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Wednesday, January 25

Manmade Climate Change diverted attention and money from critical conservation, anti-pollution efforts

It's surfaced repeatedly in reports on pollution and groundwater scarcity how simple and inexpensive many of the fixes are, as the following two reports amply demonstrate. 

But that's just the problem: large bureaucracies can't subsist on cheap and simple. They need expensive and complex to pay salaries for millions of civil servants and those millions of contractors hired for government projects.
    
Air pollution in London passes levels in Beijing... and wood burners are making problem worse
By Sarah Knapton
24 January 2017
The Telegraph


Air pollution in London passed levels in Beijing this week, figures have shown, with popular wood burning stoves blamed for exacerbating the problem.

On Monday London mayor Sadiq Khan issued the highest air pollution alert in London for the first time, and said on Tuesday that the capital’s ‘filthy air’ is now a ‘health crisis.’

Readings at 3pm on Monday showed that air at locations in the capital were worse than in notoriously smoggy Beijing, hitting a peak 197 micrograms per cubic metre for particulate matter on the Air Quality Index. Pollution in the Chinese city only reached 190, which is still deemed ‘unhealthy.’

[...]

Temperatures have fallen below zero overnight over the last few days, meaning householders are burning more fuel to keep warm.

“This was the largest contribution from wood burning measured during the winter so far,” said a spokesman for King’s College.

More than a million homes now have a wood burning stove with 175,000 new ones installed every year.

Demand for the stoves, which cost between £400 and £7,000, has tripled in the last five years – partly down to the savings they can make to energy bills.

Last year experts at the University of Southampton warned that wood burners 'liberate significant amounts of particulate pollution into the outdoor air’ and said they risked undoing the good work of the Clean Air Act which was brought in following the Great Smog of 1952, which is estimated to have killed 12,000 people.

Over the past few days, many parts of the capital have recorded double the legal limits of emissions. Some schools banned children from playing outdoors, and Public Health England warned people not to exercise outside.

The mayor said the situation was becoming so toxic to children that hundreds of schools will now be audited to see whether gates and play areas can be moved away from busy roads.

‘No idling’ zones are likely to be implemented to prevent drivers leaving their engines running while waiting for children on the school run, while the most polluting vehicles may be banned entirely from driving up to entrances.

Schools will also be encouraged to plant hedges and bushes around their sites to provide barriers to block out fumes and children will be encouraged to walk and cycle to cut down on lifts.

[...]

*****
Soggy January Hasn’t Solved California’s Groundwater Problems In Drought
24 January 2017
Associated Press via CBS Sacramento

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) – Much of California has gone from withered to water-logged this winter but the state’s top water regulator is not ready to lift emergency conservation measures enacted during the height of the state’s drought.

[...]

This year has been wetter than usual for almost all of California. The Sierra Nevada snowpack that supplies much of the state’s water contains nearly double its average water content and Los Angeles already received a full year’s worth of precipitation in a few rainy weeks.

But water experts say what’s happening above ground does not provide a full water picture. California’s underground supplies remain far below normal.

In some areas of California’s vast agricultural heartland called the San Joaquin Valley, domestic wells have run dry and the land is sinking at an alarming pace as aquifers collapse.

“Just because we get a bunch of rain today doesn’t mean it solved our problem,” said Mike Maggiora of Maggiora Bros. Drilling Inc. Firms like his have been drilling wells as deep as 2,000 feet to hit water depending on the region, and Maggiora said it could take many more years to get back to pre-drought drilling levels.

Regardless of any action regulators take in February, state officials are moving to permanently ban water wasting habits such as spraying sidewalks with hoses, running sprinklers within 48 hours after measurable rainfall and washing cars using hoses that do not have turn-off nozzles.

Fresno residents Joe and Lisa Libby last year did their part to conserve water, tearing out their grassy front lawn and replacing it with drought-friendly Mediterranean plants on layers of bark.

Other neighbors on their tree-lined street have started transforming their yards featuring plants that use little water.

Maintaining yards with a lush lawn “takes a lot of water. It takes a lot of work,” said Libby, a college history instructor. “I’m not sure in this environment that it’s necessary.”

[END REPORT]

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