The Political Economy Research Institute published this list of greenhouse gas emitters. It's based on the 2011 data from the EPA's Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program. The three top polluters on the list are power companies -- American Electric Power, Duke Energy Corp., and Southern Co.
The fourth is the U.S. government, responsible for more than 1 entire percent of the country's greenhouse gas emissions.
Part of the reason the government ranks so high is that it's also a power company. Top on the list of its polluting properties is the TVA's Paradise Fossil plant, a coal-fired power plant. And the government is trying to clean up its act, it really is:
States have begun introducing taxes on not using gasoline.
As the number of electric vehicles on the roads starts to climb, a number of states are introducing new fees to offset the projected losses in gas-tax revenues.
The AP reports that at least 10 states have considered or passed legislation that would impose such fees on electric or hybrid cars.
The new charges could help governments build and maintain the roads and bridges upon which the new generation of vehicles are being driven. But it seems that owners of gas-free cars are also being eyed to plug holes left in government budgets by the improved efficiency of traditional vehicles.
Gas taxes are one of the main sources of funding for bridges and roads. But people are driving more fuel-efficient cars, and many states’ tax rates haven’t kept up with inflation during the past decade. That’s left less money available for repairs. Nationwide, gas tax revenue declined every year from $40.7 billion in 2004 to $37.9 billion in 2010, according to inflation-adjusted data from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a research group in Washington.
That’s a big reason Virginia and Washington State are levying green-car taxes and New Jersey, North Carolina, Indiana, and at least four other states are considering doing the same. “The intent is that people who use the roads pay for them,” says Arizona State Senator Steve Farley, a Democrat who wrote a bill to tax electric-car drivers 1¢ for every mile they log on state highways under a yet-to-be-devised tracking system. “Just because we have somebody who is getting out of doing it because they have an alternative form of fuel, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t pay for the roads.”
San Francisco is currently undergoing an unusual and sometimes uncomfortable growth spurt. The San Francisco Business Times calls it “the biggest burst of apartment construction” since the early 1970s, set to “dramatically reshape San Francisco’s skyline, neighborhoods and politics.” Over roughly the next three years, almost 8,000 new apartments will be constructed in the city, mostly in dense projects -- more than all the rental housing built over the last 15 years combined.
This city has traditionally been an outpost of entrenched NIMBY power, but local residents mostly seem to be welcoming the new construction. San Francisco has some of the lowest housing vacancy rates and the fastest rising rental prices in the country -- the median rental price for a one-bedroom apartment in the city is now more than $2,700, and still going up. Many current and wannabe residents hope the new apartment boom will help level things off.
In the heart of the city, however, one group is fighting the boom, trying to save a patch of land they say represents a vanishing resource: urban farmland.
If “shit or get off the pot” comes to mind when pondering your long-term relationship, a wedding dress made of toilet paper might be strangely fitting. Or at least a new way to win $2,000, which is apparently what the 1,000-plus entrants into the eighth annual TP wedding gown contest were thinking. (Let’s hope it doesn’t rain.) These wedding dresses will look great with your flower girl’s bread bag tie gown and your maid of honor’s condom frock.
Entrants to Cheap Chic Weddings’ contest got REALLY into it. Whereas I might just go mummy-style, there are poofs and tufts and doo-dahs galore (yes, those are technical terms). But all of these furbelows were made only of toilet paper, tape, glue, and thread:
Endexx Corp.'s Todd Davis wants to make it really easy for you to buy weed. He's imagining a pot vending machine, where all you'll have to do is push a few buttons and a can of marijuana will come tumbling down.
Pot vending machines already exist at medical marijuana dispensaries, HuffPo reports:
Davis's company recently bought two smaller firms that provide vending machines to medical marijuana outlets. One, Dispense Labs, produces a card-reading gadget used by the staff at pot clubs to dole out measured portions of cannabis, streamlining the buying process. (The machine is pictured below.) The other acquisition, CannCan, engineered a modified soda machine that dispenses plastic cans full of marijuana.
After heading off a pine beetle infestation on the 37,000-acre Montana ranch he co-owns, Larry Lipson had thousands of tons of lumber on hand. He decided to make something useful out of it -- these handsome cases for Apple products.
We all know, in the abstract, that leaving trash out in the world can negatively impact wildlife. But here's a specific case that shows how pathetic that impact can be. Someone left a bag of Doritos out, and a curious Key deer -- an endangered species -- stuck its head in. And couldn't get it out. This is how a sheriff's deputy found the poor creature:
What is it about ducklings that makes them so cute? Is it their distant yet undeniable resemblance to Peeps? The small “cheep cheep” that awakens some seed of evolutionary biology, making us want to smooch them instead of turn them into kabobs? I don’t know; that’s why I’m asking you.
Anyway, this mama duck was all “YO COPS, my kidlets are trapped in this drain!” and the cops rescued them and plopped 'em back in the water, and they swam happily around their mom and all was well in the world. Except maybe the mom duck was really like “HEY humans, get the eff away from my kids! I never asked to be a YouTube star, so PLEASE GO AWAY.” Until Google Translate adds “duck” to its languages, we’ll never know.
I really like Paolo Bacigalupi's fiction; I read it, teach it, and write about it. His short story "The Calorie Man" and his novel The Windup Girl have me wanting to employ my exercise calories toward something more than moving my bike around the neighborhood. Are there any inventions available that would allow me to pedal my calories into electricity for my toaster?
Eric O. Naples, Fla.
A. Dearest Eric,
I must confess to not being overly familiar with the work of Bacigalupi, although he has appeared in Grist and I am acquainted with people who know and admire him. From what I gather, he writes of a world dominated by agribusiness, greed, and rising seas attributed to climate change … and they call it “science fiction.” Hm.
Don’t tell the Coca-Cola Corporation, but according to a major new study, kids today are drinking less soda. And that’s not all. They’re drinking fewer sugary drinks overall -- a category that includes sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade, flavored waters like Vitaminwater, and fruit drinks. Huzzah!
It probably has something to do with public ad campaigns like this latest from New York City:
Indeed, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg has styled himself the Great [anti-]Soda Satan and he is probably pleased as punch about this latest news, despite the fact that his proposed ban on supersized sodas has been stopped, for the moment at least, by a beverage industry lawsuit.
The evidence for the drop comes in new research from doctors and scientists at the Centers for Disease Control that looked at consumption rates of sugary drinks between 1999 and 2010 among adults and kids. The work, which appeared in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, determined that kids now get 8 percent of their calories from these drinks, down from 11 percent back in 1999.