tours nation's largest solar energy plant

Two years after Earthjustice successfully fought Florida Power and Light's plan to build the nation's largest coal plant near Everglades National Park, the state is taking a giant leap forward toward clean energy.

Today, President Barack Obama is touring FPL's new DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center in Arcadia —the largest photovoltaic facility in the U.S.

"Instead of having a dirty coal plant to provide power, we have clean solar energy," said David Guest, managing attorney for Earthjustice in Florida. "It is gratifying to know that Earthjustice helped change public policy and moved our state to more common-sense technology. We are finally putting the sunshine back in the Sunshine State."

In June 2007, Earthjustice gathered evidence and experts which helped convince the Florida Public Service Commission to consider the full costs associated with polluting coal plants. It was the first time that global warming played a role in a PSC decision, and the first time in 15 years that state regulators rejected a new power plant.

At 25 megawatts, it will generate nearly twice as much energy as the second-largest photovoltaic facility in the U.S.—Nevada's Nellis Solar Power Plant.
 

View Terry Winckler's blog posts
21 October 2009, 4:41 PM
Earthjustice will work with other agencies to prevent drilling

This week, the federal Minerals Management Service issued a disappointing decision to approve plans by Shell Oil to drill for oil and gas in Alaska's Beaufort Sea—starting next summer.

There are a number of steps and permits for Shell to navigate before drilling begins, but this action sets the stage for large-scale industrial drilling just offshore of the Arctic refuge, directly in the migration path of endangered bowhead whales. An oil spill in these icy waters could not be cleaned up.

With this decision, MMS repeats past mistakes by its failure to properly address the potential for massive environmental consequences, said Earthjustice attorney Erik Grafe. A spill would be devastating for people, wildlife and the environment. Earthjustice stopped a similar Shell drilling plan in that area two years ago, winning an injunction from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on the basis of MMS's shallow analysis of impacts.

1 Comment   /   Read more >>
View Terry Winckler's blog posts
16 October 2009, 4:51 PM
Online chat with Earthjustice set for Tuesday morning

Join a 30-minute online chat about black carbon with Martin Wagner, head of Earthjustice's global warming work, this Tuesday (Oct. 20) at 11 a.m. Pacific Time. You can do it on your personal computer at home or at work. For details and to register, go to this website.

Black carbon—sent aloft in the smoke streams from cooking fires, factories and such industrial equipment as diesel trucks and generators—settles on glaciers and in the Arctic, warming and melting the ice. It is considered one of the worst climate change pollutants, and one of the easiest to deal with.
 
 

View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
15 October 2009, 11:08 AM
Big drop in CO2 emissions points to future possibilities
Earthjustice is participating in Blog Action Day.

It's a rare thing to encounter good news regarding climate change. Which is exactly why a bit of hopeful writing from Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute caught my attention. Brown's post, titled "U.S. Headed for Massive Decline in Carbon Emissions," contends that the U.S. has entered a new energy era characterized by declining carbon emissions. Do tell, Lester.

"For years now, many members of Congress have insisted that cutting carbon emissions was difficult, if not impossible. It is not," writes Brown. Citing statistics from the Department of Energy, Brown shows that carbon dioxide emissions from burning coal, oil and natural gas are on track to decrease 9 percent by year's end from 2007 levels. Part of this decline is undoubtedly due to the Great Recession that we’re (hopefully) staggering out of. But Brown attributes some of this reduction to efficiency gains and renewables elbowing their way into the energy mix.

2 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Peter Campbell's blog posts
15 October 2009, 10:07 AM
A Blog Action Day post: stop factory farming
Earthjustice is participating in Blog Action Day.

Today is Blog Action Day, and this year's theme is Climate Change. Here's my pitch for an immediate step that could be taken to reduce the production of greenhouse gases significantly, while promoting good health; improving the economy in rural America; and reducing cruelty to animals. In fact, this suggestion is so logical that it's a travesty that I have to suggest it. It makes Sarah Silverman's recent hunger-ending proposal look paltry in comparison. Here's my suggestion:

Close down factory farms. Eliminate agribusiness.

2 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Ted Zukoski's blog posts
15 October 2009, 8:41 AM
Industry has change of attack—not heart—over "fracking"

What a difference a year makes! Or maybe not.

Last year, the oil and gas industry and its supporters were spending tens of thousands of dollars in Colorado to attack some modest proposals to protect the state's property owners and public health from the natural gas boom that was consuming the western part of the state.

They hired lobbyists. They papered the state with glossy mailers. They bused in oil field workers to talk about their families. They said the regulations would kill jobs and cause the industry to flee to... um, somewhere else. Maybe someplace where the politicians cared less about about healthy families, property rights, clean air, clean water and wildlife habitat.

1 Comment   /   Read more >>
View Brian Smith's blog posts
13 October 2009, 4:32 PM
Earthjustice action in New York Times today

Despite the insistence of multi-billion dollar ad campaigns from the coal industry, “clean coal” simply does not exist.

Even when scrubbers are installed to filter air pollution from coal-fired power plants, the mercury, selenium, and other toxic heavy metals released by coal combustion have to go somewhere. Sadly, too much pollution is ending up in America’s rivers and groundwater.

This week, the New York Times’ excellent series "Toxic Waters" takes a look at the dangers of shifting coal pollution from air to water.

1 Comment   /   Read more >>