Tag Archive for ‘Global Warming’
Climate change promises to have a very big impact on water supplies in the United States as well as around the world. A recent study commissioned by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a leading environmental group, and carried out by the consulting firm Tetra Tech found that one out of three counties across the contiguous U.S. should brace for water shortages by mid-century as a result of human induced climate change.
Freight shipments are responsible for about a quarter of all transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions. Heavy duty trucks are the biggest villains, accounting for 77.8 percent of freight transportation’s total. Running mostly on diesel fuel, they are also major emitters of nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, which are linked to a wide range of human health problems.
The realization that the pesticide-laced foods we eat, the smokestack-befouled air we breathe and the petrochemical-based products we use negatively affect our quality of life is a big part of the reason so many people have “gone green” in recent years.
China passed the U.S. as the world’s leading greenhouse gas emitter back in 2006 and today produces some 17 percent of the world’s total carbon dioxide output. Although the Chinese insist environmental trouble is part of the cost of developing a world superpower, China has started to take action.
For decades environmentalists have argued that economics should take into account the costs borne by such externalities in order to discern the true overall value to society of any given action or activity. The company or utility that operates the polluting factory, for instance, should be required to compensate the larger society by paying for the pollution it produces so as to offset the harm it does.
It has been possible for years if not decades to provide all of a home’s energy needs with solar power. The technology is here and is only getting more efficient and less obtrusive every day. The only real stumbling block is cost: Solar systems capable of meeting all of an average U.S. home’s energy needs start at around $25,000.
A new paper published by the asset management arm of Deutsche Bank AG challenges the claims of climate change skeptics and argues that global warming is already happening and is a serious long term threat. “There is a very high probability that we are already heading towards a future where warming will persist for thousands of years,” the paper warns. “Failing to insure against that high probability does not seem a gamble worth taking.”
Investors filed a record 101 climate and energy-related resolutions with 88 U.S. and Canadian companies in 2010, a 50% increase from the year-earlier, according to activist shareholder organizations. A record 51 resolutions were withdrawn after the companies agreed to climate change and energy-related commitments.
The amount of greenhouse gases emitted by even a large and ongoing volcanic eruption is but a drop in the bucket in comparison to our annual output of industrial and automotive carbon emissions.
Kenaf is a fast-growing, non-invasive annual hibiscus plant related to cotton, okra and hemp. It makes ideal paper fiber as well as great source material for burlap, clothing, canvas, particleboard and rope. Ten major U.S. newspapers have tested kenaf-based newsprint and were pleasantly surprised by how well it held up and how crisply it displayed text and pictures. Toyota is already using kenaf grown in Malaysia for insulation and interiors in some cars.