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Blog Posts: air quality

  • Fires Spread Across Indonesia as Parliament Approves Haze Treaty

    Earlier this week, Indonesia's parliament approved an agreement to reduce haze pollution from land and forest fires.

    Ratification of the law—originally signed 12 years ago—comes not a moment too soon: Fires are currently flaring across southern Sumatra and West and Central Kalimantan, jeopardizing Indonesia’s forests and the communities and wildlife that call these regions home.

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  • The UN Climate Summit: What's in it for Cities?

    City leaders will have a key role at the United Nations Climate Summit in New York City, which brings together heads of state, mayors, business leaders and civil society representatives to work toward an international agenda to tackle climate change and build resilience.

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  • Demystifying Transit-Oriented Development

    To help city leaders shift to a planning paradigm that creates more compact neighborhoods and sustainable cities, EMBARQ has released a Transit-oriented Development Guide for Urban Communities.

    The guide combines best practices from existing communities and design guidelines for creating healthy, sustainable, people-oriented cities.

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  • Emissions Trading in China: First Reports from the Field

    Chinese emissions trading pilots emerge as environmental and climate issues reach the top of the Chinese agenda. The authors discuss emissions trading in China, from the field. Editor's note: This blog post was originally posted on ChinaFAQs.

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  • 7 Stories to Watch in 2014

    Earlier this month, WRI launched its “Stories to Watch in 2014.”

    All years are important, but decisions made in 2014 will have a striking impact for decades to come. Here are seven potential game-changers:

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  • China Can Turn its Challenges into Clear Opportunities for Greener Growth

    Confronted with a cooling economy and global headlines declaring an "Airpocalypse", China faces challenges on multiple fronts. While many people are quick to point out the hurdles, the reality is that its leaders are moving ahead with significant policy measures and reforms. If successful, these actions will not only help drive China's economic development, they will address another mounting threat: climate change.

    The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change confirms the risks of climate change and humans' central role in it. China is no less vulnerable. One-third of its coastline is highly vulnerable to rising seas that will probably lead to the relocation of coastal communities. China's agricultural production - including rice, wheat and corn - could fall dramatically within a few decades due to shifts in precipitation and soil quality. Health impacts, including malaria and other infectious diseases, are also expected to mount as global temperatures rise.

    As China moves to tackle issues related to the economy, pollution and urbanisation, each carries opportunities to shift the country's emissions trajectory and make progress on climate change.

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  • A Holiday Gift from the EPA: New Rules Will Cut Toxic Air Pollution from American Boilers

    The U.S. Environment Protection Agency finalized the Boiler Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) rule today to protect people from exposure to toxic air pollution from industrial, commercial, and institutional boilers. By encouraging industry to use cleaner-burning fuels and to make efficiency improvements, Boiler MACT will modernize U.S. industry, reduce toxins, and cut carbon pollution.

    The Boiler MACT rules, which are required by the Clean Air Act amendments of 1990, will only target the most significant sources of toxic air pollution. Most boiler-based emissions come from a small handful of very large industrial and commercial facilities that operate coal, oil, and biomass-fired boilers. As such, according to EPA:

    • Fewer than 1 percent of all U.S. boilers will be required to reduce their emissions to levels that are consistent with demonstrated maximum achievable control technologies, or MACT standards. Operators of these types of boilers will have three years to reduce toxic air pollution and meet new emissions limits.

    • A larger subset of U.S. industrial, commercial, and institutional boilers (roughly 13 percent) would not be required to meet the specific MACT standards, but would need to reduce their toxic air emissions through other means (as described below).

    • About 86 percent of all U.S. boilers are relatively small, limited-use, or gas-fired boilers, and are not covered by the new rules.

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  • Was It "The Green Olympics?"

    Are the Beijing Olympics a signal that China can pursue both economic growth and a cleaner environment?

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