Grab your binoculars and checklist! The annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count is under way. During the last two weeks of the year, from dawn to dusk volunteers spread out over 22,000 count areas, including Peru, Haiti, the U.S. and Canada. Their tally is used by scientists to understand changes in bird populations.
2011 has been a record-breaking year for extreme weather events. Both the government and insurance companies try to plan for these events by predicting the risk. But as Lauren Sommer reports, climate change is making that tougher.
A massive database like what the VA is building would allow scientists to compare thousands of anonymous medical records with just a few keystrokes, to study conditions such as cancer and PTSD.
Dumping garbage into the bay wasn’t only convenient, it served the larger goal of getting rid of the bay entirely.
Smart meters are providing California households with their hourly and daily energy use information for the first time. Consumers use less electricity, studies have shown, when they can see that data. But getting them to pay attention to energy in the first place may be the biggest hurdle.
The largest energy user in the United States is the U.S. Military. Its annual energy bill runs about $15 billion dollars a year, which is why the Department of Defense has developed a keen interest in finding other ways to meet its energy needs, including investing in alternative energy.
Coal produces nearly half the electricity in the U.S., but the mercury, sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide it emits also makes it one of the most controversial energy sources. For many environmental activists, coal represents an old, dirty source of power, but for coal-mining communities around the country, the story is different.
Coal generates half of all the electricity in the U.S. It’s also the biggest source of global-warming emissions and other air pollution. The coal industry says the answer is not to phase out coal, but instead to produce “clean coal.” Anne Glausser of QUEST Ohio reports on the difficult path for clean coal.
Half of the airborne mercury pollution in the US comes from coal-fired power plants. After years of study and debate, the Environmental Protection Agency is planning to announce new limits on mercury from coal plants in November. Meanwhile, utilities are scrambling to meet other new federal regulations and industry groups are asking the government to slow down.
California is known for its "green" reputation, so it might be a surprise that residents in Southern California still depend on coal power when they turn on the lights.
Over the last 15 years, more than a billion dollars has been spent to protect Lake Tahoe's clear waters from runoff and erosion. Now, new threats to lake's clarity are emerging, just as restoration funding is drying up.
The Bay Area's vast Hetchy Hetchy system, "a dream in granite, concrete, and steel," is getting an overhaul. The system carries water 167 miles from Yosemite to Bay Area taps; pretty soon that voyage will include the Bay's first true tunnel.