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National Geographic: As sea ice melts and the oil industry prepares to exploit the Arctic's vast resources, the United States faces big gaps in its preparedness for an oil spill in the region, according to a report released Wednesday by the National Research Council (NRC). The 183-page report marks the first time in more than ten years that the NRC, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences, has taken a comprehensive look at the impact of oil and gas exploration in the Arctic. In the intervening decade, sea ice cover...
Posted: April 23, 2014, 10:32 pm
Reuters: The number of baby lobsters in the Gulf of Maine has dropped by half since 2007, a phenomenon that has puzzled scientists as the population of adult lobsters remains near a record high, contributing to robust catches. Scientists note that baby lobsters take eight years to reach harvestable size, meaning the dip could yet be felt by the state's 4,200 lobstermen, who last year hauled in a record catch worth $365 million, representing nearly 70 percent of Maine's total seafood harvest. Despite the...
Posted: April 23, 2014, 9:54 pm
Associated Press: The Obama administration said Wednesday it is cutting the amount of coal dust allowed in coal mines in an effort to help reduce black lung disease. "Today we advance a very basic principle: you shouldn't have to sacrifice your life for your livelihood," Labor Secretary Thomas E Perez said. "But that's been the fate of more than 76,000 miners who have died at least in part because of black lung since 1968." Perez was one of several top government officials to announce the long-awaited final...
Posted: April 23, 2014, 7:58 pm
VentureBeat: It will be a profound irony if NASA`s lasting value will be to document from space the planet`s decline. Case in point: The agency released today a scientific visualization video showing the transition of the entire African rainforest in the Congo from green to a drought-stricken brown. The visualization is based on data from NASA satellites, and the related study is published today in the scientific journal Nature. The rainforest is the second largest in the world, after the Amazon. "It`s...
Posted: April 23, 2014, 7:45 pm
Environmental News Network: Glaciers and ice sheets are commonly thought to work like a belt sander. As they move over the land they scrape off everything — vegetation, soil and even the top layer of bedrock. So a team of university scientists and a NASA colleague were greatly surprised to discover an ancient tundra landscape preserved under the Greenland Ice Sheet, below two miles of ice. "We found organic soil that has been frozen to the bottom of the ice sheet for 2.7 million years," said University of Vermont geologist...
Posted: April 23, 2014, 7:31 pm
Reuters: Environmental groups urged the United States on Wednesday to drop a challenge to India's massive solar program and said the World Trade Organization case would only hurt the growth of renewable energy resources. The United States is taking action at the WTO over the domestic content requirements in India's program, which aims to ease chronic energy shortages in Asia's third-largest economy. U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman has said making Indian solar developers use locally made equipment...
Posted: April 23, 2014, 7:15 pm
New York Times: Years of drier conditions in the Congo River basin in central Africa appear to be affecting trees in the region’s vast rain forests, scientists reported on Wednesday. Writing in the journal Nature, the researchers said that the capacity of the trees to photosynthesize had declined, and suggested that if this trend continues, the long-term result could be changes in the structure and composition of the region’s forests, the largest expanse of rain forest in the world after the Amazon. Those potential...
Posted: April 23, 2014, 6:55 pm
RTCC: The Congo Basin will face disproportionately high levels of global warming by 2050 due to deforestation, researchers have warned. Shrinking rainforest cover means the area will heat up by an additional 0.7C by mid-century, on top of the 1.4C increase from today’s temperatures that rising global greenhouse gas emissions are projected to cause. This is in addition to the 0.85C of warming that the world has already experienced since industrial times, when humans started burning fossil fuels at...
Posted: April 23, 2014, 6:15 pm
Washington Post: Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) says in a new interview that people who cite recent hurricanes as proof of climate change are ignorant. Paul was speaking Tuesday with former senior Obama adviser David Axelrod at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics. He said evidence of man-made climate change being a problem remains inconclusive and that many activists are "alarmist." "They all predicted the poor Statue of Liberty was going to drown within a hundred years, and the polar bears and all this...
Posted: April 23, 2014, 4:56 pm
MSN: The portion of days with warm weather in the U.S. have increased by 25 percent over the past 50 years according to a new data analysis. The analysis draws on publicly available data and represents the tip of the iceberg for how publicly available climate and weather data can be accessed and used. New York-based open data firm Enigma undertook the analysis. To do it, they dealt with the unenviable task of sorting through more than 860 million rows of data from 90,000 weather stations across the country....
Posted: April 23, 2014, 3:02 pm
BBC: A global programme to reward developing countries for avoiding deforestation has made little headway, officials and conservationists say. The delays are proving particularly frustrating for communities concerned with conserving forests in those nations. Campaigners say that nearly eight years have passed since the programme, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (Redd), was announced, but the international projects supposed to implement it are not happening anywhere....
Posted: April 23, 2014, 2:13 pm
McClatchy: The push to start drilling in the Atlantic Ocean is gaining momentum and dividing people along the grand coast of South Carolina, where some local leaders fear what it could mean for tourism. "If we had an event like they had in the Gulf it would be devastating for us," said Hilton Head Mayor Drew Laughlin, referring to the April 2010 drilling rig explosion that killed 11 and gushed 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. "Our beach and our environment are our signatures. Our entire...
Posted: April 23, 2014, 2:00 pm
Nation: In November 2013, American climate scientist Richard Heede, of the Colorado-based Climate Accountability Institute, published a paper with a revolutionary thesis. After nine years of researching the energy industry in dozens of countries, he concluded that nearly two-thirds of the world's carbon dioxide and methane emissions dating back to the dawn of the industrial era were the responsibility of just ninety companies. Heede called them the "carbon majors.' Not surprisingly, the biggest players...
Posted: April 23, 2014, 2:00 pm
EcoWatch: Earlier this year, the groups behind the Reject and Protect campaign and their supporters sent 2 million anti-Keystone XL comments to the Obama Administration in just 30 days. Now, they`re following that up by in-person resistance to the massive pipeline. Through Sunday, the Cowboy Indian Alliance is camping out at Washington D.C.`s National Mall as an official protest to Keystone XL, the 1,179-mile pipeline that would extend from Canada to Texas. The opening ceremony took place on Tuesday,...
Posted: April 23, 2014, 1:32 pm
Climate Central: If human-caused climate change is to be slowed enough to avert the worst consequences of global warming, carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants and other pollutants will have to be captured and injected deep into the ground to prevent them from being released into the atmosphere. Such is the scenario the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change paints in its recent report outlining ways climate change can be mitigated as civilizations across the globe continue to burn fossil fuels...
Posted: April 23, 2014, 12:30 pm
Associated Press: Nearly 60% of the groundwater at sites monitored throughout China is of poor or extremely poor quality, with excessive amounts of pollutants, according to an annual report by the Ministry of Land and Resources. Tests at 4,778 monitoring sites across China showed a slight increase in polluted sites over last year, from 57.4% to 59.6%, according to the report, released late on Tuesday. Beijing has been responding to public demands for transparency in environmental data. Last week, the government...
Posted: April 23, 2014, 11:31 am
Blue and Green: The government has given eight major renewable projects the go-ahead as part of its electricity market reforms. The developments have been described as a significant part of the coalition’s plans to provide cleaner and more secure energy to the UK. It is anticipated that by 2020, the projects will provide up to £12 billion of private sector investment and generate around 4% of Britain’s energy mix. They include offshore wind farms and coal-to-biomass conversions, and will go some way to help Britain...
Posted: April 23, 2014, 11:31 am
Guardian: It's big and bumpy with a gooey interior and a powerful smell of decay - but it could help keep millions of people from hunger. Researchers say jackfruit – a large ungainly fruit grown across south and south-east Asia – could be a replacement for wheat, corn and other staple crops under threat from climate change. The World Bank and United Nations warned recently that rising temperatures and unpredictable rainfall had already reduced yields of wheat and corn, and could lead to food wars within...
Posted: April 23, 2014, 11:29 am
Associated Press: Climbing to the roof of the world is becoming less predictable and possibly more dangerous, scientists say, as climate change brings warmer temperatures that may eat through the ice and snow on Mount Everest. Nepal was left reeling when a sudden ice avalanche slammed down onto a group of Sherpa guides on Friday and killed 16 in the deadliest single disaster on Everest. While it is impossible to link any single event to long-term changes in the global climate, scientists say the future will likely...
Posted: April 23, 2014, 11:26 am
Energy Collective: If I asked you to think of renewable energy what comes to mind? I imagine it is skyscraper-sized wind turbines, solar panels on suburban roofs or massive hydro-electric dams. You probably do not think of burning wood or converting crops to liquid fuel to be used in cars. Yet throughout the world bio-energy remains the biggest source of renewable energy. In fact its growth in the last decade has been greater than or similar to that from wind and solar in most places, and those places include the European...
Posted: April 23, 2014, 11:15 am
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