Friday, August 5, 2005

Pre-historic people caused large mammal extinctions in North America

Ten thousand years ago, human hunters killed enough saber tooth cats, woolly mammoths, sloths and almost all other large mammals to drive them to extinction.  Since humans were able to do this with spears, imagine how readily we can do this now.

Link: Mason 2005 (801): 2 -- sciencenow.

August 5, 2005 in Biodiversity, North America, Physical Science | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 4, 2005

Hybrid hybrids

Toyota is investing heavily in hybrids.  The question is whether the hybrids will stress fuel economy or performance.  The answer according to Toyota will be "in the software."  You will be able to "push a button" to optimize for fuel economy or performance.

Link: Toyota Develops Hybrids With an Eye on the Future - New York Times.

August 4, 2005 in Air Quality, Climate Change, Economics, Energy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

EPA EnJustice?

GAO issued a report on EPA's consideration of environmental justice during three key Clean Air Act rulemakings.  GAOs bottom line is that environmental justice concerns don't count for much.  GAO Report

GAOs highlights of the report: When drafting the three clean air rules, EPA generally devoted little attention to environmental justice. While EPA guidance on rulemaking states that workgroups should consider environmental justice early in this process, GAO found that a lack of guidance and training for workgroup members on identifying environmental justice issues may have limited their
ability to identify such issues. In addition, while EPA officials stated that
economic reviews of proposed rules consider potential environmental
justice impacts, the gasoline and diesel rules did not provide decision
makers with environmental justice analyses, and EPA has not identified all
the types of data necessary to analyze such impacts. Finally, in all three
rules, EPA mentioned environmental justice when they were published in
proposed form, but the discussion in the ozone implementation rule was

In finalizing the three clean air rules, EPA considered environmental justice to varying degrees. Public commenters stated that all three rules, as proposed, raised environmental justice issues. In responding to such
comments on the gasoline rule, EPA published its belief that the rule would not create such issues, but did not publish the data and assumptions
supporting its belief. Specifically, EPA did not publish (1) its estimate that
potentially harmful air emissions would increase in 26 of the 86 counties
with refineries affected by the rule or (2) its assumption that this estimate
overstated the eventual increases in refinery emissions. For the diesel rule, in response to refiners’ concerns that their permits could be delayed if environmental justice issues were raised by citizens, EPA stated that the permits would not be delayed by such issues. Moreover, after reviewing the comments, EPA did not change its final economic reviews to discuss the gasoline and diesel rules’ potential environmental justice impacts. Finally, the portions of the ozone implementation rule that prompted the comments about environmental justice were not included in the final rule. Overall, EPA officials said that these rules, as published in final form, did not create an environmental justice issue.


August 4, 2005 in Air Quality, Governance/Management, US | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 3, 2005

The Science of Global Warming - Pollution is Cool

Scientists studying the effects of aerosols on the Atlantic Ocean confirm that smoke, dust, and pollution indeed may moderate the effects of global warming there.  Aerosols both reduce cloud droplet size and increase shallow cloud cover.  And the cloud cover effects are much more important than the effects of smaller droplet size. 

So, pollution is cool and climate models underestimate the impact of aerosols and thus exaggerate the likely amount of warming.  I guess this comes under the good news category, but...

Open Access Link: Kaufman aerosol study -- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

August 3, 2005 in Air Quality, Climate Change, Physical Science | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 2, 2005

Science -- Gulf Dead Zone Larger Than Thought

Scientists now expect a 4500 square mile dead zone in the Gulf rather than the 1500 square mile zone predicted by NOAA.  Link: CBS News | Gulf Dead Zone Larger Than Thought | August 2, 2005�12:00:22.  But the good news, also from NOAA, is that we expect more severe storms (up to 14 more named storms) by November.   That may stir up the gulf and shrink the dead zone a bit.

August 2, 2005 in Climate Change, Water Quality | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Reaction to Kelo

This article discusses the move in 28 states to limit condemnation powers.  Link: - Article.

August 2, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Science - First Large-Scale Study on The Role of Wolves

A forthcoming study in Ecology shows that wolves play a key role in the Banff ecosystem.   Eliminate the wolves -- and major changes occur in the ecosystem from carnivores to herbivores to vegetation.

sLink: CBC News: Banff food web shows sharp differences without wolves.

August 2, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, August 1, 2005

The Science of Global Warming: Hurricanes and Cyclones Twice as Powerful

In Nature, MIT scientist Kerry Emanuel reports that hurricanes and cyclones are twice as powerful now as they were 30 years ago.  Link: Christian Science Monitor Story following CBS News | Global Warming: Storm Steroids | August 1, 2005.

August 1, 2005 in Climate Change | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Quick Energy / Climate Reference

For those of you looking for a quick glossy introduction to Energy, here's a publication from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development Link: Basic-Facts-Trends-2050.

August 1, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Environmental Article Hit Parade: SSRN June/July

There are some articles moving up in the hit parade and several new entries on the chart!

Rank             Downloads    Paper Title

1               223                  hits  Chevron Step Zero [staying at #1]
                                          Cass R. Sunstein
                                          U. Chicago

2                71 hits                    Signaling Social Responsibility:  [moving from 6 to 2]
                                          On the Law and Economics of Market Incentives for                               
                                          Corporate Environmental Performance
                                          Jason Scott Johnston
                                          U. Pa

3                     40 hits                    Order without Social Norms:   [moving from 8 to 3]
                                          How Personal Norm Activation Can Protect the         
                                          Michael P. Vandenbergh

4                34 hits             The Scope of Regulatory Bargaining [new]
                                          Jim Rossi
                                          Florida State

5                     31 hits                   Governance of International Institutions:   [new]
                                         A Review of the North American Commission for                        
                                         Environmental Cooperation's Citizen Submissions
                                         David L. Markell
                                         Florida State

6                29 hits                  Sustainable Development and   [new]
                                        Private Global Governance
                                        Douglas A. Kysar

7                    28  hits                  Operational versus Rhetorical Sustainability:  [new]
                                        Conflicting Goals, Values and Functions
                                        David Barnhizer

8                     24 hits                  Mustering the Missing Voices:   [new]
A Collaborative Model for                        
                                        Fostering Equality, Community Involvement and               
                                        Adaptive Planning in Land Use Decisions, I
                                        Alejandro E. Camacho
                                        Notre Dame

9                    23 hits                 Some Thoughts on Shortsightedness  [new]
and Intergenerational Equity
                                       Brett M. Frischmann
                                       Loyola University of Chicago

July 31, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)