Archive | Air Quality Standards & Emissions

Shell’s Arctic Clean Air Permits Revoked

Alaska Native and environmental groups have successfully thrown a wrench in Shell’s plans to drill exploration wells in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas.

An order by the Environmental Appeals Board remanded Shell Offshore Inc.’s clean air permits, which were granted by the Environmental Protection Agency. Shell spokesman Curtis Smith told The Associated Press that the company cannot proceed with the proposed drilling plans in 2011 without the permits.

The review by the federal board found that the EPA’s estimation of the impact on Alaska Native communities was too limited. It also contended that the agency’s analysis of impact caused by nitrogen dioxide emissions from drill ships and support vessels was inadequate.

The appeal was filed by the Arctic Eskimo Whaling Commission, the Inupiat Community of the Arctic Slope, the Center for Biological Diversity and Earthjustice on behalf of other organizations.

Rebecca Noblin, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity in Anchorage, said the ruling coincides with the groups’ assertion that the EPA “rushed” the drilling permits through the process. “It’s time for the administration to take a step back and rethink the foolhardy rush to drill in the fragile Arctic Ocean,” she told the Alaska Dispatch in an e-mailed statement.

Posted in Air Pollutants, Air Quality Standards & Emissions, Drilling for Oil, Oil & Petroleum0 Comments

South Korea's Carbon Dioxide Emissions Rise to 620 Million Tons in 2007

SEOUL, Dec. 29 (UPI) — South Korea’s carbon dioxide emissions increased 2.9 percent — totaling 620 million tons — in 2007, the government announced Monday, Xinhua reports.

That represents the highest growth rate since 2002 and is nearly three times faster than the growth rate in 2006. It is also a 103-percent increase from 1990 greenhouse gas emission totals.

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, South Korea’s emissions are the fastest growing of all industrialized states.

Seoul attributes the sharp rise to increases in fossil fuel output because of a fall in nuclear power generation as well as energy consumption in the country’s steel and petrochemical sectors.

Yet South Korea regards carbon dioxide reduction not as a burden but a “business model,” the country’s climate-change ambassador, Rae-Kwon Chung, told Der Spiegel during the Copenhagen climate-change conference.

Rae-Kwon, who has been active in climate negotiations since they began internationally in 1991, is sometimes referred to as the “godfather” of the green growth movement, which contends that countries can boost wealth by reducing emissions.

In an interview with The Los Angeles Times during the Copenhagen talks, Rae-Kwon said world leaders need to capture the “opportunity” of renewable energy technology. To do so, he said, they need to rethink some fundamentals of daily life: tax structures, transportation patterns and, most importantly, to accept that cheaper energy is better for economic growth.

“They’re walking the walk” in South Korea, Jake Schmidt, international climate policy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, who has worked closely with Chung on climate issues, told the Times. Schmidt said Chung “has had a very big impact in how South Korea views their role” on emission limits, domestically and internationally.

Recent announcements may confirm Schmidt’s observations.

Last week South Korea said it plans to officially register by the end of January its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent from the projected emission level in 2020 compared with 2005.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak announced Dec. 17 that $10 million would be used to establish a Global Green Growth Institute, bringing economists and top researchers together to develop new ideas.

And South Korea said Monday it would launch a carbon emissions trading scheme aimed at reducing the country’s emissions 1 percent to 2 percent of 2005 to 2007 averages, reports Xinhua.

The Korea Stock Exchange would serve as a platform for the three-year pilot program, starting as early as late 2010, said the Ministry of Environment. A total of 641 organizations will participate, including South Korea’s 14 local governments and 446 public organizations.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Air Pollutants, Air Quality Standards & Emissions, Air, Atmosphere, & Weather, Consumption, Energy, Ideas, Humanities, & Education, Organizations, Science, Space, & Technology, Transportation, Walking0 Comments

Senator Byrd's Climate Stance Surprises West Virginia & Coal Industry

WASHINGTON, Dec. 18 (UPI) — West Virginia politicians and coal industry leaders say they’re surprised and puzzled by remarks on coal mining from Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va.

Byrd, 92, a longtime opponent of environmental restrictions on his state’s $3.5 billion coal industry, said this month, “The truth is that some form of climate legislation will likely become public policy” and will adversely affect coal mining, warning, “West Virginians can choose to anticipate change and adapt to it or resist and be overrun by it.”

Those remarks have flabbergasted many in the state, the Washington publication Politico reported Friday.

“To me, it was quite amazing,” Ken Hechler, a veteran West Virginia Democratic officeholder who served as congressman from 1959 to 1977, told the publication. “It was the first time that he had been at all critical of the coal industry. It was truly unexpected.”

“Over the years, he’s been a proponent of coal,” added Art Kirkendoll, the influential Democratic president of the Logan County Commission. “He’s the ranking senator in the Senate, a very powerful man, has accomplished a lot of things. Anytime he makes a statement — especially about a controversial issue — it has an impact on things.”

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Air Pollutants, Air Quality Standards & Emissions, Air, Atmosphere, & Weather, Art, Causes, Coal0 Comments

U.S. to Help Finance Climate Change Fund

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Dec. 17 (UPI) — The United States will contribute to a $100 billion fund to help developing countries address climate change, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday.

Speaking at the U.N.-sponsored climate change summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, Clinton said the yearly contribution would be contingent on reaching a substantial accord that includes “transparency” in tracking emission cuts by major developing countries, The Washington Post reported.

Earlier in the week, China said it would not permit independent verification of its pledged emission cuts, saying Chinese laws would ensure the cuts were made.

As the conference barrels toward its conclusion Friday, Chinese and U.S. officials indicated a final political agreement on climate change likely won’t happen when the environmental summit concludes, The New York Times reported.

The stalemate is over emission controls for developing countries, including China, and how wealthy nations would help finance poorer countries to address climate change issues. Delegations said they had hoped to reach an interim agreement on the issues that would have “immediate operational effect,” but China didn’t indicate it would sign on, the Times said.

“I still believe it’s possible to reach a real success,” the United Nations climate secretary, Yvo de Boer, said Wednesday. “But I must say that in that context, the next 24 hours are absolutely crucial and need to be used productively.”

Accompanying Clinton to the Danish capital were U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and other legislators. President Barack Obama will arrive Friday.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Air Pollution Prevention, Air Pollution Remediation, Air Quality Standards & Emissions, Other0 Comments

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