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More than 7,000 news items!

[Resource Depletion]: from Science Advances, via CommonDreams, Sat Feb 13 2016:
4 Billion People at Risk as 'Water Table Dropping All Over the World'
Freshwater scarcity is increasingly perceived as a global systemic risk. Previous global water scarcity assessments, measuring water scarcity annually, have underestimated experienced water scarcity by failing to capture the seasonal fluctuations in water consumption and availability. We assess blue water scarcity globally at a high spatial resolution on a monthly basis. We find that two-thirds of the global population (4.0 billion people) live under conditions of severe water scarcity at least 1 month of the year. Nearly half of those people live in India and China. Half a billion people in the world face severe water scarcity all year round. Putting caps to water consumption by river basin, increasing water-use efficiencies, and better sharing of the limited freshwater resources will be key in reducing the threat posed by water scarcity on biodiversity and human welfare.

C'mon. Drought is just a market opportunity!
[Read more stories about: drought, aquifers depletion, water issues, water issues, holyshit]
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[Resource Depletion]: from PhysOrg, Fri Jan 29 2016:
Landscape pattern analysis reveals global loss of interior forest
Between 2000 and 2012, the world lost more forest area than it gained, according to U.S. Forest Service researchers and partners who estimated a global net loss of 1.71 million square kilometers of forest--an area about two and a half times the size of Texas. Furthermore, when researchers analyzed patterns of remaining forest, they found a global loss of interior forest--core areas that, when intact, maintain critical habitat and ecological functions.... Their analysis revealed a net loss of 3.76 million square kilometers of interior forest area, or about ten percent of interior forest--more than twice the global net loss of forest area. The rate at which interior forest area was lost was more than three times the rate of global forest area loss. All forest biomes experienced a net loss of interior forest area during the study period. Across the globe, temperate coniferous forests experienced the largest percentage of loss, tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests lost the most area of interior forest, and boreal forests and taiga lost interior forest at the highest rate.

There are so many trees in heaven....
[Read more stories about: forests, rain forest depletion, deforestation]
[Add your own quips!
[Recovery]: from IEEE Spectrum, Wed Jan 27 2016:
NOAA Model Finds Renewable Energy Could be Deployed in the U.S. Without Storage
The majority of the United States's electricity needs could be met with renewable energy by 2030--without new advances in energy storage or cost increases. That's the finding of a new study conducted by researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The key will be having sufficient transmission lines spanning the contiguous U.S., so that energy can be deployed from where it's generated to the places where its needed. Reporting their results today in Nature Climate Change, the researchers found that a combination of solar and wind energy, plus high-voltage direct current transmission lines that travel across the country, would reduce the electric sector's carbon dioxide emissions by up to 80 percent compared to 1990 levels.

Alas, only rational humans will listen to the fruitless bleatings of scientists and engineers.
[Read more stories about: alternative energy, efficiency increase, smart policy, sustainability]
[Add your own quips!
[Climate Chaos]: from Desmog Canada, Sun Jan 24 2016:
"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.
[Read more stories about: koyaanisqatsi, carbon sinks, climate impacts, jellyfish, ocean warming, tipping point]
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[Species Collapse]: from, Fri Jan 22 2016:
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.
[Read more stories about: ecosystem interrelationships, climate impacts, sixth extinction]
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[Climate Chaos]: from The Guardian, Thu Jan 14 2016:
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?
[Read more stories about: climate impacts]
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[Climate Chaos]: from Australia ABC News, Wed Jan 13 2016:
Baby fish may get lost in silent oceans as carbon dioxide rises
Future oceans will be much quieter places, making it harder for young marine animals that navigate using sound to find their way back home, new research has found. Under acidification levels predicted for the end of the century, fish larvae will cease to respond to the auditory cues that present-day species use to orient themselves, scientists reported in the journal Biology Letters.

We'll never find Nemo now.
[Read more stories about: carbon emissions, ocean acidification]
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[Recovery]: from Detroit Free Press, Mon Jan 11 2016:
State Police to deliver water door-to-door in Flint
Michigan State Police troopers and other state officials will start a door-to-door sweep of Flint on Tuesday to hand out bottled water and water filters... Flint's drinking water was contaminated with lead, and an unknown number of children were poisoned while the city was under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager in 2014 and 2015. The emergency manager, to cut costs, switched Flint's water supply source from Lake Huron, supplied by the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, to the more polluted and corrosive Flint River.

Let them drink Flint.
[Read more stories about: health impacts, capitalist greed, toxic water]
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[Recovery]: from InsideClimate News, Sun Jan 10 2016:
Vermont Governor Urges State to Divest from Coal, Exxon
Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin said on Thursday his state should take action against climate change this year by divesting public pension funds from coal and from oil giant ExxonMobil, because of its history of sowing doubt about climate change despite the company's own scientists having studied it. Speaking at his annual State of the State address, Shumlin said, "The urgency for us to take every sensible action against climate change has never been greater." He asked his legislature to send him a bill that would divest the state's public pension funds from all coal stocks, as well as from stock in Exxon.

Now that's what I call leadership.
[Read more stories about: carbon emissions, coal issues, deniers, wisdom, smart policy]
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[Species Collapse]: from Mother Jones, Fri Jan 8 2016:
The EPA Finally Admitted That the World's Most Popular Pesticide Kills Bees--20 Years Too Late
For more than a decade, the Environmental Protection Agency has been under pressure from environmentalists and beekeepers to reconsider its approval of a class of insecticides called neonicotinoids, based on a mounting body of research suggesting they harm bees and other pollinators at tiny doses. In a report released Wednesday, the EPA basically conceded the case.

Let the beestrictions, beenalties, and beecotts beegin.
[Read more stories about: food crisis, contamination]
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[Climate Chaos]: from The Guardian, Thu Jan 7 2016:
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!
[Read more stories about: climate impacts, water issues, health impacts]
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[Climate Chaos]: from Washington Post, Thu Jan 7 2016:
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!
[Read more stories about: carbon sinks, climate impacts, global warming, forests]
[Add your own quips!
[Climate Chaos]: from Washington Post, Tue Jan 5 2016:
What scientists just discovered in Greenland could be making sea-level rise even worse
Rising global temperatures may be affecting the Greenland ice sheet -- and its contribution to sea-level rise -- in more serious ways that scientists imagined, a new study finds. Recent changes to the island's snow and ice cover appear to have affected its ability to store excess water, meaning more melting ice may be running off into the ocean than previously thought.... Through on-the-ground observations, the scientists have shown that the recent formation of dense ice layers near the ice sheet's surface are making it more difficult for liquid water to percolate into the firn -- meaning it's forced to run off instead.

Greenland is going green.
[Read more stories about: arctic meltdown, antibiotic resistance, feedback loop, global warming, rising sea level, holyshit]
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[Recovery]: from The Guardian, Tue Jan 5 2016:
French MPs vote to force supermarkets to give away unsold food
French MPs have voted unanimously to force supermarkets to give away unsold food that has reached its sell-by date. Shops will also be banned from destroying food products, as they have in the past - sometimes by soaking them in bleach - to prevent them being distributed.

Let them eat (bleached) cake.
[Read more stories about: methane release, smart policy, food crisis]
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[Biology Breach]: from E&E Publishing, Tue Jan 5 2016:
Okla. shaking jumped 50 percent in 2015
The number of earthquakes in Oklahoma rose 50 percent last year, easily surpassing the record number that hit the state in 2014. Oklahoma Geological Survey (OGS) data show that the state was shaken by 881 earthquakes of magnitude 3 or greater, or an average of 2.4 per day. That's up from 585 in 2014. U.S. Geological Survey data show that California had 128 such quakes in 2015. Scientists and state officials say the increase in earthquakes in Oklahoma likely has been caused by wastewater disposal from oil and gas operations. Oil production methods that yield unusually large volumes of water have combined with favorably aligned faults under the state to cause the unprecedented shaking.

I feel the earth move under my feet I feel the sky tumbling down, tumbling down...
[Read more stories about: unintended consequences, oil issues, fracking, geoengineering]
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[Biology Breach]: from Wisconsin State Journal, Tue Jan 5 2016:
Pipeline company sues county over moot insurance requirement
A Canadian oil pipeline company that is building a tar sands oil pumping station in northeastern Dane County sued the county on Monday over the continued inclusion of permit language requiring it to buy spill insurance, despite a new state law forbidding that requirement.... The state Legislature included language in the state budget, signed by Gov. Scott Walker in July, that prohibits such insurance requirements, but the county zoning committee on Sept. 29 voted to restore the requirement, adding a note that reflects the state law... County Board Chairwoman Sharon Corrigan has said that the board left the insurance requirement in the permit in case a future Legislature changes the law.

One can always hope.
[Read more stories about: contamination, capitalist greed, toxic leak, oil issues]
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[Climate Chaos]: from Truthout, Mon Jan 4 2016:
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!
[Read more stories about: anthropogenic change, climate impacts, arctic meltdown]
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[Recovery]: from The Guardian, Mon Jan 4 2016:
Conservationists betting on bees to ease clash of humans and elephants
A community near the famed Serengeti national park in Tanzania is enlisting the help of bees to reduce escalating tensions with elephants that enrage locals by trampling upon their crops. A fence made of beehives is being constructed around a one-acre farm close to the Ngorongoro conservation area as part of the pilot project to see if the buzzing bees will deter elephants that stroll on to cropland.

That's a beeautiful idea.
[Read more stories about: wisdom, species restoration]
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[Recovery]: from Washington Post, Mon Jan 4 2016:
Wind, solar power soaring in spite of bargain prices for fossil fuels
Wind and solar power appear set for a record-breaking year in 2016 as a clean-energy construction boom gains momentum in spite of a global glut of cheap fossil fuels.... Energy analysts say the boom is being spurred in part by improved technology, which has made wind and solar more competitive with fossil fuels in many regions. But equally important, experts say, is better access to financing, as major Wall Street investment houses adopt a more bullish posture toward an industry that was once considered financially risky. In November, Goldman Sachs announced it was quadrupling its investments in renewables to $150 billion.

What do you want me to do with my coal plant, turn it into a friggin' art gallery?
[Read more stories about: renewable energy]
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[Climate Chaos]: from PNAS, in Washington Post, Wed Dec 23 2015:
Bad news: Scientists say we could be underestimating Arctic methane emissions
"...The fact that this was done not just at one site, but multiple sites, is a breakthrough in our ability to quantify [methane] budgets for tundra ecosystems." The researchers found that cold-season methane emissions are not only not negligible -- they're pretty significant. While emissions varied somewhat from one site to the next, Zona said that, overall, emissions from September to May accounted for about half of all the methane emitted from those sites throughout the entire year. This might seem a little baffling when you consider the fact that methane is generally released as Arctic soil thaws -- a process that should be most pronounced during the warmest part of the year. Zona said the key to understanding where cold-season emissions come from lies in the way Arctic soil is structured and how it reacts to changes in temperature.

Oh, right: bacteria never sleep!
[Read more stories about: arctic meltdown, methane release, permafrost meltdown, faster than expected, feedback loop]
[Add your own quips!
[Plague/Virus]: from Washington Post, Mon Dec 7 2015:
Superbug known as 'phantom menace' on the rise in U.S.
...This superbug's strains belong to the family of bacteria known as CRE, which are difficult to treat because they are often resistant to most antibiotics. They are often deadly, too, in some instances killing up to 50 percent of patients who become infected, according to the CDC. Health officials have called CRE among the country's most urgent public health threats.... This type of CRE has had a lower profile because it's actually less antibiotic-resistant than other more common types of CRE. As a result, it hasn't been a frequent focus of testing and has largely escaped detection by health officials, prompting some researchers to dub it "the phantom menace."

As long as Natalie Portman is somehow involved, we'll be fine.
[Read more stories about: antibiotic resistance, health impacts, pandemic]
[Add your own quips!
[Climate Chaos]: from DesdemonaDespair, Sun Nov 15 2015:
Sao Paulo on emergency reserve water; drought means Brazilian hydropower falls short
... The main water supply in São Paulo has been running on emergency reserves, and the system is only able to deliver about 40 percent of its usual capacity. Before 2014, ...
[Climate Chaos]: from CommonDreams, Tue Nov 10 2015:
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 ...
[Species Collapse]: from PhysOrg, Sat Nov 7 2015:
A small increase of ocean acidification => dramatic shift in ocean habitats
Rising levels of CO2 released by anthropogenic activities are driving unprecedented changes in the chemistry of the oceans. The mean ocean surface acidity has increased by ...
[Resource Depletion]: from Inside Climate News, Mon Sep 28 2015:
Basic Water Source for Most Alberta Tar Sands Could Run Dry
"We show that the current and projected surface water allocations from the Athabasca River for the exploitation of the Alberta oil sands are based on an untenable assumption ...
[Species Collapse]: from BBC, Tue Sep 1 2015:
Seabirds 'blighted by plastic waste'
About 90 percent of seabirds have eaten plastic and are likely to retain some in their gut, a new analysis estimates. The study concludes that matters will only get worse ...
[Biology Breach]: from Science, via Vice Motherboard, Sat Aug 22 2015:
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 ...
[Resource Depletion]: from NASA-funded report, via the National Post, Fri Aug 21 2015:
March, 2014: The utter collapse of human civilization will be 'difficult to avoid,' NASA funded study says
After running the numbers on a set of four equations representing human society, a team of NASA-funded mathematicians has come to the grim conclusion that the utter collapse ...
[Climate Chaos]: from NOAA, via CNN, Thu Aug 20 2015:
NOAA: July hottest month on record, and 2015 could be hottest year
July saw the highest average temperatures since record-keeping began -- globally, not just in the United States -- the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported ...
[Species Collapse]: from Gail at Wit, Mon Aug 17 2015:
Dispatch from the Endocene, #9
Following is the transcript from my segment on Extinction Radio which airs Sunday, August 16 ... The Dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is larger this summer than it has ...

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Random Sample PANIQuestion:
Why is a power plant near Chicago being shut down?
a) Activists won!
b) The governor intervened.
c) Owners were worried about health impacts.
d) Owners decided it wasn't worth upgrading.
e) It was owned by bin Laden, who's now dead.

Answer: Owners decided it wasn't worth upgrading.

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The ApocaDocs try to make fun of the horror of environmental collapse by locating a handful of news items every day, and giving each a punchline. The stories are categorized into five main topics: Species Collapse (ecosystem interrelationships, invasive species, the sixth extinction, pesticide effects, and more); Resource Depletion (peak oil, peak phosphorus, overfishing, topsoil loss, aquifer declines, and more); Biology Breach (toxic runoff, radiation, GMOs, pharmwater, contamination, and idle destruction); Climate Chaos (global warming, weather extremes, ocean warming, and more); and Infectious Disease (pandemics, viruses, antibiotic resistance). To avoid deep depression, we also include stories of Recovery (alternative energy, innovations, species restoration, better policies, social change, and the like). For more information, see About The ApocaDocs.
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