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.
August 4, 2005
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.
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 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 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.
The Reaction to Kelo
This article discusses the move in 28 states to limit condemnation powers. Link: law.com - Article.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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]
5 31 hits Governance of International Institutions: [new]
A Review of the North American Commission for
Environmental Cooperation's Citizen Submissions
David L. Markell
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
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
9 23 hits Some Thoughts on Shortsightedness [new]
and Intergenerational Equity
Brett M. Frischmann
Loyola University of Chicago