Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the main contributor to climate change. In 2013, the global combustion of fossil fuels and the production of cement resulted in the emission of 36.1 billion tons of CO2, which was 61 percent over 1990 levels.1 (In
terms of carbon, the emissions totaled 9.8 billion tons in 2013.) According to the most recent estimates, emissions in 2014 are projected to be 2.5 percent over 2013 levels.2 (See Figure 1.) In physical terms, this translates into the release of 37 billion additional tons of CO2 in the atmosphere.3 It
is estimated that to keep the rate of Earth’s warming below the 2 degrees Celsius threshold believed to be the temperature increase that will have severe and irreversible global environmental effects, total future emissions cannot exceed 1,200 billion tons.4
WASHINGTON (AP) — A top manager who supervises the Environmental Protection Agency program responsible for cleaning up the nation’s most contaminated properties and waterways told Congress on Thursday that the government needs to plan for the ongoing threat posed to Superfund sites from climate change.
The testimony by EPA Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator Barry Breen before a House oversight subcommittee conflicts with the agency’s policy positions under President Donald Trump, who has called climate change a hoax. Breen’s boss, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, is an ardent fossil fuel promoter who questions the validity of mainstream climate science.
During a hearing Thursday, Rep. Jerry McNerney, a California Democrat, asked Breen whether extreme weather events like hurricanes and wildfires could damage the highly toxic sites and cause contamination to spread.
“We have to respond to climate change, that’s just part of our mission set,” replied Breen, a career official who leads EPA’s Office of Land and Emergency Management. “So we need to design remedies that account for that. We don’t get to pick where Superfund sites are. We deal with the waste where it is.”
There are more than 1,300 Superfund sites in the U.S.
Under the Obama administration, EPA issued a robust plan for prioritizing cleanup and protection of toxic sites located in flood zones and areas vulnerable to sea level rise. However, a Superfund Task Force appointed by Pruitt last year issued a 34-page list of recommendations that makes no mention of climate change, flooding risks from stronger storms or rising seas.
Welcome to Transition Studies. To prosper for very much longer on the changing Earth humankind will need to move beyond its current fossil-fueled civilization toward one that is sustained on recycled materials and renewable energy. This is not a trivial shift. It will require a major transition in all aspects of our lives.
This weblog explores the transition to a sustainable future on our finite planet. It provides links to current news, key documents from government sources and non-governmental organizations, as well as video documentaries about climate change, environmental ethics and environmental justice concerns.
The links are listed here to be used in whatever manner they may be helpful in public information campaigns, course preparation, teaching, letter-writing, lectures, class presentations, policy discussions, article writing, civic or Congressional hearings and citizen action campaigns, etc. For further information on this blog see: About this weblog. and How to use this weblog.
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