Greenhouse Gases

New Jersey News

Christie's Exit from Global Warming Pact Challenged

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Environmental lawyers argued before a New Jersey appellate court Wednesday that the state violated its own rules when it withdrew from a regional agreement with 9 other states to reduce power plant emissions.


Transportation Nation

NYC Mayor Bloomberg: Cities Are Ahead Of Nations In Reducing Greenhouse Gases

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (photo by NYC Mayor's Office)

(New York, NY - WNYC) By the end of the decade, climate-related actions taken by cities around the world will reduce greenhouse gases by 250 million tons per year. That's what New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg told delegates at the Rio Earth Summit. He added that by 2030, the annual reduction of greenhouse gases by major cities could be a billion tons per year--the combined output of Mexico and Canada.

Bloomberg was addressing the Rio+C40 Summit, which he said includes 59 cities "from Bogota to Berlin, from Jakarta to Johannesburg, and from my New York."  One of every 12 people on the planet live in those cities, he said, and account for about 14 percent of the world’s total carbon footprint.

“The world is rapidly urbanizing," Bloomberg said. "Cities are becoming bigger and bigger. Our problems are sometimes harder and harder to tackle. Yet we continue to make major progress, even in times of tough budget cuts."

He said New York City has shrunk its carbon footprint by 13 percent in the past five years, and praised other cities for taking similar steps.

“Let me point out that nearly two-thirds of the climate change actions the C40 cities have taken have been paid for solely from our budgets – without support from our national governments," he said. "That’s because cities recognize our responsibilities to act; we haven’t waited for our national governments to go first."

Bloomberg also announced initiatives to improve the management of city solid waste, including reducing the release of methane and other greenhouse gases, and a web site "to provide a broad, deep, and constantly updated library on what the world’s cities are doing about climate change – and about the tools and resources cities can use to further their work."

Go here to read the mayor's full remarks.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Backstory: The EPA's New Rule for Coal-Fired Power Plants

Thursday, March 29, 2012

On Tuesday, the Environmental Protection Agency issued the first limits on greenhouse gas emissions from newly constructed power plants. On today’s Backstory, Washington Post environment reporter Juliet Eilperin discusses why many are saying that the rule, which was years in the making, will mean the end of new coal-fired power plants.

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Transportation Nation

NYC Energy Audit Shows Cleaner City, But Not Because of Transportation

Monday, September 19, 2011

New York City is polluting less. The city's newly released 2010 greenhouse gas audit reveals that America's largest city reduced carbon emissions by 1.1 percent in 2010, down to a total of 54.3 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent. That's a slightly smaller reduction than previous years.

On a per capita basis, New Yorkers use about one third the national average when it comes to energy consumption. The report attributes that strong environmental showing to several factors including smaller average home size, especially in apartment buildings, and the nation's highest rate of non-automobile commuting. The city says, 76.7 percent of New Yorkers get to work without using a private car.

That's partly why transportation in New York emits just 21 percent of GHGs compared to 29 percent nationally, according to the most U.S. recent greenhouse gas audit from the Environmental Protection Agency. Here's how the transportation energy consumption breaks down in NYC, in the NYC audit:

2010 Transportation greenhouse gas emissions in NYC. Click to enlarge.

It is buildings, though, that are the biggest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters in the big apple at 75 percent of the total. Commercial and residential buildings -- including the fuel to heat them and the electricity to power the air conditioners that cools them -- combine to emit almost four times as much CO2 as transportation sources in New York City. That's why much of the gains in environmental efficiency recently have come from more efficient energy use in buildings and in power generation improvements.

As explained in the audit, there are myriad factors at play: "New York City’ s carbon footprint decreased 11.7 percent from 2005 to 2010, due to milder weather, reduced electricity use, reduced heating fuel use, reduced solid waste generation, new power plants and cleaner imported electricity, more efficient steam generation..." Transportation didn't even make the long list.

As this chart shows, how New Yorkers get around hasn't changed all that much, so it just isn't a major factor in the environmental changes from the last year:

Click to enlarge.

For a national point of reference, according to the EPA greenhouse gas audit, transportation emissions dropped four percent from 2008 to 2009, the most recent data available. That's due in large part to the economic slowdown that reduced travel and shipping levels. Before that, America had been on a steady march towards higher and higher transportation emissions, according to the EPA. Transportation emissions have risen 17 percent since 1990, "due, in large part, to increased demand for travel and the stagnation of fuel efficiency across the U.S. vehicle fleet."

New York City is nearly on pace to meet the goals set by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2007 to reduce overall emissions by 30 percent by 2030.

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Transportation Nation

Despite Controversy, SF Supes Vote to Study Congestion Pricing

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

(San Francisco–Casey Miner, KALW News) It's a controversial plan, but the city of San Francisco is pushing ahead anyway: this morning, the board of supervisors voted to continue studying several options for congestion pricing cordons in the northeast corner of the city. The options include a $3 toll to enter and leave the cordoned area during especially busy times; alternatively, commuters who parked downtown all day would pay a $6 toll upon leaving. A third option, which would have charged drivers to enter the city from the south, was scrapped after politicians from Peninsula city councilmen to a state Assemblyman threatened a counter-toll. Don't hold your breath, though – the earliest anyone will pay to drive into the Financial District is 2015.

I interviewed Matthew Roth of Streetsblog SF about why it's so controversial to price driving; hear our conversation over at KALW News.

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Carbon Counter Live in Madison Square Garden

Thursday, June 18, 2009

New York is a little bit greener today -- or at least more aware -- with the launch of the world's first real-time carbon counter. The almost 70-foot high billboard outside of Madison Square Garden shows the running total of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

The current number displayed on ...