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Category Archives: Environmental Law

The City Energy Efficiency Scorecard

“Mayors and local lawmakers in America’s largest cities continue to take innovative steps to lower energy costs for consumers and businesses, increase their resilience, and reduce pollution through increased energy efficiency, according to the 2nd edition of the City Energy Efficiency Scorecard, released today by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).  Available online at http://aceee.org/local-policy/city-scorecard, the ACEEE report finds that Boston continues to be the most energy-efficient city in the nation, receiving 82 out of a possible 100 points, an improvement of more than five points from that city’s 2013 score. Trailing Boston, the top 10 US cities for energy efficiency are: New York City (#2), Washington, DC (#3), San Francisco (#4), Seattle (#5), Chicago (#6), Minneapolis (#7), Portland (#8), Austin (#9), and Denver (#10). With 9 of the top 10 cities improving their scores from 2013, Boston faced increased competition for the top spot.

Key findings in the 2015 City Energy Efficiency Scorecard include the following:

  • Washington, Los Angeles, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Seattle are the most improved cities compared to the 2013 City Scorecard, with many showing double-digit improvements in their scores. Los Angeles, for example, established a strong energy savings goal, and Chicago enacted a new commercial building benchmarking ordinance.
  • Other cities have also improved their scores since the last edition, including several in the Southeast United States. Atlanta, the leading city in the Southeast, saw an improvement of 5 points, earning new points for local government operations, buildings policies, energy and water utilities, and transportation policies. Charlotte made a strong showing as well, improving by nearly 8 points. Jacksonville, the lowest scoring city in the 2013 edition, saw a 50 percent increase in its score.
  • All of the ranked cities, even the highest scorers, have significant room for improvement. Boston was the only city to earn over 80 points, and only 13 cities earned more than half of the possible points.

ACEEE research analyst David Ribeiro, the lead report author, said: “Our findings show that cities continue to be laboratories of innovation when it comes to energy efficiency, with many pushing the envelope for more energy savings in the last few years. Cities are also improving their approaches when it comes to tracking and communicating their efforts to save energy. By capturing these efforts in the Scorecard we hope local leaders from cities of all sizes can learn best practices from each other and deliver the benefits of energy efficiency to their communities, such as a stronger economy and a cleaner environment.”

 

Atmospheric changes through 2012 as shown by iteratively homogenized radiosonde temperature and wind data

Atmospheric changes through 2012 as shown by iteratively homogenized radiosonde temperature and wind data (IUKv2) Steven C Sherwood and Nidhi Nishant 2015 Environ. Res. Lett. 10 054007 “We present an updated version of the radiosonde dataset homogenized by Iterative Universal Kriging (IUKv2), now extended through February 2013, following the method used in the original versionContinue Reading

Oceanic and atmospheric forcing of Larsen C Ice-Shelf thinning

Citation: Holland, P. R., Brisbourne, A., Corr, H. F. J., McGrath, D., Purdon, K., Paden, J., Fricker, H. A., Paolo, F. S., and Fleming, A. H.: Oceanic and atmospheric forcing of Larsen C Ice-Shelf thinning, The Cryosphere, 9, 1005-1024, doi:10.5194/tc-9-1005-2015, 2015. “The catastrophic collapses of Larsen A and B ice shelves on the eastern Antarctic Peninsula have caused their tributary glaciers to accelerate, contributing to sea-level rise and freshening theContinue Reading

Collapse of the world’s largest herbivores

“Large wild herbivores are crucial to ecosystems and human societies. We highlight the 74 largest terrestrial herbivore species on Earth (body mass ≥100 kg), the threats they face, their important and often overlooked ecosystem effects, and the conservation efforts needed to save them and their predators from extinction. Large herbivores are generally facing dramatic populationContinue Reading

Unabated global mean sea-level rise over the satellite altimeter era

“The rate of global mean sea-level (GMSL) rise has been suggested to be lower for the past decade compared with the preceding decade as a result of natural variability, with an average rate of rise since 1993 of +3.2 ± 0.4 mm yr−1. However, satellite-based GMSL estimates do not include an allowance for potential instrumentalContinue Reading

New GAO reports – Forest Restoration, Medicaid

Forest Restoration: Adjusting Agencies’ Information-Sharing Strategies Could Benefit Landscape-Scale Projects, GAO-15-398: Published: Apr 9, 2015. Publicly Released: May 11, 2015: “Agencies GAO reviewed—the Forest Service in the Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and National Park Service (NPS) in the DepartmentContinue Reading

Energy Report – Home Idle Load

Natural Resources Defense Council – Devices Wasting Huge Amounts of Electricity When Not in Active Use “Always-on” energy use by inactive appliances, electronics and miscellaneous electrical devices translates to $19 billion a year — about $165 per U.S. household on average. The average always-on load uses the same amount of electricity as brewing 234 cupsContinue Reading

NASA – Cloudy Earth

NASA Earth Observatory – “Decades of satellite observations and astronaut photographs show that clouds dominate space-based views of Earth. One study based on nearly a decade of satellite data estimated that about 67 percent of Earth’s surface is typically covered by clouds. This is especially the case over the oceans, where other research shows lessContinue Reading

Website About Endangered Species and the Efforts to Save Them

“Over the last 18 years, Bagheera has been visited by millions of people who have requested tens of millions of pages of information on endangered species. Bagheera was created by Endangered Species Journalist Craig Kasnoff in 1996 as part of Microsoft’s Schoolhouse Project. It is the first of many endangered species websites created by Craig toContinue Reading

NOAA Trends in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide – All Time High

“The graph shows recent monthly mean carbon dioxide globally averaged over marine surface sites. The Global Monitoring Division of NOAA/Earth System Research Laboratory has measured carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases for several decades at a globally distributed network of air sampling sites [Conway, 1994]. A global average is constructed by first fitting a smoothedContinue Reading

How Is NOAA Preparing for Future Oil Spills?

NOAA: “Crude oil production from North Dakota’s Bakken region has more than quadrupled [PDF] since 2010, and responders must be prepared for spills involving this lighter oil (note: not all oils are the same). Bakken crude oil is highly flammable and evaporates quickly in the open air. Knowing the chemistry of this oil can helpContinue Reading

Plant Database – UConn

“The University of Connecticut has developed this site dedicated to the ornamental attributes, appropriate use and identification of landscape plants. This site is geared toward the teaching of landscape plants and contains valuable information for students, homeowners and plant professionals. At the core of this site are plant information pages that contain text, photographs, illustrationsContinue Reading