Posts tagged: science

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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.

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.

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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 Sarah Saylor's blog posts
14 March 2013, 2:57 PM
House “science” committee sorts it out
(Don Davis)

The news that a meteorite exploded over Russia in February has captured the attention of U.S. lawmakers on the House Science Committee, which has scheduled a hearing on the subject for March 19.

Rep. Rohrabacher (R-CA) is among the most interested parties, according to a story that ran in The Hill. And while he expresses great interest in NASA’s role keeping Near Earth Objects at bay, it is distressing to know that he doesn’t trust the same agency’s take on the need to protect the planet from human activities.

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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 Brian Smith's blog posts
26 February 2013, 12:57 PM
U.S. excuses for climate inaction dwindling
A large majority of Americans now want action.  (Ray Wan)

Climate change deniers in the U.S. once claimed there was no proof that pumping tons of carbon into the atmosphere was changing our climate.

This worked for a while, but Midwest drought, western wildfires, and superstorm Sandy, which all hit during 2012, have changed public opinion dramatically.

A recent poll by Duke University found 50 percent of Americans are convinced the climate is changing and another 34 percent say it is probably changing—an increase from other recent polls. A large majority of Americans now want action. The Duke poll found 64 percent of Americans want strong regulations on power plants and factories and fuel-efficiency standards for cars.

So the climate change denial camp is now trying a different argument.

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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 John McManus's blog posts
31 January 2013, 11:17 AM
Manufacturer refused to comply with measures protecting children, wildlife

There’s a dangerous type of mouse and rat poison on the market that when eaten by the rodents, causes them to bleed to death internally. Problems arise when the poison sometimes finds its way into the hands of kids or pets or moves up the food chain from rats and mice to foxes, bobcats, owls and the like that pounce on sickly rodents.

Earthjustice attorney Greg Loarie sent a letter to the State of California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation in December asking the state to order the stuff off the market. The state has yet to respond but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency now says it will start the process to ban forms of the poison used in the home that lack tamper-resistant packaging. While EPA is taking a significant step in the right direction, more needs to be done to protect children and wildlife.

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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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View Daniel Hubbell's blog posts
23 January 2013, 1:36 PM
Strikes EPA rule that allowed for more soot pollution
Soot blackens the walls of a Pennsylvania residence neighboring a coal-fired power plant.
(Chris Jordan-Bloch / Earthjustice)

The mention of soot conjures images of black clouds pouring out of unfiltered cars, or of cities lost in dark fog. At times in our history, soot pollution has helped stain entire ecosystems black, famously causing moths in Britain to change color from white to black to better hide in their environment. These images are well-deserved: soot is dangerous to both humans and the environment.

The Environmental Protection Agency blames soot for tens of thousands of premature deaths and hospitalizations every year in the United States; and according to a new study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research, a soot component—black carbon—is the second largest contributor to climate change, coming in just behind carbon dioxide.

Given how dangerous this soot pollution is, we are very pleased with a recent ruling by the U.S Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
22 January 2013, 2:34 PM
Supreme Court refuses to review case that upheld limits to SO2 emissions
The U.S. Supreme Court has kept the life-saving sulfur dioxide standard intact. (Mark Fischer)

We were thrilled in July when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled to uphold a clean air standard that limits dangerous intense bursts of sulfur dioxide pollution from power plants, factories and other sources. Sulfur dioxide is a pretty nasty agent that causes a variety of adverse health impacts including breathing difficulties, aggravation of asthma and increased hospital and emergency room visits for respiratory illnesses.

Today our lungs have an even better reason to rejoice: the Supreme Court has refused to review the appeals court decision, keeping the standard intact.