"January 13 News: AFL-CIO Chief Blasts Congress as “Effectively Controlled by Climate Change Deniers”"
Other stories below: How to restrain global warming by nearly 1 degree Fahrenheit by 2050; Sunflowers inspire new solar designs
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said Thursday that climate change deniers call the shots in Congress.
“[I]t is clear that as long as Congress is effectively controlled by climate change deniers, all of us — investors, companies, workers and the broader public — must take action ourselves,” Trumka said.
In a wide-ranging speech in New York at the Investor Summit on Climate Risk & Energy Solutions, Trumka made the case for creating jobs with the build-out of low-carbon infrastructure.
He said the collapse of global warming legislation has prompted the labor federation to seek other means to spur investments in climate-friendly technologies. The federation backed the sweeping climate bill that passed the House in 2009, but climate legislation collapsed in the Senate the following year and remains politically moribund amid GOP control of the House and the Democrats’ slim Senate majority.
Humanity has done little to address climate change. Global emissions of carbon dioxide reached (another) all-time peak in 2010. The most recent international talks to craft a global treaty to address the problem pushed off major action until 2020. Fortunately, there’s an alternative—curbing the other greenhouse gases.
Specifically, in the case of rapid action to slow catastrophic climate change, the best alternatives appear to be: methane and black carbon (otherwise known as soot). A new economic and scientific analysis published in Science on January 13 of the benefits of cutting these two greenhouse gases finds the benefits to be manifold—from human health to increased agricultural yields.
Even better, by analyzing some 400 potential soot- and methane-emission control measures, the international team of researchers found that just 14 deliver “nearly 90 percent” of the potential benefits. Bonus: the 14 steps also restrain global warming by roughly 0.5 degree Celsius by 2050, according to computer modeling.
The United States has thousands of miles of coastline, and more than half of its population lives in counties bordering oceans or the Great Lakes — areas administered by a hodgepodge of federal, state or other agencies, often with conflicting goals.
For years, environmental groups and expert panels have called for federal oversight for these areas.
On Thursday, the idea took a step forward when the White House issued a National Ocean Policy action plan for regulations governing stewardship of those regions. The White House said the goal was to base decisions on solid science and on a philosophy of openness and responsiveness to the requirements of shipping, national security and the needs of vulnerable ecosystems, especially in an era of climate change.
In a statement, John P. Holdren, the White House science adviser, said that one goal was to “ensure that the interests of all stakeholders, from recreational beachgoers to fishermen and farmers, are taken into account.”
Concerned citizens seeking confirmation that a brine-injection well located in Youngstown, Ohio caused 11 earthquakes to shake the Mahoning Valley in 2011 left the Covelli Centre disappointed last night after officials from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources were unable to provide the answers they sought.
One man went as far as to call Wednesday’s informational meeting hosted by the City Council Public Utilities Committee a “dog and pony show” after Jeffrey Dick, chairman of Youngstown State University’s geology department, stated there is little data to directly connect the well and earthquakes.
After the crowd’s protests and jeers subsided, Dick went on to explain that while drilling deep injection wells can cause earthquakes, he does not believe that is the case in Youngstown.
C. J. Moss was on the final day of his weeklong shift working in Wyoming’s oil fields when he died. A burnt cable electrocuted Mr. Moss, 26, while he was cleaning part of a motor for a drilling rig, killing him instantly.
In a state with fewer than 600,000 residents, accidental deaths like Mr. Moss’s, which occurred in February 2007 and has led to a lawsuit over who was responsible, have become disquietingly common. Wyoming, with its growing oil, gas and mining industries, is one of the most dangerous places in the United States to work.
A report compiled by an epidemiologist hired by the state and released on Jan. 3, found that Wyoming’s work sites lacked what it called a culture of safety and that proper safety procedures were not followed in the vast majority of cases when someone was killed on the job.
The report also noted that Wyoming had the highest workplace fatality rate in the country for all but one year from 2003 through 2008. In 2010, the last year that data was provided, Wyoming’s estimated occupational death rate was three and a half times the national average, the report said.
We’ve all seen concentrated solar power (CSP) plants — those rows and rows of shiny mirror heliostats all crowded around a 100-metre-high pillar, like worshippers peering up at a towering god.
The orchestra of mirrors track the sun throughout the day, bouncing rays up at the central tower where the heat is concentrated, converted into electricity and piped into the national grid. Only a small handful of these plants — like PS10, in the Spanish desert region of Andalucia — exist around the world.
Their growth is restricted thanks to their sizable footprints. “Concentrated solar thermal energy needs huge areas,” said Alexander Mitsos, the Rockwell International assistant professor of mechanical engineering, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in a press release.
“If we’re talking about going to 100 percent or even 10 percent renewables, we will need huge areas, so we better use them efficiently,” he said in the release.