Posts tagged storms

Greenhouse gases – a public health threat

This just in from the EPA:

EPA Finds Greenhouse Gases Pose Threat to Public Health, Welfare

 

Proposed Finding Comes in Response to 2007 Supreme Court Ruling

 

 

 

(Washington, D.C. – April 17, 2009)  After a thorough scientific review ordered in 2007 by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a proposed finding Friday that greenhouse gases contribute to air pollution that may endanger public health or welfare.

 

The proposed finding, which now moves to a public comment period, identified six greenhouse gases that pose a potential threat.

 

“This finding confirms that greenhouse gas pollution is a serious problem now and for future generations.  Fortunately, it follows President Obama’s call for a low carbon economy and strong leadership in Congress on clean energy and climate legislation,” said Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “This pollution problem has a solution – one that will create millions of green jobs and end our country’s dependence on foreign oil.”

 

As the proposed endangerment finding states, “In both magnitude and probability, climate change is an enormous problem.  The greenhouse gases that are responsible for it endanger public health and welfare within the meaning of the Clean Air Act.”

 

EPA’s proposed endangerment finding is based on rigorous, peer-reviewed scientific analysis of six gases – carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride – that have been the subject of intensive analysis by scientists around the world. The science clearly shows that concentrations of these gases are at unprecedented levels as a result of human emissions, and these high levels are very likely the cause of the increase in average temperatures and other changes in our climate.

 

The scientific analysis also confirms that climate change impacts human health in several ways. Findings from a recent EPA study titled “Assessment of the Impacts of Global Change on Regional U.S. Air Quality: A Synthesis of Climate Change Impacts on Ground-Level Ozone,” for example, suggest that climate change may lead to higher concentrations of ground-level ozone, a harmful pollutant. Additional impacts of climate change include, but are not limited to:

 

·         increased drought;

·         more heavy downpours and flooding;

·         more frequent and intense heat waves and wildfires;

·         greater sea level rise;

·         more intense storms; and

·         harm to water resources, agriculture, wildlife and ecosystems.

 

In proposing the finding, Administrator Jackson also took into account the disproportionate impact climate change has on the health of certain segments of the population, such as the poor, the very young, the elderly, those already in poor health, the disabled, those living alone and/or indigenous populations dependent on one or a few resources.

 

In addition to threatening human health, the analysis finds that climate change also has serious national security implications. Consistent with this proposed finding, in 2007, 11 retired U.S. generals and admirals signed a report from the Center for a New American Security stating that climate change “presents significant national security challenges for the United States.” Escalating violence in destabilized regions can be incited and fomented by an increasing scarcity of resources – including water. This lack of resources, driven by climate change patterns, then drives massive migration to more stabilized regions of the world.

  

The proposed endangerment finding now enters the public comment period, which is the next step in the deliberative process EPA must undertake before issuing final findings. Today’s proposed finding does not include any proposed regulations. Before taking any steps to reduce greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, EPA would conduct an appropriate process and consider stakeholder input.  Notwithstanding this required regulatory process, both President Obama and Administrator Jackson have repeatedly indicated their preference for comprehensive legislation to address this issue and create the framework for a clean energy economy.

 

More information:  http://epa.gov/climatechange/endangerment.html

 

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Disaster recovery and digging trees

   Marion-based Trees Forever is accepting applications for two programs: “Recover, Replant & Restore,” which funds planting projects for flooded neighborhoods or other disaster-affected areas, and, in partnership with Alliant Energy, “We Dig Your District,” a tree-planting program.  

 

   Here are details on both programs:

 

   Trees Forever is accepting applications for disaster recovery assistance and funding through its Recover, Replant & Restore Program.  The goals of the program are to help neighborhoods and communities plan, implement and fund planting projects that will rebuild hope and community spirit in some of the most devastated areas of Iowa.

 

   Iowa communities that were directly impacted by the storms or floods of 2008 are eligible to apply.  Examples of projects that will be considered include neighborhood tree plantings, park or trail recovery or planting projects, waterway recovery or plantings, school ground plantings, downtown business district landscaping, assessing and caring for storm-damaged trees, etc.

 

   Through the Recover, Replant & Restore program, Trees Forever staff will provide assistance with damage assessment, project planning, plant material selection, planting design, volunteer organizing, and tree care or cleanup projects.  In addition, cash grants of up to $2,000 are available to help purchase trees and other plant materials.

 

   “We recognize that many communities affected by last year’s disasters are still in the basic recovery process,” notes Karen Brook, Trees Forever program manager.  “Our goal right now is to provide whatever assistance we can to communities and neighborhoods… to give them some hope for a brighter, greener future.”

 

   Applications for the first round of assistance from the Recover, Replant & Restore program must be submitted by February 27, 2009.  To apply, interested communities or groups should contact Karen Brook at 800-369-1269 ext. 14 or e-mail kbrook@treesforever.org.  A Trees Forever field coordinator will be assigned to assist each applicant with completing a simple nomination form.  Communities or projects accepted for the program will be announced in early March, 2009.

 

    Trees Forever established the Campaign to Recover, Replant & Restore to raise money to assist communities that were affected by the natural disasters of 2008.  Thanks to a major gift from Van Meter Industrial and others donations from across the state, Trees Forever is now able to start assisting these communities.  Anyone interested in more information about the campaign, or wishing to donate to this fund, can contact Mark Signs at 800-369-1269, extension #20, or log on to www.TreesForever.org

 

 

 

   We Dig Your District

 

   Would you like to see more trees planted in your favorite neighborhood park? Do you know of a school playground, nursing home, non-profit, public library, sports complex, cemetery, or trail that could benefit from a few well-placed trees? If so, let your ideas be known.  Site nominations for the We Dig Your District program in Cedar Rapids are due February 25, 2009.

 

Alliant Energy and Trees Forever are once again offering We Dig Your District, a partnership program to plant trees in each of the five Cedar Rapids City Council Districts to demonstrate how trees improve energy efficiency and contribute to a healthier and more beautiful community. And, we need your help!

 Get into the energy efficiency groove and submit suggestions for the 2009 We Dig Your District tree-planting locations.

 To submit a suggestion, tell us the following in 300 words or less.

1. Your name, address, telephone number and e-mail address (optional)

2. The community location where you would like to see trees planted (The location must be within Alliant Energy’s electric service territory in Cedar Rapids.)

3. Why your location should be selected; what makes it special and how trees would make a difference at this site.  Suggestion(s) must be submitted by February 25, 2009 to receive consideration. Submissions can be made online at www.alliantenergy.com/wedigyourdistrict  or via mail to Alliant Energy, Community Relations, Attn: We Dig Your District, 200 First Street SE, PO Box 351, Cedar Rapids, IA 52406-0351.

 

 

 

Suggestions will be reviewed based on their potential to improve energy efficiency, enhance the environment and meet a community need. The review committee will include representatives from Alliant Energy and Trees Forever, with input from local city council members.

 

Selections will include one site within each of the five Cedar Rapids City Council Districts. Planting sites will be announced in March 2009. The 2008 We Dig Your District planting sites included Arthur Elementary School, Cleveland Elementary School, Regis Middle School, Redmond Park and Wilderness Estates Park. Planting at Ushers Ferry was postponed due to the summer flooding.

 

For more information, contact Karen Brook, Trees Forever field coordinator at 373-0650 ext. 14 or email kbrook@treesforever.org

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