Environment

TED Radio Hour
9:34 am
Fri June 6, 2014

Can The Sun Fuel A Flight Around The World?

"People will tell you it's impossible, and that's exactly why we try to do it" — Bertrand Piccard
James Duncan Davidson TED

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Getting There.

About Bertrand Piccard's TEDTalk

Explorer Bertrand Piccard explains why he's aiming to carry out an unprecedented mission: to circle the planet in a solar-powered airplane.

About Bertrand Piccard

Read more
TED Radio Hour
9:34 am
Fri June 6, 2014

How Do You Make New York's Mean Streets A Little Nicer?

"When you build it they will come — we've seen quadrupling of bike commuting in New York City since 2000" — Janette Sadik-Khan
Ryan Lash TED

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Getting There.

About Janette Sadik-Khan's TEDTalk

Former New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan says cities can tackle the challenges of tomorrow by completely re-imagining our streets today.

About Janette Sadik-Khan

Read more
The Two-Way
3:34 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Wall Of Ice Surrounding Fukushima Will Contain Radioactive Water

Members of a local government council check an outlet of a so-called groundwater bypass system as they inspect the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Station earlier this week.
Kyodo/Landov

Originally published on Thu June 5, 2014 4:56 pm

Earlier this week, workers in Japan began constructing an underground "ice wall" around the melted-down nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. The wall is designed to stop hundreds of tons of radioactive groundwater from leaking into the nearby Pacific Ocean.

Building a subterranean wall of ice sounds a little crazy. NPR's Geoff Brumfiel, who's been covering the story, says it is a little crazy — but not as far-fetched as it sounds.

Read more
The Salt
11:54 am
Thu June 5, 2014

At 'Pestaurant,' Grasshopper Burgers Win Over Eaters Who Say 'Yuck'

A Grasshopper Burger topped with Mexican spice mealworms.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 8:17 am

If you're a scientist and you work for a pest control company, you're used to thinking about bugs as the enemy you're trained to kill.

Now try putting one in your mouth.

It took some mental rearranging for Nancy Troyano, an entomologist for Ehrlich Pest Control. But on Wednesday she did it for the first time in her life.

"I'm used to looking at grasshoppers under a microscope," Troyano tells The Salt. "I know what their internal organs and the spines on their legs look like, so I was kind of thinking about them."

Read more
Asia
5:16 am
Thu June 5, 2014

Ice Wall May Stop Radioactive Leak At Japanese Nuclear Plant

Originally published on Thu June 5, 2014 4:02 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Earlier this week, workers in Japan began construction of an underground ice wall around the melted-down nuclear reactors at Fukushima. It is hard to even say that sentence without feeling like you're relating some science fiction tale. But it's true. The ice wall is designed to stop hundreds of tons of radioactive groundwater from leaking into the nearby Pacific Ocean. NPR's Geoff Brumfiel has been covering this story for a long time. Welcome back to the program.

GEOFF BRUMFIEL, BYLINE: Thank you, nice to be here.

Read more
Around the Nation
5:04 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

An Underwater Race To Transplant Miami's Rare Corals

Close-up of a star coral rescued by Coral Morphologic from a reef in Miami's shipping channel.
Courtesy of Coral Morphologic

Originally published on Wed June 4, 2014 7:18 pm

A lab just off Florida's Miami River has become the base for an unusual lifesaving operation.

A group of scientists there is on an urgent mission to save as many corals as it can before the marine creatures are destroyed as part of an underwater excavation of Miami's shipping channel. The channel — set to be dredged and deepened on Saturday — is home to a thriving coral reef.

Read more
Business
4:08 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

New Pollution Rules Leave Utilities Frustrated, As Details Remain Up In Air

Originally published on Wed June 4, 2014 7:18 pm

The Obama administration has proposed rules for limiting greenhouse gases, but many of the details must still be set by states, leaving utilities unsure about specifics they'll be expected to achieve.

The Salt
12:40 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Hydroponic Tomatoes May One Day Be Tastier Than Ones Grown Outside

Hydroponic tomatoes are now just as tasty as tomatoes grown outside in perfect summer conditions, scientists say.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed June 4, 2014 12:42 pm

Peak tomato season — July through September here on the East Coast — is almost upon us, and the anticipation is palpable. Before we know it, those super sweet, juicy fruits, grown outdoors under the hot sun, will be back in abundance.

We tend to fetishize summer tomatoes, especially heirloom varieties like Brandywine and Cherokee Purple, and regard them as the pinnacle of tomato flavor.

Read more
Krulwich Wonders...
7:03 am
Wed June 4, 2014

How Chocolate Might Save The Planet

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Wed June 4, 2014 12:11 pm

When you unwrap it, break off a piece and stick it in your mouth, it doesn't remind you of the pyramids, a suspension bridge or a skyscraper; but chocolate, says materials scientist Mark Miodownik, "is one of our greatest engineering creations."

Read more
Business
7:57 am
Tue June 3, 2014

GOP Demonizes Once Favored Cap-And-Trade Policy

The Homer City Generating Station in Homer City, Pa. Republicans say the Environmental Protection Agency will kill jobs and raise electricity prices with new carbon emissions limits.
Keith Srakocic AP

Originally published on Wed June 4, 2014 6:04 pm

Republicans say the Environmental Protection Agency will kill jobs and raise electricity prices with new carbon emissions limits. But their tactics in fighting the proposed rules are targeting a policy that their own party championed during GOP presidencies.

Republicans are touting a letter signed by 41 GOP senators asking President Obama to withdraw what they call his "cap-and-trade rule."

Read more
Environment
5:00 am
Tue June 3, 2014

Pa. Coal Area Worries Emission Rules Will Cost Economy Jobs

Originally published on Tue June 3, 2014 7:57 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

All right, as we just heard, there is concern these new rules may hit coal communities hard. And let's spend some time in coal country now to listen to the reaction. Greene County, Pennsylvania, is in the southwest corner of the Keystone state - south of Pittsburgh, hugging the West Virginia border. One out of every five jobs there is linked to coal, but it's really part of the culture for everyone. Reid Frazier has this report, introducing us to the people of Greene County.

Read more
Politics
5:00 am
Tue June 3, 2014

Environmentalists Hail Reduced Emission Rules, Others Criticize

Originally published on Tue June 3, 2014 7:57 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. President Obama's administration hopes his latest climate initiative will influence the United States long after he is gone.

GREENE: The president leaves office at the beginning of 2017, but the goal of the latest regulations is to sharply reduce emissions of gases linked to climate change by the year 2030. States would be given flexibility on how to meet the goals.

Read more
The Two-Way
5:59 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Study: Americans Less Fearful Of Storms Named After Women

In 1992, Hurricane Andrew destroyed more than 25,000 homes in Florida. But its death toll was far less than "female" storms such as Audrey, Camille and Katrina.
Lynn Sladky AP

A study published Monday suggests Americans are less afraid of hurricanes with female names.

This is a real study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences — not The Onion.

Researchers at the University of Illinois and Arizona State looked at deaths caused by hurricanes between 1950 — when storms were first named — and 2012.

Read more
Business
5:21 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Will EPA's New Emission Rules Boost Your Power Bill? It Depends

A coal-fired power plant in Colstrip, Mont. The Environmental Protection Agency wants U.S. power plants to cut carbon pollution by 30 percent.
Matt Brown AP

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 8:26 pm

The issue of cost comes up repeatedly in the debate over climate change.

With the Obama administration's proposed rules for limiting greenhouse gases out Monday, critics and proponents alike claim they know how the plan will affect consumers' monthly budgets. The draft proposal aims to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 30 percent by 2030.

Read more
Environment
4:36 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

With New EPA Rules, McCarthy Sees Economic Upside In Health Savings

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 6:50 pm

For more on the new pollution regulations, Robert Siegel speaks with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy about her agency's carbon emission plan.

Environment
4:36 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

EPA Lays Out Centerpiece To Obama's Climate Change Policy

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 6:50 pm

The Obama administration is announcing new pollution standards Monday. The rules, key elements of President Obama's climate change policy, may decide the fate of coal-fired power plants in the U.S.

The Two-Way
3:32 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

EPA Chief Says Greenhouse Gas Rules Will Save Country Billions

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy signs new regulations targeting greenhouse gas emissions on Monday.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 6:48 pm

New federal regulations that aim to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants will have a large economic upside, largely through health savings, says Gina McCarthy, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

"We are talking by 2030 having $90 billion in benefits," McCarthy told NPR's Robert Siegel in an interview airing on All Things Considered.

Read more
The Two-Way
1:28 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Jacques Cousteau's Grandson Plans To Spend A Month Underwater

Fabien Cousteau sits inside Aquarius Reef Base in 2012. If he is able to remain under water for 31 days, he will have lasted one day longer than his grandfather, Jacques Cousteau.
Mark Widick AP

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 2:43 pm

Fabien Cousteau has been following in his grandfather Jacques Cousteau's flipper-steps for years — scuba diving around the world and making underwater documentaries of his own. Now he's seeking to break the elder oceanographer's record for the longest period of time spent underwater.

Read more
The Two-Way
9:32 am
Mon June 2, 2014

EPA Unveils New Proposal Targeting Greenhouse Gases

The EPA is proposing rules that would govern carbon dioxide gas emissions by U.S. power plants. Here, coal is transported via conveyor belt to the coal-fired Jim Bridger Power Plant outside Point of the Rocks, Wyo., in March.
Jim Urquhart Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 11:52 am

New federal regulations announced Monday aim to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 30 percent by 2030.

The draft proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency has sparked opposition from industry groups who say the changes would be prohibitively expensive. But the proposal's backers say the rules are needed to cut carbon pollution that scientists say contributes to climate change.

Update at 10:45 a.m. ET: Proposed Rule Published

Read more
Energy
6:20 am
Mon June 2, 2014

Even If Keystone Pipeline Rejected, Oil May Still Cross Neb. By Rail

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 11:01 am

The proposed Keystone XL pipeline has generated controversy, especially in Nebraska, where opposition to transporting crude from the oil sands of Canada has delayed a national decision on the project.

Politics
5:11 am
Mon June 2, 2014

EPA To Propose Rules To Deeply Cut Power Plant Emissions

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 9:39 am

On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency will propose rules to regulate the amount of carbon pollution existing facilities can release. The EPA reportedly is seeking a 30 percent cut.

Environment
7:46 am
Sun June 1, 2014

Obama To Wield Executive Power To Limit Carbon Emissions

Originally published on Sun June 1, 2014 12:47 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

As we just heard, tomorrow, the Environmental Protection Agency will announce new regulations aimed at cutting carbon pollution. To hear more about that, we're joined by Michael Oppenheimer. He's a professor of geosciences and international affairs at Princeton University. These regulations are the president's most ambitious plan yet to combat climate change. Professor Oppenheimer, from your vantage point, how significant is this announcement?

Read more
The Salt
4:06 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

Oklahoma's Extreme Drought Has Wheat Farmers Bracing For Worst

Fred and Wayne Schmedt say the drought has withered their wheat plants down from an average height of 24 to 30 inches to just 6 to 8 inches.
Joe Wertz StateImpact Oaklahoma

Originally published on Fri May 30, 2014 7:27 pm

Rainfall totals in southwest Oklahoma are more than 3 inches below normal. And that means that the wheat crop grown in brothers Fred and Wayne Schmedt's farm is several inches shorter than normal as well.

Laughter is key to surviving as a farmer here. Fred Schmedt looks out on his field, then down at his legs and laughs at how short the wheat stalks are.

"What would you call that, high-shoe-top high?" he says. "In a normal year — a really good year — it'd be thigh-high. So we're looking at plants that are 6 to 8 inches tall versus 24 to 30 inches tall."

Read more
The Salt
2:42 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

How A Food Stylist Made Squirrel And Earthworm Look Appetizing

Left, gray squirrel. Right, crostini with squirrel meat, white mulberry, goat cheese, hazelnut and purslane.
Christopher Testani

Originally published on Thu June 5, 2014 7:44 am

Communities around the world are increasingly overrun by invasive critters. Gray squirrels, which are native to North America, are an ecological nuisance in England. And nutria — or swamp rats, colloquially — from South America are destroying wetlands in the Gulf Coast states.

Read more
Around the Nation
5:18 am
Fri May 30, 2014

During A Drought, Senior Water-Rights Holders Have Privileges

Originally published on Fri May 30, 2014 12:36 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Read more
Environment
4:27 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Conservatives, Environmentalists Found Common Ground In Cap And Trade

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 7:11 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, BYLINE: Now more about the history of cap and trade and how conservatives and environmentalists came together to establish that approach to reducing emissions. To tell us that story, joining us is C. Boyden Gray who assist in the formulation of the policy during the administration of President George H. W. Bush. He was later U.S. ambassador to the European Union. Ambassador Gray, welcome to the program.

C. BOYDEN GRAY: Thank you very much.

Read more
U.S.
4:27 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

As Oklahoma Drought Continues, Farmers Prepare For Losses

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 7:11 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The agricultural economies of southern Great Plains states have withered after four years of extreme drought. Farmers in Oklahoma are bracing for one of the worst wheat crops in the state's history. As StateImpact's Joe Wertz tells us, that poor wheat harvest could have national consequences.

JOE WERTZ: Wayne Schmedt adjust's his faded, blue baseball cap and crouches down in a wind-whipped field of stunted wheat.

W. SCHMEDT: We don't have any use for this, so we'll give it to you as a souvenir.

Read more
Environment
4:27 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

States Say Cutting Down On Carbon Was Easier Than Expected

Originally published on Fri May 30, 2014 9:45 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, BYLINE: From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

Read more
Environment
4:21 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

A Peat Bog As Big As England, And A Rare Glimpse At Earth's History

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 6:17 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Farther west in Africa, in Congo, Brazzaville, scientists have found a remarkable peat bog - a vast expanse of decaying plant material. The discovery could tell them about the whole planet's atmospheric history. It is a rare, tropical peat bog. It's the size of Pennsylvania. The thick layer of carbon it traps may offer clues to what was in the air over 10,000 years ago. Dr. Simon Lewis of the University of Leeds led the research team, and he joins us now to tell us about this little-studied region. Welcome to the program.

Read more
Krulwich Wonders...
12:29 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

A Little Bird Either Learns Its Name Or Dies

Robert Krulwich NPR

I've been wondering lately, do animals invent names? As in names for themselves? Names for each other? I've always thought that what we do when we call ourselves "Ralph" or "Laura" is unique, something exclusively human. But it turns out that's wrong. Other animals have name-like calls that they use much like we do. I've posted about this before (regarding horses, dolphins and little parakeets) ...

Read more

Pages