News

U.S. West warming faster than the rest of the planet, says analysis

The U.S. West is warming faster than the rest of the country, and faster than the planet as a whole, according to an analysis of 50 scientific studies done by the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization. From 2003 to 2007, the globe was 1 degree Fahrenheit warmer than its average 20th century temperature; during the same period, 11 Western states averaged 1.7 degrees warmer. Westerners are unlikely to dispute the findings, considering the ongoing drought. Read More »

Fewer zero-emission vehicles will be required on California roads by 2014

California's Air Resources Board has voted to reduce the number of zero-emissions vehicles required to be sold in the state by 2014 from 25,000 to 7,500. It's a hefty reduction, though less dramatic than the recommendation by CARB staff that the requirement be cut to 2,500 vehicles. Not-quite-zero-but-still-relatively-less-emissions vehicles, like plug-in hybrids, will make up the rest of the quotient, the board decided. Read More »

A roundup of news snippets

• Chemical manufacturer Dupont is being sued for noncompliance with pollution laws.

• New England is not on track to meet greenhouse-gas reduction targets, says a report.

• Denmark is building 20,000 electric car recharging stations. Read More »

Chilean salmon-farming industry in a sad state

A virus called infectious salmon anemia is sweeping through Chile's fisheries, bringing attention to the condition of the country's third-largest export industry. On expansive salmon farms, fish are bred in crowded underwater pens. Fish poop and food pellets contaminate the water. As many as 1 million nonnative salmon escape each year, gobbling native species and traveling as far as Argentina. The fish are treated liberally with antibiotics, some of which are prohibited for use on animals in the U.S. -- but 29 percent of Chilean exports end up in American grocery stores. Read More »

Washington governor may veto bill restricting toxins in toys

Washington State Gov. Christine Gregoire may veto legislation that would be the toughest in the nation at making sure toys are free of (or low in) lead, cadmium, phthalates, and other toxins. Even though a slew of amendments exempt certain playthings, from tricycles to pellet guns to sleds, Big Toy officials have warned Gregoire that the bill is still too restrictive, since it doesn't exempt lead solder used on computer components in the innards of some toys. Read More »

EPA will request public comment on GHG regulation this spring

SCOTUS decreed that the U.S. EPA must decide whether the climate-change effects of carbon dioxide endanger public health, and, at long last, the agency is moving on that decision -- kinda. In a letter to U.S. Read More »

Two proposed solar projects to boost California's solar capacity by half

Two large solar-power projects were proposed in Southern California this week that together could provide up to 500 megawatts of power, just over half the state's current solar capacity and enough to provide electricity to about 300,000 homes. One of the projects, proposed by utility Southern California Edison, aims to put solar panels on 65 million square feet of commercial buildings across Southern California. It's expected to cost $875 million and could be completed in five years, pending approval by the state's utility regulators. Read More »

Feds to consider endangered-species protections for four species of Arctic seals

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced it's considering whether to list four species of Arctic seals under the Endangered Species Act due in part to climate change. The Center for Biological Diversity, a species-advocacy group, petitioned the agency last year to consider protecting ribbon seals due to disappearing sea ice and other concerns. NOAA agreed Wednesday to review ribbon seals' status as well as that of bearded, ringed, and spotted seals. Read More »

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