Environmental Stories to Watch: 2011
World Resources Institute
January 6, 2011
Global Vision for a Sustainable Earth
Practical Solutions for People
Twitter Hashtag: #stw11 - www.wri.org/storiestowatch
(Khalid Tanveer/Associated Press)
NASA satellite image of the ice island (top-left quadrant of image) that recently broke off the floating ice shelf of the Petermann Glacier in northwest Greenland. Credit: NASA.
Russia burning, August, 2010
REUTERS / Denis Sinyakov
Flooding in Pakistan, August, 2010
The Associated Press
BP's Oil Spill,
April 20-July 15, 2010
Source: EPA, http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/usinventoryreport.html
Coal-Fired Power Plant
Gas-Fired Power Plant
Solar Power Station
Nuclear Power Plant
(29% US Emissions)
New post-2017 standards for cars and light trucks
First-ever standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks to be finalized in 2011
Electric Power Sector
(34% US Emissions)
Pre-construction permitting program applies BACT to new large GHG pollution sources
Performance standards for existing power plants will be proposed byJuly 26, 2011; finalized by May 26, 2012
(15% US Emissions)
Performance standards for existing refineries to be proposed by December 15, 2011; finalized in November 15, 2012
WATCH THE U.S. EPA
With the failure of comprehensive climate change legislation, and the unlikely prospects for legislation in the new Congress, we have our eyes on what is possible without new legislation. As you may recall, we issued a one-of-its-kind report last July that looks at the range of possible federal actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the absence of new federal legislation. After identifying the possible actions, we have begun tracking those actions on our website through an interactive web portal, pictured here in the bottom right of this slide.
What can we say about where EPA stands among the possible actions it can take without new legislation?
The U.S. EPA has either begun regulating or has signaled its intent to regulate the three largest polluting sectors: transportation, electricity and industry.
In transportation, EPA and NHTSA have adopted the first national vehicle emissions standards fro cars and light trucks through model year 2016, and has issued a notice of intent to issue standards for the period from 2017. In addition, EPA and the NHTSA have proposed the first vehicle emissions standards for medium- and heavy duty trucks and other vehicles.
In the electric power sector, much attention has been paid to EPAâs pre-construction permitting program that will require Best Available Control Technology (BACT) for new power plants and large industrial facilities. But we know that that program will not produce the emissions reductions from existing power plants. Those will come from the performance standard regulations that EPA has scheduled for the development and issuance over the next 18 months.
In the industrial sector, EPA will begin regulation of refineries, the largest of the industrial sources and a sector that cannot pick up and move oversees.
A couple of other points are worth keeping in mind:
Based on our study, HFCs (used mostly as refrigerants) could account for a significant chunk of the emissions possible by 2020. This means that success with the Montreal Protocol process is important to HFC reductions in the U.S. Or U.S. leadership on the issue domestically even in the absence of an international agreement under the Montreal Protocol.
In our study, we did not expect significant reductions from refineries based on the available literature.
Reductions from landfills and coal mines should be cheap and available, but there is as yet no movement to grab these reductions.
Put Corn in
Your Tank ?
Total Global Liquid Biofuel Production (megatonnes), 1980-2008
Source: International Energy Agency, Online Data Services, 2010, http://data.iea.org/.
Projected Increase in Global Fertilizer* Consumption
Source: FAO data cited in Selman, M. and S. Greenhalgh. 2009. Eutrophication: Sources and Drivers. Water Quality: Eutrophication and Hypoxia Policy Note Series No.2. Washington, DC: World Resources Institute
*Fertilizer consumption includes nitrogen, phosphates, and potash.
Irrigation has allowed us to feed more people using the same amount of landâ¦
Source: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0014/001454/145405E.pdf (page 252)
Pollution to rivers is increasing
source: Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
% Increase in nitrogen flows in rivers since the mid-1990s
Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, State and Trends Figure 12.3
Geography of Relative Increases in Riverborne Nitrogen Fluxes Resulting from Anthropogenic Acceleration of Cycle. Contemporary time is from the mid-1990s. While the peculiarities of individual pollutants, rivers, and governance define the specific character of water pollution, the general patterns observed for nitrogen are representative of anthropogenic changes to the transport of waterborne constituents. Elevated contemporary loadings to one part of the system (e.g., to croplands) often reverberate to other parts of the system (e.g., coastal zones), exceeding the capacity of natural systems to assimilate additional constituents. (Green et al. 2004)
Water pollution may increase water treatment costs for industry, e.g., semiconductor manufacturing.
Source: USDA, Foreign Agricultural Service, Commodity Intelligence Report: http://www.pecad.fas.usda.gov/highlights/2009/03/Indonesia/
A soybean shipment at a farm in Brazil. The new link between Brazil and China marks a profound shift in world agricultural trade. Once the biggest bilateral food trade flowed between the United States, the world's largest food exporter, and Japan. But countries with vast arable land for expansion, particularly Brazil, are now racing to meet demand in China.
Lalo de Almeida for The New York Times
Source: Oedekoven, 1980 (in Williams 2006)
More than a billion hectares of degraded forest landscapes offer opportunities for restoration
The colonization of Brazil also led to massive deforestation, including the coastal rain forest.
GM Chevrolet Volt: $41,000
Nissan Leaf: $32,780
Ford Focus EV: TBA
Coda Sedan: $44,900
Source: Andrew Simpson
By 2012, China will have more kms of HSR than the rest of the world combined.
Photo by Philip Roeland
EMBARQâs projects have served more than a billion passengers.
kilometers of high-capacity transit built
tons of CO2 reduced
travel time reduced per trip
Photo by SUM-Turkiye.
Rio de Janeiro
Developed country targets and developing country actions to be documented under UNFCCC
Parties to submit information on their targets
More frequent and better reporting for major economies
An international review of countries climate actions
Create an international registry
A Green Climate Fund
Deliver fast-start funding and identify other possible long-term sources of funding
A commitment and framework to reduce pressures on forests
Agree definitions and rules
Make the safeguards operational
Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang (L) speaks at a seminar on drawing up China's 12th Five-Year (2011 to 2015) Plan in Ningbo City, east China's Zhejiang Province, Dec. 7, 2010.
article in BusinessGreen, January 4, 2011
Photo via Fulton County Republicans
Environmental Stories to Watch: 2011
Twitter Hashtag: #stw11