The remote mountaintop Mauna Loa Observatory (MLO) in Hawaii is an ideal location for monitoring the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. For 24 hours on May 9 the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere atop exceeded 400 parts per million, or 0.04 pct. That is the highest CO2 level for more than two million years, it is the highest concentration in human history, and is a historically rapid increase of about 120 ppm since before the industrial revolution began in 1750. Passing 400 ppm is also an indication that the current efforts to curb CO2 emissions are inadequate, and we are on course for dramatic changes in the Earth’s climate. (more…)
- A Milestone We Do Not Want – CO2 Concentration Exceeds 400 ppm Even to just slow climate change will need much greater effort. (May 18, 2013)
- Can Obama Bypass Congress on Climate Change? Here’s hoping that the President can bypass Congress and work through the EPA. (May 18, 2013)
- Closing the Fracking Loopholes. Second Congressional attempt to plug the Halliburton loophole. (May 18, 2013)
- NY Appeals Court Upholds Local Fracking Ban Major victory for our friends up north. (May 18, 2013)
- Sierra Club Endorses Dan Gilman for Pittsburgh City Council Candidate running for Peduto’s empty seat in Distrct 8. (May 18, 2013)
- 'Gasland Part II' Coming to Pittsburgh June 20 Mark you calendar now for show at Soldiers and Sailors Hall in Oakland. (May 18, 2013)
Just how serious is President Obama about tackling climate change is a question that goes back at least to his 2012 acceptance speech, and has continued. In an interesting article Jonathan Chait suggests that Obama may indeed turn out to be the Environmental President, managing to bypass Congress and using the Federal environmental laws that were enacted during the Nixon years. Chait expands on this “EPA” approach in a subsequent on-line article. Both Chait’s articles are well worth reading.
If a nationwide moratorium on hydrofracking is not yet in the cards, at least we can close some of most egregious loopholes. That is what the bipartisan Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act (FRAC Act) is designed to do. Introduced on May 9 by Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO1) and Chris Gibson (R-NY19 ), the FRAC Act would do the following: (more…)
In an encouraging move for Fractivists and folk worried about local rights, on May 2 a New York Appeals Court upheld the right of a municipality to use zoning laws to ban hydro fracking operations in their district. This decision was discussed in detail on the Diane Rehm Show on NPR (51 mins) with participants including Deborah Goldberg (Earth justice) and Micheal Brune (Sierra Club).
On May the Pennsylvania Chapter Sierra Club unanimously endorsed Dan Gilman for District 8 in Pittsburgh City Council.
“Dan Gilman has been and will continue to be one of the strongest advocates in City Council for protecting the environment,” writes Allegheny Group Chair Barbara Grover. “Dan worked with a collaborative group of labor leaders, faith-based groups and environmental organizations to get City Council to pass Pittsburgh’s Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and prevailing wage bill. He is the only candidate who supports the ban on fracking in the city.” (more…)
|June 20, 2013|
As part of a national ‘preview’ tour Gasland Part II will be shown free to the public on Thursday, June 20, at the Soldiers and Sailors Hall in Oakland. Doors open at 6 pm with live music and the screening begins at 7 pm. Director Josh Fox will be present. Gasland Part II is an HBO Documentary Films release presented by Gasland Grassroots. It will premiere on HBO on July 8th.
For more than two years, we have witnessed the dismantling of environmental programs in the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Send a message to Gov. Corbett. Help shift the DEP back to taking care of our environment and our health, not the fossil fuel industry.
ACTION: Click HERE to say NO to the Canyon Mine.
In January 2011 environmentalists believed that they had a mayor victory when the Obama Administration decided to protect the Grand Canyon from uranium mining in nearby Kaibab National Forest. Now the Forest Service has granted Energy Fuels Resources permission to resume mining that was suspended more than 20 years ago. The Sierra Club is among a group suing the Forest Service based on the argument that the old permission was based on a flawed environmental study. Get more information below: (more…)
ACTION: Contact EPA’s Office of Chemical Pollution and request a suspension of the neonicotinoid seed coatings until independent scientists verify safety.
We recently reported on the suit against the EPA over honeybee collapse disorder, brought by a coalition that includes the Sierra Club. At issue is the suspicion that the world’s most widely used class of pesticides, neonicotinoids, may be the leading cause of colony collapse disorder. While we wait for EPA to act, on April 29 the European Commission announced steps to ban the use of three neonicotinoid pesticides for a period of two years for corn, rapeseed, and sunflower crops. Two European producers of the banned pesticides, Bayer of Germany and Sygenta of Switzerland, have said their products aren’t to blame for the bees’ decline. See Impact on PA and Fed report below. (more…)
Across the street from Pittsburgh’s iconic ‘green’ building – Phipps Conservatory – on April 30 representatives of Clean Water Action, Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania, and the Sierra Club rallied to personally endorse Bill Peduto for Mayor of Pittsburgh. “I am pleased to receive such enthusiastic endorsements from three of the leading environmental advocacy groups,” Peduto said. “Working together with their members, we will make Pittsburgh a model city in the area of protecting and preserving the environment.” (more…)
On the heels of the April 23 activist-aborted PNC bank shareholders meeting, the Rainforest Action Network (RAN), Sierra Club, and BankTrack issued their 2013 coal report card. Titled “Extreme Investments: U.S Banks and the Coal Industry”, the authors found that PNC followed Bank of America, Citigroup, and JPMorgan Chase with a ‘C’ for lending and underwriting for companies using mountaintop removall and an ‘F’ for financing companies that transport coal. (more…)
How much interest is there in Pennsylvania in locally-sourced foods? Vermont-based ‘Strolling with Heifers’ has published its annual Index of ‘locarvorism’ and ranked PA at 32nd, up from 38th last year. VT, ME, ND, IA and MT fill the top six slots, with NV, LA, FL and TX at the bottom. The Index is based on data obtained from farmers markets, consumer-supported agricultural operations, and food hubs.
There are still those who question whether the planet’s climate is changing, or perhaps whether the change is related to emissions of green house gases. They are the deniers, many of whom are influenced by the fossil fuel industry. At the Federal level President Obama acknowledges the existence and dangers of climate change, but it is still not clear how committed he is to taking forceful action; does he appreciate the impact of the Keystone XL Pipeline on climate change, and why has the EPA postponed regulation of GHG emissions from power plants? Meanwhile, many cities have moved way beyond denial and in-action, and are developing plans to adapt to the realities of climate change: rising sea levels, drought, health issues, desertification, more severe storms, heat waves, etc. (more…)
After receiving public comment the Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) has proposed removing chloride and sulfate standards from the final version of the state water quality standards. These are pollutants commonly found in oil and gas wastewater as well as from mining and coal power plants, its critical that we have these standards protecting our rivers and streams. Seen as concessions to industry, member groups of the state-wide Clean Water Campaign are asking the state Environmental Quality Board to reject the DEP proposal. (more…)
In a new 6-minute video Prof. Anthony Ingraffea summarizes the origin of methane from fracking operations and the contribution of methane to climate change. This is a useful video to pass along to others, showing how we need to focus on developing a truly green-fueled economy. For the interim, the fracking industry needs to drastically reduce methane emissions with or without strong EPA action.
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