These days, the federal government has mostly turned its back on efforts to mitigate climate change or, for that matter, to even recognize its existence. However,the budget bill passed in February contained a major increase in the tax credit known as 45Q, which provides incentives to businesses to develop and utilize carbon capture, utilization and storage technologies.
According to a European food safety watchdog, most applications of neonicotinoids – the world’s most widely used insecticides – represent a risk to wild bees and honeybees. The use of these insecticides has been restricted in Europe since 2014 following earlier risk assessments.
Air pollution in cities is a global problem that has reached crisis proportions in places like China and India. In our country, since the Clean Air Act was passed in 1970, there has been a great deal of effort exerted in controlling pollution from vehicles. A combination of pollution-limiting changes to engines, fuels, and pollution control systems has significantly reduced the amount of air pollution associated with the transportation sector.
Orangutans are some of the planet’s most intelligent animals. In fact, orangutans and human beings share 97% of their DNA sequence. Orangutans can only be found in the wild in Southeast Asia on the Indonesian island of Sumatra and the island of Borneo, which is a landmass shared by Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei. And while all orangutans are endangered, the critically-endangered Bornean orangutans are under exceptional duress.
Utility-scale solar installations have been expanding rapidly. The amount of land used for solar projects is becoming quite substantial. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) predicts that 3 million acres will be devoted to solar farms by 2030, and 6 million by 2050. These numbers pale in comparison with the land used for corn, soybeans, and wheat, but are more than used for such familiar crops as oats, barley and rice.
Hydrogen is touted to be the fuel of the future, particularly for cars. But a more acccurate view of it is that hydrogen is an energy storage medium. And the most promising form of energy to store using hydrogen is solar energy.
The northeastern part of China, wedged between North Korea to the south and Russia to the northeast, is home to two highly endangered big cats: the Siberian tiger and the Amur leopard. Siberian tigers, which can weigh over 600 pounds and grow to more than 10 feet in length, now number only about 500 in the wild, mostly in Russia. Amur leopards, weighing more than 100 pounds and growing to more than four feet in length, number only about 80 in the wild. While both species are right on the edge of extinction, both are slowly rebounding.
Climate change continues to pose a major threat to polar bear survival. Polar bears, whose native range largely lies within the Arctic Circle, depend on sea ice for nearly all of their life cycle functions. And rising global temperatures are causing that sea ice to disappear.
Hydraulic fracturing – better known as fracking – is a method of extracting oil and gas from shale deposits in which millions of gallons of freshwater and chemicals are injected into deep underground deposits. There has been a great deal of concern related to the effects that this process has on water quality and also on the stability of the ground in the vicinity of where it takes place.
Last year was the first year in which more electricity in Europe was generated from the combination of wind, sun, and biomass than from coal. The combination of all clean energy sources (which adds hydropower to the mix) surpassed coal several years ago.
Deforestation is one of the largest contributors to climate change. Forests cover about 30% of the world’s land area and are a crucial sink for carbon dioxide. Over time, we have been steadily reducing the amount of forest in the world to obtain wood and timber, open up farmland, build towns and cities, produce paper, make palm oil, and mine for minerals.
Protecting biodiversity is a critical challenge facing humanity. Global vertebrate populations – from elephants to amphibians – declined by 58% from 1970 to 2012 and losses are expected to reach 67% in the next two years. Think about it: at least two-thirds of all vertebrate animals on earth have vanished over the lifetime of anyone fifty years old or over.
Every day, Americans throw away 500 hundred million plastic straws. That’s enough to circle the Earth twice. Each one of us uses more than 35,000 of them in a lifetime. And these estimates are probably low.
After many years of false starts and delays, the offshore wind industry in the U.S. finally seems to be gaining momentum. According to the Department of Energy, more than 25 offshore wind projects with a generating capacity of 24 gigawatts are now being planned. Most of these are off of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic coasts.
The Environmental Protection Agency removed its information hub about climate change last year. In response, 17 cities reposted the information on their own city government sites. This is indicative of the fact that cities are increasingly taking on a leadership role in environmental, social and economic change.