Air
Even As Air Pollution Drops, Communities of Color in the U.S. Still Breathe Dirtier Air

Even As Air Pollution Drops, Communities of Color in the U.S. Still Breathe Dirtier Air

Although absolute disparities in terms of exposure to air pollution have fallen, relative disparities remain a new study published this week in Science showed. What they found, in the words of Emily Holden in The Guardian, was that “wealthy white Americans are still getting to breathe cleaner air than lower-income communities of color, despite significant nationwide reductions in pollution since the 1980s.”

Why This Matters: We see time and time again how intimately intertwined environmental justice is with racial justice. It is not enough that the absolute disparity of air pollution has fallen.

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EPA IG Investigating Trump Team’s Clean Car Rule Replacement

EPA IG Investigating Trump Team’s Clean Car Rule Replacement

The internal watchdog (Inspector General or IG) of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced they had opened an investigation into the Safer Affordable Fuel Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles rule, Coral Davenport and Lisa Friedman reported in the New York Times last week.

Why This Matters: As Vickie Patton, general counsel for the Environmental Defense Fund, told the NYT, “this is really serious…It’s rare for E.P.A.’s inspector general to conduct an investigation of the agency’s rule-making.”

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Federal Judge Dismisses Trump Administration Lawsuit Over CA-Canada Cap and Trade

Federal Judge Dismisses Trump Administration Lawsuit Over CA-Canada Cap and Trade

A federal judge on Friday dismissed a challenge brought by the Trump administration against a greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program that creates a market for emissions credits between the state of California and the Canadian province of Quebec.

Why This Matters: The Trump administration challenged the program because it argued California had no authority to deal directly with the government of another nation — that its program usurps the federal government’s primacy in foreign affairs.

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Climate TRACE Project Aims to Identify Carbon Emissions Everywhere In Real Time

Climate TRACE Project Aims to Identify Carbon Emissions Everywhere In Real Time

To comply with the Paris Climate Agreement it is crucial to actually track the emissions of greenhouse gases from places like power plants and factories. One newly announced project, Climate TRACE (Tracking Real-Time Atmospheric Carbon Emissions) Coalition, a coalition of nonprofits and tech companies backed by Al Gore, is working to identify emissions from every single specific source, Adele Peters reported in Fast Company yesterday.

Why This Matters: Currently, emissions data is often self-reported, and, according to Fast Company, it “can sometimes take years for the data to be gathered.”

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Aridification Spreading in North America a New Study Finds

Aridification Spreading in North America a New Study Finds

As we expand our understanding of climate change, scientists have begun to focus on the growing role warming temperatures are playing as a potent driver of greater aridity–which is different than drought. As NOAA describes it, drought is “a period of abnormally dry weather sufficiently long enough to cause a serious hydrological imbalance”. Aridity is […]

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Greenhouse Gasses Declining Globally, But In U.S., Air Pollution Not Down As Much

Greenhouse Gasses Declining Globally, But In U.S., Air Pollution Not Down As Much

A study published yesterday in the journal Nature Climate Change found that greenhouse gas emissions are down by 17% globally compared to 2019 levels thanks to strict coronavirus lockdowns, which could result in as much as a 7% decline in emissions for the year. 

Why This Matters:  We need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 4-7% each year globally for the foreseeable future to keep global temperature increases in check.

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