Earth Policy Institute: Podcast

With the signing of a plastic bag ban in California on September 30, 2014, the number of Americans who will be affected by anti-bag legislation by 2015 climbed to 49 million.

Direct download: Bag_Bans_Cover_49_Million_Americans.mp3
Category:Data Highlights -- posted at: 1:51 PM

Denmark produced one third of its electricity from the wind in 2013. In no other country has wind’s share of annual electricity generation yet topped 30 percent. But the Danes are not stopping there—they are eyeing a goal of 50 percent wind by 2020, with most of the needed expansion coming from offshore wind farms.

Direct download: Denmark_World_Wind.mp3
Category:Data Highlights -- posted at: 2:35 PM

China installed a world record amount of solar photovoltaics (PV) capacity in 2013. While this was the first time the country was the number one installer, China has led all countries in making PV for the better part of a decade.

Direct download: china_solar_panels_2017.mp3
Category:Data Highlights -- posted at: 1:40 PM

Los Angeles rang in the 2014 New Year with a ban on the distribution of plastic bags at the checkout counter of big retailers, making it the largest of the 132 cities and counties around the United States with anti-plastic bag legislation. And a movement that gained momentum in California is going national. More than 20 million Americans live in communities with plastic bag bans or fees.

Direct download: US_Plastic_Bag_Bans.mp3
Category:Plan B Updates -- posted at: 6:26 PM

Worldwide, a trillion single-use plastic bags are used each year, nearly 2 million each minute. Usage varies widely among countries, from over 400 a year for many East Europeans, to just four a year for people in Denmark and Finland. Plastic bags, made of depletable natural gas or petroleum resources, are often used only for a matter of minutes. Yet they last in the environment for hundreds of years, shredding into ever-smaller pieces but never fully breaking down.

Direct download: global_plastic_bags.mp3
Category:Plan B Updates -- posted at: 7:29 PM

There are still some countries with a large potential for expanding fertilizer use. But in the many countries that have effectively removed nutrient constraints on crop yields, applying more fertilizer has little effect on yields. For the world as a whole, the era of rapidly growing fertilizer use is now history.

Direct download: fertilizer_use_diminishing.mp3
Category:Data Highlights -- posted at: 1:55 PM

While on a brief assignment for the USDA in India in 1965, Lester Brown pieced together the early clues of an impending famine. His urgent warning to the U.S. and Indian governments set in motion the largest food rescue effort in history, saving millions of lives.

Direct download: us_india_monsoon_failure.mp3
Category:Book Bytes -- posted at: 1:18 PM

The world is literally moving off the charts. With the global average temperature up over half a degree Celsius since the 1970s and with more warming in store, we are starting to witness weather anomalies so severe we need to update our metrics and extend our graphs.

Direct download: climate_change_driving_weather_off_charts.mp3
Category:Plan B Updates -- posted at: 7:17 PM

Today, with oceanic resources more threatened than ever, the world is far from that envisioned MPA network. Although coverage has doubled since 2010, just 2.8 percent of the ocean surface—some 10 million square kilometers (4 million square miles), roughly the size of the United States—is now in designated MPAs. And the level of protection varies.

Direct download: MPAs.mp3
Category:Plan B Updates -- posted at: 1:21 PM

Last year was the thirty-seventh consecutive year of above-normal global temperature. According to data from NASA, the global temperature in 2013 averaged 58.3 degrees Fahrenheit (14.6 degrees Celsius), roughly a degree warmer than the twentieth-century average. Since the dawn of agriculture 11,000 years ago, civilization has enjoyed a relatively stable climate. That is now changing as the growing human population rivals long-range geological processes in shaping the face of the planet.

Direct download: 2013_extreme_weather.mp3
Category:Eco-Economy Indicators -- posted at: 8:24 PM