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EPA Releases Proposed Rule for Existing Power Plants

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this week announced a proposed rule to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from existing fossil fuel–fired power plants 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. This first-of-its-kind proposal uses an infrequently exercised provision of the Clean Air Act to set state-specific reduction targets for carbon dioxide and to allow states to devise individual or…

Frigid Forecast for Water Temperatures on Great Lakes This Summer

Of all the images of ice last winter, one of my favorites was a friend’s photo of crumpled sheets of blue ice on the west side of Beaver Island in northern Lake Michigan. With her smartphone, Denise McDonough snapped a photo that looked like it was taken by a polar explorer, not by one of…

Upcoming EPA Power Plant Rule Stirs Speculation

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is just days away from the release of its first-ever proposed rule regulating greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants. The rule will push states to cut pollution primarily from coal-fired generators. As many await details of the rule, The New York Times reports that sources familiar with proposal suggest that it will call for…

Restoration Week: Celebrating Science in Action and the Value of Ocean Habitat

Rob Brumbaugh, senior marine scientist, The Nature Conservancy June 1st marks the opening of the Atlantic hurricane season and as a resident of the Florida Keys I know to take every storm seriously and prepare accordingly. Recently, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted a “near-normal or below-normal 2014 Atlantic hurricane season,” and while…

EPA Power Plant Rule Deadline Approaching

Next month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will issue a proposed rule that sets the first-ever carbon emissions standards for the country’s existing power plants. The rule, to be announced by President Barack Obama, is rumored to include a phased approach leading to steeper emissions limits over time. Though little has formally come out about the rule,…

Coral Reefs: the Seawall That Nature Built

By Dr. Michael Beck, lead marine scientist, The Nature Conservancy Here’s an optimistic idea for you to consider: We can save our coral reefs. Yes, you read that correctly. We can, and indeed we must, save coral reefs to help protect ourselves. Admittedly, that’s not your traditional rationale for conservation, but it is one that…

Federal Climate Assessment Report Pegs Climate Change as Culprit for Rising Temperatures, Seas

A new federal scientific report, out Tuesday, concluded that global warming is affecting the United States in profound ways and that human activity, namely the burning of fossil fuels, is the primary cause of warming over the past 50 years. Mandated by Congress and written by a federal advisory panel, the more than 800-page National Climate Assessment further says that the…

Cross State Air Pollution Rule Reinstated by Supreme Court

The Supreme Court, in a 6-2 ruling, upheld the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s rule to regulate pollution from coal-fired power plants that drifts across state lines. The Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CASPR), which applies to 28 states, aims to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, which can lead to soot and smog. The rule was invalidated…

Study Deals Blow for Biofuels as EPA Lowers 2013 Mandate

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Tuesday retroactively lowered the quantity of cellulosic biofuel required for blending in traditional fuels for 2013. In January the EPA agreed to reconsider the mandate “due to the reduced estimate of anticipated cellulosic biofuel production in 2013 that was announced shortly after EPA signed its final rule by one of two companies…

Federal Appeals Court Upholds EPA Mercury Rule

A federal appeals court upheld the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) requiring power plants install technology to cut emissions of mercury and other air pollutants. MATS was challenged by industry and several states that argued the EPA should have considered costs when determining whether it was “appropriate and necessary” to go forward with the standards. The…

Climate Change, EPA Rules Focus of McCabe Confirmation Hearing

Climate change, extreme weather and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from new and existing power plants were the focus of a confirmation hearing for Janet McCabe, President Barack Obama’s nominee to head the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. In the hearing—at which lawmakers took jabs at one another on the…

IPCC Report Shares Dire News, Some Adaptation Measures

Climate change risks dramatically increase the more Earth warms, but reducing greenhouse gas emissions lowers the risk of the most unwelcome consequences, according to the latest report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). “We have assessed impacts as they are happening on the natural and human systems on all continents,” said IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri. “In…

Air Pollution Now Top Environmental Health Risk

New analysis from the World Health Organization (WHO) links exposure to air pollution to roughly 7 million deaths annually. The report confirms that air pollution is now the world’s largest environmental health risk. It estimates 4.3 million people died in 2012—mainly due to cooking inside with coal or wood stoves. Another 3.7 million died from outdoor pollution, including…

Reports, Website Document Effects of and Need for Dialogue on Climate Change

Last year, carbon dioxide briefly passed the 400 parts per million milestone. Now, says Ralph Keeling of the Scripps Institution for Oceanography, we’re on track to “see values dwelling over 400 in April and May. It’s just a matter of time before it stays over 400 forever.” This pronouncement comes the same week the American Association for the…

All-Night Senate Session Focuses on Climate Change

In the last 100 years, senators have held all-night sessions 35 times on everything from the Civil Rights Act to the Iraq War. This week, climate change made the list as number 36. The more than 14-hour session, which began Monday night, was organized by the Climate Action Task Force. Dubbed an avenue to voice concerns over the issue that has…