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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Progress In Closing Ozone Hole

A new EPA publication, Achievements in Stratospheric Ozone Protection: Progress Report highlights U.S. contributions toward healing the ozone layer. According to the report, the ozone layer has not grown thinner over most of the world since 1998 and the Antarctic ozone level is projected to return to pre-1980 levels between 2060 and 2075. Protecting the stratospheric ozone layer is estimated to produce $4.2 trillion in societal health benefits over the period 1990 to 2165.

Many ozone-depleting substances are also greenhouse gases, so replacing these substances with substitutes that are safer for the ozone layer can reduce greenhouse gas emissions.This September 2007 will mark the 20th anniversary of the landmarkProtocol to protect the ozone layer. The Montreal Protocol on Substancesthat Deplete the Ozone Layer was adopted in 1987 and has been ratifiedby 191 countries.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

China Car Makers

China has more than 100 automakers with about 20 of them producing cars in large volumes. In 2006 China's passenger-car exports more than tripled to 101.299 vehicles.

Chery Automobile Company is the biggest seller of Chinese-brand vehicles, selling 50,000 in 2006 with plans to sell 70,000 in 2007. Chery, founded in 1997, is government-owned.

Shanghai General Motors, a joint venture of Shaghai Automotive Industry Corp and GM, makes Buicks, Chevrolets and Cadillacs. (Source: Wall Street Journal 4-23-07 "China Car Makers Pull Ahead at Home")

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Touring Nuclear Power Plants in China

The Center for Environment, Commerce and Energy toured the Daya Bay nuclear power plant in Guangdong Province in Mainland China. Derry Bigby, Vice President of the Center in the U.S. and Zhang Xiaoping, China Office Director, are pictured here with students from the Chan Wong Sok Fong Memorial Secondary School.

The tour was conducted by M.T. Richard Fung. Daya Bay has 4 operating nuclear reactors with one under construction and one planned. The facility provides electricity without producing any greenhouse or smog forming gases.

Photo: Derry Bigby, Zhang Xiaoping & Norris McDonald

Friday, April 20, 2007

China Is Building Nuclear Power Plants

Center President Norris McDonald, center, is pictured above with high school students standing in front of a new nuclear power plant being built at Daya Bay in the Guangdong Province of China. The students are from the Chan Wong Sok Fong Memorial Secondary School outside of Hong Kong. The CLP Group arranged a special tour for the Center and added the students for us to interaact during this exciting trip.

M.T. Richar Fung conducted the tour on behald of the Hong Kong Nuclear Investment Co Ltd. We visited the visitor center and proceeded to the reactors. Daya Bay has 4 reaqctors operating right now, with one under construction and one planned.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

EPA Relaxes Clean-Air Requirements for Ethanol Fuel Plants

Plants turning corn into liquor were allowed to emit 250 tons of emissions per year before triggering clean-air regulations, while those processing corn into ethanol fuel could emit only 100 tons annually. The U.S. EPA has announced that ethanol-fuel plants will now be allowed the higher pollution level too. The new rule will not apply in urban areas that have air-quality problems. (Grist)

Supreme Court Tells EPA To Regulate Carbon Dioxide

The Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision ruled on April 2 that the U.S. EPA erred in rejecting the state of Massachusetts petition and others. Now EPA will grant the petition or deny it again. The Supreme Court decision said EPA had the express authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from vehicle tailpipes as an air pollutant. The ruling came after the state of Massachusetts, joined by 11 other states, New York City, the District of Columbia and Baltimore, filed suit to reverse EPA's 2003 decision not to regulate tailpipe emissions.

EPA's argument that the Department of Transportation sets fuel economy requirements was a non-starter. "That DOT sets mileage standards in no way licenses EPA to shirk its environmental responsibilities," the court wrote. The state of California has sought a waiver under the Clean Air Act to dramatically reduce tailpipe emissions in the coming decade -- a move that could require automakers to have fleetwide averages of more than 40 miles per gallon.