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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…

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…

Coal & Climate: Ask Your Questions About Environmental Science

We burn eight million tons of coal—the dirtiest of fossil fuels—each year, and the consequences are growing. In the April issue of National Geographic magazine, we asked the question: Can coal ever be clean? What are your thoughts about clean energy? How about freshwater or the growing global population? Do you have questions about oil spills, 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…

Tougher Efficiency Standards Ordered for Large Trucks

President Barack Obama on Tuesday announced his administration will begin developing tougher fuel standards for the nation’s fleet of medium- and heavy-duty trucks. The new standards will build on a 2011 regulation that set the first-ever fuel standards for model years 2014–18. The next phase—for models beyond 2018—will be proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Transportation Department’s…

February 9, 2014: Cycling and Climbing Through a Sufferfest, Surviving a Traumatic Brain Injury and More

Join radio host Boyd Matson every week for adventure, conservation and green science. This week, they endure a 750-mile climbing and biking Sufferfest, crash during Olympic snowboard halfpipe training leading to a traumatic brain injury, try to save the Great Barrier Reef from dredging, launch the “coolest” space mission ever, chase Shackleton’s legacy across frigid Antarctic waters, enjoy the restorative health benefits of a 30-million person crowd, celebrate with winners’ dominant body language, and investigate 10 deaths high in a Russian mountain pass.

Carbon Markets Show Glimmers of Recovery in 2014

A year after the launch of its cap-and-trade program, California formally linked its emissions trading scheme with Quebec’s—enabling carbon allowances and offset credits to be exchanged between participants in the two jurisdictions. The linkage, which marks the first agreement in North America that allows for the trading of greenhouse gas emissions across borders, is designed to escalate…

Geography in the News: Coal Ash Problems

By Neal Lineback and Mandy Lineback Gritzner, Geography in the NewsTM Coal Ash Problems from Coal-fired Power Plants In December 2008, an environmental disaster unfolded in Kingston, Tenn., when a TVA-owned earthen dike meant to contain wet coal ash breached. A wave of 1.1 billion gallons (4.2 million cubic meters) of sludge spread across the…

EIA Releases Early Predictions from Annual Energy Outlook

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Monday released a 20-page preview of its Annual Energy Outlook 2014, which includes projections of U.S. energy supply, demand and prices through 2040. Although the full report won’t be released until spring 2014, the preview projects a spike of 800,000 barrels a day in domestic crude oil production in 2014. By 2016,…

Impacts Far Reaching as U.S. Marks Sandy Anniversary

A year ago this week, Superstorm Sandy made a lasting mark on the northeast United States. Many areas continue to recover from the storm, the deadliest and most destructive of the 2012 hurricane season. The effects of Sandy’s destruction linger in many areas where it made landfall, but the storm has had wider-ranging impacts, including influencing how we predict and prepare for future…

EPA Issues New Source Rules, Separates Requirements for Coal and Gas-Fired Plants

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a long-awaited revised proposal for Clean Air Act standards to curb carbon pollution from new power plants. The rule sets separate standards for new gas-fired and coal-fired plants. It would require future coal-fired plants to limit emissions of carbon dioxide to 1,100 pounds per megawatt hour (MWh). The average U.S. coal-fired plant currently emits nearly…

Proposed Rules to Limit Power Plant Emissions Expected This Week

In a move initiated by the Obama administration to address global changes in climate, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected this week to release a proposal for regulations to reduce carbon emissions from new power plants. Although details about the regulations remain confidential, the New York Times reports the proposal could contain standards different for coal…

U.S. Energy Production Linked to Earthquakes

As U.S. production of crude oil continues to grow, new studies in the journal Science say the very methods used to extract the resource could be behind some U.S. earthquakes. The studies find that the gas extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing can cause some small earthquakes and that the disposal of wastewater following this and other energy production methods can produce…

Top 10 Headlines Today: Bat X-Rays, Corpse-Eating Fly…

The top stories on National Geographic’s radar today: An x-ray video reveals the secret behind bat’s ability for flight, a corpse-eating fly is back from the dead after being thought extinct, and …

The Hot, Powerful Water Beneath Glasgow

The city of Glasgow sits above old caverns filled with hot water. Could it be used to heat homes?