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News articles on pollution
Mongabay.com news articles on pollution in blog format. Updated regularly.
(01/22/2007) The Ohio Valley and California have the high levels of carbon dioxide produced by fossil fuels combustion, while Colorado has the least, found a new study published in the January 23rd issue of Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.
Pesticides threaten cloud forests in Costa Rica - new study
(01/22/2007) Pesticides from coffee and banana cultivation are accumulating in Costa Rica's biodiverse cloud forests according to research published earlier this month in Environmental Science & Technology. The findings have implications for conservation efforts in both the Central American country and in other parts of the world.
Asian pollution fuels rain in Australia
(12/12/2006) A new study says that the haze produced by fires in southeast Asia causes increased rainfall in Australia by lowering regional ocean temperatures. Particulate matter in the upper atmosphere has been shown to reflect sunlight, hence lowering temperatures.
Nuclear war could cause global cooling (i.e. block global warming)
(12/11/2006) Nuclear war would disrupt global climate for at least a decade according to new research presented Dec. 11 at the annual meeting of American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. The research, based on findings from historic volcano eruptions, found that a small-scale, regional nuclear war could produce millions of tons of 'soot' particles that could block solar radiation, in effect, cooling the planet.
Fighting air pollution could feed the hungry in India
(12/05/2006) Reducing human-generated air pollution could create agricultural benefits in India according to research published by University of California scientists in the current online issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Forest fires worsen mercury contamination in fish
(12/04/2006) Forest fires can worsen mercury accumulation in fish according to a paper published in the early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) for the week of December 4-8, 2006.
Chinese river dolphin nearly extinct says official
(12/03/2006) Xinhua, China's state news agency, reported that a 26-day search for the Baiji, or the Yangtze dolphin, found no dolphins. The Baiji is highly threatened by pollution, overfishing, and obstructions like dams.
Groundwater supplies polluted in 90% of cities in China
(12/03/2006) Groundwater water supplies are polluted or overexploited in about 9 out of every 10 Chinese cities according to official state media.
Supreme Court to decide on global warming issue
(11/29/2006) America's highest court will decide whether the U.S. government should regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The case, known as Massachusetts v. EPA pits the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), an agency charged with protecting the environment, with the auto and power industries and 10 states against a dozen mostly northeastern and western states and 13 environmental organizations. The EPA opposes regulation of carbon dioxide, a potent greenhouse gas scientists say contributes to global warming, arguing that CO2 is a naturally occurring gas that does not fit the U.S. Clean Air Act's definition of a pollutant.
Growth rate of carbon dioxide emissions doubles since 1990s
(11/28/2006) The growth rate of carbon dioxide emissions has more than doubled since the close of the 1990s as countries have failed to reign in use of fossil fuels, says a new report from the Global Carbon Project, a group involved in scientific research on the impact of carbon on the planet. The finding was announced at the Annual Science Meeting at Tasmania's Cape Grim Baseline Air Pollution Station.
Atmospheric levels of key greenhouse gas stabilize, could begin to decline
(11/20/2006) Atmospheric levels of methane, a potent greenhouse gas have leveled off for the past seven years according to scientists at the University of California, Irvine. Human sources of methane, which is twenty times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, include production of oil and natural gas, mining, sewage and decomposition of garbage, changes in land use and deforestation, and livestock. About one-third of methane emissions come from oceans, wetlands, wildfires, and termites.
Pollution could be used to fight global warming
(11/16/2006) A Nobel Prize-winning scientist caused a stir Wednesday at the U.N. climate conference in Nairobi when he said pollution could be used to help fight global warming. Paul J. Crutzen, winner of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on the hole in the ozone layer, said that injecting sulfur into the atmosphere could slow global warming by reflecting solar radiation back into space. The plan would use balloons carrying artillery guns to fire sulfates into the stratosphere. Unlike greenhouse gas emissions, which feature a lag-time in heating the globe, the climatic response from sulfate injection would take effect within six months and the reflective particles would remain in the stratosphere for up to two years.
U.S. greenhouse gas emissions rise 0.6% in 2005 to new record
(11/15/2006) Emissions of heat-trapping gases, including carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, rose by 0.6 percent between 2004 and 2005 according to a new report from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the U.S. Department of Energy. Since 1990, such greenhouse gas emissions have climbed by 16.9 percent. The Kyoto Protocol calls for a 7 percent reduction in emissions levels below 1990 levels by 2012.
Sweden doing most to fight global warming, Saudi Arabia the least
(11/14/2006) Sweden, Britain and Denmark top the list of countries doing the most to address global warming, while the United States, China, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia rank as doing the least according to a new report released by environmental groups. Still, warns the report, even the best ranking countries are not doing enough to stave off climate change.
400% increase in carbon dioxide emissions growth since 1990s
(11/13/2006) Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion are currently increasing four times faster than they were in the 1990s said scientists meeting at the Beijing Conference on Global Environment Change. Scientists from the Earth System Science Partnership (ESSP) warned that growing emissions put the Earth at risk of catastrophic climate change and urged governments to take immediate action to reduce emissions.
Greenhouse gas emissions from rich countries rising finds UN
(10/31/2006) A rise in greenhouse gas emissions from industrialized countries during the 2000-2004 period was called "worrying" by a United Nations report released today.
Oregon dead zone event over, but cause still unknown
(10/30/2006) The hypoxic dead zone off the coast of Oregon has finally dissipated but researchers still don't know why it has formed each of the past summers.
Rain bring haze reprieve in Indonesia, Singapore
(10/27/2006) Rain has brought a temporary reprieve for areas affected by forest fires-caused haze in Indonesia according to a report from Reuters. Officials at Sultan Thaha airport in Jambi province, on the island of Sumatra, said that planes are again taking off and landing after a 10-day closure due to low visibility, according to Reuters. In Singapore, the pollution index was at 19, down from Thursday's reading of 38, and a high of 128 on October 7, its worst level since the 1997-1998 fires. In Kuala Lumpur, the Air Pollution Index stood at 24 on Thursday, down from 72 on Tuesday, according to local reports.
Global warming will threaten health through dirtier air, hotter days, and more natural disasters
(10/23/2006) Global warming will threaten human health through dirtier air, hotter days, and more natural disasters that will worsen water quality, stress emergency systems, and create environmental refugees, warns a public health physician.
Ozone hole is the largest and deepest ever recorded
(10/19/2006) NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists that this year's Antarctic ozone hole is the largest and deepest ever recorded. "From September 21 to 30, the average area of the ozone hole was the largest ever observed, at 10.6 million square miles," said Paul Newman, atmospheric scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. At the same time, scientists from the NOAA"s Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colo., found that nearly all of the ozone in the layer between eight and 13 miles above the Earth"s surface has been destroyed.
Global warming and pollution could doom oysters
(10/11/2006) Oysters exposed to high water temperatures and a common heavy metal are unable to obtain sufficient oxygen and convert it to cellular energy, according to a new study presented at The American Physiological Society conference, Comparative Physiology 2006.
Fires in Central America worsen air quality in Texas
(10/10/2006) Agricultural fires in Central America can impact air quality and climate in Texas, Oklahoma, and other parts of the southern United States according to new research from NASA.
Albatrosses at risk due to fishing
(10/04/2006) About 1 percent of world's waved albatrosses were killed by fisherman in a one-year period according to a new study published online Sept. 26 in the journal Biological conservation
Salmon Farms Kill Wild Fish
(10/03/2006) New research confirms that sea lice from fish farms kill wild salmon. Up to 95 per cent of the wild juvenile salmon that migrate past fish farms die as a result of sea lice infestation from the farms. The results of the research have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of The United States of America.
Methane emissions rising, could worsen global warming
(09/28/2006) Concentrations of methane, a greenhouse gas more than twenty times more potent than carbon dioxide, are rising in Earth's atmosphere finds a new study published in Nature.
California sues automakers over global warming
(09/21/2006) California sued six of the world's largest automakers over greenhouse gas emissions charging that pollution their vehicles have caused billions of dollars in health damages. Auto industry representatives said the action was political and just in time for November elections.
Extent of Mercury Pollution More Widespread, Report Shows
(09/20/2006) Mercury pollution is making its way into nearly every habitat in the U.S., exposing countless species of wildlife to potentially harmful levels of mercury, a new report from the National Wildlife Federation shows.
Acid rain affects one-third of China
(08/28/2006) One-third of China is impacted by acid rain according to officials quotes Sunday by state media. The Associated Press reports that China's factories are sending ever increasing amounts of sulphur dioxide -- the chemical that causes acid rain -- according to Sheng Huaren, deputy chairman of the Standing Committee of parliament. Emissions of sulphur dioxide have risen by 27 percent since 2000.
Feathers, human hair used to fight oil spill in Philippines
(08/24/2006) The Philippines has asked for hair clippings from salons and chicken feathers to help fight the country's worst oil spill, according to a report from Reuters. The oil spill occurred August 1 after Solar I, an oil tanker chartered by Petron Corp. sank in rough seas. About 1700 barrels spilled initially, but because the tanker sank in deep water with as much as 15,300 barrels of bunker oil, more is expected to leak into the surrounding environment. According to Greenpeace, about 320 kilometers of coastline -- including a coral reef located in a marine reserve and 27 coastal villages -- have been affected by the spill.
1 in 3 U.S. National Parks Polluted
(08/22/2006) Air pollution exceeds federal standards in nearly 40 percent of America's national parks according to a new report from the nonpartisan National Parks conservation Association.
Forest fires causing mercury pollution in North America
(08/21/2006) Increasing numbers of wildfires due to climate change could worsen mercury pollution in North America according to a new study from researchers at Michigan State University, the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and the Canadian Forest Service. Wildfires are releasing mercury long ago sequesterd in Northern wetlands.
'Dead Zone' causing wave of death off Oregon coast
(08/10/2006) The most severe low-oxygen ocean conditions ever observed on the West Coast of the United States have turned parts of the seafloor off Oregon into a carpet of dead Dungeness crabs and rotting sea worms, a new survey shows. Virtually all of the fish appear to have fled the area.
Forest fires have high cost to health
(08/10/2006) Forest fires have a huge impact on human health according to a new study from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada which attempted to put a pricetag on the actual economic losses caused by a 2001 fire that burned 116,000 hectares of forest land and settlements Chisholm, Alberta.
Hypoxic "dead zone" growing off the Oregon Coast
(07/31/2006) A hypoxic "dead zone" has formed off the Oregon Coast for the fifth time in five years, according to researchers at Oregon State University. A fundamental new trend in atmospheric and ocean circulation patterns in the Pacific Northwest appears to have begun, scientists say, and apparently is expanding its scope beyond Oregon waters.
China to spend $175 billion on the environment
(07/18/2006) China plans to spend about $175 billion protecting its environment over the next five years according to a report from BBC News. The money will be used to reduce pollution, improve water quality, and cut soil erosion. China has some of the world's most polluted cities and waterways. A December 2005 report from the Chinese government said some 300 million Chinese drink unsafe water tainted by chemicals and other contaminants, while a nationwide survey found that about 90% of China's cities have polluted ground water.
DDT linked to smaller brains in birds
(07/14/2006) For the first time researchers have found evidence that natural exposure to a contaminant damages the brain of a wild animal. Scientists at the University of Alberta discovered that the regions in robins' brains responsible for singing and mating shrink when exposed to high levels of DDT. The new study, published in the current issue of Behavioural Brain Research, suggests that exposure to environmental levels of DDT can cause significant changes in the brains of songbirds.
Formation of clouds linked to air pollution
(07/13/2006) NASA scientists have determined that the formation of clouds is affected by the lightness or darkness of air pollution particles. This also impacts Earth's climate. In a breakthrough study published today in the online edition of Science, scientists explain why aerosols -- tiny particles suspended in air pollution and smoke -- sometimes stop clouds from forming and in other cases increase cloud cover. Clouds not only deliver water around the globe, they also help regulate how much of the sun's warmth the planet holds. The capacity of air pollution to absorb energy from the sun is the key.
Frog extinction crisis requires unprecedented conservation response
(07/06/2006) The world's leading amphibian experts are calling for dramatic steps, including the formation of an Amphibian Survival Alliance (ASA), to prevent the massive extinction of amphibians worldwide. Scientists say amphibians -- cold-blooded animals that include frogs, toads, salamanders, newts and caecilians -- are under grave threat due to climate change, pollution, and the emergence of a deadly and infectious fungal disease, which has been linked to global warming. According to the Global Amphibian Assessment, a comprehensive status assessment of the world's amphibian species, one-third of the world's 5,918 known amphibian species are classified as threatened with extinction. Further, at least 9, and perhaps 122, have gone extinct since 1980.
Study reveals another contributor to polar warming
(05/10/2006) Arctic climate already is known to be particularly prone to global warming caused by industrial and automotive emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Now, a University of Utah study finds a surprising new way society's pollutants warm the far north: the Arctic's well-known haze -- made of particulate pollution from mid-latitude cities -- mixes with thin clouds, making them better able to trap heat.
China and India show rapid increase in global warming emissions
(05/10/2006) Carbon dioxide emissions continue to rise with a mix of old and new polluters, according to the Little Green Data Book 2006, launched today on the occasion of the Fourteenth Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. An annual publication of the World Bank, according to this year?s edition, CO2 emissions worldwide have now topped 24 billion metric tons, an increase of 15 percent compared to the 1992 levels.
Carbon prices tumble 65 percent
(05/04/2006) Carbon prices tumbled 65 percent as a number of European countries announced lower than expected carbon emissions in 2005, suggesting there will be a surplus of pollution-permitting carbon credits. Several important conservation initiatives are based on the concept of a market where industrialized countries buy carbon emissions credits from developing nations in exchange for forest protection
Report makes case for regulating carbon dioxide emissions
(04/05/2006) A new report evaluating air pollution trends at the nation's 100 largest electric power producers shows that emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) have fallen markedly in recent years, but carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions increased and will likely spike in coming years. The report comes amid increasing public concern and intensifying pressure for limits on heat-trapping emissions from U.S. power plants and rising investor concern about companies' long-term financial risk from climate change. In the absence of federal regulations, business uncertainty is growing as more U.S. states and regions move to enact their own limits on CO2 emissions from power plants. The U.S. government has opted for voluntary controls on carbon dioxide, but last year the U.S. Senate adopted a resolution calling for mandatory emission limits.
California plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions
(04/04/2006) California plans to introduce legislation that will impose binding limiting on future greenhouse gas emissions. The state aims to cut current levels of emissions 10 percent by 2020, to bring pollution in line with 1990 levels. It would become the first state to implement mandatory controls on greenhouse gasses.
More carcinogens allowed into air under secret new EPA rule
(04/03/2006) A secret proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency, so controversial that it has provoked strong internal dissent, would weaken nearly 100 toxic air pollution standards and allow industrial plants across the country to emit significantly greater amount of toxins, according to a draft rule obtained by the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Lack of oxygen triggers sex imbalance in fish
(03/29/2006) Oceanic oxygen depletion resulting from agricultural run-off and pollution can trigger sex imbalance in fish and pose an extinction risk according to a new study published by researchers in Hong Kong. The finding raises new concerns about "dead zones",expanses of water so devoid of oxygen that most sea life cannot survive.
Pollution from smog linked to climate warming in the Arctic
(03/15/2006) In a global assessment of the impact of ozone on climate warming, scientists at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies evaluated how ozone in the lowest part of the atmosphere changed surface temperatures over the past 100 years. Using the best available estimates of global emissions of the various gases that produce tropospheric ozone, the GISS computer model study reveals how much this single air pollutant and greenhouse gas has contributed to warming in specific regions of the world.
Norwegian killer whales most toxic mammals in Arctic
(12/12/2005) Initial scientific results show Norwegian killer whales are the most toxic mammals in the Arctic, says WWF, the global conservation organization. Previous research awarded this dubious honour to the polar bear, but a new study shows that killer whales have even higher levels of PCBs, pesticides and a brominated flame retardant.
Arctic Inuit sue U.S. govt over global warming pollution
(12/08/2005) A group of people living in the Arctic have filed a lawsuit against the US government, claiming its climate change policies violate their human rights. The Inuit Circumpolar Conference (ICC) says that by failing to control emissions of greenhouse gases, the US is damaging the livelihoods those living in the Arctic. The group has filed a petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights demanding that the US limit its emissions.
Energy efficiency helped California grow an extra $31 billion finds study
(12/04/2005) Countering Bush administration claims to the contrary, environmental officials for the state of California and the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo have found significant evidence that greenhouse gas pollution can be substantially reduced at a profit rather than a cost. The study, commissioned by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, found that energy efficiency has helped the California economy grow an extra 3 percent - a $31 billion gain - compared to business as usual. Further, the researchers say that each Californian typically saved about $1,000 per year between 1975 and 1995 just through efficiency standards for buildings and appliances.
U.S. "exporting" carbon emissions to China says study
(12/01/2005) The growth of Chinese imports in the U.S. economy boosted the total emissions of carbon dioxide (a primary greenhouse gas) from the two countries by over 700 million metric tons between 1997 and 2003, according to a study published online in the journal Energy Policy. The analysis, prepared by two scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, suggests that American emissions of carbon dioxide in 2003 would have been 6% higher if the United States had manufactured the products that it imported from China. Meanwhile, China's 2003 emissions would have been 14% lower had it not produced goods for the United States.
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