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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View Buck Parker's blog posts
18 May 2011, 6:57 AM
Examining the Arctic Council Summit

Some good things happened this last week at the Arctic Council ministerial meeting in Nuuk, Greenland, but the sense of urgency to protect the world’s last great wilderness from the ravages of resource extraction – and to slow Arctic warming and melting – was lacking.

Among the good things that happened in Nuuk:

Not only Secretary of State Hillary Clinton but also Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar attended. This was the first time that the United States sent a cabinet-level representative to a meeting of the Arctic countries’ foreign ministers, let alone two. The clear implication is that the Obama Administration is paying much more attention to the Arctic than any previous administration and recognizes that what happens in the Arctic as a whole, and not just Alaska, could have important consequences for the United States.

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View Erika Rosenthal's blog posts
18 May 2011, 6:54 AM
Arctic Council must take lead in urging world action on climate change
NASA depiction of rapidly melting Greenland ice cap

From the Kangerlussuaq airport, at 67 degrees North in Greenland...

It’s four hours to New York and five to Moscow, but only three to the North Pole. People are speaking Danish and the language of the Inuit people. I’m writing at the airport on my way home from the Arctic Council ministerial meeting, held in the capital, Nuuk, about 45 minutes south by plane. The Greenlandic landscape is stark and beautiful and resplendent in ice and snow over the rolling hills and craggy mountains.

Greenland is poised to soon become the newest nation on Earth – the first to achieve sovereignty because of climate change, melting ice allowing for increased access to oil and mineral resources that will generate revenues to run the country and finalize independence from Denmark.

It is part of the fragile Arctic ecosystem whose future not only will determine the survival of the extraordinary indigenous cultures and wildlife of the region, but will affect climate globally. As Patricia Cochran & Sheila Watt-Cloutier, both former chairs of the Inuit Circumpolar Council have written: “All the people of the globe rely on the Arctic’s cold.”

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View Kari Birdseye's blog posts
06 May 2011, 1:25 PM
Despite powerful evidence, council 'overlooks' climate change

Polar bears are drowning. Huge glaciers are melting. Low-lying cities are worried. All because of climate change. But, when the eight nations of the "Arctic Council" meet next week, climate change won't be on their agenda—despite a frightening new report on climate change by the council's own task force.

Members of the council are those nations bordering the Arctic Ocean—the United States, Russia, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Canada, Denmark and Iceland.

The council deals with crucial Arctic issues such as climate change, black carbon, oil exploration and drilling, and arctic shipping. Their report, released this week, details how global sea levels will rise at least five feet within the century in large part because of melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Nonetheless, climate change isn't an agenda item.

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View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
25 February 2011, 3:17 AM
Nuclear dilemmas, thin mint massacre, airborne heart attacks
Maine Gov. Paul LePage recently said that in a worst case scenario BPA exposure may give women "little beards." Photo courtesy of anthonyturducken.

EU moves forward on chemical regs while U.S. gets bearded females
The European Union recently announced that it will ban six toxic substances under its Registration, Evaluation, Authorization & Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) program, reports Chemical & Engineering News. The landmark move, which includes phasing out three plastic softening chemicals and a flame retardant, stands in stark contrast to the U.S.'s chemical romance, particularly with the controversial chemical, Bisphenol A (BPA), a plastic additive that messes with people's hormones and is found in levels twice as high in Americans than in Canadians. But not to worry, says Maine's Gov. Paul LePage. The worst that could happen is that BPA exposure might cause women to start growing "little beards." 

Breathing dirty air triggers more heart attacks than doing cocaine
This should perk you up. Researchers have found that breathing dirty air triggers more heart attacks than doing cocaine, reports Reuters, a scary notion considering that you can't exactly avoid air pollution unless you want to walk around all day in a gas mask. The U.S. EPA recently issued new rules that will limit air pollution from industrial boilers and incinerators, but we still have a long way to go in cleaning up our air. Declare your right to breathe clean air today.

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View Terry Winckler's blog posts
15 February 2011, 3:53 PM
Legislative amendments target air, water, public lands and wildlife

Teabag by teabag, the anti-environment faction in the House of Representatives has filled its federal government spending bill with amendments that will cripple protections for our water, air, natural resources, wildlife and public health. 

Not since the darkest days of the Bush administration have we seen such an onslaught on the environment—and the hits are still coming. By mid-day today (Tues., Feb. 15), the list has grown to include attacks on a number of endangered species, including wolves and salmon, and on the power of the Environmental Protection Agency to keep lethal pollutants out of the air we breathe and the water we drink. Some amendments are outright handouts to our nation’s worst polluters.

The spending bill will fund the government so that it can continue operating after March 4, but first the Senate must pass the bill. Today, Pres. Barack Obama warned that he would veto the bill as constructed.

The following is a list of the most harmful provisions and amendments proposed so far:

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View Brian Smith's blog posts
28 July 2010, 11:14 AM
Human health and climate threatened by soot

Black carbon, also known as soot, comes from diesel engines, coal-fired power plants, and wood burning and is a significant contributor to global warming. Perhaps more significant than we realized, according to a new report.

Here's an introduction to the problem.

 

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View Brian Smith's blog posts
16 July 2010, 12:42 PM
Climb delivers strong message to governor

Four Washington moms have begun their attempt to summit Mount Rainier this weekend to deliver a strong message to their governor about coal.

The Climb Against Coal challenges Governor Gregoire to close or convert the TransAlta coal plant by 2015, 10 years earlier than the governor wants to. The TransAlta plant is Washington's largest toxic polluter and largest stationary source of global warming pollution.

Read the letter the moms sent to Governor Gregoire. Here, an excerpt:

As mothers, we are concerned about the magnitude of greenhouse gases that come directly from the coal plant, creating climate chaos for future generations. We want our children to be able to stand in awe of the magnificent glaciers on Mount Rainier, as we do today.

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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.

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View Tom Turner's blog posts
16 December 2008, 4:20 PM
 

Poznan LogoAt the just-concluded U.N. climate negotiations in Poznan, Poland, Earthjustice attorneys Martin Wagner and Erika Rosenthal advocated for rapid action to reduce emissions of black carbon, now considered one of the most effective strategies to slow near-term global and Arctic warming.

This could prevent catastrophic, irreversible tipping points such as the melting of Arctic sea ice and the Greenland ice sheet, and buy time for implementation of critical strategies to cut long-lived greenhouse gas emissions.

Recent studies identify black carbon, a component of ultrafine particulate air pollution, as a critical climate warming agent both in the atmosphere and when deposited on snow and ice. Technologies exist to rapidly reduce black carbon emissions from diesel and coal sources, and fast-track mitigation efforts will have an immediate cooling effect. As black carbon is a leading cause of mortality from air pollution and accelerates the melting of glaciers that provide fresh water for millions, controlling these emissions is critical to promote sustainable development, improve human health and save lives.