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carbon emissions

Average surface temperatures for 2015.
NOAA

Every day, you and I burn up all kinds of things. We burn gasoline to get to work, mow the lawn, or fly to a conference. We burn natural gas, coal, or heating oil to heat our homes. And we burn up coal or natural gas when flipping on that light switch. Whenever we burn stuff, we release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Burned a gallon of gas driving around town? You just put around 20 pounds of CO2 into the air. That CO2 traps heat, and all the burning we do is causing the planet to warm...

Chart showing greenhouse gas emissions over time.
Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle / University of Michigan

Industries in the U.S. have made some progress cutting greenhouse gas emissions over the past couple of decades. But emissions are up from the transportation sector. This matters because transportation is the nation’s second-largest source of the emissions that are causing climate change .

Volkswagen has agreed to establish a $10 billion fund that would allow almost half a million VW or Audi owners to terminate their leases or have the company buy back their cars. $4.7 billion more will be put toward the development of green technology.
flickr user Mike Knell / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

German automaker Volkswagen has been handed an expensive lesson: don't mess with the EPA, and don't mess up our air. The U.S. Government has given Volkswagen a historic $14.7 billion spanking.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics , Jack Lessenberry talks about Flint's role in the democratic race for president , and Governor Snyder volunteering to testify about the Flint water crisis in front of Congress. Lessenberry also talks about Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette's fight against the Obama administration's rules for Michigan to cut carbon emissions from power plants by 31 percent by 2030.

Doug Kerr / flickr creative commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

If you want to help reduce greenhouse gases - without a major change in life style, the best single action is to drive a more fuel efficient car. According to a new study by researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, if every American were to drive a car that gets 31 mpg, instead of the current average of 21.4 mpg, total U.S. carbon emissions would drop by 5 percent. Driving a vehicle that gets 56 mpg would mean a 10 percent drop. "That's simply because in...

wikieditor243 / wikimedia/commons

Updated 2/8/16 at 1:32 pm and 2/10/16 at 2:50 pm Many companies are making their carbon emissions public, to show they are doing their part to fight climate change. But new research by Lux Research indicates most companies in the U.S. are either underestimating or overestimating their emissions. Ory Zik is Vice President of Analytics for Lux Research. He says estimating one's own carbon emissions is very difficult. That's because electricity moves from region to region on grids. "If you look...

Michigan Attorney General's office

NEW YORK (AP) - Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is embarking on a $10 million-plus ad campaign to take on opponents of President Barack Obama's plan to reduce power plant carbon emissions.
Bloomberg's Independence USA political action committee announced plans Friday to run TV spots aimed at the attorneys general of Florida, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin.

VW showed off their Gold TDI Clean Diesel at the 2010 Washington Auto Show. The company has since admitted to evading emissions standards for the last seven years.
wikimedia user Mariordo / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Today Volkswagen’s top U.S. executive is facing the wrath of Congress. The hearing before a congressional oversight panel is in response to VW’s admission that is has been cheating on U.S. diesel emissions tests for the past seven years. Last year General Motors CEO Mary Barra was lambasted by a congressional panel over GM's ignition recall scandal, and the Detroit News’ Daniel Howes expects today will be no easier for VW U.S. chief Michael Horn. “I think it’s going to be difficult,” Howes...

There’s no other way to look at it: Volkswagen cheated and lied to its customers. The German automaker admitted to cheating on the US emissions tests for half a million of its diesel vehicles. CEO Martin Winterkorn has stepped down and more heads are expected to roll by week’s end, but Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes says this isn’t even the end of the beginning.

Alcantara

Alcantara , a small Italian manufacturer, is touting a rare achievement: carbon neutrality, meaning a zero carbon footprint. Alcantara is a luxury materials supplier for auto and other industries. Some of its products are used for interiors of luxury automobiles.

Holland BPW

President Obama’s plan to reduce carbon emissions will have a profound effect on Michigan’s energy policy overhaul, but no one agrees yet on how. Governor Rick Snyder’s administration says it’s withholding judgment. Valerie Brader is the director of the Michigan Agency for Energy and the governor’s top advisor on energy policy.

Photo by d.boyd, Flickr

There's plenty of discussion about climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, but are we ready to actually do something substantive about reducing those emissions? Based on a national public opinion survey by CLOSUP , the Center for Local, State and Urban Policy at the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy, the answer appears to be, "yes."

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Monday is the deadline to give federal regulators feedback on a plan to cut carbon emissions in the United States by 30% by 2030. The Environmental Protection Agency says more than 1.6 million comments have been filed so far. Valerie Brader is a senior policy advisor to Governor Rick Snyder. She says it’s not clear exactly how much Michigan would have to do to meet the regulations. She says different documents claim Michigan would need to cut emissions by different amounts, from 31% to over...

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Environmentalists and others are trying to rally support in Michigan for proposed rules to force utilities to make power plants cleaner. The Environmental Protection Agency wants tougher emission standards for the nation’s power plants. The EPA’s Clean Power Plan aims to reduce carbon emissions from power plants by 30% from 2005 levels by 2030. The American Public Power Association says the plan has problems. The utility industry group says “the proposal tries to do too much too fast.” “EPA’s...

User: Kathleen Franklin/Flickr

Researchers have found that food waste has a big impact on the heat-trapping gasses we release into the environment. Marty Heller is a senior research specialist with the Center for Sustainable Systems at the University of Michigan. In a new study , he and U of M's Greg Keoleian looked at the greenhouse gas emissions involved with the production of the food we eat and the food we waste. “If we look at the greenhouse gas emissions associated with that food waste, it is equivalent to adding an additional 33 million average passenger vehicles to our roads every year,” Heller said. Heller and Keoleian studied the emissions associated with about 100 different types of food. They discover that certain types of foods have the highest greenhouse gas emissions associated with their production. "Typically we see a very distinct difference between foods that are animal based — meats, dairy —and foods that are plant based," Heller said. "To a large extent that's because of the additional feed that is required to keep an animal alive and sort of their conversion efficiency of the feed that they consume." He also found that some of those animals, cows in particular, emit a great deal of methane which is a very potent greenhouse gas emission.

President-elect Trump claims that he is going to bring back coal production, but is there a market demand for it?
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

For the first time ever, the Environmental Protection Agency is planning to require power plants to cut their carbon pollution. This week, the EPA is holding public hearings about the plan all around the country. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy says the agency has already gotten more than 300,000 comments. “And I hate to say I told you so, but I have said it before. We’re hearing the argument in comments that EPA actions are bad for the economy. And that’s never been true and it’s not true of...

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Economists often argue that we should use the market to fight climate change. Cap-and-trade legislation died in Congress back in 2010. Some people think a tax on carbon dioxide is a better solution, but that would require large companies to pay for their carbon emissions. “This would basically tax any energy use by large industry or individual citizens filling up at the pump," said Barry Rabe, a professor at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. Rabe is...

Photo courtesy of Carbon Green BioEnergy

Support is growing within the small business community for tighter limits on carbon emissions, which contribute to climate change.
That's according to research by the American Sustainable Business Council. One in five of the surveyed businesses said they had already been hurt by extreme weather events.

President-elect Trump claims that he is going to bring back coal production, but is there a market demand for it?
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

On Monday morning, the Environmental Protection Agency released the federal government’s plan to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. The agency's calling it the "Clean Power Plan." The EPA says carbon dioxide emissions are the main driver of climate change. The agency is proposing a 30% reduction in CO2 from power plants by 2030. Here's what EPA says about the proposed regulations: Climate change is not just a problem for the future. We are facing its impacts today: Average temperatures have risen in most states since 1901, with seven of the top 10 warmest years on record occurring since 1998. Climate and weather disasters in 2012 cost the American economy more than $100 billion. Nationwide, by 2030, the Clean Power Plan will help cut carbon pollution from the power sector by approximately 30 per cent from 2005 levels. It will also reduce pollutants that contribute to the soot and smog that make people sick by over 25 percent. Policymakers at the state level and the state’s major power companies don’t seem surprised by the news.

DTE's St. Clair Power Plant in East China, Michigan.
user cgord / wikimedia commons

Governor Rick Snyder’s administration will argue for flexibility to meet proposed new federal standards for greenhouse gas emissions. The rule was made public today by the EPA. It calls for a 30% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030, compared to emissions in 2005. “We support that goal. We think it’s a legitimate goal. Our issue is – and there’s a lot of detail yet that we haven’t gone through – will the state be given the flexibility, and will it be an orderly transition?” said Dan Wyant, the director of the state Department of Environmental Quality. He says the state is already on a path to meet the 10 percent renewable energy target required by a 2008 state law. But he says future goals should be broader than forcing a transition to alternative fuels. “We know it can be disruptive – reliability and affordability can be impacted if we go too fast, too hard, too soon,” said Wyant. He said, for example, Michigan will ask the Obama administration to count utilities’ efficiency efforts against emissions targets. The final version of the rule won’t be adopted until next year following a public comment period. A legislative workgroup is starting to plot Michigan’s next energy strategy. Michigan is also part of the Midwestern Power Sector Collaborative, which is pondering a regional approach to complying with the new emissions standards.

Solar panels
Ford Motor Company / Flickr

State law forces power companies to get 10% of their power from renewable sources, like wind and solar, by next year. It’s a target they’re expected to meet. The state issued a report last year that shows companies could get as much at 30% by 2035 . But there’s no law that requires that, yet. It’s something a workgroup will consider as it works this summer to update Michigan’s energy policy. State Senator Mike Nofs (R-Battle Creek) will help lead the group. He admits it'll probably be easier...

President-elect Trump claims that he is going to bring back coal production, but is there a market demand for it?
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Michigan residents would save around $9 a month by 2020 under a plan to improve energy efficiency. That’s according to analysis released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council. The group’s plan comes out less than a week before federal regulators are expected to unveil a new plan to drastically cut carbon emissions, which scientists believe contribute to climate change. Analysis also found Michigan was poised to create nearly 7,000 direct jobs as a result of new standards to improve...

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The EPA says greenhouse gases are pollution. The Supreme Court has agreed. But Michigan sued the EPA saying you can’t regulate that pollution from smokestack industries because it would hurt the economy. The Supreme Court has already ruled the EPA has the authority to regulate the carbon emissions that contribute to climate change. The agency found CO2 emissions from fossil fuels endanger the public health and the environment. That was regarding a case involving cars and trucks. But whether that pollution comes from a tailpipe or a smokestack, it’s the same pollution.

EPA / YouTube

The new chief of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy , will be speaking at a conference being held at the University of Michigans Law School this evening. Its part of a three-stop tour for the new EPA Administrator who has the tall task of leading the Obama Administrations efforts to control carbon emissions. Here she is talking about their proposed efforts to curb emissions (can you tell shes from Boston?): http://epa.gov/adminweb/multimedia/newscontent/2013-9-20-oa/audio/2013-09-20_carbon.mp3 From an EPA press release : ...Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy will begin a three-day trip where she will speak to students, businesses and other stakeholders on EPAs recent carbon pollution standards proposal for new power plants, and President Obamas Climate Action Plan to reduce carbon pollution. The EPA has proposed carbon pollution standards for new power plants , and the agency is hoping to work with states to develop standards for existing power plants. The EPAs authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions was supported by a 2007 U.S. Supreme Court decision . The intense political pressure and complexity around power plant carbon dioxide regulations has slowed the process for putting power plant regulations in place. Its been more than six years since the Supreme Court ruling.

Charcoal produces more CO2 emissions than gas, but that carbon can be absorbed by new trees when making new briquets.
Magnus Manske / wikimedia commons

(Editor's note: This story was originally published in July 2009 ) Neal Fisher thinks he’s an environmentally friendly kind of guy. He and his wife recycle, they use compact fluorescent light bulbs in the house, they walk most places and hardly ever use their car. But when it comes to outdoor grilling... it’s charcoal all the way. “It may be a little decadent when you’re taking the environment into consideration, but I do it.” On tonight’s menu, it’s burgers, Jamaican jerk chicken, onions,...

(courtesy of the Carbonaccount.com)

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Environmental groups that a favor new federal rules regulating carbon emissions are holding a forum to discuss them.