Southern California environment news and trends

With new work toward energy efficiency in buildings, a reminder of the energy problem that never goes away

With the LEED gold-certified Santa Monica Public Library as its backdrop, Environment California released a new energy efficiency report called "Building a Better America." In it, the group argues the best place to start saving energy is probably the house or office you're sitting in.

The building sector consumes more energy than any other sector of the economy, including transportation and industry. The buildings where we live and work account for about 40 percent of our total energy consumption and nearly three quarters of our electricity use. This level of energy use costs the United States approximately $400 billion every year.

EC says that by following recommendations it lays out in a two-dozen page report, California will cut its greenhouse gas emissions from buildings by "11 percent by 2020 and 30 percent by 2030." 

Read More...

Green party: Happy World Environment Day 2012!

Today (June 5th) marks the 40th observance of World Environment Day, established by the United Nations to celebrate environmental action and awareness. As reported by the Huffington Post, this year’s theme is ‘Green economy: Does it include you?’ The UN Environment Programme defines the green economy “as one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. In its simplest expression, a green economy can be thought of as one which is low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive.”

The host country for this year’s World Environment Day is Brazil, culminating in the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development happening there later this month.

Locally, eco-positive organizations like Environment California are very supportive of World Environment Day, but hope it leads to more people taking action in their everyday lives that benefit the world around us.

Read More...

Toxic discharge in California waterways measured

David McNew/Getty Images

An eye-opening new study by Environment California finds that 2.6 million pounds of toxic chemicals were released into the state’s waterways in 2010. The Santa Monica Bay ranked 2nd in the state for the most toxic discharge at 750,000 pounds. That number was only surpassed by the San Pablo Bay, which clocked just over 1 million pounds of toxic discharge.

“California’s waterways are a polluter’s paradise right now," said Sean Carroll, a federal field associate with Environment California in the Pacific Palisades Patch. "Polluters dump 2.6 million pounds of toxic chemicals into California’s lakes, rivers and streams every year. We must turn the tide of toxic pollution by restoring Clean Water Act protections to our waterways.”

Among the offending toxins include Arsenic, Mercury and Benzene, which have been linked to cancer, reproductive disorders and other health and developmental issues.

Read More...

New report on the state of California water due this week

Mercer 14466

Mark Dadswell/Getty Images

The waters of California are swirling. As we reported recently, the controversial Water Reliability Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives, but heavy-hitting senators like Dianne Fienstein and Barbara Boxer are mobilized against it going any further. We also reported on the sobering new report from UC Davis regarding water contamination in California’s farm regions.

Now there’s a new report from Environment California expected tomorrow (which, coincidentally, is World Water Day) that will detail exactly the “total amount of toxic chemicals released by industrial facilities into California’s rivers, lakes, and streams, as ranked by waterway, watershed, type of pollution, polluter, and state.”

As outlined in a press release, this new report will explain the “total figures for direct releases of chemicals that cause cancer, reproductive, and developmental harm.” In short, it’s something that most of us will be eager to see. We will be sure to bring you those figures as they arrive.

Read More...

Always more work, and more reports, on energy efficiency in California buildings

mollyali/Flickr

The Santa Monica Public Library is a LEED-Gold certified building. And it's 6 years old.

With the LEED-gold certified Santa Monica Public Library as its backdrop, Environment California today released a new energy efficiency report called "Building a Better America." In it, the group argues the best place to start saving energy is probably the house or office you're sitting in.

The building sector consumes more energy than any other sector of the economy, including transportation and industry. The buildings where we live and work account for about 40 percent of our total energy consumption and nearly three quarters of our electricity use. This level of energy use costs the United States approximately $400 billion every year.

EC says that, by following recommendations it lays out in a 2-dozen page report, California will cut its greenhouse gas emissions from buildings by "11 percent by 2020 and 30 percent by 2030." 

Read More...