January 2, 2016
By Veerabhadran Ramanathan and Daniel Press Among climate scientists, the consensus is that we must become carbon-neutral by 2050 to avoid catastrophic environmental disruptions. Negotiators at the recent summit in Paris accordingly focused on curbing carbon dioxide emissions. There's a major problem, however, with a CO2-centric strategy. Because carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere for a century or more, and because we won't abandon fossil fuels overnight, neutrality by 2050 simply isn't good enough to keep the Earth from warming 2 degrees Celsius - the generally agreed-upon limit - much less the ambitious goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius that many nations support.
December 30, 2015
ISSUE | DEATH PENALTY Reprieve warranted The Jewish Social Policy Action Network applauds the unanimous decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upholding Gov. Wolf's grant of a reprieve to death-row inmate Terrance Williams ("Court backs Wolf in Phila. death penalty case," Dec. 22). The decision was in keeping with the position taken by JSPAN in a detailed statement of interest supporting a brief filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, in which we reviewed our long-standing opposition to capital punishment as it is imposed, based on a reading of many Jewish sources and our concern about its moral implications.
December 8, 2015 |
Nearly 200 world leaders - among them the heads of state of the two countries that produce the most carbon dioxide emissions, China and the United States - made strong statements to open the continuing climate control summit in Paris last week. But any accord reached before the meeting ends Friday will likely lack the thunder of their speeches. Even before the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) began, scientists warned that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was setting the bar too low. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon voiced similar pessimism, saying the reductions in carbon dioxide emissions being pledged by each country were too modest.
August 4, 2015 |
Energy policy dinosaurs are trying to trample new Environmental Protection Agency rules designed to cut carbon pollution from its most prolific source: coal-fired electricity plants. Republicans in Congress and 10 governors are fighting the Clean Power Plan, which would regulate carbon dioxide from coal plants. Each state is supposed to draft its own plan. Some governors say they won't, but that would only result in the Environmental Protection Agency's writing a state plan for them.
July 7, 2015 |
MONTOURSVILLE, Pa. - The inside of the Twin Otter airplane was turned into a flying laboratory, crammed with racks of computer equipment and an array of suitcase-sized plastic containers. Its mission: to fly over the busy natural-gas drilling operations of northeastern Pennsylvania so a pair of scientists could measure how much of the stuff was leaking into the atmosphere. In particular, the researchers were interested in the prime component of natural gas, an odorless substance called methane that gets much of the blame for global warming.
January 27, 2015
ISSUE | ENERGY POLICY Nuclear generation key to lower carbon While taking a welcome stance in favor of achieving carbon neutrality in Pennsylvania, State Rep. Greg Vitali (D., Delaware) was remiss in his failure to highlight nuclear energy as an emissions-free source that must remain part of the state's energy mix if it is serious about carbon reduction ("Issues facing Pa. leaders," Jan. 20). Pennsylvania's existing nuclear energy plants provide more than 34 percent of its electricity and account for an impressive 93 percent of emissions-free electricity.
January 19, 2015 |
An ancient, highly porous form of charcoal is being touted as a godsend for soil health and fertility - transforming farms, home gardens, and urban and suburban landscapes. It might even combat climate change. Any wonder they're calling biochar a "miracle product"? "It's important not to promise too much, but this is mind-popping stuff," says Dale Hendricks, owner of Green Light Plants, a wholesale organic nursery in Landenberg, Chester County, who talks up biochar to public gardens and local garden clubs, and cooks his own in barrels, kilns, and a wood stove.
June 4, 2014 |
A proposed federal rule to reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants - a signature initiative for the Obama administration - would not only address climate change but protect public health, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said in announcing it Monday. But how Pennsylvania and New Jersey would meet that mandate is still very much up in the air. By 2030, the nation's power sector would, on average, have to reduce carbon dioxide emissions 30 percent below 2005 levels.
February 25, 2014
Most people don't walk around thinking about the air they breathe. If they did, a new report that says one of the most powerful contributors to global warming is much more prevalent than previously thought might make them stumble. The ecological villain is methane, a primary component of natural gas, which Stanford University researchers now believe is 50 percent more common in the atmosphere than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had thought. That matters because methane is believed to be 30 times more powerful than carbon dioxide in causing global warming.
November 13, 2013 |
For many who spoke up at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's public meeting here last week on limiting carbon pollution from power plants - no matter which side they took - it all came down to this: their children. "It's time to clean up the air for the health of our children," said Gretchen Dahlkemper-Alfonso, a Philadelphia mother of three and a leader of the environmental group Moms Clean Air Force. Bryan Palko was worried about his offspring, too, but for a different reason.