How Cold Is It?

It is very cold in most of the US this winter. It brings to mind is it so cold that you can freeze to death as well as what happened to global warming? Cooling as well as warming trends have happened before and will happen again. Back in the 1970's for example winters turned significantly colder for awhile.

Cape Wind Controversy Hits New Low, Illustrates Cost of NIMBYism

I have immense respect for Robert F Kennedy Jr, and have been frequently moved by his outstanding speeches on big-picture environmental topics. I'm not alone, however, in continuing to be surprised and baffled at the Kennedy tradition of steadfastly opposing the Cape Wind turbine project, the first major offshore wind energy project in the US, slated for Nantucket Sound in Massachusetts. But this post isn’t about the Kennedy family opposition, it's about another surprising and confusing source of opposition to the project. According to the New York Times, a Native American group has now raised its voice over the potential project on the grounds that the massive turbine farm "would thwart their spiritual ritual of greeting the sunrise, which requires unobstructed views across the sound, and disturb ancestral burial grounds".

US EPA Proposes Stricter Ozone Standards

The United States Environmental Protection Agency proposed new stricter health standards for Ozone. Ozone is linked to a number of serious health problems, ranging from aggravation of asthma to increased risk of premature death in people with heart or lung disease. Ozone can also harm healthy people who work and play outdoors. Children are at the greatest risk from ozone, because their lungs are still developing, they are more likely to be active outdoors, and they are more likely than adults to have asthma. Adults with asthma or other lung diseases, and older adults are also sensitive to ozone.

New Jersey protects more open space from development

More beautiful open space is being preserved in New Jersey. In this heavily populated state, there is reason to celebrate the preservation of areas of natural beauty and wildlife habitat. Conserving this land also protects important groundwater aquifers. The first of two long-anticipated conservation projects within the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge was recently completed, The Trust for Public Land, Frankford Township, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, New Jersey Natural Lands Trust, and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announced.

In Darkest WInter Night Tornadoes Can Strike

Tornadoes are deadly threats. When they are shrouded in darkness, nighttime winter tornadoes can be far more terrifying. Given the dangers, forecasters with NOAA’s National Weather Service are increasing efforts to alert people of a potential threat in their area before they go to sleep. The NOAA Storm Prediction Center, in conjunction with local National Weather Service offices across the country, is now issuing new public severe weather outlooks when forecast conditions are favorable for strong and violent tornadoes to occur overnight. When issued the outlook will be available online.

Autism clusters in California

U.S. researchers have identified 10 locations in California that have double the rates of autism found in surrounding areas, and these clusters were located in neighborhoods with high concentrations of white, highly educated parents. Researchers at the University of California Davis had hoped to uncover pockets of autism that might reveal clues about triggers in the environment that could explain rising rates of autism, which affects as many as one in 110 U.S. children.

Is there a plug-in hybrid in your future?

Hybrid car advocates have taken aim at a government study that predicts it will take decades and hundreds of billions of dollars before the vehicles reach viability. The report, released last month by the National Research Council, concludes that plug-in hybrid cars, or PHEVs, probably won't make a meaningful impact on carbon emissions or oil use before 2030.

Highway Barriers Stifle Pollution

Highway barriers erected along roadways can be perceived as massive monuments to the future and were intended to block the sound and sight of traffic for the adjacent neighborhoods. They may do a bit more in terms of air borne pollution. In a study by NOAA and the US Environmental Protection Agency, researchers released harmless “tracers” to measure the potential movement of pollutants such as carbon monoxide and heavy metals, and volatile organic compounds such as benzene. The results showed a significant reduction for those neighborhoods in pollutants as a result of the barriers.

Growing demand for soybeans threatens Amazon rainforest

"Some 3,000 years ago, farmers in eastern China domesticated the soybean. In 1765, the first soybeans were planted in North America. Today the soybean occupies more US cropland than wheat. And in Brazil, where it spread even more rapidly, the soybean is invading the Amazon rainforest," writes Lester R. Brown, president of the Earth Policy Institute, in a December commentary.

US Car Fleet Shrinks for First Time

Americans scrapped more automobiles than they bought last year as the ragged economy reduced demand and some major cities expanded mass transit service, according to a new report. The United States scrapped 14 million autos while buying only 10 million last year, shrinking the country's car and light duty truck fleet to 246 million from a record high of 250 million, according to the report to be released on Wednesday by nonprofit group the Earth Policy Institute (EPI). The United States, the world's biggest petroleum user, "is entering a new era, evolving from a car-dominated transport system to one that is much more diversified," said Lester Brown, the president of the EPI.