is the editor of The Revelator. An award-winning environmental journalist, his work has appeared in Scientific American, Audubon, Motherboard, and numerous other magazines and publications. His “Extinction Countdown” column has run continuously since 2004 and has covered news and science related to more than 1,000 endangered species. He is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and the National Association of Science Writers. John lives on the outskirts of Portland, Ore., where he finds himself surrounded by animals and cartoonists.
An Obama-era rule to reduce ground-level ozone has been delayed by one year, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced Tuesday. The National Ambient Air Quality Standards were supposed to identify cities that currently have ozone levels above 70 parts per billion. The EPA itself calls ground-level ozone “bad ozone” and says it has been linked to numerous environmental and health effects, including “chest pain, coughing, throat irritation, and airway inflammation,” which can lead the asthma or other problems. The announcement about this delay, however, claims the EPA does not “fully understand the role of background ozone levels.”
In a move that should surprise nobody, President Trump today announced that the United States would withdraw from the 2015 Paris climate accord, an agreement between 195 countries to reduce worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. Trump did not provide details about the withdrawal, a process that according to the original agreement will legally take about four years. The president did proclaim that the U.S. would immediately cease implementation of the accord’s non-binding elements, including withdrawing from the U.N. Green Climate Fund, and offered to rejoin the accord or some future agreement under different, to-be-negotiated terms.
Anyone who has ever spent a summer in a city knows the pain of the heat island effect. Buildings and roads absorb heat and sunlight and emit it as heat at night, causing temperatures to soar as much as 22 additional degrees. Well, according to new research, climate change will make this an economic hardship for most cities, costing them up to 10.9 percent of their gross domestic products. That’s compared to 5.6 percent for rural economies. The costs come from spending more on cooling plus worker health effects from decreased air and water quality. Installing “cool” pavements and roofs, the authors say, could help reduce those costs — not to mention the risks.