EPA: Fiat Chrysler used software to cheat on vehicle emissions

January 12, 2017 by  
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Today, the EPA accused Fiat Chrysler of cheating emissions standards in over 100,000 of their vehicles, echoing the scandal that has been rocking Volkswagen . According to the EPA, the company installed software on SUVs and trucks made in 2014, 2015 and 2016 that allowed them to evade standards, allowing poisonous nitrous oxide into the atmosphere. While the current administration has shown it is willing to pursue Clean Air Act violators, the incoming administration could choose not to continue the investigation. The Italian automaker is accused of installing 8 different programs aimed at giving a false emissions picture. If those programs qualify as “defeat devices,” Fiat Chrysler could face a fine of up to $44,539 per vehicle if found guilty of violations of the Clean Air Act. Related: Volkswagen to pay $4.3 billion to US following emissions scandal Fiat Chrysler stated that it had offered to develop software fixes to help ease the problem and that they intend to plead their case to the incoming Trump administration . The company did not disclose the issue, rather, the EPA discovered during testing that the vehicles appeared to be within standards at a moderate speed, but at higher speeds or on longer trips, the emissions violated air quality standards. “FCA US is disappointed that the EPA has chosen to issue a notice of violation with respect to the emissions control technology employed in the company’s 2014-16 model year light duty 3.0-liter diesel engines. FCA US intends to work with the incoming administration to present its case and resolve this matter fairly and equitably and to assure the EPA and FCA US customers that the company’s diesel-powered vehicles meet all applicable regulatory requirements,” Fiat Chrysler said in a statement. via USA Today images via Petr Magera

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EPA: Fiat Chrysler used software to cheat on vehicle emissions

Four major cities pledge to ban diesel cars by 2025

December 2, 2016 by  
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Air pollution plagues many large cities , and now four major metropolises are taking a stand. At the C40 Mayors Summit ending today in Mexico City, Paris, Madrid, Mexico City, and Athens pledged to ban diesel cars by 2025. They also urged car manufacturers to take action, saying they will provide incentives for their residents to walk, bike, or drive alternatively-fueled cars. Air pollution leads to three million deaths every single year, with most fatalities occurring in cities, according to the World Health Organization. As diesel cars pump out contaminating fumes, the four cities decided to remove those vehicles from their cities. In addition to carbon dioxide, cars emit nitrogen dioxide and tiny particles, worsening air quality especially in congested urban areas. Related: 6 brilliant smog-eating designs ridding cities of air pollution According to The Guardian, it’s not precisely clear if the pledge will include a total ban, or if it will simply ban cars from some areas of the cities, and if so, exactly which areas. But such a move could be especially beneficial for Mexico City, which just this year banned over one million cars in an air pollution crisis. Mexico City mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera said in a statement , “It is no secret that in Mexico City we grapple with the twin problems of air pollution and traffic.” Public transportation , like the subway and bus system, will be expanded, according to the mayor, as will bicycling infrastructure. Athens mayor Giorgos Kaminis indicated he wants to take his city even one step further by removing every car from Athens’ center. Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo challenged the car industry to take pollution as seriously as the four cities. “Today, we…stand up to say we no longer tolerate air pollution and the health problems and deaths it causes – particularly for our most vulnerable citizens,” she said. “Big problems like air pollution require bold action, and we call on car and bus manufacturers to join us.” Via The Guardian Images via Mike Norton on Flickr and Pixabay

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Four major cities pledge to ban diesel cars by 2025

Will Ivanka Trump be liberals climate champion in the White House?

December 2, 2016 by  
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With the announcement that incoming First Lady Melania Trump would be staying in New York rather than moving into the White House in January, there’s been no shortage of speculation about the exact role Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, will take in his administration. Some commentators have written she could be the real “first lady” in all but name . But the most interesting rumor comes in a recent article from Politico, which states that a source close to Ivanka told the outlet that the first daughter would like to use her position to advocate against policies that exacerbate climate change . While the news offers a glimmer of hope for those concerned about the health of our planet under a Trump presidency, some argue that outside of the single article by Politico, we have no evidence that Ivanka cares about climate change at all. One Huffington Post author calls the original reporting “irresponsible,” casting doubt both on the anonymous source and on the complete lack of detail on Ivanka’s beliefs throughout the piece. A quick Google search reveals that she’s never made a public comment on the subject one way or the other. It is true that Ivanka has championed other progressive causes in the past, particularly pay equity and parental leave . So the speculation that she may bring a more moderate viewpoint to the Trump administration is not entirely baseless. On the other hand, she’s also proven to be extremely loyal to her father and family, defending him against charges of misogyny even after recordings were released showing him bragging about sexual assault. Related: Trump wants NASA to stop researching climate change to build a permanent base on the Moon It’s hard to imagine Ivanka breaking rank when Donald Trump has taken such a hard stance against climate change in the past – calling it a Chinese hoax , arguing that the US should pull out of the Paris agreement , nominating a climate denier to head the EPA transition team, and arguing for approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. We’ll have to wait and see exactly what happens come January, but environmentalists probably shouldn’t get their hopes up unless Ivanka releases a statement affirming her interest in fighting climate change. Via Politico Images via Michael Vadon and Wikimedia Commons

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Will Ivanka Trump be liberals climate champion in the White House?

Net-zero Silicon Valley office prioritizes water conservation in drought-stricken California

December 2, 2016 by  
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A Silicon Valley office building that produces all the energy it needs on-site is a leading example of smarter, water-efficient architecture in drought-stricken California. The net-zero energy building, called Hanover Page Mill, was designed by Form4 Architecture to use significantly less water than comparable buildings thanks to low-flow fixtures, water-efficient irrigation systems, and native drought-tolerant plantings. Completed this year, the LEED Platinum-certified building was just awarded the LEAF Award in the Best Sustainable Development category. While the majority of corporate Silicon Valley office buildings are glass-clad behemoths, Hanover Page Mill bucks the trend with a more opaque facade that’s distinctly Californian with an earthy color palette. The building achieves net-zero energy on an annual basis with superior insulation, natural lighting, low-flow fixtures, and photovoltaic panels that provide all of the building’s electric energy use, including the energy used by the 15 on-site electric car chargers. The office uses 40% less water for toilet flushing when compared to similarly sized buildings, and 55% less potable water is needed for its drought-tolerant landscaping. Related: World’s largest green roof unveiled in the heart of Silicon Valley Hanover Page Mill is arranged around a C-shaped layout with two aboveground floors overtop an underground 118-space parking lot. A grand, south-facing square courtyard forms the focal point of the site’s central axis. “The project is the result of an exceptional design that blends form with function,” says Hanover Page Mill Associates’ James Gaither, Jr., a former ecologist for The Nature Conservancy . “We believe that designing toward sustainability and occupant health and comfort are the most valuable building attributes in today’s market, and will become essential in the future.” + Form4 Architecture Images by Craig Cozart Photography

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Net-zero Silicon Valley office prioritizes water conservation in drought-stricken California

US vehicle emissions hit record low as fuel economy climbs to record high

November 4, 2016 by  
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The transportation sector accounts for 26 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Recognizing the opportunity to reduce carbon pollution from vehicles to mitigate climate change , in 2012 the Obama Administration mandated 54.5 miles per gallon fuel efficiency standards for the model year 2025. The auto industry is not only responding – it’s outperforming. A new report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finds that compared to 2014, the average fuel economy of model year 2015 vehicles increased 0.5 mpg to a record high 24.8 mpg. New vehicle carbon dioxide emissions averaged 358 grams per mile — 7 grams per mile better than required by the 2015 greenhouse gas emissions standard and a 13 gram per mile improvement over the 2014 requirement. “Car buyers can go to the showroom knowing that no matter what kind of vehicle they buy, it will be better for the climate – and their wallets – than ever before,” Christopher Grundler, director of EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality, said in a statement . “This report highlights that the industry is providing vehicles that customers want, while reaching new levels of environmental performance.” Related: US sues Volkswagen for up to $90 billion for violating the Clean Air Act The EPA attributes the fourth consecutive year of automakers outperforming GHG standards and the record high fuel economy to new fuel-efficient technologies such as “turbo charging, engine downsizing, more sophisticated transmissions, vehicle weight reduction, aerodynamics and idle stop-start, along with improved accessories and air conditioning systems.” Car manufacturers are increasingly using lighter materials like aluminum and high-strength steel to achieve weight loss and increase fuel economy. 2015 model year vehicles were on average 25 pounds lighter than the previous year. The EPA estimates that the GHG emissions standards have slashed nearly 130 million metric tons of carbon emissions. However, Grundler recently warned that even steeper fuel economy standards will be needed in order for the US to meet climate targets called for in the Paris climate agreement . “What we know is, just from the math, if we’re going to achieve what science tells us we need to achieve by 2050, we’re going to need to see a lot of zero and near-zero emissions technology coming into the fleet,” Grundler told Bloomberg Politics . “Facts are facts.” + EPA fuel economy trends report + EPA manufacturer performance report Via Phys.org Images via Public Domain and Wikimedia

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US vehicle emissions hit record low as fuel economy climbs to record high

MIT Study: Air Pollution Kills 200,000 Annually

August 30, 2013 by  
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A new study from MIT’s Laboratory for Aviation and the Environment finds that air pollution causes 200,000 early deaths every year in the United States. The team examined ground-level emissions from industrial power plants, vehicle tailpipes, commercial and residential heating and other sources to reach the conclusion. The worst state for air pollution is California with an early mortality figure of 21,000, while Baltimore is the city with the highest emissions-related mortality rate — 130 out of 100,000 residents die annually from air pollution. Read the rest of MIT Study: Air Pollution Kills 200,000 Annually Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: air pollution , emissions , exhaust , industrial pollution , MIT study , power plants , premature deaths , respiratory health , road transportation , united states , vehicle emissions        

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MIT Study: Air Pollution Kills 200,000 Annually

Holey Frack: Utah is Starting to Look Like Swiss Cheese

August 30, 2013 by  
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Read the rest of Holey Frack: Utah is Starting to Look Like Swiss Cheese Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: earthquakes , environmental distruction , fracking , google earth , green house gas , hydraulic fracking , methane , natural gas , oil , renewable energy , Utah , waste pools        

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Holey Frack: Utah is Starting to Look Like Swiss Cheese

BREEAM Excellent Library of Birmingham to be Europe’s Largest Public Cultural Space

August 30, 2013 by  
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Read the rest of BREEAM Excellent Library of Birmingham to be Europe’s Largest Public Cultural Space Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: birmingham library , book rotunda , BREEAM excellent , BREEAM rating , Buro Happold , central library , Europe’s largest cultural public space , Library of Birmingham , library rotunda , mecanoo        

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BREEAM Excellent Library of Birmingham to be Europe’s Largest Public Cultural Space

FedEx Announces Plan to Cut CO2 Emissions by 50%

August 23, 2012 by  
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Over the years, global logistics company FedEx has been doing everything it can to reduce the carbon emissions of its massive fleet. The company has done everything from implementing carbon offset programs to utilizing electric vehicles . One of the company’s boldest moves was in 2008, when it announced that it would aim to reduce carbon emissions from its aircraft and improve the fuel efficiency of its vehicle fleet by 20 percent by 2020. Now, just four years later, FedEx has done so well that it has almost achieved these goals already. So today the company announced a revised, more aggressive target  of 50% ! Read the rest of FedEx Announces Plan to Cut CO2 Emissions by 50% Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: aircraft emissions , biofuel , carbon emissions , carbon offset programs , electric vehicles , fedex , fedex aircraft , logistical company , logistics company , vehicle emissions

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FedEx Announces Plan to Cut CO2 Emissions by 50%

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