Air Quality Faces Dual Threats from Wildfires Gas Appliances / Public News Service

PORTLAND, Oregon – The forest fire season has an obvious impact on outdoor air quality, but hidden air quality effects lurk in some homes as well. Environmental and health groups – as well as the Oregon Health Authority – warn against burning natural gas inside, such as from gas stoves.

Jamie Pang-South, director of the Oregon Environmental Council’s Environmental Health Program, said cooking with fossil-fuel-based gas appliances releases laughing gas, carbon monoxide, methane, and small particles.

“It can cause anything from headaches to nausea to fatigue,” said Pang-South. “There’s this new study from Power Past Fracked Gas that kids in homes with gas stoves have a 42 percent increase in asthma.”

Pang-South had used an air quality monitor to measure carbon dioxide levels when cooking on a gas stove and found that concentrations reached unhealthy levels after 20 minutes of cooking.

One way to reduce dangerous gases is to open windows. But that may be impossible during the increasingly severe Oregon forest fire season.

Vivek Shandas is Professor of Urban Research and Planning at Portland State University. He said he was concerned about people working outside or having to use public transport in these conditions.

Shandas said he wanted to improve the health of the state’s most vulnerable parishioners.

“Those who not only see the brunt of the forest fires consuming their homes and their belongings,” said Shandas, “we also see those whose homes and belongings are not consumed by the forest fires, who have a lot of the really degraded air breathe in.”

Barbara Gottlieb is the environmental and health program manager at Doctors for Social Responsibility, who also raises the alarm about the effects of gas appliances. She said one solution would be to expand electrification.

“It’s about rethinking our buildings, our structures,” said Gottlieb. “So that they are built neither with gas stoves nor with gas flow heaters or gas stoves, but are electric from the start.”

Gottlieb added that this will reduce indoor air pollution and that the energy source for electrical appliances is increasingly coming from clean sources such as sun and wind.

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. – As lawmakers consider a $ 3.5 trillion budget resolution of historic investments to combat climate change and advance clean energy development, experts say coal workers need wage replacement and retraining to succeed at clean energy Energy converting economy.

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Utility Workers Union of America, the country lost at least 25% of its mining jobs between 2015 and 2019.

Jeremy Richardson, chief energy analyst on the Union of Concerned Scientists’ climate and energy program, said a key piece of the puzzle in moving to clean energy is addressing the needs of workers who are most likely to suffer the consequences.

“The big thing here is the five year or so wage replacement piece for workers in the face of a mine or plant closure,” said Richardson.

According to a report co-authored by Richardson earlier this year, the estimated cost of these grants to coal workers over the next 15 to 25 years is between $ 33 billion and $ 83 billion. He argued that this was only a small fraction of the funds needed to move the country to a low-carbon economy.

Richardson argued that the length of wage replacement benefits is critical in helping workers get into clean energy jobs that offer comparable or higher wages.

“What we are finding in business is that workers are going the fastest route they can find to get a new job because they have to support their families,” noted Richardson.

Richardson stressed that the federal government should prioritize the livelihood of individual workers through retraining and economic development programs and be ready to minimize the impact of plant closures on coal communities.

“I’m really passionate about the fact that if we want to solve the climate crisis, we have to solve this crisis too,” said Richardson.

The report estimates that by 2030 it will take $ 2.5 trillion in investments in the clean energy sector to achieve near zero carbon emissions by 2050.

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LINCOLN, Neb. – New research suggests that the nation’s most trusted news sources are dropping the ball when it comes to helping voters in Nebraska and across the country balance the points between more frequent and extreme weather events and a warming planet associate.

Scientists have repeatedly warned that climate change exacerbates drought, forest fires and floods, and makes storms like Hurricane Ida stronger.

But Allison Fisher – climate and energy programs director at watchdog group Media Matters – said Americans don’t get the full story.

“The reluctance to link extreme weather events to climate change through these networks,” said Fisher, “is very closely related to campaigns by the fossil fuel industry to make climate change a third track, to make it confusing to cast that doubt . “

During 96 hours of coverage of Hurricane Ida, only 4% of the nearly 800 newscasts broadcast by corporate radio and cable news channels mentioned climate change.

The latest report from the world’s leading climate scientists confirms that there is less than a decade left to drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels to avoid potentially catastrophic effects.

At this point, Fisher said that not associating climate change with extreme weather events would be tantamount to a media error.

Fisher said coverage of Hurricane Ida improved as the storm penetrated metropolitan areas along the east coast and caused surprising damage.

“And it hit the media center in New York City,” said Fisher. “It has forced a deeper look into the background to these record-breaking rains. And the answer is climate change.”

Fisher said it is important that climate change, along with its causes, the burning of oil, gas and coal, become a larger part of the national discussion.

“Just saying ‘climate change’ is the first step,” said Fisher. “And from there you have to start the conversation about ‘Well, who is responsible and what is responsible and what is or is not being done to mitigate or address these issues.'”

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HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania – Three dozen Pennsylvania stakeholders last week sent a letter to the state’s congressional delegation asking them to ensure the trillion-dollar infrastructure package includes investments that would benefit the Appalachian region.

In addition to many other climate-related solutions, the letter calls for the expansion and electrification of public transport.

Vanessa Lynch, field organizer for Moms Clean Air Force in Pennsylvania, said closing leaks from the state’s several hundred thousand orphaned wells could help reduce air and water pollution.

“When we talk about climate change and how it affects local communities, from days of extremely hot weather to major floods and landslides, which are some of the most common occurrences in Pennsylvania, clogging orphan wells is one of the best ways to reduce methane emissions,” claims Lynch.

Pennsylvania owns a third of the country’s disused mining land. A proposed $ 4.7 billion in infrastructure bill would be used to plug and reclaim orphan wells. This month the Senate passed the bill with great bipartisan support. The House has committed itself to voting by the end of September.

Bobby Hughes, executive director of the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation, said a major problem among communities in the Appalachian Mountains is water pollution from the drainage of abandoned mines, which causes trace metals to enter rivers and streams. The letter calls for funds for the rehabilitation of abandoned mine areas, which Hughes is supporting.

“We see water treatment as a public infrastructure project,” said Hughes. “And more of that needs to be considered so that companies or even communities can try to create jobs and build the infrastructure needed to treat this water.”

The letter also calls for targeted recruitment programs for historically disadvantaged communities and the provision of reliable Internet access for rural areas and urban neighborhoods.

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