Cars, Cows and Coal

By bcpaulos | The most important things you can do about climate change.

As West Grows, Water Use Declines Thanks To Better Toilets

Throughout the western U.S., water conservation is in the toilet.<p>And that's a good thing.<p>Since the 1990s, a strange phenomenon has played out in arid western urban areas. Populations are booming while overall water use is staying the same or going down<i>.</i> The trend is clear in Denver, Albuquerque, …

Water

Faunalytics: Does farm-animal advocacy work?

Again and again, Americans have been told to eat less meat, or to stop eating meat altogether. The message has been delivered by doctors at the …

Farm Animals

How China's plastic ban has Southeast Asia scrambling for solutions

<b>With China refusing to accept the low-grade plastic waste that the West once poured there, the developing nations of Southeast Asia are buckling</b> …

South-east Asia

When Your Child Believes Meat Is Murder

After viewing “Blackfish,” a documentary about the mistreatment of animals at SeaWorld, Jeffrey Miller’s daughter, Hannah, became concerned that eating meat was murder. Last year, she decided to become a vegetarian.<p>“Our 14-year-old has completely bailed on meat of her own accord, so we’ve had to do …

Diets

You’ve Heard of Outsourced Jobs, but Outsourced Pollution? It’s Real, and Tough to Tally Up

Over the past decade, both the United States and Europe have made major strides in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions at home. That trend is often held up as a sign of progress in the fight against climate change.<p>But those efforts look a lot less impressive once you take trade into account. …

Fossil Fuels

Can we consume less without wrecking the economy?

Environmentalists say our species' addiction to consumption is responsible for climate change and a host of other environment ills. It's also a …

World Bank

DVR ‘Power Save’ Modes Waste $1.8 Billion Annually

The headline of a recent blog from Sense was provocative and to the point: “Cable DVRs Promote Fake Power Saving Mode.”<p>Testing done by the Cambridge, …

Remote Controls

Garbage companies are refusing your recycling. The trade war with China will make it worse

Across the Bay Area, recycling companies are in a crunch to find places overseas where they can sell plastic yogurt cups and junk mail flyers.<p>China …

The Arid West Moves East, With Big Implications For Agriculture

The American West appears to be moving east. New research shows the line on the map that divides the North American continent into arid Western regions and humid Eastern regions is shifting, with profound implications for American agriculture.<p>In western Oklahoma, farmers like Benji White and his …

Rocky Mountains

Can vegetarians save the planet? Why campaigns to ban meat send the wrong message on climate change

Thought Experiment<p>WeWork, the co-working mega-giant, recently instituted a new policy at its office spaces across the world: No more meat.<p>Amid some backlash, the company said the decision was an attempt to reduce its carbon footprint and overall impact on the environment. And while this is a truly …

WeWork Was Right To Go Vegetarian

Writing for NBC this week, the science journalist Erin Biba criticizes WeWork for taking its communal workplaces vegetarian, on the grounds that “it lets fossil fuel companies off the hook.” As if there’s only one hook.<p>It’s a weird argument, that we can only do one thing to fight climate change. A …

World heading toward an uninhabitable 'Hothouse' new study warns

Earth is at risk of entering uninhabitable conditions, according to a new study released on Monday. Scientists have dubbed the scenario "Hothouse Earth".<p>The findings, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), reveal that under these potential "hothouse Earth" conditions, …

We’re drowning in trash. These Dutch scientists have a solution.

By Rachel Nuwer<p><i>Rachel Nuwer is an award-winning freelance journalist based in Brooklyn.</i><p>PETTEN, Netherlands — Hidden behind undulating sand dunes and fog rolling off the North Sea, the sprawling, gated campus of the Energy Research Center of the Netherlands (ECN) sits on a spit of land about an hour …

How San Francisco sends less trash to the landfill than any other major U.S. city

The average American produces about 4.4 pounds of waste per day. Roughly 1.5 pounds of that is composted or recycled, meaning the U.S. avoids sending …

Big Oil, Utilities are Lining Up for an Electric Vehicle War

A red-hot electric vehicle market has triggered a face-off between Big Oil and utilities.<p>Oil majors, who’ve sold fossil fuels to cars for a century, …

Uber’s new plan to woo drivers: It’s electric

Esther de Frutos of San Francisco loves driving her leased Chevy Bolt EV for Uber because it’s clean, quiet and avoids the high cost of gas, but she …

San Francisco

How the Koch Brothers Are Killing Public Transit Projects Around the Country

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A team of political activists huddled at a Hardee’s one rainy Saturday, wolfing down a breakfast of biscuits and gravy. Then they descended on Antioch, a quiet Nashville suburb, armed with iPads full of voter data and a fiery script.<p>The group, the local chapter for Americans for …

Middle-class

A young Dutch inventor wants to clean plastic from the ocean. Can he do it?

Viral videos show whales ensnared and sea turtles choking. Studies find some 70 percent of seabirds have ingested the waste. And a photo recently revealed that plastic has found its way to even the deepest reaches of the ocean. Straws, forks, shopping bags, nets and all manner of human detritus …

Opinion: Keep calm and keep your recycling clean

Berkeley residents may be wondering what recent media reports detailing how China will no longer accept America’s dirty recyclables mean for their …

China plans to build $3 billion-worth of solar farms shaped like giant pandas

In 2015, Ada Li Yan-tung, who was 15 years old at the time, came up with a novel idea to get more young people in China interested in renewable energy: Build a massive solar-energy farm that resembles a panda.<p>A year later, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and solar megadeveloper Panda …

Green Energy

Whale dies in Thailand after swallowing more than 80 plastic bags

A pilot whale has died in southern Thailand after swallowing more than 80 plastic bags, the country’s Department of Marine and Coastal Resources announced.<p>A team of vets tried to “help stabilise” the small male pilot whale after it was discovered on Monday barely alive in a canal near the Malaysian …

Your Food Choices Can Have a Big Climate Impact, So Be Picky, New Study Suggests

When it comes to the climate impacts of our diet, it pays to be particular.

Agriculture

Your Recycling Gets Recycled, Right? Maybe, or Maybe Not

Oregon is serious about recycling. Its residents are accustomed to dutifully separating milk cartons, yogurt containers, cereal boxes and kombucha bottles from their trash to divert them from the landfill. But this year, because of a far-reaching rule change in China, some of the recyclables are …

Brief from Brussels: Plastic is not fantastic

In this edition of the Brief from Brussels: The EU draws the battle lines against plastics, announcing plans to ban single-use products, amid concerns about the amount of waste making it into our oceans and rivers. We report on a group of volunteers battling to keep waterways clean in one Belgian …

Asteroid Impact That Wiped Out The Dinosaurs Also Caused Abrupt Global Warming

The asteroid impact that ended the age of the dinosaurs also released so much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that the planet warmed up by about 5 degrees Celsius — and the hot spell persisted for roughly 100,000 years.<p>That's according to a new study in the journal <i>Science</i> that offers a …

Plastics mines? Europe struggles as pollution piles up

OSLO (Reuters) - Europe has sent just over half the plastic waste it used to ship to China to other parts of Asia since Beijing's environmental crackdown closed the world's biggest recycling market in January. The knotty problem is what to do with the rest.<p>Some of the surplus is piled up in places …

Exports

A power primer for the Trump era

Electricity, the thing we all use but don’t really notice, has unexpectedly become a hot topic under President Trump.<p><b>Why it matters:</b> His …

Think Biking or Walking to Work Would Take Too Long? Think Again

Barely 3 percent of the American work force bikes or walks to work with any frequency, despite the obvious virtues: decreased risks for obesity and diabetes, environmental benefits and lower transportation costs. Ask people why they eschew what’s known as active commuting, as many surveys have, and …

Tariffs On Canadian Newsprint Choke Already Troubled American Papers

It's no secret that the Internet has been hammering newspapers. Ad sales and subscriptions have been falling for years. Now, there's a new problem — the actual paper newspapers are printed on just got much more expensive.<p>Since the first of the year, the Commerce Department has imposed steep tariffs …