Southern California environment news and trends

Heat-related deaths expected to soar in U.S.

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Image: Cimexus/Flickr

According to a new report from the National Resources Defense Council, climate change could lead to as many 150,000 more Americans dying from heat-related causes by the end of the century.

As reported by Think Progress, the study, entitled “Killer Summer Heat,” looks at the projected numbers across 40 American cities, and it’s not pretty. With Louisville, KY (19,000 deaths) and Detroit, MI (18,000 deaths) leading the pack, Los Angeles clocks in at 1,200 projected heat-related deaths by the year 2099.

"This is a wake-up call. Climate change has a number of real life-and-death consequences. One of which is that as carbon pollution continues to grow, climate change is only going to increase the number of dangerously hot days each summer, leading to a dramatic increase in the number of lives lost," said Dan Lashof, director of NRDC's climate and clean air program in a press release. "To prevent the health impacts of climate change from getting even worse, we need to establish a comprehensive program to reduce heat-trapping pollution from all sources, by building on the Environmental Protection Agency's proposals to limit carbon pollution from new power plants and cars."


Magic Mountain charged with polluting the Santa Clara River

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An aerial view of the Santa Clara River.

Environmental groups are claiming that popular Southern California amusement park Six Flags Magic Mountain is guilty of contaminating the adjacent Santa Clara River with pollution that ultimately reaches the Pacific Ocean.

As reported by the L.A. Times, Santa Monica Baykeeper, Wishtoyo Foundation and Friends of the Santa Clara River sent a joint letter to the theme park last week about the garbage, including “bacteria, metals, toxins, sediments and other pollutants” from the park’s storm drains spilling into the river system.

If Six Flags does not “significantly reduce” the pollution in the next 60 days, the groups plan on suing the park.

Magic Mountain has replied to the accusations in a statement, stressing environmental improvements already made by the park.

"In the last six years, the Park has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to not only lower the amount of storm water discharge but to improve the quality of the storm water discharged,” read part of the statement.


Apple to work with critics on pollution audits

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Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

It was announced this week that the same environmental organization that charged Apple’s Chinese production partners with poor pollution practices is going to be working with the digital hardware maker to audit operations at one of the company’s suppliers.

Historically, Apple was not been forthcoming with their manufacturing partners. This new agreement will mark the first time the company has ever revealed the names of those partners, making it easier for environmental organizations to track the sustainability (or lack thereof) in the process. In this case, an unnamed maker of printed circuit boards will be the focus of an environmental review slated to start in “the next few weeks,” according to CNET.

“We are happy Apple is now opening its door,” said Shen Xunan, a project officer at the Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs in Beijing to Business Week. After the organization criticized Apple last fall for working with suppliers who endangered public health through pollution, the company has made a very public effort to remedy the situation. Apple has yet to comment on the any of their environmental efforts outside of information provided on the company’s website.