Skip to content Skip to site navigation

Cities

Comments

Dodge Bawl

Looking to minimize your impact on the environment? Don't buy a car -- and especially don't buy anything made by DaimlerChrysler. The U.S.-based automaker ranked dead last on a survey, released yesterday by the Union of Concerned Scientists, of pollution levels in vehicle fleets. The survey looked at the environmental implications of the six largest car manufacturers in the U.S. market, which together sell nine out of every 10 vehicles purchased here. Those vehicles account for vast percentages of smog-forming pollution and carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. From best to worst, the companies were Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Ford, General …

Read more: Cities

Comments

Bright Lights on the Big City

Residents of New York, rejoice: Your city might be noisy, crowded, and crass, but it's also the most compact megalopolis in the U.S. That's right -- the Big Apple ranked number one on Smart Growth America's recently released list comparing urban sprawl in major metropolitan areas. Other cities that did well include, in order, Jersey City, N.J. (who knew?), Providence, R.I., San Francisco, Calif., Honolulu, Hawaii, Omaha, Neb., Boston, Mass, Portland, Ore., Miami, Fla., and New Orleans, La.; the worst offenders, by contrast, included Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif., Greensboro-Winston-Salem-High Point, N.C., Raleigh-Durham, N.C., and a host of other strung-out, hyphenated towns. …

Read more: Cities

Comments

Cell-ebrate

In what could be the first significant step toward mass-marketing fuel-cell vehicles, Toyota and Honda put the world's first such cars on the road yesterday. The cars are being leased to the Japanese government and several public organizations in the U.S. -- at the whopping price of between $6,500 and $9,800 per month, meaning the dream of widespread ownership of the vehicles has still got a long way to go. Environmentalists hail fuel cells as the brightest R&D possibility on the current automotive horizon, because the vehicles emit none of the pollutants that contribute to smog or global warming. But …

Read more: Cities, Climate & Energy

Comments

I’ll Have No Truck With That

An unlikely partnership of environmental, labor, and trucking groups filed for an emergency injunction yesterday to prevent the Bush administration from allowing Mexican trucks on U.S. roads, claiming that doing so would worsen U.S. air quality. Last week, in compliance with the North American Free Trade Agreement, President Bush called an end to 20-year-old restrictions on Mexican trucks in the U.S. and ordered transportation officials to begin processing permit applications from trucking firms south of the border. Many U.S. truckers are afraid that the move will hurt business, and environmentalists are worried about diesel emissions from the Mexican trucks, which …

Read more: Cities, Politics

Comments

Wine, Wine, Wine

Napa Valley, Calif., is known as the heart of U.S. wine country, not exactly as a toxic cesspool. But local environmentalists say soaring wine production in the valley has lead to unhealthy farming practices that pollute the land, place heavy pressures on natural resources, and harm wildlife. The county has passed legislation designed to limit soil erosion and watershed contamination stemming from rampant hillside vineyard development, and it is also enforcing urban growth limits and creating watershed task forces to study the impact of the wine industry on the valley's ecosystems. But vintners, who claim the industry is already one …

Read more: Cities

Comments

The Shipping News

Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn has announced an agreement in which several of the largest shipping companies in Asia will work with L.A. to clean up air quality in the city's port. Last year, the port received 2,200 cargo ship visits, each burning about 14 tons of heavy bunker fuel. Under the new plan, the ships will shut off their engines while docked and plug into the city's power system, helping to reduce a significant source of pollution in the region. The program would be the largest of its kind in the world. Some local activists predicted, however, that the …

Read more: Cities

Comments

Rome If You Want to

One-third of Italy's most important cultural sites are in a state of emergency, according to the Italian environmental group Legambiente, which studied 36 areas in the country that have been designated World Heritage sites by the United Nations. The group said water pollution was threatening Venice, while smog and sprawl were damaging Naples, Florence, and Rome. It also said unregulated hotel development was scarring the Amalfi coast. The U.N. took issue with some of Legambiente's claims, but acknowledged that Cinque Terre, a series of farming and fishing villages on cliffs above the Mediterranean, was at risk because of rampant development.

Read more: Cities

Comments

If You Drive Alone, You Drive With Saddam

For some U.S. citizens, solar panels, wind turbines, and fuel-efficient cars have become the ultimate patriotic statement. With a war looming in the Middle East, green groups are framing the cause of energy conservation in terms of national security. They are issuing reports, creating websites, and hitting the airwaves with the message that true security will only come when the U.S. reduces its dependency on foreign oil. The nation has heard such calls before -- during World War II and the Arab oil embargo, for example -- but this time, the feds certainly aren't leading the charge. Instead, many plain-Jane …

Read more: Cities, Climate & Energy

Comments

Fueltide Greetings

The Bush administration is weighing a proposal that would require auto manufacturers to improve the fuel efficiency of SUVs and light trucks by a teensy bit. Working off data submitted by the Big Three automakers in Detroit, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has sent a draft plan to the White House that would raise fuel efficiency by about half a mile per gallon for three years, starting with the 2005 model year; by 2007, the standard would be 22.2 mpg. The increase would be the first since the standard went up three-tenths of a mile per gallon from 1993 …

Read more: Cities, Climate & Energy

Comments

Prairie Dogged

Faced with drought and plunging profits, Colorado farmers are under growing financial pressure to hawk their land to developers. Between 1993 and 2001, about 1.5 million acres of farmland in the state were put on the market and developed; 300,000 of the acres were sold in 2001 as a drought began to take hold. State officials are scrambling to come up with solutions that will slow the loss of agricultural lands. Trouble is, some of the solutions -- including more dams and logging to increase water resources for farmers -- won't be to the liking of environmentalists. So far, water …