Day: October 21, 2013

How 9 Major Papers Deal With Climate-Denying Letters

Read the full story at Climate Desk.

If you’ve looked through the letters sections of US newspapers, you’ve probably read that human-caused global warming is a “hoax” and a “myth.” You’ve also likely read about how “mankind cannot change the earth’s climate” and how the carbon dioxide we release isn’t a “significant factor” driving global temperatures.

But recently, the Los Angeles Times took a stand against this type of misinformation. Paul Thornton, the paper’s letters editor, wrote that he doesn’t print letters asserting that “there’s no sign humans have caused climate change.” Why? Because, he wrote, such a statement is a factual inaccuracy, and “I do my best to keep errors of fact off the letters page.” He cited the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s recent statement that scientists are at least 95-percent certain humans are causing global warming.

Does this mean the Times will never publish a letter skeptical of climate change? Not necessarily. Thornton told Climate Desk that he evaluates all letters on “a case-by-case basis” and that he would consider running one from a climate scientist with “impeccable credentials” who disagreed with the scientific consensus. But he says those letters are unusual. “I don’t get a lot of nuance from people who question the science on climate change,” he explains. Rather, he says, letters frequently portray climate change as a “hoax” or a “liberal conspiracy.”

Thornton’s announcement drew praise from some scientists and activists, and Forecast the Facts, an advocacy group “dedicated to ensuring that Americans hear the truth about climate change,” launched apetition drive calling on other major papers to follow suit. “The idea that opinion pieces should be based in the realm of facts is nothing new,” argues Brad Johnson, the group’s campaign manager.

So how do other newspapers handle climate-denying letters? Climate Desk contacted editors across the country to find out.

Shedd Launches Solar Panel Installation

Read the full story at NBC5 Chicago.

State officials are touting a solar panel installation at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium as the largest of its kind.

The facility along Lake Michigan has launched its clean-energy initiative with more than 900 solar panels atop its marine mammal pavilion. Officials with the Shedd and Gov. Pat Quinn kicked off the first phase of the installation on Sunday.

FAQs on Supreme Court’s Cert Grant on EPA’s Regulation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Read the full post on the Columbia Climate Law Blog.

On October 15, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in response to six petitions requesting review of EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases. This post will address some basic questions to clarify the scope of the question accepted for review and the implications and potential outcomes of the Supreme Court’s decision to grant cert.

When it comes to construction of office buildings, green is the new black

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

In an effort to attract and retain talent and promote a healthier work environment, many corporate tenants are looking to locate in sleeker, brighter spaces. And increasingly, companies concerned over rising energy costs and seeking to minimize their environmental footprints are putting green office space high on their wish list.

In turn, office developers looking to maximize their potential pool of tenants are regularly delivering Energy Star and LEED-certified office buildings. Nationally, a third of all new office space completed in 2011 was green.

Washing the Formaldehyde Out of Baby Shampoo

Read the full story in BusinessWeek.

It’s hard to think of a big consumer company that hasn’t gone green by now, with at least a promise to reduce its carbon footprint, energy use, water consumption, or packaging. Fewer have examined the potentially toxic chemical ingredients in their products, a particular problem for the makers of shampoos, cleaning supplies, and cosmetics. Now they won’t have a choice: California (of course, California) has put into effect a green chemistry initiative, known officially as the Safer Consumer Products Act, that will require companies to eliminate certain potentially harmful chemicals from the products sold in a state large enough to sway the entire domestic market.

What the California law accepts—and some companies are starting to acknowledge—is that any dangers probably lie in the cumulative effects of chemical exposure. California has already identified 164 chemicals for testing. By April, regulators will select up to five priority products for analyses and possible reformulation. These potentially include nail polish that contains toluene, carpet adhesive with formaldehyde, and florescent light bulbs with mercury.


Concentrations and Profiles of Bisphenol A and Other Bisphenol Analogues in Foodstuffs from the United States and Their Implications for Human Exposure

Concentrations and Profiles of Bisphenol A and Other Bisphenol Analogues in Foodstuffs from the United States and Their Implications for Human Exposure – Chunyang Liao and Kurunthachalam Kannan. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2013 61 (19), 4655-4662. DOI: 10.1021/jf400445n

Abstract: As the concern over the safety of bisphenol A (BPA) continues to grow, this compound is gradually being replaced, in industrial applications, with compounds such as bisphenol F (BPF) and bisphenol S (BPS). Occurrence of bisphenols, including BPA and BPS, has been reported in paper products and in environmental matrices. Information on the occurrence of bisphenols, other than BPA, in foodstuffs, however, is scarce. In this study, several bisphenol analogues, including BPA, BPF, and BPS, were analyzed in foodstuffs (N = 267) collected from Albany, NY, USA, using high-performance liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS/MS). Foodstuffs were divided into nine categories of beverages, dairy products, fats and oils, fish and seafood, cereals, meat and meat products, fruits, vegetables, and “others”. Bisphenols were found in the majority (75%) of the food samples, and the total concentrations of bisphenols (ΣBPs: sum of eight bisphenols) were in the range of below the limit of quantification (LOQ) to 1130 ng/g fresh weight, with an overall mean value of 4.38 ng/g. The highest overall mean concentration of ΣBPs was found in the “others” category, which included condiments (preserved, ready-to-serve foods). A sample of mustard (dressing) and ginger, placed in the category of vegetables, contained the highest concentrations of 1130 ng/g for bisphenol F (BPF) and 237 ng/g for bisphenol P (BPP). Concentrations of BPs in beverages (mean = 0.341 ng/g) and fruits (0.698 ng/g) were low. The predominant bisphenol analogues found in foodstuffs were BPA and BPF, which accounted for 42 and 17% of the total BP concentrations, respectively. Canned foods contained higher concentrations of individual and total bisphenols in comparison to foods sold in glass, paper, or plastic containers. On the basis of measured concentrations and daily ingestion rates of foods, the daily dietary intakes of bisphenols (calculated from the mean concentration) were estimated to be 243, 142, 117, 63.6, and 58.6 ng/kg body weight (bw)/day for toddlers, infants, children, teenagers, and adults, respectively.

Infographic on home energy audits from DOE

In addition to the infographic below, see also the related blog post on home energy audits for links to more information.

New Energy Saver 101 infographic breaks down a home energy audit, explaining what energy auditors look for and the special tools they use to determine where a home is wasting energy.

New Energy Saver 101 infographic breaks down a home energy audit, explaining what energy auditors look for and the special tools they use to determine where a home is wasting energy. | Infographic by Sarah Gerrity, Energy Department.