Nick Engelfried

Nick Engelfried

Posts by This Writer

8 years 7 months ago

After more than a decade of delay, the US Environmental Protection Agency is moving to set toxic emission control standards for coal and oil-fired power plants. The agency is following the mandate of Clean Air Act amendments passed in 1990, which were originally supposed to go into effect in the year 2000. According to the EPA the proposed standards will, if implemented successfully, prevent up 17,000 deaths and 11,000 heart attacks each year. At the same time the standards will spur the creation of construction jobs as some old coal plants are retrofitted with pollution...


8 years 7 months ago

The combination of a recovering US economy, growing demand for oil in the developing world, and political unrest in oil-producing nations has sent gasoline prices climbing again. In response right-wing political pundits have begun a familiar chant: Drill baby, drill. It isn’t surprising Republican lawmakers and Democrats with close ties to the politically powerful oil industry are trying to use gas prices as an excuse for expanded domestic drilling. But it is important to be clear about one thing: opening new areas in the US to oil drilling and exploration will never make us energy...


8 years 7 months ago

While the US considers whether to suspend plans for new nuclear plants in the wake of a potential disaster in Japan, other countries are already re-thinking or abandoning plans for a nuclear future. Since last week’s massive earthquake in Japan triggered the fear of radiation leaks from the Fukushima Daiichi Plant, Germany and Switzerland have both suspended plans to build new nuclear plants or keep existing plants running. Meanwhile a shadow has been cast on plans for the UK to build ten new reactors and for Italy to build its first-ever fleet of nuclear power...


8 years 7 months ago

If you’ve ever doubted the ability of today’s youth to change their world for the better, consider the inspiring story of two girls who have set out to save the carbon-rich rainforests of Indonesia. Madison Vorva and Rhiannon Tomtishen were eleven years old when they learned Girl Scout cookies they were being asked to sell contained palm oil grown by clearing endangered forests. The two girls, now fifteen, embarked on a years-long campaign to change the purchasing practices of the Girl Scouts organization. Recently their efforts have sparked national debate about the selling of cookies that contain palm oil.

The use of palm oil as a food ingredient has...


8 years 7 months ago

Much pollution from coal-burning smokestacks may be invisible, but that doesn’t mean your lungs don’t notice it. That’s the message from medical professionals at the American Lung Association, which has released a new report on the health effects of pollution from coal plants. The report, titled “Toxic Air: The Case for Cleaning Up Coal-Fired Power Plants,” details many harmful side effects of burning coal for fuel, while showing how enforcing and upholding Clean Air Act regulations can curb toxins from coal that cause respiratory illness and death.

According to the new...


8 years 7 months ago

Sierra Club materials (above) are being imitated by the American Petroleum Institute

“I Heart Clean Air and Jobs,” read batches of stickers handed out Friday at an Environmental Protection Agency listening session on pollution standards for the oil industry. You might assume this slogan was crafted by an environmental group, and indeed the stickers looked remarkably similar to those given out by the Sierra Club at similar events. You’d probably be surprised to learn they were actually printed by the American Petroleum Institute, as...


8 years 7 months ago

Republicans and a handful of Democrats in Congress are now engaged in a strange and counter-productive game of trying to weaken, delay, or outright eliminate authority of government agencies to enforce the Clean Air Act. One of the most important environmental laws in US history, the Clean Air Act is all that stands between millions of US residents and illnesses like asthma, heart disease, and cancer. Updating and strengthening the Clean Air Act rather than weakening it could prevent millions more cases of illness and death, but instead conservative industry allies are trying to do the opposite.

If you’ve kept up with this ongoing story on Justmeans, you...


8 years 7 months ago

What’s the only country in the world that generates 99% of its electricity from clean, carbon-neutral energy sources? If you guessed Iceland—a nation with a relatively tiny population but vast renewable energy resources—you’re right. Today almost all Iceland’s electricity comes from two renewable power sources: a system of dams fed by melting glacier water, and geothermal power from the country’s geologically active interior. For years Iceland has led the world by example when it comes to harnessing renewable energy, but the far-northern nation’s impact on global energy economics could soon become a lot bigger.

The thing is, while Iceland’s clean grid is...


8 years 7 months ago

The Chinese government is restructuring its taxation system for cars and boats, in an effort to encourage smaller engines that consume less fuel and pollute less. Along with making alternative transportation more accessible and electrifying its fast-growing car fleet, steps like this are an important part of reducing carbon emissions and other pollutants on China’s traffic-choked streets.

China has long placed a tax on cars and motor boats, but until recently all vehicles were taxed the same without regard to efficiency or the size of the engine. Under a new law...


8 years 7 months ago

The US Chamber of Commerce was founded almost one hundred years ago, with the seemingly benign goal of advocating for the interests of business owners in US politics. Today many people still associate the name Chamber of Commerce with small businesses standing up for their rights and protecting the jobs of working families. While this description still fits many local and state Chambers of Commerce, it’s a far cry from what the US Chamber is really about.

In fact as the US Chamber becomes an increasingly far-right leaning organization intent on stifling investments in clean energy and action on climate change, more and more business leaders growing...


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