They make Toyotas in Guangzhou. And Hondas. And Nissans. It’s a major car manufacturing center. But it will soon be more difficult for people here to own cars themselves.
Archive for the ‘POLLUTION’ Category
For a while, it seemed like rising oil prices and shrinking supplies might help us kick our greenhouse gas addiction. But if recent research holds true, we won’t be able to rely on the market to rein in global warming any time soon. In a paper published by Harvard’s Geopolitics of Energy Project, Leonardo Maugeri, a former oil executive and current research fellow, concludes: “Oil is not in short supply. From a purely physical point of view, there are huge volumes of conventional and unconventional oils still to be developed, with no ‘peak oil’ in sight. The real problems concerning future oil production are above the surface, not beneath it, and relate to political decisions and geopolitical instability.”
Maugeri does a comprehensive analysis of oil resources and predicts production could increase by nearly 20 percent in the coming decade and prices could collapse, thanks in part to the new opportunities for tapping tar sands and producing shale oil by hydraulic fracturing. “The Western Hemisphere could return to a pre-World War II status of theoretical oil self-sufficiency,” Maugeri writes, “and the United States could dramatically reduce its oil import needs.” (more…)
In the past day I came across two clever ways to make use of one of our most common trash items: the plastic beverage bottle. The EPA says Americans generated 31 million tons of plastic waste in 2010, only 8 percent of which was recovered for recycling (a sad statistic), so there’s no lack of fodder for inventive people who want to find ways to put plastic bottles back to work. Here you see (POP)culture, a canopy designed by students from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Architecture and featured on The Blog Aquatic by David Connell. Connell lauded it as “a beautiful example of…making trash too valuable to toss.” Elsewhere, Shea Gunther on Mother Nature Network profiled five low-tech innovations that are making a difference in the lives of people in the developing world, including an incredibly simple and inventive plastic bottle light.
The luxury home builder Toll Brothers will pay a $741,000 civil penalty and make major changes to the way it manages stormwater on its construction sites, following allegations that it violated the Clean Water Act on more than 600 occasions. The settlement, announced Wednesday by federal officials, addresses 370 sites in 23 states.
Among the permit violations alleged by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Justice were the “failure to stabilize disturbed soil” and the failure to properly install and maintain “stormwater controls such as silt fences, swales, sediment basins, sediment traps, storm drain inlet protection, and construction entrances and exits.” (more…)
The prefect of Rome is moving forward with plans for a giant landfill just a few hundred yards from one of the world’s most historic landscapes, according to a report in the Belfast Telegraph.
Hadrian’s Villa, constructed by the Roman emperor Hadrian between 118 and 138 AD, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The ruins of this 200-acre garden city have inspired generations of designers around the world. Yet local officials are planning to open a landfill just 700 meters upwind. (more…)
USA Today has come out with an incredible report on long-forgotten “ghost factories,” where lead was processed before the Environmental Protection Agency was created. Following up on research by the environmental scientist William Eckel, reporters used old Sanborn Maps, directories, and historical photos to identify more than 230 former lead factory sites around the country. They conducted hundreds of soil tests and found that many of the neighborhoods where these factories once existed have unsafe levels of lead in the upper layers of the soil.
The contamination is not limited to properties where smelting took place. Lead dust released from smokestacks blew into the surrounding neighborhoods, where it was supplemented by lead from paint and particles emitted from vehicles that burned leaded gasoline, creating a serious health threat for the young children who live and play there. (more…)