- beSpacific, GAO Releases Report Critical of EPA's 9/11 Cleanup (June 20, 2007)
Includes a link to the United States Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, Subcommittee on Superfund and Environmental Health, hearing entitled, EPA's Response to 9-11 and Lessons Learned for Future Emergency Preparedness, and to related materials.
- Marion C. Blakey, Administrator, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), An Affirmative Obligation (June 19, 2007)
"Make no mistake about this one. Although aviation represents less than three percent of greenhouse gases, we have an affirmative obligation to drive that number as low as it can go. And why not start by leveraging the great work that the U.S. military is already doing, rather than starting from scratch?
"To put this all in context, we're the largest aviation market in the world. We moved 12 percent more passengers and 22 percent more freight in 2006 than we did at the turn of the century, and did this while producing 10 million tons less of CO2, using 5 percent less fuel. How’s that for improved productivity? Remember, this is in an industry that’s very focused on controlling costs and operating more efficiently . In aviation, that means reducing fuel consumption and the emissions that go along with it."
- Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED), Annual Disaster Statistical Review: Numbers and Trends 2006 (May 2007)
"Since 1998, we have learned that a consolidated, rapidly produced statistical overview is much more than a number crunch: it is an invaluable tool for both planning and advocacy. The 2006 disaster figures remind us once more that all countries and all human populations are vulnerable to disasters.
"In 2006, we observed a return to a kind of 'normality' after the major events of the last few years. Even though the disasters in 2006 have not captured as much attention as those of the recent past, it is important to remember that they have had devastating impacts. Every day, lives are irreparably damaged and destroyed by disasters. In 2006, there were 427 reported natural disasters that killed more than 23,000 people, affected almost 143 million others, and were the cause of more than US$34.5 billion in economic damages."—Introduction.
- Augustin Collete, Climate Change Consultant, UNESCO World Heritage Centre, Case Studies on Climate Change and World Heritage (2007)
"This publication presents several case studies of selected natural and cultural World Heritage sites in order to illustrate the impacts of climate change that have already been observed and those which can be anticipated in the future. For each of the featured sites, some adaptation measures are also reviewed. It is hoped that these examples would not only be of interest to World Heritage professionals and practitioners but also to the public at large."—Introduction.
- Council on Foreign Relations, Energy Security: What It Means and How to Achieve It (June 21, 2007)
A video (also available as an audio file) including panelists David L. Goldwyn, President, Goldwyn International Strategies, and Senior Associate, Energy Program, Center for Strategic & International Studies; David Sandalow, Energy and Environment Scholar, The Brookings Institution; and Thomas Wallin, President, Energy Intelligence Group, Inc. The presider is John Gapper, Associate Editor & Chief Business Commentator, New York Bureau, The Financial Times.
- European Environment Agency (EEA), Annual European Community Greenhouse Gas Inventory 1990–2005 and Inventory Report 2007: Submission to the UNFCCC Secretariat (Technical report No. 7/2007) (Version 27 May 2007)
"This report is the annual submission of the greenhouse gas inventory of the European Community to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. It presents greenhouse gas emissions between 1990 and 2005 by individual Member State and by economic sector. The report shows that between 2004 and 2005 emissions in the 15 pre-2004 Member States decreased by 35.2 million tonnes or 0.8% and total EU-27 emissions decreased by 0.7%. EU-15 emissions in 2005 were 2% below base year levels under the Kyoto Protocol and EU-27 emission were 7.9% below 1990 levels."—DocuTicker summary.
- European Environment Agency (EEA), Land-use Scenarios for Europe: Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis on a European Scale (EEA Technical report, no. 9/2007) (ISSN 1725–2237) (2007)
"Long‑term contrasting scenarios can provide context and a backdrop against which the debate on land use and our environmental future can take place. The European Environment Agency initiated the PRELUDE project (PRospective Environmental
analysis of Land Use Development in Europe) to develop coherent scenarios that describe plausible future developments for land use in EU‑25 plus Norway and Switzerland and their potential environmental impacts for the period 2005–2035.
"An analysis of historic and possible future patterns of land use and landscape changes requires good data, scientific rigour, imagination and expertise from different perspectives. The PRELUDE scenarios combine imagination, data, modelling and narratives. The narratives, or storylines, were developed in order to also illustrate the impact of possible events and developments that cannot be represented with state of the art models—and tend to be ignored in policy discussions. With the PRELUDE initiative, the EEA decided to embark on a truly participative scenario building process.... Building on different assumptions about societal, economic, political, technological and environmental change, the panel arrived at five qualitative scenarios. Each scenario implies specific land-use changes and impacts on the environment, which have been analysed and quantified by landuse experts using state‑of‑the art simulation models."—Ch. 1, Landscapes to the living: which way to the future?
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) & United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), ECOLEX.
"ECOLEX is an information service on environmental law, operated jointly by FAO, IUCN and UNEP. Its purpose is to build capacity worldwide by providing the most comprehensive possible global source of information on environmental law. This unique resource, which combines the environmental law information holdings of FAO, IUCN and UNEP , seeks to put this information at the disposal of users world-wide, in an easily accessible service, employing modern technology. The ECOLEX database includes information on treaties, international soft-law and other non-binding policy and technical guidance documents, national legislation, judicial decisions, and law and policy literature. Users have direct access to the abstracts and indexing information about each document, as well as to the full text of most of the information provided."—What is ECOLEX?
- National Research Council (The National Academies), Major Increase in Federal Research Needed to Determine Size of U.S. Coal Reserves and Meet Increasing Challenges in Mining Safety, Environmental Protection (June 20, 2007)
"Because coal will continue to provide a substantial portion of U.S. energy for at least the next several decades, a major increase in federal support for research and development is needed to ensure that this natural resource is extracted efficiently, safely, and in an environmentally responsible manner, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Research Council. Policymakers also need a more accurate assessment of the extent and location of the nation's coal reserves, the report adds. It recommends an increase of about $144 million annually in new federal funding across a variety of areas."—Press release.
- National Resources Defense Council, Addicted to Oil: Ranking States' Oil Vulnerability and Solutions for Change (June 2007)
"This paper ranks U.S. states on two critical areas related to America's continuing addiction to oil. First, their oil vulnerability—that is, how heavily each state’s citizens are affected by increases in oil prices. Second, states are ranked on their implementation of solutions to reduce their oil dependence—what measures they are taking to lessen their vulnerability and to bolster America's security. The data yield two clear conclusions:
- Oil dependence affects all states, but some are hit harder economically than others.
- While some states are pioneering solutions, many are taking little or no action. In fact, about one-third of states are not taking any steps to reduce their oil dependence.
- National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse, Enhancing America's Communities: A Guide to Transportation Enhancements (March 2007)
"Enhancing America's Communities showcases 15 projects that illustrate the power of Transportation Enhancements to catalyze community revitalization and provide for an enhanced transportation experience.
"The Congress included Transportation Enhancements (TE) in the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) in 1991 to signal its intention to provide funding for a broad array of projects designed to maximize the potential of transportation to invigorate communities. The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient
Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEALU), enacted in 2005, represents a continuing commitment by Congress to focus on more than just the provision of 'ribbons of concrete.' With more than 20,000 projects on the ground around the country, transportation enhancements have proven that transportation projects can do more than efficiently move people. They can simultaneously improve local economies, enhance the environment, and create central community places."
- Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), U.S. Army to Contract Out Environmental Staff (June 20, 2007)
"The U.S. Army is poised to begin contracting out its environmental, natural and cultural resource staff positions, according to agency documents released today by ... PEER. The Army is proceeding despite advice from its own lawyers that privatizing these functions violates the basic conservation law governing Defense Department operations.".—Press release.
- Reconnecting America & the Center for Transit-Oriented Development, TOD 101: Why Transit-Oriented Development And Why Now? (2007)
"Transit-oriented development or TOD is typically defined as more compact development within easy walking distance of transit stations (typically a half mile) that contains a mix of uses such as housing, jobs, shops, restaurants and entertainment. At Reconnecting America we believe projects should also achieve the goals listed here. TOD is really about creating walkable, sustainable communities for people of all ages and incomes and providing more transportation and housing choices (including townhomes, apartments, live-work spaces, and lofts). These neighborhoods provide for a lifestyle that's convenient, affordable and active, and create places where our children can play and our parents can grow old comfortably."—What is Transit-Oriented Development and Why Should You Care?
- UN-Energy/Africa, Energy for Sustainable Development: Policy Options for Africa (Publication to CSD15) (2007)
"Over the last four decades, the gap between energy supply and demand in Africa has been growing. Projections by experts in the field forecast that this gap will continue to grow, and the livelihood of more Africans will continue to be critically impaired by energy poverty, that will seriously slow down the socioeconomic development of the continent. Energy has been supplied in insufficient quantity, at a cost, form and quality that has limited its consumption by the majority of Africa's population, making the continent the lowest per capita consumer of modern energy of all regions of the world. The challenges are indeed daunting, and more than ever, a concerted effort by all actors is required to achieve any significant progress.
"Most UN agencies and programmes have endeavoured to address some aspects of the African Energy challenge in their work programmes. In this UN-Energy/Africa flagship book, key issues related to policy, regulation, renewable energy development, energy access in urban, peri-urban and rural areas, regional strategies for addressing energy poverty, power sector reforms, energy planning, and energy finance are addressed by various UN agencies and programmes, with the objectives to highlight the main challenges and provide some policy guidelines to accelerate energy supply and access in Africa."—Overview.
- United Nations Dag Hammarskjöld Library, United Nations Documentation: Research Guide—The Environment (June 2007)
"To enable researchers to identify key UN bodies working in the area of the environment as well as related documentation, a special chapter has been added to the Research Guide which also includes: a listing of important meetings which have taken place over the years; full text links to multilateral treaties; a listing of key reference tools issued by the Organization; and tips for identifying environment documentation using UNBISnet and the Official Documents System of the United Nations (ODS)."—Press release (May 2007)
- United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Office of Inspector General (OIG), Overcoming Obstacles to Measuring Compliance: Practices in Selected Federal Agencies (Evaluation Report No. 2007-P-00027) (June 20, 2007)
"Federal regulatory agencies with missions and obstacles similar to EPA use statistical methods to generate compliance information. They use this information to monitor their enforcement and compliance programs and demonstrate program results. These Federal programs extensively use statistical methods to identify and analyze risk, set goals, develop strategies to manage the most significant risks, and report their accomplishments. While the programs we reviewed face similar obstacles as OECA [EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance], they use practical approaches to overcome these obstacles that OECA could potentially apply to its programs."—What We Found.
- United States Government Accountability Office (GAO), Energy Efficiency: Important Challenges Must Be Overcome to Realize Significant Opportunities for Energy Efficiency Improvements in Gulf Coast Reconstruction (Report to Congressional Addressees, GAO-07-654) (June 2007)
"Reconstruction in the Gulf Coast creates a significant opportunity for incorporating energy efficiency improvements that could produce long-term energy costs savings in residential and commercial buildings. The sheer magnitude of the reconstruction effort and Louisiana's and Mississippi's recent adoption of more energy-efficient building codes makes this an opportune time for incorporating energy efficiency improvements in the rebuilding efforts. In partnership with a DOE national laboratory, GAO analyzed energy cost savings opportunities and estimated that adopting these newer building codes could reduce residential energy costs in these two states by at least $20 to $28 million per year, depending on the extent of the rebuilding efforts in these states. Furthermore, the analysis also showed that annual energy expenditures for commercial buildings—hospitals, schools, offices, and retail buildings—built to newer energy standards could be about 7 to 34 percent lower than buildings built to older standards. There also are opportunities for consumers to make additional energy efficiency improvements to both building types by replacing old, damaged equipment."—What GAO Found.
- United States Government Accountability Office (GAO), Hurricane Katrina: EPA's Current and Future Environmental Protection Efforts Could Be Enhanced by Addressing Issues and Challenges Faced on the Gulf Coast (Report to Congressional Committees, GAO-07-651) (June 2007)
"While EPA provided useful environmental health risk information to the public via flyers, public service announcements, and the EPA Web page, the communications were at times unclear and inconsistent on how to mitigate exposure to some contaminants, particularly asbestos and mold. Further, the usefulness of three key reports on EPA's environmental sampling in New Orleans—developed with, among others, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality to address potential health risks from exposure to floodwaters, sediments, and air—was limited by a lack of timeliness and insufficient disclosures about EPA's sampling program. For example, EPA did not state until August 2006 that its December 2005 report—which said that the great majority of the data showed that adverse health effects would not be expected from exposure to sediments from previously flooded areas—applied to short-term visits, such as to view damage to homes.
"Mitigating several challenges EPA faces addressing Hurricane Katrina could better protect the environment in the future. First, EPA did not remove hazardous materials from national wildlife refuges in a timely manner as part of its response in part because disaster assistance funding generally is not used for debris cleanups on federal lands. Second, because states generally have authority over landfill decisions, EPA does not have an effective role in emergency debris disposal decisions that could cause pollution. Finally, lack of clarity in federal debris management plans and protocols precluded the timely and safe disposal of some appliances and electronic waste."—What GAO Found.
- United States Government Accountability Office (GAO), Wildland Fire Management: Lack of Clear Goals or a Strategy Hinders Federal Agencies’ Efforts to Contain the Costs of Fighting Fires (Report to Congressional Requesters, GAO-07-655) (June 2007)
"The Forest Service and Interior agencies have initiated a number of steps to address key operational areas previously identified as needing improvement to help federal agencies contain wildland fire costs, but the effects on containing costs are unknown, in part because many of these steps are not yet complete. First, federal firefighting agencies are developing a system to help them better identify and set priorities for lands needing treatment to reduce fuels, but they have yet to decide how they will keep data in the system current. Second, federal agencies have taken some steps to improve how they acquire and use personnel, equipment, and other firefighting assets—such as implementing a computerized system to more efficiently dispatch and track available firefighting assets—but have not yet completed the more fundamental step of determining the appropriate type and quantity of firefighting assets needed for the fire season. Third, the agencies have clarified certain policies and are improving analytical tools that assist officials in identifying and implementing an appropriate response to a given fire, but several other policies limit the agencies’ use of less aggressive firefighting strategies, which typically cost less. Fourth, federal agencies, working with nonfederal entities, have recently taken steps to clarify guidance to better ensure that firefighting costs are shared consistently for fires that threaten both federal and nonfederal lands and resources, but it is unclear how the agencies will ensure that this guidance is followed."—What GAO Found.
- Beth Wellington, Commentary on the Clean Water Protection Act (June 25, 2007)
This brief LLRX.com commentary provides background about H.R. 2169, and includes links to organizations of supporters and opponents.
- Yet Wah Seto, Edmund, et al., Spatial Distribution of Traffic Induced Noise Exposures in a US City: An Analytic Tool for Assessing the Health Impacts of Urban Planning Decisions, International Journal of Health Geographics, v.6 (doi:10.1186/1476-072X-6-24) (June 21, 2007)
"In this paper we present a GIS-based model for evaluating the spatial distribution of traffic-induced noise in an urban environment. Applying the model to the City of San Francisco, we find that the potential risk of annoyance is large, and varies considerably between neighborhoods. This work has implications for building design and construction in new urban neighborhoods, particularly urban infill that may increase density in environments with preexisting noise problems. It also highlights the need for transportation alternatives, as automobiles are the major source of community noise. Finally, the work has implications for environmental justice, as we show that areas of high population density suffer disproportionately from the impacts of urban noise. The relatively simple model presented here may be used to evaluate changes in noise exposures and annoyance as one tool in a larger toolbox for Health Impact Assessments of transportation and land use planning."—Conclusions.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
This post, like the previous LW, is going on a bit. I'll submit it now and proceed to compile another, which will consequently consist of materials that came to light before many of those included herein.