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Tue, May 10, 2016
from Slate.com:
Powerful visualization of global heat over the last 166 years
...


Apocaiku:
Our spiraling path
These last two decades' hunger
Must we eat ourselves?


ApocaDoc
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Thu, Apr 14, 2016
from NYTimes, via DesdemonaDespair:
The Looming 'Planetary Crisis': Mass Bleaching of the Coral Reefs
The damage off Kiritimati is part of a mass bleaching of coral reefs around the world, only the third on record and possibly the worst ever. Scientists believe that heat stress from multiple weather events including the latest, severe El Niño, compounded by climate change, has threatened more than a third of Earth's coral reefs. Many may not recover. Coral reefs are the crucial incubators of the ocean's ecosystem, providing food and shelter to a quarter of all marine species, and they support fish stocks that feed more than one billion people. They are made up of millions of tiny animals, called polyps, that form symbiotic relationships with algae, which in turn capture sunlight and carbon dioxide to make sugars that feed the polyps. An estimated 30 million small-scale fishermen and women depend on reefs for their livelihoods, more than one million in the Philippines alone. In Indonesia, fish supported by the reefs provide the primary source of protein. "This is a huge, looming planetary crisis, and we are sticking our heads in the sand about it," said Justin Marshall, the director of CoralWatch at Australia's University of Queensland.... ...


Surely we can devise a few million floating solar-powered water coolers to stabilize those reefs!

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Sun, Jan 24, 2016
from Desmog Canada:
"The Blob" Disrupts What We Think We Know About Climate Change, Oceans Scientist Says
When the abnormally warm patch of water first appeared in 2013, fascinated scientists watched disrupted weather patterns, from drought in California to almost snowless winters in Alaska and record cold winters in the northeast. The anomalously warm water, with temperatures three degrees Centigrade above normal, was nicknamed The Blob by U.S climatologist Nick Bond. It stretched over one million square kilometres of the Gulf of Alaska -- more than the surface area of B.C. and Alberta combined -- stretching down 100-metres into the ocean. And, over the next two years that patch of water radically affected marine life from herring to whales. Without the welling-up of cold, nutrient-rich water, there was a dearth of krill, zooplankton and copepods that feed herring, salmon and other species. "The fish out there are malnourished, the whole ecosystem is malnourished," said Richard Dewey, associate director for science with Ocean Networks Canada, speaking at Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre in Sidney on Thursday.... It could be an indication of what climate change will look like, with large-scale shifts in weather patterns, said Dewey, pointing out that The Blob was not anticipated by climatologists because it did not fit into existing climate models. "Climate change may look like a whole new model we haven't seen before," Dewey said. ...


It might be time for Godzilla to smash industrial civilization.

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Fri, Jan 22, 2016
from Phys.org:
Evolutionary clock ticks for snowshoe hares facing climate change
Snowshoe hares that camouflage themselves by changing their coats from brown in summer to white in winter face serious threats from climate change, and it's uncertain whether hare populations will be able to adapt in time, according to a North Carolina State University study. Based on field research with radio-collared snowshoe hares in Montana, mismatched snowshoe hares suffer a 7 percent drop in their weekly survival rate when snow comes late or leaves early and white hares stand out to predators like "light bulbs" against their snowless backgrounds.... Camouflage mismatch has the potential to impact at least 14 species worldwide that change coat colors seasonally, Mills says. His team of researchers is expanding the coat color research to other species globally, including mountain hares, white-tailed jackrabbits, weasels and arctic foxes. ...


Hare today, gone tomorrow.

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Thu, Jan 14, 2016
from The Guardian:
Climate change disaster is biggest threat to global economy in 2016, say experts
A catastrophe caused by climate change is seen as the biggest potential threat to the global economy in 2016, according to a survey of 750 experts conducted by the World Economic Forum. The annual assessment of risks conducted by the WEF before its annual meeting in Davos on 20-23 January showed that global warming had catapulted its way to the top of the list of concerns. A failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation was seen as likely to have a bigger impact than the spread of weapons of mass destruction, water crises, mass involuntary migration and a severe energy price shock - the first time in the 11 years of the Global Risks report that the environment has been in first place. ...


How did my bad hair day not even make the list?

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Thu, Jan 7, 2016
from The Guardian:
December 2015 was the wettest month ever recorded in UK
December was the wettest month ever recorded in the UK, with almost double the rain falling than average, according to data released by the Met Office on Tuesday. Last month saw widespread flooding which continued into the new year, with 21 flood alerts in England and Wales and four in Scotland in force on Tuesday morning. The record for the warmest December in the UK was also smashed last month, with an average temperature of 7.9C, 4.1C higher than the long-term average. ...


If this were a sport, Mother Nature would be killing it!

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Thu, Jan 7, 2016
from Washington Post:
U.S. wildfires just set an amazing and troubling new record
Last year's wildfire season set a record with more than 10 million acres burned. That's more land than Maryland, the District and Delaware combined.... Lawmakers base their funding on the average cost to fight fires over the previous decade. But that doesn't account for wildfire seasons that now run from April through December instead of June to September. ...


We sure know how to put the wild in wildfires!

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Mon, Jan 4, 2016
from Truthout:
Climate Disruption Amplifies Atlantic Currents' Contribution to Sea Level Rise
Anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) has progressed to a point where it is, literally, changing one of the most important ocean circulatory currents in the world. In a paper recently published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, NASA researchers confirmed that the circulation of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) is slowing down. In 2009 and 2010 that shifting had already been linked to a sudden and extreme five-inch sea level rise on the East Coast. ...


AMOC is running amok!

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Tue, Nov 10, 2015
from CommonDreams:
Overheated Planet Entering 'Uncharted Territory at Frightening Speed'
With new evidence that the concentration of greenhouse gases broke yet another record in 2014, the head of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) warned on Monday that the warming planet is hurtling "into uncharted territory at a frightening speed." The United Nations weather agency's latest Greenhouse Gas Bulletin (pdf) reports that atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) reached 397.7 parts per million (ppm) in 2014, substantially beyond the 350ppm level deemed "safe" by scientists to avoid global warming.... "Every year we report a new record in greenhouse gas concentrations," Jarraud continued. "Every year we say that time is running out. We have to act NOW to slash greenhouse gas emissions if we are to have a chance to keep the increase in temperatures to manageable levels." ...


That scientist sounds as if he actually knows about this stuff. Can we have a different pundit, please?

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Sat, Aug 22, 2015
from Science, via Vice Motherboard:
Every Forest Biome on Earth Is Actively Dying Right Now
Forests are ecological superheroes--they ventilate the planet, nurture the most biodiverse habitats on Earth, and regulate global climate and carbon cycles. From the poles to the equator, our survival is completely dependent on healthy woodlands. But according to the latest issue of Science, which is devoted to forest health, every major forest biome is struggling. While each region suffers from unique pressures, the underlying thread that connects them all is undeniably human activity.... "The health of the immense and seemingly timeless boreal forest is presently under threat, together with the vitality of many forest-based communities and economies," the researchers said. Temperate forests aren't faring much better, according to another study from the issue written by US Geological Survey ecologists Constance Millar and Nathan Stephenson. Temperate forests are primarily composed of deciduous trees that shed their leaves seasonally, and are common in mid-latitude regions around the world.... ...


If a tree falls, and then its forest, and everyone pretends not to hear it, does it make a sound?

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Fri, Jul 10, 2015
from Esquire:
Climatologists' Psyches: When the End of Human Civilization Is Your Day Job
... I wanted to meet Box to find out how this outspoken American is holding up. He has left his country and moved his family to witness and study the melting of Greenland up close. How does being the one to look at the grim facts of climate change most intimately, day in and day out, affect a person? Is Box representative of all of the scientists most directly involved in this defining issue of the new century? How are they being affected by the burden of their chosen work in the face of changes to the earth that could render it a different planet?... Among climate activists, gloom is building. Jim Driscoll of the National Institute for Peer Support just finished a study of a group of longtime activists whose most frequently reported feeling was sadness, followed by fear and anger.... And many scientists now think we're on track to 4 or 5 degrees--even Shell oil said that it anticipates a world 4 degrees hotter because it doesn't see "governments taking the steps now that are consistent with the 2 degrees C scenario." That would mean a world racked by economic and social and environmental collapse. "Oh yeah," Schmidt says, almost casually. "The business-as-usual world that we project is really a totally different planet. There's going to be huge dislocations if that comes about." But things can change much quicker than people think, he says. Look at attitudes on gay marriage. And the glaciers? "The glaciers are going to melt, they're all going to melt," he says.... And the rising oceans? Bangladesh is almost underwater now. Do a hundred million people have to move? "Well, yeah. Under business as usual. But I don't think we're fucked." Resource wars, starvation, mass migrations . . . "Bad things are going to happen. What can you do as a person? You write stories. I do science. You don't run around saying, 'We're fucked! We're fucked! We're fucked!' It doesn't--it doesn't incentivize anybody to do anything." ...


"We're fucked" just isn't scientific.

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Mon, Jun 29, 2015
from Philadelphia Inquirer:
'Green' roofs not always the most energy-efficient
... the white-roof craze is based on old and faulty research that has promulgated two myths - that these roofs save energy atop any building and that they decrease global warming... There is a significant heating penalty associated with using white roofs in central and northern climates, where owners use three to five times as much energy to heat their buildings than to cool them. In cities like Philly, white roofs consume more energy, which means they cause more cardon dioxide emissions. ...


I find this bittersweet.

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Wed, Jun 10, 2015
from Bloomberg:
You're About to See an Incredibly Rare Cloud, and It's Proof the Climate Is Changing
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Reddit Share on Google+ E-mail In a few weeks, you may get to see evidence the atmosphere is changing -- if you're lucky. That's when noctilucent clouds, the world's highest, peak in number and show up in the night sky just after sunset as electric-blue swirls in the mesosphere, the coldest place on the planet... Changes in the clouds reflect "how we affect the atmosphere down here," Elsayed Talaat, AIM's program scientist, said by telephone from Washington. "If you increase the methane down below, you are going to increase the water vapor up above." Carbon dioxide also may play a role, Randall said. The gas, which warms the lower atmosphere, "can actually cause the upper atmosphere to cool," she said. ...


If one of those clouds looks like Jim Inhofe, we'll know we're onto something.

ApocaDoc
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Want more context?
Try reading our book FREE online:
Humoring the Horror of the Converging Emergencies!
More fun than a barrel of jellyfish!
Wed, Jun 10, 2015
from London Guardian:
Record boost in new solar power continues massive industry growth
A record amount of solar power was added to the world's grids in 2014, pushing total cumulative capacity to 100 times the level it was in 2000. Around 40GW of solar power was installed last year, meaning there is now a total of 178GW to meet world electricity demand, prompting renewable energy associations to claim that a tipping point has been reached that will allow rapid acceleration of the technology. ...


Weird. It's as if we have the will to survive.

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Wed, Jun 10, 2015
from New York Times:
Court Gives Obama a Climate Change Win
A federal court on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit by the nation's largest coal companies and 14 coal-producing states that sought to block one of President Obama's signature climate change policies... He concluded, "We deny the petitions for review and the petition for a writ of prohibition because the complained-of agency action is not final." ...


In other words, coal states prematurely elitigated.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Jun 10, 2015
from InsideClimate News:
Coal Industry Fighting for Survival on 7 Fronts
...Perhaps no industry has inflicted such widespread costs on society as coal. From debilitating black lung disease to the devastating removal of whole mountaintops, from decades of lung-scarring smog to unrestrained emissions of greenhouse gases, coal has imposed its own deadly taxation--hiding the charges under the smoky cloak of cheap and abundant power. ...


War on coal? I'd say coal was waging war on us.

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Thu, Jun 4, 2015
from KCRG.com:
Iowa's first fully solar-powered school district should happen this summer
Students in one small southern Iowa district will return to see big technology changes this fall. Workers over the summer will transform the school buildings into Iowa's first district completely powered by the sun... WACO's solar conversation became a teachable moment this spring as 5th and 6th graders eagerly took daily measurements and computed the power output. Teacher Chad McClanahan said students began rooting for sunny days so the system would produce more power. ...


Readin' writin' and renewables.

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Tue, May 19, 2015
from Climate Central:
Heat is Piling Up in the Depths of the Indian Ocean
The world's oceans are playing a game of hot potato with the excess heat trapped by greenhouse gas emissions. Scientists have zeroed in on the tropical Pacific as a major player in taking up that heat. But while it might have held that heat for a bit, new research shows that the Pacific has passed the potato to the Indian Ocean, which has seen an unprecedented rise in heat content over the past decade. ...


Rise up, couch potatoes; this is no small potatoes that oceans are passing this hot potato around.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, May 19, 2015
from The Daily Climate:
Global warming and the "Green Rush."
Global warming may give a minor twist to that classic hippie bumper sticker that quips "Acid rain: Too bad it's not as much fun as it sounds." Turns out a warming climate could boost the medicinal and psychoactive properties of plants including cannabis. But that's not all: Climate change will also open up higher elevations to growing weed clandestinely on public lands... ...


Dude, where's my plant hardiness zone?

ApocaDoc
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Wed, May 13, 2015
from ThinkProgress:
Sea Level Rise Is Happening Faster Than Anyone Thought
"We see acceleration, and what I find striking about that is the fact that it's consistent with the projections of sea level rise published by the IPCC," Watson told the Guardian. "Sea level rise is getting faster. We know it's been getting faster over the last two decades than its been over the 20th century and its getting faster again." Because sea levels can naturally fluctuate as water is exchanged between land and sea, Watson notes that the rate of increase is too small to be statistically significant -- though he told the Washington Post that it's clear that sea levels are now rising at roughly double the rate observed in the 20th century, something that will have potentially huge ramifications for coastal areas across the world. ...


Not faster than everyone thought!

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Tue, Mar 24, 2015
from Ottawa Citizen:
New records detail how climate-change views scuttled an artist's grant
A British Columbia artist and environmental activist accuses government of misusing its censorship powers to hide a politically driven effort to silence her because of her views on climate change and the oilsands. Franke James found herself on the federal government's radar in the spring of 2011 after Canadian diplomats agreed to offer a $5,000 grant in support of a European art tour featuring James's artwork. The grant was revoked a few days later by a senior director of the Foreign Affairs Department's climate change division, who felt the funding would "run counter to Canada's interests."... In one, a departmental trade official notes that a Canadian diplomat in Europe would not help promote the show because of "the artist's views on the oilsands."... Another email sent to the NGO Nektarina stated the reasons for the defunding decision "are not something we are able to provide in writing." ...


When all else fails, shoot the messengers.

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Mon, Mar 2, 2015
from Guardian:
Sao Paulo - anatomy of a failing megacity: residents struggle as water taps run dry
According to a crisis report published on 9 February by the pressure group Aliança Pela Água (Water Alliance), whereas catastrophic situations like flooding often fosters solidarity, a lack of resources tends to do the opposite, leading to chaos and even violence. In Itu, a city 100km from São Paulo a desperate water shortage in late 2014 led to fighting in queues, theft of water, and the looting of emergency water trucks, which are now accompanied by armed civil guards. These events left many paulistanos wondering how the hardship might play out in their own pressurised and densely populated city. ...


drip... drip... drip...

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Sun, Mar 1, 2015
from InsideClimate News:
Documents Reveal Fossil Fuel Fingerprints on Contrarian Climate Research
After finishing a study contending that solar activity is increasing global warming, scientist Willie Soon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics reported his news to a utility company that was a major funder of his work.... The communications show that Soon called his peer-reviewed research papers "deliverables" in return for funding from fossil fuel companies. In addition, the documents reveal that Soon and Harvard-Smithsonian gave the coal utility company the right to review his scientific papers and make suggestions before they were published. Soon and Harvard-Smithsonian also pledged not to disclose Southern's [Southern Company Services, a mega utility company in the southeastern U.S. that generates power largely from coal] role as a funder without permission. ...


Science bought and paid / for by those responsible / for our Earth's demise

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Feb 20, 2015
from Washington Post:
Think of Earth, not just your stomach, panel advises
The nation's top nutritional panel is recommending for the first time that Americans consider the impact on the environment when they are choosing what to eat, a move that defied a warning from Congress and, if enacted, could discourage people from eating red meat... the panel's findings, issued Thursday in the form of a 571-page report, recommended that Americans be kinder to the environment by eating more foods derived from plants and fewer foods that come from animals. Red meat is deemed particularly harmful because of, among other things, the amount of land and feed required in its production. ...


But I thought I was supposed to have it my way?

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Thu, Feb 12, 2015
from Phys.org:
Methane emissions from natural gas industry higher than previously thought
World leaders are working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but it's unclear just how much we're emitting. In the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a new program to track these emissions, but scientists are reporting that it vastly underestimates methane emissions from the growing natural gas industry. Their findings, published in two papers in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, could help the industry clamp down on "superemitter" leaks. ...


Forgive me Father, for I have Emitted.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Feb 2, 2015
from Daily Climate:
A 50th anniversary few remember: LBJ's warning on carbon dioxide
It is a key moment in climate change history that few remember: This week marks the 50th anniversary of the first presidential mention of the environmental risk of carbon dioxide pollution from fossil fuels. President Lyndon Baines Johnson, in a February 8, 1965 special message to Congress warned about build-up of the invisible air pollutant that scientists recognize today as the primary contributor to global warming. ...


Let's celebrate this extraordinary anniversary by procrastinating a little while longer.

ApocaDoc
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You're still reading! Good for you!
You really should read our short, funny, frightening book FREE online (or buy a print copy):
Humoring the Horror of the Converging Emergencies!
We've been quipping this stuff for more than 30 months! Every day!
Which might explain why we don't get invited to parties anymore.
Fri, Jan 9, 2015
from Globe & Mail:
Oil sands must remain largely unexploited to meet climate target, study finds
The study, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, does not single out the Alberta oil sands for special scrutiny, but rather considers the geographic distribution of the world's total fossil fuel supply, including oil, coal and natural gas reserves, and their potential impact on international efforts to curb global warming.... As previous studies have already shown, roughly two-thirds of fossil fuels that can already be extracted at a competitive price will need to remain unburned before 2050 to achieve this goal. The new analysis shows that in order to optimize costs and benefits, that two-thirds cannot be evenly distributed around the world, but must be skewed toward more carbon-intense fuels situated far from potential markets. The computer model suggests that it will be next to impossible to meet climate targets if those fuels are tapped to a significant degree, even as producers continue to develop these reserves.... The study uses a more conservative estimate of 48 billion barrels as the current reserve and then finds that only 7.5 billion barrels of that, or about 15 per cent, can be used by 2050 as part of the global allotment of fossil-fuel use in a two-degree scenario. The figure assumes that new technologies will make possible a reduction in the carbon intensity of oil sands production. If this does not happen, the authors say, then even less of the oil-sands reserve should be extracted. ...


Tell ya what, oil sands: take your 15 cents on the dollar, and we won't sue you for environmental reparations.

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Thu, Jan 1, 2015
from Guardian:
Time is running out on climate denial -- But is it running out fast enough?
In short, if we take action to slow global warming, the worst case scenario involves draconian government regulations that trigger an economic recession. If we don't, the worst case scenario involves an economic recession too, but also a host of other global and societal catastrophes. Although Craven doesn't look at the probabilities of these worst case scenarios, they're also heavily weighted towards the case for taking action to curb global warming. There are lots of options to slow global warming that don't involve drastic government regulation, and that can even be beneficial for the economy. If we decide that we've gone too far in cutting carbon pollution, it's relatively easy to scale back government policies.... In other words, if we take too much action to curb climate change, the worst case scenario (upper left grid) is easily avoided. If we don't take enough action, we may not be able to avoid some of the worst consequences in the bottom right grid. ...


There's no "us" in "deniers."

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Tue, Dec 30, 2014
from Washington Post:
Delaware-size gas plume over West illustrates the cost of leaking methane
The methane that leaks from 40,000 gas wells near this desert trading post may be colorless and odorless, but it's not invisible. It can be seen from space. Satellites that sweep over energy-rich northern New Mexico can spot the gas as it escapes from drilling rigs, compressors and miles of pipeline snaking across the badlands. In the air it forms a giant plume: a permanent, Delaware-sized methane cloud, so vast that scientists questioned their own data when they first studied it three years ago.... The country's biggest methane "hot spot," verified by NASA and University of Michigan scientists in October, is only the most dramatic example of what scientists describe as a $2 billion leak problem: the loss of methane from energy production sites across the country. ...


We call 'em Man-made Earth Farts.

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Mon, Dec 29, 2014
from Sheffield, University of:
Switch from cattle fields to 'carbon farms' could tackle climate change, save endangered animals cheaply
Changing cattle fields to forests is a cheap way of tackling climate change and saving species threatened with extinction, a new study has found. Researchers from leading universities carried out a survey of carbon stocks, biodiversity and economic values from one of the world's most threatened ecosystems, the western Andes of Colombia. The main use of land in communities is cattle farming, but the study found farmers could make the same or more money by allowing their land to naturally regenerate. ...


I'm raisin' a whole herd of carbons.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Dec 15, 2014
from Politico:
How the 'War on Coal' went global
Congressional Republicans who vow to defeat President Barack Obama's "War on Coal" can do little to defend the industry against a growing international threat -- the drying up of its once-promising markets overseas. Just a few years ago, domestic producers had high hopes for selling coal to energy-hungry Asia, but prices in those markets are plummeting now amid slowing demand and oversupply, ceding much of the market space to cheaper coal from nations like Indonesia and Australia. Meanwhile, a lot of U.S. coal can't even get out of the country, thanks to greens' success in blocking proposed export terminals in Washington state and Oregon. And China, the world's most voracious coal customer, just pledged to cap its use of the fuel and is promising to curb its greenhouse gas pollution. ...


War on Coal = Peace on Earth

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Fri, Dec 12, 2014
from Midwest Energy News:
Minnesota will 'get the ball rolling' on community solar today
Expectations are high today as Minnesota's largest utility begins accepting applications for community solar projects at 9 a.m. today. It's anyone guess show many solar garden developers will submit on the first day of business for Xcel Energy's Solar Rewards Community program. Some developers have already marketed and sold out projects that have been not formally approved... Community gardens allow customers to buy panels or subscriptions from developers who manage and operate the systems. Customers can buy up to 120 percent of their energy needs, or as little as one panel. They receive a credit on their utility bills based on the output of their panels. ...


We're harvesting the sun in these gardens.

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Fri, Dec 5, 2014
from Reuters, via DesdemonaDespair:
São Paulo taps emergency water reserves which may last for two months - 'If it doesn't rain, we won't have an alternative but to get water from the mud'
São Paulo, Brazil's drought-hit megacity of 20 million, has about two months of guaranteed water supply remaining as it taps into the second of three emergency reserves, officials say. The city began using its second so-called "technical reserve" 10 days ago to prevent a water crisis after reservoirs reached critically low levels last month. This is the first time the state has resorted to using the reserves, experts say.... Brazil's southeast region is suffering its worst drought in at least 80 years after an unusually dry year left rivers and reservoirs at critically low levels. ...


Twenty million people without showers is an aesthetic nightmare!

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Mon, Dec 1, 2014
from Globe and Mail:
China at forefront of clean-energy market
China has emerged as the leader in the race to dominate the fast-growing, global clean-energy market, an economic strategy that promises to deliver huge dividends as world governments work toward an agreement to rein in greenhouse gases in the battle against climate change. China is leaving its competitors in its wake as all countries look to gain advantage in the emerging low-carbon economy, according to new analysis by Ottawa consultant Céline Bak.... In each case, China saw stunning growth. Its sales of renewable energy technology grew to nearly $120-billion (U.S.) last year from just $20-billion in 2003. American exports in that renewable energy category grew to $45-billion from $25-billion. ...


See what happens when you don't have to waste energy arguing with deniers?

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Nov 24, 2014
from Public News Service:
Poll Finds Support for Climate Action, Despite Some IN Opposition
Some of Indiana's leaders have voiced outspoken opposition to the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed first-ever limits on carbon pollution from power plants, but a new poll indicates a majority of voters don't share those views. Melissa Williams, national political director for the Sierra Club, says the group's new post-election poll of voters in six key states finds, regardless of who they supported in the 2014 midterm election, most want congressional action to address climate change. ...


If we wanted leaders who listen we would elect listeners NOT leaders.

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Fri, Oct 17, 2014
from Associated Press:
Study: Natural gas surge won't slow global warming
...Five teams of experts from around the world, using five different sets of computer model simulations, looked at what would happen if natural gas -- also known as methane -- remains cheap and plentiful and nothing else changes, such as policy mandates. They all came to the same conclusion. "It doesn't reduce climate change," said study lead author Haewon McJeon, an economist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Two computer models even found that when considering other factors like methane leaks, cheaper natural gas could lead to more trapping of heat by greenhouse gases, the mechanism that drives global warming. Methane traps even more heat than an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide. ...


It won't "slow global warming" but it will make it more fun!

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Tue, Oct 14, 2014
from MPRnews:
As Minnesota's climate changes, bad air and new disease risks follow
In the last century, Minnesota has generally grown warmer and wetter, changes that have big implications for human health. Some Minnesota counties are much more vulnerable than others to health problems associated with climate change, concludes the first county-by-county Minnesota Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment. The Minnesota Department of Health report, released Monday, looks at which counties are most vulnerable to extreme heat, flash flooding and bad air quality. ...


Buncha micro managers.

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Mon, Oct 13, 2014
from Des Moines Register:
MidAmerican expands Iowa wind foothold
Iowa's reputation as a leader in wind energy production got another boost Friday when MidAmerican Energy announced plans to invest an additional $280 million in the renewable energy. The Des Moines-based utility will add 67 wind turbines at two western Iowa locations... Iowa is one of the leading states in the production of wind energy. More than 27 percent of the state's energy comes from wind, the highest state percentage in the nation, according to a 2014 report by the American Wind Energy Association. ...


When it rains it pours... wind.

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Mon, Oct 13, 2014
from InsideClimate News:
Shift to Low-Carbon Economy Could Free Up $1.8 Trillion, Study Says
A pair of new studies are part of a growing international effort to assess the costs and benefits of moving on from burning fossil fuels to clean energy.... One report finds that ridding our electricity and transportation systems of carbon could free up trillions of dollars for investment in green energy. Decarbonizing the electricity system, it finds, would save $1.8 trillion over the coming two decades by avoiding the high operating costs of using fossil fuels--coal and natural gas--to generate power. The lower operating costs of wind and solar electricity would offset the higher financing costs of renewables, as well as the write-offs of existing assets like coal plants that would have to be shut down. ...


If only we weren't calcified in coal.

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Wed, Oct 8, 2014
from Associated Press:
School's solar water-heating system gives students real-life lessons in energy conservation
An Indian Creek High School science teacher couldn't have asked for a more timely lesson to be placed down the hall from his classroom. Tracy Hunter teaches his 10th-grade environmental science students about energy conservation and alternative energy systems. A prime example of both was just installed at the high school: a solar water-heating system that can save the school as much as $1,500 per month on its heating bill. ...


$1500 is a lot of band uniforms!

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Tue, Oct 7, 2014
from Christian Science Monitor:
Global warming's effect on oceans is greater than realized, researchers say
The world's upper oceans may have stored far more heat from the warming climate than previously thought, according to a new study that purports to provide the first rough estimate of the amount of heat researchers have missed in their attempts to measure changes on the oceans' heat content. If the results hold up to additional scrutiny, they suggest that global warming's effect on upper ocean temperatures between 1970 and 2004 has been underestimated by 24 to 58 percent, largely the result of sparse long-term measurements in the southern oceans... Getting ocean heating right is important for estimating the amount of sea-level rise caused by the expansion of seawater as it warms and the amount attributed to melting of land-based glaciers and ice sheets, researchers say. ...


Nemo is so fried.

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Tue, Oct 7, 2014
from Houston Chronicle:
Methane emissions soar in drilling boom
WASHINGTON - Methane emissions from oil and gas wells on federal lands and waters jumped 135 percent from 2008 to 2013, an analysis shows, driven by a drilling boom in New Mexico and North Dakota that has outpaced the building of pipelines and processing centers. ...


Let's spell this so as not to frighten the children: t-i-p-p-i-n-g-p-o-i-n-t

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Tue, Oct 7, 2014
from Huffington Post:
Save the Humans
...Each year, the U.S. grows and kills about 10 billion livestock animals. Globally, we're raising and slaughtering about 56 billion animals animal agriculture each year. If you do the math, that means we're killing 1,776 animals for food every second of every day. That doesn't even include fish and other seafood. But even though I'm a vegan for ethical reasons, I don't want to write about the animal ethics of animal agriculture. I want to write about the ways in which animal agriculture is killing us and ruining our planet.... The U.N. released a conservative report wherein they stated that animal agriculture causes about 18 percent of current greenhouse gas emissions. ...


If we don't eat them they'll eat us!

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Tue, Sep 30, 2014
from InsideClimate News:
Big Business Climate Change Movement Grows in Size and Heft
...Signatories representing $26 trillion in investment funds called on world leaders to enact strong policies, cut fossil fuel subsidies and make polluters pay for the effects of their emissions. There were commitments and pledges from the likes of General Motors, food makers Mars Inc. and Nestle, and consumer products giant Unilever. And a string of corporate CEOs joined early-adopters like Ikea Group in supporting renewable energy and citing proof that companies and countries can tackle climate change and prosper at the same time. ...


There will be no profits if customers are all dead.

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Tue, Sep 30, 2014
from New York Times:
President's Drive for Carbon Pricing Fails to Win at Home
President Obama stood in the chamber of the United Nations General Assembly last week and urged the world to follow his example and fight global warming. But a major new declaration calling for a global price on carbon -- signed by 74 countries and more than 1,000 businesses and investors -- is missing a key signatory: the United States. The declaration, released by the World Bank the day before Mr. Obama's speech at the United Nations Climate Summit, has been signed by China, Shell, Dow Chemical and Coca-Cola. It calls on all nations to enact laws forcing industries to pay for the carbon emissions that scientists say are the leading cause of global warming. ...


Carbon pricing: It's the real solution.

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Wed, Sep 24, 2014
from New York Times:
Companies Are Taking the Baton in Climate Change Efforts
With political efforts to slow global warming moving at a tortuous pace, some of the world's largest companies are stepping into the void, pledging more support for renewable energy, greener supply chains and fresh efforts to stop the destruction of the world's tropical forests. Forty companies, among them Kellogg, L'Oréal and Nestlé, signed a declaration on Tuesday pledging to help cut tropical deforestation in half by 2020 and stop it entirely by 2030. They included several of the largest companies handling palm oil, the production of which has resulted in rampant destruction of old-growth forests, especially in Indonesia... Several environmental groups said they were optimistic that at least some of these would be kept, but they warned that corporate action was not enough, and that climate change could not be solved without stronger steps by governments. ...


I thought government and corporations were the same thing.

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Mon, Sep 22, 2014
from BBC:
Rockefellers to switch investments to 'clean energy'
The Rockefeller Brothers Fund is joining a coalition of philanthropists pledging to rid themselves of more than $50 bn (?31 bn) in fossil fuel assets. The announcement will be made on Monday, a day before the UN climate change summit opens on Tuesday. Some 650 individuals and 180 institutions have joined the coalition. It is part of a growing global initiative called Global Divest-Invest, which began on university campuses several years ago, the New York Times reports. Pledges from pension funds, religious groups and big universities have reportedly doubled since the start of 2014. ...


At this point they'll have to remove "coal" from the word "coalition."

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Mon, Sep 22, 2014
from Associated Press:
NOAA: Yet more global heat records fall in August
The globe smashed more heat records last month, including Earth's hottest August and summer, federal meteorologists said Thursday. May, June and August all set global heat records this year. Meteorologists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the average world temperature in August was 61.36 degrees Fahrenheit (16.35 degrees Celsius), breaking a record set in 1998. Scientists at NASA, who calculate global temperature a tad differently, also found August as the hottest on record. ...


The plan to set the earth on fire is unfolding beautifully!

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Fri, Sep 19, 2014
from The Hill:
Proposed air conditioner rules could yield biggest savings
The Department of Energy (DOE) said Thursday it will propose efficiency standards for commercial air conditioners that could yield the most energy savings of any appliance standard. The agency said the standards for commercial unitary air conditioners, which are usually housed on the roofs of large buildings, will save 11.7 quads of energy over the lifetimes of units sold for 30 years.... "If finalized, it would also help cut carbon pollution by more than 60 million metric tons, and could save consumers nearly $10 billion on their energy bills through 2030," the White House said. ...


Something tells me we're going to need air conditioning in the future.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Sep 17, 2014
from The Hill:
GAO: More coal power plants to retire than previously thought
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) increased the amount of coal-fired power plants that it estimates will be retired by 2025. The GAO, which serves as a watchdog for Congress, said Monday that the most current data points to 13 percent of 2012's coal-fueled electric generating capacity being retired by 2025, due to environmental regulations, increase competition from falling natural gas prices and decreasing demand for electricity. ...


Will all those retired coal plants go play golf in Florida?

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Thu, Aug 28, 2014
from Earth Policy Institute:
Geothermal Power Approaches 12,000 Megawatts Worldwide
In 2013, world geothermal electricity-generating capacity grew 3 percent to top 11,700 megawatts across 24 countries. Although some other renewable energy technologies are seeing much faster growth -- wind power has expanded 21 percent per year since 2008, for example, while solar power has grown at a blistering 53 percent annual rate -- this was geothermal's best year since the 2007-08 financial crisis. ...


"Blistering" for solar? Has wind power grown at a "decapitating" rate?

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Aug 28, 2014
from Climate Progress:
Climate Scientists Spell Out Stark Danger And Immorality Of Inaction In New Leaked Report
One word in the latest draft report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sums up why climate inaction is so uniquely immoral: "Irreversible." The message from climate scientists about our ongoing failure to cut carbon pollution: The catastrophic changes in climate that we are voluntarily choosing to impose on our children and grandchildren -- and countless generations after them -- cannot plausibly be undone for hundreds of years or more. Yes, we can still stop the worst -- with virtually no impact on growth, as an earlier IPCC report from April made clear -- but future generations will not be able reverse whatever we are too greedy and shortsighted to prevent through immediate action. ...


It's time to create the magic silver bullet wand.

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Tue, Aug 19, 2014
from Bloomberg:
Many Republicans Privately Support Action On Climate
In stark contrast to their party's public stance on Capitol Hill, many Republicans privately acknowledge the scientific consensus that human activity is at least partially responsible for climate change and recognize the need to address the problem.... Most say the reluctance to publicly support efforts to address climate change has grown discernibly since the 2010 congressional elections, when Tea Party-backed candidates helped the Republican Party win control of the House, in part by targeting vulnerable Democrats for their support of legislation establishing a national emissions cap-and-trade system. However, they see little political benefit to speaking out on the issue, since congressional action is probably years away, according to former congressmen, former congressional aides and other sources. ...


The ApocaTea Party wields the Great Hammer of Denial.

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Mon, Aug 11, 2014
from Los Angeles Times:
Keystone XL could mean more carbon emissions than estimated, study says
Building the Keystone XL pipeline could lead to as much as four times more greenhouse gas emissions than the State Department has estimated for the controversial project, according to a new study published in Nature Climate Change that relies on different calculations about oil consumption. ...


Like, nobody's perfect.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Aug 8, 2014
from The Register-Guard:
Goals for carbon reduction become law in Eugene
The Eugene City Council voted Monday to put some teeth into previously approved goals to reduce the city's fossil fuel use and carbon emissions. The so-called "climate recovery ordinance," which passed on a 6-2 vote, seeks to cut communitywide fossil fuel use by 50 percent by 2030, compared with 2010 usage. It also calls for city government operations to be entirely "carbon neutral" by 2020, either by reducing its own greenhouse gas emissions or by funding local emission reduction projects.... Mayor Kitty Piercy responded that "science" was the motivation for the ordinance. "What's the cost of not doing something?" she asked. ...


The scientific revolution, now hundreds of years in the making, continues.

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Thu, Aug 7, 2014
from Holland Sentinel:
GVSU's MAREC incubator develops commercial-scale solar technology
The company that developed a solar energy panel that addresses one of the major limitations of solar energy has developed a commercial-scale version at Grand Valley State University's Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center, according to an Aug. 6 news release. Solar24, introduced in October 2013 by MAREC incubator client Energy Partners, is a device that collects solar energy during daylight hours, storing it in a built-in, lithium-ion battery pack that allows it to discharge energy 24 hours a day, unlike traditional solar panels. ...


I can fix my bedtime smoothie!

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Wed, Aug 6, 2014
from Washington Post:
Scientists may have cracked the giant Siberian crater mystery -- and the news isn't good
...By now, you've heard of the crater on the Yamal Peninsula. It's the one that suddenly appeared, yawning nearly 200 feet in diameter, and made several rounds in the global viral media machine... There's now a substantiated theory about what created the crater. And the news isn't so good. It may be methane gas, released by the thawing of frozen ground. According to a recent Nature article, "air near the bottom of the crater contained unusually high concentrations of methane -- up to 9.6 percent -- ... Some scientists contend the thawing of such terrain, rife with centuries of carbon, would release incredible amounts of methane gas and affect global temperatures. ...


Apocahole!

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Aug 6, 2014
from Call Newspapers:
Mehlville board to consider resolution against coal energy
If hundreds of Oakville residents who have written to the Mehlville Board of Education get their wish, the board could become the first elected body in Missouri to adopt a resolution against coal energy Thursday.... Since the board's first discussion of the resolution in May, Ameren's board of directors voted to close the Meramec plant in 2022, or perhaps a few years earlier, and the Sierra Club and CLAW have turned their attention to urging Ameren to close the plant sooner. The resolution asks Ameren to completely phase out coal as an energy source and emulate Kansas City Power & Light in using more renewable forms of energy. Power & Light has taken the lead on the use of wind as a power source, according to the resolution. ...


The children are our (imperiled) future.

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Mon, Aug 4, 2014
from Stanford School of Engineering:
Wildfires and other burns play bigger role in climate change
Research demonstrates that it isn't just the carbon dioxide from biomass burning that's the problem. Black carbon and brown carbon maximize the thermal impacts of such fires. They essentially allow biomass burning to cause much more global warming per unit weight than other human-associated carbon sources.... Biomass burning also includes the combustion of agricultural and lumber waste for energy production. Such power generation often is promoted as a "sustainable" alternative to burning fossil fuels. And that's partly true as far as it goes. It is sustainable, in the sense that the fuel can be grown, processed and converted to energy on a cyclic basis. But the thermal and pollution effects of its combustion -- in any form -- can't be discounted... ...


Biomassholes.

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Mon, Aug 4, 2014
from University of New South Wales:
Atlantic warming turbocharges Pacific trade winds
Rapid warming of the Atlantic Ocean, likely caused by global warming, has turbocharged Pacific Equatorial trade winds. This has caused eastern tropical Pacific cooling, amplified the Californian drought, accelerated sea level rise three times faster than the global average in the Western Pacific and has slowed the rise of global average surface temperatures since 2001.... While active, the stronger Equatorial trade winds have caused far greater overturning of ocean water in the West Pacific, pushing more atmospheric heat into the ocean... This increased overturning appears to explain much of the recent slowdown in the rise of global average surface temperatures. Importantly, the researchers don't expect the current pressure difference between the two ocean basins to last. When it does end, they expect to see some rapid changes, including a sudden acceleration of global average surface temperatures. ...


A tale of two oceans ... and one world on the precipice of climate chaos.

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Mon, Aug 4, 2014
from New York Times:
A Dozen States File Suit Against New Coal Rules
Twelve states filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration on Friday seeking to block an Environmental Protection Agency proposal to regulate coal-fired power plants in an effort to stem climate change. The plaintiffs are led by West Virginia and include states that are home to some of the largest producers of coal and consumers of coal-fired electricity.... The suit was filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The other plaintiffs are Alabama, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and Wyoming. ...


The dirty dozen.

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Mon, Jul 28, 2014
from Minnesota Public Radio:
Dayton calls for eliminating coal from Minnesota's energy production
Gov. Mark Dayton today challenged a group of energy policy and business leaders to figure out a way for Minnesota to eliminate coal from the state's energy production. Dayton, who has spoken of his aim to eliminate coal before, said it's time to start talking details so that Minnesota could lead the nation. "Tell us what a timeline would look like, what has to happen for that timeline to be met and what kind of incentives or inducements do we need to provide to make that happen," he said. ...


Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jul 8, 2014
from Bloomberg News:
U.S. Seen as Biggest Oil Producer After Overtaking Saudi Arabia
The U.S. will remain the world's biggest oil producer this year after overtaking Saudi Arabia and Russia as extraction of energy from shale rock spurs the nation's economic recovery, Bank of America Corp. said. U.S. production of crude oil, along with liquids separated from natural gas, surpassed all other countries this year with daily output exceeding 11 million barrels in the first quarter, the bank said in a report today. The country became the world's largest natural gas producer in 2010. The International Energy Agency said in June that the U.S. was the biggest producer of oil and natural gas liquids... The U.S., the world's largest oil consumer, still imported an average of 7.5 million barrels a day of crude in April, according to the Department of Energy's statistical arm. ...


Insatiable.

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Sat, Jun 28, 2014
from University of Chicago, via ScienceDaily:
To address climate change, nothing substitutes for reducing carbon dioxide emissions
... But finding the political consensus to act on reducing CO2 emissions has been nearly impossible. So there has been a movement to make up for that inaction by reducing emissions of other, shorter-lived gasses, such as methane, hydrofluorocarbons, and nitrous oxide, and particulates such as soot and black carbon, all of which contribute to warming as well. Pierrehumbert 's study shows that effort to be, as he puts it, a delusion. "Until we do something about CO2, nothing we do about methane or these other things is going to matter much for climate," he said. ...


The domain name "co2much.com" has been taken. Damn!

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Jun 15, 2014
from InsideClimate News:
World's Most Fuel-Efficient Car Makes Its Debut
The world's most fuel-efficient car has just arrived on dealer lots in Germany and Austria, but don't expect it to be sold in America anytime soon. The Volkswagen XL 1, a diesel-electric hybrid, gets about 260 miles per gallon--meaning, a New York-to-Washington run would guzzle just about a gallon of diesel...The XL 1's low carbon footprint is unrivaled among most car models--spewing 34 grams of carbon dioxide for each mile driven, compared to 10 times that from the typical U.S. car. ...


And the airbag is filled with fresh air.

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Sun, Jun 15, 2014
from InsideClimate News:
U.S. Natural Gas Exports No Better for Climate Than China's Coal, Experts Say
As the Obama administration inches toward a major expansion of natural gas exports, one of the thorniest questions is how that growth will affect greenhouse gas emissions, possibly worsening the problem of global warming. Although gas contains less carbon than other fossil fuels, it emits more methane, a much more potent greenhouse gas than CO2 in the short term. Methane leaks into the atmosphere from gas production wells, and from the pipelines that deliver the gas to export terminals. Then you have to count CO2 emissions from the significant amount of energy needed to liquefy the gas so it can be shipped abroad. Finally, exports would likely boost natural gas prices--and that could encourage burning dirtier coal instead. Quantifying all this pollution is enormously complicated, and attempts to do so can lead to some surprising results, as shown by a new study from the Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory. It reached the startling finding that in terms of global greenhouse gas emissions, for China to buy liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United States might be no cleaner than for China to keep on burning its own coal. ...


The sooner we harness the true power of hamsters the better!

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Jun 14, 2014
from Phys.org:
Third warmest May in satellite record might portend record-setting El Nino
May 2014 was the third warmest May in the 35-year satellite-measured global temperature record, and the warmest May that wasn't during an El Niño Pacific Ocean warming event, according to Dr. John Christy, a professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center at The University of Alabama in Huntsville. The global average temperature for May was 0.33 C (about 0.59 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than seasonal norms for the month. The warmest May was in 1998, during the "El Niño of the century." Temperatures in May 1998 were 0.56 C (about 1.0 degrees F) warmer than normal. May 2010--also an El Niño month--was second warmest at 0.45 C (0.81 degrees F). ...


I believe our goal is to always be #1, not #3, AM I RIGHT?? Can we not kick ass? What did I SAY?? CAN WE NOT KICK MORE OF NATURE'S ASS??

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jun 9, 2014
from Daily Camera:
CU-Boulder researchers track 'hedging' language in climate news
As scientists' level of confidence that human activities are contributing to significant changes in the Earth's climate increases, the amount of "hedging" language used by some prominent journalists in writing on that subject has also risen, a team of University of Colorado researchers has found. "The language itself is very important for how people perceive the information," said Adriana Bailey, a doctoral student at the CU's Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences and lead author on a newly published study. "And so what we wanted to look at is what kind of language choices are being made to discuss the scientific uncertainties that do exist ... or to construct new uncertainties that might be extrinsic to the science."... For example, the word "uncertainty" was counted in a New York Times article that read " ... substantial uncertainty still clouds projections of important impacts ... ." It was not counted in a sentence from the same newspaper that read " ... uncertainty was removed as to whether humans had anything to do with climate change. ..." They found that in 2001, the U.S. papers used 189 hedging words or expressions for every 10,000 words printed, while the Spanish papers used 107. In 2007, the number of hedging words and expressions used per 10,000 words was up to 267 in the U.S. and 136 in Spain. "I think I did find it surprising that there was more hedging language used over time," said Maxwell Boykoff, a CIRES fellow and assistant professor in environmental studies at CU and co-author on the study. ...


Uncertainty over certainty was created by faux uncertainty, certainly produced by energy companies certain about the need for uncertainty.

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Sun, Jun 8, 2014
from Huffington Post:
Will New Climate Regulations Destroy the Economy? (Hint: No.)
There is a long history of claims that new rules to protect the environment or human health will seriously harm the United States economy. These claims are political fodder, they are provocative, and they are always wrong. In fact, the evidence shows the opposite: environmental regulations consistently produce enormous net benefits to the economy and to human health. In 2008, for example, the United States' environmental technologies and services industry supported 1.7 million jobs. The industry at that time generated approximately $300 billion in revenues and exported goods and services worth $44 billion... Some polluting industries might suffer, but it is past time to unleash American ingenuity in the name of reducing the devastating threat of climate change. ...


We can have our cake and eat it, too?

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Sun, Jun 8, 2014
from University of Edinburgh:
Saving trees in tropics could cut emissions by one-fifth, study shows
Reducing deforestation in the tropics would significantly cut the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere -- by as much as one-fifth -- research shows. In the first study of its kind, scientists have calculated the amount of carbon absorbed by the world's tropical forests and the amounts of greenhouse gas emissions created by loss of trees, as a result of human activity. ...


Treeific!

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Fri, Jun 6, 2014
from The Tyee:
Canada's 500,000 Leaky Energy Wells: 'Threat to Public' -- Fracking Makes It Worse
Alberta, for example, has failed to collect baseline data on the state of its groundwater resources prior to and after intense oil and gas activity for decades despite repeated warnings by scientists to do so. In recent years the increasing use of hydraulic fracturing has had the effect of drawing a red circle around the hidden liability of wellbore leakage. Fracking has not only added more wellbores (and methane pathways) to the landscape in the rush to develop difficult hydrocarbons trapped in shale rock and coal but added more pressure and stress to wellbores causing more leaks. The Waterloo report, quietly released last month, notes that the fluid injection of steam, water, sand or chemicals to force out more hydrocarbons "elevates the mechanical and thermal loading on wellbores, and significantly increases the probability of leakage problem development during the operational lifetime of the wellbore, before final abandonment." ...


This looks surprisingly like cause, followed inevitably by effect. How crazy is that?

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Tue, Jun 3, 2014
from ABC:
Broad Concern about Global Warming Boosts Support for New EPA Regulations
Seven in 10 Americans see global warming as a serious problem facing the country, enough to fuel broad support for federal efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions - even if it raises their own energy costs, a new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds.... Sixty-nine percent of Americans in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, see global warming as a serious problem; among them, eight in 10 favor new regulations, and three-quarters are willing to pay higher energy bills if it means significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions.... Even among Republicans, a group generally more skeptical of government regulation - and less apt to see global warming as a serious problem - 63 percent nonetheless favor reducing power plant emissions, and 57 percent back state-level limits on greenhouse gases. ...


Tea Party party poopers!

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Mon, Jun 2, 2014
from The Hill:
Survey: Majority favor renewable energy over coal, despite costs
... a new survey from an environmentally-friendly business group finds a majority of people would support efforts to overhaul the nation's electric power grid to make room for more renewable forms of energy. The Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) survey found that two-thirds of people said it is a good idea to "modernize" the nation's power system, while three in four respondents said they would like to use electricity more efficiently in order to reduce the need for old power plants. But 58 percent of people believe say they would like to move from old power sources like coal to new renewable forms of energy like wind, solar, and hydropower, even if it costs more to do so. ...


Imagine the numbers when people realize renewable energy is cheaper!

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Mon, Jun 2, 2014
from Washington Post:
EPA to propose cutting carbon dioxide emissions from coal plants 30 percent by 2030
The Environmental Protection Agency will propose a regulation Monday that would cut carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal plants by up to 30 percent by 2030 compared with 2005 levels, according to individuals who have been briefed on the plan.... Ever since a climate bill stalled in the Senate four years ago, environmental and public health activists have been pressing Obama to use his executive authority to impose carbon limits on the power sector, which accounts for 38 percent of the nation's carbon dioxide emissions.... The American Wind Energy Association, which also supports a federal carbon cap on existing plants, recently published a study that found that consumer rates declined over the past five years in the 11 states that use the most wind, while rates increased collectively in all the other states during that same time period. ...


Let the wild rumpus start!

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Fri, May 30, 2014
from Columbus Dispatch:
Kasich agrees to sign bill revamping green-energy requirements
Gov. John Kasich plans to sign a controversial pullback on renewable-energy rules that passed the Ohio House yesterday... The bill passed the House 53-38, overcoming opposition from nearly all Democrats and some Republicans who said the measure will lead to job losses and an increase in air pollution.... Senate Bill 310 is a two-year freeze on standards that apply to electricity utilities for renewable energy and energy efficiency. It also makes major changes to the rules when they resume in 2017, ending a requirement that utilities purchase half of their renewable energy from within the state and expanding the types of projects that count as energy efficiency. ...


A black eye for the buckeye state

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Mon, May 26, 2014
from Mother Jones:
Something Is Seriously Wrong on the East Coast--and It's Killing All the Baby Puffins
Now, thanks to a grant from the Annenberg Foundation, the Puffin Cam offered new opportunities for research and outreach. Puffin parents dote on their single chick, sheltering it in a two-foot burrow beneath rocky ledges and bringing it piles of small fish each day. Researchers would get to watch live puffin feeding behavior for the first time, and schoolkids around the world would be falling for Petey. But Kress soon noticed that something was wrong. Puffins dine primarily on hake and herring, two teardrop-shaped fish that have always been abundant in the Gulf of Maine. But Petey's parents brought him mostly butterfish, which are shaped more like saucers. Kress watched Petey repeatedly pick up butterfish and try to swallow them. The video is absurd and tragic, because the butterfish is wider than the little gray fluff ball, who keeps tossing his head back, trying to choke down the fish, only to drop it, shaking with the effort. Petey tries again and again, but he never manages it. For weeks, his parents kept bringing him butterfish, and he kept struggling. Eventually, he began moving less and less. On July 20, Petey expired in front of a live audience. Puffin snuff.... Why would the veteran puffin parents of Maine start bringing their chicks food they couldn't swallow? Only because they had no choice. Herring and hake had dramatically declined in the waters surrounding Seal Island, and by August, Kress had a pretty good idea why: The water was much too hot. ...


Nobody expects the photogenic to die young.

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Fri, May 16, 2014
from NASA, via ThinkProgress:
NASA: Last month was second-warmest April in history of temperature data recording
We may not have felt it in the United States, but last month was the second-warmest April worldwide since scientists began recording temperature data, according to a preliminary report from NASA. Around the planet, April temperatures averaged 58.5 deg F, which is 1.3 deg F above average temperatures. This is only a tad lower than than the warmest April ever recorded, a milestone hit in 2010 when NASA calculated global temperatures of 1.44 deg F above average, according to the data sheet. The data announcement also marks this April as the 350th month in a row where the globe has experienced above-average temperatures, a phenomenon that scientists agree is largely caused by increases of man-made greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere. Incidentally, April 2014 also marked the first month in human history when average carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere reached above 400 parts per million. ...


April is the cruelest month. And the most worthy of denial.

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Thu, May 15, 2014
from IEA, via Grist:
End fossil fuel burning, save $71 trillion -- and preserve civilization as we know it
First, here's what might seem to be bad news from the new report: It would cost the world $44 trillion to end our fossil fuel addiction by 2050 and switch to clean energy. Worse, this figure is $8 trillion higher than the IEA's last estimate, published two years ago. Expected costs have risen because we've delayed the process of switching over to climate-friendly energy sources. And now the good news: We can save $115 trillion in fuel costs by 2050 if we move away from dirty energy, making for net savings of $71 trillion. ...


But that would disrupt the existing suicidal economic paradigm of growth at all costs!

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Wed, May 14, 2014
from ThinkProgress:
The Impact Of Climate Change On The Midwest: More Heat, More Droughts, More Floods, Fewer Crops
The 2014 National Climate Assessment, the single largest attempt to compile the science and data concerning climate change's impact on the United States, was released on Tuesday. For the American Midwest, the report comes with some stark projections: more extreme heat, along with heavier downpours and flooding, and serious consequences for the ecosystems of the Great Lakes and for large portions of the region's economy. ...


What was the score of the game last night?

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Wed, May 7, 2014
from London Guardian:
Religious leaders should divest from fossil fuels, says UN climate chief
Religious leaders should pull their money out of investments in fossil fuel companies and encourage their followers to do the same, according to the UN's climate chief. Christiana Figueres, who is speaking at St Pauls Cathedral on Wednesday night, urges faith groups to "find their voice" and "set their moral compass" on climate change, in an article published in the Guardian. Students and other groups have been campaigning in the US and Europe to encourage universities, local authorities and investors to divest from fossil fuel interests. ...


Amen

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Wed, May 7, 2014
from Climate Progress:
Stanford University Will Purge Coal Investments From Its $18.7 Billion Endowment
Stanford University announced Tuesday it would divest from the coal industry, making it the first major university to do so. The university's internal guidelines allow the Board of Trustees to consider whether the "policies or practices" of companies they invest in "create substantial social injury." Following a five-month review process, an advisory panel that included students, faculty, staff and alumni recommended that stocks from companies "whose principal business is coal" be sold off and excluded from any future investments. On Tuesday, the Board voted to follow through on that conclusion. ...


Common Sense 101

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Wed, May 7, 2014
from Science, via CBS News (2006):
Salt-Water Fish Extinction Seen By 2048
The apocalypse has a new date: 2048. That's when the world's oceans will be empty of fish, predicts an international team of ecologists and economists. The cause: the disappearance of species due to overfishing, pollution, habitat loss, and climate change. The study by Boris Worm, PhD, of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, -- with colleagues in the U.K., U.S., Sweden, and Panama -- was an effort to understand what this loss of ocean species might mean to the world. The researchers analyzed several different kinds of data. Even to these ecology-minded scientists, the results were an unpleasant surprise. "I was shocked and disturbed by how consistent these trends are -- beyond anything we suspected," Worm says in a news release. "This isn't predicted to happen. This is happening now," study researcher Nicola Beaumont, PhD, of the Plymouth Marine Laboratory, U.K., says in a news release. "If biodiversity continues to decline, the marine environment will not be able to sustain our way of life. Indeed, it may not be able to sustain our lives at all," Beaumont adds. ...


Whales and orcas aren't really "fish," you know.

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Mon, May 5, 2014
from WNDU.com:
Sen. Donnelly supports bipartisan bill approving Keystone XL pipeline
Senate supporters of the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline have introduced legislation authorizing its immediate construction and say they expect the measure will come to a vote in the coming days. The legislation was introduced by Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Republican Sen. John Hoeven of North Dakota... Senator Joe Donnelly announced on Thursday his support for the bipartisan legislation, which would approve the pipeline without requiring a permit from President Obama. "I'm supporting this bipartisan bill because it would enable Congress to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, ending the long delay," Sen. Donnelly explained. ...


Say it ain't so, Joe!

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Mon, May 5, 2014
from Reuters:
East Antarctica more at risk than thought to long-term thaw -study
...The Wilkes Basin in East Antarctica, stretching more than 1,000 km (600 miles) inland, has enough ice to raise sea levels by 3 to 4 metres (10-13 feet) if it were to melt as an effect of global warming, the report said. The Wilkes is vulnerable because it is held in place by a small rim of ice, resting on bedrock below sea level by the coast of the frozen continent. That "ice plug" might melt away in coming centuries if ocean waters warm up....The study indicated that it could take 200 years or more to melt the ice plug if ocean temperatures rise. Once removed, it could take between 5,000 and 10,000 years for ice in the Wilkes Basin to empty as gravity pulled the ice seawards. ...


What hath man melted.

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Mon, May 5, 2014
from Climate Central:
Dam It: Feds Say U.S. Can Double Hydropower
The Grand Canyon was once targeted as a major dam site by the federal government, a project eventually scuttled after widespread protest. Nobody is revisiting the idea of a dam there, but a new U.S. Department of Energy report shows that the Grand Canyon and other major gorges and rivers across the U.S. may be ideal for hydropower development... urrently, hydropower totals 7 percent of total U.S. electric power production, and full build-out of all the sites that would total 65 GW of capacity would nearly double total U.S. hydropower generation, according to the DOE... While it is highly unlikely that the U.S. would ever fully build out its full hydropower potential becuase of high regulatory hurdles and the environmental consequences of damming or diverting water from rivers or expanding existing hydropower facilities, the DOE is suggesting that at least some development will help reduce reliance on fossil fuels for electric power generation. ...


If only we could dam our unquenchable thirst for energy.

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Fri, May 2, 2014
from Scientific American:
Florida Deluge Was All-Time Record
According to data from the weather station at Pensacola Regional Airport, 15.55 inches of rain -- the greatest rainfall amount from any calendar day on record--fell Tuesday. Data from the station go back to 1879. "The 24-hour amount is between a 1 in 50 and 1 in 100 year event," forecasters from the National Weather Service Mobile/Pensacola Forecast Office wrote in a report on the storm. The two-day total, at 20.47 inches, is between a one-in-100- and one-in-200-year event. ...


We better learn to enjoy these one-in-200 year events, since they seem pretty frequent!

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Wed, Apr 30, 2014
from Environmental News Service:
Russia Ships First Arctic Oil, Fortifies Oil Defenses
Riding on his pride in the first export of Russian Arctic oil earlier this month, President Vladimir Putin has signed a law that allows oil and gas corporations to establish private armed security forces to defend their infrastructure, upping the ante for protestors. On the same day, April 22, Earth Day, Putin also met with the Russian Security Council. There he said, "Oil and gas production facilities, loading terminals and pipelines should be reliably protected from terrorists and other potential threats. Nothing can be treated as trivia here." ...


Don't let anyone tell you we are not at war.

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Tue, Apr 29, 2014
from Fast Company:
Ikea Is Making Meatless Meatballs As Part Of A Massive Push For Sustainability
Last year, Ikea sold 97.4 million meatballs to hungry shoppers. The snack is a Swedish icon. But because the traditional recipe calls for beef and pork--both major contributors to climate change--the company is now working on vegetarian and chicken options to help trim down its carbon footprint. In all, the food served and sold in Ikea stores is responsible for a hefty 600,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year. Still, that's only about 2 percent of the company's entire footprint. So Ikea has decided to aggressively improve everything it makes... ...


Don't tell me my tenderloins will be loins-less!

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Tue, Apr 29, 2014
from University of Illinois College of Engineering:
Multilayer, microscale solar cells enable ultrahigh efficiency power generation
A printing approach allows manipulation of ultrathin, small semiconductor elements that can be stacked on top of one another to yield an unusual type of solar cell capable of operating across the entire solar spectrum at exceptionally high efficiency. ...


Embrace the sun!

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Tue, Apr 29, 2014
from Quad-City Business Journal:
Feedlot uses cattle waste to produce energy
In 2007, farmer Bryan Sievers began researching an idea for a large cattle feedlot and came up with a plan that makes the entire enterprise "green." Along with his wife, Lisa; son, Jon; and his father, Glenn, the family came up with a way to turn the feedlot waste into electricity. In this instance, it is the cattle waste they are using. Sievers uses the manure from the cows to feed into a biomass digester, the methane from which is used generate electricity for the feedlot. What is left over from the production of electricity is fertilizer for the corn and soybean crops.... The digester is producing about 650 kilowatts of electricity an hour, which could power about 450 homes, he said. It is running at about two-thirds of its 1-megawatt capacity. ...


Now if we could just sequester cow farts.

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Tue, Apr 29, 2014
from Bloomberg:
GE Plans to Invest $1 Billion Annual on Solar, Wind Farms
General Electric Co.'s (GE) Energy Financial Services unit plans to invest more than $1 billion a year on renewable-power projects. That will build upon the $10 billion that GE has already invested in 17 gigawatts of mostly wind and solar plants since forming the unit in 2006, said EFS Chief Executive Officer David Nason. Those plants help avert 26 million tons of greenhouse-gas emissions annually, the equivalent of 5.6 million cars. ...


Gee whiz, GE!

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Sun, Apr 27, 2014
from Delhi Daily:
IPCC's climate change report was whittled down: Senior economist
Harvard University's Professor Robert Stavins said that around 75 per cent of a section on the impact of international climate negotiations was removed. It is to be noted that Stavins was involved in compiling the report. Prof Stavins, a leading expert on climate negotiations at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, has also written to the organisers of the Berlin meeting last week to express his "disappointment and frustration" at the IPCC's decision to remove the information. "I fully understand that the government representatives were seeking to meet their own responsibilities toward their respective governments by upholding their countries' interests, but in some cases this turned out to be problematic for the scientific integrity of the IPCC summary for policy makers," he said. ...


Crisis? What crisis?

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Fri, Apr 25, 2014
from CNN:
China: Firm 3D prints 10 full-sized houses in a day
A company in China has used giant 3D printers to make 10 full-sized, detached single-storey houses in a day, it appears. A private firm, WinSun, used four 10m x 6.6m printers to spray a mixture of cement and construction waste to build the walls, layer by layer, official Xinhua news agency reported. The cheap materials used during the printing process and the lack of manual labour means that each house can be printed for under $5,000, the 3dprinterplans website says. "We can print buildings to any digital design our customers bring us. It's fast and cheap," says WinSun chief executive Ma Yihe. ...


Why Rome could be built in a day.

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Fri, Apr 25, 2014
from Northern Arizona University:
Carbon loss from soil accelerating climate change
Research published in Science today found that increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere cause soil microbes to produce more carbon dioxide, accelerating climate change. Two Northern Arizona University researchers led the study, which challenges previous understanding about how carbon accumulates in soil. Increased levels of CO2 accelerate plant growth, which causes more absorption of CO2 through photosynthesis. Until now, the accepted belief was that carbon is then stored in wood and soil for a long time, slowing climate change. Yet this new research suggests that the extra carbon provides fuel to microorganisms in the soil whose byproducts (such as CO2) are released into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change. ...


What a dirty trick!

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Fri, Apr 25, 2014
from Environmental News Service:
Green Heart of Africa Turning Brown
Africa's Congo rainforest, the second-largest tropical rainforest in the world, has lost its much greenness over the past decade, a new analysis of satellite data shows. The study demonstrates that a persistent drought in the Congo region since 2000 has affected the greenness of an increasing amount of forest area and that the browning trend has intensified over the 13 years of the study. ...


Maybe we should stop paying attention!

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Fri, Apr 25, 2014
from Los Angeles Times:
Judge suspends Arctic drilling, orders new environmental report
In the ongoing battle over offshore drilling, a federal judge in Alaska told regulators Thursday to redo an environmental impact study that underestimated the amount of recoverable oil and, potentially, the risks to delicate Arctic habitat. The decision by U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline stopped short of scrapping the $2.6 billion in leases, however. His ruling followed an appeals court decision in January that federal officials had arbitrarily decided drilling companies could extract 1 billion barrels of oil from the shallow waters off the northwest coast of Alaska. That figure led to a misguided environmental study, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said. ...


Sounds like an arctivist judge to me.

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Wed, Apr 23, 2014
from VOX:
Two degrees: How the world has failed on climate change
...[J]ust this month, the IPCC put out a new report saying, OK, not great, but we can still stay under 2 deg C. We just need to act more drastically and figure out some way to pull carbon dioxide back out of the atmosphere. (Never mind that we still don't have the technology to do the latter.)... At current rates, the world will exhaust its carbon budget and breach 2°C in roughly three decades. (If climate sensitivity turns out to be low, that only buys us an extra decade or so.) If we want to stay within the budget and avoid 2 deg C, then, our annual emissions need to start declining each year. Older, dirtier coal plants would need to get replaced with cleaner wind or solar or nuclear plants, say. Or gas-guzzling SUVs would need to get replaced with new low-carbon electric cars. But the longer we put this off, the harder it gets -- the carbon budget gets smaller, and there are more coal plants and SUVs to replace. ...


Happy Earth Day.

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Thu, Apr 17, 2014
from Reuters:
In green car race, Toyota adds muscle with fuel-cell launch
...Toyota Motor Corp will next year launch a hydrogen-powered car in the United States, Japan and Europe. For now, people at Toyota are calling it the 2015 FC car, for fuel-cell. Fuel-cell cars use a "stack" of cells that electro-chemically combine hydrogen with oxygen to generate electricity that helps propel the car. Their only emission, bar heat, is water vapor, they can run five times longer than battery electric cars, and it takes just minutes to fill the tank with hydrogen - far quicker than even the most rapid charger can recharge a battery electric car... Safety is also a concern. Hydrogen is a highly flammable element when not handled properly. ...


Note to car-makers: Don't name it the Toyota Hindenburg.

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Tue, Apr 15, 2014
from McClatchy:
EPA drastically underestimates methane released at drilling sites
Drilling at several natural gas wells in southwestern Pennsylvania released methane into the atmosphere at rates that were 100 to 1,000 times higher than federal regulators had estimated, new research shows. Using a plane equipped to measure greenhouse gas emissions in the air, scientists found that drilling activities at seven well pads in the Marcellus shale formation emitted 34 grams of methane per second, on average. The Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that such drilling releases between 0.04 grams and 0.30 grams of methane per second. ...


Decimal points have always been my downfall.

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Fri, Apr 11, 2014
from Reuters:
El Nino more than 50 percent likely by summer: U.S. weather forecaster
The chances have increased over the past month that the much-feared El Nino phenomenon, which has the potential to wreak havoc on global crops, would strike by summer in the Northern Hemisphere, the federal U.S. weather forecaster said Thursday... El Nino - a warming of sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific - affects wind patterns and can trigger both floods and drought in different parts of the globe, curbing food supply. ...


El Nightmare!

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Fri, Apr 11, 2014
from GreenTech Media:
FirstEnergy CEO: Renewables 'Sound Good' but Should Take Backseat to Coal
FirstEnergy CEO Anthony Alexander traveled to Washington, D.C. this week to speak in front of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce about the challenges his utility is facing. With electricity use flatlining and renewable energy eroding margins for traditional generators, Alexander was not there to call for more regulatory flexibility to help the utility industry embrace these technologies. Instead, he called for a renewed focus on fossil fuels. "We need to develop a national energy plan that will allow us to take advantage of our vast supply of domestically produced resources -- both coal and natural gas -- and our superior electric system to stimulate and support our economy," he said in prepared statements. Strong promotion of renewables, said Alexander, is a threat to the electric system. ...


Sounds like he's putting his business "first" and everything else a distant second.

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Fri, Apr 11, 2014
from Midwest Energy News:
Hearings begin today in latest push against Ohio energy laws
Hearings begin today on an Ohio bill that would cancel requirements for additional renewable energy and energy efficiency after 2014. Senate Bill 310 would freeze Ohio's renewable and alternative energy requirements at 2014 levels. Those levels are about one-tenth of the current law's target of 25 percent by 2025. Energy efficiency requirements would stay at the 2014 level of 4.2 percent. Current law calls for a 22 percent cumulative reduction in retail electricity sales by 2025. That's about five times as much as the 2014 levels. ...


Sometimes it seems we are willfully trying to destroy our habitat.

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Fri, Apr 11, 2014
from Midwest Energy News:
Combined heat and power has promise, faces hurdles in Ohio
Ohio businesses can achieve high energy efficiency and save huge amounts of money with combined heat and power (CHP), say industry leaders who attended an Energy Ohio Network program on Wednesday. However, speakers and program attendees say, Ohio's regulatory and legislative landscape have made it harder for businesses to reap those benefits.... Meanwhile, the Ohio Senate's Public Utilities Committee continued hearings on Senate Bill 310. That bill would cancel any additional energy efficiency targets after 2014. If enacted, the bill would eliminate another potential benefit for CHP. ...


Sometimes it seems we are willfully trying to destroy our habitat.

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Wed, Apr 9, 2014
from Forbes:
Some Environmentalists Want To Save Utilities From Death Spiral
...utility experts can see the end times for the business model of the old power companies. But the old power companies can remain useful, said Becky Stanfield, deputy director for policy for the Midwest Region of the National Resources Defense Council, if they adapt to changing times...The "death spiral" refers to a highly anticipated scenario in which the utilities' wealthiest customers increasingly adopt rooftop solar systems, as solar systems continue to drop in price. That shifts more of the burden of paying for grid infrastructure onto the utilities' remaining customers, making solar more attractive to them as well....the regulatory structure is partly to blame, because it treats utilities like commodity merchants--the more electricity they sell, the more money they make. That structure discourages efficiency, discourages distributed generation, discourages cooperation with customers. ...


Don't git rid of the grid!

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Wed, Apr 9, 2014
from London Guardian:
BT, Shell and corporates call for trillion tonne carbon cap
Unilever, Shell, BT, and EDF Energy are among 70 leading companies today calling on governments across the globe to step up efforts to tackle climate change. The companies, which have a combined turnover of $90bn, say the world needs a "rapid and focused response" to the threat of rising global carbon emissions and the "disruptive climate impacts" associated with their growth. In a communiqué coordinated by The Prince of Wales's Corporate Leaders Group, the signatories demand governments put in place policies to prevent the cumulative emission of more than a trillion tonnes of carbon, arguing that passing that threshold would lead to unacceptable levels of climate-related risk. ...


The ecopalypse is generally not good for business.

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Fri, Apr 4, 2014
from Des Moines Register:
Iowa View: From wind to solar, clean power is good for Iowa
Saving money on bills, creating jobs and boosting the economy: That's what's been happening across Iowa as our state has embraced wind power to become a national leader in a fast-growing slice of the energy sector. Now we have a chance to do it again, this time with solar power. Clean local power is something all kinds of Iowans can agree on -- families, farmers and businesspeople; rural residents and city dwellers; even Republicans and Democrats. ...


Break out the Kumbaya champagne!

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Sat, Mar 29, 2014
from Fuel Fix:
New US wind power installations plummet
U.S. investors in wind-generated power nearly abandoned the business last year as Congress let lucrative tax credits for wind projects tumble away, according to a new report. New installations of U.S. wind projects fell 93 percent in 2013, measured by power generation capacity. New wind power installations had climbed to a record 13,100 megawatts the year before, Navigant Research reported. One megawatt is enough to power 500 Texas homes in normal weather. Financiers yanked much of their backing last year after legislative deadlines passed and it was too late for the $2 billion tax credit to bolster investments in wind installations. ...


One step forward, three steps back.

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Sat, Mar 29, 2014
from Indianapolis Star:
Gov. Pence lets energy program expire without signing bill
A 2-year-old program designed to cut energy consumption in Indiana homes, schools and businesses will end Dec. 31 without Gov. Mike Pence's signature. In a statement issued shortly after 8 p.m. today, Pence said he had mixed feelings on the bill but would allow it to become law without his signature. That means he neither signed or vetoed the measure, but will let it take effect anyway... The decision will remove Indiana from the ranks of 26 states that require utilities to offer programs that reduce energy use, part of a growing national effort to reduce electricity demand, lower prices and cut carbon emissions. ...


Hoosiers are now loosiers.

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Tue, Mar 18, 2014
from CBS Detroit:
Consumers Energy, Green Building Council Sponsor Energy Contests
Consumers Energy is encouraging businesses from the Indiana line to the Upper Peninsula to save energy by sponsoring the West Michigan Battle of the Buildings, a friendly competition that will run through the rest of this year. ...


Glad it's friendly. Would hate for buildings to be destroyed!

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Tue, Mar 18, 2014
from E&E Publishing:
William Koch, pessimistic about coal's future in the U.S., is out of the business
William Koch, CEO of energy and industrial products giant Oxbow Carbon LLC, expressed pessimism about the future of coal in the United States during an interview last week. While not as active in politics as siblings David and Charles Koch, Bill Koch has also donated millions to political candidates, including a large political action committee backing former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. "The coal business in the United States has kind of died," Koch said during a phone interview Friday, "so we're out of the coal business now." ...


Good riddance to bad rubbish!

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Mon, Mar 10, 2014
from Indianapolis Star:
Environmental groups seek probe of Duke plant
...In a motion filed Thursday with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, the groups say the plant has been beset by failures and outages that have cut deeply into its ability to generate electricity, even as customers continue to pay for construction and repairs on their monthly electric bills. The plant, in southwestern Indiana, generated only 4 percent of its maximum capacity in January. From June to December, it generated an average of 37 percent of maximum capacity. A typical household using about 1,000 kilowatt hours a month is now being charged $12.67 per month by Duke for costs related to the plant. ...


On the bright side, they got new vending machines at the plant.

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Mon, Mar 10, 2014
from New York Times:
Use of Public Transit in U.S. Reaches Highest Level Since 1956, Advocates Report
More Americans used buses, trains and subways in 2013 than in any year since 1956 as service improved, local economies grew and travelers increasingly sought alternatives to the automobile for trips within metropolitan areas, the American Public Transportation Association said in a report released on Monday. The trade group said in its annual report that 10.65 billion passenger trips were taken on transit systems during the year, surpassing the post-1950s peak of 10.59 million in 2008, when gas prices rose to $4 to $5 a gallon. ...


Some would call that progress.

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Fri, Mar 7, 2014
from University College London:
New data confirms Arctic ice trends: Ice-free season getting longer by five days per decade
The ice-free season across the Arctic is getting longer by five days per decade, according to new research from a team including Prof Julienne Stroeve (UCL Earth Sciences). New analysis of satellite data shows the Arctic Ocean absorbing ever more of the sun's energy in summer, leading to a later appearance of sea ice in the autumn. In some regions, autumn freeze-up is occurring up to 11 days per decade later than it used to. ...


My short term mindset fails to see the bottom line point of this report.

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Thu, Mar 6, 2014
from Des Moines Register:
Iowa gets about 27 percent of energy from wind, report says
Iowa received about 27 percent of its energy from wind generation last year, placing it first in the nation, ahead of South Dakota at 26 percent, a new report today shows. The American Wind Energy Association said Iowa generated enough wind last year to power 1.4 million homes, second only to Texas, which generated enough wind energy to power 3.3 million homes. Iowa has 5,117 megawatts of installed wind energy capacity, with 1,055 megawatts under construction. The report said Iowa ranks third in the nation for the number of jobs — up to 7,000 direct and indirect, based on 2012 data — that are tied wind generation. ...


What with all that wind, the hair salon industry is getting a boost as well!

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Tue, Mar 4, 2014
from E&E Publishing:
Batteries combined with rooftop solar may speed grid's 'death spiral' -- report
A new study estimates that cheap batteries paired with rooftop solar panels is a new sort of threat to the traditional utility business model, hastening the day when on-site power is cheaper than grid power and utilities struggle to pay off the power plants and transmission lines they've already bought. By as soon as 2020, the report asserts, tens of millions of businesses and homeowners in California and New York may be able to combine solar panels, batteries and sometimes a backup diesel generator to get local electricity cheaper than that from the grid. Much of the rest of the country may be able to do the same by the 2030s, it states. ...


Local electricity just flows better.

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Mon, Mar 3, 2014
from Sioux City Journal:
HARVESTING THE WIND
...Lately, the vast wind resource has turned the rural Northwest Iowa county into a hotbed of economic activity. A bevy of companies are moving ahead with large-scale projects that would harness and export the renewable energy to more populated regions. The undertakings are projected to spur hundreds of millions of dollars in investment and create thousands of temporary construction jobs and hundreds of permanent jobs, as well as fill local tax coffers and grow communities that have seen an exodus in population in recent decades. ...


Iowa wind a win win.

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Mon, Mar 3, 2014
from Environmental News Service:
Hundreds Arrested Protesting Keystone XL at The White House
Police arrested more than 370 young people who tied themselves to the White House fence on Sunday to protest the proposed Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline. Called XL Dissent, the protest was organized by college and university students to urge President Barack Obama to reject the northern leg of TransCanada's proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which needs presidential approval because it would cross an international border on its way from the Alberta tar sands to refineries in Texas. ...


Generation KXL

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Sat, Mar 1, 2014
from BBC:
Smell of forest pine can limit climate change - researchers
New research suggests a strong link between the powerful smell of pine trees and climate change. Scientists say they've found a mechanism by which these scented vapours turn into aerosols above boreal forests... The scientists say that having a clear understanding of the way in which forest smells become aerosols will improve the accuracy with which they can predict the ability of these particles to limit rising temperatures. ...


A giant, geoengineering-scale air wick, anyone?

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Tue, Feb 25, 2014
from Reuters:
Sun-dimming volcanoes partly explain global warming hiatus-study
Small volcanic eruptions help explain a hiatus in global warming this century by dimming sunlight and offsetting a rise in emissions of heat-trapping gases to record highs, a study showed on Sunday. Eruptions of at least 17 volcanoes since 2000, including Nabro in Eritrea, Kasatochi in Alaska and Merapi in Indonesia, ejected sulfur whose sun-blocking effect had been largely ignored until now by climate scientists, it said. ...


The earth is trying to save itself.

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Tue, Feb 25, 2014
from Bloomberg:
Colorado First State to Clamp Down on Fracking Methane Pollution
Colorado regulators approved groundbreaking controls on emissions from oil and natural gas operations after an unusual coalition of energy companies and environmentalists agreed on measures to counter worsening smog... "This is a model for the country," said Dan Grossman, the defense fund's Rocky Mountain regional director. "We've got this simmering battle between the oil and gas industry and neighborhoods throughout the state that are being faced with development. That degree of acrimony is pushing the industry and policy makers to look for ways to get some wins." ...


Well I'll be fracked!

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Tue, Feb 25, 2014
from New York Times:
For the Supreme Court, a Case Poses a Puzzle on the E.P.A.'s Authority
In trying to decide whether the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority under two programs to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources like power plants, the Supreme Court on Monday faced what Justice Elena Kagan called "the conundrum here."... Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who may hold the decisive vote, made a point that did not bode well for the agency. "I couldn't find a single precedent that strongly supports your position," he told the agency's lawyer, Donald B. Verrilli Jr., the United States solicitor general. ...


It's gonna get hot under those robes!

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Thu, Feb 20, 2014
from NASA:
NASA satellites see Arctic surface darkening faster
The retreat of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean is diminishing Earth's albedo, or reflectivity, by an amount considerably larger than previously estimated, according to a new study that uses data from instruments that fly aboard several NASA satellites.... As the sea ice melts, its white reflective surface is replaced by a relatively dark ocean surface. This diminishes the amount of sunlight being reflected back to space, causing Earth to absorb an increasing amount of solar energy. The Arctic has warmed by 3.6 F (2 C) since the 1970s. The summer minimum Arctic sea ice extent has decreased by 40 percent during the same time period. These factors have decreased the region's albedo, or the fraction of incoming light that Earth reflects back into space -- a change that the CERES instruments are able to measure. ...


albedone for

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Mon, Feb 17, 2014
from Agence France-Press:
Jet stream shift could prompt harsher winters: scientists
A warmer Arctic could permanently affect the pattern of the high-altitude polar jet stream, resulting in longer and colder winters over North America and northern Europe, US scientists say. The jet stream, a ribbon of high altitude, high-speed wind in northern latitudes that blows from west to east, is formed when the cold Arctic air clashes with warmer air from further south. The greater the difference in temperature, the faster the jet stream moves. According to Jennifer Francis, a climate expert at Rutgers University, the Arctic air has warmed in recent years as a result of melting polar ice caps, meaning there is now less of a difference in temperatures when it hits air from lower latitudes..."But over the past two decades the jet stream has weakened. This is something we can measure," she said. As a result, instead of circling the earth in the far north, the jet stream has begun to meander, like a river heading off course. This has brought chilly Arctic weather further south than normal, and warmer temperatures up north. Perhaps most disturbingly, it remains in place for longer periods of time. ...


Global chilling!

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Mon, Feb 10, 2014
from Reuters:
Chinese villagers mob police in environmental spat: Xinhua
Around 100 villagers attacked a police station in southwestern China on Friday as part of an environmental protest, state media said in a rare report about what are increasingly common demonstrations.... There are tens of thousands of unreported protests in China each year, a rising number of which are over environmental disputes in a country where rapid economic growth has taken its toll on the air, water and land. ...


Here, we just post angry diatribes on Facebook.

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Sat, Feb 8, 2014
from WFYI:
EPA: Harding Street Plant Responsible For Most Of County's Pollution
A new report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says one Indianapolis power plant is responsible for most of Marion County's pollution. The Agency finds the Harding Street Power Plant caused 88 percent of toxic industrial pollution in the county in 2012. That ranks as one of the worst 100 polluters among electric utilities nationwide and Jodi Perras of the Sierra Club says it is evidence the facility needs to shut down. ...


I give Harding Street a B+ in spoiling our environment!

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Thu, Feb 6, 2014
from USDA, via DailyKos:
USDA announces establishment of regional agriculture hubs for climate change adaptation
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced Wednesday, the USDA is forming seven Regional Hubs for Risk Adaptation and Mitigation to Climate Change to assist farmers to adapt by providing them science-based data and how to apply it... While the generally right-wing American Farm Bureau Federation has taken no stance on the regional hubs, its overall view of Obama's proposed climate change policies is a negative one: "Farm Bureau does not support any actions or policy that federal agencies could adopt, or the utilization of any existing authority, to regulate emissions of GHGs. Farm Bureau does not support the current actions of EPA to regulate GHGs from new or existing power plants as it causes increased costs to produce food, feed, fuel and fiber without measurably addressing the issue of climate. Farm Bureau would especially oppose any regulation of GHGs from agricultural sources." ...


To adapt, or to deny that adaptation is necessary, that is the question.

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Mon, Feb 3, 2014
from tcktcktck:
Divestment Goes Mainstream as Major Funds Kick the Fossil Fuel Habit
With a shift of nearly two billion dollars away from fossil fuels, the divestment campaign has moved into new territory. Last week, seventeen of the world's largest philanthropic foundations announced commitments to pull their money out of fossil fuel companies and reinvest it in the clean energy economy... The announcement is seen as a signal that the divestment movement is no longer limited to progressive cities and college campuses. Now, a wide range of some of the world's largest foundations including the Park Foundation, Russell Family Foundation, Educational Foundation of America and John Merck Fund are taking a stand for the climate by aligning their investments with the values of their charitable missions. ...


Sounds like the beginning of a bad day for fossil fuels.

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Sun, Jan 19, 2014
from Telegraph (UK):
UK weather: mild spell causes birds to break into song and flowers to bloom
... Wildlife experts have received dozens of reports of snowdrops blooming across the UK, nearly a month before they would normally be expected.... Some birds have also been recorded nesting while the first reports of song thrush singing arrived on 13 January now several have been spotted around the country.... "For insects and amphibians it is not so rosy. Ladybirds, for example, have finite energy reserves and nectar at this time of year will be thin on the ground, so they might not make it through to the spring. "Similarly frogs only get one chance to breed each year and if it gets very cold the spawn can freeze and will be lost if they are fooled into breeding too early." Since the start of January much of the country has seen temperatures in double figures, with the average temperature for the whole country last week being around 47.6 degrees F.... However, the heavy rain, strong winds and tidal surges that have accompanied the mild conditions have also taken their toll on many species. Waterfowl such as ducks, which have been nesting earlier than usual due to the mild conditions, had their nests destroyed by flooding. Sussex Wildlife Trust has reported swallows nesting and several species of butterflies on its nature reserve. ...


Jeez, wildlife -- toughen up!

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Sun, Jan 19, 2014
from Reuters:
Canada loses patience on Keystone XL, tells U.S. to decide
Canada bluntly told the United States on Thursday to settle the fate of TransCanada Corp's proposed Keystone XL pipeline, saying the drawn-out process on whether to approve the northern leg of the project was taking too long. The hard-line comments by Foreign Minister John Baird were the clearest sign yet that Canada's Conservative government has lost patience over what it sees as U.S. foot-dragging. Baird also conceded that Washington might veto the project, the first admission of its kind by a Canadian government minister. ...


Can't we hurry up and get down to the business of wrecking the earth already?

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Wed, Jan 15, 2014
from Oregon State University:
Oldest Trees Are Growing Faster, Storing More Carbon as They Age
In a finding that overturns the conventional view that large old trees are unproductive, scientists have determined that for most species, the biggest trees increase their growth rates and sequester more carbon as they age. In a letter published today in the journal Nature, an international research group reports that 97 percent of 403 tropical and temperate species grow more quickly the older they get. ...


I'll bet 97 percent of scientists agree on this.

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Wed, Jan 15, 2014
from Indianapolis Star:
Nuclear power for Indiana?
Indiana hasn't tried to build a nuclear ­power plant since two efforts fizzled in the 1980s over high costs, nearly bankrupting one of the companies in the process. But an influential state senator says it's time to encourage nuclear power again and has introduced a bill that would provide financial incentives to utilities to build nuclear plants. Sen. Jim Merritt, R-Indianapolis, chairman of the Senate Utilities Committee, says nu­clear energy is clean, safe and reliable and should have a place in Indiana's energy lineup. His bill, Senate Bill 302, would allow utilities to build a nuclear plant, or a small modular reactor, and pass along the construction costs to customers years before the plant goes into operation. ...


That's counting your radioactive chickens before they melt down.

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Tue, Jan 14, 2014
from E&E Publishing:
Coal-dependent Mich. ready to make the switch
If there is a "war on coal" being waged in the United States, then there's a new and somewhat surprising recruit in Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder. The moderate Republican and former venture capitalist stunned some observers last month when he unveiled a four-part energy strategy for the state through 2025, the first tenet of which is to replace coal-fired power plants with natural gas and renewables. He cited both economic and environmental benefits. ...


Mommy, what's a moderate Republican?

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Tue, Jan 14, 2014
from InsideClimate News:
U.S. Carbon Emissions From Fossil Fuels Rose in 2013 as Coal Use Ticked Up
When all the data is in, it looks like carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels will have gone up 2 percent in 2013 from the previous year, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) said on Monday. The main reason, it said, is an uptick in the use of coal for electric power. But it's also a sign of growing economic activity in general... The agency said emissions are currently running at about 10 percent less than in 2005, putting the nation almost two-thirds of the way to its goal of cutting them 17 percent by 2020, with much steeper reductions promised even later. ...


Guess I got coal in my stocking after all.

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Sun, Jan 12, 2014
from Scientific American:
About that consensus on global warming: 9136 agree, one disagrees.
It's worth noting how many authors agree with the basic fact of global warming - more than nine thousand. And that's just in a single year. Now I understand as well as anyone else that consensus does not imply truth but I find it odd how there aren't even a handful of scientists who deny global warming presumably because the global warming mafia threatens to throttle them if they do. It's not like we are seeing a 70-30 percent split, or even a 90-10 percent split. No, the split is more like 99.99-0.01 percent. Isn't it remarkable that among the legions of scientists working around the world, many with tenured positions, secure reputations and largely nothing to lose, not even a hundred out of ten thousand come forward to deny the phenomenon in the scientific literature? Should it be that hard for them to publish papers if the evidence is really good enough? Even detractors of the peer review system would disagree that the system is that broken; after all, studies challenging consensus are quite common in other disciplines. So are contrarian climate scientists around the world so utterly terrified of their colleagues and world opinion that they would not dare to hazard a contrarian explanation at all, especially if it were based on sound science? The belief stretches your imagination to new lengths. ...


It's surprisingly hard to not hear 99.99 percent of the noise.

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Thu, Jan 9, 2014
from San Francisco Chronicle:
Global warming warning stickers at gas pumps?
...A group of Bay Area environmentalists wants to slap warning stickers on gasoline pumps, telling drivers that the fuel they're buying is cooking the planet. The stickers would constantly remind consumers of the link between driving and climate change. "Human beings are not really wired for seeing the cause and effect of climate change," said Jamie Brooks, with the Bay Area chapter of 350.org. "The cause is burning fossil fuels, but we're not going to feel the effects until well into the future. There's no immediate signal to a consumer of gasoline to show their effects on climate." ...


Next thing you know, damn enviros will want to label my escaping farts.

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Thu, Jan 9, 2014
from The Hill:
EPA publishes emissions rule to GOP's dismay
The Environmental Protection Agency published its rule limiting carbon emissions from new power plants on Wednesday to the dismay of coal advocates and the GOP. The proposed rule, published nearly four months after EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy announced it, is a core element of President Obama's climate change agenda. Included in the new performance standards, the EPA pushes for new coal-fired power plants to be built with carbon capture technology, which Republicans argue is impossible since the technology isn't ready... Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) blasted the EPA for publishing the regulation on the 50th anniversary of the war on poverty. "The EPA just announced another regulation that will increase poverty in coal country," Barrasso said in a statement on Wednesday. ...


The war against mother earth, however, continues, unabated.

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Wed, Jan 8, 2014
from Climate Central:
Polar Vortex in U.S. May be Example of Global Warming
While the ongoing cold snap is breaking records from Minnesota to Florida, it will not go down in history as the most significant Arctic outbreak in U.S. history, not even by a longshot. Scientists said the deep freeze gripping the U.S. does not indicate a halt or reversal in global warming trends, either. In fact, it may be a counterintuitive example of global warming in action. Researchers told Climate Central that the weather pattern driving the extreme cold into the U.S. -- with a weaker polar vortex moving around the Arctic like a slowing spinning top, eventually falling over and blowing open the door to the Arctic freezer -- fits with other recently observed instances of unusual fall and wintertime jet stream configurations. ...


Climate change must be kinda fun for the weather.

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Wed, Jan 8, 2014
from Minneapolis Star Tribune:
Massive solar plan for Minnesota wins bid over gas
Minnesota soon could see at least a sevenfold expansion of solar power. In an unprecedented ruling, a judge reviewing whether Xcel Energy should invest in new natural gas generators vs. large solar power arrays concluded Tuesday that solar is a better deal. ...


Land of 10,000 Suns

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Tue, Jan 7, 2014
from Huffington Post:
Disney And Oil Industry Team Up For 'Rocking In Ohio' Event
Radio Disney, "home of the hottest kids' music," is teaming up with Ohio's oil and gas industry to teach school kids that pipelines are awesome. "Rocking In Ohio" is an interactive, game show-like presentation entirely funded by the Ohio Oil and Gas Association and presented jointly with Radio Disney. This "special partnership," as they call it, "highlights the importance of Ohio's oil and gas industry, and why science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are crucial in developing energy resources in Ohio," according to the association.... Among the show's stops was a visit to Youngstown's OH WOW!, a children's science and technology center that opened in 2011. Youngstown previously saw a whole year of "rocking in Ohio" as the city was struck by 167 earthquakes between January 2011 and February 2012. A recent study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research concluded the quakes were linked to an injection well that was used for disposing of the wastewater from oil and gas operations. No earthquakes had been recorded in Youngstown between the late 18th century and 2010, and the tremors have stopped since the well was shut down. ...


Brought to you be the same people who made WALL-E.

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Thu, Jan 2, 2014
from Climate News Network:
Climate Change Could Diminish Valuable Cloud Cover, Scientists Say
Australian and French scientists believe they have cracked one of the great puzzles of climate change and arrived at a more accurate prediction of future temperatures... Climate models in the past have tended to predict high cloud formation that damps warming. What Sherwood and his colleagues have done is demonstrate that the world may not work like that... climate cycles could develop that would take vapor to a wider range of heights in the atmosphere, with the consequence that fewer clouds would form as climate warms. ...


Future's so bright, I gotta wear shades...

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Mon, Dec 30, 2013
from New York Times:
New Energy Struggles on Its Way to Markets
To stave off climate change, sources of electricity that do not emit carbon will have to replace the ones that do. But at the moment, two of those largest sources, nuclear and wind power, are trying to kill each other off. In the electricity market, both are squeezed by pressure from natural gas, which provides some carbon reductions compared with coal but will not bring the country anywhere near its goal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Natural gas has a carbon footprint that is at least three times as large as that goal. Energy companies announced this year that five nuclear reactors would be closing or not reopening, and the owners blamed competition from natural gas and wind. In the Pacific Northwest, wind and hydroelectricity -- neither of which produce carbon -- are sparring to push each other off the regional power grid. ...


Make energy not war.

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Mon, Dec 30, 2013
from Triple Pundit:
How Bike Lanes Increase Small Business Revenue
Magnolia Street in Fort Worth is the sort of story that urban planners dream of. In 2008, this mixed used street was re-striped. The street had featured two lanes in each direction, both of which had been mainly used by cars, plus a few fast and fearless cyclists. In its new incarnation it still had four lanes, one in each direction for cars, and one for bicycles. "It was the first 'road diet' of its kind in Fort Worth, and has been a genuine success," Kevin Buchanan, a local musician and author of the Fort Worthology blog, told me. The best measure of this success was in the bottom line: after the road was rearranged, restaurant revenues along the street went up a combined total of 179 percent. ...


Biking makes one hungry.

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Fri, Dec 27, 2013
from ScienceBlog:
Solar activity not a key cause of climate change, study shows
Climate change has not been strongly influenced by variations in heat from the sun, a new scientific study shows. The findings overturn a widely held scientific view that lengthy periods of warm and cold weather in the past might have been caused by periodic fluctuations in solar activity. Research examining the causes of climate change in the northern hemisphere over the past 1000 years has shown that until the year 1800, the key driver of periodic changes in climate was volcanic eruptions. These tend to prevent sunlight reaching the Earth, causing cool, drier weather. Since 1900, greenhouse gases have been the primary cause of climate change. ...


At least it's still the center of our solar system.

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Fri, Dec 27, 2013
from Care2:
Tax Meat to Reduce Methane Emissions and Global Warming, Say Scientists
You've probably heard that methane from cows, sheep, goats and buffalo (that is, ruminant farts) has been linked to global warming. There are 50 percent more cows and similar animals today than half a century ago (3.6 billion) and methane released from their digestive systems is the biggest human-related source of this greenhouse gas. So, to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases cows and the like produce, we need to tax meat. That's what some scientists have recently proposed in an analysis in Nature Climate Change. Only by increasing the price of meat so people consume less can we cut down on the amount of methane emissions and halt the warming of the planet. ...


Why don't we tax the animals for farting?

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Fri, Dec 27, 2013
from Politico:
Coal in their stockings
Coal-fired power plants are shutting their doors at a record pace -- and for the most part, nobody's building new ones. The latest round in the war on coal? Not exactly. The reality is that Americans' lights will stay on just fine even as coal plants continue to close, thanks to a quiet revolution in energy efficiency and a boom time for cheap natural gas. Throw in some stricter rules for older plants, and the result is a sharp drop in the economic viability of coal-fired power. Since 2008, coal has dropped from nearly half the U.S. power market to about 37 percent. In the next several years, industry analysts say, hundreds of older coal-fired units will power down for good. ...


For good, indeed.

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Thu, Dec 26, 2013
from InsideClimate News:
Need for More Tar Sands Imports Called Into Question With Latest U.S. Energy Data
The U.S. Energy Department has sharply cut its forecast for crude oil imports in the next several years, saying that domestic oil will replace imports at a much faster rate than it expected just a few months ago. Imports in 2016 will be one million barrels a day lower than it projected in April... So what looks like good news from the standpoint of U.S. energy independence is cold comfort to those environmental advocates and scientists who say that the U.S. and the rest of the world must act swiftly to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide in order to avoid the worst effects of global warming in the coming century. For them, higher production of fossil fuels is progress in the wrong direction. ...


Energy security = certain ecocide.

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Mon, Dec 23, 2013
from University of Southern California :
Greek Economic Crisis Leads to Air Pollution Crisis
In the midst of a winter cold snap, a study from researchers in the United States and Greece reveals an overlooked side effect of economic crisis -- dangerous air quality caused by burning cheaper fuel for warmth. The researchers, led by Constantinos Sioutas of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, show that the concentration of fine air particles in one of Greece's economically hardest hit areas has risen 30 percent since the financial crisis began, leading to potential long-term health effects. ...


Let them burn cake.

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Sat, Dec 21, 2013
from Rolling Stone:
Obama and Climate Change: The Real Story
If you want to understand how people will remember the Obama climate legacy, a few facts tell the tale: By the time Obama leaves office, the U.S. will pass Saudi Arabia as the planet's biggest oil producer and Russia as the world's biggest producer of oil and gas combined. In the same years, even as we've begun to burn less coal at home, our coal exports have climbed to record highs. We are, despite slight declines in our domestic emissions, a global-warming machine: At the moment when physics tell us we should be jamming on the carbon brakes, America is revving the engine. ...


Bafrack Coalbama

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Wed, Dec 18, 2013
from MLive.com:
Michigan conservatives launch renewable energy group
Several Republican leaders have formed a conservative group aimed at promoting renewable energy in Michigan. The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum will push the state to reduce its dependence on coal and increase investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency programs. The announcement comes two days before Gov. Rick Snyder is scheduled to conduct a roundtable discussion on the future of Michigan's energy policy. "For too long, we have allowed the energy discourse to be dominated by the left," said Larry Ward, former political director for the Michigan Republican Party and executive director of the forum. ...


If they're not careful these conservatives might turn into conservationists.

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Tue, Dec 17, 2013
from Reuters:
Scientists still waiting for clear signs of ozone hole healing
Earth's upper atmosphere is still so saturated with ozone-eating chlorine that it will take about another decade for evidence that a nearly 25-year-old ban on such destructive chemicals is working, scientists said. Full recovery of the ozone layer, which shields Earth from the sun's harmful ultraviolet radiation, should occur around 2070... Researchers report puzzlingly large variations in the size of the annual ozone hole over Antarctica. In 2012 for example, the ozone hole was the second smallest on record, an apparently positive sign that the 1989 Montreal Protocol agreement - which called for the phasing out of Freon and other damaging chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs - was working. But scientists say that meteorological effects masked the hole's true size. The year before, they point out, the ozone hole was nearly as big as it was in 2006, the largest on record. ...


My patience is running thin with Mother Earth's procrastinating ways!

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Tue, Dec 17, 2013
from Washington Post:
White House delayed enacting rules ahead of 2012 election to avoid controversy
The White House systematically delayed enacting a series of rules on the environment, worker safety and health care to prevent them from becoming points of contention before the 2012 election, according to documents and interviews with current and former administration officials... The Obama administration has repeatedly said that any delays until after the election were coincidental and that such decisions were made without regard to politics. But seven current and former administration officials told The Washington Post that the motives behind many of the delays were clearly political, as Obama's top aides focused on avoiding controversy before his reelection. ...


ObamaNoCare after all.

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Mon, Dec 16, 2013
from Bloomberg News:
Buffett's MidAmerican Awards Siemens Biggest Wind-Turbine Order
MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co., the power unit of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (A:US), agreed to buy wind turbines valued at more than $1 billion from Siemens AG (SIE) for five projects in Iowa, in the supplier's biggest order to date for land-based wind equipment. Siemens will provide 448 of its 2.3-megawatt turbines with total capacity of almost 1,050 megawatts, enough to power about 320,000 households... "The U.S. is leading the way toward grid parity," Tacke said, the point when the price for power from renewable sources becomes competitive with conventional sources of energy such as natural gas and coal. "The industry needs volume and these large orders help drive down the costs of wind power." ...


When we hit grid parity let's throw a grid party!

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Mon, Dec 16, 2013
from Ohio State University:
East Antarctica Is Sliding Sideways: Ice Loss On West Antarctica Affecting Mantle Flow Below
It's official: East Antarctica is pushing West Antarctica around. Now that West Antarctica is losing weight--that is, billions of tons of ice per year--its softer mantle rock is being nudged westward by the harder mantle beneath East Antarctica. The discovery comes from researchers led by The Ohio State University, who have recorded GPS measurements that show West Antarctic bedrock is being pushed sideways at rates up to about twelve millimeters--about half an inch--per year. This movement is important for understanding current ice loss on the continent, and predicting future ice loss. ...


Sounds like bullying to me.

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Wed, Dec 11, 2013
from The Hill:
Report: US solar installations skyrocket
More American homes installed solar panels in the third quarter of this year than ever before, with 52 percent more going on line than in the same period last year, according to a new report. The report, from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association, finds that 31,000 American homes installed solar panels in the third quarter. Overall, the U.S. installed 930 megawatts worth of solar panels, up 35 percent from the same time last year. The U.S. is expected to install more solar panels than world leader Germany for the first time in 15 years, the report finds. ...


Sounds like World War III.

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Wed, Dec 11, 2013
from London Guardian:
Russia to boost military presence in Arctic as Canada plots north pole claim
The political temperature in the Arctic rose on Tuesday when Vladimir Putin vowed to step up Russia's military presence in the region in response to a claim by Canada to the north pole. In typically trenchant style, the Russian president told his defence chiefs to concentrate on building up infrastructure and military units in the Arctic. He said the region was again key to Russia's national and strategic interests, following a retreat in the post-Soviet period. ...


I thought I owned the north pole!

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Wed, Dec 11, 2013
from Politico:
John Podesta will recuse himself from Keystone, White House aide says
In news sure to deflate the hopes of climate activists, green energy advocate John Podesta will recuse himself from issues related to the Keystone XL oil pipeline when he begins working as a special adviser to President Barack Obama, a White House aide confirmed to POLITICO late Tuesday. Environmentalists had spent Tuesday cheering the White House's selection of Podesta as an adviser on issues including climate and health care. His opposition to the pipeline is well known, fueling speculation that his new role portended a rejection of the project -- much to the dismay of Keystone's supporters. ...


Squashing the raised hopes of environmentalists will now be called "Pulling a Podesta."

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Wed, Dec 11, 2013
from Huffington Post:
U.S. Supreme Court Hears Arguments In EPA Air Pollution Case
U.S. Supreme Court justices offered President Barack Obama's administration some encouragement on Tuesday as they weighed the lawfulness of a federal regulation limiting air pollution that crosses state lines, mostly emissions from coal-fired power plants. Although it was unclear how the court would rule, a majority of the eight justices hearing the case at points in the 90-minute argument voiced some support for the regulation, which has been challenged by some states and industry groups. ...


Who'd want to wear those robes in a global warming future?

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Mon, Dec 9, 2013
from Climate Central:
Study Adds to Arctic Warming, Extreme Weather Debate
A new study for the first time found links between the rapid loss of snow and sea ice cover in the Arctic and a recent spate of exceptional extreme heat events in North America, Europe, and Asia. The study adds to the evidence showing that the free-fall in summer sea ice extent and even sharper decline in spring snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere is reverberating throughout the atmosphere, making extreme events more likely to occur. The study, published Sunday in the journal Nature Climate Change, is the first to find correlations between rapid Arctic warming and extreme summer weather events, since previous research had focused on the links between Arctic warming and fall and winter weather patterns. ...


What happens in the Arctic doesn't stay in the Arctic!

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Sun, Dec 8, 2013
from InsideClimate News:
Worst-Case Scenario for Oil Sands Industry Has Come to Life, Leaked Document Shows
As environmentalists began ratcheting up pressure against Canada's tar sands three years ago, one of the world's biggest strategic consulting firms was tapped to help the North American oil industry figure out how to handle the mounting activism. The resulting document, published online by WikiLeaks, offers another window into how oil and gas companies have been scrambling to deal with unrelenting opposition to their growth plans. The document identifies nearly two-dozen environmental organizations leading the anti-oil sands movement and puts them into four categories: radicals, idealists, realists and opportunists -- with how-to's for managing each. It also reveals that the worst-case scenario presented to industry about the movement's growing influence seems to have come to life. ...


A fifth category: people who care about their children and grandchildren.

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Sat, Dec 7, 2013
from Dartmouth College:
More Logging, Deforestation May Better Serve Climate in Some Areas
... The findings suggest more frequent logging or deforestation may better serve our planet and pocketbooks in high latitude areas where snowfall is common and timber productivity is low. Such a scenario could involve including snow cover/albedo in existing greenhouse gas exchanges like the Kyoto protocol or a cap-and-trade program or ecosystem services market in which landowners are paid to maintain snow cover and produce timber rather than conserve forests and store carbon. Previous studies have put a price on many ecosystem services -- or services that nature provides to humans that have both economic and biological value, such as drinking water and crop pollination -- but the Dartmouth study is the first to do so for albedo, or the surface reflection of incoming solar energy. The findings contrast with the dominant paradigm that including forest climate mitigation services such as carbon storage on compliance markets will lead to the conservation of forests. Instead, the findings show that in some areas, it is better to have snow act as a natural mirror if you want to use forests for climate-related purposes. ...


Let's call it albedough.

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Thu, Dec 5, 2013
from London Guardian:
ALEC calls for penalties on 'freerider' homeowners in assault on clean energy
An alliance of corporations and conservative activists is mobilising to penalise homeowners who install their own solar panels -- casting them as "freeriders" -- in a sweeping new offensive against renewable energy, the Guardian has learned. Over the coming year, the American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec) will promote legislation with goals ranging from penalising individual homeowners and weakening state clean energy regulations, to blocking the Environmental Protection Agency, which is Barack Obama's main channel for climate action. ...


The people united will never be defeated (by ALEC).

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Thu, Dec 5, 2013
from BBC:
Meet the US Army's hybrid hellion
A fuel-efficient, lightweight hybrid vehicle that could keep soldiers safe? It might sound like mission impossible, but such a machine is already roaming the earth -- albeit on a tight leash....it's a fuel-efficient hybrid vehicle, its rear-mounted lithium-iron phosphate battery charged by a 175-horsepower Subaru turbodiesel boxer engine. And although it is smaller and lighter than other similar Army vehicles, such as the long-serving Humvee, it still offers vanguard blast-mitigation and survivability features. ...


Next thing you know, soldiers will be drinking iced lattes.

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Wed, Dec 4, 2013
from Climate News Network:
James Hansen: 2C Temperature Rise Would Be "Disastrous"
Governments have set the wrong target to limit climate change. The goal at present -- to limit global warming to a maximum of two degree Celsius higher than the average for most of human history -- "would have consequences that can be described as disastrous," say 18 scientists in a review paper in the journal PLOS One. With a two degree Celsius increase, "sea level rise of several meters could be expected," they say. "Increased climate extremes, already apparent at 0.8 degrees Celsuis warming, would be more severe. Coral reefs and associated species, already stressed with current conditions, would be decimated by increased acidification, temperature and sea level rise.... Warming of one degree Celsius relative to 1880 -- 1920 keeps global temperature close to the Holocene range, but warming of two degree Celsius, could cause "major dislocations for civilization." ...


Take two aspirin, go to bed and don't get up!

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Tue, Dec 3, 2013
from National Research Council:
Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises
Although there is still much to learn about abrupt climate change and abrupt climate impacts, to willfully ignore the threat of abrupt change could lead to more costs, loss of life, suffering, and environmental degradation. The time is here to be serious about the threat of tipping points so as to better anticipate and prepare ourselves for the inevitable surprises. ...


Uh-oh: this language is how the National Research Council expresses panic.

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Mon, Dec 2, 2013
from Springfield News-Leader:
New Springfield school to use less energy
The new Sherwood Elementary will be built to use as little energy as possible. The Springfield school board recently gave the go-ahead for architects and engineers to design a 450-student building at 2524 S. Golden Ave. that dramatically reduces energy usage. That decision also leaves open the possibility of eventually adding a renewable energy source to transform Sherwood into the state's first school capable of achieving a "net zero" rating, meaning it generates as much energy as it consumes. ...


Stinkin' little Robin Hoods.

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Mon, Dec 2, 2013
from New York Times:
Urban Schools Aim for Environmental Revolution
... With any uneaten food, the plates, made from sugar cane, can be thrown away and turned into a product prized by gardeners and farmers everywhere: compost. If all goes as planned, compostable plates will replace plastic foam lunch trays by September not just for the 345,000 students in the Miami-Dade County school system, but also for more than 2.6 million others nationwide. That would be some 271 million plates a year, replacing enough foam trays to create a stack of plastic several hundred miles tall. ...


Let them eat plates.

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Mon, Dec 2, 2013
from Politico:
A green movement of all stripes
In Appalachia, greens are banding together with the Tennessee Conservative Union to oppose mountaintop mining. In Georgia, the Sierra Club and Atlanta's tea party have formed a Green Tea Coalition that is demanding a bigger role for solar power in the state's energy market. Elsewhere, veterans of the George W. Bush administration are working with the Environmental Defense Fund on market-based ideas for protecting endangered species... some activists -- particularly outside the Beltway -- see potential for the kinds of coalitions that used to get big things done, back in the days when Theodore Roosevelt was creating national parks and George H.W. Bush's administration was taking on acid rain. ...


Strange bedfellows make for even stranger showermates.

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Sun, Dec 1, 2013
from Fairbanks Daily News-Miner:
Researchers say Arctic Ocean leaking methane at an alarming rate
FAIRBANKS -- Ounce for ounce, methane has an effect on global warming more than 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide, and it's leaking from the Arctic Ocean at an alarming rate, according to new research by scientists at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Their article, which appeared last week in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Geoscience, states that the Arctic Ocean is releasing methane at a rate more than twice what scientific models had previously anticipated. ...


There's no plugging this leak.

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Tue, Nov 26, 2013
from New York Times:
Emissions of Methane in U.S. Exceed Estimates, Study Finds
Emissions of the greenhouse gas methane due to human activity were roughly 1.5 times greater in the United States in the middle of the last decade than prevailing estimates, according to a new analysis by 15 climate scientists published Monday in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The analysis also said that methane discharges in Texas and Oklahoma, where oil and gas production was concentrated at the time, were 2.7 times greater than conventional estimates. Emissions from oil and gas activity alone could be five times greater than the prevailing estimate, the report said. ...


We're on methane-phetamines!

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Mon, Nov 25, 2013
from Inderscience:
Power Boosting Self-Cleaning Solar Panels
High-power, self-cleaning solar panels might be coming soon to a roof near you. There are two obvious problems with photovoltaic cells, solar panels. First, they are very shiny and so a lot of the incident sunlight is simply reflected back into the sky rather than being converted into electricity. Secondly, they get dirty with dust and debris caught on the wind and residues left behind by rain and birds. Now, research published in the International Journal of Nanomanufacturing suggests that it might be possible to add a nanoscopic relief pattern to the surface of solar cells that makes them non-reflective significantly boosting efficiency and at the same time making them highly non-stick and self-cleaning. ...


If they can also fry my bacon, too, I'm in!

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Mon, Nov 25, 2013
from Financial Post:
Ontario Premier Wynne vows to ban coal-powered electricity
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said Canada's most populous province plans to prevent the construction of new coal plants and ban the burning of coal. "Our work on eliminating coal and investing in renewables is the strongest action being taken in North America,” Wynne told reporters in Toronto, with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore at her side. A coal bill will be introduced in the provincial legislature, where Wynne's Liberal Party holds a minority position, next week. ...


Wynne-win!

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Mon, Nov 25, 2013
from Princeton University:
Even If Emissions Stop, Carbon Dioxide Could Warm Earth for Centuries
Even if carbon dioxide emissions came to a sudden halt, the carbon dioxide already in Earth's atmosphere could continue to warm our planet for hundreds of years, according to Princeton University-led research published in the journal Nature Climate Change. The study suggests that it might take a lot less carbon than previously thought to reach the global temperature scientists deem unsafe. The researchers' work contradicts a scientific consensus that the global temperature would remain constant or decline if emissions were suddenly cut to zero. But previous research did not account for a gradual reduction in the oceans' ability to absorb heat from the atmosphere, particularly the polar oceans [..] ...


Ivy league ivory tower debbie downers.

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Sat, Nov 23, 2013
from Denver Post:
Wind and solar were the fastest growing sources for electricity generation in 2012
Wind and solar were the fastest growing technologies for electricity generation in 2012, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Wind capacity grew 28 percent to 60 Gigawatts in 2012 and photovoltaic panels were up 83 percent to 7.3 GWs compared to 2011.... Between 2008 and 2012, the United States doubled renewable electricity generation from a combination of wind, solar and geothermal technologies. ...


Whatever happened to the promise of switchgrass?

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Sat, Nov 23, 2013
from New York Times:
Bloomberg Wants Restaurants to Compost
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who is slowly bringing New Yorkers around to the idea of recycling their food scraps, is trying to expand his composting campaign by bringing it to large restaurants. The mayor said on Friday that he was proposing a bill to require restaurants that generate more than a ton of food waste a week -- about 1,200 establishments -- to separate their food waste from the rest of their garbage so it could be sent to a composting plant. There, the food scraps would be converted to fertilizer or energy, part of the mayor's long effort to divert more of the city's trash from landfills... The city already collects food scraps in a pilot program from roughly 31,000 homes in about a dozen neighborhoods in the Bronx, in Brooklyn and on Staten Island. By 2015, the city plans to expand the program to 100,000 single-family homes and 70 high-rise buildings across the city. ...


Dispose of that Big Apple core responsibly.

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Thu, Nov 21, 2013
from Midwest Energy News:
"Saudi Arabia of coal" Study says peak may already be past
It has often been said that the U.S. is the "Saudi Arabia of coal." However, a new report drawing on copious data from government agencies challenges that concept, noting that given global economic and energy trends, the amount of U.S. coal that will be economical to extract is much smaller than previously thought. ...


Hope has not peaked yet.

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Thu, Nov 21, 2013
from The Daily Caller:
Norwegian army goes vegetarian to fight global warming
Norway's military is taking drastic steps to ramp up its war against global warming. The Scandinavian country announced its soldiers would be put on a vegetarian diet once a week to reduce the military's carbon footprint. "Meatless Monday's" has already been introduced at one of Norway's main military bases and will soon be rolled out to others, including overseas bases. It is estimated that the new vegetarian diet will cut meat consumption by 150 tons per year. "It's a step to protect our climate," military spokesman Eystein Kvarving told AFP. "The idea is to serve food that's respectful of the environment." ...


If you're planning on attacking this army don't do it on a Monday night.

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Wed, Nov 20, 2013
from Bloomberg News:
Coal Seen as New Tobacco Sparking Investor Backlash: Commodities
About $8 trillion of known coal reserves lie beneath the earth's surface. The companies planning to mine and burn them are being targeted by a growing group of investors concerned with the greenhouse gases that will be made. Storebrand ASA (STB), which manages $74 billion of assets from Norway, sold out of 24 coal and oil-sands companies since July including Peabody Energy Corp. (BTU), the largest U.S. coal producer, citing a desire to cut fossil-fuel industry holdings. This month Norway's opposition Labour Party proposed banning the country's $800 billion sovereign wealth fund from coal investments...The movement is an offshoot of a campaign by more than 70 investors to pressure all fossil-fuel industries on climate change. It harks to the 1990s anti-tobacco push and is gaining help from unlikely partners. The International Energy Agency, a 28-nation group promoting energy security, is lobbying increasingly to limit the release of heat-trapping gases. ...


I'd rather fight than switch.

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Wed, Nov 20, 2013
from Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research:
Coal Continues to Dominate Global Carbon Emissions
Despite explosive growth in renewable energy consumption, continued strong growth in coal consumption has further consolidated coal as the dominate source of carbon dioxide emissions... In 2012 many countries increased dependence on coal. German emissions increased 1.8 per cent in 2012, with coal growing at 4.2 per cent.Japanese emissions increased 6.9 per cent in 2012, with coal growing at 5.6 per cent. EU28 emissions decreased 1.3 per cent, but emissions from coal grew 3.0 per cent. Indian emissions increased 7.7 per cent, with coal growing at 10.2 per cent. ...


I've always thought it was the main coalprit.

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Wed, Nov 20, 2013
from London Guardian:
Arctic oil spill is certain if drilling goes ahead, says top scientist
A serious oil spill in the Arctic is a "dead cert" if drilling goes ahead, with potentially devastating consequences for the pristine region, according to a leading marine scientist who played a key role in analysis of BP's Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The warning came as Russia filed court orders this week to have Greenpeace activists and journalists kept in prison for a further three months in prison before their trial over a protest at Arctic oil dirlling. Concerns about the potentially dire consequences of drilling for oil in the region have intensified as the Russian government and others have begun exploration under the Arctic seas. In such a cold region, any spill would be much more troublesome, because the oil would not naturally disperse as it does in warmer waters, and because of the difficulty of mounting a clean-up operation in hostile weather conditions. ...


Imagine... A polar bear covered in oil.

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Wed, Nov 20, 2013
from The Hindu:
G77+China group walk out after stalemate on Loss and Damage modalities
The G77+China group of 133 countries walked out of negotiations on Loss and Damage at around 3:30 am on Wednesday morning after the rich countries refused to budge from the position that the subject should be discussed only after 2015. The U.S., Australia and Canada have been the most vocal and trenchant advocates against setting up a separate mechanism on Loss and Damage while the E.U., though not belligerent, has also played a part to make sure the mechanism does not materialise at the Warsaw meeting.... While poor countries look upon Loss and Damage reparation for the damage caused by inevitable climate change which any amount of adaptation cannot avoid, the developed countries desire that the issue be defanged from any kind of legal liability it may impose upon the key countries with highest historic emissions. ...


When you're rich you can afford to wait

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Tue, Nov 12, 2013
from CommonDreams:
Philippine Rep Makes Plea for 'Global Solidarity' to Fight 'Climate Madness'
"What my country is going through as a result of this extreme climate event is madness. The climate crisis is madness," Saño told the assembly, describing the massive devastation and thousands feared dead following Typhoon Haiyan, the "strongest in modern recorded history." "We can stop this madness. Right here in Warsaw," he added, appealing to the representatives of nearly 200 countries who assembled in a bid to reach a new agreement to replace the Kyoto protocol that expired last year. Many anticipate the talks will only amount to a 2015 agreement for new limits on greenhouse gas emissions.... To climate change deniers, or those countries who are less impacted by the effects of global warming and therefore are less motivated to enact meaningful change, Saño challenged them before the Warsaw assembly, saying, "I dare them, I dare them to get off their ivory towers and away from the comfort of their armchairs." ...


(Sigh). Another enviro-nazi with facts on his side.

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Tue, Nov 5, 2013
from Politico:
Wind tax credit could take a big hit in tax battle
As Congress works on a tax reform package that could take months to complete, it's looking increasingly likely that the production tax credit, a key wind industry lifeline, will expire shortly after the end of the year -- at least temporarily. That expiration could hurt the wind industry, which saw construction of new wind projects grind to a virtual halt this year amid uncertainty over the subsidy. The production tax credit gives wind power owners a tax credit of 2.3 cents for each kilowatt-hour of electricity they produce. ...


Well, this news blows.

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Sat, Nov 2, 2013
from The Earth Institute at Columbia University :
Is Global Heating Hiding out in the Oceans? Parts of Pacific Warming 15 Times Faster Than in Past 10,000 Years
A recent slowdown in global warming has led some skeptics to renew their claims that industrial carbon emissions are not causing a century-long rise in Earth's surface temperatures. But rather than letting humans off the hook, a new study in the leading journal Science adds support to the idea that the oceans are taking up some of the excess heat, at least for the moment. In a reconstruction of Pacific Ocean temperatures in the last 10,000 years, researchers have found that its middle depths have warmed 15 times faster in the last 60 years than they did during apparent natural warming cycles in the previous 10,000. ...


In the ocean, no one can hear you scream.

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Thu, Oct 31, 2013
from New York Times:
Looking for a Way Around Keystone XL, Canadian Oil Hits the Rails
HOUSTON -- Over the past two years, environmentalists have chained themselves to the White House fence and otherwise coalesced around stopping the Keystone XL pipeline as their top priority in the fight against global warming. But even if President Obama rejects the pipeline, it might not matter much. Oil companies are already building rail terminals to deliver oil from western Canada to the United States, and even to Asia. ...


Hell-bent to wreck the earth.

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Thu, Oct 31, 2013
from Center for Public Integrity:
Coal industry's go-to law firm withheld evidence of black lung, at expense of sick miners
...Jackson Kelly, with offices throughout Appalachia, as well as in Denver and Washington, D.C., defends companies accused of polluting the environment, marketing dangerous drugs or discriminating against workers. It helps corporations avoid regulations, drafts bills and lobbies legislators. Its bailiwick, though, is mining. U.S. News & World Report recently named it the nation's top firm in mining law. Jackson Kelly's name is on the lips of clinic workers, miners and lawyers throughout Appalachia and is emblazoned atop an office overlooking the Monongahela River in Morgantown, W.Va. Now, with government scientists documenting a resurgence of black lung disease, the firm's legal strategy -- including, the Center for Public Integrity found, a record of withholding evidence -- could have significant consequences for sick miners and their families. ...


Coal is cheap and so, apparently, is human life.

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Thu, Oct 31, 2013
from Bloomberg:
North Dakota Oil Spill Spotlights Obama Delay on Rules
Three years after an oil pipeline rupture in Michigan spilled 843,000 gallons of sludge, government regulators still haven't produced promised rules to compel operators to detect leaks. An oil spill in North Dakota last month and the continued debate over construction of TransCanada Corp. (TRP)'s Keystone XL Pipeline have led to renewed criticism to the government's inaction on safety measures... The issue has entered the contentious debate over TransCanada's proposal to build the Keystone pipeline from Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico. Supporters say pipelines are safer than shipping oil by train, truck or barge, and point to the July explosion of a runaway train carrying oil through Quebec that killed 47 people. Critics point to leaks or ruptures in Michigan, Arkansas and now North Dakota to say the lines aren't nearly as safe as proponents argue. ...


Fossil fuels ... just ain't safe.

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Thu, Oct 31, 2013
from Environmental Health News:
As people live longer, threats to wildlife increase, study finds
As countries' human life expectancy grows, so do their numbers of invasive and endangered species, according to a new study by University of California, Davis researchers. The researchers examined social, economic and ecological information for 100 countries to determine which factors are most strongly linked to endangered and invasive birds and mammals. Human life expectancy is rarely included in such studies but turned out to be the best predictor of invasions and endangerment in these countries, according to the study published in Ecology and Society. "Increased life expectancy means that people live longer and affect the planet longer; each year is another year of carbon footprint, ecological footprint, use of natural resources, etc. The magnitude of this impact is increased as more people live longer," the authors wrote. ...


Who ya calling an old fart?

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Thu, Oct 31, 2013
from New Statesman:
Naomi Klein: How science is telling us all to revolt
Is our relentless quest for economic growth killing the planet? Climate scientists have seen the data -- and they are coming to some incendiary conclusions....Serious scientific gatherings don't usually feature calls for mass political resistance, much less direct action and sabotage. But then again, Werner wasn't exactly calling for those things. He was merely observing that mass uprisings of people -- along the lines of the abolition movement, the civil rights movement or Occupy Wall Street -- represent the likeliest source of "friction" to slow down an economic machine that is careening out of control. We know that past social movements have "had tremendous influence on . . . how the dominant culture evolved", he pointed out. So it stands to reason that, "if we're thinking about the future of the earth, and the future of our coupling to the environment, we have to include resistance as part of that dynamics". And that, Werner argued, is not a matter of opinion, but "really a geophysics problem". ...


You had me at friction.

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Mon, Oct 28, 2013
from GSA, via EurekAlert:
Next generation science standards and drive toward climate literacy generate synchronicity of ideas
... Working with the National Research Council (NRC), an advisory group of scientists, cutting-edge child education experts, and science teachers have developed the first set of science teaching standards in more than 15 years. This framework for science education offers students and teachers the means to engage with science through more hands-on experiences and includes a section on developing climate literacy, which has not previously been included.... One of the biggest shifts in the NGSS, says Wysession, "is a real emphasis on the anthroposphere." The relevance of earth science and engineering to the human experience, and conversely, the impact of humans on earth systems, is presented in a way never attempted before. "Climate now is the capstone" for all interdisciplinary science, says Wysession. Climate literacy, says Wysession, "is critically important, for one, because it's an incredibly delicate system," which has shaped the evolution of life and human civilizations for eons.... ...


The mother of all human sciences: species survival.

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Wed, Oct 23, 2013
from South China Morning Post:
Life grinds to a halt as dense smog descends on northern Chinese cities
Dense, choking smog blanketed several northern cities yesterday, with visibility in some areas reduced to less than 10 metres. Drivers complained they were unable to see traffic lights. Air pollution in Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang province, rose above the highest point on the government's index for the second consecutive day. The city was forced to take the unprecedented step of closing kindergartens, primary and middle schools because of the smog. ...


And the children coughed in delight.

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Mon, Oct 21, 2013
from Capital News Service:
Supermarkets failing to curb harmful emissions, study finds
America's 12 largest supermarkets and retailers are failing to curb their hydrofluorocarbon emissions, adding large amounts of greenhouse gases to the environment, according to a new report. The report, published by the nonprofit Environmental Investigation Agency, examined 12 retailers, including Costco, Whole Foods Markets, Target, Wal-Mart and the Delhaize Group, whose brands include Food Lion and Bottom Dollar Food. Hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, are a class of compounds used in commercial refrigeration and air conditioning units. They are the fastest-growing greenhouse gas, and by 2050 will make up 9 percent of global CO2 emissions... ...


Horrifying. Foolish. Collapse.

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Mon, Oct 21, 2013
from Alternet:
Can We Change the World Just by Changing Our Own Actions?
...Picking up litter, carrying reusable bags to the store, biking instead of driving--all these are good things to do and there are many reasons to do them. They demonstrate our concern to those around us, hopefully providing inspiration and social proof for friends and neighbors to follow our lead. Greening our small daily acts brings into alignment our values and our actions, which feels good. As political science professor Michael Maniates says, "Small, everyday acts of green consumption are important moments of 'mindful living': they serve as daily reminders of our values, and of the larger struggles before us. But these individual actions are puny when compared to the challenges before us, and can't achieve the kind of change we desperately need today." ...


You mean I can't recycle my way out of this?

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Mon, Oct 21, 2013
from InsideClimate News:
Why Is Exxon Taking Its Time Restarting Its Ruptured Dilbit Pipeline?
In the six months since an ExxonMobil pipeline unleashed Canadian oil in an Arkansas neighborhood, nearby residents have had much to endure -- the muck and stench of heavy crude, lengthy evacuations, sickness and economic loss... Exxon, meanwhile, is not pressing to restart the line. Even though the lengthy outage is costing the company as much as $450,000 a day in lost revenue -- totaling as much as $90 million so far -- Exxon is proceeding slowly, conducting additional tests and digging down to the pipeline in places to assess its condition. That caution could reflect fears that the Pegasus problems might be systemic and costly to solve. But analysts say Exxon also is mindful that additional leaks could sink its chances of salvaging the line for good and also undermine public support for new pipeline projects such as the controversial Keystone XL. ...


Perhaps they've been smoking that pipe.

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Mon, Oct 21, 2013
from Indianapolis Star:
Solar farm at Indianapolis International Airport is soaking up the sun
A 44,000-panel solar farm at Indianapolis International Airport has started soaking up sun rays and delivering usable electricity. Airport and business officials Friday commissioned the $35 million to $40 million installation, which ranks as the largest airport-based solar farm in the country. The airport expects to collect land rent of about $315,000 a year from the privately developed solar farm, which sits on 75 acres at the main airport exit off I-70. It will generate 12.5 megawatts of DCpower, enough to supply the electrical needs of about 1,800 average-sized houses. ...


Suck the friendly skies of (inexhaustible) sunlight.

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Sun, Oct 20, 2013
from Guardian:
South Dakota's cattle cataclysm: why isn't this horror news?
... So what's the big deal about this blizzard? It's not really winter yet. The cows don't have their warm jackets on. The cows are still out eating grass in the big pastures. Atlas wasn't just a snowstorm, it was the kind of storm that can destroy the ranchers that have been caring for these cattle for hundreds of years.... Last weekend Atlas hit. It started with rain. The rain soaked the cows and chilled them to the bone. Inches and inches of rain fell. The rain made horrible mud. Then the winds started - 80mph winds, hurricane force.... The snow came down so heavy and so fast the the low spots that the cattle were laying in filled with snow. Not a few inches of snow, not a foot of snow. Enough snow that the cows and their calves were covered in snow. The cows and calves suffocated or froze to death.... This wasn't just a few cows. Tens of thousands of cows are gone. Some ranchers lost their entire herds. All of their cows, gone. ...


What part of natural variation don't you understand?

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Thu, Oct 17, 2013
from Columbus Business First:
AEP takes coal "out of the picture" as it plans for future
American Electric Power Company Inc. CEO Nick Akins shared his vision for where the Columbus-based utility is headed Wednesday, and his priority list didn't include coal, AEP's traditional go-to fuel source for its power plants. "We see the future for us being natural gas, energy efficiency, smart-grid activities and renewables," he said during a Columbus Metropolitan Club program. Akins didn't seem happy about leaving coal off the list, but he said it is being "taken out of the picture" as a fuel for power plants because of federal air quality regulations, especially proposed rules on carbon dioxide emissions. ...


Another one bites the toxic dust.

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Wed, Oct 16, 2013
from Reuters:
Icebergs, insurance hamper Arctic shipping route opened by climate change
The new shipping route opened up through the Arctic by climate change will not be crowded any time soon. Cargoes of coal, diesel and gas have made the trip but high insurance costs, slow going and strict environmental rules mean there will not be a rush to follow them. Looser ice means icebergs. One vessel has already been holed, and large ice breaking vessels, not always on hand, are a must. ...


Some days, you just gotta root for the icebergs.

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Tue, Oct 15, 2013
from Associated Press:
High court will review EPA global warming rules
The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to decide whether to block key aspects of the Obama administration's plan aimed at cutting power plant and factory emissions of gases blamed for global warming. The justices said they will review a unanimous federal appeals court ruling that upheld the government's unprecedented regulation of carbon dioxide and five other heat-trapping gases. The question in the case is whether the Environmental Protection Agency's authority to regulate automobile emissions of greenhouses gases as air pollutants, which stemmed from a 2007 Supreme Court ruling, also applies to power plants and factories. ...


Nine robed beings to decide fate of the earth.

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Mon, Oct 14, 2013
from BBC:
Global warming will increase intensity of El Nino, scientists say
Scientists say they are more certain than ever about the impact of global warming on a critical weather pattern. The El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) occurs in the Pacific Ocean but plays an important part in the world's climate system. Researchers have until now been unsure as to how rising temperatures would affect ENSO in the future. But this new study suggests that droughts and floods driven by ENSO will be more intense. ...


El Nino ... El Nono!

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Mon, Oct 14, 2013
from Climate News Network:
Ocean Deteriorating More Rapidly Than Thought
Marine scientists say the state of the world's oceans is deteriorating more rapidly than anyone had realized, and is worse than that described in last month's U.N. climate report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. They say the rate, speed and impacts of ocean change are greater, faster and more imminent than previously thought -- and they expect summertime Arctic sea ice cover will have disappeared in around 25 years. ...


Seas the day.

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Mon, Oct 14, 2013
from Washington Post:
Study links warmer water temperatures to greater levels of mercury in fish
...In a lab experiment, researchers adjusted temperatures in tanks, tainted the killifish's food with traces of methylmercury and watched as the fish stored high concentrations of the metal in their tissue. In a field experiment in nearby salt pools, they observed as killifish in warmer pools ate their natural food and stored metal in even higher concentrations, like some toxic condiment for larger fish that would later prey on them. The observation was part of a study showing how killifish at the bottom of the food chain will probably absorb higher levels of methylmercury in an era of global warming and pass it on to larger predator fish, such as the tuna stacked in shiny little cans in the cupboards of Americans and other people the world over. ...


It would seem our energy system exists solely to serve mercury.

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Mon, Oct 14, 2013
from Columbus Business First:
Southeast Ohio school districts bracing for AEP plant closing, with millions in tax revenue going away
Electric utilities giveth and they taketh away when it comes to providing tax revenue to Ohio school districts.... The Muskingum River plant sits in two school districts, Fort Frye and Wolf Creek, that rely heavily on revenue from the property taxes paid by AEP. School officials tell me their districts stand to lose around 10 percent of their general fund revenue once AEP closes and demolishes the plant. But it looks like Wolf Creek will be hit harder than Fort Frye because of nuances in how Ohio taxes electric utilities ...


Perhaps we should continue killing our children with fossil fuels after all.

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Mon, Oct 14, 2013
from Bloomberg:
India Cyclone Ruins 15 Percent of Odisha Rice Area
The most powerful storm to hit India's east coast in 14 years decimated about 15 percent of Odisha state's rice planting area even as evacuation of 1 million people from the cyclone's path helped limit fatalities. At least 17 people were killed as Cyclone Phailin, Thai for "sapphire," made landfall Oct. 12 near Gopalpur in Odisha about 600 kilometers (373 miles) southwest of Kolkata. Heavy rains and winds packing up to 210 kilometers an hour lashed the region, flooding roads and uprooting trees. As much as 600,000 hectares of the state's rice area were affected, likely destroying an estimated 1 million tons of the grain, said Trilochan Mohapatra, director, Central Rice Research Institute. ...


Great. Rice Chex will rise in price, again. Oh, and sorry, you million, for your inconvenience.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Oct 9, 2013
from E&E Publishing:
Benefits of curbing GHGs could take a generation to detect -- study
If the countries of the world reduced their greenhouse gas emissions today enough to keep the world from warming more than 2 degrees Celsius, when would they be able to tell that these efforts had succeeded? That's the basic question posed in a paper released yesterday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The answer: about 25 to 30 years, at least where global temperatures are concerned. On a regional level, it may take even longer to see the changes, the paper states. ...


Well then what's the point!

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Wed, Oct 9, 2013
from University of Hawaii at Manoa:
Urgent New Time Frame for Climate Change Revealed by Massive Analysis
The seesaw variability of global temperatures often engenders debate over how seriously we should take climate change. But within 35 years, even the lowest monthly dips in temperatures will be hotter than we've experienced in the past 150 years, according to a new and massive analysis of all climate models. The tropics will be the first to exceed the limits of historical extremes and experience an unabated heat wave that threatens biodiversity and heavily populated countries with the fewest resources to adapt. ...


The tropics will be toast!

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Mon, Oct 7, 2013
from Climate Progress:
College Student Sues Alaska Over Climate Change
In remote northern Alaska, a college freshman has taken fossil fuel divestment campaigns a step further by suing the state for failing to adequately address climate change. University of Alaska Fairbanks freshman Nelson Kanuk is from Barrow, a small town at the top of the world where melting ice and permafrost are reshaping land and life. Because of his grave concern for the impacts of climate change on his family's homeland, Kanuk and six other young adults have sued the state of Alaska, arguing that the state has not adequately addressed carbon emissions and global warming. Kanuk first sued the state last year when he was a senior in high school but the lower court dismissed the case, saying that policy decisions should be left to the legislative and executive branches. Kanuk and the others appealed. ...


Kanuk can do!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Oct 7, 2013
from Grist:
It continues: Two Pennsylvania coal plants will close for good next week
The coal sector is in its death throes, thanks to cheaper alternatives and a growing distaste for what is the worst of the global-warming fuels. The latest casualties: two coal-burning power plants in Pennsylvania that will pump their last energy into the grid, and cough their last pollution in to the air, this weekend. ...


Bump, bump, bump, another one bites the dust!

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Wed, Oct 2, 2013
from Huffington Post:
Illinois Residents Call on State & National Groups to Join Gov. Quinn Petition: Stop Lying to Kids on Coal
Outraged by the misleading information on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity's website for children on coal, former coal miners and citizen groups in the coal country of southern Illinois have launched a CREDO petition to bring the state's infamous coal education fiasco to an end. Calling on statewide and national citizens groups and education organizations to join their efforts, the petition goes straight to the point: Gov. Quinn: Stop Lying to Kids About Coal. As part of a coal education curriculum that has been widely denounced as inaccurate, deceiving and outdated--at best--the state continues to host a website for kids rife with erroneous marketing lingo that overlooks the workplace crisis of black lung disease among coal miners, as well as rising health and environmental costs from coal mining and burning, and climate change. The petition also cites a recent study that found the state of Illinois loses nearly $20 million annually to maintain the coal industry. ...


Hey, kids, your future's so blighted you gotta wear shades.

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Wed, Oct 2, 2013
from Midwest Energy News:
Chambers of Commerce want fracking oversight left to states
Calling shale gas a "great new resource of energy" that "creates millions of quality jobs," Chambers of Commerce in 20 states are calling on the EPA to leave fracking oversight to state regulators. In a letter sent to Administrator Gina McCarthy on September 20, the group points to Illinois as an example of states that have "passed legislative regulations ensuring that hydraulic fracturing is employed safely, transparently and with a continued commitment to environmental protection." ...


What could go wrong?

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Tue, Oct 1, 2013
from The Atlantic, on IPCC5:
We Are Terrifyingly Close to the Climate's 'Point of No Return'
What makes the IPCC so important is simple: They are required to agree. Last night, the group pulled an all-nighter to ensure that representatives from all 195 member countries agreed on every single word of the 36-page "summary for policymakers" (pdf). That instantly makes the report the world's scientific and political authority on what is happening to the climate, what will happen in the future, and what needs to be done to avoid the worst impacts.... According to the report, the world can emit about 300 gigatons more carbon (total, ever) before there is a 50 percent confidence the world will reach warming of 2 degrees Celsius, which is the previously agreed upon "point of no return" for the climate system. For reference, 531 gigatons was emitted from 1870 to 2011. On a continued "business as usual" trajectory, the world will burn through about 5 times that safety limit by 2100, putting the world on a path for warming of more than 4.5 degrees Celsius and about a meter of additional sea level rise. This idea of a 'global carbon budget' -- a precursor to a possible global price on carbon emissions -- was endorsed by the group for the first time. Without jumping up and down on the desks of their computer terminals, this forum of scientists has done about as much as they can do. With this report, they have proven humankind's impact on the climate, and confidently projected dire consequences should world governments fail to act immediately. ...


Luckily, everyone listens to egghead scientists when they all agree!

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Mon, Sep 30, 2013
from NewScientist:
Climate report: Lull in warming doesn't mean we're safe
Humanity's role in driving climate change is more certain than ever before, but the most extreme scenarios of future warming are looking less likely than a few years ago. This is the upshot of the latest scientific assessment from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), published today.... The new report leaves no doubt that a storm is brewing. It is unequivocal -- temperatures are rising and human activity is to blame. Without drastic action to curb emissions, it says, the world faces a century of strong warming, in which glaciers and ice sheets melt, sea levels rise, the oceans acidify, weather systems shift and rainfall patterns change.... this stark warning will be sidelined by the scientific conundrum over the "missing heat" that should, according to most climate models, have been warming the atmosphere ever faster these past few decades. This may be a short-term blip -- perhaps a result of the oceans temporarily taking up more heat from the atmosphere, says one of the IPCC's lead authors, Myles Allen of the University of Oxford. The report underlines that, whatever is happening to the atmosphere, the oceans continue to warm dramatically. ...


Damn you, ocean, for trying to save us all.

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Mon, Sep 30, 2013
from Associated Press:
Big freighter traverses Northwest Passage for 1st time
A large freighter completed a voyage through the hazardous Arctic Northwest Passage for the first time this week, showing the potential for cutting shipment times and costs as global warming opens new routes. The 75,000 deadweight-ton Nordic Orion, built in 2011 by a Japanese shipyard, left the Canadian Pacific port of Vancouver in early September and is scheduled to arrive in the Finnish port of Pori on October 7, according to AIS shipping data.... As the ice continues to melt, some experts have estimated that shipping via the Arctic could account for a quarter of the cargo traffic between Europe and Asia by 2030. ...


Let the feeding frenzy begin...

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Mon, Sep 30, 2013
from Bloomberg:
Credits to Spur Renewable Energy Sources Seen Set to End: Taxes
Tax credits for the production of wind power and other renewable energy sources face expiration at year's end amid few signs Congress will decide to continue them, tax lobbyists and other analysts say. Failure to extend the 16 tax credits could stymie the development of wind power and the other renewables by undercutting incentives to invest in them, Bloomberg BNA reported... In addition to the 2.3 cent-per-kilowatt-hour tax credit for wind, geothermal and closed-loop biomass, other expiring energy incentives include a $1 per-gallon credit for biodiesel producers, a $1.01 per gallon credit for cellulosic ethanol and multiple credits for energy-efficient homes and appliances. ...


Dear God, please protect the tens of billions gifted to the fossil fuel industry each year...

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Mon, Sep 30, 2013
from Huffington Post:
Eric Holthaus, Meteorologist, Tweets That He Will Never Fly Again
Eric Holthaus, a meteorologist who has covered weather for the Wall Street Journal, tweeted that he will no longer fly on planes after a grim climate-change report left him in tears. Holthaus, who now writes for Quartz, was reacting to findings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a well-respected body that includes 195 member countries, which released a report on Friday that found it is "extremely likely" that humans are causing warming trends seen in the last several decades. It also revised upwards its estimates of the increase in sea levels by the end of the 21st century. Holthaus took the news hard, and vowed to reduce his carbon footprint by giving up on air travel. ...


Someone may be laughing somewhere, but we cry and fly alone.

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Fri, Sep 20, 2013
from Climate Progress:
Study Of Best Fracked Wells Finds Low Methane Emissions, But Skips Super-Emitters
The good news: A sample of what are probably the best fracked wells in the country finds low emissions of methane, a potent heat-trapping gas. The bad news: The study likely missed the super-emitters, the wells that are responsible for the vast majority of methane leakage. The ugly news: Same as ever �" natural gas from even the best fracked wells is still a climate-destroying fossil fuel. If we are to avoid catastrophic warming, our natural gas consumption has to peak sometime between in the next 10 to 15 years, according to studies by both the Center for American Progress and the Union of Concerned Scientists. If natural gas is a bridge fuel, it has got to be a very short bridge. Otherwise it is merely "a bridge to a world with high CO2 Levels," as climatologist Ken Caldeira put it last year. ...


Natural gas might be a bridge to nowhere.

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Thu, Sep 19, 2013
from San Francisco Chronicle:
Masses of food wasted - 'use by' dates mislead
Americans throw away 40 percent of the food they buy, often because of misleading expiration dates that have nothing to do with safety, said a study released Wednesday by Harvard University Law School and the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group. "The date labeling system is not a system at all," said NRDC staff scientist Dana Gunders, co-author of the report, the first to assess date labeling laws nationwide. The report said 90 percent of Americans toss good food into the garbage because they mistakenly think that "sell by," "best before," "use by" or "packed on" dates on food containers indicate safety. One-fifth of consumers, the report said, "always" throw away food based on package dates. ...


Homo Wastiens

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Thu, Sep 19, 2013
from Midwest Energy News:
Report: Social costs, if accounted for, make coal uneconomical
New research from a national environmental group finds that the cost of producing electricity from renewable resources like wind and solar is lower than that of conventional coal-fired generation when factoring for the adverse costs of climate change and human health impacts. That conclusion, derived from analysis on the "social cost of carbon," is at the heart of a study published in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences... ...


Clearly these durn tree huggers don't care a whit about keeping the poor healthcare industry alive!

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Thu, Sep 19, 2013
from London Guardian:
Arctic sea ice shrinks to sixth-lowest extent on record
Sea ice cover in the Arctic has shrunk to one of its smallest extents on record, bringing the days of an entirely ice-free Arctic during the summer a step closer. The annual sea ice minimum of 5,099m sq km reached last Friday was not as extreme as last year, when the collapse of ice cover broke all previous records. But it was still the sixth lowest Arctic sea ice minimum on record, and well below the average set over the past 30 years of satellite records. ...


The Awesome Global Meltfest continues!

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Thu, Sep 19, 2013
from Associated Press:
Coal's future darkens around the world
The future of coal is getting darker. Economic forces, pollution concerns and competition from cleaner fuels are slowly nudging nations around the globe away from the fuel that made the industrial revolution possible. The U.S. will burn 943 million tons of coal this year, only about as much as it did in 1993. Now it's on the verge of adopting pollution rules that may all but prohibit the construction of new coal plants. And China, which burns 4 billion tons of coal a year -- as much as the rest of the world combined -- is taking steps to slow the staggering growth of its coal consumption and may even be approaching a peak. ...


That death can't come soon enough.

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Thu, Sep 19, 2013
from Alternet:
How Chicken Is Killing the Planet
Earlier this month, while you were busy sneaking out of your empty office, hoping nobody would notice your starting the holiday weekend early, the USDA was also doing something it was hoping nobody would notice. It was green-lighting the sale of Chinese processed American chicken. As Politico explained, "U.S. officials have given the thumbs-up to four Chinese poultry plants, paving the way for the country to send processed chicken to American markets." But while, "eat first, China will only be able to process chicken that has been slaughtered in the U.S. or other certified countries," that should not be a comfort to fans of the McNugget, Campbell's chicken soup, or any other processed chicken product...Meat is already the No. 1 contributor to climate change. Don't expect shipping slaughtered chickens 7,000 miles to China and then bringing them back as processed food to lower that carbon footprint. And, of course, the Chinese poultry industry has its own dirty laundry, including a current bird flu outbreak, believed to have "evolved from migratory birds via waterfowl to poultry and into people," and already responsible for 44 deaths; the sale of 46- year-old chicken feet; and exporting tainted dog treats, sickening nearly a thousand American pets. ...


Let them eat drywall.

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Wed, Sep 18, 2013
from Bloomberg:
Mississippi Coal Plant Overruns Show Risks of Carbon Rule
Coal's future is being built in rural Mississippi, and so far this is what it looks like: a $1 billion cost overrun, a stew of legal battles, a revolt by ratepayers and a credit downgrade for the local utility. With all those challenges, Southern Co. (SO)'s $4.7 billion project in Kemper County may still be coal's best hope to survive President Barack Obama's limits on greenhouse-gas emissions. "It's a transformative project," said John Thompson, a director of the Clean Air Task Force, a Boston-based environmental group. "It will be the largest and cleanest coal plant in the world, but I don't think it will hold that title for long." ...


Even when coal is "clean" it's costly.

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Wed, Sep 18, 2013
from Politico:
Hearing leaves Ron Binz with few votes to spare
Ron Binz, the president's pick to lead the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, charged into his Tuesday confirmation hearing with a central message: I'm no radical tree-hugger. But critical pieces moved into place that could sink or stall his bid -- for instance, losing the support of the Energy Committee's top Republican, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.... Binz used his hearing at the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to tout his support for natural gas and pointed out that Colorado's largest coal-fired power plant was approved while he chaired the state's public utilities commission. ...


Future FERC chief is fond of fracking.

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Tue, Sep 10, 2013
from Associated Press:
Experts: Climate primary factor on lake levels
Placing water retention structures in the St. Clair River may not be enough to counteract the effects of a warming climate and raise Lakes Huron and Michigan to their normal levels, experts said Monday. As water surface temperatures and evaporation rates continue to rise, low water is likely to be a long-term problem despite significant improvement this year following heavy snows in winter and a rainy spring, according to testimony during the annual meeting of the Great Lakes Commission. ...


Okay, everybody, head to one of the Great Lakes and take a leak!

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Tue, Sep 10, 2013
from San Francisco Chronicle:
Cap and trade may be hurt as emissions drop off
California's new cap-and-trade system for cutting greenhouse gas emissions may soon face a paradoxical problem - emissions that are falling faster than expected. A report issued Monday argues that California's emissions are already dropping, undercut by a sluggish economy and the state's growing use of renewable power. That may sound like cause for celebration. But it's a problem for cap and trade.... But California's production of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases is already lower than the cap for 2015... ...


Don't you just hate it when there's progress?

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Sep 10, 2013
from CleanTechnica:
Army Adds Wind Power To $7 Billion Renewable Energy Buy
The US Army Corps of Engineers has just announced that it has awarded contracts to 17 private companies to build wind turbines on Department of Defense facilities around the country. It's the third in a series of four groups of renewable energy contracts for DoD that will eventually total $7 billion. Given the military's avid pursuit of a more diversified fuel mix, it looks like certain members of Congress better get off the "drill, baby, drill" train once and for all if they really do support our troops. ...


Turn, baby, turn!

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Mon, Sep 9, 2013
from Alternet:
Holy Cow: Former Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Says Every Single Reactor in the U.S. Should Be Shut Down
The first thing to remember about nuclear power is that it's not safe. Just ask Japan. The second thing to remember is that nuclear power isn't cheap. Connecticut draws half its juice from nuclear reactors and has the second-highest rates in the country, after Hawaii. The third thing to know is that everybody lies about it. The power plant designers lie, the builders lie, the utility companies lie, the regulators lie, and the politicians lie.... Consider this: Former Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Chairman Gregory B. Jaczko declared in April that he believes every single nuclear power plantoperating in the nation should be shut down, starting with the riskiest. ...


The fourth thing is ... run!

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Wed, Sep 4, 2013
from National Resources Defense Council (via EcoWatch):
U.S. Becomes Largest Wood Pellet Exporter, Clearcutting Forests and Destroying Wetlands
When you think about burning wood to heat your home, you might imagine a cozy fireplace, not a giant power plant. Unfortunately, utility companies in Europe are making massive investments to convert their power plants to burn wood -- known as "biomass" -- as a replacement for coal and other fossil fuels. This is despite the fact that recent research shows that burning whole trees in power plants actually increases carbon emissions relative to fossil fuels for many decades -- anywhere from 35 to 100 years or more. It also emits higher levels of multiple air pollutants. The result of this new demand has been the explosive growth of wood pellet exports from North America, most of which originate in our Southern forests here in the U.S., putting into peril some of the most valuable ecosystems in the world. ...


Ronald Reagan was right, after all!

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Wed, Sep 4, 2013
from Huffington Post:
'War On Coal' Campaign Against Obama Has Failed, Coal Lobby Concedes
The leading lobbying group for coal companies has acknowledged that the industry's relentless "War on Coal" mantra used to attack the Obama administration has been a failure politically. In a screed against alleged regulatory overreach by federal judges in Washington, Luke Popovich, spokesman for the National Mining Association, writes that the "War on Coal" refrain used to criticize environmental regulation simply failed to resonate with voters during 2012. ...


Perhaps it failed because it's coal we should be at war against!

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Tue, Sep 3, 2013
from San Francisco Chronicle:
Population growth increases climate fear
...For various reasons, linking the world's rapid population growth to its deepening environmental crisis, including climate change, is politically taboo. In the United States, Europe and Japan, there has been public hand-wringing over falling birthrates and government policies to encourage child-bearing. But those declining birthrates mask explosive growth elsewhere in the world. In less than a lifetime, the world population has tripled, to 7.1 billion, and continues to climb by more than 1.5 million people a week. A consensus statement issued in May by scientists at Stanford University and signed by more than 1,000 scientists warned that "Earth is reaching a tipping point." An array of events under way - including what scientists have identified as the sixth mass extinction in the earth's 540 million-year history - suggest that human activity already exceeds earth's capacity. ...


Congratulations on your cute new carbon emitter!

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Mon, Sep 2, 2013
from Grist:
U.S. government paid $17 billion for weather-withered crops last year
Desiccated corn and sun-scorched soybeans have been in high supply lately -- and we're paying through the nose for them. The federal government forked out a record-breaking $17.3 billion last year to compensate farmers for weather-related crop losses -- more than four times the annual average over the last decade. The losses were mostly caused by droughts, high temperatures, and hot winds -- the sizzling harbingers of a climate in rapid flux. ...


The Sizzling Harbingers is the name of my new band, dude!

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Mon, Sep 2, 2013
from Reuters:
Warming helps crop pests spread north, south: study
Crop-damaging pests are moving towards the poles at a rate of more than 25 km (16 miles) a decade, aided by global warming and human transport, posing a potential threat to world food security, a study showed on Sunday. The spread of beetles, moths, bacteria, worms, funghi and other pests in a warming world may be quicker than for many types of wild animals and plants, perhaps because people are accidentally moving them with harvests, it said. ...


Who exactly are the pests here?

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Sep 2, 2013
from Washington Post:
Ohio State calls a new play for football: the compost route
With thousands of fans roaring above them, the Ohio State University Buckeyes burst into Ohio Stadium on Saturday to start their latest quest for a No. 1 college football ranking and a national championship. But high in the scarlet and gray bleachers that hold up to 105,000 people, Buckeye fans were asked to play a role in another goal this season: eliminating garbage. High school students manned Zero Waste stations, showing fans where to stick trash that can be composted and recycled, and where to put the rest. ...


I've got some ideas on where to stick it.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Aug 27, 2013
from Mongabay:
Activists propose naming hurricanes after politicians who deny climate change
Environmental activists are petitioning the World Meteorological Organization (WHO) to start naming storms after policy makers who deny human's role in driving climate change. Campaigners with 350.org, an advocacy organization that is pushing to reduce carbon dioxide levels from the current 400 ppm to 350 ppm, have launched ClimateNameChange.org to rally support for their proposal to revise the WHO's naming system for tropical storms. Currently hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons receive randomly selected names in alphabetical order. Instead 350.org wants storms to be named after politicians who refuse to accept that greenhouse gas emissions are contributing to rising global temperatures. It cites Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) as examples of prominent climate change deniers. ...


"Hurricane Inhofe" does have a nice ring to it.

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Fri, Aug 23, 2013
from Casper Star-Tribune:
A Wyoming first: No bids for coal mining tract in Powder River Basin
At 10 a.m. on Wednesday, U.S. Bureau of Land Management employees in Cheyenne gathered to unseal envelopes containing bids and checks from coal companies hoping to score the rights to dig in the Powder River Basin. But there were no envelopes to open. No companies bid on the coal lease, said BLM spokeswoman Beverly Gorny. "This is the first time it's happened in Wyoming," she said. Minutes later, Gillette-based Cloud Peak Energy Inc., which owns the mine that had first asked the federal government to lease the coal tract nearly seven years ago, released a statement saying mining the coal wasn't economical. ...


Let today serve as a beacon of hope!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Aug 22, 2013
from East Bay Express:
Waste: The Dark Side of the New Coffee Craze
...For the unfamiliar, single-cup coffee comes in individual portions, encased in plastic capsules or packets that you put in a special coffeemaker to brew one cup at a time. It's the polar opposite of the pour-over artisanal coffee that's so popular in much of the East Bay, but tens of millions of consumers have already switched to single-cup brewing nationwide, likely because it's ultra-convenient....the explosive growth of pod coffee overall includes an often-overlooked dark side: It creates a huge amount of waste. In fact, it's already producing hundreds of millions of pounds of unrecyclable trash for the nation's landfills each year. ...


Thank goodness I can eat my teabag.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Aug 21, 2013
from Climate Central:
July Adds To Globe's String of 341 Warm Months
The year-to-date has been the sixth warmest on record globally, and July was also the sixth warmest such month since global surface temperature records first began in 1880, according to new data released on Tuesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The figures show that July 2013 was the 37th straight July, and the 341st straight month, with warmer-than-average global temperatures -- a more than 28-year timespan that reflects the significant warming observed worldwide since the 1970s. ...


There's no stopping us now!

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Aug 14, 2013
from Minneapolis Star Tribune:
Large coal power plants getting life extensions
The nation's big coal-burning power plants are not ready to become dinosaurs. Utilities are making substantial investments to keep their largest coal generating stations operating for decades -- and emitting millions of tons of carbon dioxide annually. Upgrades planned or underway at more than 100 Midwestern coal power plants will reduce emissions of mercury or other air pollutants. But they won't affect greenhouse gas emissions that the Obama administration says it will regulate in 2015 to address climate change. ...


Ol' man coal plant ... He don't say nuthin' ... He jes' keeps rollin' along

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Aug 13, 2013
from American Geophysical Union:
Ozone Hole Might Slightly Warm Planet, Computer Model Suggests
A lot of people mix up the ozone hole and global warming, believing the hole is a major cause of the world's increasing average temperature. Scientists, on the other hand, have long attributed a small cooling effect to the ozone shortage in the hole. Now a new computer-modeling study suggests that the ozone hole might actually have a slight warming influence, but because of its effect on winds, not temperatures. The new research suggests that shifting wind patterns caused by the ozone hole push clouds farther toward the South Pole, reducing the amount of radiation the clouds reflect and possibly causing a bit of warming rather than cooling. ...


Uh-o(zone)...

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Tue, Aug 13, 2013
from Grist:
A Tea Party leader explains why she's teaming up with the Sierra Club to push for solar power
...If an individual wants to harvest the sunlight that's falling on their property and sell it for a profit, that's their American right. There are now programs in other states that allow people to lease solar panels for their roofs with no up-front cost, enabling them to become local energy entrepreneurs who can sell their solar energy back into the grid and power their homes for less. Georgians are currently and unjustly denied this opportunity, and will continue to be unless a law is passed to change the system. That is why the Atlanta Tea Party supported Senate Bill 401 in the past legislative session. Georgia Power opposed it and it never made it out of committee. We will try again when the Georgia legislature reconvenes in January 2014. All states should allow their citizens the opportunity to generate and sell their own solar power. ...


The eco-apocalypse inspires strange bedfellows.

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Tue, Aug 13, 2013
from Planet Ark:
Cutting soot and methane may not give hoped-for climate help
A U.S.-led drive to reduce soot and other heat-trapping air pollutants worldwide is less promising than hoped as a new front in the fight against climate change, according to a study published on Monday. Frustrated by failure to agree a broad international deal to limit global warming, about 30 nations have joined the U.S. initiative to limit short-lived air pollutants as a new way to curb temperature rises, protect health and aid crop growth. But the report said that extra measures to reduce such pollutants, led by soot and methane, would cut temperature rises by only 0.16 degree Celsius (0.29 Fahrenheit) by 2050, far less than some estimates that the benefits could be 0.5C (0.9F). ...


Dang. Thought we had a way to avoid cutting fossil fuels, consumption, etc.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Aug 13, 2013
from Quartz:
Bureaucrats, not Big Oil, stand in the way of the solar future
...US solar prices are high compared to those in other countries. An installed solar system in Germany, for instance, cost half the US price in 2012, while one in Australia was 41 percent cheaper. Given that all these countries get most of their solar panels from the same source -- China -- the differences in price mainly come down to so-called "soft" costs such as labor, installation, and the time and money it takes to secure permits. Such costs can account for more than half the price of a solar system. ...


It's time to get hard on the soft.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Aug 13, 2013
from Midwest Energy News:
Q&A: ALEC's new tactics to weaken renewable laws
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) continued its assault on state renewable portfolio standards (RPS) during its 40th annual conference in Chicago earlier this month, with members voting on model legislation that could limit the power of the laws to spark new clean energy construction. Though bills meant to revoke or undercut renewable standards in numerous states failed last session, clean energy advocates say the model Market Power Renewables Act and the Renewable Energy Credit Act proposed by ALEC's energy task force during the conference pose a fresh threat. The Market Power Renewables Act argues for a "voluntary market" that would allow people to invest in renewable energy if they choose without instituting mandates... ...


The only thing "voluntary" the fossil fuel industry does is voluntarily ruin the earth.

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Wed, Aug 7, 2013
from Des Moines Register:
Wind leads energy growth
Iowa is among several states now getting more than 20 percent of its power from wind, a key reason wind energy was the fastest-growing power-generation sector for the first time in 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy reported Tuesday. Wind accounted for 43 percent of all new electricity generation last year, after a $25 billion run of new projects, the department reported....The country's wind energy capacity now is 22 times what it was in 2000. ...


You are the wind beneath my wings.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Aug 6, 2013
from Indianapolis Star:
Six days after opening, Duke Energy's controversial $3.5B Edwardsport plant shut down
Six days after opening, Duke Energy's controversial $3.5 billion power plant in Edwardsport broke down, new regulatory filings show. Critics say ratepayers could foot the bill for repairs, despite a settlement last year intended to cap the amount Duke could charge electricity customers for the plant's construction costs, which exceeded original estimates by $1.5 billion. Duke officials say such interruptions are to be expected with a new, complicated plant. Who will pay for the repairs will vary on a case-by-case basis, the company said. ...


And on the seventh day, the Coal Gods rested.

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Mon, Aug 5, 2013
from Washington Post:
Nebraska trial could delay Keystone XL pipeline
While environmentalists, energy executives and elected officials across North America await the State Department's critical decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, a little-noticed trial scheduled for next month in Nebraska could spell problems for the $5.3 billion project. Despite two attempts by Nebraska's attorney general to have the case thrown out, Lancaster County District Court Judge Stephanie Stacy has set a Sept. 27 trial date for arguments in a lawsuit that contends the state legislature unconstitutionally gave Gov. Dave Heineman (R) authority to approve the pipeline route. A win for the plaintiffs -- three Nebraska landowners who oppose the pipeline -- would force TransCanada, the company that wants to build the 1,179-mile northern leg of the project, to go through the entire siting process again. Even supporters do not believe that would permanently block the project, but it could add years to the timeline. ...


This could be the kidneystone of the Keystone project.

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Mon, Aug 5, 2013
from McClatchy:
Newly available wind power often has no place to go
The windswept prairies of the Midwest are undergoing an energy transformation the electric grid can't handle. Wind turbines tower over rural vistas in the heartland, where the clean energy source is becoming increasingly popular with utility companies that face state-mandated renewable energy standards. Unfortunately, the nation's aging power grid is hampering those efforts. At the end of last year, installed wind-generation capacity totaled 60 gigawatts nationwide -- 5 percent of the nation's production capacity -- according to data from the U.S. Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Another 135 gigawatts of potential wind production awaits development and connection to the grid, according to industry data. ...


Squandered renewable energy should be called gigglewatts.

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Thu, Jul 18, 2013
from The Hill:
Hoeven predicts efficiency bill will collapse without Keystone pipeline attached
Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) predicted Wednesday that bipartisan energy efficiency legislation heading to the Senate floor faces a grim future unless it eventually includes language to advance the Keystone XL oil pipeline. A broad energy efficiency bill sponsored by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) is believed to be coming to the Senate floor in late July. Hoeven, who is weighing offering a Keystone amendment to the bill, said there's not enough Republican support for the legislation on Capitol Hill unless it includes Keystone. ...


Dude, we are all facing a grim future.

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Thu, Jul 18, 2013
from Ensia:
Black Carbon: Golden Opportunity?
Soot is second only to CO2 in creating climate-changing conditions -- and so offers big hope for reducing the threat... We've known for some time that black carbon plays a role in climate change, but such a complicated one that it's difficult to define or quantify. In January of this year, 31 scientists published the results of a four-year collaboration to analyze and synthesize what we know about black carbon's contributions in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres. Their key finding? "We were underestimating warming via black carbon by a factor of two," says Patricia Quinn, an atmospheric chemist who contributed to the study. Black carbon, in other words, is a much more important player in climate change than once thought. In fact, the study found that it is the second largest contributor after carbon dioxide, trapping more heat than methane, which was previously thought to be second. ...


Soot? Are we still living in the age of Dickens?

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Wed, Jul 17, 2013
from Smithsonian Institution:
High Carbon Dioxide Spurs Wetlands to Absorb More Carbon
Under elevated carbon dioxide levels, wetland plants can absorb up to 32 percent more carbon than they do at current levels, according to a 19-year study published in Global Change Biology from the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater, Md. With atmospheric CO2 passing the 400 parts-per-million milestone this year, the findings offer hope that wetlands could help soften the blow of climate change. ...


Too bad we've been destroying our wetlands!

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Wed, Jul 17, 2013
from DeSmogBlog:
Keystone XL Conflict of Interest: Obama Attorney's Law Firm Represents TransCanada
A recent DeSmogBlog investigation reveals that Robert Bauer, former White House Counsel and President Obama's personal attorney, works at the corporate law firm Perkins Coie LLP, which does legal work for TransCanada's South Central Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) Project, formerly known as Alaska Gas Pipeline Project. Furthermore, Dan Sullivan, current Commissioner of Alaska's Department of Natural Resources, and former Alaska Attorney General and former Assistant Secretary of State in the Bush Administration, is also a former Perkins attorney. ...


It's as if everybody's in bed together!

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Mon, Jul 15, 2013
from The Independent:
Massive ice sheets melting 'at rate of 300bn tonnes a year', climate satellite shows
"In the course of the mission, it has become apparent that ice sheets are losing substantial amounts of ice - about 300 billion tonnes a year - and that the rate at which these losses occurs is increasing," said Bert Wouters of Bristol University's Glaciology Centre.... In its last report in 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that average sea levels are rising by about 2 millimetres a year. But, other scientists calculated last year that the true rate is about 3.2mm a year - about 60 per cent faster. "Compared to the first few years of the Grace mission, the ice sheets' contribution to sea-level rise has almost doubled in recent years," added Dr Wouters, the lead author of the study published in the Earth sciences journal Nature Geoscience. ...


Seawalls 'R' Us!

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Wed, Jul 3, 2013
from Christian Science Monitor:
Tree rings reveal El Niño tied to recent global warming
...For all the damage it does, El Niño, a rise in water temperatures off western South America's coast, is difficult to track... But new research suggests that the phenomenon was uncharacteristically active in the late 20th century, relative to the previous seven centuries. That in turn suggests that El Niño is more responsive to climate change than previously believed and that it might be possible to better predict future conditions. ...


El Niño ... we're deeply disappointed in you.

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Mon, Jun 10, 2013
from Washington Post:
Carbon dioxide emissions rose 1.4 percent in 2012, IEA report says
Global emissions of carbon dioxide from energy use rose 1.4 percent to 31.6 gigatons in 2012, setting a record and putting the planet on course for temperature increases well above international climate goals, the International Energy Agency said in a report scheduled to be issued Monday. The agency said continuing that pace could mean a temperature increase over pre-industrial times of as much as 5.3 degrees Celsius (9 degrees Fahrenheit), which IEA chief economist Fatih Birol warned "would be a disaster for all countries." ...


Sounds like hell on earth.

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Wed, Jun 5, 2013
from CNN:
Nepalese farmers go organic with human waste
Jeevan Maharjan has a different approach to human waste -- he considers it as wealth. Rather than flush it down the toilet, the 47-year-old Nepalese farmer collects it to spray on his crops. "It's three times better than chemical fertilizers," he said .... The urine and feces are stored in separate airtight compartments of the toilet, he said, for later use on the land. The urine is kept for about two weeks before it is used, while the feces, which is turned into manure, is used every six months. ...


Aged ... like fine wine.

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Mon, Jun 3, 2013
from University of Arkansas, Fayetteville:
Dairy's Carbon Footprint: Flatulence Tops the List
Researchers at the University of Arkansas are attempting to help the U.S. dairy industry decrease its carbon footprint as concentrations of carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere reach record levels... The researchers found that for every kilogram of milk consumed in the United States per year, 2.05 kilograms of greenhouse gases, on average, are emitted over the entire supply chain to produce, process and distribute that milk. This is equivalent to approximately 17.4 pounds per gallon... The largest contributors were feed production, enteric methane -- gas emitted by the animal itself -- and manure management. ...


Crying over spilt gases.

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Mon, Jun 3, 2013
from Bloomberg:
TransCanada CEO says Keystone aids jobs and environment
TransCanada Corp. (TRP)'s proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline would benefit U.S. employment and support efforts to tackle climate change, according to the company's Chief Executive Officer Russ Girling. ...


And smoking is good for you, too!

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Mon, May 27, 2013
from United States Geological Survey:
Two Volcanoes Erupting in Alaska: Scientists Are Monitoring and Providing Alerts On Pavlof and Cleveland Volcanoes
Two of Alaska's most active volcanoes -- Pavlof and Cleveland -- are currently erupting. At the time of this post, their activity continues at low levels, but energetic explosions could occur without warning.... The United States has approximately 169 active volcanoes, and more than half of them could erupt explosively. When the violent energy of a volcano is unleashed, the results can be catastrophic. Lava flows, debris avalanches, and explosive blasts have devastated communities. Noxious volcanic gas emissions have caused widespread lung problems. Airborne ash clouds from explosive eruptions have caused millions of dollars damage, including causing engines to shut down in flight. ...


The earth is geoengineering itself!

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Wed, May 22, 2013
from The Atlantic:
The (Slow, Tentative) Greening of the GOP
...House Republicans launched the year with a bill that demanded President Obama present a plan to wipe out the federal deficit, one that slashed pay for federal workers, and one that sought to increase renewable energy.... During the 2012 campaign, Mitt Romney made a point of attacking Obama's embrace of wind energy, pledging that if elected he'd end a long-standing production tax credit for wind power. But the strident opposition of all things renewable didn't go down well in swing districts -- . ...


GOP: Green Over Profit!

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Mon, May 20, 2013
from GreenTech Media:
How Low Can Utility Emissions Go?
When it comes to emissions, carbon dioxide tends to get the lion's share of the headlines. But there have been large gains in some of the other major emissions of the largest power producers in the U.S., according to a new report from NRDC and major energy companies, Benchmarking Air Emissions. The ninth annual report found that sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOX) are 70 percent and 72 percent lower, respectively, than they were in 1990. Mercury is down 40 percent since 2000, the first year that it was tracked. ...


In the post-Apocalypse we can (gingerly) pat ourselves on our leprosy-infested backs.

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Tue, May 14, 2013
from US Pirg:
New Report: Reduction in Driving Likely to Continue
As the average number of miles driven by Americans heads into its eighth year of decline, a new report from the U.S. PIRG Education Fund finds that the slowdown in driving is likely to continue. Baby Boomers are moving out of the phase in their life when they do the most commuting, while driving-averse Millennials move into that phase. These demographic changes and other factors will likely keep driving down for decades... The Millennial generation is leading the change in transportation trends. 16 to 34-year-olds drove a whopping 23 percent fewer miles on average in 2009 than in 2001" the greatest decline in driving of any age group. ...


Shoot. There goes the resale value on my my Chevrolet Millennial.

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Mon, May 13, 2013
from InsideClimate News:
A Rare Bipartisan Clean Energy Bill Is Ready for Passage
...Legislation is moving through both houses to tweak the tax code to let clean energy developers form a master limited partnership, or MLP, a type of publicly traded company structure not subject to corporate taxes. For three decades, coal, oil and gas companies have used MLPs to raise hundreds of billions of dollars for pipelines, refineries and other projects. The financing vehicle is credited with helping sustain the nation's current drilling boom....No one expects much opposition to the Master Limited Partnerships Parity Act, the companion bills introduced last month. Co-sponsors include conservative Republicans and legislators from oil and gas states. The American Petroleum Institute, the oil industry's main trade group, is among its backers. ...


I'd say "hell freezing over" except that the Arctic is already melting.

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Mon, May 13, 2013
from RT:
US approves new pesticides linked to mass bee deaths as EU enacts ban
In the wake of a massive US Department of Agriculture report highlighting the continuing large-scale death of honeybees, environmental groups are left wondering why the Environmental Protection Agency has decided to approve a "highly toxic" new pesticide.... One group, Beyond Pesticides, has called the EPA's recent green light for use of a new insecticide known as sulfoxaflor irresponsible in light of its "highly toxic” classification for honey bees. ...


Here in the US we expect our bees to toughen up.

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Mon, May 13, 2013
from BBC:
'Dramatic decline' warning for plants and animals
More than half of common plant species and a third of animals could see a serious decline in their habitat range because of climate change. New research suggests that biodiversity around the globe will be significantly impacted if temperatures rise more than 2C. But the scientists say that the losses can be reduced if rapid action is taken to curb greenhouse gases.... The scientists projected that if no significant efforts were made to limit greenhouse gas emissions, 2100 global temperatures would be 4C above pre-industrial levels. In this model, some 34 percent of animal species and 57 percent of plants would lose more than half of their current habitat ranges. ...


Thank heaven we're not an animal species!

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Wed, May 8, 2013
from CBCNews:
Enbridge breaks safety rules at pipeline pump stations across Canada
The biggest oil and gas pipeline company in Canada is breaking National Energy Board safety rules at 117 of its 125 pump stations across the country, but Enbridge says it's not to blame. Enbridge was ordered by the Canadian energy regulator to disclose whether or not it had backup power to operate emergency shut-down systems in the facilities that keep oil flowing through its pipes. The company told the NEB only eight of its pump stations complied with the board's backup power system regulation. On top of that, Enbridge disclosed that 83 of its pump stations were missing emergency shut-down buttons. ...


I'm not to blame for anything!

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Wed, May 8, 2013
from Bloomberg News:
Coal Mines' Methane Curbs Fall Victim to EPA Budget Cuts
Methane emissions from coal mines escaped being curbed by the Environmental Protection Agency, which said mandatory U.S. budget cuts didn't leave it with the resources to determine if the pollution is a significant risk. The EPA rejected a petition from environmental groups, which three years ago asked the agency to limit the greenhouse gases released from the mines.... The denial, set to be published tomorrow in the Federal Register, is at least the fourth category of emitters the agency has refused to regulate, disappointing groups and some lawmakers who say that EPA needs to take bolder, quicker action to combat the threat of global warming. EPA turned down a petition to curb emissions from aircraft, ships and off-highway trucks in June. ...


EPA: Environmental Pusillanimity Agency

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Tue, May 7, 2013
from Greenwire:
EPA to defend its greenhouse gas emission rules tomorrow
U.S. EPA will return to court tomorrow to defend its regulations for fighting climate change from multiple challenges by Texas and industry groups. At issue before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit are two cases that center on EPA's implementation of greenhouse gas air emissions standards under the Clean Air Act after the agency determined the emissions endangered public health. ...


Amazing that the health of the populace needs to be justified in some way.

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Mon, May 6, 2013
from The Keeling Curve:
The Keeling Curve
Want to watch the slow-motion trainwreck of our climate in real time? Go to the Keeling Curve web site and see current ppm rate of CO2 concentration as we march inexorably to 400. ...


I do love the word inexorably.

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Mon, May 6, 2013
from Detroit Free Press:
Palisades nuclear power plant shuts down after water leak
COVERT TOWNSHIP, MICH.-- Operators of the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant in southwestern have removed it from service because of a repeat water leak from a tank that caused seepage into the control room last year.... The plant is owned by New Orleans-based Entergy Corp. and has been under extra NRC scrutiny after numerous safety issues. There were four shutdowns last year and at least two this year. ...


This plant is a vewy vewy bad plant!

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Mon, May 6, 2013
from Reuters:
Low-key U.S. plan for each nation to set climate goals wins ground
A U.S.-led plan to let all countries set their own goals for fighting climate change is gaining grudging support at U.N. talks, even though the current level of pledges is far too low to limit rising temperatures substantially. The approach, being discussed this week at 160-nation talks in Bonn, Germany, would mean abandoning the blueprint of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which set central goals for industrialized countries to cut emissions by 2012 and then let each work out national implementation. ...


That way we can blame everyone for planetary destruction.

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Wed, May 1, 2013
from Los Angeles Times:
Mark Zuckerberg's Fwd.us in heated controversy over political ads
Mark Zuckerberg is being unfriended by progressives angered by television ads from his political advocacy group Fwd.us that praise lawmakers for supporting the expansion of the Keystone XL oil pipeline and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.... Though none of the ads suggest that Zuckerberg or Facebook support these policies, that distinction may be lost on the general public. ...


The general public is too busy being on Facebook to delve into the nuances of anything.

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Tue, Apr 30, 2013
from Reuters:
Plants slow climate change by forming cloud sunshade: study
Plants help to slow climate change by emitting gases as temperatures rise that lead to the formation of a sunshade of clouds over the planet, scientists said on Sunday. The tiny sun-dimming effect could offset about one percent of warming worldwide and up to 30 percent locally such as over vast northern forests in Siberia, Canada or the Nordic nations, they wrote in the journal Nature Geoscience. While proportionally small, some scientists said the study provided further evidence of the importance of protecting forests, which help to slow climate change by absorbing greenhouse gases as they grow and to preserve wildlife. ...


It's amazing that nature still wants to be on our side.

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Mon, Apr 29, 2013
from University of Washington:
Grocery Delivery Service Is Greener Than Driving to the Store
At the end of a long day, it can be more convenient to order your groceries online while sitting on the living room couch instead of making a late-night run to the store. New research shows it's also much more environmentally friendly to leave the car parked and opt for groceries delivered to your doorstep. University of Washington engineers have found that using a grocery delivery service can cut carbon dioxide emissions by at least half when compared with individual household trips to the store. Trucks filled to capacity that deliver to customers clustered in neighborhoods produced the most savings in carbon dioxide emissions. ...


Now if I could just get scotch and sodas delivered to me...

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Sun, Apr 28, 2013
from Bangor Daily News:
Ocean surface temperatures off Northeast coast highest in 150 years
Data collected from the Gulf of Maine indicates that the average sea surface temperature in the gulf has risen 1.5 degrees from 2011 to 2012 and that in the past four years, it has risen between 2 and 3.5 degrees, depending on how one looks at the data collected from scientific studies. With the rising temperatures come concerns, and some indication, about how marine life along the coast will be affected. Officials and scientists in Maine have suggested that higher temperatures in the Gulf of Maine have been a factor in bacterial outbreaks in bivalves and in sea lice infestations in Cobscook and Passamaquoddy bays. Some have put partial blame on the gulf's warmer waters for a northeasterly shift of cod in the gulf into colder waters, for declining shrimp catches and for the glut of soft-shell lobsters last summer that caused a plummet in prices lobstermen were receiving for their catch.... Over the past 40 years, roughly half of 36 fish stocks in the northwest Atlantic Ocean studied by NEFSC have shifted northward, the statement added. ...


Maybe the sealife is just gettin' extra busy!

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Wed, Apr 24, 2013
from Washington Post:
Why aren't younger Americans driving anymore?
Ever since the recession hit in late 2007, Americans have been driving less and less. Was that because of the horrible economy? To some extent, perhaps. But it's striking that Americans are still cutting back on driving even though the economy is growing again.... another huge part of the story is that young Americans are driving much, much less. Between 2001 and 2009, the average yearly number of miles driven by 16- to 34-year-olds dropped a staggering 23 percent. The Frontier Group has the most comprehensive look yet of why younger Americans are opting out of driving. Public transportation use is up 40 percent per capita in this age group since 2001. Bicycling is up 24 percent overall in that time period. And this is true even for young Americans who are financially well off. ...


Why drive when you have a smart phone that goes everywhere.

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Tue, Apr 23, 2013
from Bloomberg News:
U.S. States Turn Against Renewable Energy as Gas Plunges
More than half the U.S. states with laws requiring utilities to buy renewable energy are considering ways to pare back those mandates after a plunge in natural gas prices brought on by technology that boosted supply. Sixteen of the 29 states with renewable portfolio standards are considering legislation that would reduce the need for wind and solar power, according to researchers backed by the U.S. Energy Department. North Carolina lawmakers may be among the first to move, followed by Colorado and Connecticut. The efforts could benefit U.S. utilities such as Duke Energy Corp (DUK). and PG&E Corp (PCG). as well as Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM)., the biggest U.S. oil producer, and Peabody Energy Corp (BTU)., the largest U.S. coal mining company. ...


A veritable rogue's gallery of profiteers.

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Tue, Apr 23, 2013
from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
EPA settles with Wisconsin utilities on coal plant air pollution
Wisconsin Power & Light Co. and three other utilities will spend $1.2 billion to clean up coal-fired power plants and shut down older plants under a settlement announced Monday with federal regulators. Under a settlement filed in federal court in Madison on Earth Day, the Environmental Protection Agency and Justice Department will assess a civil penalty of $2.45 million for alleged violations of air pollution laws over the years.... Utility ratepayers won't have to pay for the civil penalties... But it's possible they could pay for the environmental mitigation costs. And over time they will be on the hook for paying for the construction of environmental controls at the coal boilers that will remain open. ...


Even though it's chump change for a utility, still we hope the chumps might change.

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Tue, Apr 23, 2013
from Los Angeles Times:
EPA criticizes environmental review of Keystone XL pipeline
The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday criticized the State Department's environmental impact review of the Keystone XL pipeline, saying there was not enough evidence to back up key conclusions on gas emissions, safety and alternative routes. In a letter to top State Department officials, the agency said it had "environmental objections" to their review, which concluded the pipeline would have minimal impact on the environment. The analysis could complicate efforts to win approval for the controversial $7-billion project. ...


Ooo-boy! Gonna be some fisticuffs at the Fed!

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Tue, Apr 16, 2013
from Public Citizen:
New Report Finds: Keystone XL Would Increase Gas Prices and Reduce National Security
The proposed Keystone XL pipeline is likely to increase gas prices contradicting claims by pipeline proponents, a new Public Citizen report finds. Public Citizen also concluded that because the Keystone pipeline is designed to promote exports from Canadian tar sands, it will reduce national energy security -- not bolster it, as pipeline backers claim. The report, America Can't Afford the Keystone Pipeline, documents rapidly increasing Chinese national government interests in Canadian tar sands, further confounding security claims. ...


Helloooo. Keystone is supposed to benefit the rich and politicians they support.

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Tue, Apr 16, 2013
from Science:
Color-Changing Hare Can't Keep Up With Climate Change
For hares, fashion is a life or death proposition. Whereas Peter Rabbit could always jump down his hole to escape a fox, his cousin, the hare, has to rely on blending in with his environment to avoid detection. But as the climate warms, hares may no longer be able to stay in sync with their environment, according to a new study. The animals will be switching from earthy brown to snowy white or vice versa at the wrong time and becoming targets for hungry predators.... With the initiation dates for molting fixed, that shift would result in hares being mismatched for as much as 36 days by 2050 and for double that amount of time by the end of the century. ...


Hare today, gone tomorrow.

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Tue, Apr 9, 2013
from Planet Ark:
Greens ask U.S. to delay Keystone decision after Arkansas leak
Environmental groups on Monday asked the Obama administration to extend the approval process of the Keystone XL pipeline, using last month's spill of heavy Canadian crude oil in Arkansas as their latest reason to delay the project. The Obama administration is deciding whether to approve the Canada-to-Nebraska leg of TransCanada Corp's proposed pipeline, which would link Canada's oil sands, the world's third richest crude oil deposit, to refineries in Texas. The State Department, which issued a draft environmental assessment of the $5.3 billion project on March 1, indicated then that a final decision could come by July or August. ...


Remember the Mayflower!

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Mon, Apr 8, 2013
from American Chemical Society (ACS):
Engineering Algae to Make the 'Wonder Material' Nanocellulose for Biofuels and More
Genes from the family of bacteria that produce vinegar, Kombucha tea and nata de coco have become stars in a project -- which scientists today said has reached an advanced stage -- that would turn algae into solar-powered factories for producing the "wonder material" nanocellulose. Their report on advances in getting those genes to produce fully functional nanocellulose was part of the 245th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world's largest scientific society, being held here this week. ...


Algae whiz!

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Mon, Apr 8, 2013
from TomDispatch:
Is the Keystone XL Pipeline the "Stonewall" of the Climate Movement?
...Recently, I had a long talk with an administration insider who kept telling me that, for the next decade, we should focus all our energies on "killing coal." Why? Because it was politically feasible. And indeed we should, but climate-change science makes it clear that we need to put the same sort of thought and creative energy into killing oil and natural gas, too. I mean, the Arctic -- from Greenland to its seas -- essentially melted last summer in a way never before seen. The frozen Arctic is like a large physical feature. It's as if you woke up one morning and your left arm was missing.... ...


And, the missing arm returned to choke you to death!

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Mon, Apr 8, 2013
from Fort Wayne Journal Gazette:
286-acre solar farm OK'd for Indianapolis
A sprawling solar farm planned for Indianapolis' south side faces opposition from nearby residents worried its solar arrays will create irritating glints of reflected sunlight and harm property values.... Some said they feared reduced property values and problems with drainage and future development. ...


It's a new form of NIMBY: NOMDE, Not On My Deteriorating Earth.

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Mon, Apr 8, 2013
from The Hill:
US carbon emissions drop as gas displaces coal
A switch from coal to natural gas in electricity production helped drive down energy-related U.S. carbon dioxide emissions in 2012 to their lowest level since 1994, the federal Energy Information Administration said Friday. The carbon emissions have fallen every year since 2007, with the exception of 2010, according to the agency.... The biggest drop in 2012 came from declining use of coal, a fuel facing fierce competition from low natural gas prices, according to the EIA, which is the Energy Department's independent statistical arm. ...


Great news! Except for the methane emissions and the fact that once natural gas prices rise, um ... blergh

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Fri, Apr 5, 2013
from Washington Post:
Methane leaks are undermining the shale-gas boom. Here's how to fix that.
At first glance, the recent shale-gas boom in the United States looks like excellent news for efforts to slow climate change. Natural gas is nudging aside dirtier coal in the electric-power sector, which is driving down U.S. carbon-dioxide emissions. But the one huge caveat in this story has always been methane.... That brings us to a big new study from the World Resources Institute, which tries to compile everything we know about methane leaks. The bad news: We have no idea how much methane is actually seeping out of our natural-gas wells and pipelines. The good news: The technologies to plug those leaks are readily available, but new regulations may be necessary to make sure they're widely adopted. ...


That sounds like a bad news/good news/hopeless news scenario to me.

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Fri, Apr 5, 2013
from Midwest Energy News:
Midwest Generation gets more time to clean up Illinois coal plants
The Illinois Pollution Control Board on Thursday granted Midwest Generation two extra years to meet a state multi-pollutant standard that would require they install emissions controls on their four Illinois plants by 2015 and 2016. ...


What's the hurry?

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Wed, Apr 3, 2013
from Mongabay:
Scientists find the 'missing heat' of global warming 700 meters below the sea
Critics of climate change often claim that warming has stopped since the late 1990s. While this is categorically false (the last decade was the warmest on record and 2005 and 2010 are generally considered tied for the warmest year), scientists do admit that warming hasn't occurred over land as rapidly as predicted in the last ten years, especially given continually rising greenhouse gas emissions. But a recent study in Geophysical Research Letters has found this so-called missing heat: 700 meters below the surface of the ocean...."This signals the beginning of the most sustained warming trend in this record of [ocean heat content]," the scientists write in the paper. "Indeed, recent warming rates of the waters below 700 meters appear to be unprecedented." ...


We are nothing if not masters of the unprecedented consequence.

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Tue, Apr 2, 2013
from Washington Post:
Bracket busters and gas guzzlers
In addition to broken dreams, shredded brackets and lost productivity, you can add higher carbon emissions to the adverse effects of March Madness. Booz Allen Hamilton put a new spin on bracket tracking this year, developing an online game that allows users to measure the carbon footprint of their predicted winners...In traveling to the Sweet 16 this past weekend at the Verizon Center, Indiana, Syracuse, Miami and Marquette added about 140,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere -- about the same impact of providing one year of heat and electricity to 7,147 homes. ...


That really IS madness!

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Mon, Apr 1, 2013
from Climate Central:
New Process May Make Renewable Energy Reliable at Last
Solar energy is virtually limitless, generates no planet-warming greenhouse gases -- and is useless between sunset and sunrise. Wind energy is also plentiful and emits no carbon, and it can be harvested day or night, but not when the air is calm. A discovery announced in Thursday's issue of Science may offer a way around these daunting problems, however. Chemists at the University of Calgary, in Canada, have found an efficient way to turn electricity from wind and solar energy into hydrogen, which itself can be used as a fuel, emitting nothing more harmful than water vapor, when the wind stops blowing or the Sun is below the horizon. "Essentially, we're using hydrogen as a storage mechanism for electricity," said co-author Curtis Berlinguette in an interview. ...


I've always been high on hydrogen.

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Tue, Mar 26, 2013
from University of Georgia:
Discovery May Allow Scientists to Make Fuel from Carbon Dioxide in the Atmosphere
...researchers at the University of Georgia have found a way to transform the carbon dioxide trapped in the atmosphere into useful industrial products. Their discovery may soon lead to the creation of biofuels made directly from the carbon dioxide in the air that is responsible for trapping the sun's rays and raising global temperatures... The process is made possible by a unique microorganism called Pyrococcus furiosus, or "rushing fireball," which thrives by feeding on carbohydrates in the super-heated ocean waters near geothermal vents. By manipulating the organism's genetic material, Adams and his colleagues created a kind of P. furiosus that is capable of feeding at much lower temperatures on carbon dioxide. ...


Rushing Fireball is the name of my punk band!

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Tue, Mar 26, 2013
from Midwest Energy News:
In Iowa, another view on how to solve wind's variability
A groundbreaking renewable energy study is on the agenda this week at an annual gathering of the wind power industry in Iowa. The analysis, which was published in the Journal of Power Sources, challenges the common notion that wind and solar power need to be paired with fossil fuel or nuclear generators, so utilities can meet electricity demand when it's not windy or sunny. The paper instead proposes building out a "seemingly excessive” amount of wind and solar generation capacity -- two to three times the grid's actual peak load. By spreading that generation across a wide enough geographic area, Rust Belt utilities could get virtually all of their electricity from renewables in 2030, at a cost comparable to today's prices, it says. ...


This is starting to sound disturbingly plausible.

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Mon, Mar 25, 2013
from Stanford News:
Stanford researcher maps out an alternative energy future for New York
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will soon decide whether to approve hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in the state. To date, no alternative to expanded gas drilling has been proposed. But a new study finds that it is technically and economically feasible to convert New York's all-purpose energy infrastructure to one powered by wind, water and sunlight (WWS). The plan, scheduled for publication in the journal Energy Policy, shows the way to a sustainable, inexpensive and reliable energy supply that creates local jobs and saves the state billions of dollars in pollution-related costs. ...


Do we really want smart people involved in something as important as energy use?

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Mon, Mar 25, 2013
from InsideClimate News:
Keystone Public Comments Won't Be Made Public, State Department Says
When the State Department hired a contractor to produce the latest environmental impact statement for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, it asked for a Web-based electronic docket to record public comments as they flowed in each day. Thousands of comments are expected to be filed by people and businesses eager to influence the outcome of the intense international debate over the project ... But the only way to see the comments themselves is by filing a request under the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, a process that can take so long that the Keystone debate could be over before the documents are made available. ...


Imagine if we could harness the power of secrecy for our energy needs.

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Tue, Mar 19, 2013
from London Guardian:
China pours cash into melting Arctic in bid to win influence
At face value, it is not one of the world's most important relationships. When Norway and China fell out two years ago over a Nobel prize awarded to a Chinese dissident, the spat had little wider resonance. But diplomatic relations are thawing as quickly as Arctic ice â€" and the upshot could be significant for the frigid northern wastes of the planet, which are thought to sit on formidable quantities of mineral reserves. China has been cosying up to Arctic countries as part of its effort to secure "permanent observer" status on the Arctic Council, an eight-country political body that decides regional policy. Norway was initially sniffy at the approaches because of the Nobel row, but appears to have changed its tune before a formal decision in May. ...


It's Norway or the highway!

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Mon, Mar 18, 2013
from University of East Anglia:
Catastrophic Loss of Cambodia's Tropical Flooded Grasslands
Around half of Cambodia's tropical flooded grasslands have been lost in just 10 years according to new research from the University of East Anglia. The seasonally flooded grasslands around the Tonle Sap, Southeast Asia's largest freshwater lake, are of great importance for biodiversity and a refuge for 11 globally-threatened bird species. They are also a vital fishing, grazing, and traditional rice farming resource for around 1.1 million people.... Factors include intensive commercial rice farming with construction of irrigation channels, which is often illegal. Some areas have also been lost to scrubland where traditional, low-intensity agricultural activity has been abandoned. ...


Dude, where's my grassland?

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Mon, Mar 18, 2013
from Reuters:
U.S. utilities to burn more coal as natgas prices climb -traders
... The relative price difference between NYMEX Central Appalachian coal and NYMEX Henry Hub gas is at its widest since June 2011 at almost $1.50 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), according to Reuters data. Natural gas traded at $3.87 per mmBtu on Friday morning, while Eastern coal was selling at $2.40 per mmBtu. Prices of Central Appalachian coal have slipped to their lowest levels since late January. Meanwhile, natural gas prices climbed to their highest levels since November due to four straight weeks of larger-than-expected drawdowns from inventories. ...


The cheapest form of energy remains my sequestered belches.

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Mon, Mar 18, 2013
from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Company could nearly double pipeline capacity
Enbridge Inc. is seeking approval from the U.S. State Department to sharply upgrade its oil delivery from Canada's tar sands region to Superior, according to government documents published on Friday. Enbridge potentially could nearly double its capacity, the documents showed, indicating that the Canadian firm has plans to transport more oil through Wisconsin than previously reported.... Enbridge has occasionally struggled with pipeline problems, including a massive spill in 2010 that required the cleanup of 819,000 gallons of oil that entered a creek and then flowed into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan. ...


What could go wrong?

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Mon, Mar 18, 2013
from Washington Post:
EPA likely to delay climate rules for new power plants
The Obama administration is leaning toward revising its landmark proposal to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants, according to several individuals briefed on the matter, a move that would delay tougher restrictions and could anger many environmentalists. The discussions center on the first-ever greenhouse gas regulations for power plants, which were proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency nearly a year ago. Rewriting the proposal would significantly delay any action, and might allow the agency to set a separate standard for coal-fired power plants, which are roughly twice as polluting as those fueled by natural gas. ...


USA, the world's biggest (procrasti)nation.

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Thu, Mar 14, 2013
from New York Times:
Solar Trade Group Reports Surge in U.S. Installations
Partly driven by an oversupply of cheaper panels from China, the domestic solar market had its best year in 2012, with the growth in installations outpacing that of the global market, according to an annual report to be released Thursday. The report, from the Solar Energy Industries Association, the industry's main trade group, and GTM Research, a renewable energy consulting firm, found that the amount of new solar electric capacity increased last year by 76 percent from 2011, raising the United States' market share of the world's installations above 10 percent, up from roughly 5 to 7 percent in the last seven years. ...


Let the sunshine in ...

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Tue, Mar 12, 2013
from American Geophysical Union:
Canadian Arctic Glacier Melt Accelerating, Irreversible, Projections Suggest
...In the past few years, the mass of the glaciers in the Canadian Arctic archipelago has begun to plummet. Observations from NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites suggest that from 2004 to 2011 the region's glaciers shed approximately 580 gigatons of ice. Aside from glacier calving, which plays only a small role in Canadian glacier mass loss, the drop is due largely to a shift in the surface-mass balance, with warming-induced meltwater runoff outpacing the accumulation of new snowfall. ...


What's a giggleton?

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Mon, Mar 11, 2013
from Boston University College of Arts & Sciences :
Amplified Greenhouse Effect Shaping North Into South
An international team of 21 authors from 17 institutions in seven countries has just published a study in the journal Natural Climate Change showing that, as the cover of snow and ice in the northern latitudes has diminished in recent years, the temperature over the northern land mass has increased at different rates during the four seasons, causing a reduction in temperature and vegetation seasonality in this area. In other words, the temperature and vegetation at northern latitudes increasingly resembles those found several degrees of latitude farther south as recently as 30 years ago. ...


We humans like to mix it up!

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Mon, Mar 11, 2013
from Earth Policy Institute:
Where Has All the Ice Gone?
... In September 2012, sea ice in the Arctic Ocean shrank to a record low extent and volume. The region has warmed two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) since the 1960s -- twice as much as lower latitudes. With less snow and ice to reflect the sun's rays and with more exposed ocean to absorb heat, a vicious cycle leads to even warmer temperatures. Thinner ice combined with rising temperatures makes it increasingly difficult for the sea ice to recover. The historically ever-present white cap at the top of the globe could disappear entirely during the summer within two decades...Greenland's ice loss has accelerated from 51 billion tons per year in the 1990s to 263 billion tons per year today... parts of Antarctica's vast ice sheet may be even less stable. The continent is flanked by 54 major ice shelves, which act as brakes slowing the movement of ice in land-based glaciers out to sea. Twenty of them show signs of thinning and weakening, which translates into accelerated ice loss. ...


The air conditioner of the planet is turning into a space heater!

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Mon, Mar 11, 2013
from Bloomberg News:
Nuclear Industry Withers in U.S. as Wind Pummels Prices
A glut of government-subsidized wind power may help accomplish a goal some environmentalists have sought for decades: kill off U.S. nuclear power plants while reducing reliance on electricity from burning coal. That's the assessment of executives and utility experts after the U.S. wind-energy industry went on a $25 billion growth binge in 2012, racing to qualify for a federal tax credit that was set to expire at year's end. The surge added a record 13,124 megawatts of wind turbines to the nation's power grid, up 28 percent from 2011. The new wind farms increased financial pressure on traditional generators such as Dominion Resources (D) Inc. and Exelon Corp. in their operating regions. That's because wind energy undercut power prices already driven to 10-year-lows by an abundance of natural gas. ...


Wind... the other energy source.

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Wed, Mar 6, 2013
from Associated Press:
US scientists report big jump in heat-trapping CO2
The amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the air jumped dramatically in 2012, making it very unlikely that global warming can be limited to another 2 degrees as many global leaders have hoped, new federal figures show. Scientists say the rise in CO2 reflects the world's economy revving up and burning more fossil fuels, especially in China. Carbon dioxide levels jumped by 2.67 parts per million since 2011 to total just under 395 parts per million... ...


But I thought it was good when numbers grew.

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Wed, Mar 6, 2013
from InsideClimate News:
Critical Part of Keystone Report Done by Firms with Deep Oil Industry Ties
The State Department's recent conclusion that the Keystone XL pipeline "is unlikely to have a substantial impact" on the rate of Canada's oil sands development was based on analysis provided by two consulting firms with ties to oil and pipeline companies that could benefit from the proposed project. EnSys Energy has worked with ExxonMobil, BP and Koch Industries, which own oil sands production facilities and refineries in the Midwest that process heavy Canadian crude oil. Imperial Oil, one of Canada's largest oil sands producers, is a subsidiary of Exxon. ICF International works with pipeline and oil companies but doesn't list specific clients on its website. It declined to comment on the Keystone, referring questions to the State Department. ...


That fox we hired to guard hen house? He's eating all the hens!

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Tue, Mar 5, 2013
from New Scientist:
Globetrotting Sahara sand takes rain to California
If the Sahara gets any drier, it could make California wetter. That's because the dust and microbes that help form clouds can travel around the world on narrow air streams called "atmospheric rivers", causing rain. The particles, or aerosols, help clouds form by acting as seeds for water vapour to condense around. Atmospheric rivers carry this dust-laden water until they hit mountains, such as California's Sierra Nevada, where their cargo turns to precipitation....In two storms with otherwise identical conditions, the one containing more dust was much wetter, suggesting that in future, extra dust from desertification and activities such as agriculture could make far-flung places wetter. ...


All right, already. Enough with the Gaia teaching moments!

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Tue, Mar 5, 2013
from New York Times:
Cabinet Picks Could Take On Climate Policy
President Obama on Monday named two people to his cabinet who will be charged with making good on his threat to use the powers of the executive branch to tackle climate change and energy policy if Congress does not act quickly... The appointments, which require Senate confirmation, send an unmistakable signal that the president intends to mount a multifaceted campaign in his second term to tackle climate change by using all the executive branch tools at his disposal. But even with Ms. McCarthy and Mr. Moniz in place, Mr. Obama would have to confront major hurdles in trying to refashion the American way of producing and consuming energy, the same hurdles that stymied climate and energy policy in his first term. Among the first of those is a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, which the administration appears inclined to approve over the vociferous objections of environmental advocates. ...


Thank goodness he's hired people to bullshit us if he says yes to Keystone.

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Mon, Mar 4, 2013
from Indiana Living Green:
To engineer the climate, or not to engineer the climate
... For those paying attention to the positive feedback mechanism occurring in the Arctic, this few tenths of a degree rise is unstoppable -- and, imminent. The ice melt in the Arctic is suffering a feedback loop. The more the ice melts, the more the sunlight warms the water, instead of bouncing off the ice back into the atmosphere. The warmer the water, the less ice forms; the less ice forms, the easier it is to melt, thus warming the water, diminishing the ice and warming the water, ad infinitum. Or, shall I say, sad infinitum. Cooling off the planet right now seems to me to be a prudent course of action, except that we don't know what unintended consequences may result from SRM or any act of geoengineering. ...


Has 'Doc Jim gone mad?

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Mon, Mar 4, 2013
from University of Colorado at Boulder :
Volcanic Aerosols, Not Pollutants, Tamped Down Recent Earth Warming
A team led by the University of Colorado Boulder looking for clues about why Earth did not warm as much as scientists expected between 2000 and 2010 now thinks the culprits are hiding in plain sight -- dozens of volcanoes spewing sulfur dioxide.... previous observations suggest that increases in stratospheric aerosols since 2000 have counterbalanced as much as 25 percent of the warming scientists blame on human greenhouse gas emissions. "This new study indicates it is emissions from small to moderate volcanoes that have been slowing the warming of the planet"... ...


A little autogeoengineering never hurt anyone!

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Mon, Feb 25, 2013
from Politico:
Sierra Club goes bolder in climate fight
After 121 years of lobbying, letter-writing campaigns and law-abiding protests, the Sierra Club is retooling itself for the flash-mob age -- and showing an increasingly aggressive edge. That edge was on display last week, when the Sierra Club's two top leaders and 46 other climate activists zip-tied themselves to the White House gates to protest the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline. The organization called it the first time it had suspended its decades-long policy against club-sanctioned civil disobedience. ...


Mother Earth approves of this kind of disobedience.

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Thu, Feb 21, 2013
from E&E Publishing:
Rural China tries to break its coal addiction by using straw
This is not the equivalent of Silicon Valley. There isn't a lab in sight or a high-tech industrial park in the area. What attracts most of the attention is a two-floor factory building with a signboard that reads "Shangqiu Sanli New Energy Demonstration." Still, this is a noteworthy place. It is healing one of China's long-standing headaches. That headache is straw, basically an agricultural waste collected from nearby farms. Workers here chop it, compress it, then heat it slowly in sophisticated, oxygen-free ovens to produce biochar, a sort of charcoal that can be used as soil amendments. What remains -- two types of liquids called wood tar and wood vinegar -- are removed to sealed vessels and are sold as eco-friendly pesticides and soil conditioners. Through this, the factory produces industrial goods worth nearly $10 million per year. The process also produces a combustible gas that it converts into electricity -- to run the machinery. ...


Still, you gotta expect there are going to be a lot of camels with broken backs.

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Wed, Feb 20, 2013
from Huffington Post:
Obama Golfed With Oil Men As Climate Protesters Descended On White House
On the same weekend that 40,000 people gathered on the Mall in Washington to protest construction of the Keystone Pipeline -- to its critics, a monument to carbon-based folly -- President Obama was golfing in Florida with a pair of Texans who are key oil, gas and pipeline players. Obama has not shied away from supporting domestic drilling, especially for relatively clean natural gas, but in his most recent State of the Union speech he stressed the urgency of addressing climate change by weaning the country and the world from dependence on carbon-based fuels.... on his first "guys weekend" away since he was reelected, the president chose to spend his free time with Jim Crane and Milton Carroll, leading figures in the Texas oil and gas industry, along with other men who run companies that deal in the same kinds of carbon-based services that Keystone would enlarge. ...


At least he wasn't racing Hummers with them.

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Tue, Feb 19, 2013
from Reuters:
Arctic needs protection from resource rush as ice melts: U.N. body
The Arctic needs to be better protected from a rush for natural resources as melting ice makes mineral and energy exploration easier, the United Nations' Environment Programme (UNEP) said..."What we are seeing is that the melting of ice is prompting a rush for exactly the fossil fuel resources that fuelled the melt in the first place," said Achim Steiner, U.N. Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director. ...


Irony? ...or tragedy?

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Sun, Feb 17, 2013
from ClimateCentral:
Ex-IPCC Head: Prepare for 5 degree C Warmer World
The world has missed the chance to keep greenhouse gas emissions below the level needed to prevent the temperature climbing above 2 degrees Celsius, according to the British scientist who used to chair the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The scientist, Sir Robert Watson, chaired the Panel from 1997 until 2002, when he was ousted after U.S. pressure for his removal.... Speaking at a symposium at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Watson said: "All the promises in the world, which we're not likely to realize anyway, will not give us a world with only a 2 degree C rise. All the evidence, in my opinion, suggests we're on our way to a 3 degree C to 5 degree C world.... ...


'Bye, Kevin Bacon. That's five degrees too many.

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Thu, Feb 14, 2013
from Scientific American:
Where Few Trees Have Gone Before: Mountain Meadows
... with a warming climate, snow has begun melting earlier and growing seasons have lengthened; that extra time with little or no snow cover has given trees a boost. As a result, tree occupation rose from 8 percent in 1950 to 35 percent in 2008, reports a U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service-funded study published last October in Landscape Ecology. At a time when so many forests are threatened, aren't more trees something to celebrate? Not necessarily, say the authors of the new study. These tall trees block light that meadow grasses, shrubs and wildflowers need to survive. Once trees become established, the surrounding seed banks of native grasses tend to fade away. The meadows' "biodiversity value is much larger than the amount of area they occupy," explains lead author Harold S. J. Zald, postdoctoral research associate at Oregon State University, who hatched the idea for the study while backpacking in the Cascade Range. The researchers do not yet know which plant or animal species would be endangered. ...


Apocaiku:
Not too cool for school./ Never have mountain meadows/ been made in the shade.

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Sat, Feb 2, 2013
from Indiana Living Green:
Study: Mainstream media coverage of environment pretty much sucks
On Jan. 31, the non-profit organization Project for Improved Environmental Coverage released a report detailing how the media is handling coverage of the issues affecting the environment. Their goal centered on establishing where environmental coverage ranks among news headlines both nationally and locally, along with how concerned the American population is with such coverage and how it can be improved. Headed by Tyson Miller and Todd Pollak, PIEC's data was gathered by the Pew Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism over a 17-month period spanning from early 2011 to 2012. The study found that only 1.2 percent of news headlines in the United States was represented by environmental coverage. ...


Here, at the ApocaDocs Project, it's always 100 percent!

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Tue, Jan 29, 2013
from USDA Forest Service ‑ Southern Research Station:
Climate Change Projected to Alter Indiana Bat Maternity Range
...Due to conservation efforts, researchers saw an increase in Indiana bat populations in 2000 to 2005, but with the onset of white-nose syndrome populations are declining again, with the number of Indiana bats reported hibernating in the northeastern United States down by 72 percent in 2011. The study predicts even more declines due to temperature rises from climate change, with much of the western portion of the current range forecast to be unsuitable for maternity habitat by 2060. ...


Methinks all mothers will be suffering by then.

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Tue, Jan 29, 2013
from Essex Chronicle:
Writtle College aiming to tackle global warming with burping sheep
BURPING sheep are the subject of a ground-breaking study at Writtle College which aims to tackle global warming. While most people do their bit for the environment by recycling food packaging, switching off lights and saving water, student Francine Gilman is researching ways to stop sheep from belching so many harmful greenhouse gases into the environment. As part of her MSc in Livestock Production Science this spring, the 24-year-old is studying to improve the digestive systems of sheep with therapeutic essential oils. "Of all the greenhouse gases produced by agriculture as a whole, methane from livestock accounts for 80 per cent, so it is a major problem all over the world," said Francine. ...


Can't they learn to swallow it -- like I do?

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Mon, Jan 28, 2013
from Columbus Dispatch:
OSU to save $1 million a year by buying wind power
Ohio State University expects to save nearly $1 million on its energy bill this year with the help of more than 100 spinning wind turbines in northwestern Ohio. Ohio State signed a 20-year agreement in October to buy 50 megawatts of energy annually from Blue Creek Wind Farm, Ohio's largest commercial wind farm, which has 152 turbines in Van Wert and Paulding counties. ...


It's as if this academic institution has smart people.

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Mon, Jan 28, 2013
from Oil Change International:
US Gas Flaring Visible from Space
...The volume of gas flared in the US has tripled in just five years due to the boom in shale oil. And the flares from the main oil shale fields are now so great they are visible from space... The US is now the fifth worst country for flaring, behind Russia, Nigeria, Iran and Iraq. Not only is this an ecological disaster but also a complete waste of a natural resource. The FT reports that fracking companies in the US are burning off enough gas to power all the homes in Chicago and Washington "in a practice causing growing concern about the waste of resources and damage to the environment." ...


Perhaps now the aliens will arrive and save us!

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Sun, Jan 27, 2013
from Guardian:
Nicholas Stern: 'I got it wrong on climate change - it's far, far worse'
Lord Stern, author of the government-commissioned review on climate change that became the reference work for politicians and green campaigners, now says he underestimated the risks, and should have been more "blunt" about the threat posed to the economy by rising temperatures. In an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Stern, who is now a crossbench peer, said: "Looking back, I underestimated the risks. The planet and the atmosphere seem to be absorbing less carbon than we expected, and emissions are rising pretty strongly. Some of the effects are coming through more quickly than we thought then." The Stern review, published in 2006, pointed to a 75 percent chance that global temperatures would rise by between two and three degrees above the long-term average; he now believes we are "on track for something like four ". Had he known the way the situation would evolve, he says, "I think I would have been a bit more blunt. I would have been much more strong about the risks of a four- or five-degree rise." ...


In a few years, we may all have 20-20 hindsight.

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Thu, Jan 24, 2013
from Omaha World-Herald:
Heineman approves Keystone XL route; pipeline's fate back in Obama's hands
Gov. Dave Heineman delighted supporters and deflated opponents of the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline Tuesday when he approved a new route through Nebraska, saying the project represents a minimal environmental threat while holding substantial economic promise. ...


Such myopia is to be admired.

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Wed, Jan 23, 2013
from Associated Press:
Indy utility plans $511M in power plant upgrades
An Indiana power company plans to spend more than a half-billion dollars to reduce its mercury emissions to comply with new federal regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency. Indianapolis Power & Light Co. said Tuesday the $511 million in upgrades at plants in Indianapolis and in Petersburg in southwestern Indiana are part of its effort to meet EPA rules designed to curb toxic emissions from oil- and coal-fired power plants, which are the largest remaining sources of manmade mercury in the environment. The EPA rules are expected to be fully implemented by 2016. ...


Death by mercury might be more merciful than death by fossil-fuel fueled climate chaos.

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Mon, Jan 21, 2013
from The Daily Climate:
Sustainable development efforts mostly fail, research finds
World leaders have so far failed to raise people out of poverty by economic development while at the same time avoiding the worst effects of climate change, Swedish researchers say. A study of 134 countries published by TCO, a confederation of 15 Swedish trade unions, shows that sustainable development is not yet close to being achieved, despite it being the stated aim of many politicians. Yet it remains the official policy of the United Nations, the aim of climate negotiations, Earth summits and many international economic forums. The theory is that countries can develop and at the same time reduce carbon dioxide emissions by combining energy efficiency and the greater use of renewable sources of power. About 40 countries have managed to do this, but the vast majority have not - and among those that have failed, the study says, are the fastest-growing economies and the most polluting: China, the US and India. ...


The only thing sustained is their empty promises.

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Tue, Jan 15, 2013
from Minneapolis Star Tribune:
Rising temps could change landscape of Midwest
Algae blooms on Lake Superior, the disappearance of birch trees from Minnesota and more heat-related complications for human health are all likely without significant action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the warmer climate they are causing. Those are among the conclusions of a new national report from the U.S. Global Change Research Project that is expected to help shape federal climate policy over the coming decade.... The report is scheduled to go to Obama in March 2014, after a public comment period and administration policymakers sign off on its conclusions. ...


Why hurry?

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Tue, Jan 15, 2013
from London Guardian:
Ecuadorean tribe will 'die fighting' to defend rainforest
In what looks set to be one of the most one-sided struggles in the history of Amazon forest conservation, an indigenous community of about 400 villagers is preparing to resist the Ecuadorean army and one of the biggest oil companies in South America. The Kichwa tribe on Sani Isla, who were using blowpipes two generations ago, said they are ready to fight to the death to protect their territory, which covers 70,000 hectares of pristine rainforest. Petroamazonas - the state-backed oil company - have told them it will begin prospecting on 15 January, backed by public security forces. Community members are launching a last-ditch legal battle to stop the state-run firm assisted by a British businesswoman, who is married to the village shaman, and who was recently appointed to run the local eco lodge. ...


Hollywood, are you paying attention?

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Tue, Jan 15, 2013
from USA Today:
Climate change report: Seas rising, heat waves ahead
Climate change is already affecting how Americans live and work, and evidence is mounting that the burning of fossil fuels has roughly doubled the probability of extreme heat waves, the Obama administration said Friday ... The 400-page report, required by a 1990 U.S. law, comes as 2012 set a century-plus record for hottest year in the United States. As Americans grapple with such extreme weather, President Obama has called for a national conversation on climate change. ...


Obama: from mum on the subject to all talky talky.

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Wed, Jan 9, 2013
from Live Science:
Arctic Snow Cover Shows Steep Decline
The blanket of snow that covers Arctic regions for most of the year has been shrinking at an increasing pace over the past decade, researchers say. A recent study found an overall decrease in Arctic snow-cover extent (snow that covers the Arctic at the end of the spring) from 1967 through 2012, and an acceleration of snow loss after the year 2003. The rate of snow-cover loss in June between 1979 and 2012 was 17.6 percent per decade (relative to the 1979-2000 mean), which is greater than the rate of September sea-ice decline during that same period, the researchers say....The link between snow-cover and sea-ice extent is not completely understood. "But if you remove snow cover earlier, you're creating the potential to send warmer air out over the ocean. It can't be good for sea ice if you lose the snow early," study researcher Chris Derksen, a cryosphere scientist at Environment Canada in Toronto... ...


At this point I suggest we stop paying attention to the Arctic!

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Tue, Jan 1, 2013
from New York Times:
Light Absorption Speeding Arctic Ice Melt
The record-setting disappearance of Arctic sea ice this fall was an indication to many climate scientists and ice experts that the pace of climate change was outstripping predictions. Now a new study published this week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters provides a look at a dynamic that may further accelerate the process: the rate at which the ocean underneath the ice absorbs sunlight ... the more the ice melts in late summer, the more first-year ice replaces multiyear ice, and the warmer the ocean beneath the ice becomes, accelerating the melting process. ...


This feedback loop is insatiable.

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Tue, Jan 1, 2013
from London Guardian:
2012: the year we did our best to abandon the natural world
It was the year of living dangerously. In 2012 governments turned their backs on the living planet, demonstrating that no chronic problem, however grave, will take priority over an immediate concern, however trivial. I believe there has been no worse year for the natural world in the past half-century. Three weeks before the minimum occurred, the melting of the Arctic's sea ice broke the previous record. Remnants of the global megafauna -- such as rhinos and bluefin tuna -- were shoved violently towards extinction. Novel tree diseases raged across continents. Bird and insect numbers continued to plummet, coral reefs retreated, marine life dwindled. And those charged with protecting us and the world in which we live pretended that none of it was happening. ...


Who'd want to be in charge of this ecotastrophe?

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Mon, Dec 31, 2012
from Morning Edition, NPR:
A Busy And Head-Scratching 2012 Hurricane Season
Superstorm Sandy is what most people will remember from the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. But Sandy was just one of 10 hurricanes this year -- a hurricane season that was both busy and strange .... the largest and strangest storm of the year: Hurricane Sandy. Almost everything about Sandy was unusual. It turned left where most storms turned right. It started out as a hurricane and then became an equally powerful winter superstorm. It brought heavy snow to the Appalachians. ...


The androgynously named Sandy was also transtormual!

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Fri, Dec 28, 2012
from Climate Central:
Great Arctic Cyclone in Summer "Unprecedented": Study
It's known as the Great Arctic Cyclone, and when it roared out of Siberia last August, storm watchers knew it was unusual. Hurricane-like storms are very common in the Arctic, but the most powerful of them (which are still far less powerful than tropical hurricanes) tend to come in winter. It wasn't clear at the time, however, whether the August storm was truly unprecedented. Now it is. A study published in Geophysical Research Letters looks at no fewer than 19,625 Arctic storms and concludes that in terms of size, duration and several other of what the authors call "key cyclone properties," the Great Cyclone was the most extreme summer storm, and the 13th most powerful storm -- summer or winter -- since modern satellite observations began in 1979. ...


All I can say is GAC!

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Thu, Dec 27, 2012
from Agence France-Press:
China's boom savages coral reefs: study
China's economic boom has seen its coral reefs shrink by at least 80 percent over the past 30 years, a joint Australian study found Thursday ... Scientists from the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and the South China Sea Institute of Oceanology said their survey of mainland China and South China Sea reefs showed alarming degradation... Coastal development, pollution and overfishing linked to the Asian giant's aggressive economic expansion were the major drivers, the authors said, describing a "grim picture of decline, degradation and destruction". ...


There's no sense of corality when it comes to mindless growth.

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Thu, Dec 20, 2012
from Mother Jones:
Major News Outlets Give Fossil-Fuel-Funded Think Tanks a Free Platform
The fossil fuel industry has long been a source of talking points and "studies" aimed at spreading doubt about climate change, and over the past few years, it has broadened its scope to undermine support for clean energy, as well. Often, this criticism is published in the form of articles in major media outlets -- penned by employees of think tanks who don't disclose their groups' industry funding, a new study finds. The Checks and Balances Project, a pro-clean-energy watchdog group, surveyed stories published over the past five years in 60 news outlets, including national and regional newspapers, the Associated Press, and Politico. Researchers found that only 6 percent of the stories disclosed the funding when they cited "experts" from those think tanks. Typically, the stories referred to the groups as "free-market" or "libertarian," without mentioning the dirty-energy support. ...


Just so you know, The ApocaDocs are funded by their own ApocaSweat.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Dec 20, 2012
from The Hill:
Obama: Climate change among top three priorities for second term
President Obama has identified climate change as one of his top three priorities in his second term after coming under fire from environmentalists for giving the issue short shrift during the campaign. The president, in an interview for TIME's Person of the Year award, said the economy, immigration, climate change and energy would be at the top of his agenda for the next four years. The interview took place before the fatal shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, an incident that had pushed gun control to a top spot on Obama's agenda. Obama said his daughters have influenced his thinking about the need to tackle climate change. ...


Wait. Ain't that four things???

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Dec 19, 2012
from E&E Daily:
Agencies paralyzed by fiscal cliff, endless succession of CRs
So far this year, U.S. EPA has frozen hiring, delayed contracts and sharply curtailed travel, all to deal with the uncertainty of its future budget. It's not only the so-called fiscal cliff -- with its scheduled across-the-board budget cuts -- that has hampered EPA's operations. Instead, it is an action that has become so routine in recent years that all federal agencies have become experts in handling it: the continuing resolution. And this year, lawmakers seem likely to take it a step further, passing a CR for the entire fiscal year, thanks to fiscal cliff negotiations and a slew of other priorities that have moved the budget to the back burner. ...


Environmental Paralyzed Agency

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Dec 11, 2012
from University of Delaware and Delaware Technical Community College:
Wind and Solar Power Paired With Storage Could Power Grid 99.9 Percent of the Time
Renewable energy could fully power a large electric grid 99.9 percent of the time by 2030 at costs comparable to today's electricity expenses, according to new research by the University of Delaware and Delaware Technical Community College. A well-designed combination of wind power, solar power and storage in batteries and fuel cells would nearly always exceed electricity demands while keeping costs low, the scientists found. ...


Things are looking up in more ways than one!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Dec 10, 2012
from NPR:
Conflicts, Errors Revealed In Positive Fracking Study
A report that shed favorable light on fracking is at the center of a controversy at the University of Texas ... The author of the study, Dr. Charles Groat, retired in the wake of the scathing review ... The original fracking study concluded that hydraulic fracturing was safe, the danger of water contamination low and suggestions to the contrary mostly media bias. But then it was reported this summer that Professor Groat sat on the board of a natural gas drilling company and received more than a million and a half dollars in compensation. That information was not disclosed in Groat's report. ...


We appear to have been fracked over by Prof. Groat.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Dec 10, 2012
from Los Angeles Times:
Rise in renewable energy will require more use of fossil fuels
... One of the hidden costs of solar and wind power -- and a problem the state is not yet prepared to meet -- is that wind and solar energy must be backed up by other sources, typically gas-fired generators. As more solar and wind energy generators come online, fulfilling a legal mandate to produce one-third of California's electricity by 2020, the demand will rise for more backup power from fossil fuel plants. ...


Is that irony or tragedy?

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Dec 10, 2012
from New York Times:
Mighty Old Trees Are Perishing Fast, Study Warns
The death rate of many of the biggest and oldest trees around the world is increasing rapidly, scientists report in a new study in Friday's issue of the journal Science. They warned that research to understand and stem the loss of the trees is urgently needed... The research team found that big, old trees are dying at an alarmingly fast clip around the world at all latitudes -- Yosemite National Park in California, the African savanna, the Brazilian rain forest, Europe and the boreal forests around the world. ...


I think I shall never see an old poem as lovely as an old tree.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Dec 10, 2012
from International Herald Tribune:
Ignoring Planetary Peril, a Profound "Disconnect" Between Science and Doha
...the Doha summit was almost politics as usual. It did take 24 hours of overtime, but the Doha Climate Gateway was finally approved Saturday. The agreement extends the Kyoto Protocol until 2020, when a more global emissions reduction agreement is to take effect.... Though the new, tougher and more inclusive treaty will be under negotiation until 2015, environmentalists warn that any deal that goes into effect in 2020 comes too late.... The American news media reported little on the climate talks, compared with Europe. That may be in part, as my colleague John Broder reports: "It has long been evident that the United Nations talks were at best a partial solution to the planetary climate change problem, and at worst an expensive sideshow...["] ...


Step right up ... to the three ring circus of our planet's demise.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Dec 5, 2012
from New York Times:
To Stop Climate Change, Students Aim at College Portfolios
... In recent weeks, college students on dozens of campuses have demanded that university endowment funds rid themselves of coal, oil and gas stocks. The students see it as a tactic that could force climate change, barely discussed in the presidential campaign, back onto the national political agenda. ... Students who have signed on see it as a conscious imitation of the successful effort in the 1980s to pressure colleges and other institutions to divest themselves of the stocks of companies doing business in South Africa under apartheid. ...


Nice metaphor: instead of whites vs. blacks it's people vs. nature.

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Wed, Dec 5, 2012
from The New Yorker:
Paying for It
...One way to think about global warming is as a vast, planet-wide Pigovian problem. In this case, the man pulls up to a gas pump. He sticks his BP or Sunoco card into the slot, fills up, and drives off. He's got a full tank; the gas station and the oil company share in the profits. Meanwhile, the carbon that spills out of his tailpipe lingers in the atmosphere, trapping heat and contributing to higher sea levels. As the oceans rise, coastal roads erode, beachfront homes wash away, and, finally, major cities flood. Once again, it's the public at large that gets left with the bill. The logical, which is to say the fair, way to address this situation would be to make the driver absorb the cost for his slice of the damage. ...


Logical? Fair? Not in my America!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Dec 3, 2012
from FuelFix.com:
Coal power plants to lose up to a quarter of capacity by 2035
Nearly a quarter of the nation's coal power generation capacity could shut down by 2035, as natural gas gains popularity as a cleaner and cheaper fuel for producing electricity, the U.S. Government Accountability Office forecasts. In a report released this week, the agency determined that power industry could retire between 15 percent and 24 percent of its coal-fueled power generation capacity over the next 22 years. The fuel source has been hurt by a combination of lower electricity use, stiffer regulations on pollutants and a rapid decline in the price of natural gas. ...


Too little ... too late.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Nov 30, 2012
from Live Science:
US Birth Rate Hits New Low
The rate of babies born in the United States hit a record low in 2011, a new analysis shows. Researchers say the drastic drop in the birth rate among immigrants has greatly contributed to the overall decrease. Based on preliminary data from the National Center for Health Statistics, the Pew Research Center calculated that the overall birth rate -- the annual number of births per 1,000 women between 15 to 44 -- was 63.2 last year. That's the lowest since such reliable record collection began in 1920 and close to half the birth rate in 1957, amid the Baby Boom years. ...


From baby boom to baby bust.

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Thu, Nov 29, 2012
from Sydney Morning Herald:
At the edge of disaster
THE world is on the cusp of a "tipping point" into dangerous climate change, according to new data gathered by scientists measuring methane leaking from the Arctic permafrost and a report presented to the United Nations on Tuesday. "The permafrost carbon feedback is irreversible on human time scales," says the report, Policy Implications of Warming Permafrost. "Overall, these observations indicate that large-scale thawing of permafrost may already have started." ...


D'oha!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Nov 27, 2012
from Los Angeles Times:
In Hawaii, a coral reef infection has biologists alarmed
...Since June, a mysterious milky growth has been spreading rapidly across the coral reefs in Hanalei and the surrounding bays of the north shore -- so rapidly that biologist Terry Lilley, who has been documenting the phenomenon, says it now affects 5 percent of all the coral in Hanalei Bay and up to 40 percent of the coral in nearby Anini Bay. Other areas are "just as bad, if not worse," he said. The growth, identified by scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey as both a cyanobacterial pathogen -- a bacteria that grows through photosynthesis -- and a fungus, is killing all the coral it strikes, and spreading at the rate of 1 to 3 inches a week on every coral it infects. ...


It's white nose syndrome for coral reefs!

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Tue, Nov 27, 2012
from London Daily Mail:
Melting permafrost 'will DOUBLE carbon and nitrogen levels in the atmosphere'
As much as 44billion tons of nitrogen and 850billion tons of carbon could be released into the environment as permafrost thaws over the next century, U.S. government experts warn. The release of carbon and nitrogen in permafrost could make global warming much worse and threaten delicate water systems on land and offshore, according to scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey. It comes after the UN last week warned of record levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. ...


Just when you thought there was no hope there really is no hope!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Nov 27, 2012
from Agence France-Press:
Bitsy beetle warms Canada: study
An army of rice-grain-sized beetles, attracted by warming weather, has moved into Canada's western forests, where its tree massacre is causing the mercury to rise yet further, a study said Sunday. The voracious horde of mountain pine beetles has invaded about 170,000 square kilometres (65,000 square miles) -- a fifth of the forest area of British Columbia, Canada's western-most province, a research team wrote in the journal Nature Geoscience. The beetles lay their eggs under the bark of pine trees, at the same time injecting a fungus that protects their offspring but kills the trees with the help of the larvae eating their insides. As trees are felled, the cooling effect of their transpiration, similar to human sweating, is also lost. ...


A perfect, self-perpetuating loop of total annihilation!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Nov 27, 2012
from CNN:
Hydrogen fuel-cell cars look to overtake electric autos
As electric cars try to forge more than just a niche in the market, the auto industry is already looking to another form of clean technology that could overtake today's battery-powered vehicles. Commitments by automobile manufactures to develop hydrogen fuel-cell cars have surged in recent months. Toyota, Hyundai, Daimler and Honda announced plans to build vehicles that run on the most abundant element in the universe and emit only water vapor as a byproduct. ...


As long as my status as a sex symbol is upheld who cares what fuels it!

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Mon, Nov 26, 2012
from Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies :
Maple Syrup, Moose, and the Impacts of Climate Change in the North
In the northern hardwood forest, climate change is poised to reduce the viability of the maple syrup industry, spread wildlife diseases and tree pests, and change timber resources. And, according to a new BioScience paper just released by twenty-one scientists, without long-term studies at the local scale -- we will be ill-prepared to predict and manage these effects. ...


You saying my pancakes are in danger?

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Nov 20, 2012
from London Guardian:
More than 1,000 new coal plants planned worldwide, figures show
More than 1,000 coal-fired power plants are being planned worldwide, new research has revealed. The huge planned expansion comes despite warnings from politicians, scientists and campaigners that the planet's fast-rising carbon emissions must peak within a few years if runaway climate change is to be avoided and that fossil fuel assets risk becoming worthless if international action on global warming moves forward. ...


Happy Thanksgiving!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Nov 20, 2012
from Climate Central:
CO2 Hits New High; World Could Warm 7 degrees F by 2060
The amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached a record 390.9 parts per million (ppm) in 2011, according to a report released Tuesday by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). That's a 40 percent increase over levels in 1750, before humans began burning fossil fuels in earnest. Although CO2 is still the most significant long-lived greenhouse gas, levels of other heat-trapping gases have also climbed to record levels, according to the report. Methane, for example hit 1813 parts per billion (ppb) in 2011, and nitrous oxide rose to 324.2 ppb. All told, the amount of excess heat prevented from escaping into outer space was 30 percent higher in 2011 than it was as recently as 1990. ...


Humans: born to outdo ourselves even if it kills us!

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Tue, Nov 20, 2012
from National Research Council, via National Academies Press:
Climate and Social Stress: Implications for Security Analysis: National Research Council/CIA Report
From page 4 of the Summary: Available knowledge of climate-security connections that feature societal vulnerabilities indicates that security analysis needs to develop more nuanced understanding of the conditions -- largely, social, political, and economic conditions -- under which particular climate events are and are not likely to lead to particular kinds of social and political stresses and under which such events and responses to them are and are not likely to lead to significant security threats. The empirical knowledge base on the connections between extreme events and political instability or violence also suggests some hypotheses that are worthy of further examination.... From page 5 of the summary: Building Fundamental Understanding: Recommendations 3.1, 4.1, 5.1, and 6.1 The intelligence community should participate in a whole-of-government effort to inform choices about adapting to and reducing vulnerability to climate change. Recommendation 3.1 It should, along with appropriate federal science agencies, support research to improve the ability to quantify the likelihoods of potentially disruptive climate events, that is, single extreme climate events, event clusters, and event sequences. ...


The National Research Council, and the CIA -- they're kinda leftist organizations, aren't they?

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Nov 19, 2012
from Youngstown Vindicator:
City seeks input on fracking in Youngstown parks
The city doesn't have plans to lease park land to companies for oil and gas drilling, but its parks and recreation commission will take comments from the public about the issue.... City council gave the board of control approval Oct. 17 to move ahead with a plan to solicit offers from companies to lease city-owned land for fracking. The proceeds are to be used for neighborhood improvement work, primarily demolitions.... "Right now, I wouldn't be in favor of any fracking in parks," said Mayor Charles Sammarone. "But if the city has the chance to make a zillion dollars, we'd have to re-evaluate." ...


Hey, for a zillion dollars, I'd wreck the entire planet!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Nov 5, 2012
from Kitchener Record:
Spring snow pack in the Arctic disappearing fast, Environment Canada warns
The spring snow pack in the Arctic is disappearing at a much faster rate than anticipated even by climate change models, says a new study by Environment Canada researchers. That has implications for wildlife, vegetation and ground temperatures, say the scientists, who looked at four decades of snow data for the Canadian Arctic and beyond. Combined with recent news that the Arctic sea ice retreated to an all-time low this summer, it suggests climate change may be happening much faster than expected, said Dr. Chris Derksen, a research scientist for Environment Canada and one of the study's authors. ...


Seems our response to faster than expected events is slower than hoped for.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Nov 5, 2012
from Reuters:
Unprecedented world carbon emissions cuts needed by 2050: PwC
The world will have to cut the rate of carbon emissions by an unprecedented rate to 2050 to stop global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees this century, a report released by PwC on Monday showed.... Global temperatures have already risen by about 0.8 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times. Almost 200 nations agreed in 2010 at United Nations climate talks to limit the rise to below 2 degrees C (3.6 Fahrenheit) to avoid dangerous impacts from climate change. Carbon intensity will have to be cut by over 5 percent a year to achieve that goal, the study said. That compares with an annual rate of 0.8 percent from 2000 to 2011. ...


Guess we better get in gear.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Oct 23, 2012
from London Guardian:
US presidential debates' great unmentionable: climate change
The Pentagon ranks it as a national security threat and, left unchecked, climate change is expected to cost the US economy billions of dollars every year -- and yet it has proved the great unmentionable of this election campaign. Amid unprecedented melting of the Arctic summer sea ice, new temperature records in the US and a historic drought, the last of three presidential debates wound up on Monday night without Barack Obama or Mitt Romney ever uttering the words climate change. ...


They didn't say toilet paper either.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Oct 22, 2012
from Salon.com:
No debate on climate change
"Climate change" -- the words that dare not be spoken when candidates for the presidency of the richest and most powerful nation in the world meet in the storm and clamor of a debate. That's been true for the first two meetings between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, and it will most likely continue to be the same sad story again in Monday night's foreign policy-focused debate. But it shouldn't be. The latest reason why comes from Europe, in the form of a 274-page report on the cost and frequency of extreme weather events in North America, courtesy of the giant resinsurance company Munich Re. The short version: Across the entire globe, North America is experiencing the most marked increase in both the number of extreme events and their price tag. ...


Now I'm reterrified!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Oct 22, 2012
from Associated Press:
'War On Coal' Label Obscures Reality During Presidential Campaign
...Blame the president, the script goes. Blame the Environmental Protection Agency. And now that it's election season, blame all incumbent politicians -- even those who have spent their careers in a delicate dance, trying to make mines safer while allowing their operators to prosper. The war on coal is a sound bite and a headline, perpetuated by pundits, power companies and public relations consultants who have crafted a neat label for a complex set of realities, one that compels people to choose sides... In reality, U.S. Department of Labor figures show the number of coal jobs nationwide has grown steadily since 2008, with consistent gains in West Virginia and Virginia, and ups and down in Kentucky. ...


Who needs reality when making shit up is sooooo much more fun!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Oct 22, 2012
from LJWorld:
14-year-old Lecompton girl sues Brownback administration over CO2 emissions
Topeka -- A 14-year-old northeast Kansas girl has sued Gov. Sam Brownback's administration in hopes of forcing it to impose limits on carbon dioxide emissions. Samantha Farb of Lecompton filed the lawsuit Thursday through her parents in Shawnee County District Court. It's part of campaign launched last year by environmentalists to file such lawsuits in all 50 states. The effort is led by a nonprofit Oregon group called Our Children's Trust. ...


Let the wild rumpus begin!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Oct 22, 2012
from Reuters:
U.S. wind industry adding record number of turbines
...The U.S. wind industry in August for the first time surpassed 50,000 megawatts (MW) of generation capacity - enough to power 13 million homes, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) said in a report issued on Thursday ... But the federal production tax credit for renewable energy is due to expire at the year-end. The group said the credit, which has been continuously in place since 2005, helps create more than $15 billion a year in investment in U.S. wind farms. ...


If it expires... then so do we.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Oct 16, 2012
from National Wildlife Federation:
Fact Check: Department of Energy --Still Helping Create Winners Nationwide
Let's just be clear, as we head into the next round of Presidential and Vice Presidential debates, the Department of Energy's investments in clean energy have been extremely successful. A recent fact-checking analysis found that DOE's projects had a 98 percent success rate. That means about 14,700+ successes out of 15,000+ projects. ...


I don't care what you say. It's my American right to bitch about Solyndra!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Oct 15, 2012
from Midwest Energy News:
Indiana coal controversy prompts push for more transparency in utility planning
For the first time in 17 years, Indiana's public utility commission is rewriting the state's rule governing how utilities develop long-term plans to meet electricity demand. The new rule could force the state's five investor-owned utilities to face more public scrutiny in developing their plans, and perhaps move more quickly than they might otherwise toward reducing carbon emissions. But the utilities are pushing back, saying that since they have the most skin in the game, they should have the most say over their plans. ...


They have skin in the game we only have lungs.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Oct 9, 2012
from Reuters:
More US coal plants to retire due to green rules: study
More U.S. coal-fired power plants could retire due to environmental regulations and weaker-than-expected electric demand, costing the industry up to $144 billion, economists at consultancy Brattle Group said. In a new study, Brattle's economists forecast 59,000 to 77,000 megawatts (MW) of coal plant capacity would likely retire over the next five years. That was about 25,000 MW more than the firm had estimated in 2010, Brattle said in a release. There is about 317,000 MW of coal-fired capacity now in the United States. ...


The golf courses are going to be full!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Oct 8, 2012
from Midwest Energy News:
Q&A: Is Midwest coal destined for Asia?
As coal-fired power plants are closing down across the U.S. -- the result of competition from cheap natural gas and tougher pollution rules -- coal companies are looking to ramp up their exports overseas. Coal exports from the U.S. have already increased significantly in the past few years. The U.S. has long exported coal for power plants and steel-making (thermal and metallurgical, respectively) to Europe, South America, Asia and Africa. But now companies are looking to build new ports or expand existing ports in the Pacific Northwest and on the East and Gulf coasts. ...


(singing) Coal! Coal will bring us together!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Oct 1, 2012
from Nature:
Earth's carbon sink downsized
As carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere continue to climb, most climate models project that the world's oceans and trees will keep soaking up more than half of the extra CO2. But researchers report this week that the capacity for land plants to absorb more CO2 will be much lower than previously thought, owing to limitations in soil nutrients. Because plants take up CO2 during photosynthesis, it has long been assumed that they will provide a large carbon "sink" to help offset increases in atmospheric CO2 caused by the burning of fossil fuels. Some scientists have argued that the increase might even be good for plants, which would presumably grow faster and mop up even more CO2. Climate models estimate that the world's oceans have absorbed about 30 percent of the CO2 that humans have released in the past 150 years and that land plants have gulped another 30 percent. But the latest study, by ecologists Peter Reich and Sarah Hobbie at the University of Minnesota in St Paul, suggests that estimates of how much CO2 land plants can use are far too optimistic. ...


What is the carbon footprint of optimism?

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Oct 1, 2012
from The Earth Institute at Columbia University :
High-Arctic Heat Tops 1,800-Year High, Says Study; Modern Spike Outmatches Naturally Driven 'Medieval Warm Period'
Summers on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard are now warmer than at any other time in the last 1,800 years, including during medieval times when parts of the northern hemisphere were as hot as, or hotter, than today, according to a new study in the journal Geology... The naturally driven Medieval Warm Period, from about 950 to 1250, has been a favorite time for people who deny evidence that humans are heating the planet with industrial greenhouse gases. But the climate reconstruction from Svalbard casts new doubt on that era's reach, and undercuts skeptics who argue that current warming is also natural. ...


I am svo svad about this.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Sep 24, 2012
from New York Times:
Power, Pollution and the Internet
... Most data centers, by design, consume vast amounts of energy in an incongruously wasteful manner, interviews and documents show. Online companies typically run their facilities at maximum capacity around the clock, whatever the demand. As a result, data centers can waste 90 percent or more of the electricity they pull off the grid, The Times found. To guard against a power failure, they further rely on banks of generators that emit diesel exhaust. The pollution from data centers has increasingly been cited by the authorities for violating clean air regulations, documents show. In Silicon Valley, many data centers appear on the state government's Toxic Air Contaminant Inventory, a roster of the area's top stationary diesel polluters. Worldwide, the digital warehouses use about 30 billion watts of electricity, roughly equivalent to the output of 30 nuclear power plants ... ...


Mea culpa... I read this story online -- d'oh! and so did you!

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Sep 23, 2012
from New York Times:
Greenland's 'Ice Quakes' May Set a Record
One of the more amazing facts about the ongoing destruction of the Greenland ice sheet is that it is producing earthquakes that can be detected worldwide. Now, fresh evidence is at hand to show that these "ice quakes" are spreading to previously quiescent parts of Greenland. We're only in September, but it seems increasingly likely that 2012 will set a record for such quakes.... The striking thing about this paper is the evidence that glacial earthquakes, and the ice loss they represent, have spread to one of the coldest parts of Greenland, in the far northwest. From 2000 to 2010, 66 glacial earthquakes occurred at northwestern glaciers that in previous decades had produced virtually none. The paper describes this as "a major expansion in the number of glaciers producing glacial earthquakes and the geographic range of those glaciers." ...


If I was a quake, I'd be moving north too!

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Fri, Sep 21, 2012
from CBC:
Scientists predict record ocean temperatures in 2012
Canadian and U.S. scientists are predicting 2012 will set records for warm ocean temperatures on the eastern Seaboard. Dave Hebert, a research scientist with the Bedford Institute of Oceanography, said temperatures off Nova Scotia in August were about two degrees above normal. "We're actually seeing it in all the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Scotian Shelf all the way up to the Labrador Shelf. All warming up a couple of degrees," Hebert told CBC News. He said the department of fisheries and oceans has not yet calculated temperatures for 2012, however he expects it to break records.... "When the fish migrate from fresh water, they will be entering a much warmer ocean with a more aggressive predator field so that the warmer it gets there would be higher mortality occurring on these stocks," said Friedman. ...


Call me a WARMISTA: Want A Recovery, Mankind? I Suspect Trauma Ahead.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Sep 19, 2012
from :
Arctic ice shrinks to all-time low; half 1980 size
Scientists say the amount of ice in the Arctic Ocean shrank to an all-time low this year, smashing old records for the critical climate indicator... in the 1980s, summer ice would cover an area slightly smaller than the Lower 48 states. Now it is about half that size. ...


Another one bites the dust.

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Mon, Sep 17, 2012
from ClimateWire:
Sagging economy, doubts about coal prompt power companies to sell more plants
Dominion Resources' plan to shed 4,000 megawatts from its merchant power portfolio by next year illustrates just how dramatically electricity markets have changed in an era of tightening regulation, volatile fuel prices and a sluggish economy... Mike King, head of the energy, environment and network industries practice at NERA Economic Consulting, said the electric power sector is weathering major disruptions caused by technology, policy, regulatory and market forces. Among these are low gas prices sparked by the technological advancements in oil and gas drilling, and government policies promoting renewables and energy efficiency. Finally, new regulations targeting coal-fired power plant emissions have required significant upgrades in coal plants, making it difficult for their owners to make money. ...


Viva la disruptions!

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Sun, Sep 2, 2012
from AMS, via DesdemonaDespair:
American Meteorological Society issues updated statement on climate change: 'Warming of the climate system now is unequivocal'
The AMS has released its updated statement on climate change, and as expected, it is considerably more direct than the previous one issued in 2007. This is no surprise since the last 5 years have seen a remarkable increase in understanding, along with 5 more years of observations and measurements. Full disclosure here: I've been a proud member of the American Meteorological Society for around 35 years. I also serve on the AMS Committee for Station Science. ...


You don't need a meteorologist to know which way the wind blows.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Aug 31, 2012
from Chicago Tribune:
Closure of Chicago's Crawford, Fisk electric plants ends coal era
The Fisk power plant, in service since 1903, burned its final batch of coal Thursday while its sister plant Crawford shut down by Wednesday, ending Chicago's run as the only major U.S. city with two coal plants operating in its borders. Their closings, confirmed by owner Midwest Generation, eliminate Chicago's two biggest industrial sources of carbon dioxide emissions, which contribute to global warming. At their peak the plants supplied power to roughly 1 million homes. ...


I'm already feeling nostalgic.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Aug 28, 2012
from Reuters:
Wal-Mart joins agriculture sustainability group
The world's largest retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc has joined an alliance of other Fortune 500 companies, including Cargill and Kellogg Co, seeking to make agriculture more sustainable. The Field to Market alliance was started three years ago by the non-profit Keystone Center to improve agricultural productivity and reduce the use of natural resources. It includes farm groups, grain handlers and food makers but Wal-Mart is the first retailer in the group and now its largest member ... Wal-Mart is seeking to eliminate 20 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions from its global supply chain by the end of 2015. ...


Every little bit helps!

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Fri, Aug 24, 2012
from IPAC-CO2, via EurekAlert:
Only 2 percent of Canadians deny climate change
Only two per cent of Canadians believe climate change is not occurring, a new important survey released today by IPAC-CO2 Research Inc. concluded. The survey comes on the heels of Alberta Premier Alison Redford's recent push for a National Energy Strategy, which would address the future of Canada's oil and gas industries, and its approach to carbon management. "Our survey indicates that Canadians from coast to coast overwhelmingly believe climate change is real and is occurring, at least in part due to human activity" explained Dr. Carmen Dybwad, CEO of the environmental non-government organization. "These findings have been consistent from 2011 and 2012. Canadians care about issues like extreme weather, drought and climate change." ...


Well, duh! They even know where the Northwest Passage is!

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Aug 24, 2012
from League of Conservation Voters, via DesdemonaDespair:
Sign League of Conservation Voters petition: ask candidates "what's your plan to address climate crisis"
Sign our petition to ask Obama and Romney this question in the first debate! Help us put the climate crisis in the national spotlight by calling on Jim Lehrer, the moderator of the first presidential debate, to ask about global warming in the first presidential debate. ...


I can't believe we even have to ask.

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Thu, Aug 23, 2012
from Guardian:
Arctic sea ice levels to reach record low within days
Arctic sea ice is set to reach its lowest ever recorded extent as early as this weekend, in "dramatic changes" signalling that man-made global warming is having a major impact on the polar region. With the melt happening at an unprecedented rate of more than 100,000 sq km a day, and at least a week of further melt expected before it begins to reform ahead of the northern winter, satellites are expected to confirm the record - currently set in 2007 - within days.... "In the last few days it has been losing 100,000 sq km a day, a record in itself for August. A storm has spread the ice pack out, opening up water, bringing up warmer water. Things are definitely changing quickly." Because ice thickness, volume, extent and area are all measured differently, it may be a week before there is unanimous agreement among the world's cryologists (ice experts) that 2012 is a record year. Four out of the nine daily sea ice extent and area graphs kept by scientists in the US, Europe and Asia suggest that records have already been broken. ...


It's as bad as the state of Kristin Stewart and Robert Pattinson's relationship!

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Wed, Aug 22, 2012
from Planet 3.0:
Top Ten Things Aunt Sally Doesn't Know About Climate and Greenhouse Gases
1) Carbon is forever... 2) The next ice age has already been cancelled.... 3) Bugs, weeds, jellyfish, rats.... 4) CO2 disrupts directly.... 5) Rapid increases of atmospheric CO2 poison the ocean.... 9) Until the moment we get this problem under control and for a few decades to follow climate will get not just hotter but more peculiar and fraught with extraordinary events, some of them disruptive.... 10) Uncertainty cuts both ways.... ...


0.1) The Arctic is warming much faster than everywhere else. 0.2) Methane hydrates are released as arctic waters warm.... 0.3) OMG

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Sun, Aug 19, 2012
from Harvard, via EurekAlert:
Massachusetts butterflies move north as climate warms
... "Over the past 19 years, a warming climate has been reshaping Massachusetts butterfly communities." Subtropical and warm-climate species such as the giant swallowtail and zabulon skipper--many of which were rare or absent in Massachusetts as recently as the late 1980s--show the sharpest increases in abundance. At the same time, more than three quarters of northerly species--species with a range centered north of Boston--are now declining in Massachusetts, many of them rapidly. Most impacted are the species that overwinter as eggs or small larvae: these overwintering stages may be much more sensitive to drought or lack of snow cover. The study creates new questions for managing threatened species. "For most butterfly species, climate change seems to be a stronger change-agent than habitat loss. Protecting habitat remains a key management strategy, and that may help some butterfly species. However, for many others, habitat protection will not mitigate the impacts of warming," says Breed. ...


Those butterflies are flapping their wings farther north, so they'll blow cold air to where it's needed!

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Sun, Aug 19, 2012
from Globe and Mail:
Pipelines, glut of cheap crude raise doubts over oil sands expansion
Strained pipeline systems and a glut of North American crude will force Canadian oil sands companies to cut back on their ambitious expansion plans over the next several years, a major new report warns. Based on a review of all major producing regions, the CIBC World Markets report says North American crude production should grow annually over the next five years by a stunning 900,000 barrels a day. That scenario would see the United States dramatically cut its dependency on imported crude, forcing Canadian producers to look for markets elsewhere, at the same time that Canadian gas exporters face shrinking U.S. appetite for their supplies due to booming shale gas supplies. Companies will find it increasingly difficult to justify expansion of high-cost oil sands projects, especially when there is a wealth of more profitable, less capital-intensive investment opportunities across the continent, CIBC analysts said in the 276-page report released Friday. "Unfortunately, higher cost oil sands projects seem like the first to get rationalized," said the study of 28 major oil and gas plays in the U.S. and Canada. ...


Does that mean that Canada won't become the next petro-powerhouse?

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Wed, Aug 8, 2012
from CNN:
NOAA: July hottest month on record for continental US
The July heat wave that wilted crops, shriveled rivers and fueled wildfires officially went into the books Wednesday as the hottest single month on record for the continental United States. The average temperature across the Lower 48 was 77.6 degrees Fahrenheit, 3.3 degrees above the 20th-century average, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration reported. That edged out the previous high mark, set in 1936, by two-tenths of a degree, NOAA said. U.S. forecasters started keeping records in 1895. The seven months of 2012 to date are the warmest of any year on record and were drier than average as well, NOAA said. ...


The warmists are in collusion with the weather?

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Wed, Aug 1, 2012
from Charleston Gazette:
EPA mine water-pollution guidelines thrown out
Dealing another blow to the Obama administration's crackdown on mountaintop removal, a federal judge on Tuesday threw out new federal guidance that aimed to reduce water pollution from Appalachian coal mining operations. U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton ruled that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency overstepped its authority under federal water protection and strip mining laws when it issued the water quality guidance. ...


Humans: 1, Mountaintops: 0

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Wed, Aug 1, 2012
from Live Science:
Nature Still Sucking Up Considerable Carbon Dioxide
While humans are emitting large amounts of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere, the planet sucks some of it back up. A new study indicates that natural, carbon-removing processes, have not yet reached capacity, in spite of humans' increasing emissions over recent decades. The oceans can absorb carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, as can trees and other vegetation. "Globally, these carbon dioxide 'sinks' have roughly kept pace with emissions from human activities, continuing to draw about half of the emitted [carbon dioxide] back out of the atmosphere," said study researcher and climate scientist Pieter Tans, with the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration's Earth System Research Laboratory, in a statement. "However, we do not expect this to continue indefinitely." ...


Let it continue long enough that I might maximize my profits.

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Mon, Jul 30, 2012
from Oregon State University:
Chronic 2000-04 Drought, Worst in 800 Years, May Be the 'New Normal'
The chronic drought that hit western North America from 2000 to 2004 left dying forests and depleted river basins in its wake and was the strongest in 800 years, scientists have concluded, but they say those conditions will become the "new normal" for most of the coming century. ...


The new normal: horror.

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Tue, Jul 24, 2012
from NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center:
Unprecedented Greenland Ice Sheet Surface Melt
For several days this month, Greenland's surface ice cover melted over a larger area than at any time in more than 30 years of satellite observations. Nearly the entire ice cover of Greenland, from its thin, low-lying coastal edges to its two-mile-thick center, experienced some degree of melting at its surface, according to measurements from three independent satellites analyzed by NASA and university scientists. ...


Greenland is aching to be green!

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Tue, Jul 24, 2012
from Lester Brown, in The Guardian:
The world is closer to a food crisis than most people realise
On 21 May, 77 percent of the US corn crop was rated as good to excellent. The following week the share of the crop in this category dropped to 72 percent. Over the next eight weeks, it dropped to 26 percent, one of the lowest ratings on record. The other 74 percent is rated very poor to fair. And the crop is still deteriorating. Over a span of weeks, we have seen how the more extreme weather events that come with climate change can affect food security. Since the beginning of June, corn prices have increased by nearly one half, reaching an all-time high on 19 July.... Although the world was hoping for a good US harvest to replenish dangerously low grain stocks, this is no longer on the cards. World carryover stocks of grain will fall further at the end of this crop year, making the food situation even more precarious. Food prices, already elevated, will follow the price of corn upward, quite possibly to record highs. ...


Disaster capitalism will save the day!

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Mon, Jul 23, 2012
from Center for Public Integrity:
U.S. issues fines, orders upgrades at coal-fired power plants
In the latest settlement targeting toxic emissions from power plants, the Environmental Protection Agency and Justice Department have issued a $950,000 fine and ordered millions in pollution control technology at three coal-fired power plants in Wisconsin. Plant operator Dairyland Power Cooperative will pay the civil penalty, invest $150 million in pollution control technology and spend $5 million on environmental mitigation projects, the EPA said in a Clean Air Act pact announced June 29. "This settlement will improve air quality in Wisconsin and downwind areas by significantly reducing releases of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and other harmful pollutants,” Ignacia S. Moreno, assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice, said in a statement. ...


On behalf of The Downwind Coalition, I thank you.

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Mon, Jul 23, 2012
from Bloomberg News:
Frackers Fund University Research That Proves Their Case
Pennsylvania remains the largest U.S. state without a tax on natural gas production, thanks in part to a study released under the banner of the Pennsylvania State University. The 2009 report predicted drillers would shun Pennsylvania if new taxes were imposed, and lawmakers cited it the following year when they rejected a 5 percent tax proposed by then- Governor Ed Rendell.... What the study didn't do was note that it was sponsored by gas drillers and led by an economist, now at the University of Wyoming, with a history of producing industry-friendly research on economic and energy issues.... As the U.S. enjoys a natural-gas boom from a process called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, producers are taking a page from the tobacco industry playbook: funding research at established universities that arrives at conclusions that counter concerns raised by critics. ...


This is a fracking outrage!

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Sun, Jul 22, 2012
from New Scientist:
2011 heatwave transformed Australian marine life
Heatwaves aren't just a problem for humans. They can reshape marine ecosystems too. Such extreme weather events will become more common because of climate change. They can ravage land ecosystems, but until now little has been known about their effects in the seas. Events last year in the sea off Australia's west coast suggest that the impact can be extreme and rapid. For more than ten weeks beginning in January, sea temperatures were between 2 deg C and 4 deg C warmer than usual along a 2000-kilometre stretch of coast - the area's most extreme warming event since records began.... The ecosystem had lost complexity. The kelp (Ecklonia radiate) that covered 80 per cent of the area, providing a range of habitats, had declined to cover just 50 per cent. Mats of algal "turf", which create fewer distinct niches, had moved in instead.... Thomas predicts that climate change will commit 15 to 37 per cent of species to extinction by 2050 (Nature, DOI: 10.1038/nature02121). He says the toll may be made worse by more frequent extreme weather events. ...


Perhaps it's time for some extreme grassroots events!

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Fri, Jul 20, 2012
from Reuters, via Chicago Tribune, from DesdemonaDespair:
US drought could go through October: forecasters
Hotter-than-normal temperatures are expected through October over most of the contiguous 48 U.S. states, with below-average precipitation for Midwest areas already hit by the worst drought in a half century, government forecasters said on Thursday. Experts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration did not rule out drought that could continue past October, and they noted that there was a chance of an El Nino pattern that could mean more excessive heat and dry conditions by the end of 2012.... "There's a greater chance that there is no relief possible or in sight" for the U.S. Midwest, Collins said, stressing that these are probabilities, not definitive predictions. ...


Apocaiku:
Evident absence / of rain. Evidence denied / will not stay absent.

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Tue, Jul 17, 2012
from CBC Canada:
Pacific Ocean acid levels jeopardizing marine life
The Pacific Ocean is growing more acidic at a much faster rate than anticipated, scientists say, putting everything from corals to mussels in jeopardy. Researchers say carbon dioxide from the atmosphere forms carbonic acid in the ocean, changing the seawater enough that it can dissolve the shells of coral and shellfish. The water off the west coast of Vancouver Island is changing at an unprecedented rate, meaning vulnerable life forms in the ocean's food chain must adapt or die. ...


We knew the oceans would boil.

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Mon, Jul 16, 2012
from Texas A&M University:
Antarctica at Risk from Human Activities
The continent of Antarctica is at risk from human activities and other forces, and environmental management is needed to protect the planet's last great wilderness area, says an international team of researchers, including a Texas A&M University oceanographer, in a paper published in the current issue of Science magazine.... Antarctica faces growing threats from global warming, loss of sea ice and landed ice, increased tourism, over-fishing in the region, pollution and invasive species creeping into the area. One of the longer-term concerns that may present the greatest threat overall is the potential for oil, gas and mineral exploitation on the continent and in the surrounding ocean... ...


Why should anywhere on the planet be immune from this virus called humanity?

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Thu, Jul 5, 2012
from US Drought Monitor, via EurekAlert:
US Drought Monitor shows record-breaking expanse of drought across US
More of the United States is in moderate drought or worse than at any other time in the 12-year history of the U.S. Drought Monitor, officials from the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln said today. Analysis of the latest drought monitor data revealed that 46.84 percent of the nation's land area is in various stages of drought, up from 42.8 percent a week ago. Previous records were 45.87 percent in drought on Aug. 26, 2003, and 45.64 percent on Sept. 10, 2002.... "The recent heat and dryness is catching up with us on a national scale," said Michael J. Hayes, director of the National Drought Mitigation Center at UNL. ...


No rain explains the dryness of the plains.

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Tue, Jun 12, 2012
from New York Times:
Warming Will Unlock Carbon in Forests, Study Warns
...scientists have identified another feedback loop that may be accelerating the loss of carbon dioxide from the topsoil of forests in the United States, contributing to climate change. In a study published online on Monday, researchers at the University of California, Irvine, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that as temperatures rise, activity increases among the microbes that eat the topsoil and exhale carbon dioxide afterward. While that finding is not surprising, said the lead author, Francesca Hopkins, a doctoral researcher in the Department of Earth System Science at Irvine, she and her collaborators also found that in warmer temperatures the microbes were better able to digest decades-old carbon stored in the soils. ...


Microbes... they'll eat anything.

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Tue, Jun 12, 2012
from London Guardian:
Rest in fleece: demand soars for woollen coffins
Coffins made from British wool fleeces are growing in popularity thanks to an increasing number of Britons choosing to take their commitment to a greener life beyond the grave by planning for an environmentally sound send-off. In the past year, Hainsworth, one of the UK's leading textile mills, has witnessed a 700 percent rise in demand for its woollen coffins. ...


Only thing greener would be to have the sheep eat you.

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Mon, Jun 11, 2012
from Anchorage Alaska Dispatch:
Arctic tundra transforming into forest much quicker than expected
Rising summer temperatures have triggered an arboreal facelift across a vast swath of Eurasian tundra, transforming patches of Arctic prairie into forest much faster than scientists ever thought possible. Instead of trees slowly invading from the south over the course of centuries, stands of existing dwarf willows and alders have responded to the changing climate on their own -- growing up and branching out into groves of small trees during mere decades, according to a new detailed analysis published this week in the journal Nature Climate Change... The speed and scale of the change reported in the latest study -- as much as 15 percent of the willow and alder in the area had bloomed into six-foot-high groves over 30 to 40 years -- suggests that Arctic warming has the potential to dramatically accelerate, while creating new woodsy ecosystems in the process. Since forested areas absorb more solar energy than grassy tundra, the spread of trees will also help jumpstart warming -- some climate models predict an extra two to four degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature rise, in turn, will promote even more forest growth. ...


What a beautiful, cruel, spiral.

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Mon, Jun 11, 2012
from Australian Broadcasting Corporation:
Greenhouse gases largely to blame for warming oceans: scientists
A new US-led study, featuring research by Tasmanian scientists, has concluded that warming ocean temperatures over the past 50 years are largely a man-made phenomenon. Researchers from America, India, Japan and Australia say the study is the most comprehensive look at how the oceans have warmed. The study, published today in the journal Nature Climate Change, examined a dozen different models used to project climate change, and compared them with observations of ocean warming over the past 50 years. It found natural variations accounted for about 10 per cent of rising temperatures, but man-made greenhouse gases were the major cause. ...


The warmer the ocean ... the hotter the babes!

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Thu, Jun 7, 2012
from Agence France-Press:
Environmental collapse now a serious threat: scientists
Climate change, population growth and environmental destruction could cause a collapse of the ecosystem just a few generations from now, scientists warned on Wednesday in the journal Nature. The paper by 22 top researchers said a "tipping point" by which the biosphere goes into swift and irreversible change, with potentially cataclysmic impacts for humans, could occur as early as this century. The warning contrasts with a mainstream view among scientists that environmental collapse would be gradual and take centuries. ...


These must be mainscream scientists.

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Tue, Jun 5, 2012
from Bloomberg News:
Romney against tax breaks for wind energy
Mitt Romney's opposition to tax breaks for wind farms puts him at odds with conservative support for renewable energy in states such as Iowa and Texas that have built the largest wind industries with taxpayer help. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee favors more oil drilling and fewer clean-air regulations and has voiced opposition to government backing for wind and solar projects. Romney hasn't taken a position on renewing a federal tax credit for wind power that's set to expire Dec. 31, though he's ridiculed government subsidies for turbines. ...


Might mess up his hair.

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Mon, Jun 4, 2012
from Washington Post:
Canadian government overhauling environmental rules to aid oil extraction
For years, Canada has been seen as an environmental leader on the world stage, pushing other nations to tackle acid rain, save the ozone layer and sign global treaties to protect biodiversity. Those were the old days. The government of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is rewriting the nation's environmental laws to speed the extraction and export of oil, minerals and other materials to a global market clamoring for Canada's natural resources. ...


Come on, let's hurry up and make some money!

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Tue, May 29, 2012
from Los Angeles Times:
Amazon in danger as Brazil moves forward with bill, critics say
The Brazilian government is pressing forward with controversial legislation that critics say will lead to widespread destruction of the Amazon rain forest. After months of heated discussion, President Dilma Rousseff on Monday presented a final version of the bill that was heavily influenced by the country's powerful agricultural lobby. The update to the country's 1965 Forestry Code would reduce both the amount of vegetation landowners must preserve and the future penalties paid for those who currently flout environmental laws. After valuable wood is sold, much of the land in deforested areas ends up being cleared for grazing cattle and agriculture. ...


Rain forest... down the drain.

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Mon, May 28, 2012
from Public Library of Science :
New Type of Male Contraceptive?
A new type of male contraceptive could be created thanks to the discovery of a key gene essential for sperm development. The finding could lead to alternatives to the conventional male contraceptives that rely on disrupting the production of hormones, such as testosterone. These treatments can cause side-effects such as irritability, mood swings and acne. Research, led by the University of Edinburgh, has shown how a gene -- Katnal1 -- is critical to enable sperm to mature in the testes. If scientists can regulate the Katnal1 gene in the testes, they could prevent sperm from maturing completely, making them ineffective without changing hormone levels. ...


Think we could slip it into beer?

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Mon, May 28, 2012
from InsideClimate News:
Why Tar Sands Oil Is More Polluting and Why It Matters
The debate over the Keystone XL oil pipeline heated up again last week after the Congressional Research Service issued a report saying the project could raise U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 21 million metric tons a year -- the equivalent of adding 4 million cars to the road. The Congressional Research Service is a branch of the Library of Congress that conducts policy analysis for lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Released last Tuesday -- less than two weeks after TransCanada re-applied for a permit to build the Keystone XL -- the report found that crude oil produced from Canadian oil sands (also known as tar sands) emits 14 to 20 percent more planet-warming gases than the conventional oil that is typically found in U.S. refineries. ...


Whoever created this report should be tar sandsed and feathered.

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Tue, May 22, 2012
from InsideClimate News:
Gas Industry Aims to Block 2030 Zero-Carbon Building Goal
The natural gas industry and some allies are working behind the scenes in Washington to block a green building rule that was expected to be a national model for carbon-neutral construction. The rule, called Fossil Fuel-Generated Energy Consumption Reduction, would zero out fossil-fuel use -- coal, fuel oil and natural gas -- in all new and renovated federal buildings by 2030. The natural gas industry says the policy would harm its image as a more environmentally friendly fuel than coal. ...


By all means, let's put at the top of our priority list preserving the image of natural gas!

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Mon, May 21, 2012
from BBC:
Arctic melt releasing ancient methane
Scientists have identified thousands of sites in the Arctic where methane that has been stored for many millennia is bubbling into the atmosphere. The methane has been trapped by ice, but is able to escape as the ice melts. Writing in the journal Nature Geoscience, the researchers say this ancient gas could have a significant impact on climate change. Methane is the second most important greenhouse gas after CO2 and levels are rising after a few years of stability... Using aerial and ground-based surveys, the team identified about 150,000 methane seeps in Alaska and Greenland in lakes along the margins of ice cover. ...


I call these seeps ApocaLeaks!

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Wed, May 16, 2012
from University of California - Riverside:
Humanmade Pollutants May Be Driving Earth's Tropical Belt Expansion: May Impact Large-Scale Atmospheric Circulation
Black carbon aerosols and tropospheric ozone, both humanmade pollutants emitted predominantly in the Northern Hemisphere's low- to mid-latitudes, are most likely pushing the boundary of the tropics further poleward in that hemisphere, new research by a team of scientists shows... the researchers are the first to report that black carbon and tropospheric ozone are the most likely primary drivers of the tropical expansion observed in the Northern Hemisphere... "The question to ask is how far must the tropics expand before we start to implement policies to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases, tropospheric ozone and black carbon that are driving the tropical expansion?" said Allen, who joined UCR in 2011. ...


Tropical belt growing bigger -- just like my own midsection.

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Tue, May 15, 2012
from Edinburgh Scotsman:
The world is not enough: soon we'll need three planet Earths
HUMANS are using so many resources that by 2030 even an extra planet will not be enough to sustain our demands, a report has warned. Green group the WWF concludes in its Living Planet Report 2012 that mankind is already living as though we have one and a half planets at our disposal. By 2030 even having two planets at our disposal will not be enough and if lifestyles do not change, by 2050 we would need almost three. ...


I'm seeing two planets right now!

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Tue, May 15, 2012
from The Coloradoan:
CSU study: Trees don't clean as much as thought
A new Colorado State University study of when and how trees absorb carbon could have far-reaching effects on years of previous and current climate change research. The culmination of seven years of research has revealed that trees trap in their leaves less carbon dioxide than once thought. This means that there is an estimated 2 billion more metric tons of the greenhouse gas in the air that scientists say has, with others, contributed to a rise in the Earth's temperature. ...


Stupid slacker trees.

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Thu, May 10, 2012
from New York Times Op-ed:
James Hansen: Game Over for the Climate
If Canada proceeds, and we do nothing, it will be game over for the climate. Canada's tar sands, deposits of sand saturated with bitumen, contain twice the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by global oil use in our entire history. If we were to fully exploit this new oil source, and continue to burn our conventional oil, gas and coal supplies, concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere eventually would reach levels higher than in the Pliocene era, more than 2.5 million years ago, when sea level was at least 50 feet higher than it is now.... That is the long-term outlook. But near-term, things will be bad enough. Over the next several decades, the Western United States and the semi-arid region from North Dakota to Texas will develop semi-permanent drought, with rain, when it does come, occurring in extreme events with heavy flooding. Economic losses would be incalculable. More and more of the Midwest would be a dust bowl. California's Central Valley could no longer be irrigated. Food prices would rise to unprecedented levels. If this sounds apocalyptic, it is. This is why we need to reduce emissions dramatically.... The science of the situation is clear -- it's time for the politics to follow. ...


If we slam the brakes on, we'll have to cope with the SQID: the Status Quo Inertia Disorder.

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Tue, May 8, 2012
from USA Today:
Public support slips for steps to curb climate change
From gas-mileage standards to tax breaks for windmills, public support for "green" energy measures to tackle global warming has dropped significantly in the past two years, particularly among Republicans, a new poll suggests.... Overall, support for various steps to cut greenhouse gas emissions has dropped an average of 10 percentage points since 2010, from 72 percent to 62 percent, lead researcher Jon Krosnick says. "Most Americans (62 percent) still support industry taking steps aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions," Krosnick says, "but they hate the idea of consumer taxes to do it."...Krosnick suggests that distrust of environmental scientists among Republican voters, expressed by about 41 percent of them in the poll, may explain much of the drop. ...


Distrust in science is a greenhouse gas.

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Wed, May 2, 2012
from New York Times:
Clouds' Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dissenters
...polls say 97 percent of working climate scientists now see global warming as a serious risk. Yet in recent years, the climate change skeptics have seized on one last argument that cannot be so readily dismissed. Their theory is that clouds will save us. They acknowledge that the human release of greenhouse gases will cause the planet to warm. But they assert that clouds -- which can either warm or cool the earth, depending on the type and location -- will shift in such a way as to counter much of the expected temperature rise and preserve the equable climate on which civilization depends. ...


I've always said climate skeptics have their heads in the clouds.

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Tue, May 1, 2012
from Edmonton Journal:
Don't consider native spirituality in mine review, Ottawa urged
A new federal environmental review panel "does not have any right to attribute significance to the spirituality of a place per se," Taseko Mines Ltd. president Russell Hallbauer wrote in a letter obtained under the Access to Information Act and provided to the Vancouver Sun by B.C. independent MLA Bob Simpson. Vancouver-based Taseko, which failed in its 2010 bid to get federal approval after a "scathing" federal review, also asked Ottawa to not permit aboriginal prayer ceremonies at pending hearings on the revised proposal. Children's plays should also be banned, Hallbauer said in his November letter. ...


This guy is the very definition of killjoy.

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Tue, Apr 17, 2012
from EnvironmentalResearchWeb:
Satellite observes rapid ice shelf disintegration in Antarctic
Now, with ten years of observations using its Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR), Envisat has mapped an additional loss in Larsen B's area of 1790 sq km over the past decade.... "The northern Antarctic Peninsula has been subject to atmospheric warming of about 2.5 degrees C over the last 50 years - a much stronger warming trend than on global average, causing retreat and disintegration of ice shelves."... The Envisat observations of the Larsen Ice Shelf confirm the vulnerability of ice shelves to climatic warming and demonstrate the importance of ice shelves for the stability of glaciers upstream. ...


If we renamed it Proarctica, would we treat it differently?

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Mon, Apr 16, 2012
from Associated Press:
As ice cap melts, militaries vie for Arctic edge
To the world's military leaders, the debate over climate change is long over. They are preparing for a new kind of Cold War in the Arctic, anticipating that rising temperatures there will open up a treasure trove of resources, long-dreamed-of sea lanes and a slew of potential conflicts. By Arctic standards, the region is already buzzing with military activity, and experts believe that will increase significantly in the years ahead. ...


Would that it was a "Cold" War.

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Mon, Apr 9, 2012
from The Daily Climate:
Warming Atlantic primes the Amazon for fire
...Scientists used to think the rainforest, especially in the western Amazon, was too wet to burn. But major fire seasons in 2005 and 2010 made them reconsider. Fires are a major source of carbon emissions in the Amazon, and scientists are beginning to worry that the region could become a net emitter, instead of a carbon sink. New findings link rising ocean temperatures off the northern coast of Brazil to changing weather patterns: As the Atlantic warms, it draws moisture away from the forest, priming the region for bigger fires. "We are reaching a tipping point in terms of drought, beyond which these forests can catch fire," says Daniel Nepstad, international program director at the Amazon Environmental Research Institute in Brasilia, Brazil. ...


Ocean vs forests: this time it's personal!

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Thu, Apr 5, 2012
from Insurance Journal:
Climate Contrarian Case Wilts, as More Studies Confirm Warming Trends
A clutch of recent studies reinforces evidence that people are causing climate change and suggests debate should now move on to a more precise understanding of its impact on humans. The reports, published in various journals in recent weeks, add new detail to the theory of climate change and by implication cast contrarians in a more desperate light. To be clear: there's nothing wrong with doubting climate change; but doubts based on ignorance, a political bias or fossil fuel lobbying don't help.... Like any theory, climate change is based on probabilities and observations couched in error margins and difficult to prove conclusively. It's complicated by the poor understanding of runaway effects which could make the planet all but unrecognizable -- in warming, desertification and sea level rise -- over the next few centuries, distracting from a cool view.... the basics of climate change are now understood and serious doubt is left only in the minds of those who cultivate it. Climate science can now pin down the big uncertainties, about regional impacts, sea level rise and runaway effects, and help to put to work a response. ...


You mean the warmists have infiltrated the insurance industry too?!

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Thu, Apr 5, 2012
from RealClimate:
Thirty-year-old global temperature predictions close to spot-on -- even a bit optimistic
Sometimes it helps to take a step back from the everyday pressures of research (falling ill helps). It was in this way we stumbled across [James] Hansen et al (1981) (pdf).... They got 10 pages in Science, which is a lot, but in it they cover radiation balance, 1D and 3D modelling, climate sensitivity, the main feedbacks (water vapour, lapse rate, clouds, ice- and vegetation albedo); solar and volcanic forcing; the uncertainties of aerosol forcings; and ocean heat uptake. Obviously climate science was a mature field even then: the concepts and conclusions have not changed all that much. Hansen et al clearly indicate what was well known (all of which still stands today) and what was uncertain.... To conclude, a projection from 1981 for rising temperatures in a major science journal, at a time that the temperature rise was not yet obvious in the observations, has been found to agree well with the observations since then, underestimating the observed trend by about 30 percent, and easily beating naive predictions of no-change or a linear continuation of trends. ...


It's hard to believe that the warmist conspiracy was underway that long ago!

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Wed, Apr 4, 2012
from ClimateWire:
Dying corals -- milestones along a meandering path to famine
...Already, there is evidence that as the ocean warms, many commercial fish stocks are moving poleward in search of cooler waters. Rising ocean temperatures have triggered coral bleaching events that have caused widespread damage to the world's reefs, which serve as a habitat for many species.... Researchers are also concerned about the effects that shifting ocean chemistry will have on marine ecosystems. As the world's carbon dioxide output has risen, oceans have absorbed more and more of the heat-trapping gas, leaving seawater 30 percent more acidic than it was before the Industrial Revolution began. Eventually, ocean acidification could scramble ocean ecosystems by making it harder for sea creatures like oysters, coral and plankton to grow the hard, chalky shells that protect them from predators. ...


No matter where those fish go we'll track em down!

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Mon, Apr 2, 2012
from Living on Earth:
Africa's Great Green Wall of Trees
Africa is turning to desert. Studies show that as much as two thirds of the continent's arable land could become desert by 2025 if current trends continue. But a bold initiative to plant a wall of trees 4,300 miles long across the African continent could keep back the sands of the Sahara, improve degraded lands, and help alleviate poverty... It's known as the Great Green Wall. ...


And we should all be green with envy!

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Mon, Apr 2, 2012
from The Daily Climate:
Military sees threats, worry in climate change
...Making the SEALs into a leaner, greener tactical force is one of many such steps being taken by all branches as the U.S. military reduces its environmental footprint. The Army is targeting net-zero energy use at several bases, and the Navy and Air Force are experimenting with running jets on biofuels that use wood waste and algae and less petroleum. In Afghanistan, patrols now carry eco-friendly solar blankets and LED lamps. Connecting the military's fossil-fuel and overall energy use with risks to our national security hasn't been easy in this political environment, especially with the presidential election looming. Congressional Republicans have repeatedly questioned and criticized the Armed Forces' new-energy strategies, portraying initiatives as political favors to clean-energy businesses. But current and retired military leaders insist the policies are essential. The efforts protect soldiers and help them carry out missions. They also help curb climate change and its potential to intensify military conflicts. ...


I have an idea. Let's stop fighting other countries and start fighting Republicans.

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Fri, Mar 30, 2012
from Washington Times:
Churches step up environmental activism
God is going green. With a Bible in one hand and a protest sign in the other, many religious activists are now moving in lockstep with the environmental movement in the fight against oil and gas drilling. Stewardship of the Earth is hardly a new concept in Christian thought -- it's mentioned in Genesis -- but a growing school of theological thought leaders are getting out of the pew, marching on the picket line, and becoming specific-issue activists. ...


Amen!

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Wed, Mar 28, 2012
from Washington Post:
EPA imposes first greenhouse gas limits on new power plants
The Environmental Protection Agency issued the first-ever limits on greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants Tuesday, but stopped short of imposing any restrictions on the nation's existing coal-fired fleet.... The rule, which comes on the heels of tough new requirements that the Obama administration imposed on mercury emissions and cross-state pollution from utilities within the past year, dooms any proposal to build a coal-fired plant that does not have costly carbon controls. ...


Po' widdle coal plants.

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Tue, Mar 27, 2012
from USA Today:
Study: Global temperatures could rise 5 degrees by 2050
As the USA simmers through its hottest March on record -- with more than 6,000 record high temperatures already set this month -- a new study released Sunday shows that average global temperatures could climb 2.5 to 5.4 degrees by 2050 if greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated. The study findings are based on the results of 10,000 computer model simulations of future weather overseen by researchers at Oxford University in the United Kingdom. ...


Couldn't they have written Hamlet instead?

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Sat, Mar 24, 2012
from Agence France-Press:
2001-2010 warmest decade on record: WMO
Climate change has accelerated in the past decade, the UN weather agency said Friday, releasing data showing that 2001 to 2010 was the warmest decade on record. The 10-year period was also marked by extreme levels of rain or snowfall, leading to significant flooding on all continents, while droughts affected parts of East Africa and North America.... Nine of the 10 years also counted among the 10 warmest on record, it added, noting that "climate change accelerated" during the first decade of the 21st century. ...


Proof of global climate strange.

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Wed, Mar 21, 2012
from Politico:
Greens see politics in EPA rule delays
The Environmental Protection Agency's silence on a slew of pending rulemakings is worrying some supporters, who fear the regulations will remain trapped in the White House when an election-year window for new announcements slams shut. Administrators have repeatedly assured interest groups and lawmakers that the EPA is preparing to release numerous proposed and final rules for greenhouse gases, coal ash, sulfur in gasoline and particulate matter. But in reality, few are moving, and announced deadlines are passing. And as the presidential election season hits full tilt, gasoline prices rise and the summer driving season approaches, it becomes less politically advantageous for the Obama administration to move on many regulations -- especially with the race focusing increasingly on energy. ...


Environmental Procrastination Agency

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Mon, Mar 19, 2012
from Washington Post:
Solar industry faces subsidy cuts in Europe
Hanover, Germany -- Shiny black solar panels are as common a sight as baroque church spires in this industrial hub, thanks to government subsidies that have helped make Germany a world leader in solar technology. Now, sudden subsidy cuts here and elsewhere in Europe have thrown the industry into crisis just short of its ultimate goal: a price to generate solar energy that is no higher than fossil-fuel counterparts. Across Europe, governments are slashing public spending to cut their deficits, and green-energy subsidies are a target, too... ...


Apparently, these people have never heard of the future.

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Mon, Mar 19, 2012
from McClatchy Newspapers:
As natural gas production grows, questions arise about methane leaks
As natural gas production in the United States hits an all-time high, a major unanswered question looms: What does growing hydraulic fracturing mean for climate change? The Obama administration lists natural gas as one of the "clean energy sources" it wants to expand. When burned, natural gas emits about half the heat-trapping carbon dioxide as coal. Yet natural gas production can result in releases of methane into the atmosphere. Methane, the primary component of natural gas, is 25 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Methane can enter the atmosphere when gas is stored or transported, but it's particularly a concern with shale gas production during flowback -- when fracking fluids, water and gases flow out of a well after drilling but before the gas is put into pipelines. ...


This leak is the Mother of all farts!

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Fri, Mar 16, 2012
from Associated Press:
Study: Young People Not So 'Green' After All
They have a reputation for being environmentally minded do-gooders. But an academic analysis of surveys spanning more than 40 years has found that today's young Americans are less interested in the environment and in conserving resources -- and often less civic-minded overall -- than their elders were when they were young. The findings go against the widespread belief that environmental issues have hit home with today's young adults, known as Millennials, who have grown up amid climate change discussion and the mantra "reduce, reuse, recycle." The environment is often listed among top concerns of young voters. ...


Dislike

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Mon, Mar 12, 2012
from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Warm weather puts chill on business for ski resorts
It's been a challenging winter for Wisconsin ski resorts, to say the least. First, there was no snow, and it wasn't cold enough for ski resorts to make their own. Then potential visitors assumed ski resorts weren't open because there was no snow anywhere else. On Sunday, temperatures peaked at 66 degrees in Milwaukee, tying a record high from 1973 that's 25 degrees above normal. Meteorologists forecast a high in the 70s Wednesday. But if that didn't persuade resort managers it might be time to put away the mittens and give up on winter, all they had to do was look around. "There's a gentleman sitting at the bar in shorts," Meg Sedgwick, assistant general manager with the Sunburst Ski Area in Kewaskum said Sunday. "We won't be making snow at this stage of the game anymore. It's not cost-effective. People start thinking of golf rather than skiing." ...


It's a comfort to know that in the post-Apocalypse there will be plenty of golf!

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Wed, Mar 7, 2012
from Colorado Independent:
Forestry budgets sapped by scourges of warming climate
The warming climate is breeding more beetle-ravaged forest and prolonged fire seasons, U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell testified before a Senate committee on Tuesday, as he fielded questions about the White House's proposed agency budget for fiscal year 2013.... The wildfire risk is heightened as beetles make their way through the forests, sucking the life from trees and leaving dead, dried wood in their wake. The expansion of bark beetles "has started to slow a little bit," [Tidwell] said, but "we're still seeing about an additional 600,000 acres infested each year, so we're going to have to continue to maintain this focus for the next few years." ...


Bark beetles sound sooooo vampiric!

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Mon, Mar 5, 2012
from Los Angeles Times:
Shell oil rig set for landmark Alaska journey
Amid the tangle of towering steel, heavy cranes and overcast skies of Seattle's busy commercial shipyards, Shell Oil's massive Kulluk drilling rig is preparing to push off for the Arctic Ocean. When it does, America's balance between energy needs and environmental fears will enter a new era. Barring unexpected court or regulatory action, by July the Kulluk will begin drilling exploratory oil wells in the frigid waters off Alaska's northern coast. ...


Apo-Kullukse!

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Mon, Feb 27, 2012
from Fuel Fix:
Americans support Keystone XL pipeline, poll says
Americans who have heard about the Keystone XL pipeline overwhelmingly support the proposal to carry Canadian oil across the United States to Gulf Coast refineries, according to a Pew Research poll released Thursday. Among those who knew about the pipeline, 66 percent said the federal government should approve the project. The poll found only 23 percent opposed it. ...


Yeah, but Americans also support rampant consumerism and the right to pollute with impunity.

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Tue, Feb 21, 2012
from London Guardian:
Civilisation faces 'perfect storm of ecological and social problems'
Celebrated scientists and development thinkers today warn that civilisation is faced with a perfect storm of ecological and social problems driven by overpopulation, overconsumption and environmentally malign technologies. In the face of an "absolutely unprecedented emergency", say the 18 past winners of the Blue Planet prize -- the unofficial Nobel for the environment -- society has "no choice but to take dramatic action to avert a collapse of civilisation. Either we will change our ways and build an entirely new kind of global society, or they will be changed for us". ...


gulp!

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Sat, Feb 18, 2012
from UBC:
Ocean acidification turns climate change winners into losers
Previous projections have suggested the effects of warmer water temperature would result in fish moving pole-ward and deeper towards cooler waters - and an increase of fish catch potential of as much as 30 per cent in the North Atlantic by 2050. Accounting for effects of de-oxygenation and ocean acidification, however, some regions may see a 20-35 per cent reduction in maximum catch potential by 2050 (relative to 2005) - depending on the individual species' sensitivity to ocean acidification. For example, in the Norwegian Sea, ocean warming by itself may result in a 15 per cent increase in fisheries catch potential. However, accounting for acidification and de-oxygenation, the increase turns to a decrease of 15 per cent, and the region from a "winner" to a "loser." ...


Careful now -- that makes it seem like climate change could make us all losers!

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Mon, Feb 13, 2012
from ABC Environment:
Fake steak may feed the world
It looks more like squid than steak and because it lacks the fat and protein found in real cattle, does not taste like traditional beef. So why would anyone eat meat grown in a lab? Cultured or in-vitro meat may still be years away from our supermarkets, but scientists in The Netherlands say they will be able to grow a hamburger by the end of this year. Professor Mark Post, who is refining the meat-making process at Maastricht University, says once perfected, the technology could slash the environmental footprint of growing food... Livestock for human consumption takes up 70 per cent of the world's arable land. They use eight per cent of global freshwater and produce 18 per cent of all global greenhouse gas emissions - some 3,000 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions every year (that's more than the entire world's transport sector). Deforestation to create farmland accounts for a third of those emissions. ...


We can always pretend it's tasty.

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Mon, Feb 13, 2012
from PhysOrg:
With climate change, today's '100-year floods' may happen every 3 to 20 years: research
Last August, Hurricane Irene spun through the Caribbean and parts of the eastern United States, leaving widespread wreckage in its wake. The Category 3 storm whipped up water levels, generating storm surges that swept over seawalls and flooded seaside and inland communities. Many hurricane analysts suggested, based on the wide extent of flooding, that Irene was a "100-year event": a storm that only comes around once in a century. However, researchers from MIT and Princeton University have found that with climate change, such storms could make landfall far more frequently, causing powerful, devastating storm surges every three to 20 years. The group simulated tens of thousands of storms under different climate conditions, finding that today's "500-year floods" could, with climate change, occur once every 25 to 240 years. The researchers published their results in the current issue of Nature Climate Change.... But with added greenhouse gas emissions, the models found that a two-meter surge flood would instead occur once every three to 20 years; a three-meter flood would occur every 25 to 240 years. ...


Time-lapse reality.

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Wed, Feb 1, 2012
from Australia ABC News:
Learn from climate history: epidemiologist
The decline of the Mayan empire; the Black Death and the Great Famine in medieval Europe and the collapse of the Ming Dynasty; what's the link? The ANU's Professor Tony McMichael says it's climate change. He argues that whether the temperature goes up or down, or it rains less or more, civilisation is threatened thanks to reduced food production, more disease, wars and displacement. The professor of population health at the ANU's Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health has looked at the climate record going back 7,000 years. ...


He's more like an epidoomiologist.

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Wed, Feb 1, 2012
from New York Times:
India's Air the World's Unhealthiest, Study Says
India's has the worst air pollution in the entire world, beating China, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh, according to a study released during this year's World Economic Forum in Davos. Of 132 countries whose environments were surveyed, India ranks dead last in the 'Air (effects on human health)' ranking. The annual study, the Environmental Performance Index, is conducted and written by environmental research centers at Yale and Columbia universities with assistance from dozens of outside scientists. The study uses satellite data to measure air pollution concentrations. ...


Indiaaaack!

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Fri, Jan 27, 2012
from Scientific American:
Has Petroleum Production Peaked, Ending the Era of Easy Oil?
Despite major oil finds off Brazil's coast, new fields in North Dakota and ongoing increases in the conversion of tar sands to oil in Canada, fresh supplies of petroleum are only just enough to offset the production decline from older fields. At best, the world is now living off an oil plateau -- roughly 75 million barrels of oil produced each and every day -- since at least 2005... That is a year earlier than estimated by the International Energy Agency--an energy cartel for oil consuming nations... "We are not running out of oil, but we are running out of oil that can be produced easily and cheaply," King and Murray wrote. ...


Would it help if we started some arbitrary war?

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Fri, Jan 27, 2012
from London Guardian:
Flooding rated as worst climate change threat facing UK
Flooding is the greatest threat to the UK posed by climate change, with up to 3.6 million people at risk by the middle of the century, according to a report published on Thursday by the environment department. The first comprehensive climate change risk assessment for the UK identifies hundreds of ways rising global temperatures will have an impact if no action is taken. They include the financial damage caused by flooding, which would increase to £2bn-£10bn a year by 2080, more deaths in heatwaves, and large-scale water shortages by mid-century. ...


That's far too many people for an ark.

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Thu, Jan 26, 2012
from NUVO:
Questions linger on Keystone XL
The day before President Barack Obama rejected TransCanada's request to expand its Keystone pipeline system, a Hoosier engineer received word federal authorities dismissed his claim that he was terminated from the pipeline project for raising safety concerns. The rejections are not deterring either company's or the whistleblower's plans to advance their respective agendas. For TransCanada this means completion of the pipeline. For Michael Klink, a 59-year-old civil engineer from Auburn, Ind., it means that the company will rectify his litany of safety concerns.... Klink discovered foundation problems at the Edinburg station near the Canadian border. He says rebar material was built to the wrong specifications and installed incorrectly, compromising the ability to support a 6,500-horsepower, high-voltage, multi-ton electric motor. Then, without fixing the problem, he said TIC Wyoming, another contractor hired by TransCanada, signed off on the work..."It's not that I'm opposed to pipelines," Klink says. "I'm opposed to this pipeline. They have already built one (Keystone Phase One) and they've proven they can't live up to their own quality standards. They (TransCanada) did the design. They did the specifications and they can't even live up to what they wanted done." ...


Don't you think we should listen to politicians instead of engineers?

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Tue, Jan 24, 2012
from Charleston Gazette:
DOE slashes gas estimate for Marcellus Shale
Federal government analysts on Monday slashed their estimate of the natural gas reserves in the Marcellus Shale formation, and at least one major producer announced plans to cut in half its expenditures on new gas leases in the wake of dropping prices. The U.S. Department of Energy cut its estimate of the Marcellus reserves from 410 trillion cubic feet of natural gas to 141 trillion cubic feet, citing better production information that emerges as drilling operations in the region mature and the exclusion of data from the pre-shale area. ...


Woe is DOE.

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Mon, Jan 23, 2012
from BBC:
Race to save Ecuador's 'lungs of the world' park
The Yasuni National Park, known as "the lungs of the world" and one of the most bio-diverse places on earth, is under threat from oil drilling. The race is on to find the funds required to develop new sustainable energy programmes that would leave the oil - and the forest - untouched. ...


I breathe. Can I contribute somehow?

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Fri, Jan 20, 2012
from Associated Press:
World not quite as hot in 2011; ranks 11th warmest
The world last year wasn't quite as warm as it has been for most of the past decade, government scientists said Thursday, but it continues a general trend of rising temperatures. The average global temperature was 57.9 degrees Fahrenheit, making 2011 the 11th hottest on record, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said. That's 0.9 degrees warmer than the 20th century average, officials said. In fact, it was hotter than every year last century except 1998... This marks the 35th straight year that global temperatures were warmer than normal. NOAA's records for world average temperatures date back to 1880. ...


Does 35 straight years constitute a trend?

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Wed, Jan 18, 2012
from National Geographic News:
Shale Gas: A Boon That Could Stunt Alternatives, Study Says
A team of researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology used economic modeling to show that new abundant natural gas is likely to have a far more complex impact on the energy scene than is generally assumed. If climate policy continues to play out in the United States with a relatively weak set of measures to control emissions, the new gas source will lead to lower gas and electricity prices, and total energy use will be higher in 2050. Absent the shale supply, the United States could have expected to see GHG emissions 2 percent below 2005 levels by 2050 under this relatively weak policy. But the lower gas prices under the current shale gas outlook will stimulate economic growth, leading GHG emissions to increase by 13 percent over 2005. And the shale gas will retard the growth of renewable energy's share of electricity, and push off the development of carbon capture and storage technology, needed to meet more ambitious policy targets, by as long as two decades. ...


GHG me with a spoon.

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Wed, Jan 18, 2012
from Washington Post:
Obama administration rejects Keystone pipeline
President Obama, declaring that he would not bow to congressional pressure, announced Wednesday that he was rejecting a Canadian firm's application for a permit to build and operate the Keystone XL pipeline, a massive project that would have stretched from Canada's oil sands to refineries in Texas. Obama said that a Feb. 21 deadline set by Congress as part of the two-month payroll tax cut extension had made it impossible to do an adequate review of the pipeline project proposed by TransCanada. ...


Pipeline procrastinator.

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Tue, Jan 17, 2012
from Inter Press Service:
Melting Ice Makes Arctic Access a Hot Commodity
China, Brazil and India want seats on the Arctic Council as global warming creates new opportunities for shipping and resource extraction in the vast Arctic region. There are concerns this is the beginning of a 21st century "scramble for the Arctic", but rather than staking territorial claims, non- Arctic countries want to exert economic and political influence in the region. China already has a research station in Norway's high Arctic and is building an 8,000-tonne icebreaker. ...


"Hot commodity"? Sounds like a hot mess to me!

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Mon, Jan 16, 2012
from Mother Jones:
A Pro Snowboarder's Guide to Climate Change
A few years ago, Jeremy Jones was cutting up one of his favorite runs down a glacier in Chamonix, the legendary French ski area high in the Aiguilles Rouges mountains. Jones has been a regular at this spot for the last 15 years, coming for a few weeks every winter to hone the skills that have made him one of the world's leading big mountain snowboarders. But on this occasion, he did something he doesn't often do: stop short. The glacier, he said, had receded a few hundred yards up the valley, effectively chopping off the end of his run. "That's kind of a drastic deal," he told me, and not because he was bummed about losing the powder: "Glaciers aren't supposed to move that fast." ...


Yo, that glacier is sick.

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Sun, Jan 15, 2012
from Glasgow Herald:
Scientists link mass death of British bees to farm pesticides
Nicotine-based pesticides in widespread use by farmers are implicated in the mass deaths of bees, according to a new study by US scientists. The authoritative, peer-reviewed research undermines the pesticide industry's long-repeated arguments that bees are not being harmed, and piles pressure on UK and US authorities to follow other countries by introducing bans on the chemicals. Pesticide companies have been trying to protect their multi-billion pound businesses by lobbying internationally against bans on neonicotinoids, a group of toxic chemicals designed to paralyse insects by attacking their nervous systems. ...


Innocent beestanders.

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Thu, Jan 12, 2012
from London Guardian:
Oil lobby's financial pressure on Obama over Keystone XL pipeline revealed
New analysis of oil industry contributions to members of Congress has revealed the level of the oil lobby's financial firepower that Barack Obama can expect to face in the November elections if he refuses to approve the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Obama has until 21 February to make a decision on whether to approve the pipeline, under a compromise tax measure approved late last year. America's top oil lobbyist warned last week that the president would face "huge political consequences" if he did not sign off on the project to pump tar sands crude across the American heartland to refineries on the Texas coast. ...


If he approves Keystone we'll have to call him Oilbama.

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Tue, Jan 10, 2012
from Toronto Star:
Titanic clash looms over proposed Northern Gateway pipeline
A biologist, an energy lawyer and an aboriginal geologist will sit down Tuesday in a recreation centre in the wilderness of northern British Columbia to initiate what could be the fiercest environmental standoff ever seen in Canada. Before the hearings in B.C. and Alberta are completed next year, more than 4,000 people are expected to appear before the three-member panel vetting the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline from Alberta through the Rockies to the B.C. coast. Like the now-stalled Keystone XL project in the United States, the planned pipeline to carry tarsands-derived crude oil across the mountains to a new supertanker port in northern B.C. is shaping up as a titanic clash of economic and environmental imperatives. ...


The other pipeline.

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Fri, Jan 6, 2012
from Christian Science Monitor:
Climate change models flawed, extinction rate likely higher than predicted
As climate change progresses, the planet may lose more plant and animal species than predicted, a new modeling study suggests. This is because current predictions overlook two important factors: the differences in how quickly species relocate and competition among species, according to the researchers, led by Mark Urban, an ecologist at the University of Connecticut. Already evidence suggests that species have begun to migrate out of ranges made inhospitable by climate change and into newly hospitable territory. "We have really sophisticated meteorological models for predicting climate change," Urban said in a statement. "But in real life, animals move around, they compete, they parasitize each other and they eat each other. The majority of our predictions don't include these important interactions." ...


"Real life"? Didn't we already innovate ourselves out of that mess?

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Tue, Jan 3, 2012
from Associated Press:
Chile battles 3 huge forest fires; 1 elderly man killed
Firefighters in Chile battled three huge wildfires Monday that have burned about 90 square miles (23,000 hectares) of forest, destroyed more than 100 homes and have driven away thousands of tourists while causing millions of dollars in losses. The fires also claimed their first victim: an elderly man who refused warnings to leave his home. Chile's normally rainy southern regions are suffering from a nationwide heat wave, on top of a drought that makes fires increasingly likely. The country was battling 48 separate fires on Sunday alone, and red alerts were declared for the regions of Magallanes, Bio Bio and Maule. ...


Too bad Chile ... isn't.

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Tue, Jan 3, 2012
from Washington Post:
Spaceship Earth: A new view of environmentalism
Spaceship Earth enters 2012 belching smoke, overheating and burning through fuel at a frightening rate. It's feeling pretty crowded, and the crew is mutinous. No one's at the helm. Sure, it's an antiquated metaphor. It's also an increasingly apt way to discuss a planet with 7 billion people, a global economy, a World Wide Web, climate change, exotic organisms running amok and all sorts of resource shortages and ecological challenges. More and more environmentalists and scientists talk about the planet as a complex system, one that human beings must aggressively monitor, manage and sometimes reengineer. Kind of like a spaceship. ...


Sounds like we are lost in space.

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Tue, Jan 3, 2012
from Berkeley Lab News Center:
E. Coli Bacteria Engineered to Eat Switchgrass and Make Transportation Fuels
A milestone has been reached on the road to developing advanced biofuels that can replace gasoline, diesel and jet fuels with a domestically-produced clean, green, renewable alternative. Researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)'s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have engineered the first strains of Escherichia coli bacteria that can digest switchgrass biomass and synthesize its sugars into all three of those transportation fuels. What's more, the microbes are able to do this without any help from enzyme additives. ...


This sounds E. licious!

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Tue, Jan 3, 2012
from The Daily Climate:
Climate coverage down again in 2011
Media coverage of climate change continued to tumble in 2011, declining roughly 20 percent from 2010's levels and nearly 42 percent from 2009's peak, according to analysis of DailyClimate.org's archive of global media. ...


What we don't know can't hurt us!

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Tue, Dec 27, 2011
from Los Angeles Times:
Oil from 2007 spill surprisingly toxic to fish, scientists report
Thick, tarry fuel oil disgorged into San Francisco Bay from a damaged cargo ship in 2007 was surprisingly toxic to fish embryos, devastating the herring population that feeds seabirds, whales and the bay's last commercial fishery, scientists reported Monday. Although the bay's herring spawning grounds are now free of toxic oil, studies have found that the moderate-size spill of 54,000 gallons had an unexpectedly large and lethal effect. ...


What's not to like about disgorged, thick, tarry fuel?

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Mon, Dec 26, 2011
from Oregon State University via ScienceDaily:
Forest Health Versus Global Warming: Fuel Reduction Likely to Increase Carbon Emissions
Forest thinning to help prevent or reduce severe wildfire will release more carbon to the atmosphere than any amount saved by successful fire prevention, a new study concludes. There may be valid reasons to thin forests -- such as restoration of forest structure or health, wildlife enhancement or public safety -- but increased carbon sequestration is not one of them, scientists say... even in fire-prone forests, it's necessary to treat about 10 locations to influence fire behavior in one. There are high carbon losses associated with fuel treatment and only modest savings in reducing the severity of fire... ...


We may be forced to thin the herd instead.

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Fri, Dec 23, 2011
from Wall Street Journal:
The Coal Age Is Nearer to Its End
After burning coal to light up Cincinnati for six decades, the Walter C. Beckjord Generating Station will go dark soon -- a fate that will be shared by dozens of aging coal-fired power plants across the U.S. in coming years. Their owners cite a raft of new air-pollution regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency, including a rule released Wednesday that limits mercury and other emissions, for the shut-downs. But energy experts say there is an even bigger reason coal plants are losing out: cheap and abundant natural gas, which is booming thanks to a surge in production from shale-rock formations... ...


RIP: Rest In Particulates

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Wed, Dec 21, 2011
from National Journal:
EPA Unveils Long-Awaited Mercury Rule
Appearing at Washington's Children's Hospital with public health leaders at her side, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson on Wednesday unveiled the nation's first-ever national standards for mercury and other toxic air pollution from power plants. The sweeping regulations -- mandated by Congress in 1990 and delayed by prolonged litigation, lobbying, and legislative battles --will require utilities to cut at least 90 percent of their emissions of mercury, a neurotoxin known to cause brain damage and other health problems, particularly in developing fetuses and young children...EPA says the rule will prevent up to 11,000 premature deaths and prevent thousands of respiratory illnesses, which could translate into $90 billion in health and economic benefits a year. ...


What will we do with all this extra health and money!? Squander it, mindlessly, I suppose...

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Wed, Dec 21, 2011
from Nature News:
Permafrost science heats up in the United States
The US Department of Energy (DOE) is embarking on a US $100-million research programme to investigate what will happen to the 1,500 billion tonnes of organic carbon locked up in frozen soils of the far northern permafrost when they thaw in the rapidly warming Arctic climate. ...


For two cents I'll tell ya: the Apocalypse!

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Tue, Dec 20, 2011
from Greenwire:
With federal green light, Shell hits the gas on Arctic plans
In a sign that the Obama administration is willing to clear the regulatory decks for oil drilling in Alaska's remote Arctic waters, the Interior Department on Friday gave a conditional green light allowing Royal Dutch Shell PLC to explore for oil this summer in Alaska's Chukchi Sea. More than 20 years after sinking its first exploratory well in the Chukchi, only to later abandon the project, Shell is seeking to reopen drilling in the nation's northern-most federal waters. The campaign has already had a colossal price tag. So far, Shell officials say they have sunk $4 billion in the project, including $350 million to build two of their own ice-breaking ships. If exploration is successful, it will take 10-12 years before Shell can begin producing oil. During that time, the company would have to build a new ice-resistant drilling facility, install 100 miles of subsea pipeline from the pumping rig to the tiny community of Wainwright and construct a 500-mile pipeline from the shoreline to the beginning of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline in Prudhoe Bay. ...


It will be worth all the work, if we can indeed destroy the planet!

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Mon, Dec 19, 2011
from University of Texas at Austin:
Discovery of a 'Dark State' Could Mean a Brighter Future for Solar Energy
The efficiency of conventional solar cells could be significantly increased, according to new research on the mechanisms of solar energy conversion led by chemist Xiaoyang Zhu at The University of Texas at Austin. Zhu and his team have discovered that it's possible to double the number of electrons harvested from one photon of sunlight using an organic plastic semiconductor material...Zhu and his team ... discovered that a photon produces a dark quantum "shadow state" from which two electrons can then be efficiently captured to generate more energy in the semiconductor pentacene. ...


I will kid you not, an encouraging development, this is.

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Mon, Dec 19, 2011
from Governing:
Red States, Green Jobs
... The green economy already employs 2.7 million workers nationwide, half a million more jobs than the so-called fossil fuel economy. More surprising still, the region with the most green jobs is the South. "It turns out that the largely 'red' South is surprisingly green, at least when it comes to the production side of the clean economy," observes Mark Muro, a senior fellow and one of the authors of a recent report on green jobs by the Brookings Institution and Battelle's Technology Partnership Practice. He notes that of the 21 states with at least 40,000 clean economy jobs, seven are in the South. The South's emergence as a green jobs powerhouse raises several questions. One is about the necessity of policies, such as renewable energy portfolios and generous rebates that several states -- California, Colorado, New Jersey and New York, among them -- have long insisted are necessary to support the emergence of green tech companies. The other poses a serious challenge for Republican governors in states such as Tennessee: Many voters in Southern states are against federal stimulus programs, deeply suspicious of renewable energy and downright angry about the use of taxpayer dollars to create green jobs. ...


All this color confusion is making me feel orange.

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Mon, Dec 19, 2011
from Associated Press:
Russia slams Kyoto Protocol
MOSCOW (AP) Russia supports Canada's decision to pull out of the Kyoto Protocol, says its foreign ministry, reaffirming Friday that Moscow will not take on new commitments. Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told Friday's briefing that the treaty does not cover all major polluters, and thus cannot help solve the climate crisis. Canada on Monday pulled out of the agreement -- initially adopted in 1997 in Kyoto, Japan, to cut carbon emissions contributing to global warming. Its move dealt a blow to the treaty, which has not been formally renounced by any other country. ...


Sayonara, Kyoto.

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Wed, Dec 14, 2011
from USA Today:
Disasters doom Texas oyster crop
...A monstrous bloom of toxic algae looming across the Texas coast has shut down oyster season. Fueled by Texas' ongoing drought, the algae -- known as Karenia brevis-- thrives in warm, salty water and has spread through the bays and islands along Texas' 350-mile coast...he size of the current bloom coupled with the state's ongoing drought and lack of rain could make it one of the biggest and most destructive in history... ...


We don't do anything small in Texas.

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Wed, Dec 14, 2011
from New Scientist:
Call for Arctic geoengineering as soon as possible
It's the most urgent call for geoengineering yet: begin cooling the Arctic by 2013 or face runaway global warming. But the warning -- from a voice on the scientific fringe -- may be premature, according to experts contacted by New Scientist. John Nissen, a former software engineer who has become alarmed at the possibility of reaching a climate "tipping point" argued for Arctic geoengineering as soon as possible in a poster presentation at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco last week.... Although Nissen's opinion is not in the scientific mainstream, he has the backing of a leading expert on sea ice, Peter Wadhams of the University of Cambridge, who recently suggested that the Arctic ocean may be ice-free at the end of each summer from 2015 onwards. Wadhams says that accelerating climate change in the Arctic has forced him to abandon his scepticism about geoengineering. "One has to consider doing something," he says. ...


Geoengineering... the equivalent of of punting.

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Tue, Dec 13, 2011
from CBS News:
Pollution from China alters weather in U.S. West
A U.N. conference on climate change ended Sunday without a major deal to cut toxic emissions. No country emits more carbon dioxide than China -- a byproduct of its booming economy. And, as CBS News correspondent John Blackstone reports, those Chinese emissions are having a big impact in the U.S. Chinese officials insist the murky air over Beijing this month is just fog. But measurements taken at the U.S. embassy there show dangerously high levels of air pollution -- so bad that traffic has been disrupted and flights have been delayed or cancelled. "It's no longer just their problem; it's our problem," said Kim Prather of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Prather studies atmospheric chemistry. CBS News met her at a scientific conference in San Francisco, where she was presenting research that shows what's in the air over China can affect the weather in America. ...


Sheesh, you'd think, given our flat earth, that pollution would just fall off into space.

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Tue, Dec 13, 2011
from Los Angeles Times:
Vermont Law School's Top 10 Environmental Watch List for 2012
Vermont Law School, which has one of the top-ranked environmental law programs in the country, just released its second annual Top 10 Environmental Watch List of issues and developments that should be closely followed in 2012. Top of the list? Republican attacks on the Environmental Protection Agency. According to an innovative online database set up by L.A.'s own Rep. Henry Waxman, there have been 170 anti-environmental votes under the Republican majority in the 112th Congress, and 91 of them attacked the EPA. Other hot topics on the watch list include that same EPA and the White House clashing over ozone standards, the activist effort to stop the Keystone XL pipeline, and landmark settlements under the Endangered Species Act. ...


Actually, top of the list: Republicans' farts; they're way worse than Democrats' farts.

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Sun, Dec 11, 2011
from Guardian:
Climate deal: A guarantee our children will be worse off than us
The loans in euros, dollars and pounds will be called in within days, weeks, and months. But the environmental debt - run up by many decades of dumping carbon dioxide waste in the atmosphere - won't be due for full repayment before 2020, according to the plan from Durban. If this roadmap to agree a global deal to tackle climate change by 2015, which would take force by 2020, is a triumph, it is a pitiful one. It aspires to achieve in four year's time what was deemed essential by the world's governments in 2007, but crashed at the Copenhagen summit in 2009. That eight-year failure is why the ecological debt will inevitably transform into a new economic debt dwarfing our current woes. Like a loan-shark's debt, the cost of halting global warming - and coping with the impacts already certain - spirals higher and higher the longer you leave repayment. At the moment, as record rises in carbon emissions show, we are paying back nothing. ...


Are you kidding? We'll just collateralize the debt and sell futures on it. It's worked so far.

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Wed, Dec 7, 2011
from Agence France-Press:
Chinese angry over pollution
Millions of Chinese went online on Tuesday to vent their anger over the thick smog that has blanketed Beijing in recent days, raising health fears and causing hundreds of flights to be cancelled. Sales of facemasks were reported to have surged as residents of China's heavily polluted capital sought to protect themselves from the air, which US embassy figures ranked "very unhealthy". Beijing's main airport cancelled hundreds of flight due to the poor visibility on Sunday and Monday, angering passengers at the world's second-busiest airport. ...


In cyberspace no one can hear you scream.

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Wed, Dec 7, 2011
from E&E News/ClimateWire:
Green groups claim U.S. is blocking a climate change deal
Along the coast of the shark-infested Indian Ocean where the United Nations global warming negotiations are being held, the United States increasingly is being viewed as a pariah. Despite the presence of thousands of Obama supporters in this sub-tropical surf city, even liberal environmental activists at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change conference say disappointment and frustration toward the administration have reached new levels. The past several days of talks have seen the U.S. seemingly unwilling to discuss more ambitious ways to avoid the most severe impacts of climate change. China, meanwhile, has softened its once hardline position, indicating it could be willing to make binding carbon cuts. As countries head into ministerial-level negotiations, the dynamic appears to have left the U.S. isolated and vulnerable to attack by disillusioned former friends. ...


Yes we ran.

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Tue, Dec 6, 2011
from PLoS One -- IU-Bloomington:
Study finds climate changes faster than species can adapt
The ranges of species will have to change dramatically as a result of climate change between now and 2100 because the climate will change more than 100 times faster than the rate at which species can adapt, according to a newly published study by Indiana University researchers. The study, which focuses on North American rattlesnakes, finds that the rate of future change in suitable habitat will be two to three orders of magnitude greater than the average change over the past 300 millennia, a time that included three major glacial cycles and significant variation in climate and temperature. ...


Let's feed 'em steroids, caffeine and sugar to speed 'em up.

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Tue, Dec 6, 2011
from The Daily Climate:
Hotter, drier, meaner: Trends point to a planet increasingly hostile to agriculture
To get a glimpse of the future, look to East Africa today. The Horn of Africa is in the midst of its worst drought in 60 years: Crop failures have left up to 10 million at risk of famine; social order has broken down in Somalia, with thousands of refugees streaming into Kenya; British Aid alone is feeding 2.4 million people across the region. That's a taste of what's to come, say scientists mapping the impact of a warming planet on agriculture and civilization.... Many recent events -- discoveries from sediment cores of New York marshes, drought in Australia and the western United States, data from increasingly sophisticated computer models -- lead to a conclusion that the weather driving many of the globe's great breadbaskets will become hotter, drier and more unpredictable. ...


At least we'll always have Lunchables.

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Thu, Dec 1, 2011
from London Guardian:
Alaskan community revives legal bid for global warming damages
A native American community in remote Alaska this week revived legal efforts to hold some of the world's largest energy companies accountable for allegedly destroying their village because of global warming. The so-called "climigration" trial would be the first of its kind, potentially creating a precedent in the US courts for further climate change-related damages cases. Attorneys acting for the 427 Inupiat people living in Kivalina made representations before an appeals panel in San Francisco on Monday, to claim climate change-related damages from Exxon Mobil, BP America, Chevron, Shell, Peabody Energy, the world's largest coal provider, and America's largest electricity-generating companies including American Electric Power and Duke Energy. ...


Watch out, Goliaths; you may have met your match.

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Thu, Dec 1, 2011
from E&E Daily:
Supercommittee failure portends yearlong limbo for energy, environment programs
After four months of pressure campaigns and prognostication, the failure of the so-called congressional "supercommittee" to agree on $1.2 trillion in long-term spending cuts leaves energy and environmental programs in much the same position that they were after the August debt-limit deal: an uneasy limbo. The flameout of the 12-member panel, created in the hopes of surmounting political acrimony to slash both parties' prized programs, puts domestic discretionary agencies -- such as U.S. EPA and the Energy Department -- in line for two rounds of automatic cuts, both potentially punishing. The first would come about three months into the 2013 fiscal year, when an estimated $39 billion sequester of already-approved spending would hit all agencies in equal proportions. The second would take the form of lower budget caps until 2021. ...


Why aren't the automatic cuts in CO2 emissions?

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Tue, Nov 29, 2011
from MSNBC, via DesdemonaDespair:
Snowless Scandinavians wonder 'where's winter?' This fall on track to become one of the warmest on record
For some reason, Scandinavia is not its frigid self, with unusually warm weather delaying the onset of winter in northern latitudes normally decked in white. The lack of snow has been bad news for winter sports -- World Cup ski races have been dropped, or held on artificial snow, and mountain ski resorts are unable to open. There are even reports of bird song and blooming gardens in some places typically entering the winter freeze at this time of year. "Some flowers, like roses, have actually begun to blossom for a second time," said Mats Rosenberg, a biologist in Orebro, south-central Sweden.... Animals -- such as stoats, hares and willow grouse -- that change color with the season turned white weeks before the snows came, bringing an eerie feeling to the snowless wilds of Lapland. "It was really very weird -- ghost-like white figures darting among the yellow leaves and lichen," said Viljo Pesonen, mayor of the town of 9,000. ...


The "ghost-like figures" of winters past and future.

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Tue, Nov 29, 2011
from Associated Press:
World on track for nearly 11-degree temperature rise, energy expert says
The chief economist for the International Energy Agency said Monday that current global energy consumption levels put the Earth on a trajectory to warm by 6 degrees Celsius (10.8 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels by 2100, an outcome he called "a catastrophe for all of us. Fatih Birol spoke as as delegates from nearly 200 countries convened the opening day of annual U.N. climate talks in Durban, South Africa. ...


Or, put another way, 6 degrees of separation between us -- and our continued existence.

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Tue, Nov 29, 2011
from Yale Environment 300:
The New Story of Stuff: Can We Consume Less?
Will rich societies start consuming less? Could wealth go green? Might parsimony become the new luxury? Heresy, surely, you would say. But it might just be possible. Take Britain. A new study finds that the country that invented the industrial revolution two centuries ago reached "peak stuff" between 2001 and 2003. In the past decade, Britain has been consuming less water, building materials, paper, food (especially meat), cars, textiles, fertilizers and much else. Travel is down; so is energy production. The country produces less waste, too.... Even in the United States, the capital of consumption, there are signs that something similar could be afoot. American truck mileage has been on a plateau for a decade now. The number of cars on American highways is also flat. And per-capita mileage is falling. As a result, gasoline consumption is expected to be at a 10-year low this year, according to the Department of Energy. ...


Let's celebrate by driving around and buying a bunch of Christmas gifts!

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Mon, Nov 28, 2011
from New York Times:
Another Try for a Global Climate Effort
With intensifying climate disasters and global economic turmoil as the backdrop, delegates from 194 nations gather in Durban, South Africa, this week to try to advance, if only incrementally, the world's response to dangerous climate change. To those who have followed the negotiations of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change over their nearly 20-year history, the conflicts and controversies to be taken up in Durban are monotonously familiar -- the differing obligations of industrialized and developing nations, the question of who will pay to help poor nations adapt, the urgency of protecting tropical forests, the need to develop and deploy clean energy technology rapidly. ...


C'mon, folks, let's give it a shot. The planet's pretty important.

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Fri, Nov 25, 2011
from Bloomberg News:
Renewable Power Trumps Fossils for First Time as UN Talks Stall
Renewable energy is surpassing fossil fuels for the first time in new power-plant investments, shaking off setbacks from the financial crisis and an impasse at the United Nations global warming talks. Electricity from the wind, sun, waves and biomass attracted $187 billion last year compared with $157 billion for natural gas, oil and coal, according to calculations by Bloomberg New Energy Finance using the most recent data. Accelerating installations of solar and wind power led to lower equipment prices, making clean energy more competitive with coal. "The progress of renewables has been nothing short of remarkable," United Nations Environment Program Executive Secretary Achim Steiner said in an interview. "You have record investment in the midst of an economic and financial crisis." The findings indicate the world is shifting toward consuming more renewable energy even without a global agreement on limiting greenhouse gases. ...


Durban be damned; leaders be let go; renewables rule!

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Mon, Nov 21, 2011
from London Guardian:
Rich nations 'give up' on new climate treaty until 2020
Governments of the world's richest countries have given up on forging a new treaty on climate change to take effect this decade, with potentially disastrous consequences for the environment through global warming. Ahead of critical talks starting next week, most of the world's leading economies now privately admit that no new global climate agreement will be reached before 2016 at the earliest, and that even if it were negotiated by then, they would stipulate it could not come into force until 2020. The eight-year delay is the worst contemplated by world governments during 20 years of tortuous negotiations on greenhouse gas emissions, and comes despite intensifying warnings from scientists and economists about the rapidly increasing dangers of putting off prompt action. ...


Given the lack of enthusiasm among our leaders, it's time to Occupy Mother Earth.

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Mon, Nov 21, 2011
from Washington Post:
Congress kills request for National Climate Service
At first look, the proposal is as dull, bureaucratic and routine as an agency request to Congress can be. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration wanted to reshuffle its offices to establish a National Climate Service akin to the agency's National Weather Service. It asked for no new funding to do so. But in a political climate where talk of the earthly kind of climate can be radioactive, the answer in last week's budget deal was "no." Congress barred NOAA from launching what the agency bills as a "one-stop shop" for climate information. ...


Welcome to the New Dark Ages.

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Tue, Nov 15, 2011
from Guardian:
CIA urged to be more open about climate change
A new report from the Defence Science Board - a US government agency - urges the CIA to step outside its traditional culture of secrecy and begin sharing the intelligence it has been gathering on climate change. The report, Trends and Implications of Climate Change for National and International Security, goes as far as to recommend the establishment of a new agency devoted to the study of climate change - one that would operate in the open and transparent manner so alien to the CIA.... The CIA's insistence on classifying the climate centre's reports have cut it off from university research on the cutting edge of climate science as well as other government agencies working on the issue, it said. "Compartmentalising climate change impact research can only hinder progress," the report said. The CIA's secrecy on climate change has long irked other government agencies working in the same area. The climate centre last year turned down a freedom of information request for copies of its reports on climate impacts. ...


If they told us, wouldn't they have to kill us?

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Tue, Nov 15, 2011
from The New Yorker:
Two Degrees of Disaster
According to the I.E.A., "The door to 2 degrees C is closing." The group warned that unless dramatic action is taken by 2017, so many additional billions of tons of emissions will effectively be "locked in" that a temperature increase exceeding two degrees will become inevitable.... In fact, many scientists have warned that holding the average global temperature increase to "only" two degrees Celsius is a bit like limiting yourself to "only" a few rounds of Russian roulette: unless you're uncommonly lucky, the result is not likely to be happy.... Meanwhile, even if it's only self-interest in the narrowest possible sense that moves people, global warming still ought to be high on almost everybody's list of concerns. Between here and 4 degrees C, or now and the 2070s, there are all sorts of potential calamities of which the punishing drought in Texas, the flooding in Thailand, and the famine that has recently killed tens of thousands of Somalis are just a foretaste. ...


Heck, we're almost reaching Kevin Bacon territory!

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Mon, Nov 14, 2011
from Springfield Republican:
Winter in Massachusetts undergoing redefinition due to warming climate
...Winter in Massachusetts is undergoing a redefinition due to a warming climate. Already, the mean temperature in Amherst in winter - for December, January and February - has risen about 4.2 degrees Fahrenheit since 1895, according to a study by a University of New Hampshire researcher. And, average winter temperatures throughout Massachusetts may rise an additional 2 to 5 degrees by 2050 and 4 to 10 degrees by 2100 due to continued global warming, according to a new report prepared for the state Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. ...


Welcome to the great state of Messachusetts.

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Mon, Nov 14, 2011
from London Independent:
Now you Dead Sea it...
...the Dead Sea is also on the way to becoming a man-made environmental disaster zone. For decades water has been pillaged for agriculture and domestic use from its main water provider, the River Jordan; and secondly from the Sea itself, for the hugely lucrative extraction of its vital minerals. Now the Sea is shrinking with alarming rapidity. Its level is falling at a rate of 1.1 metres a year. Drive a few kilometres north of here along Route 90 and you arrive at where members of the British Palestinian Exploration Fund in 1917 painted a red line in the primeval limestone cliffs towering above them. ...


Dead Sea... living up to its name!

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Wed, Nov 9, 2011
from Guardian:
World headed for irreversible climate change in five years, IEA warns
The world is likely to build so many new fossil-fuelled power stations, energy-guzzling factories and inefficient buildings in the next five years that it will become impossible to hold global warming to safe levels, and the last chance of combating dangerous climate change will be "lost for ever", according to the most thorough analysis yet of world energy infrastructure. Anything built from now on that produces carbon will continue to do so for decades to come, and this "lock-in" effect will be the single factor most likely to produce irreversible climate change, the world's foremost authority on energy economics has found. If this infrastructure is not rapidly changed within the next five years, the results are likely to be disastrous. "The door is closing," Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency, told the Guardian. "I am very worried - if we don't change direction now on how we use energy, we will end up beyond what scientists tell us is the minimum [for safety]. The door will be closed forever." ...


Irreversible? What about magic, smartypants?

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Tue, Nov 8, 2011
from Truthout:
Annie Leonard's The Story of Broke
...Wait a minute. Broke? I'm sending in my share of hard-earned cash every month and so are you! Now, what we've got to work with shrinks a lot thanks to corporate tax loopholes and unprecedented tax breaks for the richest 1 percent. But even after those, we've still got over a trillion dollars. So if we're broke, what's happening to all that money? I decided to look into it and it turns out this whole "broke" story hides a much bigger story -- a story of some really dumb choices being made for us -- but that actually work against us. The good news is that these are choices, and we can make different ones. ...


The revolution will be animated.

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Tue, Nov 8, 2011
from Earth Policy Institute:
U.S. Carbon Emissions Down 7 Percent in Four Years: Even Bigger Drops Coming
Between 2007 and 2011, carbon emissions from coal use in the United States dropped 10 percent. During the same period, emissions from oil use dropped 11 percent. In contrast, carbon emissions from natural gas use increased by 6 percent. The net effect of these trends was that U.S. carbon emissions dropped 7 percent in four years. And this is only the beginning. The initial fall in coal and oil use was triggered by the economic downturn, but now powerful new forces are reducing the use of both... In August, the American Economic Review -- the country's most prestigious economics journal -- published an article that can only be described as an epitaph for the coal industry. The authors conclude that the economic damage caused by air pollutants from coal burning exceeds the value of the electricity produced by coal-fired power plants. Coal fails the cost-benefit analysis even before the costs of climate change are tallied. ...


RIP ... Rest In Pollution

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Tue, Nov 8, 2011
from The Independent:
Hard-up UK puts climate change on back burner
Britain's carbon emissions grew faster than the economy last year for the first time since 1996, as a cash-strapped population relegated the environment down its league of concerns and spent more money keeping warm, according to a new report.... The rise in Britain's so-called carbon intensity increases the danger that the country will miss legally binding targets on reducing emissions, warns PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the consultancy behind the report. Furthermore, it found that Britain's rising carbon intensity is part of a worldwide trend which threatens to push global warming above a two-degree Celsius increase on pre-industrial levels. This is the temperature that the G8 group of leading economies has pledged not to breach in the hope of avoiding the worst consequences of climate change.... Jonathan Grant, director of sustainability and climate change at PwC, said: "When money is tight people's attention goes elsewhere and it becomes harder to implement high-cost, low-carbon technologies. "Many people have higher priorities than climate change right now, it is probably fair to say. Maybe people are taking their eye off the ball a bit." ...


Your money or your future. D'you feel lucky, punk?

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Wed, Nov 2, 2011
from Indiana University:
IU biologists identify light-regulated mechanism in cyanobacteria as aid to optimizing photosynthesis
Indiana University biologists have uncovered how a control system works in producing the important light-harvesting antennae that power photosynthesis in cyanobacteria, the microorganisms that are progenitors of all land plants and responsible for nearly half of the Earth's current oxygen production. Implications of fully comprehending the mechanism, called "light-regulated transcription attenuation," include the potential for increasing agricultural yields, making bio-solar energy production more feasible, and improving understanding of a globally important biological process that is vital for providing the energy needed to sustain virtually all life on Earth... ...


Can it potty train my new puppy, too?

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Tue, Nov 1, 2011
from Associated Press:
APNewsbreak: Future holds more extreme weather
For a world already weary of weather catastrophes, the latest warning from top climate scientists paints a grim future: More floods, more heat waves, more droughts and greater costs to deal with them. A draft summary of an international scientific report obtained by The Associated Press says the extremes caused by global warming could eventually grow so severe that some locations become "increasingly marginal as places to live." ...


It's always more, more, more with these climate scientists!

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Tue, Nov 1, 2011
from Live Science:
7 billion and counting: Should the world adopt a 'one-child' policy?
The world population has hit a whopping 7 billion, and researchers suggest it could reach 10 billion within the next century. On the one hand, this means we're a great success -- after all, the goal of any species is to expand and conquer. But, on the other hand, all that expansion means more mouths to feed, which requires more space and energy, which increases the demand on resources and the environment, perhaps too large a demand for Earth to support. So Life's Little Mysteries asks: How can we curb this growth? Should there be a global one-child policy, like the one enforced in China? ...


More like "half a child" policy.

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Tue, Nov 1, 2011
from Agence France-Press:
Beijing air pollution 'hazardous': US embassy
Air pollution in Beijing reached "hazardous" levels on Monday, the US embassy said, as thick smog blanketed the city for the third day running, forcing the closure of highways and cancellation of flights. The Chinese capital is one of the most polluted cities in the world, mainly due to its growing energy consumption -- much of which is still fuelled by coal-fired power stations -- and the high number of cars on the road. A "hazardous" rating by the US embassy, whose evaluation of the city's air quality often differs markedly from the official Chinese rating, is the worst on a six-point scale and indicates the whole population is likely to be affected....By contrast, China's environment ministry said Beijing's air was just "slightly polluted"... ...


I like to think of it as "deliciously viscous."

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Mon, Oct 31, 2011
from Institute of Physics via ScienceDaily:
Glaciers in Southwest China Feel the Brunt of Climate Change
Significant increases in annual temperatures are having a devastating affect on glaciers in the mountainous regions of south-western China, potentially affecting natural habitats, tourism and wider economic development... Of the 111 stations examined, 77 per cent displayed statistically significant increases in annual temperature....In the Pengqu basin of the Himalayas, for example, the 999 glaciers had a combined area loss of 131 km2 between 1970 and 2001, whilst the Yalong glacier in the Gangrigabu Mountains retreated over 1500 meters from 1980 to 2001. ...


111...77...999...what's next? 666?

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Wed, Oct 26, 2011
from City College of New York via ScienceDaily:
Extreme Melting On Greenland Ice Sheet, Team Reports; Glacial Melt Cycle Could Become Self-Amplifying
The Greenland ice sheet can experience extreme melting even when temperatures don't hit record highs, according to a new analysis by Dr. Marco Tedesco, assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at The City College of New York. His findings suggest that glaciers could undergo a self-amplifying cycle of melting and warming that would be difficult to halt. ...


I worry about how much I worry about all this.

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Fri, Oct 21, 2011
from BusinessGreen:
Climate change could trap hundreds of millions in disaster areas, report claims
Hundreds of millions of people may be trapped in inhospitable environments as they attempt to flee from the effects of global warming, worsening the likely death toll from severe changes to the climate, a UK government committee has found. Refugees forced to leave their homes because of floods, droughts, storms, heatwaves and other effects of climate change are likely to be one of the biggest visible effects of the warming that scientists warn will result from the untrammelled use of fossil fuels, according to the UK government's Foresight group, part of the Office for Science. But many of those people are likely to move from areas affected by global warming into areas even worse afflicted - for instance, by moving into coastal cities in the developing world that are at risk of flood from storms and rising sea levels. ...


Seems to me the disaster area would affect seven billion.

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Tue, Oct 18, 2011
from Associated Press:
7 billion humans and rising rapidly
As of Oct. 31, according to the U.N. Population Fund, there will be 7 billion people sharing Earth's land and resources. In Western Europe, Japan and Russia, it will be an ironic milestone amid worries about low birthrates and aging populations. In China and India, the two most populous nations, it's an occasion to reassess policies that have already slowed once-rapid growth. But in Burundi, Uganda and the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, the demographic news is mostly sobering as the region staggers under the double burden of the world's highest birthrates and deepest poverty. The regional population of nearly 900 million could reach 2 billion in 40 years at current rates, accounting for about half of the projected global population growth over that span. ...


At least 4 billion of them will be in costume.

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Tue, Oct 18, 2011
from via ScienceDaily:
Sea Levels to Continue to Rise for 500 Years? Long-Term Climate Calculations Suggest So
Rising sea levels in the coming centuries is perhaps one of the most catastrophic consequences of rising temperatures. Massive economic costs, social consequences and forced migrations could result from global warming. But how frightening of times are we facing? Researchers from the Niels Bohr Institute are part of a team that has calculated the long-term outlook for rising sea levels in relation to the emission of greenhouse gases and pollution of the atmosphere using climate models.... Even in the most optimistic scenario, which requires extremely dramatic climate change goals, major technological advances and strong international cooperation to stop emitting greenhouse gases and polluting the atmosphere, the sea would continue to rise. ...


So much for trying to look on the bright side.

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Thu, Oct 13, 2011
from Associated Press:
Groups sue Obama for scrapping stricter smog limit
Environmental groups sued the Obama administration Tuesday for scrapping a stricter limit for smog-forming pollution, saying the decision violated the law and put politics ahead of protecting public health...."EPA assured us repeatedly that they were going to finalize action on that proposal to strengthen the standard," said David Baron, managing attorney for Earthjustice, which sued on behalf of the American Lung Association, Environmental Defense Fund, Appalachian Mountain Club and Natural Resources Defense Council. "Then all of a sudden, the Obama administration abruptly reversed course and said they weren't going to strengthen the standards after all." ...


Glubulup hyshbibble miboo!

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Tue, Oct 11, 2011
from Los Angeles Times:
A GOP assault on environmental regulations
Republicans in the House are best known for their inflexible opposition to tax hikes and government spending, but that's nothing new for the GOP; what marks this group as different is that it is perhaps the most anti-environment Congress in history. So far, that hasn't had much impact because Republicans control only one house, and Democrats in the Senate have blocked their most extreme attempts to gut the Clean Air and Clean Water acts. But recent legislative moves in the House provide a preview of what's to come in 2013 if the balance of power shifts further in favor of a GOP that is more united than ever in opposition to environmental regulation. ...


Does Mother Earth get a vote?

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Mon, Oct 10, 2011
from BBC:
Car-free Sunday for smog-struck Milan
The northern Italian city of Milan banned all traffic from its streets for 10 hours on Sunday in an attempt to reduce smog. The measure, first imposed on a trial basis in 2007, is triggered whenever pollution exceeds the statutory limit for 12 consecutive days. Satellite imagery shows Milan to be one of the most polluted cities in Europe. An estimated 120,000 vehicles will be affected by the move, according to the Corriere della Sera newspaper. The most polluting vehicles have been banned from driving through the city centre since Thursday. But on Sunday, there was no traffic between 0800 and 1800 local time (06:00-16:00 GMT). ...


Sounds like a slice of heaven to me.

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Wed, Oct 5, 2011
from Reuters:
Great Lakes face stresses from run-off, invaders
Great Lakes shorelines are becoming clogged by algae blooms fed by agricultural run-off, while invasive mussels decimate the food chain in deeper waters, an environmental group said on Tuesday. The five lakes, which contain one-fifth of the world's fresh water and supply tens of millions of people, may be "veering close to ecosystem collapse," the report by the National Wildlife Federation said. "Too much food is causing massive algal blooms in Lake Erie and other coastal systems, while too little food is making fish starve in Lake Huron's offshore waters," said the group's Great Lakes director, Andy Buchsbaum. ...


Those poor Great Lakes are ate up lakes now.

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Wed, Oct 5, 2011
from InsideClimate News:
Koch Subsidiary Told Regulators It Has 'Direct and Substantial Interest' in Keystone XL
A document filed with Canada's Energy Board appears to cast doubt on claims by Koch Industries that it has no interest in the controversial pipeline. In recent months Koch Industries Inc., the business conglomerate run by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, has repeatedly told a U.S. Congressional committee and the news media that the proposed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline has "nothing to do with any of our businesses." But the company has told Canadian energy regulators a different story. In 2009, Flint Hills Resources Canada LP, an Alberta-based subsidiary of Koch Industries, applied for -- and won -- "intervenor status" in the National Energy Board hearings that led to Canada's 2010 approval of its 327-mile portion of the pipeline. The controversial project would carry heavy crude 1,700 miles from Alberta to the Texas Gulf Coast. ...


It seems the Koch brothers are giving apoca-lip service on this issue.

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Tue, Oct 4, 2011
from Sydney Morning Herald:
US government breaks the ice in Arctic drilling dispute
THE US government has decided to uphold the sale of nearly 500 leases to drill for oil in Arctic waters near Alaska, in response to a successful lawsuit by environmentalists and native Alaskan organisations that had thrown the contracts into jeopardy. The move on Monday by the Interior Department was celebrated by Shell and other companies that snapped up some of the 487 leases to drill in the Chukchi Sea during a government auction in 2008. Shell hopes to launch exploratory drilling in the Chukchi next northern summer. The decision was criticised by conservationists, who blasted the Obama administration for bypassing calls for more scientific research on the region's marine life and better studies of how to clean up oil spills in remote icy waters. ...


Chuk-ching! The Chukchi Sea's the place to be!

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Tue, Oct 4, 2011
from London Guardian:
Shell oil paid Nigerian military to put down protests, court documents show
Shell has never denied that its oil operations have polluted large areas of the Niger Delta -- land and air. But it had resisted charges of complicity in human rights abuses. Court documents now reveal that in the 1990s Shell routinely worked with Nigeria's military and mobile police to suppress resistance to its oil activities, often from activists in Ogoniland, in the delta region. Confidential memos, faxes, witness statements and other documents, released in 2009, show the company regularly paid the military to stop the peaceful protest movement against the pollution, even helping to plan raids on villages suspected of opposing the company. According to Ogoni activists, several thousand people were killed in the 1990s and many more fled that wave of terror that took place in the 1990s. ...


I love my car toooooo much to believe this is possible.

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Sat, Oct 1, 2011
from Associated Press:
Canadian Arctic nearly loses entire ice shelf
Two ice shelves that existed before Canada was settled by Europeans diminished significantly this summer, one nearly disappearing altogether, Canadian scientists say in new research. The loss is important as a marker of global warming, returning the Canadian Arctic to conditions that date back thousands of years, scientists say. Floating icebergs that have broken free as a result pose a risk to offshore oil facilities and potentially to shipping lanes. The breaking apart of the ice shelves also reduces the environment that supports microbial life and changes the look of Canada's coastline. ...


Without shelves, where will we display all our shiny new consumer goods?

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Thu, Sep 29, 2011
from KGW.com:
Eco-friendly gas station opens in Beaverton
BEAVERTON, Ore. - A gas station is probably the last place one would think of as being "eco-friendly" but a new Beaverton Chevron station meets that description. There are 75 solar panels on its rooftop that the station's owner said can generate enough energy to power the entire service station, and more. Some of the excess power is sent back to the utility company, and some goes into an electric vehicle charging station, according to owner Bob Barman. The gas station offers electric vehicle drivers a free recharge. "Since we generate more than we can use we're going to give it back to the consumer," Barman said. All the station's lights are LED, which cuts its energy use by some 70 percent. All of its coolers use geothermal technology.... The station also offers biodiesel, Barman said, even though it's not a Chevron product. ...


Even Ecuadorians gotta love this!

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Thu, Sep 29, 2011
from TIME:
Amid Paeans to Energy Efficiency, the World Is Getting Less Efficient
...Energy efficiency should be a no brainer -- after all, who wants to waste? The savings help the environment and the bottom line as well. You can have political quibbles with renewables or natural gas or imported oil. But who would be against getting lean and mean? No one -- but that doesn't mean we're following through with the drive for greater efficiency. A new analysis by the Worldwatch Institute shows that global energy intensity -- "the amount of energy needed to produce a given unit of economic output -- actually increased by 1.35 percent in 2010. That reverses a broad trend of decline energy intensity -- meaning improved energy efficiency -- over the past 30 years in the global economy. ...


This confirms my theory we're a slacker planet.

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Wed, Sep 28, 2011
from New York Times:
Climate Change and the Exodus of Species
To most humans, so far, climate change is still more of an idea than an experience. For other species, it is an immediate reality. Many will be left behind as the climate alters, unable to move quickly enough or with nowhere to move to. Others are already adapting. An iconic example of these swift changes is the recent discovery that Atlantic and Pacific populations of bowhead whales -- long kept apart by the frozen Arctic -- are now overlapping in the open waters of the Northwest Passage. A team of scientists from the University of York examined the movement of 2,000 animal and plant species over the past decade. According to their study, published in Science last month, in their exodus from increasing heat, species have moved, on average, 13.3 yards higher in altitude -- twice the predicted rate -- and 11 miles higher in latitude -- three times faster than expected. These changes have happened most rapidly where the climate has warmed the most. Chris Thomas, an author of the study, says, these changes "are equivalent to animals and plants shifting away from the equator at around 20 centimeters per hour" for the past 40 years. ...


Eat. my. dust.

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Tue, Sep 20, 2011
from Reuters:
"Missing" global heat may hide in deep oceans
The mystery of Earth's missing heat may have been solved: it could lurk deep in oceans, temporarily masking the climate-warming effects of greenhouse gas emissions, researchers reported on Sunday. Climate scientists have long wondered where this so-called missing heat was going, especially over the last decade, when greenhouse emissions kept increasing but world air temperatures did not rise correspondingly. The build-up of energy and heat in Earth's system is important to track because of its bearing on current weather and future climate... Computer simulations suggest most of it was trapped in layers of oceans deeper than 1,000 feet (305 metres) during periods like the last decade when air temperatures failed to warm as much as they might have. ...


That's where I'd hide the heat.

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Wed, Sep 14, 2011
from Wall Street Journal:
Coal Industry Backs Boehner
U.S. coal companies have pumped $1.5 million into House Speaker John Boehner's political operation this year, a sign of the industry's beefed-up efforts to fight new and proposed regulations from the Obama administration. The coal industry now ranks as one of the top sources of cash for the Ohio Republican, rivaling such perennial GOP donors as Wall Street and the real-estate industry. A large part of the coal industry's donations came in a single week at the end of June. ...


all that coal money / must be giving Congressman / Boehner a woody

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Thu, Sep 8, 2011
from Climate Cha nge Letters, via UCAR:
Switching from coal to natural gas would do little for global climate, study indicates
Although the burning of natural gas emits far less carbon dioxide than coal, a new study concludes that a greater reliance on natural gas would fail to significantly slow down climate change.... While coal use causes warming through emission of heat-trapping carbon dioxide, it also releases comparatively large amounts of sulfates and other particles that, although detrimental to the environment, cool the planet by blocking incoming sunlight. The situation is further complicated by uncertainty over the amount of methane that leaks from natural gas operations. Methane is an especially potent greenhouse gas. Wigley's computer simulations indicate that a worldwide, partial shift from coal to natural gas would slightly accelerate climate change through at least 2050, even if no methane leaked from natural gas operations, and through as late as 2140 if there were substantial leaks. After that, the greater reliance on natural gas would begin to slow down the increase in global average temperature, but only by a few tenths of a degree. ...


On the one hand, burning 100 million years of carbon has serious consequences. On the other hand, um.

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Wed, Sep 7, 2011
from The Ecologist:
China exports its environmental problems as consumer culture booms
Despite its well publicised investment in green technology, China today has an unenviable list of ecological problems; its reliance on coal has left it with 16 of the 20 most polluted cities in the world; the north of the country is prone to frequent water shortages which have created hundreds of thousands of "environmental refugees"; and the dumping of chemicals into the Yangtze and other rivers means half the Chinese population drink water contaminated with human and animal excrement. In a new book, 'As China Goes, So Goes the World', Oxford professor Karl Gerth, claims that many of these problems have been directly caused by China's move towards a more consumerist society. ...


Consumers consume. That's what we do.

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Tue, Sep 6, 2011
from Associated Press:
In Greenland, lives are altered with the weather
...The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world, and "Greenland is experiencing some of the most severe environmental impacts," social researcher Lene Kielsen Holm concludes in a preliminary report on a north-to-south survey of Greenlanders. Those impacts are broad and deep. For a village society whose dogsledding ice hunters long supplied it with seal and walrus meat and fish in winter, the "dark months" are now a time of enforced idleness, limited travel and emptier larders. On land, the thawing permafrost underfoot is leaving houses askew and broken. Climate change touches the animals, too: Greenlanders find lean polar bears, unable to stalk seals on sea ice, invading their settlements for food. And the very sound of Greenland is changing. Where villages once echoed to the howl of huskies, that old call of the wild has been muted. Dispirited hunters up and down the west Greenland coast, unable to feed winter game to their sled dogs, have been shooting them. ...


You know things are very very bad when you have to shoot your dog.

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Mon, Aug 29, 2011
from Pew Center on Global Climate Change:
The 2011 Texas Drought Worst In History
Texas climatologists have recently stated that the ongoing dry spell is the worst one-year drought since Texas rainfall data started being recorded in 1895. The majority of the state has earned the highest rating of "exceptional" drought and the remaining areas are not far behind with "extreme" or "severe" ratings by the U.S. Drought Monitor. So far, Texas has only received 6.5 inches of the 16 inches that has normally accumulated by this time of year.... Streams throughout Texas are running well below normal and reservoirs are running at 50 percent of capacity. Only one boat ramp remains open between Lake Travis and Lake Buchanan and water levels are falling by a foot per week. For farmers and ranchers who depend on Mother Nature to provide water for their livestock and crops, this lack of water has been crippling. Agricultural losses have already mounted to a record 5.2 billion, and the drought has not yet broken. ...


I blame it on illegal immigration.

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Fri, Aug 26, 2011
from Washington Post:
State Department review to find pipeline impact "limited," sources say
The State Department will remove a major roadblock to construction of a massive oil pipeline stretching from Canada to Texas when it releases its final environmental assessment of the project as soon as Friday, according to sources briefed on the process. The move is critical because it will affirm the agency's earlier finding that the project will have "limited adverse environmental impacts" during construction and operation, according to sources familiar with the assessment who asked not to be identified because the decision has not been made public. ...


Limited environmental impact; unlimited profits for the oil industry.

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Tue, Aug 23, 2011
from New York Times:
Tar Sands and the Carbon Numbers
This page opposes the building of a 1,700-mile pipeline called the Keystone XL, which would carry diluted bitumen -- an acidic crude oil -- from Canada's Alberta tar sands to the Texas Gulf Coast. We have two main concerns: the risk of oil spills along the pipeline, which would traverse highly sensitive terrain, and the fact that the extraction of petroleum from the tar sands creates far more greenhouse emissions than conventional production does. The Canadian government insists that it has found ways to reduce those emissions. But a new report from Canada's environmental ministry shows how great the impact of the tar sands will be in the coming years, even with cleaner production methods. It projects that Canada will double its current tar sands production over the next decade to more than 1.8 million barrels a day. That rate will mean cutting down some 740,000 acres of boreal forest -- a natural carbon reservoir. Extracting oil from tar sands is also much more complicated than pumping conventional crude oil out of the ground. It requires steam-heating the sands to produce a petroleum slurry, then further dilution. One result of this process, the ministry says, is that greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas sector as a whole will rise by nearly one-third from 2005 to 2020... ...


Sometimes it seems as if we want to destroy our world.

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Tue, Aug 16, 2011
from Michael Stafford, on DailyWorld:
A conservative's conversion on climate change
I am a "climate change convert." Like many conservatives, I was traditionally skeptical of the science supporting anthropogenic global warming. Today, I am skeptical no longer. Like conservative blogger D.R. Tucker, on this issue, I was ultimately "defeated by facts."... In my own case, I finally reached a point where I could no longer in good conscience deny the implications of the cumulative weight of so large a corpus of evidence. That body of evidence is extensive, and growing. For example, in 2010 the National Academy of Sciences issued what its president, Ralph J. Cicerone, deemed "the most comprehensive report ever on climate change." The report echoes many of the same findings as the earlier 2007 IPCC report that played a key roll in Tucker's conversion but includes five additional years' worth of evidence and data. And in 2010, the Pentagon identified climate change as a threat to our nation's security in its Quadrennial Defense Review for the first time.... In the end, my own reading and research made the following conclusions inescapable: today, there is no debate in the scientific community about whether the Earth is warming -- it is. There is also a nearly unanimous consensus that human activity is responsible for this warming. Given the foregoing, addressing climate change today is an ethical and moral imperative. Failing to do so is a repudiation of our responsibilities both to each other, and most particularly, to future generations. It is a breach of faith, trust, and duty, of enormous magnitude. ...


That's... so... beautiful....

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Tue, Aug 16, 2011
from Anchorage Daily News:
Human activities linked to warming and loss of sea ice
About half the recent record loss of Arctic sea ice can be blamed on global warming caused by human activity, according to a new study by scientists from the nation's leading climate research center. The peer-reviewed study, funded by the National Science Foundation, is the first to attribute a specific proportion of the ice melt to greenhouse gases and particulates from pollution. The study used supercomputers named Bluefire and Franklin and one of the world's most sophisticated climate models to reach its conclusions, said lead author Jennifer Kay, a staff scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. The paper was published last week in the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters. In a telephone interview from Boulder, Colo., where NCAR is headquartered, Kay said her study was an attempt to learn how much Arctic Ocean melting can be attributed to "natural variability" -- complex changes wrought by non-human forces -- and how much has been caused by greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and by atmospheric particulates. ...


Nature + nurture = Apocalypse.

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Wed, Aug 10, 2011
from Guardian:
Russian forests burn for second successive year
Only a year ago Russia was overwhelmed by an exceptional heat wave, triggering hundreds of fires that destroyed thousands of hectares of woodland. Burning peat bogs around Moscow stifled the city in a thick cloud of bitter smoke. Now, Russia is burning again. Since the beginning of this year more than 1m hectares of forest have gone up in flames, or are still burning, outstripping the disastrous record of 2010. But the affected areas are more sparsely populated and far fewer people have been evacuated. The far north of Russia is among the areas that have suffered the most. During the last week of July, Arkhangelsk and the Komi republic had temperatures exceeding 35C. More than 80 fire outbreaks were reported..... Greenpeace claims that the government is playing down the situation. "Official reports indicate 93 hectares of land on fire in the Amur area; in fact it is more like 50,000 hectares, as can be seen from satellite images," says an NGO spokesperson. The Russian authorities have not so far asked for outside assistance. More than 5,000 fire-fighters have already been deployed, backed by 800 specialist units, some equipped with aircraft. Current, more favourable, weather conditions may make life easier, with temperatures dropping to more usual levels all over Russia. ...


The Russia is coming. The Russia is coming!

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Tue, Aug 9, 2011
from International Business Times:
Severe Solar Storms Could Disrupt Earth This Decade: NOAA
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a federal agency that focuses on the condition of the oceans and atmosphere, said a severe solar storm could cause global disruptions in GPS systems, power grids, satellite communications, and airline communications. With solar activity expected to peak around 2013, the Sun is entering a particularly active time and big flares like the recent one will likely be common during the next few years... some scientists believe that another such event is now overdue...This is a special problem in the United States and especially a severe threat in the eastern United States as Federal Government studies revealed that this extreme solar activity and emissions may result in complete blackouts for years in several areas of the nation. Moreover, there may also be disruption of power supply for years, or even decades, as geomagnetic currents attracted by the storm could debilitate the transformers. ...


I can't help but take all this climate chaos personally.

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Tue, Aug 9, 2011
from Telegraph.co.uk:
'Green slime' outbreak blamed on pollution, not just hot weather
Some 83 incidents of algae have been reported to environmental authorities so far this year, starving lakes of oxygen and putting native species at threat. The highest ever number of annual reported incidents was 226 five years ago, but the Environment Agency said this year was an unusually bad one.... The Environment Agency has issued a warning of further 'potential hazards' in Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire as more outbreaks are expected.... The Government agency blamed the hot weather and the recent drought, which means the algae can grow faster, for the high levels of algae blooms, along with phosphate nutrients from fertilisers used on farms. Environmentalists pointed out that there have been cool periods and rain this year, and said the outbreak was made much worse than expected because of pollution from farms and sewage works and water companies taking too much water from the streams. ...


Proof positive that Britons are "going green"!

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Mon, Aug 8, 2011
from DesdemonaDespair:
Oklahoma and Texas droughts significantly worsened after governors asked citizens to pray for rain
Yes, in a mere two weeks, another 30 percent of [Oklahoma] went into extreme or exceptional drought! Now the entire state is under severe drought or worse. For some reason, science-denying southern Republican governors keep returning to one particular ineffectual 'adaptation' strategy: "Texas Drought Now Far, Far Worse Than When Gov. Rick Perry Issued Proclamation Calling on All Texans to Pray for Rain" (7/15/11).... Of course, we don't really have any short-term strategies to address extreme weather. In the longer term, prayer would appear to be a non-optimal approach, given Texas's and Oklahoma's experience. "The percent of contiguous U.S. land area experiencing exceptional drought in July reached the highest levels in the history of the U.S. Drought Monitor, an official at the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln said." Sharply reducing greenhouse gas emissions, however, would seem our best hope of sharply reducing the prospects that the Southwest becomes a permanent dust bowl. It also has the benefit of science underpinning it.... [Take a look at this amazing animation of the last 12 weeks, by the US Drought Monitor: http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/12_week.gif -- 'Doc M] ...


Perhaps those prayers were aimed at Gaia's mean little brother, God.

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Sat, Aug 6, 2011
from Agence France-Press:
US opens ways for Shell drilling in Arctic Ocean
US officials have granted Anglo-Dutch energy giant Shell conditional approval to begin drilling exploration wells in the Arctic Ocean from next year, in a move swiftly slammed by conservationists as "inexcusable." The US Interior Department has opened the doors to Shell's proposal for four shallow water exploration wells in Alaska's Beaufort Sea to start in July 2012, said the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) in a statement Thursday. ...


The Apocalypse has now officially commenced.

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Fri, Aug 5, 2011
from Maggie Koerth-Baker, on BoingBoing:
Climate change and earthquakes: It's complicated
This is a story that contains a whole lot of yesbut. Yes, it really does make sense that climate change could trigger earthquakes. But it's very, very unlikely that that effect is responsible for any of the monster quakes we've experienced recently. And behind that apparent contradiction lies some really, really interesting science. Let's start with a quick overview of why scientists think climate change and earthquakes are connected.... It begins with the forces that cause earthquakes. The surface of this planet, what we see, is actually the crust--just the crispy coating on a ball of nougat. The crust is broken up into large pieces and those pieces move over the surface of the gooey mass beneath. At the borders, the pieces of the crust are riddled with faults. These are places where the crust has broken and different pieces are moving in different directions--away from each other, towards each other, or slipping past one another.... Basically, it boils down to this: Climate change can trigger earthquakes. There's evidence that naturally occurring climate change did that in the past. There's some evidence that anthropogenic climate change might be doing that today. And there's evidence that we could see more climate change-related earthquakes in the future. But, if you're actually concerned about evidence (and you should be) then you can't go around, pointing to earthquakes that make the news today, and calling them consequences of climate change. And we can't oversimplify research to the point of forgetting all the yesbut. ...


Evidence is for people who don't watch FOXnews.

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Fri, Aug 5, 2011
from Agence France-Press:
Arctic ice cap near 2007 record minimum: Russia
The polar ice cap in the Arctic has melted to near its 2007 record minimum level and in some areas is 50 percent smaller than average, Russia's environmental monitoring agency said Thursday. "According to the results of observations, the Arctic ice sheet is currently near the minimum that was observed in 2007 in the polar region," the Roshydromet agency said in a statement. It said the ice sheet covered an area of 6.8 billion square kilometres (2.6 billion square miles) and was much smaller than normal in Russia's Arctic seas.... "In September we can expect very easy navigation conditions in the Northern sea route," it said. ...


Whew! For some reason, I thought this was going to be bad news!

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Thu, Aug 4, 2011
from Telegraph.co.uk:
Record breaking UK spring due to warm weather
The Woodland Trust survey of 40,000 volunteers found that the traditional signs of spring were on average 17 days earlier because of the hot weather in April. The orange-tipped butterfly was spotted almost a month early on 13th April, the earliest sighting since records began in 1891. The horse chestnut, dog rose and purple lilac also broke records for coming into leaf early.... Professor Tim Sparks, nature advisor to the Woodland Trust, said it was the earliest spring since 'bulk recording' began. People were also mowing lawns early and spotting rooks nesting and frog spawn in ponds early. "We had a cold winter but this was followed by a particularly warm and dry spring, which included the warmest April on record. This warmth is undoubtedly the main factor which led to many events occurring earlier than usual. ...


Some records were not made to be broken.

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Wed, Aug 3, 2011
from Greenwire:
House Democrats Take Aim at GOP Environmental Voting Record
The Republican-led House has voted to "stop," "block" or "undermine" efforts to protect the environment 110 times since taking over the majority in January, two senior Democrats said last week. Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.), who sponsored a bill that passed the House in 2009 that would have established a cap-and-trade scheme for greenhouse gas emissions, said the current House has done more to scuttle environmental protections than any in history. "The new Republican majority seems intent on restoring the robber-baron era where there were no controls on pollution from power plants, oil refineries and factories," said Waxman, who serves as top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee. Natural Resources ranking member Markey, meanwhile, said the Republican agenda was a rifle "pointed right at the heart of America's clean energy future." ...


Republicans are good people who just tend to prefer a crappy, deadly environment.

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Fri, Jul 29, 2011
from Associated Press:
EPA targets air pollution from gas drilling boom
Faced with a natural gas drilling boom that has sullied the air in some parts of the country, the Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday proposed for the first time to control air pollution at oil and gas wells, particularly those drilled using a method called hydraulic fracturing. The proposal, issued to meet a court deadline, addresses air pollution problems reported in places such as Wyoming, Texas, Pennsylvania and Colorado, where new drilling techniques have led to a rush to obtain natural gas that was once considered inaccessible. More than 25,000 wells are being drilled each year by "fracking," a process by which sand, water and chemicals are injected underground to fracture rock so gas can come out. The proposed regulations are designed to eliminate most releases of smog- and soot-forming pollutants from those wells. New controls on storage tanks, transmission pipelines and other equipment, at both oil and gas drilling sites on land, would reduce by a quarter amounts of cancer-causing air pollution and methane, the main ingredient in natural gas, but also one of the most powerful contributors to global warming. ...


Can somebody remind me why fracking is supposed to be a good thing?

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Tue, Jul 26, 2011
from Rolling Stone:
The Plastic Bag Wars
American shoppers use an estimated 102 billion plastic shopping bags each year -- more than 500 per consumer. Named by Guinness World Records as "the most ubiquitous consumer item in the world," the ultrathin bags have become a leading source of pollution worldwide. They litter the world's beaches, clog city sewers, contribute to floods in developing countries and fuel a massive flow of plastic waste that is killing wildlife from sea turtles to camels... "There is simply zero justification for manufacturing them anymore, anywhere," the United Nations Environment Programme recently declared. But in the United States, the plastics industry has launched a concerted campaign to derail and defeat anti-bag measures nationwide. The effort includes well-placed political donations, intensive lobbying at both the state and national levels, and a pervasive PR campaign designed to shift the focus away from plastic bags to the supposed threat of canvas and paper bags -- including misleading claims that reusable bags "could" contain bacteria and unsafe levels of lead. ...


Beware the eeevil canvas and paper bags!

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Mon, Jul 25, 2011
from London Guardian:
WWF accused of failing to regulate sustainable timber scheme
Conservation group WWF let timber companies use its panda brand logo while they were razing some of the world's most biologically rich rainforests or trading in potentially illegally sourced timber, according to the investigative group Global Witness. The WWF's flagship Global forest and trade network (Gftn), which is part-subsidised by the US government and EU, promotes sustainable timber, bringing together more than 70 international logging companies and large numbers of timber sellers. The WWF says the 20-year-old scheme is now responsible for nearly 19 percent of forest products bought or sold internationally, with members' combined annual sales approaching $70bn (£43bn). However, Global Witness's report, Pandering to the Loggers, claims Gftn's membership and participation rules are inadequate, allowing companies to systematically abuse the scheme. ...


World Wildlife F**ckers.

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Sun, Jul 24, 2011
from Chicago Tribune:
Heavy rainstorms are Chicago's latest weather nightmare
Those looking for some kind of a break from the heat of the last week got it overnight -- a rainstorm that dropped temperatures into the low 70s. But like the heat wave that preceded it, this rainstorm was anything but ordinary. According to ChicagoWeatherCenter.com, the total rainfall at O'Hare -- 6.91 inches as of about 6:50 a.m. -- is the largest single-day rainfall since records began in 1871. The highest previous daily total was 6.64 inches on Sept. 12, 2008. And more rain is on the way. ...


Come rain or come shine people are gonna complain!

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Thu, Jul 21, 2011
from Reuters:
Ohio leads list of top 20 states with toxic air
People living in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida are most at risk in the United States from toxic emissions spewing from coal and oil-fired power plants, two leading American enviromental groups said in a report on Wednesday. Electricity generation and chemical processing were the top culprits for dangerous emissions, which can lead to or worsen ailments such as asthma and cancer, according to the report by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Physicians for Social Responsibility... "Power plants are the biggest industrial toxic air polluters in our country, putting children and families at risk by dumping deadly and dangerous poisons into the air we breathe," said Dan Lashof, director of the climate center at the Natural Resources Defense Council...The findings underline the need for strong action by the Environmental Protection Agency to spur industry to clean up the emissions, Lashof said. ...


Or, we can just consider this outrage as acceptable casualties.

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Thu, Jul 21, 2011
from Mother Jones:
Get Used to New Weather Extremes
We're seeing records fall in all directions this year--wettest, driest, warmest, coldest, snowiest, stormiest, fieriest--across the globe. In the US alone, in the month of July alone, 1,079 total heat records have been broken or tied. That's 559 broken, 520 tied...so far. The map below, generated today at NOAA's US Records page, shows how records have fallen nationwide, including in Alaska and Hawaii.... In fact, every state except Delaware has broken heat records so far this month. In Iowa yesterday, the heat index exceeded 130deg F/54.4deg C--an extremely rare occurrence in this part of the world. According to Jeff Masters, writing at his Wunderblog, the only place where a 130 deg F heat index is common is along the shores of the Red Sea in the Middle East.... According to the National Interagency Fire Center, the number of wildfires in the US as of the beginning of July this year is 36,424...and counting. These wild lands blazes have burned 4.8 million acres. That's an average of 132 acres per fire--which, by the way, is the largest burned acreage ever recorded in the US during this time period.... ...


I think that's called "unnatural variation."

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Wed, Jul 20, 2011
from Washington Post, via DesdemonaDespair:
Whitebark pine tree faces extinction threat, agency says
The Fish and Wildlife Service determined Monday that whitebark pine, a tree found atop mountains across the American West, faces an "imminent" risk of extinction because of factors including climate change. The decision is significant because it marks the first time the federal government has identified climate change as one of the driving factors for why a broad-ranging tree species could disappear. The Canadian government has already declared whitebark pine to be endangered throughout its entire range; a recent study found that 80 percent of whitebark pine forests in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem are dead or dying.... In its determination, the agency said that it found a listing was "warranted but precluded," meaning the pine deserved federal protection but the government could not afford it.... However, she added, "we've got definitely a limited amount of budget and a limited amount of staff to address all these species. There are other species that are worse off than whitebark pine." ...


I think we call that priority determination "treeage."

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Tue, Jul 19, 2011
from Los Angeles Times:
Meat Eater's Guide ranks foods by environmental, health effects
Lamb, beef and cheese generate the most greenhouse gases of 20 popular meat, fish, dairy and vegetable proteins, according to a new study from the Environmental Working Group. The Meat Eater's Guide, released by the Washington-based environmental research firm, used a cradle-to-grave life-cycle assessment to determine each food's rank, including the amount of fertilizer used to grow animal feed, as well as data on each food's processing, transportation and disposal... The guide considers the effects of meat, fish, dairy and vegetable consumption on the environment and the climate, as well as human health and animal welfare. Ruminant livestock, such as sheep and cows, "release substantial amounts of methane," a greenhouse gas 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, according to the guide. In the U.S., 149 million acres of cropland, 167 million pounds of pesticides and 17 billion pounds of nitrogen fertilizer are used just to grow livestock feed; U.S. livestock generate around 500 million tons of manure annually, which contributes to groundwater and air pollution, the guide said. ...


This heartburn is breaking my heart.

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Tue, Jul 19, 2011
from CNN:
Study: Changes to ocean expected to damage shellfish around world
Massive global greenhouse gas pollution is changing the chemistry of the world's oceans so much that scientists now predict it could severely damage shellfish populations and the nations that depend on the harvests if significant action isn't taken. A new study from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts shows that ocean acidification is becoming a very serious problem. The study was published in July online in the journal Fish and Fisheries....Ocean acidification, or the changing chemical make-up of seawater, has occurred since the industrial revolution as ocean waters absorbed too much carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is a by-product of human industrial activities, mainly the burning of fossil fuels. The Woods Hole study found that many marine animals like mollusks and corals that build hard shells and skeletons are most at risk from this. ...


Seems the shelflife of shellfish is deteriorating.

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Tue, Jul 19, 2011
from Pittsburg Post-Gazette:
Pa. wind turbines deadly to bats, costly to farmers
...The 420 wind turbines now in use across Pennsylvania killed more than 10,000 bats last year -- mostly in the late summer months, according to the state Game Commission. That's an average of 25 bats per turbine per year, and the Nature Conservancy predicts as many as 2,900 turbines will be set up across the state by 2030... Bat populations go down, bug populations go up and farmers are left with the bill for more pesticide and crops...If one turbine kills 25 bats in a year, that means one turbine accounted for about 17 million uneaten bugs in 2010. ...


Do THIS math: If I don't have electricity I don't have TV!

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Sat, Jul 16, 2011
from Fast Company:
The Bacon Uprising
...The Chinese middle class is eating more and more meat, and Beijing wants to keep prices low. That means finding a way to feed all those pigs with grain imported from land cut from the Brazilian rainforest, leading to conflict within the BRICs... Since Deng Xiaoping, China's leaders have been obsessed with "food security" the same way America's are haunted by not having enough oil. And as Chinese diets become more meat centric, fears of the dangers in the fluctuation of pork prices led China to establish a top-secret "strategic pork reserve" in 2007, the only one of its kind. But maintaining all those pigs has led to a massive dependence on corn and soybean imports for animal feed, which in turn is leading China's agribusinesses to fan out abroad in a quest to control the means of production. China's attempts to control the means of production in other countries just rising out of developing world is causing tension with its natural allies, and could be just the first step in an ever-escalating series of resource-based conflicts. ...


One day, we can sort out all this mess together in Hog Heaven.

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Sat, Jul 16, 2011
from New York Times:
House Republicans Accuse EPA, Enviros of Collusion
Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) believes that U.S. EPA has worked out a nifty way to make an end run around both Congress and the federal regulatory process when it wants to implement a new rule that may be politically sensitive. All the agency has to do is get some green group to sue over some aspect of the desired rule, he said. Then EPA can roll over in the ensuing legal battle and head right to settlement proceedings, claiming it was "forced" by the court system and consent decrees to initiate the new rulemaking. It is a path devoid of both messy public comment periods and political accusations over whether EPA is moving unilaterally. And if that wasn't enough, the group that sues EPA can even get its legal expenses covered for its trouble, Whitfield said. ...


Those evildoers... Sounds like they're trying save the planet, dammit!

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Thu, Jul 14, 2011
from The Daily Climate:
Economists find flaws in federal estimate of climate damage
Uncle Sam's estimate of the damage caused by each ton of carbon dioxide is fundamentally flawed and "grossly understates" the potential impacts of climate change, according to an analysis released Tuesday by a group of economists. The study found the true cost of those emissions to be far beyond the $21 per ton derived by the federal government. The figure, commonly known as the "social cost of carbon," is used by federal agencies when weighing the costs and benefits of emissions-cutting regulations, such as air conditioner efficiency standards and greenhouse gas emissions limits for light trucks. A truer value, according to the Economics for Equity and the Environment Network, an organization of economists who advocate for environmental protection, could be as high as $900 per ton - equivalent to adding $9 to each gallon of gas. Viewed another way, with the United States emitting the equivalent of close to 6 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, the higher figure suggests that avoiding those emissions could save the nation $5.3 trillion annually, one-third of the nation's economic output. ...


Uncle Sam is sure a funny uncle.

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Fri, Jul 8, 2011
from New York Times:
E.P.A. Issues Tougher Rules for Power Plants
The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday issued new standards for power plants in 28 states that would sharply cut emissions of chemicals that have polluted forests, farms, lakes and streams across the Eastern United States for decades. The agency said the regulations, which will take effect in 2012, would reduce emissions of compounds that cause soot, smog and acid rain from hundreds of power plants by millions of tons at an additional cost to utilities of less than $1 billion a year. The E.P.A. said the cleaner air would prevent as many as 34,000 premature deaths, 15,000 nonfatal heart attacks and hundreds of thousands of cases of asthma and other respiratory ailments every year. ...


But... the healthier people are, the longer they live and the more electricity they'll need.

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Tue, Jul 5, 2011
from EnvironmentalResearchWeb:
Going beyond the IPCC 'worst case'
In order to see how climate models react over a wide range of greenhouse gas concentrations, researchers in the US have modelled emissions scenarios that are significantly higher than the IPCC's "worst case" scenarios. They found - perhaps unsurprisingly - that the extent of climate change will be significantly worse than for the IPCC's A1FI scenario. "Relative to the A1FI scenario, our highest scenario results in an additional 2 deg C (3.6F) of global mean warming above A1FI levels by 2100, a complete loss of Arctic summer sea ice by 2070 and an additional 43 percent sea level rise due to thermal expansion above A1FI levels by 2100," said Ben Sanderson from the National Center for Atmospheric Research in the US.... The team also assumed that the shares of primary energy derived from different fuel sources remain fixed over time at 2000 levels; that is, the carbon intensity of energy supply is assumed to remain constant. In the second scenario (AllCoal), the researchers make more extreme assumptions. They maintain the A1FI per capita energy projection, but assume population follows the UN high scenario as implemented in the IPCC A2 scenario, reaching 15 billion by 2100. They also make the bounding assumption that all new demand for primary energy is satisfied by coal. "This assumption is not intended to represent a plausible future, but a useful thought experiment that could help inform the exploration of upper bounds on emissions," said Sanderson. "It is astounding, for example, that this combination of assumptions leads to emissions in 2100 that are about four times those in the A1FI scenario, or about 105 gigatonnes of carbon per year." ...


"Astounding" only if you believe in common sense directing the actions of societies.

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Tue, Jul 5, 2011
from CBC:
China's pollution temporarily slowed climate change
Scientists have come up with a possible explanation for why the rise in Earth's temperature paused for a bit during the 2000s, one of the hottest decades on record. The answer seems counterintuitive. It's all that sulphur pollution in the air from China's massive coal-burning, according to a new study. Sulphur particles in the air deflect the sun's rays and can temporarily cool things down a bit. That can happen even as coal-burning produces the carbon dioxide that contributes to global warming.... But sulphur's cooling effect is only temporary, while the carbon dioxide from coal burning stays in Earth's atmosphere a long time. Chinese coal consumption doubled between 2003 and 2007, and that caused a 26 per cent increase in global coal consumption, Kaufmann said.... Sulphur quickly drops out of the air if it is not replenished, while carbon dioxide remains for a long time, so its warming effects are beginning to be visible again, he noted. The plateau in temperature growth disappeared in 2009 and 2010, when temperatures lurched upward. ...


Now we have no excuse not to be subjects of King Coal!

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Thu, Jun 30, 2011
from ScienceDaily:
Farm Animal Disease to Increase With Climate Change, Scientists Say
Researchers looked at changes in the behaviour of bluetongue -- a viral disease of cattle and sheep -- from the 1960s to the present day, as well as what could happen to the transmission of the virus 40 years into the future. They found, for the first time, that an outbreak of a disease could be explained by changes to the climate.... The team examined the effect of past climate on the risk of the virus over the past 50 years to understand the specific triggers for disease outbreak over time and throughout geographical regions. This model was then driven forwards in time, using predictive climate models, to the year 2050, to show how the disease may react to future climate change. Using these future projections, researchers found that in northern Europe there could be a 17 percent increase in incidence of the bluetongue virus, compared to 7 percent in southern regions, where it is already much warmer. ...


Y'know, there are worse things than going vegetarian.

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Tue, Jun 28, 2011
from The Telegraph:
Warming oceans cause largest movement of marine species in two million years
Warming ocean waters are causing the largest movement of marine species seen on Earth in more than two million years, according to scientists. In the Arctic, melting sea ice during recent summers has allowed a passage to open up from the Pacific ocean into the North Atlantic, allowing plankton, fish and even whales to into the Atlantic Ocean from the Pacific. The discovery has sparked fears delicate marine food webs could be unbalanced and lead to some species becoming extinct as competition for food between the native species and the invaders stretches resources.... The highly venomous Portuguese Man-of-War, which is normally found in subtropical waters, is also regularly been found in the northern Atlantic waters.... "In 1999 we discovered a species in the north west Atlantic that we hadn't seen before, but we know from surveys in the north Pacific that it is very abundant there. "This species died out in the Atlantic around 800,000 years ago due to glaciation that changed the conditions it needed to survive. "The implications are huge. The last time there was an incursion of species from the Pacific into the Atlantic was around two to three million years ago.... "Large numbers of species were introduced from the Pacific and made large numbers of local Atlantic species extinct. ...


I like to think of it as species homogenization.

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Mon, Jun 27, 2011
from Washington Post:
Arctic sea ice headed for another major melt
According to one measure of sea ice coverage - average ice extent - the decline in ice cover appears to be occurring slightly faster so far this year than in June 2007, but it's not clear that it will wind up below the extent measured in September 2007.... "It is important to note for context that all 2011 estimates are well below the 1979-2007 September climatological mean of 6.7 million square kilometers."... "We do not know if Arctic change is responsible for record cold outbreaks in Europe the past two years or the heavy snowstorms along the U.S. East Coast. All we know right now is that the behavior fits the current theory." ...


Wasn't 2007's melt a once-in-a-century event?

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Mon, Jun 27, 2011
from New Zealand Herald, thru DesdemonaDespair:
Insurance industry facing a climate of fear
For an industry whose survival means managing risk, these are challenging times. Nations which are focused on their economic problems have barely begun to contemplate how they will deal with the scientists' scenario of a warming planet. Yet insurers must calculate their exposure as our assumptions - that homes will be safe, food will be secure and infrastructure will work - are tested by ever more common "Hundred Year" weather disasters, a change that reinsurer Swiss Re calls the "new normal".... Trying to get a handle on this new normal means taking climate science very seriously. And the news is not good. Last month the International Energy Agency said carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions rose by a record 31 billion tonnes last year, making it more likely that the temperature rise this century would exceed 2C, unleashing runaway global warming and apocalyptic changes, including famine.... "Many of the risks posed by climate change will become uninsurable," predicts Mills. Insurance survives by identifying risks in advance. But climate change is a new ballgame, both in scale and weather volatility. Insurers could also risk losses from liability suits brought against customers who are blamed for fuelling climate change - a fossil fuel company, for example. ...


There are actuarial tables for an apocalypse?

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Sun, Jun 26, 2011
from Times-Colonist, via DesdemonaDespair:
Southern dolphins pay a rare visit, add to biologists' confusion
Two dolphins that would be more at home frolicking in the warm bays of southern California or Mexico are cruising the chilly waters of Puget Sound and biologists are baffled by an apparent trend for tropical species to head north.... Victoria zoologist Anna Hall, who also skippers a boat for Prince of Whales whalewatching, said the only previously recorded sighting in local waters was in April 1953 when a longbeaked common dolphin stranded itself off Victoria. "It's really, really unusual," she said.... Another Bryde's whale stranded and died in southern Puget Sound in January 2010. Bryde's whales usually prefer tropical or warm temperate waters. It is a mystery why tropical species are coming north, Douglas said. "It seems there is a significant change and it's probably temperature related, but we don't know much more than that," she said. "Maybe in a year or two we will be able to say that this was the beginning of a change." ...


I bet they had a lot of SeaMiles™ they needed to use up, so they just took a vacation.

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Wed, Jun 22, 2011
from Al Gore, in Rolling Stone:
Climate of Denial: Can science and the truth withstand the merchants of poison?
Maybe it's just easier, psychologically, to swallow the lie that these scientists who devote their lives to their work are actually greedy deceivers and left-wing extremists -- and that we should instead put our faith in the pseudoscientists financed by large carbon polluters whose business plans depend on their continued use of the atmospheric commons as a place to dump their gaseous, heat-trapping waste without limit or constraint, free of charge. The truth is this: What we are doing is functionally insane. If we do not change this pattern, we will condemn our children and all future generations to struggle with ecological curses for several millennia to come. Twenty percent of the global-warming pollution we spew into the sky each day will still be there 20,000 years from now! ... Continuing on our current course would be suicidal for global civilization. But the key question is: How do we drive home that fact in a democratic society when questions of truth have been converted into questions of power? When the distinction between what is true and what is false is being attacked relentlessly, and when the referee in the contest between truth and falsehood has become an entertainer...? The best available evidence demonstrates beyond any reasonable doubt that the reckless spewing of global-warming pollution in obscene quantities into the atmospheric commons is having exactly the consequences long predicted by scientists who have analyzed the known facts according to the laws of physics. ...


That guy is so inconvenient.

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Sat, Jun 18, 2011
from Guardian:
Warning: extreme weather ahead
Drought zones have been declared across much of England and Wales, yet Scotland has just registered its wettest-ever May. The warmest British spring in 100 years followed one of the coldest UK winters in 300 years. June in London has been colder than March. February was warm enough to strip on Snowdon, but last Saturday it snowed there. Welcome to the climate rollercoaster, or what is being coined the "new normal" of weather. What was, until quite recently, predictable, temperate, mild and equable British weather, guaranteed to be warmish and wettish, ensuring green lawns in August, now sees the seasons reversed and temperature and rainfall records broken almost every year. When Kent receives as much rain (4mm) in May as Timbuktu, Manchester has more sunshine than Marbella, and soils in southern England are drier than those in Egypt, something is happening. Sober government scientists at the centre for hydrology and ecology are openly using words like "remarkable", "unprecedented" and "shocking" to describe the recent physical state of Britain this year, but the extremes we are experiencing in 2011 are nothing to the scale of what has been taking place elsewhere recently.... Last month, Oxfam reported that while the number of "geo-physical" disasters - such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions - has remained more or less constant, those caused by flooding and storms have increased from around 133 a year in 1980s to more than 350 a year now. ...


There's something about that 350 number that rings a bell.

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Fri, Jun 17, 2011
from ScienceDaily:
Where Have All the Flowers Gone? High-Mountain Wildflower Season Reduced, Affecting Pollinators Like Bees, Hummingbirds
It's summer wildflower season in the Rocky Mountains, a time when high-peaks meadows are dotted with riotous color. But for how long? Once, wildflower season in montane meadow ecosystems extended throughout the summer months. But now scientists have found a fall-off in wildflowers at mid-season.... "Some pollinators with short periods of activity may require only a single flower species," write the ecologists in their paper, "but pollinators active all season must have flowers available in sufficient numbers through the season." For example, bumblebees, important pollinators in many regions, need a pollen and nectar supply throughout the growing season to allow the queen bee to produce a colony. As mid-summer temperatures have warmed in places like the Elk Mountains of Colorado, the researchers have found that the mid-season decline in flowering totals is ecosystem-wide.... Such changes in seasonal flower availability across large areas, or in individual habitats, could have serious consequences for entire pollinator populations, says Inouye, which include not only bees, but hummingbirds and others that feed on pollen and nectar. ...


Going to graveyards, every one. When will we ever learn?

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Wed, Jun 15, 2011
from New York Times:
Former Rep. Inglis to Launch Conservative Coalition to Address Climate Change
A former Republican congressman who is an advocate for action to address climate change plans to launch a new conservative coalition this fall made up of Republicans who, like him, believe that human emissions are triggering global warming and that steps should be taken to stop it.... He said the view embraced by many Republicans that human emissions are not a major contributor to global warming is out of step with what it means to be a conservative, given that most scientists say the reverse is true. "Conservatives typically are people who try to be cognizant of risk and move to minimize risk. To be told of risk and to consciously decide to disregard it seems to be the opposite of conservative," Inglis said in a telephone interview. ...


In the sacred name of Dulcinea!

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Wed, Jun 15, 2011
from Reuters:
U.S. EPA delays rollout of CO2 rule on power plants
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, under pressure from Republicans and big utilities, said on Monday it had extended a deadline by two months on draft rules that would for the first time limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. The EPA said it had moved the date for proposing the rule from July 26 to Sept. 30 after listening to businesses and states that will have to implement the regulation. The rule, known as a performance standard, would limit the amount of carbon dioxide that U.S. power plants may emit. ...


Sounds like the EPA is having performance anxiety.

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Tue, Jun 7, 2011
from Stanford University via ScienceDaily:
Climate Scientists Forecast Permanently Hotter Summers
The tropics and much of the Northern Hemisphere are likely to experience an irreversible rise in summer temperatures within the next 20 to 60 years if atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations continue to increase, according to a new climate study by Stanford University scientists... "According to our projections, large areas of the globe are likely to warm up so quickly that, by the middle of this century, even the coolest summers will be hotter than the hottest summers of the past 50 years," said the study's lead author, Noah Diffenbaugh... ...


Just so the winters are bone-chillin' frigid!

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Fri, Jun 3, 2011
from North Carolina State University via ScienceDaily:
Biodegradable Products May Be Bad for the Environment
Research from North Carolina State University shows that so-called biodegradable products are likely doing more harm than good in landfills, because they are releasing a powerful greenhouse gas as they break down. "Biodegradable materials, such as disposable cups and utensils, are broken down in landfills by microorganisms that then produce methane," says Dr. Morton Barlaz, co-author of a paper describing the research and professor and head of NC State's Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering. "Methane can be a valuable energy source when captured, but is a potent greenhouse gas when released into the atmosphere." ...


For goodness sake can't we get anything right?

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Thu, Jun 2, 2011
from Newsweek:
Are You Ready for More?
...Even those who deny the existence of global climate change are having trouble dismissing the evidence of the last year. In the U.S. alone, nearly 1,000 tornadoes have ripped across the heartland, killing more than 500 people and inflicting $9 billion in damage. The Midwest suffered the wettest April in 116 years, forcing the Mississippi to flood thousands of square miles, even as drought-plagued Texas suffered the driest month in a century. Worldwide, the litany of weather's extremes has reached biblical proportions. The 2010 heat wave in Russia killed an estimated 15,000 people. Floods in Australia and Pakistan killed 2,000 and left large swaths of each country under water. A months-long drought in China has devastated millions of acres of farmland. And the temperature keeps rising: 2010 was the hottest year on earth since weather records began. From these and other extreme-weather events, one lesson is sinking in with terrifying certainty. The stable climate of the last 12,000 years is gone. Which means you haven't seen anything yet. And we are not prepared. ...


Whither weather withers our wherewithal.

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Wed, Jun 1, 2011
from Purdue University via Science Daily:
Climate Change Allows Invasive Weed to Outcompete Local Species
Yellow starthistle already causes millions of dollars in damage to pastures in western states each year, and as climate changes, land managers can expect the problem with that weed and others to escalate. When exposed to increased carbon dioxide, precipitation, nitrogen and temperature -- all expected results of climate change -- yellow starthistle in some cases grew to six times its normal size while the other grassland species remained relatively unchanged... ...


And the yellow starthistle shall inherit the earth.

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Tue, May 31, 2011
from London Daily Telegraph:
Wind farms: Britain is 'running out of wind'
According to government figures, 13 of the past 16 months have been calmer than normal - while 2010 was the "stillest" year of the past decade. Meteorologists believe that changes to the Atlantic jet stream could alter the pattern of winds over the next 40 years and leave much of the nation's growing army of power-generating turbines becalmed. The Coalition has drawn up plans to open more wind farms in an effort to meet Britain's European Union target of providing 15 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. More than 3,600 turbines are expected to be installed in offshore wind farms over the next nine years. But statistics suggest that the winds that sweep across the British Isles may be weakening. ...


Frankly my dear all we are is dust in the wind.

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Tue, May 31, 2011
from London Daily Mail:
Melting of the Arctic 'will accelerate climate change within 20 years'
An irreversible climate "tipping point" could occur within the next 20 years as a result of the release of huge quantities of organic carbon locked away as frozen plant matter in the vast permafrost region of the Arctic, scientists have found...Billions of tons of frozen leaves and roots that have lain undisturbed for thousands of years in the permanently frozen ground of the northern hemisphere are thawing out, with potentially catastrophic implications for climate change, the researchers said. ...


If only ancient people had invented the rake.

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Fri, May 27, 2011
from Reuters:
Australia's burping cows more climate friendly than thought
Australia's huge cattle herd in the north might be burping less planet-warming methane emissions than thought, a study released on Friday shows, suggesting the cows are more climate friendly. Cattle, sheep and other ruminant livestock produce large amounts of methane, which is about 20 times more powerful at trapping heat than carbon dioxide. One cow can produce about 1.5 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year. Half of New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture and most of that is from sheep and cattle. Most of the cattle and sheep emissions are, contrary to popular belief, from burping. Scientists at Australia's state-backed research body the CSIRO say the amount of methane from cattle fed on tropical grasses in northern Australia could be nearly a third less than thought. ...


Well played! That headline is lots better than "Australian cow-burps a third less lethal"!

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Thu, May 26, 2011
from Bill McKibben, 350.org:
Stay calm, it's just natural variation
Caution: It is vitally important not to make connections. When you see pictures of rubble like this week's shots from Joplin, Mo., you should not wonder: Is this somehow related to the tornado outbreak three weeks ago in Tuscaloosa, Ala., or the enormous outbreak a couple of weeks before that (which, together, comprised the most active April for tornadoes in U.S. history). No, that doesn't mean a thing. It is far better to think of these as isolated, unpredictable, discrete events. It is not advisable to try to connect them in your mind with, say, the fires burning across Texas -- fires that have burned more of America at this point this year than any wildfires have in previous years. Texas, and adjoining parts of Oklahoma and New Mexico, are drier than they've ever been -- the drought is worse than that of the Dust Bowl. But do not wonder if they're somehow connected.... It's far smarter to repeat to yourself the comforting mantra that no single weather event can ever be directly tied to climate change.... It's very important to stay calm. If you got upset about any of this, you might forget how important it is not to disrupt the record profits of our fossil fuel companies. ...


Just keep repeating: It's only a theory. It's only a theory.

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Wed, May 25, 2011
from via ScienceDaily:
Mediterranean Sea Invaded by Hundreds of Alien Species
More than 900 new alien species have been encountered in the coastal environments of the eastern Mediterranean Sea in recent decades, including the poisonous pufferfish. The invasion of alien species has had the consequence that the whole food chain is changing, while there is a lack of knowledge on which to base relevant risk assessments, a four-year study conducted at the University of Gothenburg shows. ...


Just so everybody's still eating everyone else.

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Wed, May 25, 2011
from Yale Environment 300:
By Barcoding Trees, Liberia Looks to Save its Rainforests
Nearly two-thirds of West Africa's remaining rainforests are in the small but troubled nation of Liberia. That is a small miracle. A decade ago, Liberia's forests were being stripped bare by warlords to fund a vicious 14-year civil war that left 150,000 dead. In 2003, the United Nations belatedly imposed an embargo on Liberian "logs of war." Revenues crashed and, coincidentally or not, the war swiftly came to an end. Now the elected government of Harvard-trained President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has signed a deal with the European Union to place timber sales on a permanently legal footing. The deal, agreed to this month, makes use of a unique national timber-tracking system that requires every legally harvestable tree and every cut log to carry a barcode that will enable it to be tracked from its origin to its final destination. ...


It's gonna take someone named Sirleaf to save the trees.

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Wed, May 25, 2011
from Ohio State University via ScienceDaily:
Two Greenland Glaciers Lose Enough Ice to Fill Lake Erie
A new study aimed at refining the way scientists measure ice loss in Greenland is providing a "high-definition picture" of climate-caused changes on the island. And the picture isn't pretty. In the last decade, two of the largest three glaciers draining that frozen landscape have lost enough ice that, if melted, could have filled Lake Erie. The three glaciers -- Helheim, Kangerdlugssuaq and Jakobshavn Isbrae -- are responsible for as much as one-fifth of the ice flowing out from Greenland into the ocean. ...


This study makes me feel Kangerdlugssuaq all over!

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Fri, May 20, 2011
from BBC:
Brazil: Amazon rainforest deforestation rises sharply
Deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest has increased almost sixfold, new data suggests. Satellite images show deforestation increased from 103 sq km in March and April 2010 to 593 sq km (229 sq miles) in the same period of 2011, Brazil's space research institute says. Much of the destruction has been in Mato Grosso state, the centre of soya farming in Brazil. The news comes shortly before a vote on new forest protection rules. Brazilian Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira said the figures were "alarming" and announced the setting up of a "crisis cabinet" in response to the news. ...


All I gotta say is that "crisis cabinet" better not be made of wood!

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Fri, May 20, 2011
from Hartford Advocate:
You Have No Idea What Mowing Your Lawn Is Doing To The Planet
Imagine a scenario where tens of millions of Americans are condemned by their own illusions to hours of hot, sweaty, grueling unpaid labor every week involving expensive and potentially dangerous chemicals, ear-shattering machines and fuels that pollute the air and water. This isn't some nightmarish dystopian science-fiction plot. It's happening right now as this nation's suburban homeowners renew their unending and damaging war against nature to preserve, protect and pamper the foreign organisms that make up the American lawn. ...


But if I don't make my lawn... just so... the gnomes get angry.

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Thu, May 19, 2011
from Washington Times:
Raw milk activists protest arrest of farmer, milk cow on the Hill
A resounding theme of yesterdays Rally for Food and Farm Freedom on the Hill was that the FDAs recent arrest of Amish farmer Dan Allgyer for selling raw milk was not about food safety; it was about economics and keeping control of the food supply in the hands of big business, instead of giving power to the consumer. Organizers took power -- and sustenance -- into their own hands by creating an impressive showing at the rally in Upper Senate Park, and by drinking the controversial liquid, milked fresh onsite from Morgan the cow, who was trailered in from a Maryland dairy farm. ...


I prefer my milk cooked.

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Tue, May 17, 2011
from Agence France-Press:
Extreme makeover: are humans reshaping Earth?
If alien geologists were to visit our planet 10 million years from now, would they discern a distinct human fingerprint in Earth's accumulating layers of rock and sediment? Will homo sapiens, in other words, define a geological period in the way dinosaurs -- and their vanishing act -- helped mark the Jurassic and the Cretaceous? A growing number of scientists, some gathered at a one-day symposium this week at the British Geological Society in London, say "yes"... For the first time in Earth's 4.7 billion year history, a single species has not only radically changed Earth's morphology, chemistry and biology, it is now aware of having done so. ...


Pimp my planet!

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Tue, May 10, 2011
from Reno Gazette-Journal:
Fact checker: Don't see consensus on global warming? Look past Fox News
The claim: There is no scientific consensus that global temperatures are rising and humans are significantly to blame. The background: This week's claim started because of a study done by the University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes. The study's aim was to determine whether the Citizens United case before the Supreme Court, which allowed unlimited campaign contributions from corporations and unions, affected people's perception of the truthfulness of the information being fed in the midterm elections. The study wasn't intended to be concerned with where people got their information, just how accurate it seemed. But the researchers noticed a peculiar thing: Although some Americans were misinformed, they generally became more informed if they consumed more news -- with one major exception. The study found that the more people watched Fox News, the less informed they became. ...


Unfair and unbalanced.

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Tue, May 10, 2011
from New York Times:
Barring Cars to Clear the Air
Cruising through cities in cars has been a part of urban life for decades. But for some European drivers, that pastime could be coming to an end where the authorities want to bar the most polluting vehicles. "The future in city centers belongs to small cars and electric vehicles," Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, the French minister for ecology and transport, told a French newspaper, Le Parisien, last month. Ms. Kosciusko-Morizet was announcing plans for eight of the largest French cities, including Paris and Nice, to restrict or bar access by passenger cars made before 1997, when stricter emissions standards took effect in Europe. ...


Friggin' French always fouling up our fun.

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Tue, May 10, 2011
from Agence France-Press:
Ecologists raise alarm over Russia's Olympics
With just over 1,000 days left before the Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia is pulling out all the stops to get ready in a drive activists say is leaving a devastating toll on the environment... "In general, environmental damage in Sochi is much worse than what we expected in the early stages of construction planning," said Suren Gazaryan of the Environmental Watch on North Caucasus....A mudslide from an illegal dump up the hill tore through the park and filled the river's banks with debris from tunnel construction and other waste in January. "Clearly leaving thousands of tons of waste on a steep hillside is not a good idea, but its convenient, and it can't be stopped," Gazaryan said as he picked off a chunk of the black substance for testing. ...


Maybe they ought to hold the ApocOlympics instead.

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Mon, May 9, 2011
from The Walrus:
Climate Controlled
He's been training his mental telescope on the year 2031, and the nagging question of whether our world will be consumed by a new, climate-related geopolitics.... China and the Pacific Rim nations, meanwhile, are enduring ever-worsening repercussions of climate change: volatile storms, food riots, and rising sea levels that displace millions of people. "Suddenly," he says, drawing out the tale like the pitch for a thriller, "some countries say, 'Screw it. We have to cool this down.'" How? A bloc of Asian nations underwrites an aggressive geoengineering effort that uses specially designed aircraft to disperse thousands of tonnes of sulfate aerosols into the upper atmosphere. The goal: to reduce global temperatures and calm regional weather patterns. Relative to the costs of environmental mayhem, this high-leverage project is alluringly affordable and promises quick results. Indeed, the halo of high-altitude particles succeeds in reflecting enough sunlight into space that ocean temperatures begin to drop -- so much so that the summer sea ice in the Arctic refreezes. Blackstock continues the plot line: Arctic oil and gas exploration halts, triggering a recession as investors anticipate rising energy prices. Resource-rich northern nations, which have reaped a climate change dividend in the Arctic, now find their commercial interests directly threatened by the geoengineering efforts of southern countries hit by global warming symptoms. ...


Surely nobody would change the climate in a way that would harm others, would they?

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Mon, May 9, 2011
from Scientific American blogs:
Temperature Tantrum: James Hansen Speaks Out, Gets Busted, and Now Sues to Stop Global Warming
In the 1980s, however, he became so worried about global warming that he started speaking out. At a 1988 Senate hearing on climate change, he made headlines when he asserted with 99 percent certainty that greenhouse gases from human activities were causing global warming. Since then the correlated surge in atmospheric carbon dioxide and global temperatures has borne out his assertion.... Hansen advocates civil disobedience to block fossil-fuel operations; in 2009 he was arrested along with other protestors allegedly obstructing traffic into a coal-mining operation in West Virginia. Now he is trying another tactic: suing the government. Hansen serves as a scientific advisor for Our Children's Trust, an Oregon-based nonprofit formed "to protect Earth's natural systems for current and future generations." The group has organized a lawsuit that a coalition of environmental groups filed last week against the U.S. and other nations in attempt to force them to take measures to cut fossil-fuel emissions. ...


When science fails, and foresight fails, and prudence fails, and even reason fails to convince, all that's left is the legal system.

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Thu, May 5, 2011
from Associated Press:
Climate scientists told to 'stop speaking in code'
Scientists at a major conference on Arctic warming were told Wednesday to use plain language to explain the dramatic melt in the region to a world reluctant to take action against climate change. An authoritative report released at the meeting of nearly 400 scientists in Copenhagen showed melting ice in the Arctic could help raise global sea levels by as much as 5 feet this century, much higher than earlier projections…Prominent U.S. climate scientist Robert Corell said researchers must try to reach out to all parts of society to spread awareness of the global implications of the Arctic melt. "Stop speaking in code. Rather than 'anthropogenic,' you could say 'human caused,'" Corell said. ...


Or you could just say: We're fucked.

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Thu, May 5, 2011
from Greenwire:
'Anti-Environmental' House Freshman Leads Charge Against Obama's Clean Water Agenda
Just months into his first term, Rep. Bob Gibbs admits he has much to learn. But the Ohio Republican holds strong reservations about environmental regulation in general... Republicans across the United States capitalized in the last election on a similar business-now, environment-later message, stoking an anti-incumbent mood among voters still smarting from the recession with hopeful promises of business-friendly, job-creating policies. Few in the GOP capitalized as much as this 56-year-old political unknown from rural southeastern Ohio. This white-haired Midwestern farmer has since emerged as critic-in-chief of a top Obama administration priority: strengthening clean water protections. ...


Because who needs clean water when we can be making some dirty money?

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Wed, May 4, 2011
from Miller-McCune:
Environmental Footprints May Produce Backlash
Measuring a person's ecological footprint or carbon footprint is a popular tool among environmentalists. Many see it as a way to educate people about the damage they inflict on the environment on an everyday basis -- information that may prompt them to change their behavior. But newly published research suggests that for many people -- perhaps most -- the receipt of such data may produce the opposite result. In an experiment described in the journal Social Influence, "Only people who had invested their self-esteem in environmentalism -- a strong form of commitment -- reacted to negative environmental-footprint feedback by engaging in a pro-environment behavior," writes Santa Clara University psychologist Amara Brook. "Others were less likely to engage in a pro-environmental behavior after negative feedback." ...


Again I am reminded denial rules!

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Sun, May 1, 2011
from Bloomberg:
Disaster Needed for U.S. to Act on Climate Change, Harvard's Stavins Says
The U.S. probably won't take significant steps to curb climate change until an environmental disaster sways public view and prompts political action, Robert Stavins of Harvard University said. "It's unlikely that the U.S. is going to take serious action on climate change until there are observable, dramatic events, almost catastrophic in nature, that drive public opinion and drive the political process in that direction," Stavins, director of Harvard's Environmental Economics Program in Cambridge, Massachusetts, said today in an interview in Bloomberg's Boston office.... Stavins, an economist, is a member of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which said in 2007 that scientists are more than 90 percent certain that humans are causing global warming.... "There's a legit reason for the public to be skeptical about climate change because they don't see it," Stavins said. Grabbing the public's attention would require a dramatic development, such as a "well-observed melting of parts of polar ice caps that result in some amount of sea-level rise," Stavins said. ...


Yeah, whaddaya expect from the public, abstract thinking?

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Sat, Apr 30, 2011
from USA Today:
Climate change could spawn more tornadoes
As with any major weather disaster these days -- from floods and hurricanes to wildfires and this week's tornado outbreak in the South -- people ask questions about its relation to the huge elephant that's lurking in the corner, global climate change. Two separate studies in 2007 reported that global warming could bring a dramatic increase in the frequency of weather conditions that feed severe thunderstorms and tornadoes by the end of the 21st century. One study, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that locations could see as much as a 100 percent increase in the number of days that favor severe thunderstorms. ...


And by "elephant," are we referring to those blood-sucking, climate-denying Republicans??

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Thu, Apr 28, 2011
from Duke University via ScienceDaily:
Record Number of Whales, Krill Found in Antarctic Bays
Scientists have observed a "super-aggregation" of more than 300 humpback whales gorging on the largest swarm of Antarctic krill seen in more than 20 years in bays along the Western Antarctic Peninsula. The sightings, made in waters still largely ice-free deep into austral autumn, suggest the previously little-studied bays are important late-season foraging grounds for the endangered whales. But they also highlight how rapid climate change is affecting the region..."The lack of sea ice is good news for the whales in the short term, providing them with all-you-can-eat feasts as the krill migrate vertically toward the bay's surface each night. But it is bad news in the long term for both species, and for everything else in the Southern Ocean that depends on krill," says Ari S. Friedlaender, co-principal investigator on the project and a research scientist at Duke. ...


A krilling spree by humpback chumps.

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Wed, Apr 27, 2011
from EnvironmentalResearchWeb:
Siberia's boreal forests 'will not survive climate change'
The boreal forests of Siberia are a vast, homogenous ecosystem dominated by larch trees. The trees survive in this semi-arid climate because of a unique symbiotic relationship they have with permafrost - the permafrost provides enough water to support larch domination and the larch in turn block radiation, protecting the permafrost from intensive thawing during the summer season. This relationship has now been successfully modelled for the first time, revealing its sensitivity to climate change. Ningning Zhang and colleagues from Nagoya University, Japan, have predicted that the larch trees will not be able to survive even the most optimistic climate change scenario of a 4 degree C increase in summer temperature in Siberia by the year 2100. "We found that the larch-dominated boreal forest-permafrost coupled system in Siberia would be threatened by future warming of 2 degrees C or more," Zhang told environmentalresearchweb. "However, our simulations also show that, even with 4 degree C warming, some tree species can still survive, but with considerable loss of biomass." ...


Sounds like a great place for a palm oil plantation!

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Wed, Apr 27, 2011
from London Guardian:
Forest fires around Chernobyl could release radiation, scientists warn
A consortium of Ukrainian and international scientists is making an urgent call for a $13.5m (£8.28m) programme to prevent potentially catastrophic wildfires inside the exclusion zone surrounding Chernobyl's ruined nuclear power plant. The fear is that fires in the zone could release clouds of radioactive particles that are, at the moment, locked up in trees, held mainly in the needles and bark of Scots pines....If there is a catastrophic or "crown" fire (a high-intensity wildfire affecting a large part of the CEZ) radionuclides could be dispersed over a wide area; a big fire could send radioactivity as far as Britain. ...


Smokey the Russian Bear says Only YOU can prevent nuclear radiation.

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Tue, Apr 26, 2011
from Columbia University via ScienceDaily:
Ozone Hole Linked to Climate Change All the Way to the Equator
In a study to be published in the April 21st issue of Science, researchers at Columbia University's School of Engineering and Applied Science report their findings that the ozone hole, which is located over the South Pole, has affected the entire circulation of the Southern Hemisphere all the way to the equator. While previous work has shown that the ozone hole is changing the atmospheric flow in the high latitudes, the new Columbia Engineering paper demonstrates that the ozone hole is able to influence the tropical circulation and increase rainfall at low latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere. This is the first time that ozone depletion, an upper atmospheric phenomenon confined to the polar regions, has been linked to climate change from the Pole to the equator. ...


The ozone... knows all!

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Mon, Apr 25, 2011
from University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute via ScienceDaily:
Brown Recluse Spider: Range Could Expand in N. America With Changing Climate
One of the most feared spiders in North America is the subject a new study that aims to predict its distribution and how that distribution may be affected by climate changes...The researchers concluded that the range may expand northward, potentially invading previously unaffected regions. Newly influenced areas may include parts of Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, South Dakota, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. ...


Now I am truly terrified by climate change!

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Sat, Apr 23, 2011
from Science News:
Salt clouds relieve some Arctic warming
Earth's warming in recent years has had an exaggerated impact in the Arctic. There, temperatures have soared relative to temperate areas, resulting in an increased summer melting of sea ice. But new research indicates that the local warming would be even more dramatic if it weren't for salt sprays kicked up by whitecaps from the Arctic's increasingly open waters. Snow and sea ice reflect much of the sun's warming rays back into space. As an increasing share of the Arctic Ocean's year-round cover of sea ice has disappeared, the sea surface has darkened -- or reduced its albedo -- and become an increasingly better absorber of solar energy. The open water starts to develop in spring and doesn't ice over again until fall. Year-round ice is ice that survives the summer...As expected, the salt clouds can exert a subtle cooling of the Arctic, the team reports online April 13 in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. ...


Hey, this gives me a geoengineering idea: zeppelin saltshakers!

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Fri, Apr 22, 2011
from Alaska Dispatch:
Arctic glacier meltdown accelerates
Glaciers in the Canadian High Arctic -- home to about one third of the world's ice outside of the continental sheets of Antarctica and Greenland -- are melting away much faster than anybody realized. Between 2004 and 2009, the frigid runoff from the ice tongues of Ellesmere, Baffin and hundreds of other islands in the Canadian Far North would have filled Lake Erie three quarters full, according to a new study published this week in the journal of Nature. Toward the end of that period, the accumulated meltdown had surpassed the runoff from the glaciers rimming the Gulf of Alaska and became the greatest single contributor to global sea-level rise outside the continental sheets... ...


Happy Earth Day

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Fri, Apr 22, 2011
from Reuters:
GOP Begins New Push to Delay EPA Rules on Toxic Power Plant Emissions
Under pressure from industry, Congressional Republicans are urging the U.S. EPA to further delay long-overdue rules that would limit more than 80 air toxics emitted by coal-burning power plants, barely a month after the agency announced them. At least one lawmaker, Rep. Edward Whitfield of Kentucky -- a state which gets more than 90 percent of its power from coal -- has said he will soon introduce legislation to postpone implementation of the regulations... According to EPA, the mercury and air toxics standards alone would prevent up to 17,000 premature deaths and 11,000 heart attacks each year. Utilities and business groups say the anti-pollution rules would be too costly to implement and would force early shutdowns of power plants, threatening jobs and economic recovery. ...


I know I'd rather die than watch a poor power plant shut down.

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Thu, Apr 21, 2011
from EnvironmentalResearchWeb:
"Epidemiological" study demonstrates climate-change effects on forests
An 18-year study of 27,000 individual trees by National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded scientists finds that tree growth and fecundity - the ability to produce viable seeds - are more sensitive to climate change than previously thought. The results, published tomorrow in the journal Global Change Biology, identify earlier spring warming as one of several factors that affect tree reproduction and growth. They also show summer drought as an important but overlooked risk factor for tree survival, and that species in four types of trees - pine, elm, beech, and magnolia - are especially vulnerable to climate change.... "The problem is, the models scientists have used to predict forest responses focus almost solely on spatial variation in tree species abundance - their distribution and density over geographic range."... "Trees are much more sensitive to climate variation than can be interpreted from regional climate averages." ...


This is a classic case of judging the forest by its trees.

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Wed, Apr 20, 2011
from Discovery News:
As Gold Prices Go Up, Forests Are Coming Down
A worldwide growth in the price of gold has accelerated the pace of deforestation in some of the most pristine parts of the Peruvian Amazon, where miners are cutting down trees in order to extract the valuable natural resource. From 2003 to 2009, found a new study, the rate of deforestation in two gold-mining areas increased six-fold alongside record-setting leaps in the international price of gold. During one two-year period, as gold prices climbed steadily, forests disappeared at a rate of 4.5 American football fields a day from one of the two sites. Alongside the accelerating paces of both mining and deforestation, the study found, there has also been an exponential rise in the use of mercury, which helps miners extract gold from the Earth. ...


Someday soon we'll realize these trees were worth their weight in gold.

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Wed, Apr 20, 2011
from IRIN:
Somalia: "Worst drought in a lifetime"
Officials and aid workers in Somalia's Middle Shabelle region have raised the alarm over the plight of drought-stricken villagers urgently needing food and water. "We are experiencing the worst drought we have seen in decades; since the beginning of March, we have buried 54 people who died from the effects of the drought, seven of them today [20 April]," said Ali Barow, leader of the small town of Guulane, 220km northeast of Mogadishu, the Somali capital. Barow said Guulane and the surrounding villages of Eil Barwaaqo, Hirka Dheere and Hagarey, with an estimated population of 20,000-25,000, were suffering the effects of a prolonged drought.... He said all the water points in the area had dried up. "The remaining water points are not fit for human consumption but people are desperate and will drink anything." Tifow said almost all the deaths were water related. "Most of them died of AWD [acute watery diarrhoea] that was caused by drinking contaminated water." Alasow Sharey Bool, 80, said both people and livestock were dying in the area. "In my 80 years, I have never experienced what I have seen now. This is the worst drought I have witnessed in my lifetime." ...


Don't forget that the number of drowning victims has fallen dramatically.

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Wed, Apr 20, 2011
from Associated Press:
AP Enterprise: BP is looking strong a year later
It's hard to tell that just a year ago BP was reeling from financial havoc and an American public out for blood. The oil giant at the center of one of the world's biggest environmental crises is making strong profits again, its stock has largely rebounded, and it is paying dividends to shareholders once more. It is also pursuing new ventures from the Arctic to India. It is even angling to explore again in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, where it holds more leases than any competitor. ...


Oil is thicker than blood.

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Wed, Apr 20, 2011
from BBC:
Mother's diet during pregnancy alters baby's DNA
A mother's diet during pregnancy can alter the DNA of her child and increase the risk of obesity, according to researchers. The study, to be published in the journal Diabetes, showed that eating low levels of carbohydrate changed bits of DNA. It then showed children with these changes were fatter. The British Heart Foundation called for better nutritional and lifestyle support for women. It is thought that a developing baby tries to predict the environment it will be born into, taking cues from its mother and adjusting its DNA. ...


That developing baby might be best off just staying in the womb.

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Mon, Apr 18, 2011
from The Independent:
Arctic coastlines recede by 'several metres' a year
Arctic coastlines are crumbling away and retreating at the rate of two metres or more a year due to the effects of climate change. In some locations, up to 30 metres of the shore has been vanishing every year. The rapid rate of coastal erosion poses a major threat to local communities and ecosystems, according to a new report by more than 30 scientists from 10 countries. Rising temperatures are melting protective sea ice fringing the coastlines, leaving them more exposed to the elements, the experts say. The report, State of the Arctic Coast 2010, says 10-year average rates of coastal retreat are "typically in the one to two metres per year range, but vary up to 10 to 30 metres per year in some locations". Worst-hit areas include the Beaufort Sea, the East Siberian Sea and the Laptev Sea.... The scientists stressed that the coastal habitats were the prime lifeline for Arctic communities, supporting a large population of fish, birds and mammals including an estimated 500 million seabirds. ...


Are you saying the wildlife doesn't like fresh coastline every year?

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Mon, Apr 18, 2011
from Discovery News:
Climate Change and Corn a Bad Combo in Africa
Corn was thought to be more resistant to rising temperatures than other crops. But results from crop trials in Africa suggest that climate change could hurt corn (Zea mays) production. Warmer temperatures and drought could be the one-two punch that knocks out corn harvests, warn David Lobell of Stanford University and researchers at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center. "Projections of climate change impacts on food production have been hampered by not knowing exactly how crops fair when it gets hot," Lobell said in a Stanford press release. "This study helps to clear that issue up, at least for one important crop." A modest one degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) rise in temperature could result in a loss of harvest for 65 percent of Africa's corn growing regions. If drought hits as well, all of the African corn belt will suffer some loss with 75 percent of the region losing as much as 20 percent of their harvest. The warning comes after observations of 20,000 corn trials in Sub-Saharan Africa were compared to weather data collected from the same areas. ...


A little more heat, and it'll be pre-popped!

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Thu, Apr 14, 2011
from Jakarta Globe:
Weather Blamed for Caterpillar Plague
Unpredictable weather coupled with a decline in natural predators is responsible for a recent plague of caterpillars in parts of the country. Though the phenomenon is centered largely in Probolinggo, East Java, smaller reported outbreaks in Central Java, West Java, Bali and, most recently, Jakarta have prompted fears of a widespread infestation... Since March, millions of hairy caterpillars have cropped up in at least five subdistricts in Probolinggo, invading fields and homes. They have also caused itchy rashes among residents. The caterpillars have also destroyed more than 8,800 mango trees -- the district's main agricultural produce. ...


Isn't "hairy caterpillars" one of the Seven Signs? Dear Lord...

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Wed, Apr 13, 2011
from Greenwire:
Shale Gas Isn't Cleaner Than Coal, Cornell Researchers Say
Cornell University researchers say that natural gas pried from shale formations is dirtier than coal in the short term, rather than cleaner, and "comparable" in the long term. That finding -- fiercely disputed by the gas industry -- undermines the widely stated belief that gas is twice as "clean" as coal in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. The gas industry has promoted that concept as a way for electric utilities to prepare for climate change regulations by switching from coal-fired plants to gas.... "Compared to coal, the footprint of shale gas is at least 20 percent greater and perhaps more than twice as great on the 20-year horizon and is comparable when compared over 100 years," states a pre-publication copy (pdf) of the study... ...


Sounds like just another shale game to me.

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Wed, Apr 13, 2011
from Australia ABC News:
Ice melt a weighty problem: expert
Melting ice sheets could cause a redistribution of the world's gravitational field causing higher than expected rises in sea level for some parts of the world, according to a senior Australian scientist. Dr John Church, chief research scientist with CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, says the full effect of this shift in gravity hasn't been factored into sea level rise predictions....the gravitational effect is lost and sea levels will be slightly lower than expected around the icy regions, but higher than expected in far away places such as New York or the Pacific islands. ...


Does this massive global shift make my butt look big?

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Wed, Apr 13, 2011
from Wall Street Journal:
Japanese Declare Crisis at Level of Chernobyl
The Japanese government raised its assessment of the monthlong crisis at its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to the highest severity level by international standards -- a rating only conferred so far upon the Chernobyl accident. Japan's nuclear regulators said the plant has likely released so much radiation into the environment that it must boost the accident's severity rating on the International Nuclear Event scale to a 7 from 5 currently. That is the same level reached by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in the former Soviet Union, which struck almost exactly 25 years ago, on April 26, 1986. ...


To commemorate this horrid milestone, Fukushima's name will be changed to Fukushimad.

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Sat, Apr 9, 2011
from Washington Post:
Plants' earlier bloom times hurting some creatures
Cristol Fleming has gone out hunting for the first wildflower blooms of spring for close to four decades. She knows where every tiny bluish clump of rare phacelia can be found, where every fragile yellow trout lily grows....So it was with some consternation that the local field botanist found two of her favorite early flowers -- sprigs of white and purple "harbinger of spring” no higher than an inch and graceful white twinleaf -- in full bloom in the chill of late March....Bloom hunters like Fleming, who for 40 years have been tramping through the woods, roaming along riverbanks and scrambling over rocky outcrops to document the first blooms of spring in the Washington area, worry that what they have been seeing is nothing less than the slow, inexorable shift of global warming. ...


Enough with the bloom-and-doom!

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Sat, Apr 9, 2011
from Associated Press:
World stumbles toward climate summit
Nineteen years after the world started to take climate change seriously, delegates from around the globe spent five days talking about what they will talk about at a year-end conference in South Africa. They agreed to talk about their opposing viewpoints. Delegates from 173 nations did agree that delays in averting global warming merely fast-forward the risk of plunging the world into "catastrophe." ...the U.N. meeting in Bangkok, which concluded late Friday after delegates cobbled together a broad agenda for the December summit, failed to narrow the deep divisions between the developing world and the camp of industrialized nations led by the United States. These may come to plague the summit in Durban. ...


Participants in this summit were given commemorative bronze fiddles.

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Thu, Apr 7, 2011
from Chemical & Engineering News:
Trade Secret Anxiety
The chemical industry is on edge over the Environmental Protection Agency's efforts to make public some of the information companies claim as proprietary in submissions on commercial chemicals to EPA. That nervousness was a significant theme running through the industry's annual global chemical regulation conference, which was held last month in Baltimore. Companies are anxious about the agency revealing to the public the identity of proprietary chemicals, components of secret formulations, or the name of the business that makes them. This confidential business information is included in submissions required by the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). ...


Can't the chemical industry just create a chemical that makes us stop caring? OH... they already did!

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Thu, Apr 7, 2011
from Pittsburg Post-Gazette:
Pollution rules could be eased despite increase in asthma
Students in the South Allegheny School District, downwind of U.S. Steel Corp.'s Clairton Coke Works, have asthma rates 300 to 400 percent higher than national rates, convincing district officials to install air filtration systems in school buildings.... a study released Wednesday by Health Care Without Harm, the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments and the National Association of School Nurses, said the already staggering human and financial toll of asthma in the United States "is likely to increase" if Congress carries through with its threat to weaken the Clean Air Act and block the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from tightening air pollution regulations. Congressional action could include blocking the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide. ...


Whaddaya want? The government to actually protect us?

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Wed, Apr 6, 2011
from SeekingAlpha:
Food Prices and Global Hunger Equal Riots, Civil Wars and Revolution
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) at the United Nations puts out a global hunger index (pdf). The most recent was from 2010, well before this year's 45 percent price spike in foodstuffs. According to the IMF, each 10 percent increase in food prices doubles the likelihood of civil disorder, riots or worse by 100 percent [The Food Riot and Revolution Index]. By my math, we are at a four or five-fold increase and still ramping up. In the FAO's scoring, a hunger score above 30 is considered extremely alarming, 20-29 is alarming, and 10-19 is serious. With the massive food inflation, I submit that it's reasonable to add about 10 to the old, quickly outdated (by the day) 2010 number. If you care to argue this point, fine; but add something substantial. Nigeria was 18 in 2010, so this would be in the high 20s today, and at the upper end of the alarming score. Potential hotbed Pakistan was 19 in 2010. Another oil producer, Angola, had a 27 hunger index in 2010 and would now be in the extremely alarming category. Cameroon, a small African oil producer, has a 2010 score of 18. That country was severely impacted by food riots during the 2008 commodity bubble. Both Bangladesh, and emerging market darling India, were ranked 24 in 2010. With the spike, it would be well over 30 today. Don't be surprised if ethnic and religious turmoil breaks out in what are considered democracies. That will be hard for the U.S. to spin. I don't think the U.S. has enough aircraft carriers to cover these contingencies. ...


The military-industrial-ecocide complex is ready to help!

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Tue, Apr 5, 2011
from Huffington Post:
Geoengineering: Scientists Debate Risks Of Sun-Blocking And Other Climate Tweaks To Fight Warming
Scientists of earth, sea and sky, scholars of law, politics and philosophy: In three intense days cloistered behind Chicheley Hall's old brick walls, four dozen thinkers pondered the planet's fate as it grows warmer, weighed the idea of reflecting the sun to cool the atmosphere and debated the question of who would make the decision to interfere with nature to try to save the planet. The unknown risks of "geoengineering" - in this case, tweaking Earth's climate by dimming the skies - left many uneasy.... "By most accounts, the leading contender is stratospheric aerosol particles," said climatologist John Shepherd of Britain's Southampton University. The particles would be sun-reflecting sulfates spewed into the lower stratosphere from aircraft, balloons or other devices - much like the sulfur dioxide emitted by the eruption of the Philippines' Mount Pinatubo in 1991, estimated to have cooled the world by 0.5 degrees C (0.9 degrees F) for a year or so.... The technique has other downsides: The sulfates would likely damage the ozone layer shielding Earth from damaging ultraviolet rays; they don't stop atmospheric carbon dioxide from acidifying the oceans; and sudden cooling of the Earth would itself alter climate patterns in unknown ways.... Some are also making a political calculation. If research shows the stratospheric pollutants would reverse global warming, unhappy people "would realize the alternative to reducing emissions is blocking out the sun," Hamilton observed. "We might never see blue sky again." If, on the other hand, the results are negative, or the risks too high, and global warming's impact becomes increasingly obvious, people will see "you have no Plan B," said EDF's Hamburg - no alternative to slashing use of fossil fuels. Either way, popular support should grow for cutting emissions. ...


Grey skies / how could that be? / Nothin' but blue skies / should I see.

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Sun, Apr 3, 2011
from The Independent:
Glaciers melting at fastest rate in 350 years, study finds
Some mountain glaciers are melting up to 100 times faster than at any time in the past 350 years. The findings, based on a new ice loss calculation technique developed by studying the glaciers of Patagonia in South America, have worrying implications for crop irrigation and water supplies around the world. The quantity of ice lost from Patagonia is equivalent to a fifth more than the contents of Lake Erie, one of the Great Lakes of North America. Scientists behind the discovery claim their findings show that the rate of melting at the start of the 20th century was much slower than previously calculated, but that over the past 30 years it has been significantly faster than suspected.... The figures show the contribution to sea level rise is increasing, though still at a low level, but what alarmed the team most was that the rate of loss has sped up rapidly since 1980. "The glaciers have lost a lot less ice up until 30 years ago than had been thought. The real killer is that the rate of loss has gone up 100 times above the long-term average. It's scary," said Professor Glasser, who carried out the study with the University of Exeter and Stockholm University. ...


I thought Patagonia was just an outdoor clothing line.

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Sun, Apr 3, 2011
from Yale360:
Birds Delay Spring Migration As Tropical Rainfall Declines, Study Says
Declining rainfall in tropical regions can cause migratory birds to delay their departure from wintering grounds back to their northern breeding areas, according to a new study. In a five-year study of American redstarts, a species of warbler, scientists at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute found that individual birds delayed their spring migration from Jamaica to North America when low rainfall produced a scarcity of insects, the birds' primary food supply; the redstarts apparently delayed migration because of insufficient nutritional reserves. Over the last 16 years, increasingly severe and unpredictable dry seasons in Jamaica have resulted in an 11-percent decrease in rainfall. "Our results support the idea that environmental conditions on tropical non-breeding areas can influence the departure time for spring migration," said Colin Studds.... While it is unclear whether the delayed migration will have an adverse impact on the birds, the study said a delayed departure could ultimately affect the arrival time to breeding territory, and thus yield less time to reproduce. ...


I can think of a few other reasons to hang out in Jamaica.

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Sat, Apr 2, 2011
from DesdemonaDespair:
Climate change causing millions of migrating salmon to die from heart failure
Climate change is causing migrating salmon to die from heart failure in their millions as they stretch every sinew to reach their spawning grounds. Overheating is such a problem for the sockeye salmon that as they head for their traditional spawning grounds in the Fraser River network in Canada their hearts stop.... "Their hearts just can't cope with the temperatures," said Erika Eliason, of the University of British Columbia in Canada.... It is the combination of exertion and warmer conditions that is proving fatal to the fish, scientists found. Since the 1950s the water temperature has risen by almost 2C and the sockeyes have been in steep decline for the last 20 years, which include several of the hottest years on record. ...


But hey, the ol' swimming hole's just great!

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Tue, Mar 29, 2011
from Associated Press:
S. Carolina lawmakers take dim view of new light bulbs
South Carolina lawmakers are taking a stand in favor of states' lights. With incandescent bulbs being phased out under federal law in favor of energy-efficient compact fluorescents, legislators want to exempt South Carolina from the measure, saying Washington has no business telling the state how to light its closets and countertops. The proposed state law, called the Incandescent Light Bulb Freedom Act, "allows South Carolina to say to the federal government we are going to exercise our rights," said Republican state Rep. Bill Sandifer, a co-sponsor. ...


The Freedom to Ruin the Earth Edict (FREE)

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Tue, Mar 29, 2011
from Our Amazing Planet:
Oceans May Be Speeding Melt of Greenland's Glaciers
Dynamic layers of warm Atlantic and cold Arctic Ocean waters around Greenland may be speeding the melt of the country's glaciers, researchers find. "Over the last 15 years or so, the Greenland Ice Sheet has been putting a lot more ice into the ocean," said Fiammetta Straneo of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, in Massachusetts, who has spent years studying the ice-coated country that is currently responsible for about a quarter of worldwide sea level rise. "We're trying to understand why, as we thought ice sheets changed on much longer timescales, like thousands of years," she told OurAmazingPlanet. Researchers know that warm air over Greenland melts surface snow and ice, but this process doesn't do enough melting to explain the extent of the glaciers' rapid retreat. ...


Maybe the glaciers are simply recoiling from the horror!

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Tue, Mar 29, 2011
from The Daily Climate:
Shift in boreal forest has wide impact
Vegetation change underway in northern forests as a result of climate change creates feedback loop that prompts more warming, scientists say. Boreal forests across the Northern hemisphere are undergoing rapid, transformative shifts as a result of a warming climate that, in some cases, is triggering feedback loops producing even more regional warming, according to several new studies. Russia's boreal forest - the largest continuous expanse of forest in the world - has seen a transformation in recent years from larch to conifer trees, according to new research by University of Virginia researchers.... "The climate has shifted. It's done, it's clear, and the climate has become unsuitable for the growth of the boreal forest across most of the area that it currently occupies," said Glenn Juday, a forestry professor at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. ...


I wish that durn scientist wouldn't beat around bush.

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Mon, Mar 28, 2011
from St. Petersburg Times:
Bill will adversely affect environment, but will it create jobs?
Builders of homes, offices, roads and other projects have been allowed to wipe out more wetlands in Florida than in any other state. But now, in the name of sparking job growth, state lawmakers want to make it even easier to develop wetlands and just write a check for the damage. The 63 pages of CS/HB 991, which passed its latest committee vote Wednesday 14-0, are packed with changes to the state's wetlands, water pollution and development permitting rules. The bill makes it easier to build roads through wetlands, easier for polluters to escape punishment, easier to open new phosphate mines and harder for regulators to yank a permit from someone who did things wrong. ...


No worries. All this raping of the earth will create plenty of jobs in the Post-Apocalypse.

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Mon, Mar 28, 2011
from Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres via ScienceDaily:
Freshwater Content of Upper Arctic Ocean Increased 20 Percent Since 1990s, Large-Scale Assessment Finds
The freshwater content of the upper Arctic Ocean has increased by about 20 percent since the 1990s, according to a new large-scale assessment... The freshwater content in the layer of the Arctic Ocean near the surface controls whether heat from the ocean is emitted into the atmosphere or to ice. In addition, it has an impact on global ocean circulation...This freshwater lies as a light layer on top of the deeper salty and warm ocean layers and thus extensively cuts off heat flow to the ice and atmosphere. Changes in this layer are therefore major control parameters for the sensitive heat balance of the Arctic. ...


That's the problem with this planet. It's sooooo sensitive.

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Sat, Mar 26, 2011
from Sydney Morning Herald:
Scientists find waves are getting bigger
Ocean wind speeds and wave heights around the world have increased significantly over the past quarter of a century, according to Australian research that has given scientists their first global glimpse of the world's rising winds and waves. Published in the journal Science today, the research - the most comprehensive of its kind ever undertaken - used satellite data collected from 1985 to 2008. It shows the extreme wave height off the coast of south-west Australia today is six metres on average, more than a metre higher than in 1985. ...


Surf's up! Size matters.

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Sat, Mar 26, 2011
from National Science Foundation via ScienceDaily:
Kudzu Vines Spreading North from US Southeast With Warming Climate
Kudzu, the plant scourge of the U.S. Southeast. The long tendrils of this woody vine, or liana, are on the move north with a warming climate. But kudzu may be no match for the lianas of the tropics, scientists have found. Data from sites in eight studies show that lianas are overgrowing trees in every instance. If the trend continues, these "stranglers-of-the-tropics" may suffocate equatorial forest ecosystems. ...


Sounds like someday we will all live in the Land of Kudzuliana.

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Thu, Mar 24, 2011
from Edmonton Journal:
U.S. energy giant sets up shop in Alberta
An American energy conglomerate owned by two powerful billionaire brothers who help fund the Tea Party and climate-change denial movements in the U.S. has registered to lobby the Alberta government. Alberta's lobbyist registry shows that on March 15, Koch Industries signed up to lobby the province on energy and resource development policy issues, as well as taxation and economic development. The company is run by Charles and David Koch, two of the richest men in the world. Koch Industries spokeswoman Melissa Cohlmia did not respond to interview requests Wednesday, but released a one-sentence statement. "Koch companies want to add value by providing quality services and products our customers desire and value in a way that is compliant with all laws and regulations," she wrote. ...


If it was my province, I'd show these Kochs the door.

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Thu, Mar 24, 2011
from Forbes:
Salazar opens 750M tons of Wyo. coal to mining
nterior Secretary Ken Salazar announced plans Tuesday to auction off vast coal reserves in Wyoming over the next five months, unleashing a significant but controversial power source amid uncertainty about clean and safe energy development. ...


Salazar = Salaczar

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Wed, Mar 23, 2011
from AlaskaDispatch:
Warmer Arctic could increase threat of disease for caribou, other foods
Climate change in the Arctic could change the balance of power between humans, animals and the germs or pathogens that make them both sick, according to a paper by University of Alaska Fairbanks microbiologist Karsten Hueffer.... The rates of predicted climate change for the Arctic could spell disaster for this longstanding host-pathogen balance. A warmer Arctic could increase survival of organisms that carry disease and decrease survival of the animals they infect - including animals used as subsistence food by people living in the Arctic. "What happens when a caribou has its calf on ground warm enough to have pathogens the calf cannot fight off?" said Hueffer. "The same issue could face bears giving birth in dens." Muskoxen are affected by a lung worm known to develop much faster when it's warmer. "The faster the worm grows the more generations are born, which increases the disease pressure on the muskoxen," said Hueffer. Humans are at risk as well. A warmer Arctic and the prospect of an ice-free Northwest Passage is expected to drive an increase in development and other human activity in the North, all of which will increase contact among wildlife, humans and domesticated animals. ...


Caribou, muskox, and bears -- they die!

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Tue, Mar 22, 2011
from Discover:
Made in China: Our Toxic, Imported Air Pollution
Mercury, sulfates, ozone, black carbon, flu-laced desert dust. Even as America tightens emission standards, the fast-growing economies of Asia are filling the air with hazardous components that circumnavigate the globe. "There is no place called away." It is a statement worthy of Gertrude Stein, but University of Washington atmospheric chemist Dan Jaffe says it with conviction: None of the contamination we pump into the air just disappears. It might get diluted, blended, or chemically transformed, but it has to go somewhere. And when it comes to pollutants produced by the booming economies of East Asia, that somewhere often means right here, the mainland of the United States. ...


What goes around ... comes around.

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Mon, Mar 21, 2011
from Sydney Morning Herald:
Sydney's heavy weather: six weeks' rain in a day
Sydney has switched from its driest start to the year since 1965 to one of its wettest weeks in March after up to 200 millimetres of rain fell in 24 hours this weekend - 1.5 times the monthly average, a meteorologist says.... Persistent rain is showing no sign of letting up, with the Bureau of Meteorology forecasting rain and thunderstorms throughout the day and further showers on Tuesday.... Mr Dutschke said that, on Saturday and yesterday, 99 millimetres fell on the city - the highest 24-hour total in 3.5 years, with the heaviest downpours of about 150 to 200 millimetres along the beaches and the northern suburbs. "It's been a big turnaround in events, given that Sydney has been one of the parts of the state that has really missed out on La Nina-type rainfall," he said.... ...


These days, when it pours, it deluges.

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Sun, Mar 20, 2011
from EnvironmentalResearchWeb:
Deadly heatwaves will be more frequent in coming decades, say scientists
The heatwave that scorched eastern Europe in 2010, killing thousands of people and devastating crops, was the worst since records began and led to the warmest summer on the continent for at least 500 years, a new scientific analysis has revealed. The research also suggests that "mega-heatwaves", such as the prolonged extreme temperatures that struck western Europe in 2003 will become five to 10 times more likely over the next 40 years, occurring at least once a decade. But the 2010 heatwave was so extreme - 10 deg C above the average for the first week of August between 1970 and 2000 - that similar events are only expected to occur once every 30 years or so.... The findings of the study are consistent with this, said Barriopedro: "Under global warming this kind of event will become more common. Mega-heatwaves are going to be more frequent and more intense in the future." ...


It ain't the heat -- it's the megaheat.

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Sat, Mar 19, 2011
from Nature:
'Wilful ignorance': Nature opinion
At a subcommittee hearing on 14 March, anger and distrust were directed at scientists and respected scientific societies. Misinformation was presented as fact, truth was twisted and nobody showed any inclination to listen to scientists, let alone learn from them. It has been an embarrassing display, not just for the Republican Party but also for Congress and the US citizens it represents.... [T]he legislation is fundamentally anti-science, just as the rhetoric that supports it is grounded in wilful ignorance. One lawmaker last week described scientists as "elitist" and "arrogant" creatures who hide behind "discredited" institutions.... [T]o deny that there is reason to be concerned, given the decades of work by countless scientists, is irresponsible. ...


Why should we listen to egghead smarty-pantses? What do they know?

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Fri, Mar 18, 2011
from Greenwire:
Christian Coalition Visits Hill for Energy Discussion
The Christian Coalition of America came to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, not to proselytize or discuss issues like abortion or gay marriage, but to talk about the United States' energy policy and the need to end the country's dependence on foreign oil....Announcing the event, the coalition said in a statement, "We believe that there needs to be a conservative discussion on a national energy policy that speaks to the values of energy independence, national security, prosperity, family and stewardship. That is why we are sponsoring this discussion."... Other speakers who addressed the group were C. Boyden Gray...Gray said, "The United States is drowning in substitutes for oil." He said the country must become more reliant on natural gas, which is plentiful in the United States, to become less dependent on oil. ...


That frucker Gray apparently hasn't been reading how frucked fracking is on the environment.

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Thu, Mar 17, 2011
from University of York, via EurekAlert:
Intervention offers 'best chance' to save species endangered by climate change
A University of York scientist is proposing a radical programme of 'assisted colonisation' to save species endangered by climate change. Chris Thomas, Professor of Conservation Biology, says the strategy is applicable across the world, and he suggests Britain as a potential haven for species such as the Iberian lynx, the Spanish Imperial Eagle, the Pyrenean Desman and the Provence Chalkhill Blue butterfly. In an opinion paper in Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Professor Thomas, of the University's Department of Biology, says that moving endangered species is the only viable option to maintain some climate-endangered species in the wild.... Professor Thomas says a more radical policy is now required if humanity wishes to minimise the number of species that become extinct from all causes, including from climate change and species invasions. He says increased local and regional species richness that would result is positive, provided that this does not result in higher global extinction rates. "Translocation represents one of the principal means of saving species from extinction from climate change; in conjunction with maintaining large areas of high quality (low human impact) habitats," he says. ...


I didn't know Noah had a doctorate.

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Thu, Mar 17, 2011
from Scientific American:
House Repubs Vote That Earth Is Not Warming
Congress has finally acted on global warming--by denying it exists. It's in the grand lawmaking tradition of the Indiana state legislature's 1897 attempt to redefine the value of pi. The Republican-led House of Representatives is currently working on the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011, which would bar the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating carbon dioxide emissions to mitigate climate change. In the House Energy and Commerce Committee, California Democrat Henry Waxman had proposed an amendment calling on Congress to at least acknowledge that "warming of the climate system is unequivocal," just as abundant scientific evidence confirms. But on Tuesday, March 15, all the committee's Republicans voted down that amendment, as well as two others acknowledging the threat of climate change to public well-being. ...


Rep. Strangelove: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Heat.

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Wed, Mar 16, 2011
from Montreal Gazette:
Could global warming be causing recent earthquakes?
Severe earthquakes in Haiti, Chile and now Japan have experts around the world asking whether the world's tectonic plates are becoming more active -- and what could be causing it. Some scientists theorize that the sudden melting of glaciers due to man-made climate change is lightening the load on the Earth's surface, allowing its mantle to rebound upwards and causing plates to become unstuck....The surface of the Earth is elastic. A heavy load such as a glacier will cause it to sink, pushing aside the liquid rock underneath. ...


Regardless, these earthquakes are good practice for the Apocalypse.

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Wed, Mar 16, 2011
from New York Times:
E.P.A. Proposes New Emission Standards for Power Plants
The Environmental Protection Agency proposed the first national standard for emissions of mercury and other toxins from coal-burning power plants on Wednesday, a rule that could lead to the early closing of dozens of generating stations and is certain to be challenged by the utility industry and Republicans in Congress. Lisa P. Jackson, the agency's administrator, unveiled the new rule with fanfare at agency headquarters, saying control of dozens of poisonous substances emitted by power plants was two decades overdue and would prevent thousands of deaths and tens of thousands of cases of disease a year. ...


Apparently, the utility industry and Republicans in Congress are impervious to death and disease.

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Tue, Mar 15, 2011
from Alaska Dispatch:
Huge ozone hole spreads over Arctic, scientists say
Extremely cold temperatures in the upper atmosphere over the Arctic have triggered a "massive" loss of ozone in just the past few weeks, a situation that could create the most severe ozone hole yet observed in the Far North, according to Europe's leading Arctic research group....The depletion in the Arctic could migrate southward on air currents, Rex said, and ultimately lead to reduced protection against ultraviolet radiation in more populated areas of Alaska, Canada and Europe later in the season. An international network of more than 30 ozone measuring stations have tracked this sudden reduction in the concentrations of the trace gas that protects life on Earth from dangerous solar radiation, according to a release from the Alfred Wegener Institute. ...


I sense my tan will be luscious this coming season.

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Tue, Mar 15, 2011
from AFP, via Yahoo News:
Fewer Americans worry about climate change: poll
The number of Americans who are worried about global warming has fallen to nearly the historic low reached in 1998, a poll released Monday showed. Just 51 percent of Americans -- or one percentage point more than in 1998 -- said they worry a great deal or fair amount about climate change, Gallup's annual environment poll says. In 2008, a year after former US vice president Al Gore and the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change won the Nobel Peace Prize, two-thirds of Americans were concerned about climate change. The rate of concern among Americans has fallen steadily since then to 60 percent in 2009 and 52 percent last year.... "The reasons for the decline in concern are not obvious, though the economic downturn could be a factor," Gallup analysts say, citing a poll from two years ago that shows that in the minds of Americans, economy takes precedence over environment.... Just over a quarter of Americans believe reports in the press about climate change are generally correct, while nearly three in 10 believe the US media understates the effects of global warming. ...


Looks like our messaging is working!

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Mon, Mar 14, 2011
from New York Times:
Heat Damages Colombia Coffee, Raising Prices
But in the last few years, coffee yields have plummeted here and in many of Latin America's other premier coffee regions as a result of rising temperatures and more intense and unpredictable rains, phenomena that many scientists link partly to global warming. Coffee plants require the right mix of temperature, rainfall and spells of dryness for beans to ripen properly and maintain their taste. Coffee pests thrive in the warmer, wetter weather. Bean production at the Garzons' farm is therefore down 70 percent from five years ago, leaving the family little money for clothing for toddlers and "thinking twice" about sending older children to college.... Purveyors fear that the Arabica coffee supply from Colombia may never rebound -- that the world might, in effect, hit "peak coffee." ...


Guess I'll have to give up some luxuries so I can afford my coffee. Like, maybe, food.

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Mon, Mar 14, 2011
from Wall Street Journal:
EPA Tangles With New Critic: Labor
The Obama administration's environmental agenda, long a target of American business, is beginning to take fire from some of the Democratic Party's most reliable supporters: Labor unions. Several unions with strong influence in key states are demanding that the Environmental Protection Agency soften new regulations aimed at pollution associated with coal-fired power plants. Their contention: Roughly half a dozen rules expected to roll out within the next two years could put thousands of jobs in jeopardy and damage the party's 2012 election prospects. "If the EPA issues regulations that cost jobs in Pennsylvania and Ohio, the Republicans will blast the President with it over and over," says Stewart Acuff, chief of staff to the president of the Utility Workers Union of America. "Not just the President. Every Democratic [lawmaker] from those states." ...


Those of you hoping the US will get its shit together... are dreaming!

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Mon, Mar 14, 2011
from Yale360:
African Corn Faces Threat From Even Moderate Warming, Study Shows
A review of crop trial data from thousands of sites across Africa shows that a temperature increase of 1 degree C (1.8 F) could cause declines in corn harvests in two-thirds of the continent's maize-growing regions. Drawing on previously unstudied data from 20,000 trials of corn yields across Africa from 1999 to 2007, an international team of researchers found that the longer corn crops are exposed to temperatures above 30 degrees C (86 F), the more yields decline. And under drought conditions, the researchers found that more than 75 percent of corn-growing regions suffered yield declines of at least 20 percent as temperatures rose 1 degree C. Researchers from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, reporting in the journal Nature Climate Change, said the results surprised them because maize was assumed to be among the more heat-tolerant crops. The researchers reached their conclusions after gathering data from the 20,000 trial sites and then comparing it with temperature and rainfall data. They said the results show that corn, a staple crop for many Africans, could suffer significant yield declines if, as predicted, higher temperatures and drought impact Africa in the future. ...


So if 2/3 of corn growing regions decrease production at least 20 percent for every 1.8 degrees F, then starvation will increase.... oh, I hate story problems. What's on TV?

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Sun, Mar 13, 2011
from Japan Times:
Basic nuclear policy questioned
OSAKA -- Severe damage to the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant had the central government and local authorities in neighboring towns racing Saturday to evacuate residents and implement previously agreed upon emergency response measures. But the unprecedented scale of Friday's earthquake and tsunami left questions about not only the adequacy of the measures but the basic policy of pursuing nuclear power in a country as earthquake-prone as Japan....antinuclear activists say there is a glaring flaw to the nuclear emergency response system. "In this seismically active country, the government refuses to draw up emergency plans taking into account nuclear accidents due to earthquakes. There is no emergency plan to protect the public when there is both an earthquake and a nuclear accident," said Green Action head Aileen Mioko Smith. ...


No matter what category of enviro-devastation, survivors of our climate apocollapse will be asking: What were they thinking?

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Sat, Mar 12, 2011
from New York Times:
Polar Ice Loss Is Accelerating, Scientists Say
...On Wednesday, a research team led by a NASA scientist unveiled a new study that is sure to stir debate on the topic. The paper concludes that ice loss from both Greenland and Antarctica is accelerating, and that the ice sheets' impact on the rise in sea levels in the first half of the 21st century will be substantially higher than previous studies had projected. The increasing ice loss means that, for the first time, Greenland and Antarctica appear to be adding more to sea-level rise than the world's other reserves of ice -- primarily mountain glaciers, which are also melting because of rising temperatures. In 2006 alone, the study estimated that the two ice sheets lost roughly 475 billion metric tons of ice.... If the rates of melting observed in the study were to continue, the ice sheets could add nearly six inches to the rise in global sea levels in the next forty years -- a far larger contribution than the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the international scientific body, has projected. ...


Six inches in 40 years? I can crawl away from that!

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Sat, Mar 12, 2011
from Living on Earth:
Can a Hollywood Producer inspire Americans on Climate?
...Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and the organization's climate chief Christiana Figueres... urged film and TV industry bigwigs to pitch in and put their talents to use to raise awareness about global warming. Among the 400 Hollywood celebs in the audience was Marshall Herskovitz - the producer of the TV series "thirtysomething" and "My So Called Life." He also produced a dozen films, including "Blood Diamond" and "I am Sam." Now, Marshall Herskovitz has two new projects underway dealing with climate change in which he says he's going to put many of the Hollywood tricks-of-the-trade to use....GELLERMAN: Well, isn't that the idea: that you don't hit people over the head with the message, but you weave the message into the motion picture. HERSKOVITZ: Well, yes, it's the idea, except for the fact that we are either in a planetary emergency or we're not. (Laughs). And it's fine to say, 'don't hit people over the head,' but in fact, we need to hit people over the head. We need people to act right now, and we need people to act in a huge manner. It's very hard to get across to people the scale at which we have to act. ...


That's funny. I've been saying this for years!

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Sat, Mar 12, 2011
from Greenwire:
Democrats Cry Foul Over GOP's Attempts to Tie Fuel Prices to EPA
House Republicans' move to join the two most politically volatile threads in the Washington, D.C., energy debate -- gas prices and U.S. EPA rules -- sparked Democratic charges of deception yesterday and silence so far from the Obama administration. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) amplified the GOP gambit as he laid out a new project, dubbed the American Energy Initiative, calling for more domestic fossil-fuel production, new nuclear power plants and an end to EPA's authority over greenhouse gases. While the Republican message had percolated all week, Boehner's decision to spotlight the anti-EPA bill now sailing through the House Energy and Commerce Committee gave the gas-price charge a far broader platform. The administration's offshore oil-production policies and regulation of greenhouse gases, Boehner said yesterday, represent a systematic hit to economic growth. "If the White House has its way -- and the EPA imposes a backdoor national energy tax -- gas prices will only go higher," the Ohioan told reporters. ...


I decree... that all politicians... abandon their limos and airplanes in lieu of riding bicycles.

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Wed, Mar 9, 2011
from NUVO Newsweekly:
Greening the faith
... Last Saturday, leaders from 16 Christian denominations, along with Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, and Unitarian leaders, gathered at First Baptist Church of Indianapolis to celebrate the inauguration of Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light. The organization is an affiliate of the national Interfaith Power & Light (IPL) organization, founded in 1998, which considers itself the "religious response to global warming." Its goal is to educate religious congregations on energy efficiency, renewable energy, and conservation. "The first goal of Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light is to reduce our carbon use, our energy use, within our places of worship," explained Luke Gascho, board chair of the new organization and director of the Merry Lea Environmental Center at Goshen College, to the gathering of about 200 Indiana church leaders.... "Every mainstream religion that I know of has a mandate to care for the earth," said Interfaith Power & Light's founder Rev. Bingham. "For Christians who are commanded to love God and love our neighbors, it could not be clearer... If you love your neighbor, love one another, you don't pollute your neighbor's air and water." ...


I don't believe in God, but I believe in Reverend Bingham.

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Wed, Mar 9, 2011
from Science News:
Soot hastens snowmelt on Tibetan Plateau
In high-elevation snowy regions, the warming effects of greenhouse gases pale in comparison to those triggered by soot, new computer calculations show. The finding could help explain the accelerating pace of melting on the Tibetan Plateau, which holds the world's largest reservoir of ice outside of the polar regions. Located north of the Himalayan range, the plateau's spring meltwater feeds rivers that ultimately slake much of Asia's thirst. In recent years, spring melting has been starting earlier, triggering downstream floods and shortening the time that irrigation water is available to farmers... new simulations indicate that the estimated amounts of black carbon on the Plateau can reduce snow's reflectivity in spring by 4 to 6 percent. That's enough to warm the average surface air temperature across the Tibetan Plateau by around 1 degree Celsius... ...


Chim chiminey Chim chiminey Chim chim we're screwed!

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Sun, Mar 6, 2011
from Time:
Testing the Waters
...Corals build colonies that secrete calcium carbonate to form ocean reefs. When they're healthy, coral reefs provide shelter and food for animals all along the food chain, including the top: us. Across the planet, half a billion people rely, directly and indirectly, on corals for their living. That's why what happens to the 9,000-year-old Great Barrier Reef, as well as to other reefs worldwide, is critical. The recent Queensland floods were most notably tragic for the lives lost and property destroyed. But they have also hurt the Great Barrier Reef by funneling into the ocean vast plumes of freshwater and agricultural runoff that could severely damage the coral. Besides the extreme rain that sparked the floods, rising ocean temperatures, changes to the ocean's chemistry and the global trade in natural resources -- all symptoms of our fossil-fuel economy -- are waging a multifront war on the marine environment. "You can't walk into a forest and start hacking at branches and killing off animals and denuding the forest cover without killing the trees," says Justin Marshall, a marine biologist at the University of Queensland. "The outlook for the whole reef is poor." ...


This story brought to you by a mag once called TIME now called NO TIME LEFT.

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Sat, Mar 5, 2011
from Grist:
How bicycling will save the economy (if we let it)
Imagine getting a $3,000 to $12,000 tax rebate this year. Now imagine it coming again and again. Every year it grows by around a thousand dollars. Imagine how this would change your daily life. Sounds like a teabagger's wet dream, but it's actually a conservative estimate of how much you'd save by ditching your car, or even just one of your cars -- and getting on a bicycle instead. ...


One teabagger's wet dream is another teabagger's swollen prostate.

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Thu, Mar 3, 2011
from NOAA:
Significant Climate Anomalies and Events of 2010
...


Anomalies? What anomalies?

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Tue, Mar 1, 2011
from Greenwire:
Regulators Face Deep Cuts as Governors Close Budget Gaps
As they battle record deficits, governors nationwide are digging into state environmental regulatory bodies in budget proposals, many in the name of increasing efficiency and creating states that are "open for business." In some states, environmental groups say budget proposals unfairly target those departments over other state agencies and would set back conservation efforts by years. They also argue that cutting environmental spending will end up costing more jobs than are created by bolstering other state programs.... Industry supporters and budget hawks say environmental agencies have to face the ax like everyone else. ...


I know. Let's let the US have this planet to kill, and the rest of us can go find a new one.

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Tue, Mar 1, 2011
from Center for Public Integrity:
Issa Oversight Committee Staffs Up with Industry Insiders
First as ranking minority member and now as chairman of one of the most powerful committees in Congress, San Diego Republican Darrell Issa has built a team that includes staff members with close connections to industries that could benefit from his investigations. Issa took control of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform last month, and asked companies, nonprofits and industry associations for guidance on federal regulations. The committee, which includes 23 Republicans and 17 Democrats, has broad powers to investigate government and industry, and to issue subpoenas. Issa's staff already has released findings sympathetic to industries bent on softening or eliminating certain government regulations. ...


This is what happens when power shifts to the GOP: the environment goes to shit!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Feb 28, 2011
from London Daily Mail:
Water demand will 'outstrip supply by 40 percent within 20 years' due to climate change and population growth
Water demand in many countries will exceed supply by 40 per cent within 20 years due to the combined threat of climate change and population growth, scientists have warned. A new way of thinking about water is needed as looming shortages threaten communities, agriculture and industry, experts said. In the next two decades, a third of humanity will have only half the water required to meet basic needs, said researchers. Agriculture, which soaks up 71 per cent of water supplies, is also likely to suffer, affecting food production. ...


That's why I'm sticking with my Diet Coke.

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Mon, Feb 28, 2011
from London Guardian:
Can a group of scientists in California end the war on climate change?
The Berkeley Earth project say they are about to reveal the definitive truth about global warming... The aim is so simple that the complexity and magnitude of the undertaking is easy to miss. Starting from scratch, with new computer tools and more data than has ever been used, they will arrive at an independent assessment of global warming. The team will also make every piece of data it uses -- 1.6bn data points -- freely available on a website. It will post its workings alongside, including full information on how more than 100 years of data from thousands of instruments around the world are stitched together to give a historic record of the planet's temperature. Muller is fed up with the politicised row that all too often engulfs climate science. By laying all its data and workings out in the open, where they can be checked and challenged by anyone, the Berkeley team hopes to achieve something remarkable: a broader consensus on global warming. ...


This hope pre-supposes climate skeptics are willing to change their minds.

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Wed, Feb 23, 2011
from ScienceDaily:
6,000-Year Climate Record Suggests Longer Droughts, Drier Climate for Pacific Northwest
University of Pittsburgh-led researchers extracted a 6,000-year climate record from a Washington lake that shows that the famously rain-soaked American Pacific Northwest could not only be in for longer dry seasons, but also is unlikely to see a period as wet as the 20th century any time soon. Lead researcher Mark Abbott, a Pitt professor of geology and planetary science, said those unusually wet years coincide with the period when western U.S. states developed water-use policies. "Western states happened to build dams and water systems during a period that was unusually wet compared to the past 6,000 years," he said. "Now the cycle has changed and is trending drier, which is actually normal. It will shift back to wet eventually, but probably not to the extremes seen during most of the 20th century." ...


It never rains in sunny Seattle / and girl don't get rattled / when it pours / man it pours.

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Wed, Feb 23, 2011
from efinancialnews, thru DesdemonaDespair:
Climate change will force 40 percent shift in asset allocation
Institutional investors need to shift 40 percent of their portfolios into climate-sensitive sectors, including infrastructure and agriculture, to safeguard returns against the impact of global warming, according to consultant Mercer. Mercer is the biggest investment consultant in the world. Its approach, backed in a report by global institutions managing $2 trillion, marks a radical shift of attitude towards climate change by institutions from governance to mainstream investment thinking. Its 40 percent recommendation, designed to preserve a 7 percent a year return, is the result of a sophisticated investment modelling technique that Mercer will introduce to its clients this year. Using advice from the Grantham Research Institute, it has calculated that weather extremes, for example leading to floods and food shortages, could contribute 10 percent to portfolio risk by 2030.... But in its report - Climate Change Scenarios: Implications for Strategic Asset Allocation - Mercer says the time has come for climate hedging to begin. It suggests a higher allocation to climate-sensitive real estate, infrastructure, private equity, sustainable equity, renewable and commodity opportunities - all of which can produce returns regardless of climate change. ...


We're getting better all the time at disaster capitalism!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Feb 22, 2011
from The Daily Climate:
Sniffle, snort, achoo! Allergy season is extending, scientists find.
Bad news for - achoo! - those who sniffle, er suffer their way through ragweed - sniff, snort, itch - season: A team of researchers has found that increased warming, particularly in the northern half of North America, has added weeks to the fall pollen season. It's enough to make you grab a tissue: Minneapolis has tacked 16 days to the ragweed pollen season since 1995; LaCrosse, Wisc. has added 13 days, Winnipeg and Saskatoon in Canada have added 25 and 27 days, respectively. The new research, published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, finds the longer pollen seasons correlate with the disproportionate warming happening around the planet and attributed to greenhouse gas emissions. ...


I think I'm allergic to climate change...

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Feb 21, 2011
from Charleston Daily Mail:
W.Va. Marcellus gas legislation ready for review
West Virginia lawmakers hope to focus this week on a single, catchall bill for developing the Marcellus shale natural gas field. The legislation up for review seeks to address industry needs, environmental concerns, and the rights of mineral and surface owners. The proposal would cover everything from applying for needed permits and drawing boundaries for drill sites to storing the large volumes of water needed to extract the gas. Operators face $10,000 permit fees in the bill, along with paying $100 annually for the water storage impoundments. The measure also increases potential civil penalties, from a maximum of $2,500 to one of $10,000. ...


Gee, I wonder whose needs will come first?

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Sat, Feb 19, 2011
from Live Science:
New Idea to Reduce Global Warming: Everyone Eat Insects
There is a rational, even persuasive, argument for voluntarily eating insects: Bugs are high in protein, require less space to grow and offer a more environmentally friendly alternative to the vertebrates we Westerners prefer, advocates of the bug fare say. However, this topic is not a hotbed of research, so while some data exist -- in particular on the protein content of insects -- there are some assumptions built into the latter part of this argument. "The suggestion that insects would be more efficient has been around for quite some time," said Dennis Oonincx, an entomologist at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. He and other researchers decided to test it, by comparing the greenhouse gas emissions from five species of insects with those of cattle and pigs. The results, Oonincx said, "really are quite hopeful." ...


Hopeful maybe for everyone but the poor bugs!

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Sat, Feb 19, 2011
from ScienceDaily:
Frequent, Severe Fires Turn Alaskan Forests Into a Carbon Production Line
Alaskan forests used to be important players in Mother Nature's game plan for regulating carbon dioxide levels in the air. It's elementary earth science: Trees take up carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. But now, American and Canadian researchers report that climate change is causing wildfires to burn larger swaths of Alaskan trees and to char the groundcover more severely, turning the black spruce forests of Alaska from repositories of carbon to generators of it. And the more carbon dioxide they release, the greater impact that may have in turn on future climate change. "Since the proliferation of black spruce, Alaskan soils have acted as huge carbon sinks," says Evan Kane, a research assistant professor in Michigan Technological University's School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science. "But with more frequent and more extensive burning in recent decades, these forests now lose more carbon in any fire event than they have historically been able to take up between fires." ...


All right! A new justification for clear-cutting!

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Thu, Feb 17, 2011
from Associated Press:
Scientists connect global warming to extreme rain
Extreme rainstorms and snowfalls have grown substantially stronger, two studies suggest, with scientists for the first time finding the telltale fingerprints of man-made global warming on downpours that often cause deadly flooding. Two studies in Wednesday's issue of the journal Nature link heavy rains to increases in greenhouse gases more than ever before... For years scientists, relying on basic physics and climate knowledge, have said global warming would likely cause extremes in temperatures and rainfall. But this is the first time researchers have been able to point to a demonstrable cause-and-effect by using the rigorous and scientifically accepted method of looking for the "fingerprints" of human-caused climate change. ...


Let the revolution begin!

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Wed, Feb 16, 2011
from Mongabay News:
Cambodia approves titanium mine in world's 'most threatened forest'
The Cambodian government has approved a mine that environmentalists and locals fear will harm wildlife, pollute rivers, and put an end to a burgeoning ecotourism in one of the last pristine areas of what Conservation International (CI) recently dubbed 'the world's most threatened forest'. Prime Minister, Hun Sen, approved the mine concession to the United Khmer Group, granting them 20,400 hectares for strip mining in Cambodia's Cardamom Mountains. The biodiverse, relatively intact forests of the Cardamom Mountains are a part of the Indo-Burma forest hotspot of Southeast Asia, which CI put at the top of their list of the world's most threatened forests. With only 5 percent of habitat remaining, the forest was found to be more imperiled than the Amazon, the Congo, and even the forests of Indonesia and Malaysia. ...


Like I always say: If you're heading for the cliff might as well accelerate!

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Wed, Feb 16, 2011
from Politico:
Greens sour on natural gas
Whatever happened to the romance between the environmental lobby and natural gas? After years of basking in a green glow as the cleanest fossil fuel and a favorite short-term choice to replace cheap-but-dirty coal, gas now finds itself under attack from environmentalists, filmmakers and congressional Democrats -- and even from some scientists who raise doubts about whether its total emissions are as climate-friendly as commonly believed. Case in point: the Sierra Club, whose former executive director, Carl Pope, has spoken warmly in recent years about gas as an alternative to coal in power plants. Now, the group is considering calling for natural gas to be phased out by 2050 -- about 20 years after it wants coal eliminated. ...


No coal... no natural gas... How will we fuel our lifestyle, with farts?

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Wed, Feb 16, 2011
from Huffington Post:
UN's Figueres Warns Of 'Climate Chaos,' Urges Militaries To Invest In Prevention
Global warming is a looming threat to stability and national security around the world, and militaries should spend some of their ever-expanding budgets on reducing carbon emissions to avoid "climate chaos," the U.N.'s top climate official said Tuesday. Christiana Figueres, head of the U.N. climate secretariat, warned of the destabilizing effects created by growing water stress, declining crop yields and damage from extreme storms in some of the world's poorest countries, which could set off mass international migration and regional conflicts. Figueres said the world's military budgets grew by 50 percent in the first nine years of this century. Rather than continue that growth in weaponry, she said, the generals should invest in preventative budgets to "avoid the climate chaos that would demand a defense response that makes even today's spending burden look light." ...


It's as if she thinks a collapsing economy in a hypermilitarized security state is a bad thing.

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Mon, Feb 14, 2011
from The Columbus Dispatch:
Ohio EPA tries to limit brine dumps in rivers
Fast-growing interest in natural-gas drilling could create a flood of cash for Ohio cities eager to treat wastewater used to coax the gas from deep inside Utica and Marcellus shale. But what's good for the cities might be bad for the state. The process could pollute Ohio streams and rivers, environmental officials say.... With the new drilling technique, called hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," drillers shoot millions of gallons of water laced with industrial chemicals down the wells to break the shale and release the gas. About 15 percent of the water shot down the well comes back up, tainted with salt and hazardous metals that can include barium, cadmium and chromium. After the initial surge of "flow back" water, wells continue to produce brine that contains even higher concentrations of salt, metals and minerals. ...


Brine sounds like a goldmine.

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Sun, Feb 13, 2011
from Reuters:
Climate change keenly felt in Alaska's national parks
Thawing permafrost is triggering mudslides onto a key road traveled by busloads of sightseers. Tall bushes newly sprouted on the tundra are blocking panoramic views. And glaciers are receding from convenient viewing areas, while their rapid summer melt poses new flood risks. These are just a few of the ways that a rapidly warming climate is reshaping Denali, Kenai Fjords and other national parks comprising the crown jewels of Alaska's heritage as America's last frontier. These and some better-known impacts -- proliferation of invasive plants and fish, greater frequency and intensity of wildfires, and declines in wildlife populations that depend on sea ice and glaciers -- are outlined in a recent National Park Service report. ...


These kinds of new excitements should increase tourism!

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Thu, Feb 10, 2011
from Associated Press:
New drilling method opens vast oil fields in US
new drilling technique is opening up vast fields of previously out-of-reach oil in the western United States, helping reverse a two-decade decline in domestic production of crude. Companies are investing billions of dollars to get at oil deposits scattered across North Dakota, Colorado, Texas and California. By 2015, oil executives and analysts say, the new fields could yield as much as 2 million barrels of oil a day -- more than the entire Gulf of Mexico produces now.... Environmentalists fear that fluids or wastewater from the process, called hydraulic fracturing, could pollute drinking water supplies. ...


Whew! We can remain addicted to oil after all!

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Wed, Feb 9, 2011
from Associated Press:
Global warming heats up Republican attacks on EPA
Vowing to curb the authority and the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency, congressional Republicans are attacking the agency to a degree not seen since President Richard Nixon created it 40 years ago. The EPA's effort to tackle the latest and perhaps most challenging environmental problem -- global warming -- has made it a central target of the new Republican leadership's anti-regulatory agenda. Having failed last year to enact new legislation to curb global warming, the administration is left to use existing law -- the Clean Air Act -- to start reducing the pollution causing the planet's temperature to rise. During a hearing on Wednesday, GOP members of a House subcommittee contended that such actions will only raise electricity prices and penalize industries that otherwise could be creating jobs. ...


...ack...

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Feb 8, 2011
from Associated Press:
Study: Global obesity rates double since 1980
The world is becoming a heavier place, especially in the West. Obesity rates worldwide have doubled in the last three decades even as blood pressure and cholesterol levels have dropped, according to three new studies... In 1980, about 5 percent of men and 8 percent of women worldwide were obese. By 2008, the rates were nearly 10 percent for men and 14 percent for women. That means 205 million men and 297 million women weighed in as obese. Another 1.5 billion adults were overweight, according to the obesity study...Experts warned the increasing numbers of obese people could lead to a "global tsunami of cardiovascular disease." ...


Let's call it a global fatsunami.

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Tue, Feb 8, 2011
from Wall Street Journal:
Business Groups' Target: EPA
The Environmental Protection Agency, which enforces rules that affect the U.S. economy from factories to farms, is the No. 1 target of complaints from business groups collected by House Republican leaders. EPA rules were cited more than those from any other agency in more than 100 letters sent by trade associations, businesses and some conservative groups to House oversight committee chairman Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) in response to his call for businesses to identify regulations they deemed burdensome, according to documents reviewed by the Wall Street Journal. The letters are scheduled for release today. ...


I have this sneaking suspicion Issa is gonna pissa me off!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Feb 8, 2011
from Los Angeles Times:
Bill would exempt municipal fireworks displays from Coastal Act regulation
Describing seaside fireworks displays as wholesome and patriotic, an Orange County legislator wants to prevent the California Coastal Commission from snuffing them out. State Assemblywoman Diane Harkey (R-Dana Point) introduced a bill last month that would exempt municipal fireworks displays from regulation under the state Coastal Act by declaring they do not constitute "development." The bill comes in response to increasing pressure from environmental groups to clamp down on fireworks. Environmentalists say the noise and explosive debris generated by the displays threatens wildlife and degrades water quality. ...


But it's patriotic to threaten wildlife and degrade the environment!

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Sun, Feb 6, 2011
from PhysOrg:
Asia faces climate-induced migration 'crisis'
Asia must prepare for millions of people to flee their homes to safer havens within countries and across borders as weather patterns become more extreme, the Asian Development Bank warns. A draft of an ADB report obtained by AFP over the weekend and confirmed by bank officials cautioned that failure to make preparations now for vast movements of people could lead to "humanitarian crises" in the coming decades. Governments are currently focused on mitigating climate change blamed for the weather changes, but the report said they should start laying down policies and mechanisms to deal with the projected population shifts. Research carried out for the United Nations showed that 2010 was one of the worst years on record worldwide for natural disasters. Asians accounted for 89 percent of the 207 million people affected by disasters globally last year, according to the Belgium-based Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED). ...


Every crisis is an opportunity! Right? Right?

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Feb 4, 2011
from London Guardian:
Communities not getting a say in how forests are managed
Governments have been accused by grassroots groups and scientific researchers of reneging on commitments to give communities a say in how forests are managed, and doing little to address the causes of worldwide deforestation. The charges came as the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, declared 2011 to be the international year of forests, and politicians from around the world meet in New York for the high level segment of the UN's ninth forestry forum (UNFF). Non-government groups released a report showing that indigenous peoples and forest communities have done a much better job at conservation than governments. ...


When are going to go ahead and declare an international year of panic!!!

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Feb 2, 2011
from San Francisco Chronicle:
Chevron files RICO suit in Ecuador case
Using a law written to prosecute the Mafia, Chevron Corp. on Tuesday filed a racketeering lawsuit against a team of lawyers who have been fighting the company over oil field pollution in Ecuador. Chevron accused the lawyers - as well as their clients and their spokeswoman - of conspiring to extort up to $113 billion from the oil company, based in San Ramon.... As a verdict in the marathon lawsuit nears, Chevron has tried to prove corruption among the lawyers and Ecuadoran officials involved in the case. Last year, Chevron persuaded judges in the United States to grant the company access to many of the lawyers' private documents, arguing that they could provide evidence of fraud. Chevron also won access to outtakes from a documentary film about the lawsuit, despite the objections of the filmmaker and many media companies (including Hearst Corp., which owns The Chronicle). ...


In a case like this it's hard to tell who's Mafia and who's not.

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Wed, Feb 2, 2011
from EnvironmentalResearchWeb:
Planet is 'more sensitive to carbon dioxide than we thought'
... Kiehl describes how he examined the relationship between global temperatures and high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere tens of millions of years ago. Global temperatures then averaged about 16 deg C above pre-industrial levels. The article pulls together several recent studies that look at various aspects of the climate system, while adding a mathematical approach by Kiehl to estimate average global temperatures in the distant past. The study found that carbon dioxide may have two times or more the effect on global temperatures than currently projected by computer models of global climate. The world's leading computer models generally project that a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would have a climate feedback factor (ratio of change in surface temperature to radiative forcing) in the range of 0.5 to 1.0 deg C per watts per square metre. However, the published data show that the comparable climate feedback factor of carbon dioxide 35 million years ago amounted to about 2 deg C per watt per square metre.... Because carbon dioxide is being pumped into the atmosphere at a rate that has never been experienced, Kiehl could not estimate how long it would take for the planet to fully heat up. However, a rapid warm-up would make it especially difficult for societies and ecosystems to adapt, he says. He estimates that global temperatures may take centuries or millennia to fully adjust in response to the higher carbon dioxide levels. ...


Planet, if you want our respect, you'll need to toughen up.

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Tue, Feb 1, 2011
from CBC:
Arctic mapping camp abandoned amid thin-ice worry
The Canadian government is abandoning plans for a remote scientific camp on the Arctic Ocean ice this year, citing dangerously thin ice conditions. Over the past five years, scientists have set up ice camps in remote areas of the Arctic Ocean as they gather extensive mapping data that could help Canada claim a greater area of the seabed under the Law of the Sea convention. Canada and other Arctic countries are vying to claim more of the Arctic seabed, which is potentially rich in oil and gas resources. Canada has until 2013 to submit its claim. This year, 25 Canadian scientists were to conduct their mapping work from an ice camp about 400 kilometres offshore. Last year, a similar camp housed 12 researchers on an ice floe on the Arctic Ocean, about 250 kilometres offshore from Borden Island in the High Arctic. But that ice floe started breaking up, said Jacob Verhoef, director of Canada's mapping program with the Natural Resources Department. "That floe actually broke up, and so we had a new crack forming about a kilometre away from the camp," Verhoef told CBC News on Monday, adding that the camp was luckily not affected. ...


Cap'n! We're moving into iceberg country!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jan 31, 2011
from New York Times:
Once Popular, Car Pools Go the Way of Hitchhiking
Remember the 1970s? Watergate, disco, oil embargoes and, of course, car-pooling. Many big companies organized group rides for their employees, and roughly one in four Americans who drove to work shared a ride with others. But now far more people are driving alone, as companies have spread out, Americans are wealthier and cars have become cheaper to own. The percentage of workers who car-pool has dropped by almost half since 1980, the first time the Census Bureau started systematically tracking the numbers, according to new data from the bureau. ...


And thus we shall drive / one person per vehicle / unto our ruin

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Mon, Jan 31, 2011
from London Guardian:
Greenpeace protests at Koch brothers' rally
Prominent figures on both the right and left of the US political spectrum gathered in the luxury enclave of Rancho Mirage in the Californian desert today amid increasingly heated debate about the influence of the secrecy-loving billionaires Charles and David Koch on the political process. About 200 key figures in business, energy, the media and law were expected to assemble at a five-star hotel at the invitation of the Koch brothers for the latest of their twice-yearly discussion groups on how to forward their libertarian causes... As the attendees arrived in their private jets, they were greeted by an airship that circled over the hotel's golf courses and tennis courts bearing the logo: "Koch brothers dirty money." It was sent up by Greenpeace, the environmental campaign group, which has joined forces with several other left-leaning organisations to hold a counter-rally to the Koch meeting. ...


In an air battle, I fear the jets would win.

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Mon, Jan 31, 2011
from AlJazeera, via Perry:
Hunger and despair in Sri Lanka
Recent flooding in eastern Sri Lanka destroyed thousands of homes, devastated the rice crop and drowned thousands of livestock. A million people, 40 per cent of them children, are at risk of serious hunger as a result. Some of the worst-affected areas were only just recovering from decades of conflict and the tsunami when the floods hit, and the people who live there are facing their third humanitarian emergency in less than 10 years.... Among those at risk of the impending food crisis is Pakyarani, a 32-year-old farmer's wife and mother of four.... The rain started on January 6. It didn't stop for days - there was thunder and lightning, and the wind was blowing extremely hard. I was sure there would be a cyclone. Eventually we were warned that the rivers and lakes were about to burst their banks. We were afraid that we would be caught in the flood, so we decided to leave.... All the rice in our field has been ruined by the floods. It will be May before we can sow new rice seeds, and July before we can harvest. We have no savings to buy food, let alone to repair our house. It's not safe to live like this; the area is full of snakes, and if my children get bitten we have no transport to take them to the nearest hospital, which is 10 kilometres away. ...


Just laugh at the clouds / so dark up above / put a song in your heart / you're ready for love!

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Sun, Jan 30, 2011
from Fairbanks Daily News-Miner:
Alaska seeing impact of climate change in its infrastructure, villages
Climate change has already begun to make life difficult for state transportation managers. And they expect it to become a bigger and more expensive challenge if warming trends continue as predicted. "With over 6,600 miles of coastline and 80 percent of the state underlaid by ice-rich permafrost, you can certainly imagine we are at the forefront of climate change impacts," said Mike Coffey, maintenance and operations chief for the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. Coffey discussed the impact of climate change on transportation in a webinar last week, hosted by the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. New challenges include warming permafrost, coastal erosion and the potential for more dramatic storms and flooding, he said. These could lead to more highways and facilities cracking, icing up or even washing away. The hardest-hit areas are northern, western and Interior Alaska, where roads and structures are built over permafrost and near the coast. ...


Benefits of climate change include seeing Russia more easily from Alaskan windows.

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Sun, Jan 30, 2011
from London Independent:
Shoppers' green fatigue hits refill revolution
Green fatigue among shoppers has set back Britain's long-awaited refillable bottle revolution, with the latest attempts to persuade supermarket customers to reuse containers ending in failure. Twelve years after one supermarket chain first began testing ways to encourage shoppers to refill detergent bottles rather than buy new ones, the group is no nearer to launching a national scheme across its stores. Julian Walker-Palin, Asda's head of corporate sustainability, called its latest trial - which ran in five stores across the UK and offered customers the chance to save money while cutting their carbon footprint, by reusing specially designed fabric conditioner pouches - "disappointing". ...


The customer is always right even when they're messing up the planet.

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Fri, Jan 28, 2011
from The Daily Climate:
Revised data show feds understate climate costs
The cost of climate change impacts runs twice as high as previously estimated, according to revised data from a key economic model used by federal agencies. The preliminary analysis suggests that the number used by federal agencies to help justify emissions reductions is too low -- making the cuts appear disproportionately expensive under the cost-benefit analysis required of federal rules. The revised numbers, say scientists and economists familiar with the research, are a sign that climate impacts likely will be more expensive than previous assumptions. Models used to generate current cost impacts contain gaps and, in some cases, outdated assumptions. As those models are refined and updated, they show greater economic harm as global temperatures rise in response to greenhouse gas emissions. ...


I have a feeling there's all sorts of things being understated about the coming Apocalypse.

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Thu, Jan 27, 2011
from Reuters:
Castration seen as climate change aid for reindeer
Indigenous Sami peoples in the Arctic may have found a way to help their reindeer herds cope with climate change: more castration. Research by Sami experts shows that sterilised males can grow larger and so are better at digging for food -- as Arctic temperatures vary more, thawing snow often refreezes to form thick ice over lichen pastures. Neutered males are more able to break through ice with their hooves or antlers, and seem more willing than other males to move aside and share food with calves that can die of starvation in bad freeze-thaw winters like 2000-01. ...


Something about this solution ... just doesn't seem sustainable.

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Thu, Jan 27, 2011
from Reuters:
Arctic short-cut shipping to leap in 2011 -Russia
Russia predicted on Tuesday a surge in voyages on an Arctic short-cut sea route in 2011 as a thaw linked to climate change opens the region even more to shipping and oil and mining companies. High metals and oil prices, linked to rising demand from China and other emerging economies, is helping to spur interest in the Arctic and the route between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans as an alternative to travelling via the Suez canal. ...


The Apocalypse is nigh -- LET'S PARTY!!!

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Wed, Jan 26, 2011
from New York Times:
Industry Group's Self-Depiction Raises Eyebrows
At first glance, the Waters Advocacy Coalition could be mistaken for a typical environmental group. The home page of its Web site, protectmywater.org, features a banner reading "Protect the Clean Water Act" across a photo slide show of flowing streams and clear mountain lakes. On Facebook and Twitter, where the group's handle is @ProtectCWA, its bio reads: "Our coalition is made up of diverse organizations that have an interest in and actively protect our nation's waters and wetlands resources." ...As it turns out... the Waters Advocacy Council is not an environmental organization, but a lobbying outfit for some of the nation's largest industrial and agricultural concerns, including the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, the National Industrial Sand Association and the National Mining Association. ...


Protect is the new destroy.

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Wed, Jan 26, 2011
from BBC:
Report: Urgent action needed to avert global hunger
A UK government-commissioned study into food security has called for urgent action to avert global hunger. The Foresight Report on Food and Farming Futures says the current system is unsustainable and will fail to end hunger unless radically redesigned. It is the first study across a range of disciplines deemed to have put such fears on a firm analytical footing. The report is the culmination of a two-year study, involving 400 experts from 35 countries. ...


I prefer my fears to be based on whim and misinformation.

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Wed, Jan 26, 2011
from Rolling Stone:
12 Politicians and Execs Blocking Progress on Global Warming
No one does more to spread dangerous disinformation about global warming than [Rupert] Murdoch. In a year of rec­ord heat waves in Africa, freak snowstorms in America and epic flooding in Pakistan, the Fox network continued to dismiss climate change as nothing but a conspiracy by liberal scientists and Big Government. Glenn Beck told viewers the Earth experienced no warming in the past decade -- the hottest on record. Sean Hannity declared that "global warming doesn't exist" and speculated about "the true agenda of global-warming hysterics." Even Brian Kilmeade, co-host of the chatty Fox & Friends, laughed off the threat of climate change, joking that the real problem was "too many polar bears." ...


This is the dirtiest dozen of all.

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Tue, Jan 25, 2011
from Hebrew University of Jerusalem via ScienceDaily:
Climate Change Threatens Many Tree Species
Global warming is already affecting the earth in a variety of ways that demand our attention. Now, research carried out at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem indicates that many tree species might become extinct due to climate change if no action is taken in time. According to the research, trees which disperse their seeds by wind, such as pines and maples, will be unable to spread at a pace that can cope with expected climate changes. ...


I suspect we'll all have trouble keeping up.

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Tue, Jan 25, 2011
from Inter Press Service:
Driving Straight Into Catastrophe
Despite repeated warnings by environmental and climate experts that reduction of fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions is fundamental to forestalling global warming, disaster appears imminent. According to the latest statistics, unprecedented climate change has Earth hurtling down a path of catastrophic proportions. The Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that the global consumption of primary energy in 2010 reached some 500 exajoules (EJ), a number just under the worst-case scenario formulated ten years ago by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC's Special Report on Emissions Scenarios, published in 2000, calculated the worst-case scenario as 525 EJ consumed in one calendar year. The IEA found that coal was one of the largest sources of energy consumed in 2010, comprising approximately 27 percent of the total energy consumption. Coal, one of the cheapest sources of energy, is considered the filthiest of all, as far as greenhouse gases emissions (GHGE) are concerned. ...


If you're heading for a cliff might as well accelerate!

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Mon, Jan 24, 2011
from McClatchy:
With health care 'repealed,' GOP turns to climate change
Now that the House of Representatives has voted to repeal the health care law, Republicans say they're likely to move soon to another target -- a rewrite of the Clean Air Act so that it can't be used to fight climate change.... "Standing up for American workers and addressing EPA's rampant regulations is a top priority, Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., said Thursday. "We will be active and aggressive using every tool in the toolbox to protect American jobs and our economy by rolling back the job-destroying (greenhouse gas) regulations." Like the health-care repeal, though, it's largely a symbolic effort since the Senate retains its Democratic majority and President Barack Obama wields his veto pen. ...


Repealing climate chaos is our only option.

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Sun, Jan 23, 2011
from London Independent:
Fish threatened by global warming to be moved north
Fish from the Lake District will be moved to cooler waters in Scotland under radical plans -- which will be unveiled this week -- aimed at coping with climate change. The first seven of more than 100 reports by government agencies and utility companies will set out how Britain needs to change to cope with hotter summers and wetter winters. They will highlight the risks -- and potential costs -- of more landslides, buckled railway lines, crumbling water pipes and rising sea levels threatening lighthouses around the coast. Officials say the studies are needed because levels of carbon emissions mean climate change over the next four decades is unavoidable. The dangers to wildlife have triggered the most extreme solutions: the Environment Agency is poised to catch and transfer thousands of vendace and schelly, both freshwater white fish, from the lakes of Cumbria to Scottish lochs. ...


Ideally, there is so much Prozac in the water the fish won't even care they're being abducted!

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Sun, Jan 23, 2011
from Agence France-Press:
Climate change: Dogs of law are off the leash
From being a marginal and even mocked issue, climate-change litigation is fast emerging as a new frontier of law where some believe hundreds of billions of dollars are at stake. Compensation for losses inflicted by man-made global warming would be jaw-dropping, a payout that would make tobacco and asbestos damages look like pocket money. Imagine: a country or an individual could get redress for a drought that destroyed farmland, for floods and storms that created an army of refugees, for rising seas that wiped a small island state off the map. In the past three years, the number of climate-related lawsuits has ballooned, filling the void of political efforts in tackling greenhouse-gas emissions. ...


That won't be a problem here in the United States where climate change is an ideological issue.

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Sun, Jan 23, 2011
from London Independent:
Home fires: The world's most lethal pollution
The world's deadliest pollution does not come from factories billowing smoke, industries tainting water supplies or chemicals seeping into farm land. It comes from within people's own homes. Smoke from domestic fires kills nearly two million people each year and sickens millions more, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). A new UN project has now been set up to try to reduce this appalling toll. It aims, over the next nine years, to put 100 million clean cooking stoves into homes in the developing world. The WHO ranks the problem as one of the worst health risks facing the poor. In low-income countries, such as those in Africa and Asia, indoor smoke from cooking has become the sixth biggest killer. Globally, it kills more people than malaria, and nearly as many as Aids -- and far more insidiously than either. ...


We have met the enemy ... and he is poverty.

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Sat, Jan 22, 2011
from Climatewire:
Greenland's Ice Feels the Heat in Record-Setting 2010
Greenland's massive ice sheet experienced record surface melting and runoff last year, according to research released today. Unusually warm conditions in much of the country helped extend the annual melting season by up to 50 days longer in 2010 than the average observed between 1979 and 2009, researchers found... Last year was the warmest in Greenland's capital, Nuuk, since record keeping began there in 1873. Nuuk, on the country's southwest coast, also set records in 2010 for warmest winter, spring and summer seasons. ...


We're Nuuked!

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Thu, Jan 20, 2011
from California Institute of Technology via ScienceDaily:
New Reactor Paves the Way for Efficiently Producing Fuel from Sunlight
Using a common metal most famously found in self-cleaning ovens, Sossina Haile hopes to change our energy future. The metal is cerium oxide -- or ceria -- and it is the centerpiece of a promising new technology developed by Haile and her colleagues that concentrates solar energy and uses it to efficiently convert carbon dioxide and water into fuels...For all of this to work, the temperatures in the reactor have to be very high -- nearly 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit. At Caltech, Haile and her students achieved such temperatures using electrical furnaces. But for a real-world test, she says, "we needed to use photons, so we went to Switzerland." ...


I sooo wish I was in college again...

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Thu, Jan 20, 2011
from Reuters:
EU delays tackling air pollution to 2012 or later
The European Union's executive has agreed to delay new laws forcing industry to take costly steps to tackle air pollutants that are blamed for respiratory problems and premature deaths in cities. Most soot particles or airborne acid pollution comes from diesel cars, ships and power stations. No action is seen until 2012 or 2013 when a whole string of related legislation can be overhauled simultaneously, a source at the European Commission, which initiates EU law, said on Wednesday. ...


Are the Republicans running Europe, too?

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Tue, Jan 18, 2011
from Detroit News:
Invasive species rules stall
A year after the Asian carp's threat to the Great Lakes threw a national spotlight on invasive species, critics say no definitive action on the issue's two key focal points has been made. Ballast water from oceangoing ships, considered the largest source of invasive species in the Great Lakes, remains largely unregulated. And the Mississippi River system, where the Asian carp is firmly entrenched, remains connected to the Great Lakes. While there has been progress on both issues behind the scenes, conservationists say the pace is unacceptable and leaves the Great Lakes playing a game of Russian roulette year after year. ...


From now on the Great Lakes shall be called the Wait Lakes.

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Mon, Jan 17, 2011
from University of Cambridge via ScienceDaily:
Warming Climate Means Red Deer Rutting Season Arrives Early
Wild red deer on the Isle of Rum are rutting earlier in the year, a study shows. Scientists believe the annual rutting season on the Isle of Rum could be changing because of warming spring and summer temperatures. The study shows that the rutting and calving seasons are now up to two weeks earlier on average compared with 30 years ago... Scientists at the Universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh, who maintained the long-term research, say this provides rare evidence that warming temperatures are affecting the behaviour of British mammals. ...


Some enchanted evening!

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Sun, Jan 9, 2011
from canada.com:
Another century of emissions will fuel 1,000 years of climate change: Study
Shawn Marshall says he's not a catastrophist. The world will still be standing in the next millennium if global carbon emissions continue at their current rate for the next 100 years, says the Canada research chair in climate change, who contributed to a study released Sunday. "I have a feeling a lot of nature will adapt and evolve to this, it's just we'll lose some stuff on the way," he said. "I mean, we've seen pretty clearly that coral reefs can't adapt quickly, so we'll lose some of that. We'll lose some of our favourite ski areas, a number of different cities like Venice or Manhattan." Marshall, a geography professor at the University of Calgary, recently completed work with a team of researchers from an Environment Canada research laboratory at the University of Victoria.... They found that current carbon dioxide levels will cause unstoppable effects to the climate for at least the next 1,000 years, which could cause an eventual rise of at least four metres in the global sea level by the year 3000, as well as the collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet -- an area the size of Canada's prairies. "There's no way to get around that," Marshall said. "If we get that much cumulative impact on the atmosphere and the warm water gets under the ice sheet, there's no real way out." The researchers acknowledged that it's unrealistic to think society will suddenly one day stop using fossil fuels and pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. ...


Good thing he's not a catastrophist!

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Fri, Jan 7, 2011
from BBC:
Dirty Business film debunks 'clean coal' myth
Dirty Business, the new documentary from the Centre for Investigative Journalism, began its nationwide screening tour last night in Berkeley, California, with the aim of debunking the myth of "clean coal" and kick-starting a debate on the future of energy in the US. The film shows scarred mountains, abandoned family homes on remote hillsides, water courses toxic with sludge, respiratory fatalities and children whose growth has been stunted by pollution as some of the side effects of coal extraction and the power stations that burn it. And, of course, it shows the effect of coal combustion on global temperatures.... Vaclav Smil, professor at the faculty of environment at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, estimates that the infrastructure of networks of pipelines for CCS would have to be twice that for oil and gas. He says: "Clearly you don't have to know anything about anything to realise that industry like that is not going to be created in five or 10 years and still it would contain only 10 percent of [emissions] we are generating today. The problem of scale is immense. It's not a technical problem, it's not a storage problem, it's just a problem scaling it up to a level where it would make a difference." Aside from the problem of building an infrastructure of a technology not yet operating at an economic scale, the real dirty business, as the film suggests, is the murky work of lobbyists, who pay large sums of money to influence political direction. ...


The "problem of scale" is so immense it becomes its own problem of scale.

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Sun, Jan 2, 2011
from NEF, via Guardian:
Blast from the Past: Aug 1, 2008: 100 months to save the world [today we're now at 71]
If you shout "fire" in a crowded theatre, when there is none, you understand that you might be arrested for irresponsible behaviour and breach of the peace. But from today, I smell smoke, I see flames and I think it is time to shout. I don't want you to panic, but I do think it would be a good idea to form an orderly queue to leave the building. Because in just 100 months' time, if we are lucky, and based on a quite conservative estimate, we could reach a tipping point for the beginnings of runaway climate change. That said, among people working on global warming, there are countless models, scenarios, and different iterations of all those models and scenarios. So, let us be clear from the outset about exactly what we mean.... We found that, given all of the above, 100 months from today we will reach a concentration of greenhouse gases at which it is no longer "likely" that we will stay below the 2C temperature rise threshold. "Likely" in this context refers to the definition of risk used by the IPCC. But, even just before that point, there is still a one third chance of crossing the line.... But does it have to be this way? Must we curdle in our complacency and allow our cynicism about politicians to give them an easy ride as they fail to act in our, the national and the planet's best interest? There is now a different clock to watch than the one on the office wall. Contrary to being a counsel of despair, it tells us that everything we do from now matters. And, possibly more so than at any other time in recent history. ...


Hmmm. So reading something 29 months old might matter?

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Tue, Dec 28, 2010
from Politico:
President Obama under pressure to deliver on climate
Jan. 2 isn't just your ordinary Sunday. It's the day the Obama administration will officially start regulating greenhouse gas emissions, and critics have issued dire predictions of economic destruction. With all the fiery rhetoric about how damaging the regulations could be, the White House is under pressure to fulfill its pledge to tackle climate change while avoiding the appearance that it's hindering job growth.... Incoming House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) last week accused EPA of advancing a "long regulatory assault" against domestic energy producers. "The EPA has its foot firmly on the throat of our economic recovery," he said. "We will not allow the administration to regulate what they have been unable to legislate." ...


Better than a noose firmly on the throat of the planet's neck!

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Tue, Dec 28, 2010
from Time:
The Northeast Blizzard: One More Sign of Global Warming
It's become as much a winter tradition as eggnog at Christmas and champagne on New Year's Eve -- the first major snowstorm of the year bringing out the climate-change skeptics. And the bona fide blizzard that has frozen much of the Northeast just a few days after winter officially began definitely qualifies as major. But while piles of snow blocking your driveway hardly conjure images of a dangerously warming world, it doesn't mean that climate change is a myth. The World Meteorological Organization recently reported that 2010 is almost certainly going to be one of the three warmest years on record, while 2001 to 2010 is already the hottest decade in recorded history. Indeed, according to some scientists, all of these events may actually be connected... The loss of Arctic sea ice helps accelerate the warming of the atmosphere in the far north, thanks to what's known as the albedo effect. White ice reflects sunlight into space, cooling the air, but when ice melts and is replaced with dark ocean water, the effect is reversed and more of the sun's heat is absorbed. As the Arctic air warms, it raises the altitude of discrete areas of high pressure, which can then alter wind patterns. This, in turn, can weaken the jet stream, allowing more cold air to seep out of the Arctic and into Europe and the eastern U.S. ...


Just like snowmen, climate skeptics will melt.

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Tue, Dec 28, 2010
from Associated Press:
Farmers, pecan growers say coal plant kills plants
Along a stretch of Highway 21, in Texas' pastoral Hill Country, is a vegetative wasteland. Trees are barren, or covered in gray, dying foliage and peeling bark. Fallen, dead limbs litter the ground where pecan growers and ranchers have watched trees die slow, agonizing deaths. Visible above the horizon is what many plant specialists, environmentalists and scientists believe to be the culprit: the Fayette Power Project - a coal-fired power plant for nearly 30 years has operated mostly without equipment designed to decrease emissions of sulfur dioxide, a component of acid rain. ...


Coal plant creates good firewood. Sounds like a win-win!

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Mon, Dec 27, 2010
from National Science Foundation via ScienceDaily:
Global Rivers Emit Three Times IPCC Estimates of Greenhouse Gas Nitrous Oxide
...Human-caused nitrogen loading to river networks is a potentially important source of nitrous oxide emission to the atmosphere. Nitrous oxide is a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change and stratospheric ozone destruction. It happens via a microbial process called denitrification, which converts nitrogen to nitrous oxide and an inert gas called dinitrogen. When summed across the globe, scientists report this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), river and stream networks are the source of at least 10 percent of human-caused nitrous oxide emissions to the atmosphere. That's three times the amount estimated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). ...


I thought denitrification was when I got my teeth fixed up.

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Mon, Dec 27, 2010
from Beckly Register-Herald:
What's in a name? 'Mountaintop removal' vs. 'mountaintop development'
Coal operators and environmentalists have been pondering the value of a name since the revelation that the coal industry may push for "rebranding" surface mining as "mountaintop development" instead of "mountaintop removal." The process of blasting the top of a mountain to obtain its underground coal reserves instead of digging a mine has been a much easier target for environmentalists since it has become known as mountaintop removal. However, coal industry executives say the term "mountaintop development" would paint a more accurate picture of the practice. ...


How about they call themselves the Coal Liberation Front?

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Mon, Dec 27, 2010
from Toronto Globe and Mail:
Six months after Pakistan floods, seven million remain without shelter
...he biggest disaster in Pakistan's history inflicted its deadliest wrath in these northern reaches, as summer monsoons ripped down the valleys, devouring land, people and entire villages. The brown torrent killed almost 2,000 people, but that number hardly begins to encompass the months of misery that followed, those who died of malnutrition or disease as they fled the rising water. Now, as winter blows into the mountains, an estimated seven million people remain without proper shelter. Villagers scrabble in the earth, trying to build homes that will keep them warm among the snow drifts. ...


If any of you are having trouble visualizing our post-Apocalyptic future, look no further.

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Sun, Dec 26, 2010
from Science News:
Flower sharing may be unsafe for bees
Wild pollinators are catching honeybee viruses, possibly from pollen... Eleven species of wild pollinators in the United States have turned up carrying some of the viruses known to menace domestic honeybees, possibly picked up via flower pollen. Most of these native pollinators haven't been recorded with honeybee viruses before, according to Diana Cox-Foster of Penn State University in University Park. The new analysis raises the specter of diseases swapping around readily among domestic and wild pollinators, Cox-Foster and her colleagues report online December 22 in PLoS ONE. ...


Just like needles.