For Raiders, getting back on track means back on schedule

first_imgALAMEDA — Derek Carr knows what you’re thinking.Pretty much the opposite of what was on your mind after winning three straight home games.“You rewind two weeks ago, we were the greatest story in the NFL, and two weeks later we suck again,” Carr said Wednesday as the Raiders (6-6) began preparations to host the Tennessee Titans (7-5) at the Coliseum. “I think we’ll be alright. We are just going to keep grinding, we’re going to stick with what we do.”Or at least to what they did while …last_img read more

Why New U.S. Ozone Standards Aren’t Enough

first_imgConnection to greenhouse gasesRegulatory actions aren’t the only factor in controlling ozone levels. Because ozone is produced in the atmosphere, its formation can also be affected by meteorological conditions.In many areas in the U.S. – in particular, densely populated areas where people live, such as the East, Midwest, and South – it is projected that climate change can make ozone worse, because changes like increasing temperatures can increase ozone formation.By 2050, it has been estimated that the global health costs from ozone could reach $580 billion, considering both climate and future emissions changes. Also, because both increasing temperatures and ozone can reduce crop yields, climate change and air pollution acting together are projected to cause substantial crop damage worldwide in the future.The other general point to be made is that the sources that contribute to ozone formation – such as vehicles and power plants – also emit other pollutants that, in turn, contribute to atmospheric particulate matter and climate change. Yet current regulations often deal with pollutants in isolation. Coordinated strategies could lead to greater benefits and, at the same time, save money.For example, controlling methane, a greenhouse gas, can help mitigate ozone damages at the same time as benefiting the global climate. Carbon policies, similar to those proposed under the Clean Power Plan, can also improve ozone air quality across the US.A truly healthy atmosphere would contain substantially less ozone than 70 ppb. Fully implementing the new standard, and taking advantage of innovative and coordinated strategies to reduce greenhouse gases and traditional air pollutants, could help the U.S. lead the way in addressing this global challenge. RELATED ARTICLES Ozone Pollution in the WestEPA Tightens Wood Stove RulesDo Wood-Burning Power Plants Make Sense?The Case for Nuclear Power — Despite the Risks Comparing numbersThe new ambient air quality standard was reduced from a level of 75 parts per billion (ppb) of allowed ground-level ozone in air to 70 ppb. This is at the top end of the range – 60 to 70 ppb – recommended by the scientific advisory committee tasked with informing EPA about this issue.A concentration of 70 ppb is still a high level of ozone when compared with targets set by other countries around the world. Ozone concentrations are often averaged over eight hours. As ozone forms from chemical reactions that include sunlight and temperature, the maximum level usually occurs in the afternoon.The World Health Organization’s health-based guideline (a recommendation only – the WHO is not a regulatory body) for all its member states is equivalent to 50 ppb. The European Union (EU) aims for a long-term objective to protect health that corresponds to 60 ppb, and Canada’s standard is 63 ppb. Research has also shown that the negative health effects of ozone can occur at concentrations far below these levels.However, it is difficult to compare regulations directly, as both the form and the enforcement capacity differ.The U.S. regulation allows the set level to be exceeded up to four times per year, before deeming an area to be violating the standard. The EU’s level represents a long-term objective – in the near term, concentrations can exceed the target level up to 25 times, averaged over three years. Canada’s standard, while measured similarly to the U.S., is essentially a voluntary target, with little enforcement capacity.In practice, both in the U.S. and elsewhere, ozone concentrations frequently fail to meet the standards. Based on 2012-2014 data, 241 counties in the U.S. had concentrations that exceeded the new standard. In the summer of 2014, the EU did not meet its long-term objective at 80% of measurement stations.In other parts of the world ozone is an even more widespread problem. High levels of industrial and traffic emissions in Asia lead to high ozone concentrations there that can far exceed levels in North America and Europe. While ground-level ozone is primarily a regional issue, pollutants that can contribute to ozone formation also travel across continents. For example, emissions from Asia contribute to local ground-level ozone problems in the United States.Much discussion of the new EPA rule has focused on the issue of compliance costs, with very different estimates of the economic implications of meeting the new standard.However, the health and ecological impacts of ozone have an economic cost as well – and these can add up. In the U.S., for example, the EPA estimates that strengthening the standards could lead to $2.9-$5.9 billion in benefits from improved health. On October 1, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced new standards for ground-level ozone. Much of the discussion around the new regulations has centered either on whether they are protective enough of health or on how much implementation will cost.The U.S. is not the only country taking action to restrict ground-level ozone – and from a health perspective, even the new, lower U.S. limit is still higher than guideline levels in other countries.Industry in the U.S. has resisted tighter controls on ozone because they would require upgrades to air quality equipment at power plants, industrial activity and vehicles. However, a true accounting of the costs and benefit should include the health and ecological benefits of stricter controls. Damaging impactWherever it comes from, ground-level ozone can cause substantial damage to human health, including respiratory problems, asthma attacks, and premature mortalities. Ozone impacts the environment, too, by harming plant growth and lowering agricultural crop yields. Ozone can also act as a greenhouse gas, contributing to warming of the climate. Noelle Eckley Selin is an associate professor of Data, Systems and Society and Atmospheric Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This post originally appeared at The Conversation.last_img read more

India can win World T20 says Sourav Ganguly

first_imgFormer India captain Sourav Ganguly doesn’t believe in picking favourites but is sure the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led team has the wherewithal to challenge any country in all three formats of cricket. He feels the next month’s World T20 tournament will be no different.Ex-India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar, too, feels India is a “bloody good side”, but he also pointed out that at least six teams are capable of winning the title as the T20 format provides more scope to lesser teams to excel. “There’ll be surprises,” he predicted.They expressed their opinions on a variety of issues – from the inclusion of spinners Harbhajan Singh and Piyush Chawla to the comeback of left-hander Yuvraj Singh – at a press meet where the T20 World Cup trophy was also displayed here on Tuesday.”India will always have [good] chances in any format. They have got the team to win the title,” Ganguly pointed out. “India have match winners like Dhoni, Kohli, Gambhir and Sehwag, who can clear the boundary at will.”India are clubbed with England and Afghanistan in Group A, and after the league phase two teams will qualify for the quarter-finals, called Super Eights, in the tournament that runs from September 18-October 7.Manjrekar termed India as a “bloody good” team, but predicted that surprises were in store. “Five or six teams are likely to win it,” he said. “In T20 format, weaker teams have a better chance of beating stronger teams. There’s a lot at stake, and we’ve got to be at our best from the start.” He felt that the short duration of the tournament also makes it more competitive.advertisementHarbhajan, 32, makes a comeback to the national team after disastrous tours of the West Indies and England last year. Though his poor form continued at the start of his stint with Sussex in the English county competitions, he has lately shown signs of returning to form.The Punjab slow bowler has direct competition with the preferred offie R Ashwin – who plays for the Chennai Super Kings, led by India captain Dhoni – if not so much from leg-spinner Chawla.Ganguly, who backed Harbhajan wholeheartedly during his captaincy, said that even today he is among the top three off-spinners in India.”You can call it my bias or love for Harbhajan but if you are picking three best spinners in the country, he’s got to be among them. Harbhajan is one bowler who should be playing all three formats of the game.”Ganguly said that the K Srikkanth-headed selection committee should have kept Harbhajan out of the team for a maximum of six months.”I still believe one year was a bit too long time to keep Harbhajan out of the Indian team. The board should have spoken to him and told him that ‘look we are giving you six months’ time to sort out your bowling’,” he felt. “You can’t keep a bowler like him in domestic cricket for too long. If you have played for the country for 12 years, you are bound to have one bad season. But he has got [nearly] 700 international wickets, which is no mean feat.”It, however, remains to be seen if Dhoni picks Harbhajan ahead of Ashwin.Yuvraj is back after recovering from cancer and Ganguly said that an indication of his match fitness could be ascertained in the upcoming T20 Internationals against New Zealand at home. “Personally, I’ll not say that I’m not worried about his health,” he said.last_img read more