April 13, 2012

Environmental News

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health have "estimated that greater summer temperature variability, a predicted consequence of climate change, is causing 10,000 additional deaths per year in the United States, a figure that is likely to rise along with the mercury."  The study found, "For each increase of 1 degree Celsius in summer temperature variability, the death rate for infirm elderly residents rose between 2.8 percent and 4 percent, depending on the ailment." [Boston Globe]

New York City has tripled its production of solar power by completing the installation of panels on 10 city-owned buildings, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday. [Wall Street Journal]

The sun is shining on homeowners in less affluent neighborhoods who are discovering they can afford solar energy after all — by leasing rather than buying the panels on their roofs. [Renewable Energy World]

A new journal article finds that methane leakage greatly undercuts or eliminates entirely the climate benefit of a switch to natural gas. The authors of "Greater Focus Needed on Methane Leakage from Natural Gas Infrastructure" conclude that "it appears that current leakage rates are higher than previously thought" and "Reductions in CH4 Leakage Are Needed to Maximize the Climate Benefits of Natural Gas."

New York Times columnist Tom Friedman has a terrific column on how climate change has already begun to impact the Middle East — and how it is only going to get much worse if we don't act soon.
"The Arab awakening was driven not only by political and economic stresses, but, less visibly, by environmental, population and climate stresses as well. If we focus only on the former and not the latter, we will never be able to help stabilize these societies."

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