February 23, 2024
Current climate: Cracking down on deadly air pollution

this week’s current climateWhich brings you the latest news about the business of sustainability every Monday. Sign up to get it delivered to your inbox every week.

TeaThe Environmental Protection Agency tightened limits on deadly air pollution for the first time in more than a decade. The new rule reduces the annual standard for soot and other fine particles to 9 micrograms per cubic meter from the current standard of 12 micrograms. The pollution – which is linked to asthma, heart attacks and strokes – comes from factories, cement plants, oil refineries and other industrial facilities, as well as wildfires. The EPA says the new rules would prevent 4,500 premature deaths and provide net health benefits of up to $46 billion in 2032. Business groups immediately objected, arguing that the new standard would increase costs and hurt manufacturers. In an election year, the new rules could also have political implications: Washington Post The report said seven swing states—Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin—were below the new strict soot standards, potentially putting a lid on new manufacturing there.

The Big Read

Kickstarting a geological hydrogen industry

Hydrogen’s flexibility – it can be used to cut carbon emissions from steel, chemical and ammonia production, oil refining, power vehicles and storage or generate electricity – makes it an attractive clean fuel. But extracting it from natural gas emits CO2 and making it from water and other non-fossil fuel sources remains expensive. Geologic hydrogen is particularly attractive because it promises to be the lowest-cost form of fuel and uses drilling techniques long mastered by the oil and gas industry. The Energy Department is kick-starting the market for it with $20 million in research grants to top US labs, universities and private companies, including Coloma, the Bill Gates-backed startup that has quickly become the most prominent of the new industry. The company recently raised $246 million, putting it well ahead of rivals in the race to drill for hydrogen.

Read more here and here.

hot topic

EnZero CEO Adam Kramer on the carbon-free energy Super Bowl

What does nzero do?

We were hired just a year ago by the Las Vegas Raiders to help track emissions. Every hour of the day, we monitor Allegiant Stadium’s energy consumption, whether it’s the Super Bowl, a football game or a Taylor Swift concert. We look at the generation mix of local utility grids to show what their carbon footprint is.

Where does its power come from?

[The stadium] A few years ago there was an agreement that goes into effect in 2023 that guarantees them 100% renewable energy from solar power and battery storage from the grid.

How much power does the Super Bowl need?

28 megawatt-hours. This is the stadium’s largest event in terms of total power consumption for any event. It is using megawatts of power over and above normal usage for the ushers at the halftime show.

What else are we reading

Allegiant Stadium uses carbon-free electricity but Super Bowl weekend is still terrible for the climate.

Global temperatures have already passed a key climate threshold and may cross another by the end of the decade, according to a new report.

Electric vehicles are key to curbing automotive exhaust and CO2 emissions but are a threat to Africa’s platinum mines.

The climate fund created by billionaire Laurene Powell Jobs has more than $3 billion — and a deadline to spend it by 2035.

Cork isn’t just for wine bottles anymore. It’s finding a new market as a sustainable Plastic alternative.

Could rooftop vineyards make airports more eco-friendly?

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