Posts tagged: black carbon

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black carbon


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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.

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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.

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View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
10 October 2013, 11:42 AM
For our economy and communities, we must live by the budget
Mountaintop removal mining is devastating communities in Appalachia. The drive to drill and mine anywhere, by whatever extreme means, is a disastrous substitute for a coherent American energy policy. (Chris Jordan-Bloch)

The following blog post by Trip Van Noppen originally ran on the Huffington Post on October 8, 2013.

The most damning and decisive report yet on humankind's contribution to climate change was delivered by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change little more than a week ago. The report, the most precise yet thanks to advances in scientific monitoring, confirms that climate change impacts are outpacing previous projections for ocean warming, the rate of glacial ice melt in the arctic, and sea level rise. But the biggest takeaway of the report is the unprecedented step it takes in setting a carbon budget.

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View Terry Winckler's blog posts
27 September 2013, 8:49 AM
U.N. report asserts that humans are responsible for global warming
Superstorm Sandy batters the East Coast, on Oct. 29, 2012. (NASA GOES Project)

The good news in today's U.N. report on global warming is that I'll be dead before the predicted ocean rise floods my island home in San Francisco Bay. But here's what I—and you and every other human on Earth—won't escape, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change:

Responsibility.

It is almost 100 percent certain that humankind's use of fossil fuels like oil and coal is warming and acidifying the oceans, melting glaciers and causing sea levels to rise around the planet, the IPCC says. With scientific certainty, the report warns us to throttle back on carbon consumption or move to high ground—unless of course you live in Appalachia where the high ground is being blown up to get at the coal.

View Kari Birdseye's blog posts
24 September 2013, 11:58 AM
IPCC report to address the latest physical science of sooty pollutant

Black carbon is the sooty, particulate pollution that reaches deep into your lungs and causes asthma and other respiratory and heart diseases.

Black carbon also plays a major role in global warming—second to only carbon dioxide.

Here’s a great introduction to black carbon that may spur you to action, and even make you smile.

Termed a “short-lived climate pollutant” because it only stays in the atmosphere for days or weeks (unlike CO2 which sticks around for 100 years or more) reducing soot is one of the most effective ways of addressing global warming. That’s why this noxious air pollutant will be receiving some attention this week.

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View Grand Chief Ruth Massie's blog posts
24 April 2013, 7:34 AM
Grand Chief Ruth Massie shares eyewitness account of climate change
"We are witnessing the strangest of weather patterns." Chukchi Sea, Alaska. (Florian Schulz / visionsofthewild.com)

Our homelands—the Arctic wildlife and ecosystems that are the foundation of our culture and traditional ways of life—are fast changing. Arctic warming has made the weather, the condition of the ice, and the behaviors and location of fish and wildlife so unpredictable that our Elders no longer feel confident teaching younger people traditional ways. If we cannot effectively pass on our traditional ways to the younger generations, we fear for what will happen to our culture.

We know that a significant cause of these changes is black carbon, or soot, a short-lived climate pollutant which contributes significantly to the rapid warming and melting across northern Canada—our homelands. Black carbon pollution is also a health issue; soot emissions degrade the air quality in the North. Scientists believe reducing these emissions one of the best ways to slow warming and melting in the Arctic in the coming decades.

That’s why the Arctic Athabaskan Council is taking action today by filing a petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

View Daniel Hubbell's blog posts
03 April 2013, 7:29 AM
Dr. Hansen exits 46-year career to fight for carbon controls
In recent years, Dr. Hansen has become more vocal and active in his quest for national solutions to climate change. (Arnold Adler / Courtesy of James Hansen)

Dr. James Hansen has never been shy about standing up for his scientific principles. In 1988, speaking before Congress, Dr. Hansen laid out a blunt truth, “It is time to stop waffling so much and say that the evidence is pretty strong that the greenhouse effect is here.” The statement caused an eruption of controversy, but time has borne out the sad truth of these words. It is also quite typical of a visionary scientist who has become one of the clearest and most vocal advocates against climate change. The proud author of an incredibly detailed body of work, Hansen has written on black carbon, climate change models and the atmosphere, among other topics. He received the Carl-Gustaf Rosby medal and was featured on Time’s list of 100 Most Influential People for 2006.

On April 2, he announced his retirement from National Air and Space Administration’s Goddard Institute after 46 years. He plans to focus his energies on activism, taking the case for better climate protections to court at the state and federal levels.

View Kari Birdseye's blog posts
22 March 2013, 7:27 PM
And ConocoPhillips eager to drill in the Arctic Ocean

Earthjustice received some superb video today from Dutch Harbor, Alaska, of Shell’s beat up Arctic drilling rig, the Kulluk, as it was lifted onto a huge dry haul ship to be carried to Asia for repairs:

This comes on the heels of a report from the Department of Interior, which summarized  a 60-day investigation into Shell’s 2012 Arctic Ocean drilling season and was highly critical of the oil giant’s operations.

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View Chrissy Pepino's blog posts
12 March 2013, 2:11 PM
Be green: get rid of black
Black soot easily seen on ice formations in the Arctic.

Soot is melting the Arctic. Even scientists are alarmed with the disappearance rate of ice in the northern hemisphere. When soot falls on snow and ice it increases the amount of light and heat that is absorbed, just like any reflective surface. The Arctic is not alone in this unprecedented melting; the life-supporting snowpack in the Himalayas is also feeling the impact. Soot is now thought to have twice the heat-warming potential than estimated by the by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2007.

View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
15 February 2013, 12:34 PM
Americans can’t wait for Congress to address climate change
President Obama delivers the State of the Union address in the House Chamber on Feb. 12, 2013.  (Chuck Kennedy / White House)

Last week, President Obama demanded that Congress take action on climate change, or else he would.

But, after years of political gridlock on the climate issue, coupled with rising seas and worsening droughts, one thing is clear: the nation simply cannot afford to wait any longer to take action. Though Congress may eventually pull together and pass a climate bill, the president must not wait on that uncertain prospect. He must act now.

After all, today the U.S. is farther from enacting a nationwide plan to reduce carbon emissions than it was four years ago. Congress has failed miserably. And though America’s greenhouse gas emissions are beginning to decline, the rate at which they’re doing so is nowhere near what we need to avoid catastrophic climate change.

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View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
01 February 2013, 4:43 PM
Arctic nations share unique responsibility for slowing ice melt
Reducing black carbon emissions will slow climate change now.
Chukchi Sea, Alaska. (Florian Schulz / visionsofthewild.com)

As the environmental ministers of the Arctic nations, including the United States, meet in Sweden next week, they have an opportunity to show leadership on an important though less well-known climate pollutant, black carbon (soot).

While carbon dioxide remains the most important, long-lasting pollutant forcing climate change, recent studies have revealed that short-lived climate forcers like black carbon are equally damaging, especially in the Arctic.

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View Chrissy Pepino's blog posts
28 January 2013, 2:57 PM
What your weatherman may not tell you about 2013

Crops shriveled to dust this summer while thermometers hit continuous triple digits in the Midwest and Southwest regions. Yet, what about the current “snowmageddon” occurring in our mountain regions, and record lows on the east coast?

Global warming is the all-encompassing term for what is happening to our planet today. As we increase the amount of anthropogenic pollutants in the air, we trap heat within our atmosphere. Yet, this seems contradictory if the weather channel reports on freezing temperatures and cold fronts nationwide.

What defines global warming is climate, not weather. Weather is what we see on a 10-day forecast, what dictates the clothes we wear, and if our flight will be delayed. Climate, on the other hand, is a compilation of weather over a minimum time span of 30 years. This provides a baseline to compare historical climate patterns, and gives an overall picture of what the weather has been doing for three or more decades.

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