Top 10 Environmental Stories of 2013

by Bill Chameides | December 23rd, 2013
posted by Erica Rowell (Editor)

Permalink | 1 comment

The winter solstice is behind us, and the holiday season is upon us. Before we sign off for 2013, here’s TheGreenGrok’s take on the top 10 green stories of the year.


10. Meet the Elf: A Transportation Revolution

Pedal power meets solar power in this sleek, covered tricycle TheGreenGrok had the opportunity to learn about and take for a spin. Read post » | Watch video »


9. Colorado’s Strange Weather in Three Parts

Remnants of Colorado's Forest Fires

After a raft of deadly, record-breaking fires, Colorado was hit with record-breaking torrential rains and floods. Read posts:


8. Chemical Safety Reform and the Death of Sen. Lautenberg

For years Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) had been a staunch advocate of reforming the 1977 law that has fallen far short of the mark in protecting the American public from potentially dangerous chemicals. He sadly passed away in June. But is the reform bill bearing his name worthy of his legacy? Read posts:


7. Fracking

Fracking remained a big news item in 2013, and TheGreenGrok had its share of stories related to the subject. They ranged from studies about water contamination to earthquakes, from measurements showing low leakage rates of methane to fracking’s role in lowering U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. Take your pick, they’re all interesting:


6. In State of the Union Speech Obama Straddles the Climate-Energy Fence

Where is President Obama on climate and energy? In his State of the Union address he vowed to act on climate, and then, in almost the same breath, promised to do all he could to maximize U.S. production of fossil fuels. Read post »

And while we’re on the subject of presidential addresses, check out this one, posted on the 50th anniversary of a stirring speech by JFK.


5. CO2 Reaches New Heights: A Symbolic Exercise in Splitting Hairs

What’s in a number? Often nothing but symbolism. Atmospheric CO2 hitting the 400 parts-per-million mark this year had its own symbolism: it symbolized the paralysis that plagues the nation’s political system, indeed the entire world’s political systems. Read post »

Related post: 450 or 350 — Choose One and Go

For more on Congressional paralysis, read this post — and weep.


4. Gnawing Concerns About Nuclear Power Plant Safety and Other Musings

Two plus years after an earthquake and tsunami struck the northern coast of Japan and crippled nearby nuclear power plants, the country is reeling. The area is so vulnerable to catastrophe, even a mouse can do damage. Read post »

Related post: Nuclear Power Taking Its Hits


3. Old Wang Coal?

When it comes to climate policy Beijing is anything but consistent. This year it pledged to stop construction of new coal-fired power plants to lower emissions and then took steps to build new coal gasification plants that will lead to huge carbon emissions. Read post »

Related posts: China’s Coal Policy: A Bait and Switch | Climate Change: China Puts Kibosh on New Coal Plants

2. Climate Science: Connecting the Hiatuses

Climate scientists were caught by surprise when global warming appeared to go on a hiatus early this century. But they’ve been busy ever since hypothesizing, observing and testing. 2013 saw a plethora of new science aimed at shining a light on the origins of the hiatus and what it bodes for future climate change. Read post »

Related posts: Year-Specific Predictions of Climate Change | Release of Fifth Assessment on Climate Change Underway


1. Microbes: Nature’s Greatest Gift

Of course we still wash our hands, but the science keeps getting clearer — germs can do a body good. It’s a small (actually microscopic) subject, but the implications are huge, so huge that it’s our No. 1 environmental story of 2013 Read post »

Related posts:

And that’s it for 2013. TheGreenGrok team will see you on the other side of the New Year.

filed under: animals, bacteria, carbon dioxide emissions, chemicals, climate change, coal, drilling, energy, faculty, fossil fuels, fracking, global warming, health, methane, natural gas, nuclear power, oil, policy, politics, pollution, temperatures, transportation, weather
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1 Comment

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  1. Robert Barossi
    Jan 1, 2014

    Great list. Your blog has been linked on The Ecotone Exchange’s review of the most important environmental stories of 2013:


  1. 2013: A Year of Many Environmental Stories | The Ecotone Exchange - [...] program. Another variety of stories, from strange weather events to nuclear power make the top 10 environmental stories list…
  2. Ecosystem services: our past, present and future | Ecology is not a dirty word - [...] and Ecology rarely rate a mention in such frivolities, although some sites have listed insightful round-ups of the top environmental…

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