A solar furnace in the Pyrenees, France.
If you drive around the Lone Star State, you’re sure to see bumper stickers that say, “Texas: Bigger than France.” It references an ongoing debate about which “country” is bigger (something Texans feel very strongly about), but a closer look (aka, a quick Google search) reveals Texas and France are roughly equivalent in size. This, however, is where the similarities end – at least until recently.
Earlier this summer, France and the rest of Western Europe were in the grips of a record-breaking heatwave. Texans are certainly no strangers to crippling heat, even if we have been enjoying a relatively mild summer (so far) with regular spring and summer rains. But one year of El Nino climate patterns does not mean Texas is in the clear. Nor does it mean one abnormally hot summer in France is the last one they’ll see.
Global climate change predictions show that extreme heat and drought are on the rise, meaning both Texas and France increasingly need to consider water in their energy decisions. Why? Because as temperatures increase, so will our energy demand, which means an increase in demand for water, too.
Both France and Texas are facing some tough times ahead based on climate models, but their responses are very different. Read More
A carbon emissions reduction policy for power plants could prevent thousands of premature deaths
When it comes to reducing carbon pollution from power plants, details in policy choices matter, especially for the state of Texas.
The final proposal of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan, which would put the first ever national limits on carbon pollution from power plants in the U.S., is expected later this summer. It comes on the heels of the publication of an important study in Nature Climate Change, which examined three different power plant carbon policy options and then investigated how each would affect clean air and public health.
The study is titled Health Co-benefits of Carbon Standards for Existing Power Plants, and was conducted by scientists Dr. Buonocore and Dr. Charles Driscoll as well as their colleagues from Harvard, Syracuse, and Boston Universities. Read More
Supreme Court of the United States
The following introduction from Senior Health Scientist Elena Craft deals specifically with the implications of the Supreme Court’s recent Mercury and Air Toxics Standard Ruling on Texas. Below, an examination of the broader implications of the ruling follows.
“While this ruling does not mean current clean air protections will be revoked in Texas (or any other state), it does mean we will see another series of legal steps in the fight for clean air.
As one of the biggest contributors of emissions of mercury in the nation with over 40 coal-fired power plants, Texas facilities are now required to install pollution reducing controls to limit the amount of mercury, arsenic, and acid gases coming from electric generating units. But in truth, most of the plants in Texas and across the country have already installed or have plans to install pollution controls. Read More
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Is that flare operating efficiently? Is it dangerous to my health? Whom do I ask? Whom do I tell? These are the types of questions an emerging workshop developed by EDF and RGISC aims to answer.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration recently ranked the Eagle Ford Shale play as the nation’s largest oil field. But with oil wells often comes wasted gas, something Texas knows all too well. A huge portion of the gas pulled from oil wells in the Eagle Ford is burned away— often sending damaging pollutants into our environment.
An investigative report published in the San Antonio Express-News last year found “the rate of Eagle Ford flaring was 10 times higher than the combined rate of the state's other oil fields.” The same researchers found that from 2009 through the first seven months of 2014 oil and gas operators in the Eagle Ford region wasted about 94 billion cubic feet of natural gas – roughly enough gas to serve the heating and cooking needs of all the homes in San Antonio over four years. Excessive or improper flaring is not only a waste of a valuable resource, but can also have harmful health effects and damage the environment. Read More
Sharing freight information can help build relationships with others.
Leaders in the freight transportation industry may not realize it, but they probably learned an invaluable lesson for success when they were in kindergarten: learning to share is important.
After all, the interconnected world we live in today requires businesses to be accountable not only to shareholders and customers, but to other partners in the supply chain and to the communities living nearby. Whether disclosing the impacts to human health and the environment associated with goods movement, or implementing solutions to mitigate those impacts, sharing information can help build relationships with others, benefiting the overall supply chain. Read More
EPA's new mapping and screening tool will help advance environmental justice.
EPA is getting into the mapping game in a big way.
Just this week, they launched an environmental justice (EJ) mapping and screening tool called EJSCREEN, an online, publicly accessible index of environmental indicators based on location. It will be a tremendously helpful resource for the EJ movement.
In the past, concerned citizens, researchers, and advocates would access national databases individually without the ability to bring multiple sources of information together in one clear and consistent platform. EJSCREEN was created to address that issue. It’s a significant milestone that puts environmental and demographic data at your fingertips and empowers you to learn about your community. Read More