Environmental News Wrap: Week of May 31-June 6
GlobalWarmingisReal contributor Anders Hellum-Alexander wraps-up the climate and environmental news headlines for the past week:
- The Environmental Protection Agency has created stricter standers for sulfur dioxide emissions. Through the Clean Air Act, the EPA has lowered the ceiling for acceptable levels of sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere and is requiring large stationary emitters to record emissions on an hourly basis instead of a once-a-day basis. With the previous once-a-day rule, emitters could just take the daily sample during a time of low emissions and just never take readings during hours of high emissions.
- MotherJones reports on toxic ingredients in your household cleaners and pressures companies to disclose their full ingredients. MotherJones then provides a list of cleaners that have some part of their ingredients undisclosed. Their list covers almost all major cleaning products. I often wonder why we use such exotic cleaners when baking soda and vinegar are so effective and environmentally benign in non-concentrated amounts.
- MotherJones lists the top 12 ways you are ingesting toxic chemicals when you eat non-organic fruits and vegetables.
- The Guardian asks, what is the carbon foot print of the God's Drink: Beer.
Notice that 72% of the carbon emissions of beer comes from ingredients, electricity and equipment while transportation and freight are 17% of the carbon emissions. This ratio is a good approximation for most products. The Buy Local movement ignores this and touts global transporation as a great evil. We should really focus on increasing performance, and sometimes that will favor local products and sometimes it won't.
- The Gulf Oil Spill is unveiling much about the business and politics of the oil industry. BP is showing us that oil extraction happens under a mirage of regulation and a tangle of responsibility that leaves all actors in extraction free to just blame the other company. The New York Times covers how "In Gulf, It Was Unclear Who Was In Charge of Rig."
- Grist attempts to show the deserved proportion of blame owed to each actor in the Gulf Oil Spill.
"The Rest of Us," meaning you and me, were given 22% of the blame while Bush & Cheney and Obama are each given 9% of the blame. I think that Bush and Cheney are more responsible than Obama. Bush and Cheney spent 8 years making sure that operations such as the one that caused this disaster could exist. Obama, on the other hand, was elected at a time when the country's problems were more than one administration can even acknowledge in 4 years. He is being blamed for not overhauling the entire Interior Department while dealing with Health Care, the Economy, two Wars, the USA's global image, China, Iran, North Korea, Global Climate Talks and all the distractions created by the profit focused media industry. Obama, in my opinion, is not to blame.
Furthermore, he is being criticized for not stepping in enough when he has all of his adversaries yelling at him for being too involved in business and the lives of the American public. Make up your mind, do you want the government to protect people from the activities of business, or not?
- MotherJones reports about their mole on the BP clean up team.
- Grist uses MotherJones' coverage of their mole to tell Obama that BP is making a fool of him.
- A reporter from Grist highlights the importance for us to just get started on creating a more sustainable future instead of obstructing ourselves by reflecting on the inadequacies of our efforts.
- Cellulosic biofuel, fuel from agriculture waste, is supposed to be a growing industry, but commercial operations are finding it hard to follow through with expectations.
- Canada begins to use a new system for cleaning drinking water since we have polluted our water so much, and our water cleaning operations are beginning to become inadequate for the increasingly difficult task of delivering clean water to rich humans.
- A new way of burning fuel can increase the fuel efficiency of vehicles greatly. This is yet another relatively easy way for our society to reduce our impact on our environment.