- Earth Day
- Environment Current Events Archives
- Campaigns Related to Reducing Climate Change (BiologicalDiversity.org)
- -06-08-10 Little Progress in Containing Spills in 25 Years (MSNBC News)
Rachael Maddow investigates the lack of progress in containing oil spills. 06-10
- -08-08-10 Oil Below the Surface of the Water Still a Potential Hazard (CNN News)
"CNN's Jim Acosta speaks with boat captain Mike Frenette about the oil still unaccounted for after the Gulf spill." 08-10
- -09-10-09 From Landfills to Landscapes (Time.com)
Describes a model program to reclaim a landfill for a park. 09-09
- -09-10-09 Saving Bees: What We Know (New York Times)
"The first alarms about the sudden widespread disappearance of honeybees came in late 2006, and the phenomenon soon had a name: colony collapse disorder. In the two years that followed, about one-third of bee colonies vanished, while researchers toiled to figure out what was causing the collapse."
"Honeybees are just one of the many species we depend on that are struggling mightily to withstand a steady stream of novel parasites and pathogens they have never encountered before, and have no tools to defend against." 09-09
- -Editorial: Cap and Trade Is a Distraction, Not a Solution (StoryofStuff.org)
"The Story of Cap & Trade is a fast-paced, fact-filled look at the leading climate solution being discussed at Copenhagen and on Capitol Hill. Host Annie Leonard introduces the energy traders and Wall Street financiers at the heart of this scheme and reveals the 'devils in the details' in current cap and trade proposals: free permits to big polluters, fake offsets and distraction from whats really required to tackle the climate crisis." 07-10
- 17-Year-Old Brittany Trilford Addresses 130 World Leaders (YouTube.com)
"On Wednesday 20 June, 2012 17-year-old Brittany Trilford of Wellington, New Zealand addressed 130 heads of state at the opening plenary of the Rio+20 UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This is her speech." 06-12
- Making the World a Better Place: "Thinking Local" Isn't Good Enough (Time.com)
Provides a short video by Annie Leonard. Her videos have been viewed over 15 million times. "Whether or not you agree with her message (and Cap and Traders won’t, for instance, like The Story of Cap and Trade), no one has done a better job of connecting with regular people about everything from the marketing of bottled water to toxins in our lipstick to campaign-donation laws. This week, Leonard launched her latest video, The Story of Change. Once again, she’s done a terrific job of talking about an urgent issue — one that is close to my heart." 07-12
- -0001 Climate Change Is Real (CNN News)
"From the perspective of expected damages, two trends highlight causes for concern. First, economic losses from weather-related disasters have increased over the last several decades. This is mostly because of increases in the value of the assets in harm's way. Second, sea level is rising. Globally, sea level is now about 6 inches higher than in 1900."
"Climate change is occurring now. We see its consequences in hotter temperatures, higher sea levels and shifted storm tracks. In many parts of the world, we are also seeing an increase in the fraction of rainfall that comes in the heaviest events. When it rains, increasingly it pours."
"Climate change over the next couple of decades is already largely baked into the system, but changes beyond that are mostly in our hands. As we learn more about the links between climate change and extreme events, it will benefit all of us to think hard about the opportunities and challenges of getting a handle on climate change, so we control it and not vice versa." 11-12
- -001 Chart Showing (By Size and Color) Emissions By Country (Guardian.co.uk)
Provides a chart showing emissions by country. The United States and China together provide over 20% of the world's CO2 emmissions. 06-12
- -001 Global Use of Coal Will Be "Game Over" for the Climate (Time.com)
"Coal prices in the U.S. are falling and coal plants are being retired. Most of that change is being driven by what analysts refer to as 'market conditions'—otherwise known as shale gas and fracking, which has driven prices for natural gas down, down, down. That’s encouraged utilities to phase out coal in favor of cleaner natural gas—a transition that has been accelerated by federal environmental regulations that will increasingly limit the sort of air pollution associated with old coal plants."
"But if the future of coal is looking dim in the U.S. with cheap natural gas and a Democrat in the White House, it’s as bright as a steel furnace in much of the rest of the world. In 2010 the global coal trade rose by 13.4%, reaching 1.08 billion metric tons. In a new report, the World Resources Institute (WRI) estimates that nearly 1,200 new coal plants are at least in the planning stages worldwide. Though the projects are spread across the globe, more than 3/4 of the new plants are set to be built in India and China. If every one of those plants were to be built and activated, it would add 1.4 million MW of coal-fired electricity capacity to the global grid. Since coal is already the single biggest contributor to man-made global warming, an unchecked global coal building spree really would be game over for the climate—no matter what happens in the U.S." 11-12
- -001 The New Math on Catastrophic Climate Change (BillMoyers.com)
"We’ve raised the earth’s temperature about one degree since the late 19th century, and that’s capable of causing the sort of short-term chaos we’re seeing around us now, as well as longer term effects: a third of the summer sea ice in the arctic is gone, the ocean is 30 percent more acidic and the atmosphere over the oceans is five percent wetter than usual. That’s what it looks like when you raise the temperature one degree. If we don’t get our act together very quickly, as I explain the Rolling Stone piece, it’s going to be two degrees, and really we’re on a trajectory right now that will take us to more like six degrees."
"The first number is two degrees Celsius (about 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) — that’s the temperature increase that scientists and politicians have agreed represents the absolute furthest you’d ever want to go. The scientists have been saying that it’s too high, that we should really be stopping right where we are now. But governments are unwilling to do what that would require, so they’ve agreed in international conferences that two degrees will be the target for the planet. It’s the only thing that the world’s governments have agreed on about climate change."
"The second number is 565 gigatons — that’s about how much carbon dioxide we can put in the atmosphere by midcentury and have any realistic hope of staying below two degrees. We release about 30 gigatons a year."
"The third number — and the newest one in these calculations — is from a group of accountants and environmentalists in the UK who tried to find out how much carbon the world’s fossil fuel companies (and the countries that operate like fossil fuel companies) have in their reserves. That number is about 2,800 gigatons of carbon, or about five times the 565 gigatons we can put into the atmosphere and stay below two degrees."
"There’s a timeline between when you emit the carbon and how quickly the temperature goes up. Of course, if we were going to avert that, we’d need to take incredibly dramatic action right now. If we wait 14 years then it will be much too late." 11-12
- -001 Widgets for Websites on CO2 Levels in the Air (CO2Now.org)
"CO2Now.org distributes the world's latest data for atmospheric CO2 as measured at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. This is where high-precision CO2 monitoring was started in March 1958 by Dr. Dave Keeling of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The Mauna Loa Observatory is a remote location where CO2 is well mixed in the atmosphere, more than two miles above sea level." 06-12
- -01-06-12 America Is Not Prepared for More Frequent Natural Disasters (CBS News)
"The overwhelming consensus among scientists is that the climate has changed. Global warming is making Mother Nature more mischievous, resulting in weather events that are more frequent and extreme. These disasters pose a greater risk both because the majority of Americans now live within 50 miles of the coast and because the critical infrastructure that coastal communities rely on is becoming more exposed and vulnerable."
"As extreme weather events become more frequent, it is important to try to make them less disruptive. This places a premium on bolstering community resilience. People and systems need to be able to better withstand, respond, adapt, and rapidly recover from disasters."
"For instance, electric power could be restored more quickly if local independent licensed electricians could be deputized to support utility crews in conducting damage assessments and making repairs." 01-13
- -01-08-13 Giant Squid Filmed in Deep Ocean for the First Time (CBS News)
"The mysterious and mythical giant squid has never been spotted alive in the deep sea -- until now. A team from Japan's National Science Museum has captured footage of a giant squid in its natural habitat: nearly a third of a mile below the surface of the ocean. It is the first such video of its kind."
"Giant squids, which can grow up to 60 feet in length, have been found dead on beaches and photographed in the ocean and -- more often -- on the surface." 01-13
- -01-09-12 Biomass Energy from Methane (New York Times)
"The process runs at a relatively low temperature, 1,750 degrees Fahrenheit, far too low for nitrogen oxides to form. It destroys other stray but troublesome pollutants that may be present in the landfill gas, like volatile organics, and it produces electricity. And company executives say that it does so at low concentrations of methane, 1.5 percent. (Ordinary pipeline gas is about 80 percent methane.)" 01-12
- -01-21-13 President Obama Makes Climate Change a Priority (New York Times)
"President Obama made addressing climate change the most prominent policy vow of his second Inaugural Address, setting in motion what Democrats say will be a deliberately paced but aggressive campaign built around the use of his executive powers to sidestep Congressional opposition."
" 'We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that failure to do so would betray our children and future generations,' Mr. Obama said on Monday at the start of eight sentences on the subject, more than he devoted to any other specific area." 01-13
- -01-22-12 Denmark Moves Aggressively on Wind Energy (New York Times)
"The incidents also make the recent proposal by the Danish government — to generate half the nation’s power from wind within eight years, up from less than a quarter currently — look all the more ambitious." 01-12
- -01-25-13 Biofuel Production Disappointing (Time.com)
"A federal appeals court has ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency is overestimating the amount of fuel that can be produced from grasses, wood and other nonfood plants in an effort to promote a fledgling biofuels industry."
"At issue is a 2007 renewable fuels law that requires a certain amount of those types of fuels, called cellulosic biofuels, to be mixed in with gasoline each year. Despite annual EPA projections that the industry would produce small amounts of the biofuels, none of that production materialized."
"There have been high hopes in Washington that the cellulosic industry would take off as farmers, food manufacturers and others blamed the skyrocketing production of corn ethanol fuel for higher food prices. Those groups said the diversion of corn crops for fuel production raised prices for animal feed and eventually for consumers at the grocery store. Lawmakers hoped that nonfood sources like switchgrass or corn husks could be used instead, though the industry hadn’t yet gotten off the ground." 01-13
- -01-28-13 Climate Expert: Climate Change Is Much Worse Than He Thought (Slate.com)
"Nicholas Stern, the author of a 2006 report commissioned by the British government on climate change that has been used as a reference ever since, says he now realizes he 'underestimated the risks' of rising temperatures. In an interview with the Guardian, Stern, who is one of the world's leading environmental economists, says that had he known then what he knows now, he would have been 'a bit more blunt' about the risks that climate change poses to the economy." 01-13
- -01-31-12 The Coming U.S.-China Solar Panel Contest (Time.com)
"It's been a schizophrenic time for the U.S. solar industry. On the one hand, about $11 billion worth of solar power is set to be installed in 2012, with more than five times that figure in the investment pipeline. Demand for solar power rose eightfold between 2006 and 2011 — from 200 MW to 1,600 MW. Nationally, the solar industry employs some 100,000 Americans, a number that rose by nearly 7% last year — even as overall employment barely grew at all."
"Despite those rosy numbers, many U.S. solar companies — especially those that manufacture solar panels and modules — are struggling to survive. Most notably, the solar start-up Solyndra went under in 2011, taking with it over $500 million in government loan guarantees. The Bloomberg Large Solar Energy Index of 17 top solar companies lost more than two-thirds of its value in 2011." 01-12
- -02-01-13 Colbert: Climate Change Is Real, Let's Give Up (BradBlog.com)
"Once you accept the scientific evidence, he suggests, you might feel compelled for a minute to do something about it, but there are just too many people who are profiting off what we are doing now. Plus, it all sounds very hard."
" 'Sure, I know America beat Tojo, we crushed Hitler, we put a man on the moon. But incrementally reducing C02 emissions? That sounds like a lot of work.' "
"Colbert has a better idea. Just have another piece of 'cheese cake, crawl in to bed, and wait for death'...." 02-13
- -02-06-13 Two Great Lakes at Lowest Recorded Levels (CBS New)
"Two of the Great Lakes have hit their lowest water levels ever recorded, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Tuesday, capping more than a decade of below-normal rain and snowfall and higher temperatures that boost evaporation."
"The low water has caused heavy economic losses by forcing cargo ships to carry lighter loads, leaving boat docks high and dry, and damaging fish-spawning areas. And vegetation has sprung up in newly exposed shoreline bottomlands, a turnoff for hotel customers who prefer sandy beaches."
"The corps' report came as shippers pleaded with Congress for more money to dredge ever-shallower harbors and channels. Shippers are taxed to support a harbor maintenance fund, but only about half of the revenue is spent on dredging. The remainder is diverted to the treasury for other purposes. Legislation to change that policy is pending before Congress." 02-13
- -02-13-12 How India Is Approaching Solar (Time.com)
"ederal authorities say they recovered $4.1 billion in health care fraud judgments last year, a record high which officials on Monday credited to new tools for cracking down on deceitful Medicare claims."
"The recovered funds are up roughly 50 percent from 2009. Attorney General Eric Holder and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius were expected to make the announcement at a news conference Tuesday." 02-12
- -02-16-12 U.S. to Cut Emissions of Some Pollutants (New York Times)
"The plan will address short-lived pollutants like soot (also referred to as black carbon), methane and hydrofluorocarbons that have an outsize influence on global warming, accounting for 30 to 40 percent of global warming. Soot from diesel exhausts and the burning of wood, agricultural waste and dung for heating and cooking causes an estimated two million premature deaths a year, particularly in the poorest countries."
"Researchers have identified about a dozen ways to significantly control black carbon and methane emissions. Soot can be reduced by installing filters on diesel engines, replacing traditional cookstoves with more efficient models, modernizing brick kilns and banning the open burning of agricultural waste. Methane can be captured from oil and gas wells, leaky pipelines, coal mines, municipal landfills, wastewater treatment plants, manure piles and rice paddies." 02-12
- -02-16-12 U.S. to Cut Emissions of Soot (Time.com)
"So with the front door locked on climate action, it might be time to try the back. That’s why the U.S.—as well as representatives from the U.N. and several other countries—is getting behind a new initiative to reduce black carbon, methane and other “short-lived” greenhouse gases, so called because they remain in the atmosphere for a much shorter time than CO2. Rather than focusing only on carbon dioxide—which has proven stubbornly difficult to reduce, given that CO2 is part of nearly every major source of energy—working to cut the secondary gases opens up new ways to slow down warming and get side benefits to public health and agriculture. Better yet, focusing on black carbon and methane can help the international community bypass the developed vs. developing world impasse that has essentially frozen action on climate change" 02-12
- -02-16-13 Landmark Legislation Proposed for Reducing Climate Change (Sanders.senate.com)
"Comprehensive legislation to reverse climate change was introduced in the Senate on Thursday by Sens. Bernie Sanders and Barbara Boxer. She is chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. He sits on that panel and the Senate energy committee. “The leading scientists in the world who study climate change now tell us that their projections in the past were wrong; that, in fact, the crisis facing our planet is much more serious than they had previously believed,” Sanders told a news conference in the environment committee hearing room." 02-13
- -02-23-11 Coal Mining to Expand in Wyoming (CNN News)
"Coal mining on public lands will expand in the coming months in Wyoming, as the federal government makes more coal-rich land available for lease by mining companies."
Editor's Note: Coal-fired power plants are the largest source of human-caused air pollution. 03-11
- -02-24-12 Google to Map Australia's Great Barrier Reef (U.S. News)
"Google Street View’s reach already extends from the streets of Johannesburg to halls of the Palace of Versailles. Now the company is taking its cameras underwater to map Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
"No, the idea isn’t to give people directions as they scuba dive. Instead, the project, dubbed the Catlin Seaview Survey, is meant to study the effects of climate change on the reef and provide people everywhere the chance to virtually explore one of the most biologically diverse spots on the globe." 02-12
- -03-01-13 America Has an Energy Boom (CNN News)
"America's energy production is booming. What we should do about it is one of Washington's most divisive issues."
"Since 2006, the country's natural gas production has surged 30%. Oil production is up 33%. The country is on track to surpass Saudi Arabia as the world's leading oil producer by 2020." 03-13
- -03-01-13 Hydrogen Energy Promise Improving (BBC News)
"Hydrogen produced from renewable resources is a promising source of clean energy, but the gas is difficult to handle and transport."
"An international team has now published details of an efficient, low-temperature method for generating it from methanol." 03-13
- -03-02-12 Acidification of the Oceans: Fastest Change in 300 Million Years (Time.com)
"The researchers found only one moment in the past when the oceans seemed to be changing anywhere near as fast as they are today. That was the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), which occurred some 56 million years ago. Back in the 1990s, scientists excavated a layer of mud off the seafloor near Antarctica that was traced back to that period. Over the course of 5,000 years during the PETM, carbon levels in the atmosphere doubled for reasons scientists still don’t know. That pushed global temperatures up by 6 C—one of the reasons why the era is called 'hothouse Earth,' while the pH of the oceans may have fallen by as much as 0.45 units, becoming significantly more acidic." 02-12
- -03-05-12 Permafrost Good News--Almost (DiscoverMagazine.com)
"Permafrost—soil that’s below the freezing temperature of water for at least two years—exists at both poles and in other cold regions and contains about 1,400 gigatons of trapped carbon in total. That’s more than there is in the atmosphere now. As global warming melts that permafrost, scientists fear that methane, carbon dioxide, and other greenhouse gasses will escape and accelerate massive climate change."
"Specifically, they found that methane spiked when melting began, but that it quickly dropped, apparently thanks to methane-munching soil bacteria that absorbed the potent greenhouse gas.”
"Don’t celebrate yet, though—those bacteria then excrete carbon dioxide, which, though 25 times less harmful as a greenhouse gas than methane, is still not something we’d like more of in the atmosphere." 03-12
- -03-08-13 Recent Heat Spike Largest in 11,000 Years (News.Yahoo.com)
"A new study looking at 11,000 years of climate temperatures shows the world in the middle of a dramatic U-turn, lurching from near-record cooling to a heat spike."
"Research released Thursday in the journal Science uses fossils of tiny marine organisms to reconstruct global temperatures back to the end of the last ice age. It shows how the globe for several thousands of years was cooling until an unprecedented reversal in the 20th century." 03-13
- -03-09-12 Historical Record Predicts Catastrophic Climate Change (Voice of America)
"A new U.S. space agency study warns the Earth this century could see rapid and catastrophic climate changes if man-made global warming levels are allowed to reach an internationally-recognized so-called 'safe limit' of two degrees Celsius."
"NASA study leader James Hansen says the findings show that Earth’s climate is more sensitive than even recent estimates suggest. He described the notion of limiting man-made global warming to an increase of two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels as “a prescription for disaster.”
"Recent studies, including those by NASA, indicate the average global surface temperature since 1880 has gone up 0.8 degrees Celsius and is on course to continue rising by 0.1 degrees every decade." 03-12
- -03-09-12 Study: Quakes Linked to Gas Drilling (CBS News)
"A dozen earthquakes in northeastern Ohio were almost certainly induced by injection of gas-drilling wastewater into the earth, Ohio oil and gas regulators said Friday as they announced a series of tough new regulations for drillers."
"Northeastern Ohio and large parts of adjacent states sit atop the Marcellus Shale geological formation, which contains vast reserves of natural gas that energy companies are rushing to drill using a process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.”
"That process involves freeing the gas by injecting water into the earth, but that water needs to be disposed of when companies are done with it. Municipal water treatment plants aren't designed to remove some of the contaminants found in the wastewater, including radioactive elements. Deep injection is considered one of the safest methods for disposing of the wastewater." 03-12
- -03-10-12 Study: Quakes Linked to Gas Drilling (CNN News)
"Hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, involves injecting a mixture of water and chemicals deep into the earth. The pressure causes shale rock formations to fracture and natural gas is released in the process. The fluid is then extracted and the natural gas is mined through the well. Some fracking operations have been linked to the contamination of drinking water supplies, and that led to a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in New York."
"New Yorkers only have to look over the border in Pennsylvania to find an example of a fracking operation gone wrong.”
" 'In the community of Dimock, Pennsylvania,' Sinding said, 'an aquifer was contaminated by bad drilling and fracking practices by a gas company. In addition to which there were a huge number of spills. It was a sort of horror story of what goes wrong when an industry isn't effectively regulated.' "
"A pair of university studies that came out over the past few months, one from the University of Texas and the other from Stanford, showed the process of fracking itself doesn't appear to pose a risk to drinking water. The studies found no record of a drinking water supply being contaminated by fracking fluids injected into shale formations several thousand feet below the Earth's surface. But the studies reported that shoddy drilling practices, accidents and poor oversight above ground have led to contaminated water wells." 03-12
- -03-10-13 Living With a Lot Less (New York Times)
"I LIVE in a 420-square-foot studio. I sleep in a bed that folds down from the wall. I have six dress shirts. I have 10 shallow bowls that I use for salads and main dishes. When people come over for dinner, I pull out my extendable dining room table."
"As the guy who started TreeHugger.com, I sleep better knowing I’m not using more resources than I need. I have less — and enjoy more."
"My space is small. My life is big." 03-13
- -03-10-13 Timelapse Photographer of the Earth (World.Time.com)
Provides striking pictures of the changes on earth due to human activity. 05-13
- -03-14-11 Top Green Tech Ideas (Time.com)
"You may have to look hard, but some very smart companies are doing some very creative things when it comes to the environment." 03-11
- -03-15-12 China Moves toward Clean Coal Energy (Cernet.edu.cn)
"Experts predict that China can develop its own coal fueled gasification technology with its own intellectual property rights in five years. The end product is said to be 50 percent cheaper than similar international products.”
"Meanwhile, the China Huaneng Group, the country's largest coal-fueled power generator, has joined a coalition of global electric utilities and coal companies that is to design, construct and operate the world's first 'zero-emission' coal-fueled power plant." 03-12
- -03-16-11 A Meltdown at a Nuclear Power Plant (MSNBC News)
"Experts on nuclear power say that the seriousness of the Fukushima Dai-ichi currently rates somewhere between Pennsylvania's 1979 Three Mile Island incident, in which the reactor's core melted down halfway but was kept contained within the facility; and the 1986 Chernobyl incident in Ukraine, in which a raging, uncontained fire spread radioactive contamination throughout Europe." 03-11
- -03-16-11 Expert: U.S. Not at Risk from Japanese Radiation (CBS News)
"Dr. Glenn Braunstein, of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, sees patients with thyroid cancer -- one of the biggest risks from radiation exposure of a nuclear meltdown. He says the 5,500 miles between the U.S. and the nuclear plant in Japan is more than a safe distance." 03-11
- -03-16-11 Riskiest U.S. Nuclear Power Plants (TheDailyBeast.com)
"Based on the input of more than a half-dozen experts in nuclear energy, nuclear engineering and risk assessment, The Daily Beast ranked the country's power plant sites based on three, equally weighted metrics: risk of natural disaster, safety performance assessments, and surrounding population." 03-11
- -03-16-11 Symptoms of Radiation Sickness (MSNBC News)
"Radiation sickness (acute radiation syndrome, or ARS) occurs when the body is exposed to a high dose of penetrating radiation within a short period of time. The first symptoms of ARS typically are fatigue, hair loss, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, as well as skin changes such as swelling, redness, itching and radiation burns. Symptoms may present within a few minutes to days after the exposure, and may come and go. This seriously ill stage may last from a few hours up to several months." 03-11
- -03-27-11 Earth-Hour Blackout (Time.com)
"They're some of the world's most famous buildings, but Saturday night, they blended into the darkness. From the Sydney Opera House to the Colosseum to the Vegas Strip, landmarks on every continent took part in Earth Hour, turning off all lights for an hour to draw attention to the need for climate change."
"2011 marks the fifth year of cutting power for the hour in the initiative organized by the World Wildlife Fund. Organizers estimate over 1 billion people take part in the global blackout. Cities have embraced the moment to see their famed structures stand in darkness, and local utilities companies note a sharp decrease in usage." 3-11
- -03-28-11 Leaf-Sized Power Plant (TechNewsWorld.com)
"Scientists at MIT have created what may be the first practical artificial leaf -- a device about the size of a playing card capable of splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen and storing the energy in a fuel cell. Placing the leaf it in a single gallon of water in sunlight could produce enough electricity to supply a house in developing countries with its daily electricity requirement, according to researchers." 03-11
- -03-30-11 Has the Japanese Nuclear Reactor No. 1 Gone Critical? (Time.com)
"To nuclear workers, there are few events more fearful than a criticality accident. In such a scenario, the fissile material in a reactor core--be it enriched uranium or plutonium--undergoes a spontaneous chain reaction, releasing a flash of aurora-blue light and a surge of neutron radiation; the gamma rays, neutrons and radioactive fission products emitted during criticality are highly dangerous to humans. Criticality occurs so rapidly--within a few fractions of a second--and so unpredictably that it can suddenly kill workers without warning. There have been 60 criticality incidents worldwide since 1945. The most recent occurred in Japan in 1999, at an experimental reactor in Tokai, when a beam of neutrons killed two workers, hospitalized dozens of emergency workers and nearby residents, and forced hundreds of thousands to remain indoors for 24 hours." 03-11
- -03-30-11 High Radiation Found in Japanese Seawater (New York Times)
"Hidehiko Nishiyama, deputy director general of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, said that seawater collected about 300 yards from the Fukushima Daiichi station was found to contain iodine 131 at 3,355 times the safety standard. On Sunday, a test a mile north showed 1,150 times the maximum level, and a test the day before showed 1,250 times the limit in seawater taken from a monitoring station at the plant."
"Iodine 131, one of the radioactive byproducts of nuclear fission, can accumulate in the thyroid and cause cancer, but it degrades relatively rapidly, becoming half as potent every eight days. The risk can be diminished by banning fishing." 03-11
- -04-01-11 Obama Administration Encourages Use of Energy-Efficient Fleet Vehicles (ABC News)
"Goodbye to gas-guzzling fleet vehicles like the ubiquitous big brown UPS trucks? President Obama hopes so, saying it’s not only good for the environment, it’s good for business." 03-11
- -04-03-11 We Are Losing an Insect Pest Killer -- The Bat (Time.com)
"Named for a white fungus that appears on the muzzle and other body parts of hibernating bats, WNS has killed at least one million bats, mostly in the northeast, and death rates among some affected winter colonies can be as high as 70%. One species—the little brown bat or Myotis lucifugus—has declined so quickly that it is headed for extinction."
"You might say: so what? Other than chiroptologists—yes, people who study bats—would anyone miss them when they're gone? As it turns out, all of us would—at least if you like food. A new article in Science shows that bats have an important role to play in agriculture—one worth at least $3.7 billion a year, if not far more. That's how much the extinction of bats throughout North America could cost the region's food system, according to an analysis (access PDF here) by a group of researchers led by Justin Boyles of the University of Pretoria in South Africa. The logic is simple: bats eat bugs—tons and tons of bugs—and that includes crop and forests pests. (A single colony of 150 brown bats in Indianan has been estimated to eat nearly 1.3 million pest insects a year.) Remove the bats, and you remove one of nature's most effective biological pesticides—which would have to be replaced by actual pesticides, at an economic and environmental expense." 04-11
- -04-04-11 Stop the Cows and Save the Planet (Time.com)
"Though carbon dioxide is the first gas that comes to mind when we think of greenhouse emissions, pound for pound, methane is more than 20 times more powerful in terms of its global warming potential. Methane doesn't linger in the atmosphere quite as long as CO2, and it's not produced industrially in anywhere near the same quantity, but it does its damage all the same — and livestock toots out a surprisingly large share of it."
"According to one Danish study, the average cow produces enough methane per year to do the same greenhouse damage as four tons of CO2. The average car, by contrast, produces just 2.7 tons. Multiply that by the planet's 1.5 billion cattle and buffalo and 1.8 billion smaller ruminants and you have the methane equivalent of two billion tons of CO2 per year. According to the U.K. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), livestock account for about 4.5% of all of the country's annual greenhouse gas emissions. Globally the figure is thought to be higher — about six percent."
"If you change what goes in, you should be able to change what comes out."
"That's the conclusion reached by a just-released DEFRA study, which not only argues that traditional animal feeds must be replaced, but suggests what the new mealtime fare should be. The big three additions to the livestock lunch-line, according to the DEFRA scientists, should be maize silage, naked oats and grasses higher in sugars."
"Maize silage, which, as its name suggests, is produced by fermenting corn shuckings in a silo or in covered heaps, can reduce tailpipe emissions by as much as 6%. Higher-sugar grasses can mean a 20% reduction, and naked oats—or oats without husks—reduce methane by a whopping 33 percent." 04-11
- -04-12-11 Google Is Building the World's Largest Solar Power Plant (Time.com)
"Google is investing $168 million to help develop a solar energy power plant in California's Mojave Desert."
"In cooperation with Brightsource energy, Google's official blog states that the new plant will hopefully generate 392 gross megawatts of solar power, or "the equivalent of taking more than 90,000 cars off the road over the lifetime of the plant," which is estimated to be 25 years." 04-11
- -04-20-12 Drought Forcast for Southwest and California Not Good (U.S. News)
"Most of the Southwest as well as parts of California and the Southeast can expect drought conditions to worsen through July, federal forecasters said Thursday." 04-12
- -04-21-11 Recycling...Almost Everything (CBS News)
"Another new project is a test in Brazil, where residents can send in used diapers. Yes, used diapers."
"Just take the poopy drawers, put them in a bag and mail them to TerraCycle, Szaky said."
"The baby waste is composted, while the plastic is pelletized and used in other plastic products, said Albe Zakes, a TerraCycle spokesman.TerraCycle doesn't actually make new products, Szaky said. It sells the recovered waste to companies that usually would use virgin materials. One of the companies it works with is Expo pens. TerraCycle collects pens, melts the plastic, and Expo makes new pens with the material." 04-11
- -04-22-11 Graphing Your Life (New York Times)
"What scientists say is the largest concentration of endangered right whales ever spotted in one location is giving researchers an unusually rich opportunity to study the animals and their feeding habits."
"Scientists believe that there are only 450 right whales in the world but say the numbers have been slowly recovering since commercial whaling of the species was banned more than 70 years ago."
"The more than 100 whales counted in the bay this month is the largest number recorded in one place, according to the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, Massachusetts. 04-11
- -04-23-13 Editorial: Why the Environmental Movement Has Failed (Science.Time.com)
"Hurricanes may be stronger, summers hotter, and droughts longer than ever. But unless you’re a climate scientist or follow their research closely, it’s difficult to know for sure whether these phenomena signal the beginning of a historic calamity or are merely events on a cyclical pattern. At any rate, supermarkets offer an ever increasing variety of foods at fairly stable prices, while Mardi Gras was celebrated on schedule in New Orleans not long after Katrina blew through. Most coverage of climate change traffics heavily in words like 'could' and 'potentially.' It’s hard to build a world-saving movement on that." 04-13
- -04-24-11 New Laser Spark Plugs May Increase Car Efficiency (FastCompany.com)
"Laser-powered spark plugs may be one way to incrementally clean up our dirty cars before the government finally forces us to get clean from our gasoline-powered addiction." 04-11
- -04-24-12 Study: Increased Seismic Activity Linked to Fracking (Homeland Security Newswire)
"From 1970 to 2000 the number of magnitude 3.0 or greater temblors in the U.S. mid-continent averaged twenty-one annually; by 2011 the number of such quakes had increased to 134; a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey links the increase of seismic activity to the increase in the use of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking." 04-12
- -04-24-12 Study: Wind Power More Cost-Effective Than Solar (Homeland Security Newswire)
"The researchers calculated and compared what it would cost to generate a tenth of the electricity demand with wind power or photovoltaics for six selected countries in the south. The result: with one franc or dollar of funding, you can produce more electricity in all the countries examined — Brazil, Egypt, India, Kenya, Nicaragua, and Thailand — if the money is invested in wind power plants." 04-12
- -04-26-11 Israeli Cars and Electric Infrastructure (Time.com)
"Shai Agassi, the founder of Better Place, the most sophisticated electric-car enterprise in the world, projects the ebullient confidence of a man facing a giant wave of money. 'Within less than this decade the No. 1–selling car in the world will be the electric car,' he says." 04-11
- -05-07-12 Dinosaur Emissions May Have Warmed the Planet (Christian Science Monitor)
"Sauropods – giant, long-necked, prehistoric vegans that roamed the planet for more than 100 million years through the end of the age of dinosaurs – released nearly as much methane into the atmosphere each year as do all natural and industrial sources today, according to an estimate from scientists in Britain." 12-11
- -05-07-12 Teen Gets 200 MPG in Car (KCTV)
"It doesn't really look like there's a lot to his 1994 Geo Metro. But, when he bought it, he pulled out the gas engine and replaced it with an electric forklift engine he bought on eBay." 05-12
- -05-09-11 Climate Panel Charts Options (New York Times)
"The report, as with all output from the climate panel, is incredibly constrained by the mandate of the organization, which is to be policy relevant, but policy neutral. The result is a suite of 160 clean and neat “what if” scenarios, but very little (at least if the summary reflects what’s coming in the full 900-page report at the end of the month) on how the more aggressive scenarios for cleaning up the global energy supply might actually be achieved in the real world of competing and conflicting national, corporate and personal interests."
"The summary, for example, barely mentions natural gas, even though it is hard to find an energy analyst these days who does not see low natural gas prices, now foreseen for decades to come, as deeply undercutting prospects for expanded deployment of renewable energy sources (let alone nuclear power)." 05-11
- -05-10-12 Hong Kong Inventor Works Against Air Pollution (Time.com)
"Gambarota’s company, Motorwave Limited, made its first shipment in June of 2007. Since then, the 10-in.-wide, colorful plastic turbines have shipped to 45 countries, with more than 2,000 installations internationally. They have been strewn across European skylines, American silos, Hong Kong facades — they’re even gracing ferry boats on the way to Macau casinos. Part of the reason the tiny turbines have been so popular is thanks to their lightweight, colorful design and affordable price — running at about $1,000 per dozen." 05-12
- -05-10-12 Teenagers Take Global Warming to Court (TheAtlantic.com)
"Alec Loorz turns 18 at the end of this month. While finishing high school and playing Ultimate Frisbee on weekends, he's also suing the federal government in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C."
"While skeptics may view the case as little more than a publicity stunt, its implications have been serious enough to attract the time and resources of major industry leaders. Last month, Judge Wilkins granted a motion to intervene in the case by the National Association of Manufacturers, joined by Delta Construction Company, Dalton Trucking Inc., Southern California Contractors Association, and the California Dump Truck Owners Association."
"The plaintiffs contend that they have standing to sue under the 'public trust doctrine,' a legal theory that in past years has helped protect waterways and wildlife. It's the reason, for example, that some state government agencies issue licenses to catch fish or shoot deer, particularly when populations are declining. The doctrine has never before been applied to the atmosphere, and it's a trickier prospect, not least because the sources of atmospheric pollution are so diffuse and wide-ranging, extending to other countries whose actions the United States may not be able to influence." 05-12
- -05-12-12 Water Is Key to Everything (Truth-Out.org)
"In case after case around the world, water is being turned into a good for sale and for profit. Driven by a different vision and by economic necessity, a global counter-trend is growing to assure that household water be free or cheap, accessible, and safe, and that the earth’s water be kept pure and flowing." 05-12
- -05-16-11 Selling Coal to Kids (Time.com)
"Part of what critics assail the [Scholastic] poster for is that it mentions none of the health and environmental downsides of coal. But in fairness, there's no mention of Fukushima in the write-up about nuclear or the BP spill in the explanation of oil either. Still, the map is unmistakably weighted toward coal, and its reverse side — where the teacher's guide is provided — is just as bad, recommending an entire 40-min. class be set aside to 'walk students through the basic steps of coal production and how it is used to generate electricity.' " 05-11
- -05-22-12 Feeding the Planet (Time.com)
"Put simply, the act of feeding 7 billion plus human beings already puts more stress on the planet than any other single activity — and with both population and global wealth continuing to grow, we're going to need to figure out a way to produce more food without further damaging the environment. Otherwise we may end up running out of both food and the planet."
"It's important to understand just how massive global agriculture's footprint really is. First there's simply the matter of land: 6.2 million sq. mi (16 million sq. km) are currently used to grow crops — an amount of land about equal to the size of South America — while 11.6 million sq. mi (30 million sq. km) has been set aside for pastureland, an area equal to the entire African continent. Altogether that's more than 40% of the dry land on the planet. We use 60 times more land to grow and raise food than we do to live on. Farming takes half the world's available freshwater, much of which is used for irrigation. And all that activity — plus the deforestation and degradation that tends to go hand in hand with farming — helps make agriculture the single biggest source of manmade greenhouse 'everything,' says Foley. 'We are running out of planet.' " 05-12
- -05-24-12 Tens of Thousands of Elephants Likely Killed (MSNBC News)
"Providing the grimmest count yet on Africa's wildlife crisis, the global body tracking endangered species reported Thursday that tens of thousands of elephants likely were slaughtered last year by poachers after their tusks. Rhinos, while fewer in number, also saw mass slaughter as poachers went after their horns." 05-12
- -06-03-11 Half of Texas Under "Exceptional" Drought (MSNBC News)
"A devastating drought tightened its grip on Texas over the last week with more than half the state now suffering the most extreme level of drought measured by climatologists." 06-11
- -06-05-13 Soil for Life (Aljazeera.com)
"Soil is becoming endangered, and this reality needs to be part of our collective awareness in order to feed nine billion people by 2050, say experts meeting in Reykjavík."
" 'Keeping and putting carbon in its rightful place,' needs to be the mantra for humanity if we want to continue to eat, drink and combat global warming, concluded 200 researchers from more than 30 countries."
"In the past 40 years, 30 percent of the planet's arable (food-producing) land has become unproductive due to erosion. Unless this trend is reversed soon, feeding the world's growing population will be impossible." 06-13
- -06-08-12 Arctic Ice Is Melting Fast (Christian Science Monitor)
"Arctic ice is melting at a near record pace, and it's darkening and absorbing too much of the sun's heat."
"Summer sea ice has been declining since satellites began tracking it in 1978. As a result, a region of the world that helps moderate global climate by reflecting sunlight back into space from its veneers of snow and ice is losing its reflective surface at a time when sunlight is strongest."
"In addition, the report notes that throughout the Arctic, permafrost is warming, even to depths of 20 meters (65 feet) below the surface. Arctic permafrost represents an enormous reservoir of carbon, mainly as methane. Molecule for molecule, methane is a far more-potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels and from land-use changes." 06-12
- -06-11-12 The Golden Age of Gas: Changing Global Politics (CNN News)
"It's becoming increasingly clear that the shale gas revolution is a game-changer not just for the energy industry, not just for the U.S. — but for geopolitics."
"And in a short time, its success has led to the drilling of 20,000 wells in America, the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs, and a guaranteed supply of gas for perhaps 100 years. The International Energy Agency says global gas production will rise 50% by the year 2035; two-thirds of that growth will come from unconventional sources like shale — a market the U.S. completely dominates." 06-12
- -06-2-11 Energy Hog from the Cable Company (New York Times)
"Those little boxes that usher cable signals and digital recording capacity into televisions have become the single largest electricity drain in many American homes, with some typical home entertainment configurations eating more power than a new refrigerator and even some central air-conditioning systems." 06-11
- -06-21-11 Report: Oceans Heading for Mass Extinctions (MSNBC News)
" Mass extinctions of species in the world's oceans are inevitable if current trends of overfishing, habitat loss, global warming and pollution continue, a panel of renowned marine scientists warned Tuesday." 06-11
- -06-21-11 States Lead in Lowering Utility Bills (USA Today)
"As Congress remains in gridlock, U.S. states are taking the lead in energy efficiency. New research shows 26 now have rules that are lowering utility bills for consumers and reducing the need to build new power plants." 06-11
- -06-22-12 Germany Switching From Nuclear Power to Solar and Wind (Truth-Out.org)
"Germany, the world’s most aggressive adopter of renewable energy, is taking a bold leap toward a future free from nuclear energy. In March, the German government announced a program to invest 200 billion euros, or approximately $270 billion, in renewables. That’s 8 percent of the country’s GDP, according to the DIW Economic Institute in Berlin." 06-12
- -06-26-11 A Review of the Volt (New York Times)
"Here’s what really got me, though: on the dashboard, alongside the gauge that measures the battery life, the Volt has another gauge that calculates the vehicle’s miles per gallon. During the two-hour drive to Southampton, I used two gallons of gas, a quarter of the tank. Thus, when I drove into the driveway, it read 50 miles per gallon."
"The next day, after the overnight charge, I didn’t use any gas. After driving around 30 miles in the morning, I recharged it for a few hours while I puttered around the house. (It takes 10 hours to fully recharge, unless you buy a special 240-volt recharging unit.) That gave the battery 10 miles, more than enough to get me where I needed to go that evening on battery power alone. Before I knew it, my miles per gallon for that tankful of gas had hit 80. By the next day it had topped 100. I soon found myself obsessed with increasing my miles per gallon — and avoiding having to buy more gas." 06-11
- -06-28-11 Record-High CO2 Levels a Bad Sign for Climate (ClimateBiz.com)
"CO2 emissions from energy production in 2010 were the highest in history following a recessionary dip the year before, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in a stark announcement Monday. Existing and planned power plants mean the bulk of energy-related CO2 emissions projected for 2020 are already 'locked in.' "
"World leaders have agreed to limit global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius or less above pre-industrial levels to prevent catastrophic climate change, which could include heat waves, rising sea levels, extreme weather and droughts, among other impacts."
"We need to keep the concentration of atmospheric GHGs below 450 parts per million in order to achieve this. To put this in perspective, we reached 393 ppm in April. Maintaining an energy pathway to the 450 Scenario would require us to essentially keep emissions levels flat over the next decade." 06-11
- -07-16-12 Drought and Record Heat Hit the United States (CNN News)
"Even the mighty Mississippi River is feeling low amid what the National Climatic Data Center reported Monday is the largest drought since the 1950s."
"The center said about 55% of the country was in at least moderate short-term drought in June for the first time since December 1956, when 58% of the country was in a moderate to extreme drought."
"According to the report issued Monday, June was also the fourth-warmest June globally since record-keeping began in 1880, and marked the 328th consecutive month that global temperatures have remained above the 20th century average. The last time the average global temperature dipped below that average was February 1985, the agency said." 07-12
- -07-16-12 Navy Presses Forward With Biofuels (Voice of America News)
"Over the last few months, the navy has been showcasing how biofuels can transform the military and eventually lead what Navy Secretary Ray Mabus hopes will be a transition away from energy sources in unstable parts of the world."
" 'The main reason we are moving toward alternative energy in navy marine corps is to make us better war fighters, is to reduce our vulnerability on imported fossil fuel,' he stated. '(To) Make sure we have energy security and energy independence in the United States military, United States Navy.' " 07-12
- -07-18-11 Clean Coal Cancelled (Time.com)
" 'The reason why projects like these are fiscally challenged is because the incentives available to them fall short and the rules of the road in terms of emissions standards aren't clear,' Clean Air Task Force Carbon Storage Development Coordinator Kurt Waltzer said." 07-11
- -07-25-12 NASA Satellites Spot Sudden Melting Across Greenland (EIN News)
"Scientists say there has been a freak event in Greenland this month: Nearly every part of the massive ice sheet that blankets the island suddenly started melting."
" 'Ice cores from Summit show that melting events of this type occur about once every 150 years on average. With the last one happening in 1889, this event is right on time,' says Lora Koenig, a Goddard glaciologist and a member of the research team analyzing the satellite data. 'But if we continue to observe melting events like this in upcoming years, it will be worrisome.' " 07-12
- -07-26-11 Girl's Wish for Clean Water Takes Off After Her Death (MSNBC News)
"Rachel Beckwith wanted to raise $300 by her ninth birthday to help bring clean water to people in poor countries. Donors from across the world are making sure her wish is realized after her death, perhaps a thousand times over."
"Rachel was about $80 short of her goal when she turned 9 in June, and then a horrific highway traffic accident took her life away last week. But news of the Bellevue, Wash., girl’s pluck and selflessness emerged after the tragedy, and it is inspiring thousands of people — most of them strangers — to push her dream along." 07-11
- -07-31-11 Green Win on Autos (Time.com)
"You can score another quiet green victory for the White House. Today the President announced a deal with automobile manufacturers to tighten fuel efficiency standards on cars and trucks in the near future. The agreement will raise the Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (CAFE) standards to 54.5 mpg by 2025, up from 28.3 mpg now and 35.5 mpg in 2016. That new limit could eventually reduce greenhouse gas pollution from vehicles by about 50%, while reducing fuel consumption by 40%. Over time—especially if gas prices rises over the long-term, which many experts expect—the new rules will save drivers cash as well." 07-11
- -08-07-12 Why We May Be Setting Up for a Long-Term Drought (Christian Science Monitor)
"Conditions in the West may be setting up for a 'megadrought' by century's end, researchers warn." 08-12
- -08-10-12 Obama's Clean Energy Revolution (Time.com)
"Before President Obama took office, the U.S. had 25 gigawatts of wind power, and the government’s “base case” energy forecast expected 40 GW by 2030. Well, it’s not quite 2030 yet, but we’ve already got 50 GW of wind. We’ve also got about 5 GW of solar, which isn’t much but is over six times as much as we had before Obama. Mitt Romney has suggested that wind and solar are “imaginary” sources of energy, but they can now power 15 million homes, and their industries employ more than 300,000 Americans. That’s real." 08-12
- -08-14-11 Water Distribution Pipes Breaking (CNN News)
"Critical water pipelines are breaking from coast to coast, triggered by this summer's record high temperatures. It's not a phenomenon or coincidence, experts say. It's a clear sign that Americans should brace for more water interruptions, accompanied by skyrocketing water bills."
"The heat wave of the past few weeks has burst hundreds of crucial pipes in California, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Indiana, Kentucky and New York, temporarily shutting off water to countless consumers just when they needed it most." 08-11
- -08-14-12 Toilets for the Twenty-First Century (ABC News)
"These aren't your typical loos. One uses microwave energy to transform human waste into electricity. Another captures urine and uses it for flushing. And still another turns excrement into charcoal."
"To pass the foundation's threshold for the world's next toilet, it must operate without water, electricity or a septic system, not discharge pollutants, preferably capture energy or other resources and operate at a cost of 5 cents a day."
"The United Nations estimates disease caused by unsafe sanitation results in about half the hospitalizations in the developing world. About 1.5 million children die each year from diarrheal disease." 08-12
- -08-21-12 Court Rejects New Pollution Standards (CNN News)
"A divided federal appeals court has ruled that federal regulators went too far with new rules to control air pollution in parts of the eastern United States."
"The decision Tuesday is a blow for several states, the Obama administration and environmental groups, which had sought to prevent 'upwind states' from emitting possibly unhealthy levels of contaminants across state borders, a requirement known as the 'good neighbor' policy." 08-12
- -08-23-12 Climate Change Pushes Farmers to the Brink (PBS.org)
"Mother Nature been unkind to farmers this year. Last week, the NewsHour talked to cherry farmers in Michigan who lost 90 percent of their crops when an early spring warm-up meant trees were battered by frosts after blooming early. A drought sweeping the Corn Belt killed crops and raised food prices this summer, leaving farmers without profits and ranchers without feed for their livestock."
"These are just some of the new normals for farmers around the world, said Jonathan Foley, director of the Institute for the Environment at the University of Minnesota." 08-12
- -08-29-12 Obama Administration Doubles Fuel Standard (CNN News)
"The Obama administration finalized new fuel economy rules Tuesday that within 12 years will almost double today's standard for cars and light trucks to 54.5 miles per gallon."
"The rules, which have been in the works for several years, will add thousands of dollars to the cost of new cars. But in the long run, regulators say, drivers will spend less on gas, outweighing the additional cost at the dealership. They say the rules will also help reduce the nation's oil imports from OPEC by about half." 08-12
- -09-13-12 Climate Change and the Farming Bill (Time.com)
"But industrial agriculture’s ability to produce gargantuan amounts of food also makes it exceptionally susceptible to climate change. Relying on vast monocultures — the miles and miles of cornfields one passes when driving in Iowa — captures economies of scale. But that lack of diversity invites trouble. A monoculture’s uniformity means that if temperatures spike or a new pest arrives, the damage is likely to spread throughout the entire planted area. By contrast, the diversified landscapes of organic agriculture — corn planted between, say, other vegetables and chicken pens — tend to limit damage."
"Farmers can best boost resilience to climate change, scientists say, by improving their soil’s fertility and capacity to retain moisture. That means cutting back on chemical fertilizers, which kill many of the microorganisms that ventilate soil, and shifting to compost and manure fertilizers and crop rotations."
"Instead, leading lobbyists for agribusiness want to retain the current production system but shift the mounting climate risks to the taxpayer. Both versions of the farm bill would expand the $11 billion crop insurance program, a move championed by the National Corn Growers Association. The Senate bill, for instance, would authorize $3.8 billion a year for additional insurance."
"But neither version would require farmers to take other measures to reduce their climate vulnerability, like investing in healthier soil. In fact, the draft bills would actually make it harder for farmers to do that because the expanded crop insurance would be paid for by cutting the Conservation Stewardship Program, which helps farmers improve their land’s ecological health."
"Shifting federal policy from a longstanding emphasis on industrial agriculture to moreorganic approaches is too large a task to complete by Sept. 30. But Congress could pass a one-year extension of the old bill and direct the Department of Agriculture to use the extra time to develop, with farmers and other stakeholders, a plan to segue to climate-smart agriculture as soon as possible. As the summer of 2012 has reminded us, this agricultural superpower has already waited too long to take climate change seriously." 09-12
- -09-18-12 USA Records Hottest Spot on Earth (CNN Ndews)
"In a year that has seen the United States record its hottest month ever comes word that the country now owns the title of the hottest air temperature recorded on Earth."
"The World Meteorological Organization, the weather and climate agency of the United Nations, has recognized Death Valley, California, as the place where the planet has seen its hottest day ever, July 10, 1913, when it reached 134 degrees Fahrenheit (56.7 degrees Celsius)." 09-12
- -10-03-12 Starfish Killing the Great Barrier (Coral) Reef (CNN News)
“ 'The debate is over. This latest research demonstrates that more decisive action to cut chemical fertilizer is urgently needed to prevent unprecedented and on-going outbreaks of Crown of Thorns starfish, which are in turn converting the Great Barrier Reef into rubble,' WWF-Australia spokesperson Nick Heath said in a statement."
"According to the study, the starfish in its larval stage feeds on plankton, populations of which surge when fertilizer runoff floods the coastal ocean waters with nutrients. So plentiful plankton can lead to swarms of hungry starfish."
"The starfish consume the corals by climbing onto them, thrusting out their stomachs, and bathing the coral in digestive enzymes, which liquefy it for ingestion. Adult crown-of-thorns starfish, ranging in size from 9 to 18 inches in diameter and with up to 21 arms, can eat nearly a square foot of coral each in a day." 10-12
- -10-07-10 Study Shines New Light on Sun's Role on Earth's Climate (CNN News)
" A new study has shed light on the sun's impact on the Earth's climate, confounding current thinking about solar cycles and how they influence temperatures on Earth."
"Previously scientists had thought that radiation reaching the Earth rises and falls in line with the Sun's activity, which during the 11-year solar cycle goes though periods of low and high activity."
"But research by Imperial College, London and the University of Colorado in the U.S. examining solar radiation levels from 2004 to 2007 -- a period of declining solar activity -- revealed that levels of visible radiation reaching the Earth actually increased during the period." 10-10
- -10-07-10 The Methane Danger (Google.com)
"If the methane release is in a positive feed back loop as described below, there are significant questions raised about how long we have before the relative methane ghg effects surpass those of carbon dioxide. Satellite based atmosphere analysis suggests that atmospheric methane concentration is growing at 7% per year (or doubling every ten years) while the CO2 concentration is growing at 0.7% per year. The major question posed here is: If the ghg effects of methane are rising very fast, once this crossover of relative effects occurs, what good will attempts at containment or reduction of carbon dioxide have? Is it possible that we have a very short period to get control of methane releases before whatever we do will no longer matter? This is a question we can only pose, but the past history of correct impressions does not bode well for the future." 10-10
- -10-17-12 Climate Change Supercomputer Powers Up (Time.com)
"NCAR says Yellowstone will also be able to help “work toward the development of seasonal forecasts of sea ice,” improve fire pattern predictions when wildfires break out, locate with more precision gas and oil in areas miles beneath the earth’s surface (as well as subsurface areas that could be used to store carbon) and lay the groundwork for pollutant modeling, which could yield more accurate air quality forecasts days in advance." 10-12
- -10-18-10 Report: Call to Action to Address Freshwater Challenges (Time.com)
"Noting that such [water] shortages will severely undermine the economy, the Foundation also mentions that water use and energy use are intertwined."
"It's clear that the report is meant to spur change in the water-technology sector in the U.S. in a way that will sufficiently address the problem as well as reducing our carbon footprint--the title of the report says it all. Because while water shortages will take a huge toll on the American economy, it's also important to keep in mind how dire climate change and the water situation will be throughout the rest of the world in the next few years." 10-10
- -10-20-10 Gulf Spill Stain Still There (Time.com)
"Our need for an energy revolution hasn't changed, but we seem unable to make the hard choices and compromises that are necessary to bring about that change. We haven't gotten serious about attacking our demand for oil—witness New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's recent decision to kill a needed transit tunnel—or funding the heavy-duty research into renewables and other forms of clean energy. Venture capital investment in clean tech is declining. Perhaps worst of all, the oil spill and the debate that ensued over offshore drilling seemed to deepen the sense that a clean environment and a growing economy were simply opposed. An spill-free Gulf would be nice—but drilling jobs are nicer." 10-10
- -10-21-10 The Arctic of Old Is Gone (MSNBC News)
"The Arctic — an area described as Earth's refrigerator because its ice helps keep temperatures cool — continues to warm up and is unlikely to return to earlier conditions, according to an annual report card issued Thursday by top scientists." 10-10
- -10-22-10 Barbecues to Remove CO2 (Guardian.co.uk)
"Barbecues that remove CO2 from the air could play a role in the fight against climate change according to Durwood Zaelke, a leading expert on rapid responses to global warming." 10-10
- -10-22-10 Sub-Orbital Vacation Trips Could Harm Environment (Time.com)
"To conduct its calculations on the atmospheric impact of recreational rocketry, the AGU proceeded on the assumption that the space tourism industry is correct when it projects that it will be launching about 1,000 vacation rockets per year by 2020. That's not an entirely unreasonable prediction since Branson is by no means the only entrepreneur in the game. If that ambitious goal is met, the first and biggest concern would be the amount of soot the engines would produce. One thousand commercial launches would produce 10 times the soot emitted by government and private rockets today—and that presents serious problems." 10-10
- -11-01-10 Algae as Biofuel Gets Government Support (MSNBC News)
"With a big boost from the government, algae is making headway as a potential replacement for some of the 18 million barrels of crude oil used daily nationwide."
"Algae use less overall carbon than fossil fuels because the plants absorb carbon as they grow and release it when their fuels are burnt, rather than just releasing carbon during use, as is the case with petroleum-based fuels. And of course algae can be grown domestically, reducing the amount of petroleum we need to import." 11-10
- -11-16-11 "Mountain Tsunamis" Expected in Bhutan (Time.com)
"The Kingdom of Bhutan, tucked between India and China in the foothills of the Himalaya mountain range, is paying the price for global industrialization. To the north of the country, a chain of Himalayan glaciers is rapidly retreating — by between 20 m and 30 m per year. Experts blame climate change and predict that by 2035, the glaciers could be gone altogether."
"Water flows from these melting glaciers until it breaks the natural ice dams that hold it in place. That, in turn, can result in devastating floods like the one that occurred in 1994, when a torrent of mud killed dozens of people in Bhutan and wiped out entire villages. Western scientists call this phenomenon a glacial-lake-outburst flood, or GLOF. With 24 of its 2,674 glacial lakes considered unstable, Bhutan is preparing in the coming years for even deadlier 'mountain tsunamis,' as the phenomenon is sometimes referred to." 11-11
- -11-25-11 Past Mass Extinctions of Life on Earth (Time.com)
"The end-Permian mass extinction, which their study calls the 'most severe biodiversity crisis in earth history,' wiped out 95% of marine life and 70% of life on land about 252.28 million years ago."
"The scientists are putting the blame on familiar culprits: carbon dioxide and methane." 11-11
- -12-01-12 Studies: Polar Ice Melting Faster (Time.com)
"The problem is that scientists have struggled to nail down just how quickly the polar ice sheets are melting. There have been more than 30 different estimates of sea level contributing due to polar ice sheet melting made since 1989. But in a new paper published in the November 29 Science, a team of researchers have gone through all of those estimates and come to a broadly agreed conclusion that melting from the ice sheets have contributed an average of 0.023 in (0.59 mm) to sea-level rise since 1992, with an uncertainty of 0.008 in. (0.2 mm) per year. That might not sound like much—ice-sheet melting has only added about half an inch (12.7 mm) to sea levels in that time span—but the new analysis means that polar ice sheets are melting three times faster today than they did in the 1990s, with much of the ice loss happening in Greenland." 12-12
- -12-03-12 The Global Water Crisis (Christian Science Monitor)
"The global water crisis – caused by drought, flood, and climate change – is less about supply than it is about recognizing water's true value, using it efficiently, and planning for a different future, say experts."
"If renewable water supplies – rainfall in lakes, streams, and rivers – are like an annually replenished checking account, then ground water and deep aquifers are the savings. A few thousand years ago, when civilizations first branched out from rivers, they populated areas where they could draw from that savings in the form of ground water 20 to 30 feet below the surface. Globally, this was the norm until the 1950s, when fossil fuel energy became widely available to allow pumping water from ever-deeper depths. Ever since, humanity has increasingly lived beyond the margins of its renewable water supply."
"In ancient fossil aquifers – in the Great Plains of the United States, the North China Plain, or Saudi Arabia – water levels are not recharged by rainfall. Elsewhere, as in northern India, ground water is used faster than it can be replenished. According to the United Nations, ground-water extraction globally has tripled in the past 50 years, during which time India and China's ground-water use has risen 10-fold." 12-12
- -12-04-11 Record Jump in Carbon Emissions (New York Times)
"Emissions rose 5.9 percent in 2010, according to an analysis released Sunday by the Global Carbon Project, an international collaboration of scientists tracking the numbers. Scientists with the group said the increase, a half-billion extra tons of carbon pumped into the air, was almost certainly the largest absolute jump in any year since the Industrial Revolution, and the largest percentage increase since 2003."
"The increase solidified a trend of ever-rising emissions that scientists fear will make it difficult, if not impossible, to forestall severe climate change in coming decades."
"The combustion of coal represented more than half of the growth in emissions, the report found." 12-11
- -12-05-12 Coal Exports Bring No Bonus to U.S. Taxpayers (NBC News)
"U.S. miners who are booking big profits on coal sales to Asia are enjoying an accounting windfall to boot."
"By valuing coal at low domestic prices rather than the much higher price fetched overseas, coal producers can dodge the larger royalty payout when mining federal land."
"The practice stands to pad the bottom line for the mining sector if Asian exports surge in coming years as the industry hopes, a Reuters investigation has found."
"...Asian economies rely on coal to sustain growth, so the ton worth about $13 near the Powder River Basin mines last year fetched roughly 10 times that in China." 12-12
- -12-06-11 Editorial: The "Strange Doings on Earth" (Truth-Out.org)
"The IEA [International Energy Agency] estimated that if the world continues on its present course, the 'carbon budget' will be exhausted by 2017. The budget is the quantity of emissions that can keep global warming at the 2 degrees Celsius level considered the limit of safety."
"Also last month, the U.S. Department of Energy reported the emissions figures for 2010. Emissions 'jumped by the biggest amount on record,' The Associated Press reported, meaning that 'levels of greenhouse gases are higher than the worst-case scenario' anticipated by the International Panel on Climate Change in 2007." 12-11
- -12-09-11 Editorial: Gas Fracking "Likely" Polluted Ground Water (Time.com)
"EPA constructed two deep monitoring wells to sample water in the [Pavilion, Wyoming] aquifer. The draft report indicates that ground water in the aquifer contains compounds likely associated with gas production practices, including hydraulic fracturing. EPA also re-tested private and public drinking water wells in the community. The samples were consistent with chemicals identified in earlier EPA results released in 2010 and are generally below established health and safety standards."
"Personally, I still feel the way I did when I wrote TIME’s cover story on fracking last year: shale gas is a potentially very valuable resource for the U.S., one that could help us reduce air pollution and carbon emissions by replacing dirty coal generation. But there are still major questions about the environmental effects of shale gas drilling and fracking—especially as it scales up and moves to more crowded parts of the country. The EPA’s draft study in Pavilion only underscores those concerns—and shows why many Americans are still hesitant to embrace the fracking revolution." 12-11
- -12-10-12 Natural Gas Trucks Are Coming (CNN News)
"Though little noticed by the four-wheel public, there is a revolution taking place in the world of long-haul 18-wheelers. Next year, truck manufacturers will begin churning out trucks with new 11.9-liter engines fueled by LNG -- a fuel that is significantly cheaper than diesel, is abundant in the United States and Canada, and is, arguably, clean." 12-12
- -12-11-11 After the Climate Conference, Still Grave Danger (Time.com)
"The hard-fought deal at a global climate conference in South Africa keeps talks alive but doesn't address the core problem: The world's biggest carbon polluters aren't willing to cut emissions of greenhouse gases enough to stave off dangerous levels of global warming."
"Figures from the U.N. weather agency show the three most powerful greenhouse gases reached record levels last year and were increasing at an ever-faster rate."
"And the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the total heat-trapping force from major greenhouse gases has increased 29 percent since 1990, the benchmark year in the climate talks. 12-11
- -12-13-12 Stars Raise Funds for Sandy Victims (CNN News)
"New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie recently said the latest estimates of Sandy-related storm costs in his state were $36.8 billion, while New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters the total cost in his state was $41 billion."
"Concert organizers said the event was accessible to 2 billion people worldwide, through television and Web sites. 'We are having high donation volume on the web,' they said on the concert's Twitter page late Wednesday." 12-12
- -12-16-12 Britain Debates Energy Future (New York Times)
"With a generation of aging power plants nearing closure and tough carbon-cutting targets kicking in soon, Britain’s government is seeking to lay the groundwork for big changes in the country’s electricity sector." 12-12
- -12-17-11 As Permafrost Thaws, Risks Rise (New York Times)
"A recent estimate suggests that the perennially frozen ground known as permafrost, which underlies nearly a quarter of the Northern Hemisphere, contains twice as much carbon as the entire atmosphere." 12-11
- -12-21-12 CNN Young Heroes (CNN News)
At the age of 10 Cassandra Lin "decided she wanted to do something for the environment and help the less fortunate in her Rhode Island community. She gathered her friends and created Project TGIF -- Turning Grease Into Fuel. The organization collects used cooking oil from restaurants and homes, refines it and then distributes a percentage of it to families who can't afford to heat their homes." 12-12
- -12-25-12 Germany Has Built a Clean Energy Economy (Bloomberg News)
"Twenty-five percent of Germany's electricity now comes from solar, wind and biomass. A third of the world's installed solar capacity is found in Germany, a nation that gets roughly the same amount of sunlight as Alaska. A whopping 65 percent of the country's total renewable power capacity is now owned by individuals, cooperatives and communities, leaving Germany's once all-powerful utilities with just a sliver (6.5 percent) of this burgeoning sector." 12-12
- -Environment News (MSNBC.com)
Provides news on methods to improve the environment, such as alternative fuels.
- 06-14-11 Study: Water Shortages Threaten Western U.S. (CNN News)
"A shrinking snowpack in the Rocky Mountains may make it harder to slake the thirst of a growing population in the Western United States, according to new research from the U.S. government and several universities."
"The shrinking snowpack serves as a "bank account" for those river systems, which supply drinking water and electric power to more than 70 million people from the Pacific Coast to the upper Great Plains, said Greg Pederson, the study's lead researcher."
" 'In a nutshell, what you're seeing is synchronous, declining snowpacks across the West since the 1980s.' Based on the new study, the last time that pattern was seen as the mid-1300s to early 1400s, he said." 06-11
- Current Health and Science Issues in Depth (NOW with Bill Moyers)
"When PBS and Bill Moyers launched NOW, it was to illuminate stories that weren't being covered on any other public affairs broadcast, and under Moyers' leadership, NOW has pursued the truth behind the headlines. 'We are continuing to take a thoughtful look at the events shaping our world,' says Moyers, who has received every major broadcast journalisim award including more than 30 Emmy Awards."
- Harvesting Rainwater (Marketplace.org)
"Not that it never rained. It just all came at once, and most of it ran off. Rajendra Singh finally finished digging his pond just in time for the monsoon."
"Not only did the pond fill up, but the wells nearby started to fill. The dam wasn't just storing the water on the surface; it was sending it back into the ground, recharging the aquifer. It was just one pond, about three-and-a-half acres, but it was greening 500 acres around it. People from neighboring villages came to see." 05-12
- "Carbon-Neutral" Won't Be Enough (SoilCarbonCoalition.org)
"What this means is that our current widespread advocacy of CO2 emissions reduction has little leverage on what most scientists regard as the cause of global warming—the highest atmospheric CO2 levels in hundreds of thousands of years. The assumption that CO2 emissions reductions will do the trick has become popular groupthink, not subject to scrutiny because it's what we all know, and may seem like the only available option. Once again, we are goading ourselves into a gallant cavalry charge into the barbed wire."
"Carbon-neutral won't be enough. We have to be carbon-negative, to be pulling carbon out of the atmosphere into some safe, stable place. Various technologies have been proposed for this, but so far they haven't succeeded in solving the immense storage or disposal issues, and they require energy. The oxidation or burning of carbon compounds yields energy, and the reverse reactions require energy. Reversing the Keeling curve will require enormous amounts of energy." 06-08
- "Climate Change Is All About the Oceans" (Time.com)
Tony Knap, director of the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS), states that "just as carbon levels have been rising in the atmosphere, thanks largely to man-made greenhouse-gas emissions, CO2 levels are on the rise in the ocean as it warms as well. Ocean data matters — the oceans hold far more energy than the atmosphere. 'This will tell us how the ocean is changing over time,' says Knap. 'Climate change is all about the oceans, not the atmosphere.' " Editor's Note: Also try Threatened Oceans. 07-11
- "The Future Is Drying Up" (New York Times)
"When I met with [Secretary of Energy] Chu last summer in Berkeley, the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada, which provides most of the water for Northern California, was at its lowest level in 20 years. Chu noted that even the most optimistic climate models for the second half of this century suggest that 30 to 70 percent of the snowpack will disappear. 'There’s a two-thirds chance there will be a disaster,' Chu said, 'and that’s in the best scenario.' " 10-10
- -001 Report: Carbon Pollution to Grow by 40 Percent (MSNBC News)
"The amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide seeping into the atmosphere will increase by nearly 40 percent worldwide by 2030 if ways are not found to require mandatory emission reductions, a U.S. government report said Wednesday."
"The EIA report said that "much of the increases in carbon dioxide emissions is projected to occur among the developing nations" including China and India."
"It said 94 percent of the world's expected increase in industrial energy use between now and 2030 is expected in the economically developing countries, with Brazil, Russia, India and China expected to account for two-thirds of that growth." 05-09
- -001 Report: Threat from Melting Permafrost (MSNBC News)
"Eventually, in between 15 and 50 years, those plants [absorbing the carbon from the melting permafrost] 'can't keep up' and get overwhelmed, said study lead author Ted Schuur, a University of Florida ecologist."
"At that point, a billion tons of carbon a year can be released into an atmosphere that is already warming because of carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, cars, and other industrial activities, Schuur said. That would contribute the same amount to global warming as the deforestation of the tropics, he said."
"Making matters worse is that much of the gas trapped in permafrost is methane, which is more than 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide." 05-09
- -01-23-09 Obama's Green Energy Portion of Stimulus Package (UK.Reuters.com)
"The $825 billion economic stimulus package unveiled by Democrats in the House of Representatives on Thursday contains billions of dollars in tax breaks for renewable energy as well as spending for energy efficiency and transmission." 01-09
- -04-05-10 World's 4th Largest Lake Nearly Dry (CBS News)
"U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday called the drying up of the Aral Sea one of the planet's most shocking disasters and urged Central Asian leaders to step up efforts to solve the problem." 10-07
- -04-25-13 Taking a Stand gainst Coal (Truth-Out.com)
"Domestic coal use is one of the few figures that has been steadily dropping, with coal-fired power plants closing in many states and utilities shifting toward other sources (mainly natural gas) for power generation. So coal companies are scrambling with proposals to extract coal in Montana and Wyoming, ship it by train to ports in British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon, then freight it to Asian markets." 04-13
- -08-14-10 Sustainable Biochar to Mitigate Global Climate Change (Nature.com)
"Production of biochar (the carbon (C)-rich solid formed by pyrolysis of biomass) and its storage in soils have been suggested as a means of abating climate change by sequestering carbon, while simultaneously providing energy and increasing crop yields." 08-10
- -09-12-07 The World's Most Polluted Places (Time.com)
"China's State Environmental Protection Agency says that Linfen has the worst air in the country, which is saying something, considering that the World Bank has reported that 16 of the 20 most polluted cities in the world are Chinese." 09-07
- -09-12-07 Water Crisis Squeezes California's Economy (Christian Science Monitor)
"A recent federal ruling to reduce the amount of water that flows through the delta is likely to boost food prices and trim jobs in agriculture." 09-07
- -A New Framework for Describing How the World Is Getting Warmer (Christian Science Monitor)
"Trying to get beyond the standard scientific disclaimer that no single weather event can be pinned on global warming, government scientists on Tuesday unveiled a new framework: what are the odds of a specific event being impacted by warming?"
"They tested it on several extreme events in 2011 -- a strong La Nina year -- and, in the case of the record Texas drought, concluded that such severe dry spells are 20 more times likely during a La Nina year today than a La Nina in the 1960s, before greenhouse gas emissions jumped. "
"The 43 indicators tracked in 2011 -- ranging from thinning Arctic sea ice to more acidic oceans -- continued to show a warming trend, according to the State of the Climate report."
" 'Those indicators,' said Thomas Karl, head of the National Climatic Data Center, 'show what we expect to see in a warmer world.' " 07-12
- -American Food Waste (NBC News)
"The best estimate is that 40 percent of food in this country is never eaten."
"The sheer waste is bad enough, a mindless squandering of calories, nutrition, energy and water. But that uneaten food also rots in landfills, generating as much as a quarter of this country’s emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas."
"This trend is relatively new. Americans waste half again as much food as we did in the 1970s. And systemic food waste and rates of obesity have climbed together."
Editor's Note: Food waste can be used as biomass fuel for cost-effective energy production and to create biochar to improve agricultural land. See biomass fuel for more information. 10-12
- -An Energy Crisis Looms (Time.com)
"If the world continues to guzzle oil and gas at its present pace, global temperatures will rise by an average of 6°C by 2030, causing 'irreparable damage to the planet.' " 11-09
- -Cars Getting 30 or More MPG Highway (InternetAutoGuide.com)
"Find the best 30-40 MPG new cars at InternetAutoGuide.com. We’ve done the research for you, now enjoy all the information at your finger tips including photos, specs, reviews, pricing and much more." 08-10
- -Celebrity Activists for the Environment (Truth-Out.org)
"I can’t speak for all of them, but there’s no doubt that these five, my top picks for celebrity activists of 2012, are motivated by a deep sense of commitment to their causes...." 12-12
- -Climate Change Skeptics to Lead in the House (ABC News)
"All of the contenders in line to head the prestigious House committees responsible for setting America's energy and science policy are global warming skeptics, and that's causing scientists to worry that Republicans will use their new positions for political grandstanding at the expense of scientific advancement." 12-10
- -Dirty Coal Plants Closing (Science.Time.com)
"Altogether 106 coal plants have been moved towards premature retirement since the beginning of 2010, the result of tougher federal air pollution regulations and a determined campaign by environmental groups like the Sierra Club to organize local opposition to plants. The shift away from coal—by far the biggest single cause of man-made global warming and a major source of traditional air pollutants—is a signature success for the environmental movement at a time when global action on climate change has been hard to come by. 'City by city, town by town, communities are standing up and saying no to coal, and saying yes to clean energy,' wrote Mary Anne Hitt, the director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, in the Huffington Post. “This milestone demonstrates that a shift is well underway across the country, and we will not power our future with the energy sources of the 19th century." 09-12
- -Editorial: Climate Change News "Muzzled" in Canada (IPS News)
"Canada's climate researchers are being muzzled, their funding slashed, research stations closed, findings ignored and advice on the critical issue of the century unsought by Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government, according to a 40-page report by a coalition of 60 non-governmental organisations."
" 'Media coverage of climate change science, our most high-profile issue, has been reduced by over 80 percent,' says internal government documents obtained by Climate Action Network."
"The dramatic decline results from a 2007 Harper government-imposed prohibition on government scientists speaking to reporters. Canadian scientists have told IPS they required permission from the prime minister's communications office to comment on their own studies made public in scientific journals and reports." 03-10
- -Editorial: Europe Needs an Energy Supergrid (New York Times)
"Some cross-border power connections exist, but many European countries still produce and supply most of their own electricity or have links to just one other country. Experts say a richer cross-border network will reduce power prices for consumers and make supplies more secure by promoting competition and distributing surplus production more efficiently." 01-12
- -Editorial: Is Obama Green Enough? (Time.com)
" 'The world was hopeful that Obama would care about global warming, but he has been completely missing in action on this,' says Phil Radford, executive director of Greenpeace USA."
"Radford is not being entirely fair: Obama has increased alternative-energy funding to record levels and assembled a green team of advisers. They include his Energy Secretary, the Nobel Prize — winning Steven Chu, who told me recently that 'the climate-change problem is at least equal in magnitude' to World War II. He's right. And if Obama wants to win this war, he's going to have to fight, not just make peace." 05-09
- -Editorial: Is the Press Misreporting the Environment Story? (Time.com)
"Rather than a stenographer, Pooley would prefer to see the media adopt the position of an "honest referee — keeping score, throwing flags when a team plays fast and loose with the facts, explaining to the audience what's happening on the field and why." In an issue as complex as climate change, the country badly needs smart, fair umpires, and the media can play that role. But the wave of cutbacks and closings that have hit the American media could make that all but impossible. Referees need to know the game cold, and climate change demands day-in, day-out experience from dedicated reporters. But a dwindling few media outlets are willing to pay for that kind of coverage at a time when the economy is crashing — Time's corporate cousin CNN has eliminated its entire full-time science section." 03-09
- -Editorial: Vested Interests Are Hijacking Our Energy Future (Christian Science Monitor)
"MMS fears the inevitable lawsuits. Opponents have filed at least 20 project-related lawsuits and other actions. Some of these exhibit an extremely impressive imagination. These suits have ultimately failed – but that's not the point. The point is to create a high-stakes game of chicken and see who blinks first. 'Endless litigation – nothing will get done!' threatened Rep. Bill Delahunt (D) of Massachusetts in a December 2004 public hearing."
"The Cape Wind battle matters to the whole world. We must encourage the development of new technologies and begin to revamp the world's energy infrastructure."
"We need a serious and responsible conversation about the future of energy in America. As we have it, we cannot allow the public discussion to be hijacked by those with hidden agendas. There's simply too much at stake." 10-07
- -Editorial: We Can't Drill Our Way Out of Our Fuel Crisis (Time.com)
"The reality is that whether the U.S. drills or not, it really doesn't make a difference — not against the sheer scale of the energy and climate crisis facing America and the rest of the world. (Indeed, the other 6.3 billion people factor into this equation too.) The International Energy Agency (IEA) recently estimated that under a business-as-usual scenario — which the U.S. seems intent on abiding — global oil demand would rise 70% by 2050. That increase represents five times as much oil as Saudi Arabia produces annually. You could drill America with exploratory wells until it looked like Swiss cheese and still not make much of a dent in that figure." 08-08
- -Editorial: What Can We Really Do to Limit Climate Change? (New York Times)
"American companies can trade emission rights. By setting overall caps at levels designed to ensure that China sells us a substantial number of permits, we would in effect be paying China to cut its emissions. Since the evidence suggests that the cost of cutting emissions would be lower in China than in the United States, this could be a good deal for everyone."
"But what if the Chinese (or the Indians or the Brazilians, etc.) do not want to participate in such a system? Then you need sticks as well as carrots. In particular, you need carbon tariffs."
"A carbon tariff would be a tax levied on imported goods proportional to the carbon emitted in the manufacture of those goods. Suppose that China refuses to reduce emissions, while the United States adopts policies that set a price of $100 per ton of carbon emissions. If the United States were to impose such a carbon tariff, any shipment to America of Chinese goods whose production involved emitting a ton of carbon would result in a $100 tax over and above any other duties. Such tariffs, if levied by major players — probably the United States and the European Union — would give noncooperating countries a strong incentive to reconsider their positions." 04-10
- -Exceptional Ecosystem Found Under Arctic Ice (New York Times)
"The quantities of plankton are 'truly exceptional,' says Walker Smith, a marine biologist at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., who was not part of the team conducting the research."
"If these blooms are widespread under the ice along continental shelves, the primary productivity in these regions could be up to 10 times greater than open-water productivity, the team estimates."
"In addition, researchers have noted that the Arctic ocean is becoming an enormous sink for atmospheric CO2 as the waters open up in the summer. Yet the open waters in the Chukchi Sea don't show the levels of dissolved CO2 they should if that's the case. Now, it looks as though the answer lies with the under-ice phytoplankton blooms, because they consume the CO2 via photosynthesis, just as land plants do." 06-12
- -Farewell to the Arctic -- As We Know It (Time.com)
"While the world as a whole warmed by about 1°F (.55°C) over the entire 20th century, parts of the Arctic have warmed by 4° to 5°F (2.2° to 2.7°C) just since 1950. The physical changes from global warming are visible in the Arctic almost in real time — and they are a warning for those of us who live in more comfortable latitudes. As the polar expert Walt Meier of the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) has put it: "What happens in the Arctic doesn't stay in the Arctic."
"That's bad news, since not only is the warming threat in the Arctic bad, it's almost certainly intensifying." 07-12
- -Food Waste in the U.S. (NBC News)
"Americans are not cleaning their plates. Instead, they are tossing away 40 percent of their meals – “essentially every other piece of food that crosses our path” – or the equivalent of $2,275 a year for a family of four, according to a new report."
"Food waste has swelled by 50 percent since the 1970s in this country. A total $165 billion annually in leftovers gets trashed by homeowners and in unsold or unused perishables or scraps dumped by grocers or restaurants, according to research compiled by the Natural Resources Defense Council released Tuesday."
Editor's Note: Food waste may be a significant source of biomass for biochar for enriching soils. 08-12
- -Geoengineering: A Short-Term Delay for Climate Change? (Time.com)
"Under a plan currently being developed by Nathan Myhrvold's Intellectual Ventures, sulfur dioxide would be pumped up a 25-km-long pipe suspended by high-altitude balloons, then sprayed out into the stratosphere. Myhrvold, formerly Microsoft's chief technology officer, says just one such pipe less than a foot in diameter could do the job for the entire northern hemisphere — at a cost of less than $1 billion. More research is needed, however, to establish the technology's ramifications, including its effects on ozone levels."
"An even more promising solution is something called marine cloud-whitening. The idea is that if you fill the air with tiny particles around which water vapor can condense, you'll get denser, whiter clouds that will reflect more solar energy back into space, thus cooling the planet."
"SAI and marine cloud-whitening are just two of many possible geoengineering projects. Others range from putting giant mirrors in space to planting billions of trees. What they all have in common is the potential to have a large and immediate impact on global temperatures at relatively low cost. None represent any kind of permanent solution to climate change." 11-10
- -Google Buys Wind, Invests in Solar (BusinessWeek.com)
"Google’s largest investment in wind power currently is in the Mojave desert, at the Alta Wind Energy Center, a project being developed by Terra-Gen Power. The Web-search company has invested $157 million in two wind-development projects. Google has also invested $100 million in Shepherd’s Flat, predicted to become the world’s largest wind farm, near Arlington, Ore." 03-12
- -How Vulnerable Is the Power Grid? (Time.com)
"The electricity-distribution system is highly decentralized, and there's no central control system; at worst, cyberattackers may be able to damage sections of the grid." 04-09
- -Legislative Moves to Ensure Toxic Air (Time.com)
"The fight to protect ourselves from mercury pollution has just begun all over again. Within hours of posting the new Mercury and Air Toxics Standards in the federal register, Senator Jim Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, has filed a Congressional Review Act, vowing to kill the new regulation — even though it protects us from mercury, arsenic, lead and acid gases." 02-12
- -Manufacture (Time.com)
"The San Francisco-based company [Levi's] discovered that over the lifetime of its jeans, from the cotton fields needed to make the fabric to consumers' tossing their dirty dungarees in the washing machine, each pair used up 3,480 L of water, which is the equivalent of running a garden hose for 106 minutes."
"Fashion may seem low impact — after all, consumers don't use electricity or burn gasoline when they put on their khakis — but growing cotton and other fibers involves a lot of water and fertilizer, and a great deal of energy is needed to manufacture, ship and, eventually, wash and maintain the clothes that wind up in your hamper. Some 25% of the world's pesticides, for example, is used to grow cotton, and on average, 15% to 20% of the fabric that goes into producing clothing ends up as scraps. One way to shrink fashion's environmental impact is through efficiency initiatives that reduce the need for water, pesticides and energy in the manufacture of clothes — just as Levi's has done with its new line." 01-11
- -Microbes Put 8 Times More Carbon in the Air than Humans (Yale.edu)
"On the surface of the ocean, photosynthetic bacteria Microbes have been absorbing and releasing greenhouse gases since they evolved 3.5 billion years ago suck vast amounts of carbon dioxide dissolved in the water and turn it into organic molecules. The ocean is also rife with bacteria that feed on organic matter and release carbon dioxide as waste. Meanwhile, the microbes that break plant matter into soil release 55 billion tons a year of carbon dioxide. 'It’s eight times what humans are putting into the atmosphere through fossil fuel burning and deforestation,' says Allison."
Editor's Note: Keeping carbon from the decay of organic waste from returning to the air is a strong way of reversing the amount of excess carbon in the air. See Biomass and Biochar or Catastrophic Climate Change. 05-10
- -Natural Gas-Fired Power Plants Are Replacing Coal-Fired Plants (ABC News)
"To be sure, environmental regulations designed to make coal-fired power plants cleaner are raising costs for the industry and having an effect, but the 'war on coal' is coming less from the Obama administration than from natural gas, say some experts."
"Coal-fired power plants and coal mines are being shuttered at an unprecedented pace mainly because the price of natural gas has dropped so far that it has made coal power uncompetitive. Specifically, electricity from natural gas power plants comes at less than half the cost of electricity from coal generators. As utility executives hustle to remain competitive in the deregulated marketplace, they are increasingly turning to the cheaper alternative, power market experts say."
Editor's Note: Climate experts have identified coal-fired power plants as the largest source of CO2 in the air and they have identified excessive CO2 in the air as the largest cause of climate change. 09-12
- -New York May Ban Controversial Drilling Practice (CNN News)
"New York could be the first state in the country to impose a limited ban on a controversial method of drilling for natural gas." 12-10
- -Nuclear Energy Concerns (CNN News)
"As the United States prepares to build its first new nuclear power reactors in three decades, concerns about an early generation of plants have resurfaced since last year's disaster in Japan."
"The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant -- the subject of a battle between state authorities and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission over its continued operation -- uses one of 23 U.S. reactors built with a General Electric-designed containment housing known as the Mark I."
"It's the same design that was used at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, where three reactors melted down after the station was struck by the tsunami that followed Japan's historic earthquake in March 2011. The disaster resulted in the widespread release of radioactive contamination that forced more than 100,000 people from their homes." 02-12
- -Obama Administration Announces New Federal Climate Change Agency (U.S. News)
" The Obama administration is proposing a new agency to study and report on the changing climate."
"Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Jane Lubchenco, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, planned to announce Monday that NOAA will set up the new Climate Service to operate in tandem with NOAA's National Weather Service and National Ocean Service." 02-10
- -One Last Chance to Save Mankind (TreeHugger.com)
"For those that don’t know who James Lovelock is here’s the one sentence bio: Originator of the Gaia hypothesis, chemist, did work on atmospheric chlorofluorocarbons which eventually led them from being banned, advocate of nuclear power. Which is to say, that when James Lovelock says humanity only has one chance left not to get annihilated by the effects of climate change in the 21st century, it’s worth shutting up and listening to what the man says." 10-10
- -Protecting Ocean Life - Full Report (PewTrusts.org)
"Ocean currents circulate the energy and water that regulate the Earth’s climate and weather and, thus, affect every aspect of the human experience. Without reform, our daily actions will increasingly jeopardize a valuable natural resource and an invaluable aspect of our national heritage." 04-06
- -Report: Carbon Pollution to Grow by 40 Percent (MSNBC News)
"The amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide seeping into the atmosphere will increase by nearly 40 percent worldwide by 2030 if ways are not found to require mandatory emission reductions, a U.S. government report said Wednesday."
"The EIA report said that "much of the increases in carbon dioxide emissions is projected to occur among the developing nations" including China and India."
"It said 94 percent of the world's expected increase in industrial energy use between now and 2030 is expected in the economically developing countries, with Brazil, Russia, India and China expected to account for two-thirds of that growth." 05-09
- -Report: Climate Change "Catastrophic" (CNN News)
"More than 300 million people are already seriously affected by the gradual warming of the earth and that number is set to double by 2030, the report from the Global Humanitarian Forum warns."
"The report's startling numbers are based on calculations by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that the Earth's atmosphere warmed by 0.74 degrees Celsius (1.33 degrees Fahrenheit) from 1906 to 2005, with much of that increase coming in recent decades. The panel predicts that by 2100 temperatures will have increased a minimum of two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial levels regardless of what's agreed in Copenhagen." 05-09
- -Report: Global Warming May Be Twice as Bad as Expected (USA Today)
"Global warming will be twice as severe as previous estimates indicate, according to a new study published this month in the Journal of Climate, a publication of the American Meteorological Society."
"The research, conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), predicts a 90% probability that worldwide surface temperatures will rise more than 9 degrees (F) by 2100, compared to a previous 2003 MIT study that forecast a rise of just over 4 degrees."
"The projections in the MIT study were done using 400 applications of a computer model, which MIT says is the most comprehensive and sophisticated climate model to date."
Editor's Note: See catastrophic climate change. 05-09
- -Scary New Math on Climate Change (Time.com)
"In the paper, which Time.com confirmed has been peer-reviewed, the authors show that extreme outliers of more than three standard deviations above the mean temperature covered between six and thirteen percent of the globe during the years 2003 to 2008. If they were normally distributed and similar to the climactic record, that should have been just a 0.1-to-0.2 percent frequency of an extreme heat event. (That’s about exactly as often as a perfect bell curve predicts they would occur.) Hansen dubs this difference a “three-sigma anomaly,” for the Greek-letter symbol for standard deviation. And in the world of statistics, these anomalies represent a stunning 10-fold increase in extreme weather events." 05-12
- -Scientist: Hot Summers Are Caused By Climate Change (Time.com)
"Hansen and his team looked at the recent past — rather than trying to model the future — to see if they could find the signature of man-made climate change through day-to-day and season-to-season weather. They used the period of 1951–80 as a base because it was a meteorologically stable stretch that also had a wealth of global weather data, unlike earlier periods. During that time period, extremely hot summers — like the one much of the U.S. is experiencing now — occurred only in 0.1% to 0.2% of the globe in a given year. But since 1981, extremely hot summers have baked about 10% of the earth’s land area annually — and in recent years, that percentage has been even higher."
"That means the odds of experiencing an extreme summer have risen from 1 in 300 during the 1951–80 period to nearly 1 in 10 now, according to Hansen’s calculations. “I don’t want people to be confused by natural variability,” he said in a statement. “We now know the chances these extreme weather events would have happened naturally — without climate change — is negligible." 08-12
- -Seven Policies to Slow Climate Change (Union of Concerned Scientists)
"Over the years, state and federal governments have taken a number of policy actions to encourage renewable energy production. In states committed to seeing them through, the policies have been very successful. New policies are needed if renewables are to compete successfully in deregulated electricity generation markets." 09-09
- -Sources of Carbon Dioxide Emissions in the USA (EIA.doe.gov)
Shows the sources of carbon dioxide emissions in the USA with the primary two causes shown to be:
1) coal-fired electricity plants (81 percent of 2343.9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions from energy-generation plants) and
2) use of petroleum in the transportation sector (98 percent of 1,990.1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions). 06-08
- -Study: Biochar Can Provide Substantial CO2 Reduction (Tri-CityHerald.com)
"The most comprehensive analysis yet of the worldwide potential of biochar -- a charcoal-like substance -- shows it could offset up to 1.8 billion metric tons annually of the world's human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new study."
"The study found the maximum total offset amounts to 12 percent of the current 15.4 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions that human activity adds to the atmosphere each year." 10-10
- -Study: Carbon Dioxide Increase Caused the End of the Last Ice Age (U.S. News)
"A team of climate experts say they've solved the chicken-or-egg question—Which came first? Carbon dioxide or temperature increases?—surrounding the global warming debate for years: Around 10,000 years ago, increased carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere caused the end of the last Ice Age."
"Scientists have known for decades that an increased level of carbon dioxide gas in the atmosphere accompanied higher global temperatures, but no one was able to prove that the gas increases came before higher temperatures." 04-12
- -Study: Fish Found With Pharmaceuticals in Them (CBS News)
"Fish caught near wastewater treatment plants serving five major U.S. cities had residues of pharmaceuticals in them, including medicines used to treat high cholesterol, allergies, high blood pressure, bipolar disorder and depression, researchers reported Wednesday."
"Findings from this first nationwide study of human drugs in fish tissue have prompted the Environmental Protection Agency to significantly expand similar ongoing research to more than 150 different locations." 03-09
- -Study: Spammers Sourge to Environment (USA Today)
"A report being released Wednesday by security company McAfee Inc. finds that spammers are a scourge to your inbox and the environment, generating an astounding 62 trillion junk e-mails in 2008 that wasted enough electricity to power 2.4 million U.S. homes for a year." 04-09
- -Study: The Sun's Natural Cycles Have Not Caused Global Warming (PCMag.com)
"A new study released by NASA provides further evidence that greenhouse gases are the main driving force behind global warming."
" 'The fact that we still see a positive imbalance despite the prolonged solar minimum isn't a surprise given what we've learned about the climate system,' explained James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies. 'But it's worth noting because this provides unequivocal evidence that the sun is not the dominant driver of global warming,' " 09-12
- -Sustainable Planet (Awesome Library - Adams)
Describes a few of the most important things we can do to reduce pollution and global warming, as well as improve the availability of drinkable water for the future. 11-00
- -The Amount of CO2 Taken Up by Plants Is Dropping Slightly (Chistian Science Monitor)
"A new study recorded a slight dip in the amount of CO2 taken up over the past 10 years. If the trend continues, scientists say it could signal a tipping point in earth's ability to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere." 08-10
- -The Top Deniers of Climate Change (MotherJones.com)
"Meet the 12 loudest members of the chorus claiming that global warming is a joke and that CO2 emissions are actually good for you." 12-11
- -Top U.S. Companies Pay to Discredit Climate Change Facts (The Guardian)
"An analysis of 28 Standard & Poor 500 publicly traded companies by researchers from the Union of Concerned Scientists exposed a sharp disconnect in some cases between PR message and less visible activities, with companies quietly lobbying against climate policy or funding groups which work to discredit climate science."
"Peabody Energy Corporation, which produces coal, was ranked the most obstructionist of any of the companies. It spent more than $33m to lobby Congress against environmental measures and supporting trade groups and think tanks which spread disinformation about climate science, the researchers found." 05-12
- -Undersea Methane May Speed Climate Change (USA Today)
"It lurks beneath the sea."
"No, not The Blob, but something perhaps far more sinister: methane, a potent greenhouse gas 30 times better than carbon dioxide at trapping atmospheric heat."
"Research released Thursday finds that underground methane appears to be seeping through the Arctic Ocean floor and into the Earth's atmosphere, thanks to a weakening of the protective layer of permafrost at the bottom of the ocean. Once released into the atmosphere, methane could wreak havoc with the world's climate.” 03-10
- -We Could Be Hitting the Limit of Oceans to Absorb CO2 (Time.com)
"Like the vast forests of the world, which continually suck carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release oxygen, the planet's oceans serve as vital carbon sinks. Last year the oceans absorbed as much as 2.3 billion tons of carbon, or about one-fourth of all manmade carbon emissions. Without the action of the oceans, the CO2 we emit into the atmosphere would have flame-broiled the planet by now."
"But a new paper published in the Nov. 19 issue of Nature demonstrates that the oceans' ability to absorb man-made carbon may be dwindling — and that has worrying ramifications for future climate change. While the ocean is now absorbing more carbon in total than ever before, the waters are sucking up a smaller percentage of the CO2 emitted by humans. That could mean that there's a physical limit to the oceans' capacity — and we could be hitting it." 11-09
- -Who's Paying for Climate Change Deniers? (Time.com)
"Fossil-fuel companies like Exxon and Peabody Energy — which obviously have a business interest in slowing any attempt to reduce carbon emissions — have combined with traditionally conservative corporate groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and conservative foundations like the Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity, to raise doubts about the basic validity of what is, essentially, a settled scientific truth. That message gets amplified by conservative think tanks — like the Cato Institute and the American Enterprise Institute — and then picked up by conservative media outlets on the Internet and cable TV." 10-11
- 11-28-03 Melting Glaciers May Make Billions Thirsty (CNN News)
"The world's glaciers could melt within a century if global warming accelerates, leaving billions of people short of water and some islanders without a home, environmentalists said."
" 'Unless governments take urgent action to prevent global warming, billions of people worldwide may face severe water shortages as a result of the alarming melting rate of glaciers,' the WWF group said in a report Thursday."
"It said human impact on the climate was melting glaciers from the Andes to the Himalayas, bringing longer-term threats of higher sea levels that could swamp island states."
- A Jellyfish Explosion from Warming Oceans (CBS News)
"Hearing fishermen's pleas, Uye, who had been studying zooplankton, became obsessed with the little-studied Nomura's jellyfish, scientifically known as Nemopilema nomurai, which at its biggest looks like a giant mushroom trailing dozens of noodle-like tentacles."
"He concluded China's coastal waters offered a perfect breeding ground: Agricultural and sewage runoff are spurring plankton growth, and fish catches are declining. The waters of the Yellow Sea, meanwhile, have warmed as much as 1.7 degrees C (3 degrees F) over the past quarter-century."
"Scientists believe climate change - the warming of oceans - has allowed some of the almost 2,000 jellyfish species to expand their ranges, appear earlier in the year and increase overall numbers, much as warming has helped ticks, bark beetles and other pests to spread to new latitudes."
"The gelatinous seaborne creatures are blamed for decimating fishing industries in the Bering and Black Seas, forcing the shutdown of seaside power and desalination plants in Japan, the Middle East and Africa, and terrorizing beachgoers worldwide, the U.S. National Science Foundation says. " 11-09
- Achieving Savings from Energy Efficiency (MSNBC News)
"For the next few decades, energy efficiency is one of the lowest cost options for reducing US carbon emissions. Many studies have concluded that energy efficiency can save both energy and money." 03-10
- Africa Could Almost Feed the World (NewScientist.com)
"DOOM-MONGERS have got it wrong - there is enough space in the world to produce the extra food needed to feed a growing population. And contrary to expectation, most of it can be grown in Africa, say two international reports published this week." 06-09
- Air Quality Today - Where You Live (Environmental Protection Agency)
Provides a forecast for the day on the EPA Air Quality Index for pollution levels where you live. 8-01
- Air Quality for Schools, a National Problem (USA Today)
"Using the government's most up-to-date model for tracking toxic chemicals, USA TODAY spent eight months examining the impact of industrial pollution on the air outside schools across the nation. The model is a computer simulation that predicts the path of toxic chemicals released by thousands of companies."
"USA TODAY used it to identify schools in toxic hot spots — a task the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had never undertaken."
"The result: a ranking of 127,800 public, private and parochial schools based on the concentrations and health hazards of chemicals likely to be in the air outside. The model's most recent version used emissions reports filed by 20,000 industrial sites in 2005, the year Hitchens closed."
"The potential problems that emerged were widespread, insidious and largely unaddressed:" 12-08
- America's Dwindling Water Supply (CBS News)
"After doing the dishes - 12 gallons per load - running the washing machine - 43 gallons per load - and watering the lawn - 10 gallons per minute - by the time we [Americans] go to bed, we've used up to 150 gallons."
"By comparison, people in the U.K. use a quarter of that - 40 gallons of water a day. The Chinese average just 22 gallons per day. And in the poorest countries like Kenya, people use less than the minimum 13 gallons to cover basic needs."
"Because Americans use so much, the report card shows water is an emerging crisis here."
"Experts do agree: Demand is greater than supply. And 36 states face water shortages in the next three years." 01-10
- America's New Dependency on China's Metals for New Energy (U.S. News)
"They are in iPods, Blackberrys, and plasma TVs. They are powerful and compact; they are exceedingly efficient. In many cases, there are no substitutes. On the periodic table, they have their own section, 17 metals in all, reflecting their unique atomic structure."
"Fifty years ago, the world's economy was built on steel, aluminum, and iron. Today, rare-earth metals are reshaping it. But they are not easy to acquire, not anymore. In the 1970s and 1980s, the United States was the world's leading producer. Today, China provides nearly 97 percent of the world's supply. It has a near monopoly, and it is cutting exports." 07-09
- America's Water Infrastructure Crisis (USNews.com)
"Rep. Earl Blumenauer called for a Clean Water Trust Fund at a rally today in support of buttressing America's aging infrastructure."
"Organized by Food & Water Watch, the rally highlighted a number of ills facing the country's water and sanitation systems. The average American pipe is 33 years old, while 72,000 miles of pipe are 80 years or older. Holding up today's Washington Post with a story detailing how a failed water main impeded efforts to fight a fire in a city neighborhood, group President Wenonah Hauter announced that it's 'time Congress does something about the water infrastructure crisis we're facing.' " 10-07
- Arctic Getting Worse: A Tipping Point? (CBS News)
"A new report card from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration rates the polar region with blazing red stop lights on three of five categories and yellow cautions for the other two. Overall, these are not good grades, but it doesn't mean the Arctic is doomed and it still will freeze in the winter, said report co-editor Jackie Richter-Menge."
"The Arctic acts as Earth's refrigerator, cooling the planet. What's happening, scientists said, is like someone pushing the fridge's thermostat much too high."
" 'We've got a new normal,' said co-author Don Perovich, a geophysicist at the Army Corps of Engineers Cold Research and Engineering Lab. 'Whether it's a tipping point and we'll never recover, who's to say?' " 12-11
- Are We Destroying the Oceans? (Time.com)
"But human-related injury to the oceans is rife. We have fished out an estimated 90% of the major commercial fish species that swim the high seas, including the giant and endangered blue fin tuna. The trawlers carrying out that destruction are raking the ocean floor, turning parts of the once vibrant continental shelf into so much mud. Climate change is warming the oceans, disrupting the fundamental structure of the marine food pyramid and destroying coral reefs. Meanwhile, increased concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere are making the seas acidic, which threatens to kill off species in large numbers. 'The ocean is becoming a desert,' says Jeremy Jackson, the director of the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography."
"Pollution that has washed off the land — from sewage that contains chemical toxins to nitrate fertilizer from farmland — has infected the oceans, destroying once vibrant coastal waters. But it's a problem we barely notice, since for many of us the oceans are distant and out of sight." 04-10
- As Cars Use Ethanol, Prices for Food Will Jump (ABC News)
" 'Almost everything in our refrigerator contains corn,' says Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute. 'Whether it's milk or eggs or chicken, pork, beef, ice cream, yogurt — these are all corn products.' "
"And consider this: The price of wheat, soybeans and other crops will go up because farmers will be planting less of each."
"Brown says the nation needs a 'timeout' in building ethanol distilleries so people can consider the direction in which they are heading." 04-07
- Autos - Fuel Cell Cars (Awesome Library)
Provides a summary of options for current and near future transportation that avoids pollution, yet is convenient, uses inexpensive fuel, and is safe. 6-01
- Autos - Fuel Cell Power (Awesome Library)
Provides sources of information on fuel cells for powering automobiles and homes. Fuel cells do not pollute, are inexpensive to operate, and should provide as much convenience as traditional sources of power, such as internal combustion engines. 5-01
- Beware of Asian Longhorn Beetle (WTNH.com)
"If Connecticut's parks and forests had a most wanted list, the Asian Longhorned Beetle would be at the top, and politicians and scientists want you to be on the lookout for this dangerous killer." 08-09
- Biggest Offenders in Global Warming (BBC News)
"The US emits more, absolutely and per head, than any other country - although it also produces more wealth. When Kyoto was agreed, the US signed and committed to reducing its emissions by 6%. But since then it has pulled out of the agreement and its carbon dioxide emissions have increased to more than 15% above 1990 levels." 03-06
- Biochar Might Be That Magical (ABC News)
"A new study in Nature Communications finds that the world could, in theory, sustainably offset a whopping 12 percent of global greenhouse-gas emissions by producing biochar."
"So for the Nature Communications study, the researchers just looked at the world's supply of crop leftovers: corn leaves and stalks, rice husks, livestock manure, yard trimmings. If virtually all of that biomass was used to make biochar, we could conceivably offset 12 percent of global carbon emissions." 08-10
- Biomass Debate (CNN News)
"Biomass is a favored form of renewable energy because its generation can be reliably scheduled; the wind and sun can merely be predicted, and not always very well, leading to a need for extensive storage."
"Now a group in Cambridge, Mass., is mounting a more direct assault on harnessing biomass: the Biomass Accountability Project is trotting out experts in medicine and forestry to argue against such power generators."
Editor's Note: See Biomass and Biochar. Eight times more carbon is released into the air from the decay of organic waste (biomass) than from burning fossil fuels each year. Pyrolysis of biomass is an effective way to keep the carbon in organic waste from re-entering the air. Pyrolysis of biomass produces biochar and syngas: Biochar can be used to enrich the earth. Syngas can serve as a clean energy source. Pyrolysis of biomass may be our best way to reverse the amount of surplus carbon in the air.
Biomass should not be burned. Incineration does, in fact, create substantial pollution. Living trees should not be harvested to create biomass; biomass should be composed of crop waste, "beetle kill," and other oranic waste. 07-10
- Bloom Box (CBS News)
"When NASA scrapped that Mars mission, Sridhar had an idea: he reversed his Mars machine. Instead of it making oxygen, he pumped oxygen in."
"He invented a new kind of fuel cell, which is like a very skinny battery that always runs. Sridhar feeds oxygen to it on one side, and fuel on the other. The two combine within the cell to create a chemical reaction that produces electricity. There's no need for burning or combustion, and no need for power lines from an outside source."
"In October 2001 he managed to get a meeting with John Doerr from the big Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins." 02-10
- Bloom Box Inventor (Time.com)
"Bloom's technology is known as solid oxide regenerative fuel cells, which can run on almost any hydrocarbon fuel, like ethanol, biodiesel, methane or natural gas. Bloom's fuel cell consumes hydrocarbons but doesn't burn them. It generates electricity through an electrochemical reaction rather than by combustion and produces half the greenhouse-gas emissions of a conventional generator."
"An efficient, affordable fuel cell could be just the thing to kick-start the distributed-energy industry, letting businesses, residents and even Third World villages produce their own power on site instead of relying on relatively inefficient centralized power." 02-10
- C.I.A. Shares Data With Climate Scientists (New York Times)
"The nation’s top scientists and spies are collaborating on an effort to use the federal government’s intelligence assets — including spy satellites and other classified sensors — to assess the hidden complexities of environmental change." 01-10
- Carbon Capture and Storage (Times.com)
"China and India aren't going to suddenly shut down all their new coal power plants, nor will Western industrial giants close their factories overnight. Solar and wind may be today's sexy new energy sources, but coal is the fastest-growing fuel in the world, boasting twice the known gas reserves and three times the known oil reserves."
"That's why governments and industry have recently begun to pay more attention to carbon capture and storage (CCS) — a process that traps CO2 produced by factories and gas or coal power stations and then stores it, usually underground."
"The potential impact of CCS is huge. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says CCS could contribute between 10% and 55% of the cumulative worldwide carbon-mitigation effort over the next 90 years.""
Editor's Note: Storing carbon as waste makes no sense when it can be stored as activated charcoal (biochar) to improve the productivity of soils and help to clean water--for a fraction of the cost of storage as a gas. See Biochar and Biomass. 01-10
- Carbon Emissions Need to Go "Negative" by 2050 (Planet2025News.net)
"A chapter by climate scientist W. L. Hare concludes that in order to avoid a catastrophic climate tipping point, global greenhouse gas emissions will need to peak before 2020 and drop 85 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, with further reductions beyond that date. Emissions of carbon dioxide would actually need to ‘go negative’—with more being absorbed than emitted—during the second half of this century. Hare’s research finds that even a warming of 2 degrees Celsius poses unacceptable risks to key natural and human systems, including significant loss of species, major reductions in food-production capacity in developing countries, severe water stress for hundreds of millions of people, and significant sea-level rise and coastal flooding." 01-09
- Carbon Emissions for the Future (Time.com)
"About 97% of the world's new carbon emissions will come from outside the United States and Europe, largely from China, India and the Middle East, who will consume about half the world's energy by the year 2030. Before global habits begin to change permanently, greenhouse gas output will keep rising, probably at least until 2020. By which time the financial crisis of 2008 might seem like ancient history." 11-08
- Cardboard Boxes Make Solar Oven (CNN News)
"When Jon Bohmer sat down with his two little girls for a simple project they could work on together, he didn't realize they'd hit upon a solution to one of the world's biggest problems for just $5: A solar-powered oven." 04-09
- Cash for Grass (KCRA)
"The program helps homeowners with everything from landscape design to plant selection and irrigation systems."
"The program allows $1 per square foot and up to $1,000 per site, but the real incentive is saving water." 05-09
- China's Coal-Fired Plants Suggest a Dim Future for All (Christian Science Monitor)
"Fossil-fuel power plants produce about a third of all the heat-trapping man-made carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. And the 1,300 new coal-fired plants expected to be built over the next quarter-century will pump an extra 145 billion tons out by 2030 - and much more over their 40- to 50-year life spans."
David Hawkins, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council's climate center in Britain, says that "a far better approach would be for the US to lead by example and implement IGCC [integrated gasification combined] widely in the US. Since China pays close attention to power-generation trends, especially in the US, it could follow suit if IGCC were demonstrated in America." 01-07
- China, India, and USA Make Climate Deal (USA Today)
"A senior Obama administration official says the U.S., China, India and South Africa have reached a 'meaningful agreement' on climate change."
"The official characterized the deal as a first step, but said it was not enough to combat the threat of a warming planet."
Editor's Note: Coal-fired power plants from China, India, and the U.S. are the top sources of human-caused CO2 emissions in the world.
However, decaying organic matter (biomass) releases 8 times as much CO2 into the air as coal-fired plants and all other human activity. If organic waste from agriculture and forestry is pyrolyzed into clean energy and biochar and on a global scale, the amount of total CO2 in the air could be reversed to avoid a catastrophe. 12-09
- City Passes the Nation's First "Carbon" Tax (MSNBC News)
"Voters in a Colorado university town nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains have passed the country’s first municipal carbon tax to fight global warming." 11-06
- City Water Pollution in the U.S. (MSNBC News)
"In the last five years alone, chemical factories, manufacturing plants and other workplaces have violated water pollution laws more than half a million times. The violations range from failing to report emissions to dumping toxins at concentrations regulators say might contribute to cancer, birth defects and other illnesses."
"However, the vast majority of those polluters have escaped punishment. State officials have repeatedly ignored obvious illegal dumping, and the Environmental Protection Agency, which can prosecute polluters when states fail to act, has often declined to intervene."
"But an estimated 19.5 million Americans fall ill each year from drinking water contaminated with parasites, bacteria or viruses, according to a study published last year in the scientific journal Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology. That figure does not include illnesses caused by other chemicals and toxins." 09-09
- Climate Change Basics (BBC News)
"Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the main greenhouse gas of concern. A finite amount of carbon is stored in fossil fuels, the sea, living matter and the atmosphere."
"Without human influence, transfers between these stores roughly balance each other – for example, plants absorb carbon as they grow, but release it as they decay."
"But when humans cut down trees or burn fossil fuels, they release extra carbon into the atmosphere, increasing the greenhouse effect." 05-07
- Climate Change Puts Mediterranian Sea at Risk (Time.com)
"Climate change is affecting Europe faster than the rest of the world and rising temperatures could transform the Mediterranean into a salty and stagnant sea, Italian experts said Wednesday. Warmer waters and increased salinity could doom many of the sea's plant and animal species and ravage the fishing industry, warned participants at a two-day climate change conference that brought together some 2,000 scientists and officials in Rome." 09-07
- Climate Report: Massive Extinctions Expected (MSNBC News)
"A key element of the second major report on climate change being released Friday in Belgium is a chart that maps out the effects of global warming with every degree of temperature rise, most of them bad."
"There’s one bright spot: A minimal heat rise means more food production in northern regions of the world."
"However, the number of species going extinct rises with the heat, as does the number of people who may starve, or face water shortages, or floods, according to the projections in the draft report obtained by The Associated Press."
"The final document will be the product of a United Nations network of 2,000 scientists as authors and reviewers, along with representatives of more than 120 governments as last-minute editors. It will be the second of a four-volume authoritative assessment of Earth’s climate released this year. The last such effort was in 2001." 03-07
- Climate Scientist Cleared of Wrongdoing (CBS News)
"Another Penn State University review has unanimously cleared a leading climate scientist of a research misconduct allegation stemming from leaked e-mails about global warming."
"The report said professor Michael Mann did not seriously deviate from accepted academic practices for proposing, conducting or reporting research." 07-10
- Climate in the U.S. Headed for Extremes (Scientific American)
"The latest and most detailed climate model of the continental U.S. predicts temperatures so extreme by the end of the century they could substantially disrupt the country's economy and infrastructure. The climate simulation, churned out by supercomputers at Purdue University, factors in dynamic environmental variables previously unaccounted for and analyzes them at a resolution twice as fine as previous models. The results indicate an increase in heat, heavier rainfalls and shorter winters, which could strain water resources for people and crops and cause a catastrophic loss of life and property, among other things."
"To confirm the model's accuracy, Diffenbaugh ran it using weather data from between 1961 and 1985 and compared the prediction with what actually occurred. 'The model performed admirably, which tells us we've got a good understanding of how to represent the physical world in terms of computer code,' he comments." 11-05
- Climatologist: 450, the CO2 Red Line? (ForeignPolicy.com)
"Twenty years ago, when global warming first came to public consciousness, no one knew precisely how much carbon dioxide was too much. The early computer climate models made a number of predictions about what would happen if we doubled the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere to 550 parts per million. But, in recent years, as the science has gotten more robust, scientists have tended to put the red line right around 450 parts per million. That’s where NASA’s James Hansen, America’s foremost climatologist, has said we need to stop if we want to avoid a temperature rise greater than two degrees Celsius. Why would two degrees be a magic number? Because as best we can tell, it’s where the melting of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets would become rapid and irrevocable. The ice above Greenland alone contains about 23 feet of sea-level rise, which is more than enough to alter the Earth almost beyond recognition." 01-09
- Climbers Witnessing Global Warming (Time Magazine)
"Mountaineers are bringing back firsthand accounts of vanishing glaciers, melting ice routes, crumbling rock formations and flood-prone lakes where glaciers once rose." 04-07
- Coal Gasification: FutureGen Plant to Open in 2013 (Christian Science Monitor)
"A government-industry alliance announced Tuesday that it would put a $1.76 billion "clean coal" power plant in Mattoon, Ill. By 2013, the plant is expected to start cranking out 275 megawatts of electricity from gasified coal while emitting almost no pollutants and only 10 percent of the carbon dioxide from today's coal-fired plants. The taxpayer-supported project, called FutureGen, joins a global race to develop clean-coal technology." 12-07
- Companies Working to "Green" the Earth (Time.com)
"The steady deterioration of the very climate of our very planet is becoming a war of the first order, and by any measure, the U.S. is losing. Indeed, if we're fighting at all—and by most accounts, we're not—we're fighting on the wrong side. The U.S. produces nearly a quarter of the world's greenhouse gases each year and has stubbornly made it clear that it doesn't intend to do a whole lot about it. Although 174 nations ratified the admittedly flawed Kyoto accords to reduce carbon levels, the U.S. walked away from them. While even developing China has boosted its mileage standards to 35 m.p.g., the U.S. remains the land of the Hummer." 04-08
- Compare Cars by MPG (FuelEconomy.gov)
Provides a comparison of vehicles their miles per gallon rating by EPA.
- Consequences of Global Warming (BBC News)
Provides a graphic of the earth, showing how much sustainable development can reduce global warming in different parts of the world. 03-06
- D.C. First State to Charge a Fee for Bags (ABC News)
"Starting today, the District of Columbia becomes the first major city in the nation to impose a surcharge on disposable paper and plastic bags commonly used at grocery and retail stores everywhere."
"Some 89 billion plastic bags, sacks and wraps are used each year in the U.S., according to the American Chemistry Council." 01-10
- Doctors Urge Action to Avoid Catastrophic Health Consequences (Time.com)
"A weak response to climate change could be catastrophic for international health, leading doctors said in two British medical journals Wednesday."
"In a letter jointly published in The Lancet and BMJ, presidents from 18 medical organizations worldwide called on doctors to pressure politicians meeting in Copenhagen in December to take decisive action on global warming."
"In an accompanying editorial, Lord Michael Jay of the medical charity Merlin and Michael Marmot of University College London wrote that 'a successful outcome at Copenhagen is vital for our future as a species and for our civilization.' " 09-09
- EPA May Move to Regulate Carbon (Time.com)
"On Feb. 17, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson announced that the agency would reconsider a Bush Administration decision not to regulate CO2 emissions from new coal power plants." 03-09
- EPA: Greenhouse Gases Pose a Threat to Health (Time.com)
"So the possibility that in the face of Congressional inaction the EPA might take matters into its own hands and directly regulate greenhouse gases can be seen as a not so subtle threat. Either act on your own, or let an EPA bureaucrat do it for you. Said Frank O'Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch: 'If business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce continue to oppose Congressional action, they ought to ask themselves, in the immortal words of Clint Eastwood: Do you feel lucky?' "
"The EPA's move on Friday was characterized by the top global warming analyst for the National Wildlife Federation as the 'single largest step the federal government had taken to fight climate change.' " 04-09
- Earth Participated in Earth Hour (MSNBC News)
"From an Antarctic research base to the Great Pyramids of Egypt and beyond, the world switched off the lights on Saturday for Earth Hour, dimming skyscrapers, city streets and some of the world's most recognizable monuments for 60 minutes to highlight the threat of climate change." Editor's Note: Building lights were turned off at 8:30 pm (local time) on March 28th, 2009, to show solidarity with efforts to reduce human contributions to climate change. 03-09
- Editorial: An $80 Billion Start (New York Times)
"Money invested in a modern electricity grid, for instance, will have been badly spent if it is used merely to build transmission towers to move energy from old coal-fired power plants. It will be well spent if it helps move clean energy, such as wind and solar power, from, say, Texas, to distant cities that need it." 02-09
- Editorial: Green Jobs to Save our Future (CNN News)
"Ending the subsidies that make dirty fuels artificially cheap can spark a shift in infrastructure development, create more jobs and allow America to become more self-sufficient.
"The choice is clear. We can sit idly as China and Germany invest in clean energy -- a soon-to-be $8 trillion world market -- or we can step up, get Americans back in the work force and export the best clean energy vehicles and technology." 08-10
- Editorial: How Denmark Became Energy Independent (New York Time)
"Unlike America, Denmark, which was so badly hammered by the 1973 Arab oil embargo that it banned all Sunday driving for a while, responded to that crisis in such a sustained, focused and systematic way that today it is energy independent. (And it didn’t happen by Danish politicians making their people stupid by telling them the solution was simply more offshore drilling.)"
"...Danes imposed on themselves a set of gasoline taxes, CO2 taxes and building-and-appliance efficiency standards that allowed them to grow their economy — while barely growing their energy consumption — and gave birth to a Danish clean-power industry that is one of the most competitive in the world today."
"Frankly, when you compare how America has responded to the 1973 oil shock and how Denmark has responded, we look pathetic." 08-08
- Editorial: It's Too Late for "Later" (New York Times)
"There was a chilling essay in The Jakarta Post last week by Andrio Adiwibowo, a lecturer in environmental management at the University of Indonesia. It was about how a smart plan to protect the mangrove forests around coastal Jakarta was never carried out, leading to widespread tidal flooding last month."
"This line jumped out at me: 'The plan was not implemented. Instead of providing a buffer zone, development encroached into the core zone, which was covered over by concrete.' "
"You could read that story in a hundred different developing countries today. But the fact that you read it here is one of the most important reasons that later has become extinct. Indonesia is second only to Brazil in terrestrial biodiversity and is No. 1 in the world in marine biodiversity. Just one and a half acres in Borneo contains more different tree species than all of North America — not to mention animals that don’t exist anywhere else on earth. If we lose them, there will be no later for some of the rarest plants and animals on the planet."
"Indonesia is now losing tropical forests the size of Maryland every year, and the carbon released by the cutting and clearing — much of it from illegal logging — has made Indonesia the third largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the world, after the United States and China. Deforestation actually accounts for more greenhouse gas emissions than all the cars and trucks in the world, an issue the Bali conference finally addressed." 12-07
- Editorial: Oil Spill Not Just an Accident (CNN News)
"The federal government should nationalize major spills, avail itself of the best pooled talent in the oil industry, and send the offending company the people's bill. Once it's on our property, the offending oil company should not touch anything unless specifically directed to do so. As it is now, things are so insanely backward that at the end of June the Coast Guard made it a felony for boats to get within 70 feet of boom. We need to stop putting the murderer in charge of the crime scene."
"Larger lessons lurk. The mortgage bubble, banking collapse, taxpayer-funded bailouts and this blowout all stem from a three-decade assault on government effectiveness, the consequent deregulation Mardi Gras, and the unleashing of corporate greed and corporate 'personhood.' Corporate capture of government away from the public's interests is the basic poison. Campaign finance reform and publicly funded elections would be the antidote." 07-10
- Editorial: We Are Not Ready for a Solar Storm (ABC News)
"Severe weather in the sun's outer atmosphere could knock out much of the country's power grid, incapacitate navigational systems and jeopardize spacecraft, scientists say." 04-09
- Endangered Species Act Provisions Opposed (Time.com)
Reports that the Bush administration seeks to "eliminate a provision of the Endangered Species Act that allows private groups to sue the Department of the Interior to add plants and animals to the official 'endangered' list...." 5-01
- Enormous Dead Zone in the Gulf (CNN News)
"Scientists have recorded one of the largest 'dead zones' in the Gulf's history this year. This oxygen-sapped area -- currently about the size of New Jersey -- is caused in large part by fertilizer that funnels into the ocean from Midwestern farms, since more than 40 percent of the land in the United States drains into the Gulf."
"The fertilizer kicks off a chain reaction of biological processes that, in the end, drains the water of oxygen and kills fish, shrimp and other marine creatures that can't swim away."
"Early testing indicates that the ocean ecosystem is already under intense stress: It takes less fertilizer pollution today, for example, to produce a large dead zone in the Gulf than it did several years ago."
"That's a sign that the dead zone will continue to grow unless fertilizer levels are cut drastically." 08-10
- Environmental Advocacy News (GreenPeace.org)
Provides news related to pollution, sustainability, global warming, and other key environmental issues. See key words at the bottom of the page for information by topic. 6-02
- Europe Finds Clean Energy in Trash (New York Times)
"Far cleaner than conventional incinerators, this new type of plant converts local trash into heat and electricity. Dozens of filters catch pollutants, from mercury to dioxin, that would have emerged from its smokestack only a decade ago." 04-10
- Experts Warn: Oceans Becoming Too Acidic (MSNBC News)
"The world's oceans are becoming more acidic, which poses a threat to sea life and Earth's fragile food chain, German researchers told delegates at a U.N. conference on climate change." 11-06
- Experts: Seafood Could Collapse by 2050 (MSNBC News)
"If current trends of overfishing and pollution continue, by 2050 the populations of just about all seafood face collapse, defined as 90 percent depletion, a team of ecologists and economists warns in a study published in Friday’s issue of the journal Science." 10-06
- Fertilizers Creating a Huge "Dead Zone" in the Gulf (MSNBC News)
"The nation's corn crop is fertilized with millions of pounds of nitrogen-based fertilizer. And when that nitrogen runs off fields in Corn Belt states, it makes its way to the Mississippi River and eventually pours into the Gulf, where it contributes to a growing "dead zone" — a 7,900-square-mile patch so depleted of oxygen that fish, crabs and shrimp suffocate." 12-07
- Few Utilities Produce Majority of Polluting Emissions (Lycos - Lazaroff)
Summarizes the results of a report on pollution from utilities. "The study by a coalition of environmental and public interest groups found that between four and six companies account for 25 percent of the emissions of each pollutant." 3-02
- First Offshore Wind Farm Approved (Time.com)
"The Obama administration has approved what would be the nation's first offshore wind farm, off Cape Cod, inching the U.S. closer to harvesting an untapped domestic energy source — the steady breezes blowing along its vast coasts." 04-10
- Five Uncommon Tips for Expecting Parents (MSNBC News)
"According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, babies under six months should NEVER be under direct sun. To shield that virgin skin without blocking the breeze, dress baby in thin, loose, light colored clothing, and cover as much skin as possible." 07-07
- Funding Green Technology (Time.com)
"If we're going to find a way to fix our long-term energy woes — whether it's through biofuels made from algae or through the rise of miniature nuclear-power plants, — the solution is likely to come from northern California. Yes, in Silicon Valley, the same entrepreneurs who brought us the Internet — and, O.K., Pets.com — are exploring new ways to make and use energy. And we'll need them, as much for our economy's well-being as for our planet's." 02-10
- Gardens That Grow on Walls (New York Times)
"Vertical gardens — which began as an experiment in 1988 by Patrick Blanc, a French botanist intent on creating a garden without dirt — are becoming increasingly popular at home. Avid and aspiring gardeners, frustrated with little outdoor space, are taking another look at their walls and noticing something new: more space. And a number of companies are selling ready-made systems and all-in-one kits for gardeners like Mr. Riley who want to do it themselves. (For those who prefer to leave it to the professionals, landscape designers can build vertical gardens for a hefty fee.)" 05-10
- Gas Companies Compete With Farmers for Water (MSNBC)
"STexas's worst drought since record-keeping began in 1895 is fueling a rally in water prices as energy prospectors from ExxonMobil to Korea National Oil expand the use of a drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, that uses up to 13 million gallons in a single well." 06-11
- Giant, Mucus-Like Blobs Form in the Oceans (NationalGeographic.com)
"As sea temperatures have risen in recent decades, enormous sheets of a mucus-like material have begun forming more often, oozing into new regions, and lasting longer, a new Mediterranean Sea study says...." 10-09
- Glaciers Are "A Canary in the Coal Mine" (CNN News)
"A 50-year government study found that the world's glaciers are melting at a rapid and alarming rate. The ongoing study is the latest in a series of reports that found glaciers worldwide are melting faster than anyone had predicted they would just a few years ago. It offers a clear indication of an accelerating climate change and warming earth, according to the authors." 08-09
- Glaciers May Have Melted Rapidly in the Past (Time.com)
"A team of scientists traveled to the Spanish island of Mallorca, where they visited a coastal cave that has been submerged off and on by the Mediterranean Sea for hundreds of thousand of years, as glacial periods have waxed and waned. They dated the layers of the mineral calcite, which were deposited by the seawater in rings on the cave walls, as on a bathtub."
"[Jeffery] Dorale's paper suggests the possibility that ice sheets may respond much more dynamically to changes in temperature, forming and melting at rates that are quicker than previously thought. 'There might be a feedback with regards to ice melting,' says Dorale," a geoscientist at the University of Iowa. " 'This is speculation, but it might point at some sort of catastrophic ice sheet dynamic.' "
"In other words, it could mean the world's seas will rise even more quickly than we expect — bad news for those who think there's plenty of time to adapt to a warmer world." 02-10
- Glaciers Melting Faster Than Thought (CBS News)
"Glaciers in Antarctica are melting faster and across a much wider area than previously thought, a development that threatens to raise sea levels worldwide and force millions of people to flee low-lying areas, scientists said Wednesday."
"By the end of the century, the accelerated melting could cause sea levels to climb by 3 to 5 feet - levels substantially higher than predicted by a major scientific group just two years ago."
"Making matters worse, scientists said, the ice shelves that hold the glaciers back from the sea are also weakening."
"The big surprise was exactly how much glaciers are melting in western Antarctica, a vast land mass on the Pacific Ocean side of the continent that is next to the South Pole and includes the Antarctic Peninsula." 02-09
- Glaciers Melting Faster Than Thought (PBS.org)
"Seventy-five percent of the world's fresh water is stored in glaciers, but scientists predict climate change will cause some of the world's largest glaciers to completely melt by 2030. What effect will this have on our daily lives? With global warming falling low on a national list of American concerns, it's time to take a deeper look at what could be a global calamity in the making." 07-09
- Global Dimming (Awesome Library)
Provides links to information on global dimming, the darkening of the Earth. 04-06
- Glossary of Terms for the Oil Spill (CNN News)
Provides a glossary. 06-10
- Gore: Polar Ice May Melt Within 5-7 Years (CBS News)
"Al Gore has told the U.N. climate conference that new data suggests the Arctic polar ice cap may disappear in the summertime as soon as five to seven years from now." 12-09
- Green Groups Want Cameron to Champion Green Cause (Time.com)
"To green groups, the indigenous peoples of Ecuador — the Cofán, Siona, Secoya, Kichwa, and Huaorani — are the Na'vi. They're fighting the same battle to preserve their wooded home and way of life against the encroachment of a foreign corporation."
"The overwhelming success of Avatar points to a future where more and more of our experiences might be virtual and passive, just like those of the movie's hero, where the air and water of the outdoors will matter less than what technology and the human mind can offer us in a climate-controlled studio."
"So, in the end, Avatar's influence may depend on whether its fans can turn away from it, take off the tinted glasses and take a look at the real world." 03-10
- Green Investment to Create Jobs (AmericanProgress.org)
"Today, the Center for American Progress releases a new report by Dr. Robert Pollin and University of Massachusetts Political Economy Research Institute economists. This report demonstrates how a new Green Recovery program that spends $100 billion over two years would create 2 million new jobs, with a significant proportion in the struggling construction and manufacturing sectors. It is clear from this research that a strategy to invest in the greening of our economy will create more jobs, and better jobs, compared to continuing to pursue a path of inaction marked by rising dependence on energy imports alongside billowing pollution." 10-08
- Green Websites (Time.com)
Provides Websites dedicated to the greening of the planet. 04-08
- Gulf Stream Energy (CNN News)
" 'The predictions at this point estimate that the strength of the Gulf Stream could generate anywhere between four to 10 gigawatts of power, the equivalent of four to 10 nuclear power plants,' said Skemp."
"Before a project like this can go forward, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will have to look at a whole range of factors, from the effects it will have on wild and marine life to recreation activities and shipping, said an environmental specialist with the commission."
"If the pilot program is successful, it could take another five to 10 years before the technology can be implemented." 07-09
- Heat from Global Warming Missing (Time.com)
"Up to 2003, scientists have managed to track where heat energy flows within the planet's system and were able to effectively balance the earth's heat budget. Since then, however, satellite data has shown that CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere have continued to increase, which means that even more heat should be accumulating on the planet. Yet surface land temperatures haven't followed as expected; neither has the ocean's surface temperature, as measurements from thousands of Argo sensors floating on the sea indicate."
"Overall, the missing heat doesn't change expectations for future climate change, because the heat won't stay missing forever. Eventually it will resurface and impact the climate system, and the recent and deceptive reprieve from rapid warming we've enjoyed will come to an expected end." 04-10
- Heinz Awards Go to Environmental Champions (Time.com)
"But this year Heinz decided to focus the awards on a single issue rather than recognize many. The winners of each $100,000 award, announced on Sept. 15, were acknowledged for their work toward one cause: protecting the environment." 09-09
- Honda to Offer Fuel Cell Car in 2008 (Honda.com)
"Honda Debuts All-New FCX Clarity Advanced Fuel Cell Vehicle Dynamic styling and performance herald major advances for fuel cell vehicles; limited marketing to begin next summer." 11-07
- Hope for the Coral Reefs (CNN News)
"Reefs are often referred to as the rainforests of the sea. They attract more marine life than anywhere else in the ocean because of the natural shelter they provide. But they're declining worldwide, not just in Florida, and some scientists fear that they could all be gone by 2050."
"Many people around the world depend on fisheries and the ocean for their livelihood. In the Florida Keys alone, more than 50 percent of the local economy is connected to a healthy marine environment."
" 'We've been able to recreate one of the biggest thickets in the Florida Keys of staghorn coral, and that's something we can duplicate throughout the Keys and throughout the Caribbean,' " [Ken] Nedimyer said." 03-12
- How Much Carbon Is Too Much? (Scientific American)
"To avoid catastrophic climate change, the world will need to emit less than one trillion metric tons of carbon between now and 2050, according to two new papers published in Nature today. In other words, there is only room in the atmosphere to burn or vent less than one quarter of known oil, natural gas and coal reserves."
Editor's Note: One alternative is to "pull carbon from the air and store it in the soil. See biochar. 05-09
- Huge Iceberg Breaks Off (CBS News)
"The new iceberg is 48 miles long and about 24 miles wide and holds roughly the equivalent of a fifth of the world's annual total water usage, Young told The Associated Press."
"Experts are concerned about the effect of the massive displacement of ice on the ice-free water next to the glacier, which is important for ocean currents."
"This area of water had been kept clear because of the glacier, said Steve Rintoul, a leading climate expert. With part of the glacier gone, the area could fill with sea ice, which would disrupt the ability for the dense and cold water to sink."
"This sinking water is what spills into ocean basins and feeds the global ocean currents with oxygen, Rintoul explained." 02-10
- Huge Offshore Wind Farm Approved (New York Times)
"Regulators in New Jersey on Friday awarded rights to build a huge offshore wind farm in the southern part of the state to Garden State Offshore Energy, a joint venture that includes P.S.E.G. Renewable Generation, a subsidiary of P.S.E.G. Global, a sister company of the state’s largest utility." 10-08
- Industry Leader in Coal Refuses to Use New Technology (New York Times)
"Many scientists say that sharply reducing emissions of these gases [from coal processing] could make more difference in slowing climate change than any other move worldwide. And they point out that American companies are best positioned to set an example for other nations in adopting a new technique that could limit the environmental impact of the more than 1,000 coal-fired power projects on drawing boards around the world."
"But most in the industry are not making that bet. Among them is Gregory H. Boyce, chief executive of Peabody Energy, the largest private-sector coal producer in the world thanks in part to its growing operations here in Wyoming and with aspirations to operate coal-fired plants of its own. Mr. Boyce's company alone controls reserves with more energy potential than the oil and gas reserves of Exxon Mobil." 05-06
- Insurance Companies Required to Disclose Climate-Change Response Plans (New York Times)
"Insurance commissioners in California, New York and Washington State will require that companies disclose how they intend to respond to the risks their businesses and customers face from increasingly severe storms and wildfires, rising sea levels and other consequences of climate change, California’s commissioner said Wednesday."
"Last year’s level of natural disasters was unprecedented, according to an August report by the A. M. Best Company, which rates the financial strength of insurers. By late June, the estimated $27 billion in losses suffered by the American industry exceeded the 2010 total." 02-12
- Japan's Nuclear Crisis Turns Spotlight on U.S. Plants (CNN News)
"The safety of America's nuclear reactors is being questioned as Japanese engineers scramble to avert a total meltdown at two of that country's quake-stricken power plants."
"Like in Japan, some of the 104 nuclear reactors in the United States are situated along the ocean -- some in earthquake-prone areas."
"The government has set aside $18 billion for new nuclear plants, and President Obama wants to spend an additional $36 billion."
"In the United States, perhaps the most vulnerable plants are the two in California built on the Pacific coast near the San Andreas fault."
"Those plants were built to withstand a magnitude 7.5 earthquake, said Robert Alvarez, a nuclear expert at the Institute for Policy studies and a former senior official at the U.S. Department of Energy."
"The San Francisco quake of 1906 measured 8.3, said Alvarez, while Friday's Japanese quake was a massive 8.9. An 8.9 quake is 125 times as powerful as 7.5 quake, according to the United States Geological Survey. 03-11
- Key Issues on the Environment (SpeakOut.com)
Provides indepth coverage of both sides of key issues. 2-01
- Largest Marine Conservation Site Ever Established (CNN News)
"Nine sites in the central Pacific will be set as sanctuaries for marine life and bases of research for scientists, President Bush said Tuesday."
"The sites, designated in three regions of the central Pacific, will make up the largest expanse of ocean set aside for marine conservation in the world: 195,280 square miles." 01-09
- Massive Island of Ice Breaks Off Greenland (CNN News)
"A piece of ice four times the size of Manhattan island has broken away from an ice shelf in Greenland, according to scientists in the U.S."
"The ice island, which is about half the height of the Empire State Building, is the biggest piece of ice to break away from the Arctic icecap since 1962 and amounts to a quarter of the Petermann 70-kilometer floating ice shelf, according to research leader Andreas Muenchow."
" 'The freshwater stored in this ice island could keep the Delaware or Hudson rivers flowing for more than two years. It could also keep all U.S. public tap water flowing for 120 days,' Muenchow said. 08-10
- Mercury and Flourescent Bulbs (theBostonChannel.com)
"Consumers were cautioned to avoid using the energy-saving bulbs on tables or in other places where they can be easily broken. Even so, the reports said, the bulbs, which use 75 percent less energy and last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs, are still the best way for homeowners to try to save on electricity, adding that the benefits of using them outweigh the risks." 02-08
- Micro-CHP Units Heat and Provide Electricity (Christian Science Monitor)
"Since Malin changed his home heating system to micro-CHP in February, 18 other families in the Boston area also have adopted the technology, which squeezes about 90 percent of the useful energy from the fuel. That's triple the efficiency of power delivered over the grid."
"Factories and other industrial facilities have used large CHP systems for years. But until the US debut of micro-systems in greater Boston, the units had not been small enough, cheap enough, and quiet enough for American homes." 11-06
- Microbe-Powered Electricity Storage (MSNBC News)
"The technique won't combat global warming directly, since both CO2 and methane are potent greenhouse gases, but it could help store alternative energies such as wind and solar more efficiently."
"It works like this: giving small jolts of electricity to single-celled microorganisms known as archea prompts them to remove C02 from the air and turn it into methane, released as tiny 'farts.' The methane, in turn, can be used to power fuel cells or to store the electrical energy chemically until its needed." 04-09
- More Than Half in China Have Sewage Not Treated (ChinaDaily.com)
"More than half of the population is living in an environment where sewage is not treated, an expert said."
"By the end of 2005, 278 cities across the country had no sewage treatment facilities, including eight with a population of more than 500,000, Zhao Baojiang, chairman of the China association of city planning, told a recent conference on sustainable sanitation held in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region."
"About 5,000 administrative towns and 20,000 market towns also had no sewage treatment facilities, he was quoted as saying by www.xinhuanet.com."
" 'Water pollution is deteriorating, but orders of the State Environmental Protection Administration to reduce the pollution are being disregarded in some cities, Zhao said.' " 08-07
- Nature's Water Cleaners: Mussels (National Geographic)
"One mussel alone can cleanse as much as a gallon of water per hour. Add up the work of a whole mussel community, and you get a virtual water treatment plant."
"According to Ethan Nedeau, an expert on the freshwater mussels of New England, even half the population of mussels at work in a one-half mile segment of New Hampshire’s Ashuelot River can help cleanse more than 11.2 million gallons of water a day–roughly the quantity of household water used by 112,000 people." 07-12
- New Chinese Coal Plants Will Make Climate Change Almost Certain (BBC News)
"Coal built China - and fuels its relentless growth today. Eighty per cent of China's electricity comes from coal, and there are plans for 544 new coal-fired power stations to meet an insatiable demand for energy."
"Yet coal is a prime source of carbon dioxide - the global warming gas. If the power plants go ahead, it will be all but impossible to avoid dangerous climate change." 05-06
- New Rule Freezes Out Coal Plants (Time.com)
"Dirty, cheap coal provides 49% of the electricity in the U.S. and 30% of the country's carbon emissions — which means that if the more than 100 new coal plants currently in the development pipeline get built, the planet is doomed to get warmer. That's what made a decision on Nov. 13 by an obscure appeals board at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) so important. Responding to a lawsuit filed by the Sierra Club over a new coal plant being built in Utah, the board ruled that the EPA had no grounds to refuse to regulate the CO2 emitted by new coal plants. Immediately, that made it virtually impossible for the EPA to certify any new coal plant, freezing development. In the long term, it gives the incoming Obama Administration an opening to force the coal industry to clean up — or shut down." 02-09
- Nine Energy Sources for the Future (U.S. News)
"The world must face a glaring fact: Demand for energy is growing, and countries need to expand their energy sources if they want to keep up. The Obama administration made a commitment to clean energy. But here's a source-by-source look at nine types of energy that could change the landscape in the United States."
Editor's Note: This article includes sources, such as fuel cells and nuclear fusion, which are not close to ready for "prime time" and ignored major sources that are cost-effective and practical now, such as biomass. 07-10
- Over Half a Million Wells in the U.S. Hold Waste With Unknown Risks (MSNBC News)
"Over the past several decades, U.S. industries have injected more than 30 trillion gallons of toxic liquid deep into the earth, using broad expanses of the nation's geology as an invisible dumping ground."
"No company would be allowed to pour such dangerous chemicals into the rivers or onto the soil. But until recently, scientists and environmental officials have assumed that deep layers of rock beneath the earth would safely entomb the waste for millenia."
"There are growing signs they were mistaken."
"Records from disparate corners of the United States show that wells drilled to bury this waste deep beneath the ground have repeatedly leaked, sending dangerous chemicals and waste gurgling to the surface or, on occasion, seeping into shallow aquifers that store a significant portion of the nation's drinking water."
" 'There is no certainty at all in any of this, and whoever tells you the opposite is not telling you the truth,' said Stefan Finsterle, a leading hydrogeologist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory who specializes in understanding the properties of rock layers and modeling how fluid flows through them. 'You have changed the system with pressure and temperature and fracturing, so you don't know how it will behave.' "
Editor's Note: This is relevant to the extraction of natural gas through fracking. 06-12
- Penn State Professor Cleared of three Out of Four Climatgate Charges (U.S. News)
"A Penn State inquiry panel investigating 'Climategate' professor Michael Mann dismissed three of the four claims against him, the Daily Collegian reports. After reviewing more than 1,000 E-mails, the panel said in a 10-page report that there was no substance to claims that the meteorology prof falsified or supressed data, intended to delete or conceal information, or misused privileged or confidential information. The panel could not, however, make a definitive finding on the fourth allegation, which said that Mann undermined public trust in science. Further investigation into that claim will come." 02-10
- Planet in Peril (CNN News)
Provides videos about how climate change is putting human, plants, and animals at risk. 12-09
- Plastics Endanger Life in the Oceans (MSNBC News)
"In a new report, Greenpeace said at least 267 species -- including seabirds, turtles, seals, sea lions, whales and fish -- are known to have suffered from entanglement or ingestion of marine debris." 11-06
- Polar Bears Going Extinct (CBS News)
"More than two-thirds of the world's polar bears will be killed off by 2050 - including the entire population in Alaska - because of thinning sea ice from global warming in the Arctic, government scientists forecast Friday." 09-07
- Polar Ocean Soaking Up Less CO2 (BBC News)
"One of Earth's most important absorbers of carbon dioxide (CO2) is failing to soak up as much of the greenhouse gas as it was expected to, scientists say."
"This effect had been predicted by climate scientists, and is taken into account - to some extent - by climate models. But it appears to be happening 40 years ahead of schedule." 05-07
- Pollen Counts Increasing (CNN News)
" 'CO2 is good for plants and they're making more pollen,' agreed Dr. David Rosenstreich, director of the division of allergy and immunology at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. In addition, he said, 'Pollen seasons are lengthening a little bit because of global warming.' "
" If you're taking preventive medications for your allergies, Rosenstreich said that it's important to take them in advance and as directed by your doctor."
" 'Most allergy medicines work better to prevent allergic symptoms than to treat them when they're in progress,' he explained." 04-09
- President-Elect's Environmental Plan Not Enough (Time.com)
"President-elect Obama campaigned on the promise to spend $150 billion over the next 10 years to support alternative energy, like wind and solar, as well as the green jobs that the sector has the potential to create."
"The problem is, it won't be enough. As ambitious as Obama's campaign promises were — at least compared to his predecessor's — the future state of global energy will demand government policies with a much longer reach, according to alternative-energy leaders. The International Energy Agency's (IEA) annual World Energy Outlook, released Nov. 12, projects that global energy demand will increase by 45% between 2006 and 2030 — and that $26 trillion in power-supply investments will be necessary simply to meet those needs. Barring radical changes in our energy policy — beyond what Obama has pledged — greenhouse gas emissions will rise 45% by 2030, and extreme global warming would be virtually unavoidable." 11-08
- Pros and Cons of Natural Gas (CBS News)
" 'If you use natural gas, America can establish independence from OPEC and can put Americans back to work. We can lower our carbon emissions, and we can begin to improve the economy as well by not exporting a billion dollars a day of American wealth. The greatest wealth transfer in human history takes place every day. And it doesn't have to.' "
" 'The 2005 energy bill completely exempted the natural gas industry and fracking technology from any regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act. It's an outrage,' " said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club."
"As part of its study, the EPA asked nine companies to disclose to the government the chemicals used in fracking. Eight complied; only Halliburton said no, so last Tuesday the EPA subpoenaed them." 11-10
- Putting Your Home on an Energy Diet (US News)
"Putting your house on an energy diet is simple: airtight construction, smart heating and cooling design, and high-efficiency appliances." For example, make sure that your duct work does not leak and is not exposed to the attic or outside air. 04-08
- Reducing Nitrous Oxide in the Air (CBS News)
"Another key link between agriculture and climate change is nitrogen. Nitrogen is an essential nutrient; we would die without it and so would plants. We tend to add nitrogen—whether as synthetic fertilizer, manure, or compost—to agricultural fields to help plants grow. But, in general, we’re feeding them more nitrogen then they have the capacity to absorb and often at the wrong time when they’re not growing very fast. Some of the excess nitrogen that plants don’t use is released back into the atmosphere as nitrous oxide—a heat-trapping gas that’s more than 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide." 06-10
- Reducing the Use of Gasoline (Oregonian - Yaden and Durning)
Suggests ways that the use of gasoline can be reduced. "Feebates are point-of-purchase incentives. Consumers pay a fee when buying vehicles with low gas mileage and collect rebates for buying more efficient ones. Such a program could quickly push the market toward more economic designs. With the nation's automobile fuel efficiency at a 20-year low, this is an especially important step." 2-02
- Research: Amazon Forest Crisis Can Create "Incalculable Consequences" for Earth (The Independent)
"The vast Amazon rainforest is on the brink of being turned into desert, with catastrophic consequences for the world's climate, alarming research suggests. And the process, which would be irreversible, could begin as early as next year."
"Scientists say that this would spread drought into the northern hemisphere, including Britain, and could massively accelerate global warming with incalculable consequences, spinning out of control, a process that might end in the world becoming uninhabitable." 07-06
- Rivers in Endangered (CNN News)
" 'Our nation is at a transformational moment when it comes to rivers and clean water,' said Rebecca Wodder, president of American Rivers. 'Water is life, yet our nation's water infrastructure is so outdated that our clean drinking water, flood protection and river health face unprecedented threats.' "
"American Rivers has released its annual endangered rivers report since 1986. The report is not a list of the nation's most polluted waterways, but highlights 10 rivers facing decisions in the coming year that could determine their future." 04-09
- Scientist: We Are on the Path to a Catastrophe (CBS News)
According to Michael MacCracken, chief scientist of the Climate Institute, " 'We're on a path to exceeding levels of global warming that will cause catastrophic consequences, and we really need to be seriously reducing emissions, not just reducing the growth rate as the president is doing.' " 03-07
- Scientists Take Steps to Defend Work on Climate Change (New York Times)
"For months, climate scientists have taken a vicious beating in the media and on the Internet, accused of hiding data, covering up errors and suppressing alternate views. Their response until now has been largely to assert the legitimacy of the vast body of climate science and to mock their critics as cranks and know-nothings."
"But the volume of criticism and the depth of doubt have only grown, and many scientists now realize they are facing a crisis of public confidence and have to fight back. Tentatively and grudgingly, they are beginning to engage their critics, admit mistakes, open up their data and reshape the way they conduct their work." 03-10
- Scientists: BPA Chemical May Be a Problem for Humans (PBS.org)
"The chemical bisphenol A, known as BPA, is used to make many common plastic products used in U.S. homes, including baby bottles. Scientists and expert panels have been tasked with determining whether BPA has adverse effects on human health." 10-07
- Scoreboard for Saving the Environment (Time.com)
Recommends steps that could be taken globally, but won't be taken:
"CONFER tangible value to species in biologically diverse regions by requiring payment of royalties for the use of their genetic materials."
"FIND a way to put the brakes on the world's spiraling population, which will otherwise double by the year 2050."
"PUT an international tax on emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases."
"PUT strict limits on the trade of timber from the earth's remaining virgin forests."
"SET up a recycling plan in every major city in the world."
"GIVE the United Nations broad powers to create an environmental police force for the planet." 06-12
- Seed Bank in Case of an Apocalypse (NYTimes.com)
"The project, run by the Royal Botanical Garden, at Kew, England, aims to collect seeds from 10 percent of the world’s flowering plant species and to stow them in a sort of climate-controlled Noah’s Ark against the possibility of depletion, whether by climate change, alien-species invasion, overdevelopment or apocalypse." 08-07
- Seed Project to Preserve Species (PlanetArk.org)
Describes the British project to save many species of plants from extinction by development of a huge seed bank. 11-00
- Shrinkage of Upper Atmosphere Baffling (CNN News)
" An upper layer of Earth's atmosphere recently shrank so much that researchers are at a loss to adequately explain it, NASA said on Thursday." 07-10
- Siberian Methane Leaks Offer a Potential Threat (USA Today)
"Gas locked inside Siberia's frozen soil and under its lakes has been seeping out since the end of the last ice age 10,000 years ago. But in the past few decades, as the Earth has warmed, the icy ground has begun thawing more rapidly, accelerating the release of methane — a greenhouse gas 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide — at a perilous rate."
"Katey Walter Anthony, of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, has been measuring methane seeps in Arctic lakes in Alaska, Canada and Russia, starting here around Chersky 10 years ago."
"More than 50 billion tons could be unleashed from Siberian lakes alone, more than 10 times the amount now in the atmosphere, she said."
"But the rate of defrosting is hard to assess with the data at hand."
"The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in its 2010 Arctic Report Card issued last month, said the average temperature of the permafrost has been rising for decades, but noted 'a significant acceleration' in the last five years at many spots on the Arctic coast." 11-10
- Simulation Results: Temperature Rise Caused a Mass Extinction (BBC News)
"A computer simulation of the Earth's climate 250 million years ago suggests that global warming triggered the so-called 'great dying'."
"A dramatic rise in carbon dioxide caused temperatures to soar to 10 to 30 degrees Celsius higher than today, say US researchers."
"Some 95% of lifeforms in the oceans became extinct, along with about three-quarters of land species." 8-05
- Snows of Kilimanjaro Melting Fast (Time.com)
"For the first time in almost 12,000 years, based on ice-core analysis, Africa's highest peak probably will be ice-free as early as 2022 or as late as 2033, says glaciologist Lonnie Thompson of Ohio State University, who led the study." 11-09
- Solar Soon to Become Competitive with Fossil Fuels (CNN News)
"But another reason Homan cites is his optimism for the solar industry's U.S. future."
" 'The electricity, without incentives, will be cost competitive with nuclear or fossil fuel technology' by 2014 or 2015, he said, repeating a belief widely held by those in the solar industry. 'Long term, the world's largest market will be the United States.' " 06-09
- Stein, Jill: Green Party Candidate for President (Wikipedia.org)
"Jill Stein (born May 14, 1950) is an American physician and nominee for President of the United States in 2012 with the Green Party of the United States." 08-12
- Stopping Municipal Water Leaks (Christian Science Monitor)
"Though finally solved, the mystery of the creek that was a leak is an example of how utility districts in the US can't account for 6 billion gallons of drinking water each day. If all that lost water were collected over the course of a year, it would fill Gatun Lake, the huge reservoir that feeds the Panama Canal."
"Georgia recently began requiring counties seeking water-withdrawal permits to first check their waterworks for leaks. Three other states, including Tennessee, are tightening water audit requirements, and the American Water Works Association (AWWA) has persuaded 300 communities to take part in a public-service campaign called 'Only Tap Water Delivers,' in part prompted by mounting water losses." 10-07
- Strategic Plan to Respond to Global Warming (Time.com)
"The most important part of a blueprint to contain climate change is to put a charge on carbon emissions. As long as the sky is free, renewable energy will never beat fossil fuels. But put a price on carbon, and suddenly the alternatives look a lot better. The most feasible way to do this is through a cap-and-trade system that sets ceilings for carbon output and lets companies that come in under the limit sell credits to those that don't, allowing them to keep polluting—a little. The effect is that overall carbon levels fall, and there is even money to be made by being greener than the next guy. That drives investment and research dollars into renewable energy and efficiency. 'Cap and trade changes everything,' says Krupp." 04-08
- Stratosphere a Key to Global Climate (Christian Science Monitor)
"Water vapor is the most abundant greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. By some estimates, it accounts for anywhere from 36 percent to 85 percent of the atmosphere's greenhouse effect, depending on whether clouds are included." 01-10
- Stress Testing Biofuels: A Rigged Game (Time.com)
"The draft conclusions announced by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Lisa Jackson were that cellulosic ethanol and other next-generation renewables will dramatically reduce greenhouse-gas emissions over their entire life cycle, but that in some scenarios, corn ethanol (as well as lesser-used soy biodiesel) can produce even more emissions than gasoline."
"Maybe there's nothing EPA officials can do to stop the renewable-fuels steamroller, but it would nice if they suggested slowing it down." 05-09
- Student Discovers Microbes that Degrade Plastics (TheRecord.com)
"Getting ordinary plastic bags to rot away like banana peels would be an environmental dream come true."
"After all, we produce 500 billion a year worldwide and they take up to 1,000 years to decompose. They take up space in landfills, litter our streets and parks, pollute the oceans and kill the animals that eat them."
"Now a Waterloo teenager has found a way to make plastic bags degrade faster -- in three months, he figures." 06-08
- Study on Future Climate: From Bad to Worse (Time.com)
"Even as Congress belatedly tackles legislation that would cut U.S. carbon emissions and international negotiators bickered over a global climate deal in Bonn, Germany, a new report by several federal agencies underscores the truths that too often risk getting lost in politics: global warming is real, it's happening now, and if we don't act soon, the consequences are likely to be catastrophic."
"Produced by 13 federal agencies and several major universities and research centers, the climate report found that if carbon emissions continued growing unabated, the mainland U.S. would heat up anywhere from 7 degrees Fahrenheit to 11.5 degrees Fahrenheit by 2090, with some margin of error."
Editor's Note: Secretary of Energy Steven Chu as stated that an increase of 5 degrees will be catastrophic. 06-09
- Study: Arctic Warming But Should Be Cooling (MSNBC News)
"The Arctic is warmer than it's been in 2,000 years, according to a new study, even though it should be cooling because of changes in the Earth's orbit that cause the region to get less direct sunlight." 09-09
- Study: Arctic Was Once Tropical (Washington Times)
"First-of-its-kind core samples dug up from deep beneath the Arctic Ocean floor show that 55 million years ago an area near the North Pole was practically a subtropical paradise, three new studies show."
"Millions of years ago the Earth experienced an extended period of natural global warming. But about 55 million years ago there was a sudden supercharged spike of carbon dioxide that accelerated the greenhouse effect."
"Scientists already knew this 'thermal event' happened but are not sure what caused it. Perhaps massive releases of methane from the ocean, the continent-sized burning of trees, numerous volcanic eruptions." 05-06
- Study: Bioelectricity Better than Ethanol (Time.com)
"For every acre of land planted with an energy crop — like corn or switchgrass — turning that biomass into electricity gives you more 'miles per acre' than converting it to liquid ethanol, which is how biomass is used today, according to the study. A small SUV powered by bioelectricity could travel nearly 14,000 miles on the energy produced by an acre of switchgrass, while an ethanol-powered SUV could go only 9,000 miles."
"On carbon, too, bioelectricity was a winner. On average, the carbon offset from using bioelectricity is 100% bigger than the offset for using ethanol." 05-09
- Study: Global Warming Is Irreversible (TruthOut.org)
"As carbon dioxide emissions continue to rise, the world will experience more and more long-term environmental disruption. The damage will persist even when, and if, emissions are brought under control, says study author Susan Solomon, who is among the world's top climate scientists." 01-09
- Study: Millions in the U.S. Drink Dirty Water (MSNBC News)
"More than 20 percent of the nation’s water treatment systems have violated key provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act over the last five years, according to a New York Times analysis of federal data."
"That law requires communities to deliver safe tap water to local residents. But since 2004, the water provided to more than 49 million people has contained illegal concentrations of chemicals like arsenic or radioactive substances like uranium, as well as dangerous bacteria often found in sewage."
"Regulators were informed of each of those violations as they occurred. But regulatory records show that fewer than 6 percent of the water systems that broke the law were ever fined or punished by state or federal officials, including those at the Environmental Protection Agency, which has ultimate responsibility for enforcing standards." 12-09
- Study: Reducing Emissions Not Enough (MSNBC News)
" 'People have imagined that if we stopped emitting carbon dioxide the climate would go back to normal in 100 years, 200 years; that's not true,' lead author Susan Solomon told reporters."
"Instead, the team concluded, warming tied to higher CO2 'is largely irreversible for 1,000 years after emissions stop.' "
"Before the industrial revolution the air contained about 280 parts per million of carbon dioxide. That has risen to 385 ppm today, and politicians and scientists have debated at what level it could be stabilized." 01-09
- Study: Soil Emissions Greater Than Previously Thought (Google.com)
"Finnish researchers called for a revision of climate change estimates Monday after their findings showed emissions from soil would contribute more to climate warming than previously thought."
"This showed 'carbon dioxide emissions from the soil will be up to 50 percent higher than those suggested by the present mainstream method,' if the mean global temperature rose by the previously forecasted five degrees Celsius before the end of the century, and if the carbon flow to soil did not increase." 02-10
- Study: Summer Arctic Ice May Be Gone by 2013 (BBC News)
"The most extreme scenario was for the ice to retreat as soon as 2013, but that was dismissed by many as far too soon."
"Now Professor Wadhams, who has studied the Arctic for the past 40 years, says that there is 'almost a breakdown' in the ice-cover."
"Over most of the Arctic, there has been a massive decline in the amount of so-called multi-year ice - ice that is tough enough to withstand the summer warmth." 05-09
- Supporting Small Family-Owned Forests (CNN News)
"Unfortunately, the [Copenhagen] summit's forest initiatives provided little help to the more than 10 million people like me who manage family-owned forest land in the United States. Since such forests make up more than a third of all forests in the nation, they have the potential to play a huge -- and growing -- role in reducing carbon emissions. Any government action on climate change in this country needs to pay attention to them."
"Family forest owners like me provide about 60 percent of all U.S. lumber supplies. With the slow housing construction market, and timber prices near record lows, it's a great time to direct forest owners toward conservation-minded forest practices."
"Providing forest owners with a modest income stream for carbon-enhancing forest activities is the key." 02-09
- Surprising Effects of Global Warming (MSNBC News)
"You’ve probably heard about the global warming song and dance: rising temperatures, melting ice caps and rising sea levels in the near future. But Earth’s changing climate is already wreaking havoc in some very weird ways. So gird yourself for such strange effects as savage wildfires, disappearing lakes, and freak allergies." 01-07
- Ten Largest Environmental Accidents (Time.com)
"As the Gulf of Mexico oil spill shows little sign of abating, TIME takes a look back at history's greatest environmental tragedies." 06-10
- The "Third Pole" Is Melting Fast (Time.com)
"The high-altitude glaciers of the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau — which cover parts of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan and China — are the water tower of Asia. When the ice thaws and the snow melts every spring, the glaciers birth the great rivers of the region, the mightiest river system in the world: the Ganges, the Indus, the Brahmaputra, the Mekong, the Yellow, the Yangtze. Together, these rivers give material and spiritual sustenance to 3 billion people, nearly half of the world's population — and all are nursed by Himalayan ice."
"Regardless of the impact of climate change, there is a widening gap between water supplies and needs. In fact, a new report from the international consulting group McKinsey & Co. estimates that by 2030, India alone will have only 50% of the water that it needs under a business-as-usual scenario. Nor is Asia the only region that will grapple with water scarcity in a warmer world: the McKinsey report estimates that the globe will have 40% less water than it needs by 2030 if nothing is done to change current consumption patterns."
"This year Chinese researchers projected a 43% decrease in glaciated area by 2070. If that happens, the impact could be catastrophic." 12-09
- The Case for Climate Change Even Stronger (Time.com)
"There's plenty more evidence in the Met Office report to support global warming. But the question from critics remains: how can we be sure this isn't just a natural phenomenon? Scientists haven't done a good enough job of communicating how they distinguish human versus natural influences, says Hegerl. The answer lies in climate models — massive computer simulations that allow the scientists to project climate effects in various scenarios, including those in which humans do not emit any greenhouses at all. 'We go out of our way to check out other explanations — by assuming it's all explained by solar activity, or by solar activity plus volcanoes, or by combinations of any of the other natural forcings known to affect climate,' says Hegerl."
"According to the models, none of those combinations can produce the climate patterns currently being observed in the real world." 03-10
- The EPA Declares CO2 in the Air a Danger (Time.com)
"The Environmental Protection Agency took a major step Monday toward regulating greenhouses gases, concluding that climate changing pollution threatens the public health and the environment." 12-09
- The Gas Fracking Debate (ABC News)
"Drilling hasn't been allowed since 2008, when the state began an environmental review of high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which frees gas from shale by injecting a well with millions of gallons of water mixed with chemicals and sand. After drillers poured into Pennsylvania in 2008, environmental problems including methane-contaminated private water wells, salt in rivers from wastewater dumping and spill-polluted streams prompted regulatory reforms in that state and touched off a vocal opposition movement in New York."
"About 25 municipalities have enacted bans on gas drilling, and about 75 others have enacted moratoriums. Dozens of other communities are considering them."
"The majority of those communities are outside the region most likely to see development. Only one, the city of Binghamton, is in one of the prime counties, Broome."
"The Joint Landowners Coalition of New York, which represents about 70,000 landowners seeking to lease land for gas drilling, is working to counter the push for municipal bans." 05-12
- The Greening of America's Youth (MSNBC News)
"It was a demonstration the likes of which haven't been seen in 40 years — this weekend's national pro environmental statement called 'Step It Up.' "
"It's part of a growing number of teens and college students who are picking up the banner of global warming, and running with it." 04-07
- The Need for Carbon Sequestration of Coal-Fired Energy Plants (CNN News)
"Burning coal contributes half of the excess carbon dioxide (CO2) polluting the earth's atmosphere, a statistic not lost on the hundreds of climate change protesters camping in a grassy field near Kingsnorth power station in Kent, England this week." 08-08
- The Physics of Oil Spills (MSNBC News)
Shows what happens to oil over days, weeks, months, and years as it interacts with the ocean. 06-10
- The Toxic Consequences of the Green Revolution (U.S. News)
"Four decades after the so-called Green Revolution enabled this vast nation to feed itself, some farmers are turning their backs on modern agricultural methods—the use of modified seeds, fertilizer, and pesticides—in favor of organic farming." 07-08
- Tire-Gauge Solution (Time.com)
"The Bush Administration estimates that expanded offshore drilling could increase oil production by 200,000 bbl. per day by 2030. We use about 20 million bbl. per day, so that would meet about 1% of our demand two decades from now. Meanwhile, efficiency experts say that keeping tires inflated can improve gas mileage 3%, and regular maintenance can add another 4%. Many drivers already follow their advice, but if everyone did, we could immediately reduce demand several percentage points. In other words: Obama is right."
"In fact, Obama's actual energy plan is much more than a tire gauge. But that's not what's so pernicious about the tire-gauge attacks. Politics ain't beanbag, and Obama has defended himself against worse smears. The real problem with the attacks on his tire-gauge plan is that efforts to improve conservation and efficiency happen to be the best approaches to dealing with the energy crisis — the cheapest, cleanest, quickest and easiest ways to ease our addiction to oil, reduce our pain at the pump and address global warming. It's a pretty simple concept: if our use of fossil fuels is increasing our reliance on Middle Eastern dictators while destroying the planet, maybe we ought to use less." 08-08
- Toxic Fish Could Help Shut Down Heaviest Polluters (Reuters.com)
"A proposed rule on mercury, a pollutant bad for fish and the people who eat too many of them, could help the Obama administration get near its short-term climate goal -- even if Congress fails this year or next to pass a bill tackling greenhouse gases directly." 07-10
- Tree Loss Responsible for Carbon Emissions (Time.com)
"Tree loss accounts for at least 20% of global carbon emissions. What would help cap that output is an international market — similar to that in the power industry or manufacturing — that allows tropical nations to preserve their rainforests in exchange for selling the carbon emissions contained within them. That doesn't exist, in part because major tropical countries like Brazil and Indonesia have been reluctant to accept international carbon finance, for fear of losing control over their natural resources. But Indonesia — the world's third biggest carbon emitter, thanks chiefly to its high deforestation rates — now seems ready to open up. At California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's climate summit in November, Indonesian officials announced their government would set up a regulatory framework for carbon forestry programs, and signed an agreement with California to help shepherd those projects. Translation: Indonesia appears ready to help wealthy California help Indonesia preserve its rapidly dwindling rainforests — and the climate will benefit." 02-09
- U.N. Report: Evidence for Global Warming Is "Unequivocal" (PBS News)
"The evidence for global warming is 'unequivocal' and it is 'very likely' that human actions are to blame for rising temperatures, an international panel of climate experts said Friday.” 01-07
- Ultra Low Emissions Device Developed for Burning Fuel (GaTech.edu)
"Georgia Tech researchers have created a new combustor (combustion chamber where fuel is burned to power an engine or gas turbine) designed to burn fuel in a wide range of devices -- with next to no emission of nitrogen oxide (NOx) and carbon monoxide (CO), two of the primary causes of air pollution. The device has a simpler design than existing state-of-the-art combustors and could be manufactured and maintained at a much lower cost, making it more affordable in everything from jet engines and power plants to home water heaters." The device is called a Stagnation-Point Reverse-Flow Combustor. 11-06
- Warmest March in Recorded History (CNN News)
"March 2012 will go down as the warmest March in the United States since record-keeping began in 1895, NOAA said Monday." 04-12
- We Are Not Doing What Is Necessary to Avoid Climate Change (Time.com)
"But there is one number that may not get discussed much at Copenhagen, even though it is as important as all the others: $10.5 trillion. That is the additional investment needed between now and 2030 to set the world on the path to low-carbon development, according to the International Energy Agency — a number that is far above the pittance the world currently spends on clean-energy research and development. As Jesse Jenkins and Devon Swezey of the think tank Breakthrough Institute wrote on Dec. 7, 'Without measurable progress that dramatically increases global investments in clean energy, we can forget stabilizing global temperatures or atmospheric carbon dioxide at any level.' "
"Beyond the policy wars in the halls of U.N. summits and on Capitol Hill, the battle against climate change requires better and cheaper forms of alternative energy, which will need to be deployed fast. Unfortunately, they don't exist."
Editor's Note: Fortunately, the last statement is incorrect. Decaying organic waste puts 8 times more CO2 into the air each year than human activity. The answer for now is not high-tech alternative energy, recycling, or energy efficiency. The way to reverse the amount of CO2 in the air quickly is to biochar instead of burning forest and agricultural waste. In addition, we need to convert coal-fired power plants to burning biomass. These two actions, undertaken globally, can save our climate from a catastrophe. 12-09
- What Has the Stimulus Bill Done for Us? (Time.com)
"The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 — President Obama's $787 billion stimulus — has been marketed as a jobs bill, and that's how it's been judged. The White House says it has saved or created about 3 million jobs, helping avoid a depression and end a recession. Republicans mock it as a Big Government boondoggle that has failed to prevent rampant unemployment despite a massive expansion of the deficit. Liberals complain that it wasn't massive enough."
"Yes, the stimulus has cut taxes for 95% of working Americans, bailed out every state, hustled record amounts of unemployment benefits and other aid to struggling families and funded more than 100,000 projects to upgrade roads, subways, schools, airports, military bases and much more. But in the words of Vice President Joe Biden, Obama's effusive Recovery Act point man, 'Now the fun stuff starts!' The 'fun stuff,' about one-sixth of the total cost, is an all-out effort to exploit the crisis to make green energy, green building and green transportation real; launch green manufacturing industries; computerize a pen-and-paper health system; promote data-driven school reforms; and ramp up the research of the future. 'This is a chance to do something big, man!' Biden said during a 90-minute interview with TIME." 08-10
- Which Pollutes More: Vehicles or Coal-Fired Power Plants? (UCSUSA.org)
"With this in mind, a passenger car or truck today is typically responsible for around 7.4 tons of CO2 a year. If you compare that to a typical, existing 600 megawatt coal plant, producing 5.2 million tons of CO2 pollution a year, then, in one year, that plant is producing as much global warming pollution as around 700,000 cars."
- World Leaders Agree to Delay Agreement on Climate Change (New York Times)
"President Obama and other world leaders have decided to put off the difficult task of reaching a climate change agreement at a global climate conference scheduled for next month, agreeing instead to make it the mission of the Copenhagen conference to reach a less specific 'politically binding' agreement that would punt the most difficult issues into the future." 11-09
- Zurich Tries to Cut Energy Use Drastically (CBS News)
"Zurich, Switzerland's largest city, has a radical goal: to reduce the amount of energy residents use by two-thirds and become a 2,000-watt society."
"If you take all the energy being consumed on earth and divide by the number of people it works out to about 2,000 watts per person, every second of every day. That's roughly the energy it takes to keep 20, 100-watt light bulbs burning. But how many of us are using more than our share?"
"Top of the list are Americans who use 12,000 watts each. Europeans use about half that much - 6,000 watts on average. Africans and Bangladeshis use less than 700." 12-09
- Campaigning Guides (BBC News)
"Here on Action Network, we want you to be able to take action on problems that affect to you."
"We've written guides to help you get to grips with organising a campaign. Find out about everything from setting up a group and organising a petition, to fundraising and becoming a charity." 07-07
- Cap and Trade Game (MSNBC News)
Game simulates "cap and trade" to reduce air pollution. Editor's Note: The designers of the game assume that the cost for reducing emissions may always be high. 11-09
- Environment Quiz (PMENV.com)
- Lease Solar Energy Without Extra Costs (Renu.Citizenre.com)
"Plainly put, the Citizenre- Corporation pays for, installs, owns and operates the solar installation. You don’t have to worry about maintaining the equipment or any of the other concerns that come with making an investment into solar power. All you are required to do is pay for the electricity generated from these panels, at a fixed rate that is at or below your current electricity price, for up to twenty-five years." Awesome Library does not endorse this product but provides it as an example. 01-07
- Petition for Strong Action to Prevent Climate Change (DemocracyinAction.org)
Provides a petition 07-12
- Projects to Enhance Biological Diversity (BiologicalDiversity.org)
Describes actions you can take. 04-13
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