Federal Investigation of New Jersey Transit Finds Numerous Safety Violations

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/05/nyregion/federal-investigation-of-new-jersey-transit-finds-numerous-safety-violations.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

At a hearing with state lawmakers, the new leader of the agency, Steven Santoro, called the issues “unacceptable” and pledged improvements.

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191 Countries Strike Deal to Cut Aircraft Emissions

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/climatecentral/djOO/~3/pWd2SpQiFmI/countries-strike-deal-to-cut-aircraft-emissions-20770

A climate agreement struck Thursday among 191 countries would allow airlines to grow in the coming decades without also growing their impact on the climate. The International Civil Aviation Organization has agreed to encourage airlines to purchase credits through global carbon markets to offset their emissions for many flights beginning in 2021. A Boeing 787 Dreamliner, one of a new generation of fuel-efficient commercial aircraft. Credit: RS Deakin/flickr Those credits would balance pollution from jets and other commercial aircraft through conservation measures made elsewhere. Those measures could include renewable power projects, energy efficiency efforts or the substitution of coal-fired cookstoves with solar-powered cookers. The plan would be phased in over the course of 14 years, beginning with the U.S. and other countries that have volunteered to require their airlines to obtain carbon offsets. Other member countries would follow between 2027 and 2035. {related} Earlier this year, the ICAO called for a 4 percent reduction in fuel consumption from new commercial aircraft built after 2028, and from those currently in production delivered after 2023. Commercial airplanes are major emitters of the carbon dioxide contributing to climate change, accounting for 11 percent of all emissions from the global transportation sector. Those emissions are expected to grow by about 50 percent by mid-century as the demand for air travel increases worldwide Thursday’s deal was hailed by the airline industry, but received mixed reviews from climate and energy experts. Bob Perciasepe, president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, said that the agreement is a major step in global efforts to combat climate change, and a sign that the momentum behind the Paris Climate Agreement continues to build. “The agreement provides a practical framework for harnessing market forces to limit the rapid growth in airline emissions,” he said. “International aviation is among the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gases. Without new measures, emissions are expected to triple by 2050.” Dan Rutherford, aviation program director for the International Council on Clean Transportation, said the deal doesn’t sufficiently address the urgency of cutting carbon emissions from the airline industry. “In the long run airlines need to decarbonize, not to pay others to do it for them,” he said in a statement. “A host of new technologies to reduce aircraft emissions are under development today but need policy support. Since ICAO won’t provide that, other measures will be needed.” {like}

Long-awaited Hyperloop pod demonstrates magnetic levitation

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/10/161020101257.htm

The whirring sound of Hyperloop UC’s hover engines filled the conference room as an anxious crowd shuffled closer for a better view. Would this student-designed prototype actually levitate? The answer came in a matter of moments as the eight miniature engines gained revolutions per minute — emitting noises reminiscent of Star Wars sound effects — and the 14-foot-long Hyperloop UC pod achieved roughly a quarter-inch of magnetic levitation.

Aviation industry plans to curb emissions

http://climatenewsnetwork.net/aviation-industry-curb-emissions/

Historic agreement by the aviation industry aims to offset carbon emissions by the world’s airlines from 2020, LONDON, 9 October, 2016 − The aviation industry has taken the first step towards limiting the ever-growing carbon dioxide emissions from aircraft in an attempt to reduce airline contributions to global warming. Delegates at the 39th congress of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in Montreal, Canada, have finalised what they called “an historic agreement”, which begins in 2020 to offset carbon emissions from aircraft and create a sustainable future for international air travel. Until now, shipping and air transport have both been excluded from the international negotiations that take place annually under the banner of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Neither sector was mentioned at the Paris climate conference last December, when there was worldwide agreement, amid much diplomatic rejoicing, to limit emissions. This was in a bid to hold the temperature increase below 2°C, the limit politicians have agreed would be too dangerous to exceed. Global approach Dr Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, ICAO council president, said: “Aviation can now claim its ‘Paris moment’. “Air transport is not only the world’s first major industry sector to adopt a global approach to international emissions reduction, but, very importantly, States representing more than 83% of international flight operations have volunteered to participate . . . from its earliest stages in 2021.” Although aviation contributes only 2% to the world’s carbon emissions, scientists have long held the view that because the gas is released high in the atmosphere, where aircraft produce contrails from their exhausts, it has a greater warming effect than ground level sources. Up until this week, airlines have resisted any kind of restriction on emissions, particularly in the US, where there is a very high volume of domestic air travel. Since the ICAO’s general assemblies take place only every three years, the deal would have had to wait until 2019 if it had not been accepted last Thursday. “International aviation is among the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gases” However, to make sure it went through, several issues were fudged and put aside for specialist working groups to come up with solutions. This is the same technique that has been used many times in the main climate talks to keep the negotiations on track and avoid a breakdown. This led to criticism from environmental groups, the main issues appearing to be that the agreement, at least initially, is voluntary, and that there is no enforcement procedure. There are also technical issues on carbon offsets − the system whereby airlines will plant forests or support other methods of capturing carbon or reducing emissions, such as by helping financially to introduce renewables electricity production to replace fossil fuels. Bob Perciasepe, president of the Centre for Climate and Energy Solutions, says: “International aviation is among the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gases. Without new measures, emissions are expected to triple by 2050. Aviation emission levels “By allowing airlines to offset emission increases with reductions in other sectors, the agreement provides an economical way to hold aviation emissions at 2020 levels. “With this framework in place, governments and airlines should move quickly to develop rules ensuring a smooth-working market that delivers real reductions.” He said that, despite its shortcomings, “the agreement is another major step in global efforts to combat climate change, and a clear sign that the momentum we saw in Paris continues to build”. Carbon Market Watch, an aviation environmental watchdog organisation, believes that much needs to be resolved at a technical level to ensure the agreement produces real results. Kelsey Perlman, policy officer for aviation and land use at Carbon Market Watch, says: “The Assembly resolution is missing clear references to sustainable development, strong international oversight, and overall environmental integrity. “This shifts important work on these elements to technical discussions, where political issues are discussed with less public scrutiny.” – Climate News Network The post Aviation industry plans to curb emissions appeared first on Climate News Network.

Vehicle ownership may become passé

http://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2016/08/vehicle-ownership-may-become-passe/

The most highly-engineered but underutilized machine on the planet is likely sitting in your garage. Anand Shah of the Albright-Stonebridge group in Washington D.C., says most passenger cars are only used for about an hour each day. SHAH: “For the […] The post Vehicle ownership may become passé appeared first on Yale Climate Connections.