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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

USGS issues latest PA landscape impacts study

The U.S. Geological Survey has issued the latest in a series of reports documenting landscape change resulting from natural gas and coalbed methane development in Pennsylvania.

Landscape Consequences of Natural Gas Extraction in Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Columbia, Huntingdon, and Luzerne Counties, Pennsylvania, 2004–2010 finds significant land clearing, forest fragmentation and other disturbances from resource extraction in these nine counties: 
The disturbance and effects of both Marcellus and non-Marcellus development are clearly different across counties. Marcellus development was concentrated in Centre, Clinton, and Clearfield Counties, while non-Marcellus development was concentrated primarily in Clearfield County, and to a lesser extent, in Cambria and Centre Counties. It is important to note that the combined effect of both activities is substantial. 
It’s important to note the age of the data. A lot of drilling and coalbed methane development has occurred in Pennsylvania since 2010. In order to build on USGS’ excellent work, real-time monitoring of landscape impacts – in addition to air and water impacts - needs to be developed and implemented.

Monday, June 30, 2014

World Bank: Tackling climate disruption will grow the economy

AsUS business leaders cite the domestic economic consequences of global climate disruption, a new report from the World Bank has identified a set of policies in five large countries that would "secure growth, increase jobs and competitiveness, save lives, and slow the rate" of climate change.

Climate-smart development: adding up the benefits of actions that help build prosperity, end poverty and combat climate change focuses on Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and the United States – plus the European Union. It examines the benefits of all six implementing three sets of policies on clean transportation, energy efficiency in industry, and energy efficiency in buildings.

The bank said that these policies would deliver nearly a third of the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions needed to keep warming below the 2°C (3.6°F) threshold for dangerous climate change - and add up to $2.6 trillion a year to global GDP by 2030 and avoid 94,000 deaths a year due to air pollution.

The costs of climate protection are cheap, and as the World Bank study shows, key policies would actually grow the economyThe real obstacle to confronting climate disruption, as Paul Krugman writes, is economic ideology reinforced by hostility to science.

Are we capable of overcoming that?