Significant Figures by Peter Gleick

Archives for May, 2013

The planet has passed a disturbing landmark, a marker on a continuing highway to climate disruption. On May 9th, the NOAA and the Mauna Loa observatory reported that atmospheric CO2 levels touched 400 parts per million. Before humans started burning fossil fuels, they were around 280 parts per million.   The last time atmospheric CO2…

The Colorado River, recently named America’s most endangered river, supports millions of people in the American Southwest and northwest Mexico and helps irrigate millions of acres of land. It is shared by seven states in the U.S. and Mexico, through a complex series of legal agreements and treaties. Yet every drop of water on the river…

Bottled Water Tax

Municipalities are trying to find ways of dealing with the scourge of plastic bottles in their garbage, and with falling revenues from many sources. Plastic bottles have become a significant fraction of total garbage volume, and raise collection, handling, and landfill costs when they are not recycled. In 2011, according to NAPCOR (the National Association…