Sustainability Reads: September 8- September 14

Two Degrees of separation: ambition and reality Low carbon Economy Index 2014
PWC’s Low Carbon Economy Index (LCEI) this year shows an unmistakable trend. For the sixth year running, the global economy has missed the decarbonisation target needed to limit global warming to 2 ̊C. Confronted with the challenge in 2013 of decarbonising at 6% a year, we managed only 1.2%. To avoid two degrees of warming, the global economy now needs to decarbonise at 6.2% a year, more than five times faster than the current rate, every year from now till 2100. On our current burn rate, we blow our carbon budget by 2034, sixty-six years ahead of schedule. This trajectory, based on IPCC data, takes us to four degrees of warming by the end of the century. An interesting finding was that this is the first year that developing economies such as China, Mexico, and India cut their carbon intensity at a higher rate than developed countries, such as the U.S. and Japan.

This Hawaiian Island is So Polluted With Plastic That it Might Become a Superfund Site
Tern Island, an island 564 miles northwest of Honolulu is a remote island but one that is directly in the path of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, thus polluted with plastic that often finds its way into the bodies of marine life and birds. Studies have even concluded that this plastic can accumulate and “transport contaminants in the marine environment into the food chain”. But this pollution doesn’t only come from plastic, as much of the contamination leaving the island so disastrous was actually left behind from the military activities that took place on the island. For these reasons, the Tern Island is on its way to be designated by the EPA as a Superfund site, a designation that the EPA gives to areas severely contaminated by hazardous waste. This would be the first Superfund designation granted for a site that was investigated for ocean plastic pollution. By Taylor Hill on TakePart.com.

Good News: EPA Standards Could Lower Electricity Bills
As the EPA starts to unroll the new Clean Power Plant regulations, many critics are using the classic, old criticism: that it will result in higher electricity rates, especially for middle-income Americans. This EDF blog actually disproves this criticism, and acknowledges that the new regulations could even lower electricity bills. According to the EPA’s models, the average monthly electric bill will be $8 lower in 2030 with the Clean Power Plan than without it. Published by EDF by Mandy Warner.

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