WRI established its U.S. office in 1982. We work to improve water quality, increase awareness of local climate change impacts, and identify cost-effective emissions-reduction opportunities in the United States. Learn more about our work in the United States.
This blog post was co-written with Forbes Tompkins, an intern with WRI's Climate and Energy Program.
According to new data, 2012 was a chart-topping year for the United States – but not in a good way.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) National Climate Data Center (NCDC) recently declared 2012 to be the hottest year on record for the contiguous United States. This year shattered the previous record temperature, set in 1998, by 1.0°F. The year was also marked by 11 extreme weather events that each caused more than $1 billion of damages.
In a year that brought the United States record-breaking wildfire activity, an ongoing drought, and Hurricane Sandy, perhaps these announcements aren’t surprising. But they are troubling: Record-breaking temperatures and the rising frequency of extreme weather events illustrate that climate change is happening. These trends are expected to worsen the longer we delay serious action to reduce carbon pollution.
Take a look at a few of the figures illustrating the intensity and impacts of 2012’s extreme weather and climate events:
This post originally appeared on TheCityFix.com.
Zipcar’s $500 million acquisition by Avis-Budget Group announced last Wednesday is a watershed moment for the car-sharing industry. What will it mean for car sharing?
Barely 10 years ago, no one knew whether car sharing could even work in North America, let alone become a staple of trendy and pragmatic urban living. Yet today Zipcar, plus dozens of innovative start-ups like City CarShare, PhillyCarShare, I-Go, and CommunAuto, have grown into robust community assets in every major U.S. and Canadian city.
Car sharing has made an indelible mark on how we live in cities. Membership exceeds one in five adults in many urban neighborhoods from Montreal to San Francisco. Each shared vehicle in North America has been shown to replace nine to 13 personal cars, and reduce driving by an average of 44 percent – as members pocket the savings and choose to walk, bike, and take public transit.
Zipcar has been at the forefront of this transformation. Launching in Cambridge, Mass., with a handful of lime-green Volkswagen Beetles, the feisty start-up pioneered early innovation, catalyzed massive scale-up around the world, and helped inspire a whole movement toward shared access to everything from houses to bicycles to parking spaces—and even pets.
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.
The U.S. Environment Protection Agency finalized new standards for boilers and certain incinerators, the Boiler Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) rules, today to protect people from exposure to hazardous, toxic air pollution from industrial, commercial and institutional boilers. By encouraging industry to use cleaner-burning fuels and to make efficiency improvements, the Boiler MACT will modernize U.S. industry, reduce toxins, and cut carbon pollution.
Following is a statement by James Bradbury, Senior Associate, World Resources Institute:
WRI life cycle process map.
A Framework for Identifying and Mitigating Environmental Impacts
In this working paper, WRI proposes a life cycle framework for shale gas. This life cycle spans exploration to well closure/site remediation, and from production to use. Readers may use the life cycle boundary for their own assessments of shale gas impacts.
In addition, WRI compares its...
As climate change has resulted in sea level rise, its impacts on states like Florida are profound. This fact sheet examines those impacts as well what county governments and others are doing to respond.
Hurricane Sandy is the most recent event to expose the vulnerability of the United States to extreme weather, with costly disruptions to businesses, people’s livelihoods, and critical infrastructure. This fact sheet by WRI examines the connection between Hurricane Sandy and climate change as...
An Overview of the Current Policy Landscape
In the context of the U.S. goal to achieve “in the range of a 17 percent emission reduction by 2020 compared with 2005 levels,” this report examines key existing and emerging federal policies that are likely to reduce GHG emissions in the United States. U.S. government GHG projections suggest...