Archive for May, 2009

A big day for California, an immense one for the atmosphere (and those carbon-based units on Earth)!

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

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New federal standards for m.p.g. and carbon dioxide tailpipe emissions grounded in California’s efforts.

L.A. Times story

“The agreement that the Obama administration will announce today forcing dramatic reductions in vehicle greenhouse gas emissions and improvements in auto mileage marks a potentially pivotal shift in the battle over global warming — and a vindication of California’s long battle to toughen standards.

After decades of political sparring, legal challenges and scientific arguments over climate change, three of the central players — the federal government, major U.S. automakers and California — have found that the time has come to suspend hostilities and make a deal.
For cars and trucks, the agreement would establish a single nationwide standard that would require a 30% reduction in carbon dioxide and other emissions from vehicles sold in the United States by 2016.

The new limits are projected to reduce U.S. oil consumption by about 5% a year. The nation currently uses about 7.1 billion barrels a year.

For its part, California will essentially accept the national standard as a substitute for the state’s own tough emission requirements. The Obama standard is designed to achieve the same level of emission cutbacks as the California rule, but automakers will be given more time to adapt.

Completing the three-way deal, automakers will pledge to drop their effort to block the California rules through legal challenges.

“Everybody wins,” said David Doniger, policy director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s climate center. “It’s going to cut carbon pollution. The drivers of these cars are going to save money at the pump. It’s going to cut our national oil dependence …”

New York Times story

In much less important news, here’s us talking about smog, global warming, pollution victims and LA dystopia during our Youtubed appearance at the Authors@Google program (a.k.a. “AtGoogleTalks”). Click here. Man, pretty harsh lights and angle, but a great crowd and a terrific platform.

Smogtown honored with silver medal from Independent Publisher (IPPY) Book Awards

Friday, May 15th, 2009

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News link from the Independent Publisher Book Awards. Formal ceremony to be held in New York city later this month. Nearly 3,400 books in 65 different categories were entered. Smogtown tied with Where Have all the Flowers Gone? by Charles Flower for this tribute in the environmental category.

Smogtown named finalist for best environmental/ecology/nature book in the 2009 Independent Publisher Book (IPPY) Awards. Congratulations to all the writers in a pretty challenging time for books

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

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The final order of gold, silver and bronze medals will be announced later this month. Award page link. Here’s the verbatim block o’ copy from the IPBA’s people:

“You Can Save the Earth: 7 Reasons Why & 7 Simple Ways, edited by June Eding (Hatherleigh Press); The Little Green Book, by Joseph R. Provey and Owen Lockwood (Creative Homeowner); Smogtown: The Lung-Burning History of Pollution in Los Angeles, by Chip Jacobs & William J. Kelly (Overlook Press); Where Have all the Flowers Gone? by Charles Flower (Papadakis Publisher); Grand Canyon: River at Risk, by Wade Davis (Earth Aware Editions); The Last Polar Bear: Facing the Truth of a Warming World, by Steven Kazlowski (Braided River).”

To say we’re thrilled would be an understatement.

Miles to go before we really can breathe easily

Monday, May 4th, 2009

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And just when you thought you could. According to the American Lung Assoc., a terrific organization that we try to give historically due to in our book Smogtown: the Lung-Burning History of Pollution in Los Angeles, the L.A.-area and California still wear some rather unfavorable crowns for emissions ozone and particulate matter. And 60 percent of Americans live in areas with unhealthy air. MSNBC reports.

Those two-wheelers are finally drawing the environmental scrutiny they deserve from California’s smog check program.

From the L.A. Times blog post:

“Cars do it. Trucks do it. And now the state of California may require motorcycles to do it too. Biennial smog checks would be required for motorcycles manufactured in the 2000 model year and later under a bill making its way through the California Legislature.

Motorcycles account for 3.6% of registered vehicles in the state, and they make up just eight-tenths of a percent of vehicle-miles traveled, yet they account for 10% of passenger vehicles’ smog-forming emissions, according to the California Air Resources Board, which backs the measure. Although fuel-efficient bikes emit significantly less carbon dioxide per mile than cars, the ARB says they are, on average, 14 times more polluting per mile when it comes to emissions of oxides of nitrogen and hydrocarbons – smog-forming pollutants that have been shown to trigger asthma attacks and worsen respiratory and cardiac illnesses.”