Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Climate Change Threatens 60% of Toxic Superfund Sites, GAO Finds

Hundreds of polluted sites face an increased risk of inundation from sea level rise, flooding exacerbated by global warming, or wildfires, Congress’s watchdog warns.

Sixty percent of the nation's heavily polluted Superfund sites—nearly 950 of them—are at risk from the impacts of climate change, including hurricane storm surges and flooding that could spread their toxic legacies into waterways, communities and farmland, a new federal report warns.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office report, released Monday, describes the increased risk of toxic substances being washed out by floo
The Gowanus Canal, once a bustling transportation and shipping route in Brooklyn, New York, was declared a Superfund cleanup site in 2010. A new GAO report shows the polluted site is one of several that would be affected by even a Category 1 hurricane. (Photo Credit:  Drew Angerer/Getty Images) Click to Enlarge.
ding at sites across the country, as well as wildfire risks that could send health-harming pollutants airborne.

It recommends that the Environmental Protection Agency, which oversees the federal Superfund program, start providing clear, agency-wide instructions on how its officials should incorporate climate change into Superfund site risk assessments and response decisions. 

That would be a change for the current administration.   Currently, the EPA does not include climate change in its agency-wide goals and objectives, preventing the agency from addressing the added risks at contaminated sites across the country as the planet warms, the report concluded.

Read more at Climate Change Threatens 60% of Toxic Superfund Sites, GAO Finds

Saturday, November 16, 2019

U.S. Electric Bus Demand Outpaces Production as Cities Add to Their Fleets

Cities are still working through early challenges, but they see health and climate benefits ahead.  In Chicago, two buses save the city $24,000 a year in fuel costs.

China's BYD electric bus company has a factory in Lancaster, California. While the vast majority of the world's electric buses are in China, the U.S. numbers are growing. (Credit: Li Ying/Xinhua via Getty Images) Click to Enlarge.
In the coastal city of Gulfport, Mississippi, the state's first fully-electric bus will soon be cruising through the city's downtown streets.

The same goes for Portland, Maine—it just received a grant to buy that state's first two e-buses, which are set to roll out in 2021.  And Wichita expects to have Kansas' first operating electric bus picking up passengers as early as this month after receiving a federal grant.

As cities and states across the country set ambitious mid-century climate change goals for the first time and as prices for lithium-ion batteries plummet, a growing number of transit agencies are stepping up efforts to replace dirtier diesel buses with electric ones.

Nearly every state has a transit agency that now owns—or will soon own—at least one electric bus, according to a recent report from CALSTART, a clean transportation advocacy group.

Read more at U.S. Electric Bus Demand Outpaces Production as Cities Add to Their Fleets

Friday, November 15, 2019

Friday 15

Atmospheric CO2 and Global Surface Temperature 800 to 2020<

The Climate Change Health Risks Facing a Child Born Today:  A Tale of Two Futures

The latest Countdown report from the medical journal Lancet lays out the risks ahead, from womb to adolescence.

A child born today faces two possible futures.  In one, the world continues to burn fossil fuels, making the child more likely to develop asthma from air pollution, at greater risk of vector-borne diseases, and more vulnerable to anxiety as extreme weather events threaten his community.

In the other, those risks are diminished because the world has responded quickly and adequately to climate change, with a large-scale shift away from fossil fuels.

These two, starkly different paths are the focus of a report published Wednesday by the medical journal The Lancet that shows how the future health of a child born today will be intrinsically linked to climate change, from womb to adolescence.

"Without accelerated intervention, this new era will come to define the health of people at every stage of their lives," the authors write.

Read more at The Climate Change Health Risks Facing a Child Born Today:  A Tale of Two Futures

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Wednesday 13

Atmospheric CO2 and Global Surface Temperature 800 to 2020<

‘Profound Shifts’ Underway in Energy System, Says IEA World Energy Outlook

Click to Enlarge.
The world’s CO2 emissions are set to continue rising for decades unless there is greater ambition on climate change, despite the “profound shifts” already underway in the global energy system.

That is one of the key messages from the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) World Energy Outlook 2019, published today.  This year’s 810-page edition is notable for its renamed central “Stated Policies Scenario” (STEPS), formerly known as the “New Policies Scenario”.

In this scenario, which aims to mirror the outcome of policies already set out by governments, a surge in wind and solar power would see renewable sources of energy meeting the majority of increases in global energy demand.  But a plateau for coal, along with rising demand for oil and gas, would mean global emissions continue to rise throughout the outlook period to 2040.

In contrast, the report’s “Sustainable Development Scenario” (SDS) sets out what would be required to give a 50% chance of limiting warming to 1.65C, which the IEA describes as “fully in line with the Paris Agreement”.

It says the SDS would require a “significant reallocation” of investment away from fossil fuels towards efficiency and renewables, as well as the retirement of around half the world’s fleet of coal-fired power stations and other changes across the global economy.

The IEA has this year also explored, but not modeled in detail, what it would take to limit warming to no more than 1.5C above pre-industrial temperatures, the aspirational goal of the Paris Agreement.

Read more at ‘Profound Shifts’ Underway in Energy System, Says IEA World Energy Outlook