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National Geographic: On a muddy bluff overlooking the Yellowstone River, Paul Peronard watched as workers tried to mop up oil through holes drilled into the frozen surface. Nearby, a whirring vacuum truck held crude from the first serious U.S. spill into icy water in a quarter-century. The week had begun sunny and unseasonably mild. Peronard, the Environmental Protection Agency's on-scene coordinator, asked for an update. The response: Ice was melting upstream, adding to the cleanup's danger. "Oh," Peronard winced....
Posted: January 30, 2015, 5:03 pm
Scientific American: Since the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident in Japan chilled global attitudes toward nuclear power, the world has been slowly reconciling its discomfort with nuclear and the idea that it may have a role to play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions to tackle climate change. The International Energy Agency and the Nuclear Energy Agency suggest in a report released Thursday that nuclear will have such a significant role to play in climate strategy that nuclear power generation capacity will...
Posted: January 30, 2015, 4:57 pm
Scientific American: The soil in Knolkhol village in southwest Bangladesh has become increasingly salty because of incursions of seawater. The situation became particularly acute in the aftermath of Cyclone Aila in 2009, which brought storm surges that broke embankments and flooded farmland. After 2009 vegetable crops planted in the ground there yielded only meager returns--if they didn't fail completely. But for the past three years hundreds of villagers have enjoyed the bounty of so-called vertical gardens--essentially...
Posted: January 30, 2015, 4:15 pm
ClimateWire: There is good and bad news for climate scientists. The good news: Most Americans (79 percent) say that science and scientists are invaluable. The bad news: On controversial topics such as climate change, a significant number of Americans do not use science to inform their views. Instead, they use political orientation and ideology, which are reflected in their level of education, to decide whether humans are driving planetary warming. This comes from a public opinion poll released yesterday by...
Posted: January 30, 2015, 3:57 pm
Guardian: The head of the US Environmental Protection Agency said on Friday she hoped Pope Francis’s forthcoming message to his flock on the environment would help galvanise concern about climate change and convince sceptics that “the science is real”. The EPA administrator, Gina McCarthy, visiting the Vatican to discuss climate change, said President Barack Obama shared the pope’s belief that it was a moral issue because its effects would be felt most by the poorest and weakest nations. “The pope knows...
Posted: January 30, 2015, 2:19 pm
Guardian: Climate change will threaten the viability of grassroots sport in Australia, and elite tournaments will have to adapt to rising temperatures, extreme rainfall and shrinking snow cover, a report has warned. The extreme heat policies of sports such as tennis, Aussie rules and cricket will have to “dramatically improve” to protect the health of competitors at all levels, the Climate Institute analysis concluded. The report, featuring a foreword from former AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou, warned...
Posted: January 30, 2015, 2:02 pm
Washington Post: As we watch the new GOP-controlled Congress clash over the Keystone XL pipeline, it’s rather depressing to realize that this is just the beginning of the pitched, drag-out battles to come over climate change in the next two years. Even bigger than Keystone XL is the coming fight over the Environmental Protection Agency’s plans to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from older coal-fired power plants, known as the Clean Power Plan. Republicans hate it; to them it epitomizes everything they despise...
Posted: January 30, 2015, 2:00 pm
Mother Jones: He's sitting behind a wooden table piled with a dozen tilapia and Nile perch at the market in Katoro, a roadside town in northern Tanzania. The fish--a staple of the Tanzanian diet--came in that morning from Lake Victoria, an hour's drive north. Around us, hundreds of shoppers are snatching up pineapples, textiles, and motorcycle parts. But Mohammed explains that basic economics is keeping customers away from his fish. "There's less fish," he says. "So the price goes up, so customers can't afford...
Posted: January 30, 2015, 2:00 pm
USA Today: From a mile away, the sleek rows of wind turbines turn lazily in the stiff morning breeze, the rising sun glinting off their shiny fiberglass blades. Their size - many turbines tower 300 feet above the ground - only becomes apparent from up close, as the tips of the knife-edged blades spanning nearly an acre slice the air at 200 mph. Utility companies installed thousands of new turbines last year and are on track to install even more this year, generating pollution-free electricity whenever...
Posted: January 30, 2015, 2:00 pm
Reuters: Large storms like the blizzard that battered New England this week may become more severe but less frequent as the Earth's climate changes, scientists said on Thursday. The Canadian-led study noted that warmer air can hold more moisture, meaning more fuel for rain, hail or snow, and found knock-on effects on how the atmosphere generates storms. "In a future climate, the global atmospheric circulation might comprise highly energetic storms," they wrote in the journal Science. At the same...
Posted: January 30, 2015, 2:00 pm
New York Times: An overwhelming majority of the American public, including nearly half of Republicans, support government action to curb global warming, according to a poll conducted by The New York Times, Stanford University and the nonpartisan environmental research group Resources for the Future. In a finding that could have implications for the 2016 presidential campaign, the poll also found that two-thirds of Americans say they are more likely to vote for political candidates who campaign on fighting climate...
Posted: January 30, 2015, 2:00 pm
LA Times: Temperatures on Earth are creeping upward, and nowhere are they being felt more intensely than in the cities where half of the planet's population resides, a new study suggests. Nearly half the planet`s urban areas experienced a significant rise in the number of extreme heat days and of heat waves that lasted six days or more, according to the study published online Thursday in the journal Environmental Research Letters. Nearly two thirds of those cities also experienced significant increases...
Posted: January 30, 2015, 2:00 pm
Business Times: Strong storms will become stronger while weak storms become weaker, and the cumulative result of all the storms will remain unchanged under global warming, says a study led by atmospheric physicists at the University of Toronto. The team quantified the way in which increase in water vapour from global warming influences the strength of atmospheric air circulation. The atmosphere it turns out will adapt to hotter, wetter climate. "We know that with global warming we'll get more evaporation...
Posted: January 30, 2015, 2:00 pm
Reuters: Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf on Thursday signed an executive order reinstating a moratorium on new leases for oil and natural gas development in state parks and forests. The move restores the ban lifted by his predecessor, Tom Corbett, a Republican. Officials in Pennsylvania were not immediately available to say how much gas and oil energy companies produce from state forest and park land. Wolf, a Democrat, generally supports fracking, but called in his inaugural speech this month for...
Posted: January 30, 2015, 2:00 pm
Reuters: The United States looks set to succeed in watering down a proposal for tougher legal standards aimed at boosting global nuclear safety, according to senior diplomats. Diplomatic wrangling will come to a head at a 77-nation meeting in Vienna next month that threatens to expose divisions over required safety standards and the cost of meeting them, four years after the Fukushima disaster in Japan. Switzerland has put forward a proposal to amend the Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS), arguing stricter...
Posted: January 30, 2015, 2:00 pm
Politico: President Obama's signature environmental initiative, his Clean Power Plan, is designed to fight climate change and crack down on America's carbon-emitting power plants. But behind the scenes, a dispute is raging over obscure language that could promote the rapid destruction of America's carbon-storing forests. This highly technical but consequential fight over the Environmental Protection Agency's approach to "bioenergy'--energy derived from trees, crops, or other plants--has gotten lost in the...
Posted: January 30, 2015, 2:00 pm
StudentScience: Sea levels have been rising pretty quickly over the past two decades — on average, about 3 millimeters (0.12 inch) per year. Scientists had known that this rate of rise was speeding up. But new data indicate that, compared to 25 years ago or more, those recent increases are far steeper than previously realized. That could boost how much scientists expect seas will rise in coming decades. Such information is important for people living near coastlines. Carling Hay was on a team of scientists that...
Posted: January 30, 2015, 2:00 pm
McClatchy: The Senate passed a bill approving construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline on Thursday, setting up a showdown with President Barack Obama, who has promised to veto the measure. Thursday's vote culminated six years of intense debate over the proposed 1,179-mile pipeline, designed to ship Canadian oil sands crude to the U.S. Gulf Coast. The Senate passed the measure 62-36, with nine Democrats joining all Republicans in voting in favor. An almost identical bill already passed...
Posted: January 30, 2015, 2:00 pm
Reuters: Germany's newly installed onshore wind power capacity rose by a record 4,750 megawatts (MW) in 2014, industry groups said on Thursday, marking what is likely to be a peak annual gain as the country gears up for a nuclear-free future. Representing additional energy production roughly equivalent to one nuclear plant, the increase was 58 percent bigger than in 2013. Reckoning with new land resources made available following Japan's Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, engineering group VDMA and...
Posted: January 30, 2015, 2:00 pm
LA times: After weeks of unusually robust debate, the Senate on Thursday approved legislation to expedite construction of the massive Keystone XL pipeline, brushing aside President Obama`s threat to veto the measure. Passage secured not only a top Republican policy victory but also a political success for new Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who made Keystone his first priority. The vote was an early test of McConnell`s promise to return the Senate to a place of freewheeling debate....
Posted: January 30, 2015, 2:00 pm
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