Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Limits on sprawling development are critical to reducing heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions as the U.S. population expands, U.S. EPA says in a new draft report.

Development in urban and suburban areas is expected to increase by at least 56 percent by 2100 and could expand as much as 156 percent, the draft says, leading to more asphalt and concrete and stress on watersheds affected by dirty stormwater runoff from the developed areas. Scientists say some areas will see stronger storms -- and thus more runoff -- as temperatures warm.
Via eenews (subscription required, but if you're a university student, your university probably subscribes). The drought in North Carolina was what first made me aware (yes, I'm a bit of a latecomer) of one of the central problems of the urbanization and sub-urbanization of the U.S. As cement builds up, less water is absorbed into the ground and there is more runoff, impacting watersheds. This is, of course, a preliminary analysis. The conclusion that the EPA comes to is that a large number of impervious surfaces (roads, sidewalks, buildings) increases regional vulnerability to drought, pollution, etc. You can download the full report here.

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