Friday, January 21News That Matters

Tag: Air Pollution

Mexico Is Buying a Texas Oil Refinery in a Quest for Energy Independence

Business
DEER PARK, Texas — Two giant murals, on storage tanks at an oil refinery here, depict the rebels led by Sam Houston who secured Texas’ independence from Mexico in the 1830s. This week those murals will become the property of the Mexican national oil company, which is acquiring full control of the refinery.The refinery purchase is part of President Andres Manuel López Obrador’s own bid for an independence of sorts. In an effort to achieve energy self-sufficiency, the president of Mexico is investing heavily in the state-owned oil company, placing a renewed emphasis on petroleum production and retreating from renewable energy even as some oil giants like BP and Royal Dutch Shell are investing more in that sector.Mr. López Obrador aims to eliminate most Mexican oil exports over the next two y...

U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Bounced Back Sharply in 2021

Technology, World
WASHINGTON — America’s greenhouse gas emissions from energy and industry rose 6.2 percent in 2021 as the economy began recovering from pandemic lows and the nation’s coal plants roared back to life, according to a preliminary estimate published Monday by the Rhodium Group.The rebound was not a total surprise: The nation’s emissions had plummeted more than 10 percent in 2020, the largest one-year drop on record, after the initial coronavirus outbreak triggered widespread lockdowns and energy use plunged to its lowest level in decades. As restrictions eased and economic activity picked back up, emissions were expected to bounce back.“If anything, last year’s rebound in emissions was lower than it could have been because the pandemic is still causing disruptions and the economy isn’t back to ...

Health Risks of Smoke and Ozone Rise in the West as Wildfires Worsen

Technology, World
The researchers also found a connection between the pollution and patterns of atmospheric “ridging,” the development of stagnant zones of high-pressure air. These zones, sometimes called heat domes, lead to increasing heat and drying that can cause wildfires to ignite and spread more readily, and can also cause dangerous heat waves. The frequency of these ridging patterns has increased significantly since 2000, according to the new research.The study analyzed data only through 2020. “But I think 2021 would show up pretty high on some of these metrics, too,” Mr. Kalashnikov said. There were several enormous wildfires in the West last summer that spread smoke across the West, and extreme heat and drought persisted throughout the region.Understand the Lastest News on Climate ChangeCard 1 of 3...
Fight Over Gas Stoves and Furnaces in the Effort to Slow Climate Change

Fight Over Gas Stoves and Furnaces in the Effort to Slow Climate Change

Technology, World
That spring, Arizona, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Louisiana passed laws that barred cities from banning natural gas. In Oklahoma, the gas industry drew support from groups like the AARP, the influential lobby for older Americans, as well as restaurants, hotels, homebuilders and barbecue equipment makers.“The message was: ‘You don’t want these California liberals telling you that you can’t have a gas stove,’” said Mary Boren, a Democratic state senator in Oklahoma who voted against the bill.In a statement, Bill Malcolm, a senior legislative representative at the AARP, said the group had “supported legislative and regulatory initiatives allowing customers to continue to use the fuel of their choice to heat their homes and cook their food.” He added: “Outright bans on certain fuel options would r...
China and the United States Agree to Work Together to Tackle Climate Change

China and the United States Agree to Work Together to Tackle Climate Change

Technology, World
Scientists have said that nations need to cut global emissions from fossil fuels roughly in half this decade to keep average global temperatures from rising beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, compared with preindustrial levels. Beyond that threshold, the risks of deadly heat waves, droughts, wildfires, floods and species extinction grow considerably. The planet has already warmed 1.1 degrees Celsius.Negotiators here from nearly 200 countries are likely to demand significant changes to the draft as the talks enter their last, most difficult stretch. By tradition, a new global agreement requires every party to sign on. If any one nation objects, talks can deadlock.The British prime minister, Boris Johnson, returned to Glasgow on Wednesday to urge countries to set aside di...

6 Automakers and 30 Countries Say They’ll Phase Out Gasoline Car Sales

Technology, World
GLASGOW — At least six major automakers — including Ford, Mercedes-Benz, General Motors and Volvo — and 30 national governments pledged on Wednesday to work toward phasing out sales of new gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles by 2040 worldwide, and by 2035 in “leading markets.”But some of the world’s biggest car manufacturers, including Toyota, Volkswagen, and the Nissan-Renault alliance did not join the pledge, which is not legally binding. And the governments of the United States, China and Japan, three of the largest car markets, also abstained.The announcement, made during international climate talks here, was hailed by climate advocates as yet another sign that the days of the internal combustion engine could soon be numbered. Electric vehicles continue to set new global sales records...
Barack Obama Calls for ‘Ongoing Activism’ In COP26 Speech

Barack Obama Calls for ‘Ongoing Activism’ In COP26 Speech

Technology, World
To the extent President Biden has been able to restore Mr. Obama’s climate agenda, it has been through diplomatic moves, like rejoining the Paris Agreement, or through legislation that, if it wins passage, will do so almost entirely on Democratic votes because Republicans have withheld support.“One of our two major parties has decided not only to sit on the sidelines, but express active hostility toward climate science and make climate change a partisan issue,” Mr. Obama said.“Saving the planet isn’t a partisan issue,” he said, adding that politics don’t matter “if your Florida house is flooded by rising seas, or your crops fail in the Dakotas or your California house is burning down. Nature, science do not care about party affiliation.”His agenda was carefully curated. In addition to a pl...

Can Glasgow Deliver on a Global Climate Deal?

Technology, World
GLASGOW — The international climate summit here has been billed by its chief organizer as the “last, best hope” to save the planet. But as the United Nations conference enters its second week and negotiators from 197 countries knuckle down to finalize a new agreement to tackle global warming, attendees were sharply divided over how much progress is being made.There’s the optimistic view: Heads of state and titans of industry showed up in force last week with splashy new climate promises, a sign that momentum was building in the right direction.“I believe what is happening here is far from business as usual,” said John Kerry, President Biden’s special envoy on climate change, who has been attending U.N. climate summits since 1992. “I have never counted as many initiatives and as much real m...
Energy Department Aims to Slash Cost of Removing Carbon From the Air

Energy Department Aims to Slash Cost of Removing Carbon From the Air

Technology, World
GLASGOW — The U.S. Department of Energy on Friday unveiled its biggest effort yet to drastically reduce the cost of technologies that suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, in a recognition that current strategies to lower greenhouse gases may not be enough to avert the worst effects of climate change.At the United Nations climate summit, Jennifer Granholm, the energy secretary, said that her agency would invest in research in the nascent field of carbon removal, with a goal of pushing the cost under $100 per ton by 2030. That’s far below the price tag for many current technologies, which are still in early stages of development and can currently cost as much as $2,000 per ton.The ultimate aim is to identify techniques that can remove billions of tons of carbon dioxide already in the a...
Effort to Reframe Climate Change as a Health Crisis Gains Steam

Effort to Reframe Climate Change as a Health Crisis Gains Steam

Technology, World
For the first time at a major United Nations climate conference, human health is emerging as a leading issue, a reframing that brings climate change’s far-reaching and long-lasting effects to the forefront.Although health has been addressed at conferences going back to the first U.N. environmental summit in 1992, never before has it held such a central role. The 2015 Paris accord, the global agreement among nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, was billed foremost as a historic environmental moment.However, “the Paris Agreement is not an environmental treaty,” said Dr. Maria Neira, the director of the World Health Organization’s department on environment, climate change and health. “It is a basic public health treaty.”There is a growing body of research showing that climate change is...