San Diego Vows to Transition to 100% Renewable Energy by 2035
San Diego this week became the nation's first city to make a pledge to transition to all renewable energy. The move comes on the heels of a historic agreement reached in Paris last week, where 195 world leaders vowed to lower greenhouse gas emissions. Other cities like New York and San Francisco have said they intend to increase their use of renewable energy, but San Diego is the first to make it legally binding. In a unanimous vote, members of the City Council passed a measure requiring the city to use 100 percent renewable energy sources by the year 2035. The measure also mandates that half of the city's automobile fleet will be electric in five years. To reach its goal, a spokesman said, the city will count on residents installing solar panels on their homes to reduce their use of coal-powered electricity.
Military Personnel Accidentally Ship Live Anthrax
An anonymous US defense official reported Wednesday that military personnel had accidentally sent a live anthrax specimen to a private lab in the northeast. The official said that 8 other samples may have been sent out, but said he believes all the samples are now secure. The samples were believed to be inactive, rather than live samples when they were shipped to private facilities for research purposes. A spokesman for the Pentagon confirmed that there was an investigation into the incident, and insisted that there is no public health risk. The Centers for Disease Control also acknowledged the mishap, and is investigating, but echoed the Pentagon stance that there is no risk to the public.
EPA Expands Reach of Clean Water Act
The Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday finalized an amendment to the Clean Water Act designed to further the legislation's reach. Known as te Clean Water Rule, the new piece provides federal protection for previously unprotected streams and wetlands that feed rivers and lakes that are used for drinking water in US cities and towns. Before the rule, the EPA estimates that 60 percent of the streams and rivers across the nation were unprotected by the Clean Water Act. The agency also estimated that one in 3 Americans will have cleaner water with the change, as the sources for their drinking water were fed by unprotected rivers or wetlands. The Clean Water Rule has had ample opposition since it was first proposed about a year ago. A statement from the Obama administration said the move was necessary to clear up a number of ambiguities in the Clean Water Act. The new rule marks the first major change to the Clean Water Act since it was originally passed in 1972.
California Opens Solar Plant That Can Power 160,000 Homes
California Governor Jerry Brown was beaming Monday as one of the world's largest solar power plants opened in the Southern California desert. Located in Riverside County, about 170 miles east of Los Angeles, the Desert Sunlight Solar Farm was operating at full capacity and pumping 550 megawatts of juice into the grid. Officials say that's enough electricity to power 160,000 homes. The solar plant is just the first step in Brown's ambitious plan, announced several weeks ago, for 50 percent of the state's power to come from renewable sources by the year 2030. Officials also noted that the Desert Sunlight Solar Farm will prevent the release of 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year, likening it to taking some 60,000 cars off the road.
Scientists Say 2014 Was Hottest Year Ever
Earth Day Celebration at Garden of the Gods
In honor of Earth Day, the Friends of Garden of the Gods are sponsoring several event on Saturday, April 19th at the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center. There will be exhibitions put on by the Air Force Academy Falconers, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, and the American Indian Dancers group. There will also be a chemical magic show and educational exhibits from the Wolf & Wildlife Center and Nature's Educators organizations. Visitors will also be treated to free admission that day to the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site. Festivities will take place from 9 AM to 3 PM at the Visitor & Nature Center, 1805 N 30th St in Colorado Springs.
In a recent report Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, both owned by Rupert Murdoch, have been found to be misleading (you think?) when it comes to the topic of global warming. The analysis finds that 93% of Fox News discussions on global warming are inaccurate and 81% of Wall St Journal editorials are too.
The analysis, done by nonprofit Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), was based on 6 months worth of Fox News footage and a years worth of Wall St editorials.
Aaron Huertas, a press secretary at UCS, told LiveScience, "It's like they were writing and talking about some sort of bizarre world where climate change isn't happening,"
The report can be found at this location.
While the US Congress has made no real effort to address global warming, the world's largest economic power is surprisingly getting greener anyway. The decline in greenhouse gas emissions in the US can be attributed to a variety of factors including the weak economy, certain moves made by the Obama administration to limit pollution from power plants, state requirements that utilities obtain power from renewable sources, and government investment in energy efficiency technology. But the biggest contributor to declining greenhouse gas emissions, economists say, is the very cheap price for natural gas over the last few years.
The Peruvian government issued a warning over the weekend asking residents and tourists to stay away from the Latin American nation's beaches while the cause of hundreds of deaths to dolphins and pelicans is investigated. According to public health officials, more than 1,200 pelicans have washed ashore along Peru's beaches in recent weeks, adding to the concern caused by the unexplained deaths of more than 800 dolphins over the last few months in the same region of Peru's northern Pacific coastline.
According to a study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, scientists have discovered a vast underground reservoir of water in Africa, which has dealt with water shortages for decades. The team of researchers from the British Geological Survey and University College London say that the reservoir contains 100 times more water than is spread across the surface of the dry continent, and have produced a detailed map of where the underground water supply can be found.