New rule expected to improve health, lower vehicle emissions
And the Big Tobacco-style campaign to bury it.
New rule expected to improve health, lower vehicle emissions
And the Big Tobacco-style campaign to bury it.
Franco Phan, 22, blows smoke rings using an electronic cigarette at a restaurant in Oakland, Calif.
Bill Nye The Science Guy pleaded for action to address climate change in a debate Sunday with Tennessee Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who called climate science “unproven.”
“There is no debate in the scientific community. And I encourage the congresswoman to look at the facts,” Nye, the former children’s educational personality said in a debate on “Meet the Press” Sunday. “We need you to change things, not to deny what’s happening.”
He clashed with Blackburn, the vice chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee — the panel in charge of producing and overseeing energy and climate regulations.
“Neither he nor I are climate scientists. He’s an engineer and actor; I’m a member of Congress,” she said. Of the scientific evidence of climate change, she said: “There is not consensus there.”
Blackburn said that even if she were to concede Nye’s assertions about the validity of climate change, lawmakers and regulators should still look to a cost-benefit analysis of new laws and rules before imposing them.
“What we need to be looking at is the way to achieve efficiencies,” she said.
Nye, who debated a noted creationist over the science behind evolution in a heavily-publicized event earlier this month, argued in favor of using every available tool to address the threat of climate change immediately.
“It would be everybody’s interests to just get going,” he said. “The more we mess around with this denial, the less we’re going to get done.”
The debate comes as the gulf between President Barack Obama and Republicans in Congress on issues of climate change continues to grow. The GOP has continued to pressure Obama to approve construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, for instance, and relax regulations of producing energy from “tracking.”
Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), by contrast, is working to create rules that would unilaterally impose limits on carbon pollution. The executive action comes after climate change legislation — a priority of the president’s upon taking office in 2009 — was passed by Democrats in the House that year, but has stalled since the GOP won control of the lower chamber in 2010.
Secretary of State John Kerry also kicked off a series of speeches on climate change this weekend, beginning with remarks in Jakarta, Indonesia on Sunday blasting deniers of climate science.
“First and foremost we should not allow a tiny minority of shoddy scientists and science and extreme ideologues to compete with scientific fact nor should we allow any room that the costs associated with doing the right thing outweigh the benefits there are people who say it is too expensive we can’t do this,” said Kerry, who as senator had spearheaded efforts for environmental legislation.
Watch Video: Flurry of Storms: A Result of Climate Change?
A Valentine’s Day earthquake in South Carolina alarmed millions of residents who’d just finished digging out of a rare snowstorm. Large earthquakes are rare in the Southern piedmont.
The agency is looking for environmentally friendly ways to reduce stormwater entering sewers
A Paramount case spotlights poor communities’ struggle for action on local pollution sources.
As climate change makes the weather ever more unpredictable, ski towns are looking for ways to prepare for the changes ahead.
BOSTON — An earthquake was felt in southeastern Massachusetts on Tuesday afternoon.
The US Geological Service confirmed that a 2.4-magnitude quake centered near Dartmouth occurred at 5:46 p.m.
Viewers reported feeling the rumble in Fairhaven, Mattapoisett and New Bedford.
Within minutes of the jolt, WCVB’s Facebook fans started commenting about what they felt.
“Jumped off the couch it was so loud in Acushnet,” Lori Souza commented on Facebook.
“Heard a rumble then a boom in Fairhaven,” wrote Nancy Vigeant.
“Felt it in the far north end of New Bedford. I thought the dogs were running around but they were laying still on the floor,” said Greg Cormier.
There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.
1. Contaminants have variety of effects on Arctic baby IQs
Boucher O, G Muckle, JL Jacobson, RC Carter, M Kaplan-Estrin, P Ayotte, É Dewailly, SW Jacobson. 2014. Domain-specific effects of prenatal exposure to PCBs, mercury, and lead on infant cognition: Results from the Environmental Contaminants and Child Development Study in Nunavik. Environmental Health Perspectives. http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1206323.
|The Inuit are among the most contaminated people on Earth. They eat marine mammals, high on food webs, that are contaminated by industrial chemicals.|
Babies in Arctic Canada are at risk of specific effects on their mental abilities, depending on which contaminants they are exposed to in the womb, according to a new study.
While lead, methylmercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) all are linked to neurological effects, each seems to have a different effect on infants, the scientists concluded. For example, PCBs seemed to impair the babies’ ability to recognize things they have seen.
The study involved 94 Inuit infants and their mothers from Nunavik, in northern Quebec. PCBs, mercury and other pollutants hitchhike north via prevailing winds and currents from industrialized areas, and then accumulate in food webs, predominantly in the eastern Arctic. Because the Inuit in Canada and Greenland eat top predators such as beluga whales and seals, they are among the world’s most contaminated human beings.
The scientists measured the babies’ prenatal exposure to the three contaminants by testing cord blood, and then administered standard mental development tests at 6.5 months and 11 months. The tests involve retrieving toys from under cloth covers, recognizing photographs and performing tasks related to motor skills.
The research was designed to pinpoint the exact damage inflicted on developing brains, which will help experts determine which effects to look for when the children reach school age.
“Each contaminant was independently associated with impairment of distinct aspects of cognitive function with long-term implications for cognitive development – PCBs with visual recognition memory, methylmercury with working memory and an early precursor of executive function, lead with processing speed – deficits that can already be detected during the first year of life,” the authors wrote.
For the research, scientists at Quebec’s Centre de Recherche du CHUQ, who have been studying effects of contaminants on Inuit children for two decades, teamed up with Wayne State University scientists who conducted groundbreaking work in the Great Lakes linking PCBs to reduced IQs in the 1990s.
“This specificity is consistent with our previous findings suggesting that the recognition memory deficit is specific to prenatal PCB exposure and different from effects of other neurotoxicants, including alcohol and cocaine,” the authors wrote.
Similar findings have been reported for children in Michigan, Oswego, N.Y., the Faroe Islands and Taiwan – all areas where many babies are highly exposed to PCBs or mercury from their mothers’ consumption of fish or marine mammals.
“These data provide compelling evidence for the utility of narrow band measures of infant cognition in studies of neurotoxic pollutants,” the researchers wrote.
They added that their findings support efforts in Nunavik to reduce consumption of marine mammals. Pregnant women there are urged to eat Arctic char and other finfish instead.
Readmittance risk doubles if child with asthma is around secondhand smoke
Volunteers are needed for a preliminary count of non-auto trips through Coolidge Corner for one or two hours – whatever you can do! We have 40 years of bicycle trip counts, but very limited pedestrian count data. These counts help us understand how and where people move in and through our commercial areas, which influences our infrastructure plans and helps our local businesses. We expect to repeat these counts at other times of year to provide on-going data. Please email email@example.com ahead of time to volunteer!
This year’s parade is Sunday, May 18th
Join us for the 7th annual Brookline Bike Parade! Sunday, May 18th, 2014, at 12 noon. The parade will start promptly at 1 pm. Meet at Amory Park. Free bike safety checks begin at noon courtesy of Landry’s, Urban AdvenTours, East Coast Alpine and MyBike!
This is a great excuse to pump up the old two-wheeler and have fun with hundreds of your bicycling buddies.
If you register for the parade online, you can skip the registration on the day of the parade.
15 hours ago
By the time today’s preschoolers are babysitting their grandkids, global sea levels are likely to be pushing 2 feet higher than they are now and on the way to topping 8 feet above current levels by the year 2200, according to a new study.
The finding stems from geologic evidence that allowed scientists to tease apart a natural background pattern of how fast and how high sea levels rose as ice ages came and went over the past 2 million years.
Today’s pace of sea level rise is about twice as fast compared to historical standards, the team concluded. Going forward, seas will be pushed higher as rising temperatures force the great ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica to disintegrate, glaciers around the world to retreat toward mountaintops, and warming ocean waters to expand, the study notes.
“We have awoken a sleeping giant,” Eelco Rohling, a climate scientist at the Australian National University in Canberra, told NBC News in an email. “He is now here to stay.” To stand a chance at halting the rise and preserving today’s coastal cities, he added, “We must virtually immediately take measures of carbon reduction.”
The sleeping giant is the loss of ice in Greenland and Antarctica, a process that is slow to start and slow to stop. “We cannot expect that, once moving, big ice masses will screech to a halt,” he explained. “So we better get used to sea level rising, and rising increasingly quickly.”
The rise won’t stop until the seas are about 25 to 30 feet higher than they are today. And that’s assuming atmospheric concentrations of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide stabilize at around 400 parts per million, a milestone that was crossed in May for the first time in more than 3 million years.
The finding, reported this week in the journal Scientific Reports, is consistent with the amount of sea level rise the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Changesaid is likely under a so-called business-as-usual scenario where no action is taken to curb global greenhouse gas emissions.
“The study confirms, from a geological perspective, that our current greenhouse gas emissions are committing our planet to a sea level rise of several meters,” Stefan Rahmstorf, an expert on sea level rise at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, told NBC News in an email. He was not involved with the new study.
Rohling, who studies the geological records of ancient climates, and colleagues, compared their data to historical tide-gauge and satellite observations since coal-powered machinery revolutionized industry in the 18th century.
They found that the current rate of rise is about two times faster than it was during any other period between ice ages, known as interglacials. However, variables that force temperatures higher, such as greenhouse gases, are increasing 10 times faster today than at any time prior to the industrial revolution.
“It is not a given that” the faster rise of greenhouse gas emissions “must result in a faster response of sea level rise because ice sheets are very slow,” Rohling explained. “One could easily imagine that the processes of ice decay would limit how fast sea level rise can take place, no matter how fast the” greenhouse gases increase.
In fact, the current pace of sea level rise is on the high end of “normal,” given what is known about the physical processes that govern the loss of ice in Greenland and Antarctica, the team found.
“This is interesting, because that might indicate that we understand ice physics well enough, and that we do not yet have to start thinking about processes that we don’t understand, or even know about,” Rohling said.
Such processes could, for example, be the disintegration of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, which is currently stable. Several studies indicate that the ice there could disappear when atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations reach 1,000 parts per million. If that happens, Rohling noted, “then all bets are off.”