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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Extreme weather: the reality of a warming world Scientists are starting to link natural disasters to rising greenhouse gases.

Extreme weather: the reality of a warming world

Scientists are starting to link natural disasters to rising greenhouse gases.

Friday, January 21, 2011

New melt record for Greenland ice sheet (w/ Video)

New melt record for Greenland ice sheet (w/ Video)

January 21, 2011 New melt record for Greenland ice sheet (w/ Video)Enlarge
The figure above shows the standardized melting index anomaly for the period 1979 - 2010.
New research shows that 2010 set new records for the melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet, expected to be a major contributor to projected sea level rises in coming decades.
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Marine 'dead zones' tracked by new web-based map

Marine 'dead zones' tracked by new web-based map

January 21, 2011 Marine 'dead zones' tracked by new web-based mapEnlarge
New research by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary, identifies more than 530 low-oxygen "dead zones" and an additional 228 sites worldwide exhibiting signs of marine "eutrophication." Eutrophication occurs when water bodies are over-fertilized by nutrients that are washed into surface waters from farms and urban areas.
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Man, Volcanoes And The Sun Have Influenced Europe's Climate Over Recent Centuries

Man, Volcanoes And The Sun Have Influenced Europe's Climate Over Recent Centuries

File image.
by Staff Writers Barcelona, Spain (SPX) Jan 21, 2011 An International research team has discovered that seasonal temperatures in Europe, above all in winter, have been affected over the past 500 years by natural factors such as volcanic eruptions and solar activity, and by human activities such as the emission of greenhouse gases. The study, with Spanish involvement, could help us to better understand the dynamics of climate change. Up until now, it was thought that Europe's climate prior to 1900 was barely affected by external factors, but now a group of scientists has shown that natural phenomena such as volcanic eruptions or solar radiation, as well as human emissions of aerosols and greenhouse gases, have had an impact on the evolution of Europe's climate over the past five centuries.
"The influence of the increase in levels of greenhouse gases, in particular, can be clearly seen since the end of the 17th Century", Jesus Fidel Gonzalez Rouco, a physicist at the Complutense University of Madrid and co-author of the study, which has recently been published online in the journal Nature Geoscience, tells SINC.
The researchers studied how natural and human factors affected temperatures across Europe throughout the seasons in the years from 1500 to 2000. The results show that winter is the season in which changes in levels of greenhouse gases and aerosols from manmade sources can be seen to have the clearest influence.
As reliable temperature records do not go back any further than 150 years, the team carried out simulations using three climate models and reconstructed past climate scenarios based on old instrumental observations, information recorded in historical documents and by studying tree rings.
Lessons for climate change "For the first time we are able to attribute causes to how the climate has evolved over several centuries, working at continental and seasonal scale", says Gonzalez Rouco.
"And the relevance of this approach is based on the fact that the impact of any possible climate change can be greater for societies and ecosystems within the range of these spatial and time-based scales".
Scientists say that Europe's climate "has in the past been sensitive to variations in radiative forcing from natural and human sources (changes in the energy received from the Sun, in volcanic activity, or in levels of greenhouse gases), so it is to be expected that the intense current and future variations in these forcings will play a significant role in the future evolution of Europe's climate".
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Speeding Up Mother Nature's Very Own CO2 Mitigation Process

If the carbon dioxide reacted with crushed limestone and seawater, and the resulting solution was released to the ocean, this would not only sequester carbon from the atmosphere, but also would add ocean alkalinity that would help buffer and offset the effects of ongoing marine acidification. Again, this speeds up the natural CO2 consumption and buffering process offered by carbonate weathering.

Livermore CA (SPX) Jan 21, 2011 Using seawater and calcium to remove carbon dioxide (CO2) in a natural gas power plant's flue stream, and then pumping the resulting calcium bicarbonate in the sea, could be beneficial to the oceans' marine life. Greg Rau, a senior scientist with the Institute of Marine Sciences at UC Santa Cruz and who also works in the Carbon Management Program at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, conducted a series of lab-scale experiments to find out if a seawater/mineral carbonate (limestone) gas scrubber would remove enough CO2 to be effective, and whether the resulting substance - dissolved calcium bicarbonate - could then be stored in the ocean where it might also benefit marine life.
In addition to global warming effects, when carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere, a significant fraction is passively taken up by the ocean in a form that makes the ocean more acidic. This acidification has been shown to be harmful to marine life, especially corals and shellfish.
In his experiments, Rau found that the scrubber removed up to 97 percent of CO2 in a simulated flue gas stream, with a large fraction of the carbon ultimately converted to dissolved calcium bicarbonate.
At scale, the process would hydrate the carbon dioxide in power plant flue gas with water to produce a carbonic acid solution. This solution would react with limestone, neutralizing the carbon dioxide by converting it to calcium bicarbonate - and then would be released into the ocean.
While this process occurs naturally (carbonate weathering), it is much less efficient, and is too slow paced to be effective. "The experiment in effect mimics and speeds up nature's own process," said Rau. "Given enough time, carbonate mineral (limestone) weathering will naturally consume most anthropogenic CO2. Why not speed this up where it's cost effective to do so?"
If the carbon dioxide reacted with crushed limestone and seawater, and the resulting solution was released to the ocean, this would not only sequester carbon from the atmosphere, but also would add ocean alkalinity that would help buffer and offset the effects of ongoing marine acidification. Again, this speeds up the natural CO2 consumption and buffering process offered by carbonate weathering.
Earlier research has shown that ocean acidification can cause exoskeletal components to decay, retard growth and reproduction, reduce activity and even kill marine life including coral reefs.
"This approach not only mitigates CO2, but also potentially treats the effects of ocean acidification," Rau said. "Further research at larger scales and in more realistic settings is needed to prove these dual benefits."
Rau said the process would be most applicable for CO2 mitigation at coastal, natural gas-fired power plants. Such plants frequently already use massive quantities of seawater for cooling, which could be cheaply reused for at least some of the CO2 mitigation process.
"This method allows a power plant to continue burning fossil fuel, but eliminates at least some of the carbon dioxide that is emitted, and in a way that in some locations should be less expensive and more environmentally friendly than other carbon dioxide sequestration methods," he said.
The work, funded by the Energy Innovations Small Grant Program of the California Energy Commission and LLNL, appears in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

The cost of ending global warming – a calculation

The cost of ending global warming – a calculation

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Climate change study had 'significant error': experts

Obama says US, China share climate goalsWashington (AFP) Jan 19, 2011 - US President Barack Obama said Wednesday that Chinese President Hu Jintao agreed with him on the need to fight climate change by moving ahead in international negotiations. Meeting with Hu at the White House, Obama touched on last month's accord in Cancun, Mexico and the conference the previous year to Copenhagen that inched forward on setting up a new global agreement on climate change. "I believe that as the two largest energy consumers and emitters of greenhouse gases, the United States and China have a responsibility to combat climate changes by building on the progress at Copenhagen and Cancun and showing the way to a clean energy future," Obama told a joint news conference. "And President Hu indicated that he agrees with me on this issue," Obama said. Hu said alongside Obama that China "will work with the United States and other countries to effectively address global challenge" including climate change.

The Obama administration has insisted that China -- which has surpassed the United States as the top emitter of greenhouse gases blamed for climate change -- take clear, verifiable action under the next international agreement. The administration hopes that commitments by Beijing could also improve the environment in the US Congress, where many members of the rival Republican Party are deeply opposed to legislation on climate change. The Cancun summit set up the practicalities for a global fund to distribute aid to the least developed countries that are expected to be worst affected by climate change. While the summit's achievements were modest, the mood improved from the chaotic Copenhagen summit where China faced heavy criticism from the West over its role.

Washington (AFP) Jan 19, 2011 A climate change study that projected a 2.4 degree Celsius increase in temperature and massive worldwide food shortages in the next decade was seriously flawed, scientists said Wednesday. The study was posted Tuesday on EurekAlert, a independent service for reporters set up by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and was written about by numerous international news agencies, including AFP.
But AAAS later retracted the study as experts cited numerous errors in its approach.
"A reporter with The Guardian alerted us yesterday to concerns about the news release submitted by Hoffman & Hoffman public relations," said AAAS spokeswoman Ginger Pinholster in an email to AFP.
"We immediately contacted a climate change expert, who confirmed that the information raised many questions in his mind, too. We swiftly removed the news release from our website and contacted the submitting organization."
Scientist Osvaldo Canziani, who was part of the 2007 Nobel Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, was listed as the scientific advisor to the report.
The IPCC, whose figures were cited as the basis for the study's projections, and Al Gore jointly won the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2007 "for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change," the prize committee said at the time.
Canziani's spokesman said Tuesday he was ill and was unavailable for interviews.
The study cited the UN group's figures for its projections, combined with "the business-as-usual path the world is currently following," said lead author Liliana Hisas of the Universal Ecological Fund (UEF), a non-profit group headquartered in Argentina.
But climate scientist Ray Weymann told AFP that the "study contains a significant error in that it confuses 'equilibrium' temperature rise with 'transient temperature rise.'"
He also noted that study author Hisas was told of the problems in advance of the report's release.
"The author of the study was told by several of us about this error but she said it was too late to change it," said Weymann.
Scientist Scott Mandia forwarded to AFP an email he said he sent to Hisas ahead of publication explaining why her figures did not add up, and noting that it would take "quite a few decades" to reach a warming level of 2.4 degrees Celsius.
"Even if we assume the higher end of the current warming rate, we should only be 0.2C warmer by 2020 than today," Mandia wrote.
"To get to +2.4C the current trend would have to immediately increase almost ten-fold."
Mandia described the mishap as an "honest and common mistake," but said the matter would certainly give fuel to skeptics of humans' role in climate change.
"More alarmism," said Mandia. "Don't get me wrong. We are headed to 2.4, it is just not going to happen in 2020."
Many people do not understand the cumulative effect of carbon emissions and how they impact climate change, Mandia said.
"This is something that people don't appreciate. We tied a record in 2010 (for temperature records) globally. That is primarily from the C02 we put in the atmosphere in the 70s and early 80s, and we have been ramping up since then," he said.
"So it is not good. We are seeing the response from a mistake we were making 20 years ago, and we are making bigger mistakes today."
Marshall Hoffman of the public relations firm that issued the report on the UEF's behalf said the group stands by the study.
"Earlier, NASA and NOAA estimated that the global temperature increased one degree from 2005-2010. If this stays on the same path, that will be two degrees by 2015. We see that path increasing more rapidly," Hoffman said, in part, in his explanation.
Asked for comment on Hoffman's response, Mandia told AFP: "He is still confused."
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Recent Law REview Articles -- January 19, 2011 from PEN by Jack McNeill, Associate Library Director

Recent Law REview Articles -- January 19, 2011

Bingham, Lisa Blomgren. The next generation of administrative law: building the legal infrastructure for collaborative governance. 2010 Wis. L. Rev. 297-356.

Gervais, Daniel. The regulation of inchoate technologies. 47 Hous. L. Rev. 665-705 (2010).

Nelson, Laura Anzie. Delineating deference to agency science: doctrine or political ideology? 40 Envtl. L. 1057-1104 (2010).

Centner, Terence J. Nutrient pollution from land applications of manure: discerning a remedy for pollution. 21 Stan. L. & Pol’y Rev. 213-243 (2010).

Hornstein, Donald T. The environmental role of agriculture in an era of carbon caps. 20 Health Matrix 145-174 (2010).

Kool, Amanda L. Halting pig in the parlor patents: nuisance law as a tool to redress crop contamination. 50 Jurimetrics J. 453-507 (2010).

Reed-Huff, LaVonda N. Dirty dishes, dirty laundry, and windy mills: a framework for regulation of clean energy devices. 40 Envtl. L. 859-912 (2010).

Animal Law Symposium. Articles by Bruce A. Wagman, Megan A. Senatori, Pamela D. Frasch, Taimie L. Bryant and Kathy Hessler; roundtable with Nancy Perry, Colby Dolan, Jessica Almy, Zak Smith and Matthew Liebman , participants. 60 J. Legal Educ. 193-295 (2010).

Craig, Mary W. A horse of a different color: a study of color bias, anti-trust, and restraint of trade violations in the equine industry. 22 St. Thomas L. Rev. 433-469 (2010).

Favre, David. Living property: a new status for animals within the legal system. 93 Marq. L. Rev. 1021-1071 (2010).

Ritter, Michael J. Standing in the way of animal welfare: a reconsideration of the zone-of-interest “gloss” on the Administrative Procedures Act. 29 Rev. Litig. 951-986 (2010).

Wilder, Meagan P. Who gets the oil?: Arctic energy exploration in uncertain waters and the need for universal ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. 32 Hous. J. Int’l L. 505-544 (2010).

Miron, Brier K. Federal common law versus state law: can a federal common law veil-piercing standard for indirect CERCLA liability of a parent corporation satisfy the Kimbell Floods test? (United States v. Kimbell Foods, Inc., 440 U.S. 715, 1979.) 39 Sw. L. Rev. 513-540 (2010).

Heischmidt, Christina M. China’s dumping ground: genocide through nuclear ecocide in Tibet. 18 Penn St. Envtl. L. Rev. 213-233 (2010).

Gordon, Ruth. Panama and the specter of climate change. 41 U. Miami Inter-Am. L. Rev. 129-185 (2010).

International Human Rights and Climate Change. Dedication by Anne Marie Pippin; introduction by Daniel Bodansky; keynote address by Thomas Pogge; articles by Marc Limon, Naomi Roht-Arriaza, Svitlana Kravchenko, Rebecca M. Bratspies and Edward Cameron. 38 Ga. J. Int’l & Comp. L. 511-716 (2010).

Miller, Matthew Edwin. The right issue, the wrong branch: arguments against adjudicating climate change nuisance claims. 109 Mich. L. Rev. 257-289 (2010).

Pogge, Thomas. Keynote address: poverty, climate change, and overpopulation. 38 Ga. J. Int’l & Comp. L. 525-542 (2010).

Childs, J. Scott. Continental cap-and-trade: Canada, the United States, and climate change partnership in North America. 32 Hous. J. Int’l L. 393-457 (2010).

Myers, Bruce, William W. Buzbee, Wm. Robert Irvin and Michael W. Evans. The scope of congressional authority to protect the environment. 40 Envtl. L. Rep. News & Analysis 10977-10988 (2010).

Bookbinder, David. Some thoughts on the Constitution and the environment. 40 Envtl. L. Rep. News & Analysis 10974-10976 (2010).

May, James R. New and emerging constitutional theories and the future of environmental protection. 40 Envtl. L. Rep. News & Analysis 10989-10993 (2010).

Eifert, Valerie. Collaboration before legislation: the current state of e-waste laws and a guide to developing common threads for the state patchwork quilt. 18 Penn St. Envtl. L. Rev. 235-256 (2010).

Carminati, M. Vittoria Giugi. Clean air & stormy skies: the EU-ETS imposing carbon credit purchases on United States airlines. 37 Syracuse J. Int'l L. & Com. 127-144 (2010).

Lotay, Jessie S. Subprime carbon: fashioning an appropriate regulatory and legislative response to the emerging U.S. carbon market to avoid a repeat of history in carbon structured finance and derivative instruments. 32 Hous. J. Int’l L. 459-504 (2010).

Shufelt, Jennie. New York’s CO2 cap-and-trade program: regulating climate change without climate change legislation. 73 Alb. L. Rev. 1583-1606 (2010).

Balent, Alvan. Note. An energy-efficient Internet: the next revolution. 37 Fla. St. U. L. Rev. 981-1001 (2010).

Deatherage, Scott D., et al. Environmental law. 63 SMU L. Rev. 557-575 (2010).

Environmental Protection in the Balance: Citizens, Courts, and the Constitution. Articles by Hon. Peter Hall, Holly Doremus, Bradford C. Mank, David Bookbinder, Bruce Myers, William W. Buzbee, Wm. Robert Irvin, Michael W. Evans, James R. May, Daniel A. Farber and Robert Glicksman. 40 Envtl. L. Rep. News & Analysis 10953-11010 (2010).

Recent developments. In the Congress. 40 Envtl. L. Rep. News & Analysis 11011-11012 (2010).

Recent developments. In the courts. 40 Envtl. L. Rep. News & Analysis 11013-11015 (2010).

Recent developments. In the federal agencies. 40 Envtl. L. Rep. News & Analysis 11015-11019 (2010).

Recent developments. In the state agencies. 40 Envtl. L. Rep. News & Analysis 11020-11023 (2010).

Thomas, Seth M., et al. 2008-2009 environmental law survey. 43 Ind. L. Rev. 723-771 (2010).

Reeder, Daniel. Federalism does well enough now: why federalism provides sufficient protection for the environment, and no other model is needed. 18 Penn St. Envtl. L. Rev. 293-317 (2010).

Hoefsmit, Christina A. Southern Ocean shakeup: establishing sovereignty in Antarctica and the consequences for fishery management. 15 Roger Williams U. L. Rev. 547-582 (2010).

Jeffers, Jennifer. Climate change and the Arctic: adapting to changes in fisheries stocks and governance regimes. 37 Ecology L.Q. 917-977 (2010).

Abrams, Marc. Native Americans, Smokey Bear and the rise and fall of eastern oak forests. 18 Penn St. Envtl. L. Rev. 141-154 (2010).

Boyd, William. Ways of seeing in environmental law: how deforestation became an object of climate governance. 37 Ecology L.Q. 843-916 (2010).

Bramwell, Lincoln. The looming fire problem in the East. 18 Penn St. Envtl. L. Rev. 177-183 (2010).

Cheever, Federico. The phantom menace and the real cause: lessons from Colorado’s Hayman fire 2002. 18 Penn St. Envtl. L. Rev. 185-211 (2010).

Smithwick, Erica A.H. Pyrogeography: lessons for future northeastern U.S. landscapes. 18 Penn St. Envtl. L. Rev. 155-175 (2010).

Epstein, Richard A. Carbon dioxide: our newest pollutant. 43 Suffolk U.L. Rev. 797-827 (2010).

Rajamani, Lavanya. The making and unmaking of the Copenhagen Accord. 59 Int’l & Comp. L.Q. 824-843 (2010).

Fanizzo, Kelly Y. Separation of powers and federal land management: enforcing the direction of the President under the Antiquities Act. 40 Envtl. L. 765-828 (2010).

Zweig, Jennifer Lynn. A globally sustainable right to land: utilizing real property to protect the traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples and local communities. 38 Ga. J. Int’l & Comp. L. 769-797 (2010).

Mackielo, Andrea Laura. Core rules of international environmental law. 16 ILSA J. Int’l & Comp. L. 257-299 (2009).

Steiner, Achim. Eleventh Annual Grotius Lecture. "Focusing on the good or the bad: what can international environmental law do to accelerate the transition towards a green economy?" 25 Am. U. Int'l L. Rev. 843-875 (2010).

Moose, James G. The relationship between water supply and land use planning: leading cases under the California Environmental Quality Act. 4 Golden Gate U. Envtl. L.J. 27-68 (2010).

Shwab, Melanie. Crossing the home-rule boundaries should be mandatory: advocating for a watershed approach to zoning and land use in Ohio. 58 Clev. St. L. Rev. 463-494 (2010).

Gulf of Maine Conference Panel Transcript: The Gulf of Maine Case Revisited. Charles H. Norchi, moderator; Ralph I. Lancaster Jr., chair; Ralph Gillis, David Colson, Davis Robinson and Judge Stephen M. Schwebel, speakers. 15 Ocean & Coastal L.J. 185-234 (2010).

Fanning, Lucia and Rita Heimes. Ocean planning and the Gulf of Maine: exploring bi-national policy options. 15 Ocean & Coastal L.J. 293-337 (2010).

Van Dyke, Jon M. The Romania v. Ukraine decision and its effect on East Asian maritime delimitations. 15 Ocean & Coastal L.J. 261-283 (2010).

Doremus, Holly. The persistent problem of standing in environmental law. 40 Envtl. L. Rep. News & Analysis 10956-10957 (2010).

Mank, Bradford C. Summers v. Earth Island Institute: its implications for future standing decisions. 40 Envtl. L. Rep. News & Analysis 10958-10973 (2010).

Mollett, Sarah. The Chesapeake Bay’s oysters: current status and strategies for improvement. 18 Penn St. Envtl. L. Rev. 257-291 (2010).

Howe, Jason G. Fednav, Ltd. v. Chester: ballast water and the battle to balance state and federal regulatory interests. (Fednav, Ltd. v. Chester, 505 F. Supp. 2d 381, 2007, aff’d, 547 F.3d 607, 2008.) 15 Ocean & Coastal L.J. 381-399 (2010).

DelCotto, Adrianne. Suction dredge mining: the United States Forest Service hands miners the golden ticket. 40 Envtl. L. 1021-1055 (2010).

Sullivan, Bethany C. Changing winds: reconfiguring the legal framework for renewable-energy development in Indian Country. 52 Ariz. L. Rev. 823-852 (2010).

Washburn, Sarah. Distinguishing Carcieri v. Salazar: why the Supreme Court got it wrong and how Congress and courts should respond to preserve tribal and federal interests in the IRA’a trust-land provisions. (Carcieri v. Salazar, 129 S. Ct. 1058, 2009.) 85 Wash. L. Rev. 603-646 (2010).

Brown, Richard F. and Laura L. Hale. Oil, gas and mineral law. 63 SMU L. Rev. 675-701 (2010).

Wexler, Lesley. Regulating resource curses: institutional design and evolution of the blood diamond regime. 31 Cardozo L. Rev. 1717-1780 (2010).

Slaten, Emily M. Note. "We don't fish in their oil wells, and they shouldn't drill in our rivers": considering public opposition under NEPA and the highly controversial regulatory factor. 43 Ind. L. Rev. 1319-1349 (2010).

Young, Michael K. Non-state actors in the global order. 2010 Utah L. Rev. 81-90.

Urdaneta, Karla. Transboundary petroleum reservoirs: a recommended approach for the United States and Mexico in the deepwaters of the Gulf of Mexico. 32 Hous. J. Int’l L. 333-391 (2010).

Cuervo, Luis E. The uncertain fate of Venezuela’s black pearl: the petrostate and its ambiguous oil & gas legislation. 32 Hous. J. Int’l L. 637-693 (2010).

Glicksman, Robert L. The Constitution, the environment, and the prospect of enhanced executive power. 40 Envtl. L. Rep. News & Analysis 11002-11010 (2010).

Mark, Tyler F. Rocky Mountain shootout: free exercise & preserving the open range. (Rocky Mountain Christian Church v. Board of County Commissioners, 481 F. Supp. 2d 1213, 2007.) 98 Geo. L.J. 1859-1889 (2010).

Hodges, Brian T. and Daniel A. Himebaugh. Have Washington courts lost essential nexus to the precautionary principle? Citizens’ Alliance for Property Rights v. Sims. 40 Envtl. L. 829-858 (2010).

Pribbenow, Traci M. Comment. Back in the saddle again: but which way do we go from here? A view of agency suggestions for systemic risk regulation. 60 Case W. Res. L. Rev. 559-582 (2010).

Gansler, Douglas F., Atty. Gen. Md. Protecting Maryland’s environment: a holistic solution. 40 U. Balt. L.F. 205-227 (2010).

Real Water: California’s Land Use-Water Law Turns Ten. Introduction by Paul Stanton Kibel and Anthony A. Austin; articles by A. Dan Tarlock, James G. Moose, Ellen Hanak, Barry Epstein, Kevin M. O’Brian, Randele Kanouse, Douglas Wallace and Lincoln Davies. 4 Golden Gate U. Envtl. L.J. 1-198 (2010).

Carroll, Ellie. Twenty-five years in the making: why sustainable development has eluded the U.N., and how community-driven development offers the solution. 32 Hous. J. Int’l L. 545-585 (2010).

Lopez, Matthew L. Student article. The effects of free trade on the environment: conserving the environment while maintaining increased levels of economic prosperity for developing countries. 3 Phoenix L. Rev. 701-728 (2010).

Blumm, Michael C. and J.B. Ruhl. Background principles, takings, and libertarian property: a reply to Professor Huffman. 37 Ecology L.Q. 805-841 (2010).

Jackson, Janet Thompson. What is property? Property is theft: the lack of social justice in U.S. eminent domain law. 84 St. John’s L. Rev. 63-116 (2010).

Lindberg, Eric A. Multijurisdictionality and federalism: assessing San Remo Hotel’s effect on regulatory takings. (San Remo Hotel, L.P. v. City of San Francisco, 545 U.S. 323, 2005.) 57 UCLA L. Rev. 1819-1878 (2010).

Rosenthal, Brent M. Toxic torts and mass torts. 63 SMU L. Rev. 845-863 (2010).

Shaw, Andrea. A dirty job: how identifying hazardous substance releases under "all appropriate inquiry" creates liability for environmental professionals. 40 Cumb. L. Rev. 555-592 2009-2010).

Hildebrand, Lawrence P. and Aldo Chircop. A gulf united: Canada-U.S. transboundary marine ecosystem-based governance in the Gulf of Maine. 15 Ocean & Coastal L.J. 339-380 (2010).

Beckman, Ben. The wholesale decommissioning of vacant urban neighborhoods: smart decline, public-purpose takings, and the legality of shrinking cities. 58 Clev. St. L. Rev. 387-461 (2010).

Epstein, Barry. Friant Dam holding contracts: not an entitlement to water supply under SB 610. 4 Golden Gate U. Envtl. L.J. 91-129 (2010).

Hanak, Ellen. Show me the water plan: urban water management plans and California’s water supply adequacy laws. 4 Golden Gate U. Envtl. L.J. 69-89 (2010).

Dagne, Teshager Worku. The debate on environmentally motivated unilateral trade measures in the World Trade Organization: the way forward. 9 Wash. U. Global Stud. L. Rev. 427-456 (2010).

Anderson, Arthur J. and Thomas Mann. Zoning and land use. 63 SMU L. Rev. 893-917 (2010).

World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse

World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse

January, 2011
This book authored by Lester Brown looks at the environmental threats to international stability and analyses the international cooperation needed to stem environmental deterioration.
We are facing issues of near-overwhelming complexity and unprecedented urgency. Our challenge is to think globally and develop policies to counteract environmental decline and economic collapse. The question is: Can we change direction before we go over the edge?
Full Text of Document

Climate change could boost crops in US, China

Climate change could boost crops in US, China

Washington (AFP) Jan 18, 2011 A global population explosion combined with the steady effects of climate change are forecast to create a worldwide food shortage in the next 10 years, but the news isn't all bad for some countries. The United States, China, Ethiopia and parts of northern Europe are among the select few expected to be able to grow more crops as a result of changes in temperature and rainfall, according to a study out Tuesday.
However, those gains will not be enough to stave off an increase in world starvation and price spikes for food as a result of a shortfall in three of the four main cereal crops, it said.
The forecast is based on UN figures about climate change released in 2007, and projects the impact of temperature changes that will leave the planet at least 2.4 degrees Celsius (4.3 Fahrenheit) warmer by 2020.
"The analysis is based on the conclusions of the 2007 IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) Fourth Assessment Report," said lead author Liliana Hisas of the Universal Ecological Fund, a non-profit group.
"Our other guiding principles were using the business-as-usual path the world is currently following, and assess the impacts of climate change with a short-term target of one decade."
A population boom will leave the world with an additional 890 million people in 2020, for a total of 7.8 billion, up from the current level of 6.9 billion, the study said.
And across-the-board deficits in wheat, rice and maize means there will not be enough to feed all those extra mouths.
The result will be more prevalent hunger -- one in five people going hungry, up from the current rate of one in seven -- and food price spikes of up to 20 percent, according to the study.
"At least every other newborn in Africa; one in every four newborns in Asia; and one in every seven newborns in Latin America and the Caribbean would be sentenced to undernourishment and malnutrition," it added.
On the whole, Africa is expected to be the hardest hit. Due to hotter, drier temperatures, nearly two thirds of arable land on the continent could be lost by 2025, and maize growing could die out completely in some areas.
Grape and olive growing in Mediterranean countries like Italy, Spain and France will suffer due to mounting dryness, as will the vineyards of California -- a 3.9-billion-dollar industry.
Elsewhere in the United States, the lead global producer of maize and soybean, wheat crops are forecast to grow five to 20 percent, while corn crops could falter slightly.
Northern Europe could see wheat yields climb between three and four percent.
Meanwhile, the vast continent of Asia will see drastically different impacts in crop growth and rainfall.
India, the second largest world producer of rice and wheat, could see yields fall 30 percent, the study said.
But not so for China, the world's biggest producer of wheat and rice, which is expected to boost yields up to 20 percent.
The effects of climate change are expected to be harsher for India because of its tropical climate, as opposed to China, which lies in the temperate zone. Growers in Bangladesh and Pakistan could also expect to see declines.
"Currently, 80 percent of global agriculture depends on rain. Changes in rainfall would impact surface and underground water availability in some regions. Thus, switching to irrigation may not be an option," said Hisas.
Ethiopia was singled out in Africa as a country that could benefit because higher temperatures could combine with rainfall changes to boost the growth of its key crop, coffee. Ethiopia is the world's sixth largest coffee producer.
The United States and China are among the countries expected to grow more of every main cereal group.
Soybean production is forecast to result in a five percent surplus, but the other three will see deficits across the world due to rising demand: a 14 percent shortfall in wheat, 11 percent for rice and nine percent for maize.
The study urged nations to undertake plans to adjust crop timing and move livestock to areas where water availability is improved.
Some dietary habits may have to shift, such as consuming more potatoes, beans and lentils instead of cereal grains and animal proteins.
But the primary change it recommended was reducing harmful pollutants in the atmosphere, or greenhouse gases (GHG).
"Reducing GHG emissions is the first and most important step. Efforts so far have been numerous, but unsuccessful," the study said.
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Oil Giant Plans New Platform Near Feeding Ground Of Critically Endangered Whale

Oil Giant Plans New Platform Near Feeding Ground Of Critically Endangered Whale

The Western population of North Pacific gray whales depend on the waters off Sakhalin Island for their survival.

New York NY (SPX) Jan 19, 2011 Sakhalin Energy Investment Company - part owned by Shell - has announced plans to build a major oil platform near crucial feeding habitat of the Western North Pacific gray whale population. Only around 130 whales of the critically endangered Western population exist today, and their primary feeding habitat - off Sakhalin Island in the Russian Far East - is already besieged by multiple oil and gas exploration and development projects.
The construction and operation of an additional off-shore platform could have numerous negative impacts on the whales, potentially disrupting feeding behaviours and increasing the chance of fatal ship strikes. Also, a third platform heightens the risk of an environmentally catastrophic oil spill in this sensitive habitat.
"Just around 30 female western gray whales of breeding age remain - the population is already on the brink of disappearing forever," said Aleksey Knizhnikov, Oil and Gas Environmental Policy Officer for WWF-Russia. "The loss of even a few breeding females could mean the end for the population."
Gray whales occur on both sides of the Pacific Ocean. However IUCN classes the critically endangered Western population as separate from the Eastern population, as genetic studies indicate that the two populations probably do not mix.
The Western population of North Pacific gray whales depend on the waters off Sakhalin Island for their survival. During feeding season the whales must consume enough to maintain themselves for the rest of the year, when they migrate great distances to their breeding grounds.
Their primary feeding area, near the proposed platform, is doubly important as the shallow waters are one of the only places where mother whales can teach their calves to feed on the sea bed.
Sakhalin Energy already has two platforms in the area, and said previously that drilling technology advances eliminated the need for a third.
The company acknowledges that having two rather than three platforms "significantly reduces the potential for environmental impact," according to an official Sakhalin Energy document. Moreover, Sakhalin Energy studies from ten years ago show that the area being proposed for the third platform is unsuitable due to unstable clay at the seabed in the earthquake-prone area.
"We are astonished by the announcement from Sakhalin Energy that it intends to build a third platform," said Wendy Elliott, Species Programme Manager, WWF-International. "The company's own detailed assessments concluded previously that two platforms would be preferable, both for environmental reasons and for the efficiency of the operation."
The company plans to conduct a seismic survey in the summer of 2011 to determine where to begin platform construction. The surveys are used to detect oil deposits under the ocean bed and involve shooting loud pulses of noise into the ocean floor.
Three seismic surveys were conducted around whale feeding habitat last summer causing severe pressure on the animals. Noise from the surveys can be devastating for species such as gray whales that rely on sound to navigate, communicate and find their food.
"We still do not know how badly the whales were affected by major seismic activity last summer - and will not know until the whales return to their feeding grounds again this year and scientists can determine if any are malnourished. It is totally inappropriate for Sakhalin Energy to plan another seismic survey in 2011 before we have the opportunity to examine the health of the animals," said Doug Norlen, Policy Director at Pacific Environment.
Assessments of the impact of Sakhalin Energy's operations on western gray whales are routinely made by a panel of independent experts - the Western Gray Whale Advisory Panel (WGWAP).
However the panel's assessment and subsequent advice has been based on the operation of two, not three platforms. The proposal for a third platform calls into question whether all previous recommendations from WGWAP and regulatory approvals from the Russian Government need to be re-evaluated.
Masha Vorontsova, Director of IFAW Russia, added: "IFAW has been involved in and supported regular annual monitoring of the WGW at their feeding grounds at Sakhalin Island since 2000. We are deeply concerned by the plans of Sakhalin Energy to install the third platform in this area, which is a critical habitat for the survival of the Western gray whale. IFAW will continue its regular monitoring of the Western gray whale feeding grounds, and activities of the oil companies at the area through summer 2011 to ensure that there are no violations of the existing regulations, which would negatively impact the Western gray whale."
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Loss Of Reflectivity In The Arctic Doubles Estimate Of Climate Models

Loss Of Reflectivity In The Arctic Doubles Estimate Of Climate Models

The cryosphere is the collective portion of the Earth's surface where water is in solid form and includes sea ice, snow, lake and river ice, glaciers, ice sheets and frozen ground. Corvallis OR (SPX) Jan 19, 2011 A new analysis of the Northern Hemisphere's "albedo feedback" over a 30-year period concludes that the region's loss of reflectivity due to snow and sea ice decline is more than double what state-of-the-art climate models estimate. The findings are important, researchers say, because they suggest that Arctic warming amplified by the loss of reflectivity could be even more significant than previously thought.
The study was published online this week in Nature Geoscience. It was funded primarily by the National Science Foundation, with data also culled from projects funded by NASA, the Department of Energy and others.
"The cryosphere isn't cooling the Earth as much as it did 30 years ago, and climate model simulations do not reproduce this recent effect," said Karen Shell, an Oregon State University atmospheric scientist and one of the authors of the study.
"Though we don't necessarily attribute this to global warming, it is interesting to note that none of the climate models used for the 2007 International Panel on Climate Change report showed a decrease of this magnitude."
The cryosphere is the collective portion of the Earth's surface where water is in solid form and includes sea ice, snow, lake and river ice, glaciers, ice sheets and frozen ground.
Most of these frozen areas are highly reflective, and "bounce" sunlight back into the atmosphere, keeping the Earth cooler than it would be without the cryosphere.
But as temperatures warm, ice and snow melts and reflectivity decreases, noted Shell, an assistant professor in OSU's College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences.
"Instead of being reflected back into the atmosphere, the energy of the sun is absorbed by the Earth, which amplifies the warming," Shell said.
"Scientists have known for some time that there is this amplification effect, but almost all of the climate models we examined underestimated the impact - and they contained a pretty broad range of scenarios."
As part of the study, Shell, lead author Mark Flanner of the University of Michigan, and their colleagues compared Northern Hemisphere cryosphere changes between 1979 and 2008 in 18 different climate models to changes in actual snow, ice and reflectivity measurements of the same period. They determined that mean radiative forcing - or the amount of energy reflected into the atmosphere - ranged from 4.6 to 2.2 watts per meter squared.
During the 30-year study period, cryosphere cooling declined by 0.45 watts per meter squared. The authors attribute that decline equally to loss of snow and sea ice.
"Some of the decline may be natural climate variability," Shell said.
"Thirty years isn't a long enough time period to attribute this entirely to 'forcing,' or anthropogenic influence. But the loss of cooling is significant. The rate of energy being absorbed by the Earth through cryosphere decline - instead of being reflected back to the atmosphere - is almost 30 percent of the rate of extra energy absorption due to carbon dioxide increase between pre-industrial values and today."
The "albedo" or reflectivity process is simple, scientists say, but difficult to measure on a broad scale. The reflectivity of ice and snow is obviously much greater than that of darker, unfrozen ground, or open sea water. But researchers also have discovered that variations in the snow and ice result in different albedo impacts.
For example, pools of melted water on top of sea ice can have significantly less reflectivity, which in essence may speed up the warming and possibly melting of that sea ice.
"While the current group of models underestimates these Northern Hemisphere cryosphere changes, new models will be released this year that will have better representations of snow and ice," Shell said. "This study will help climate modelers improve the new generation of models to better predict the rate of cryosphere and albedo decline in the future."

Global warming: Impact of receding snow and ice surprises scientists

Global warming: Impact of receding snow and ice surprises scientists

The seasonal cooling effect of light-reflecting snow and ice in the Northern Hemisphere may be weakening at twice the rate predicted by climate models, a new study shows, accelerating the impact of global warming.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

California’s ‘Big One’ could be massive ‘superstorm’ that floods state: scientists

California’s ‘Big One’ could be massive ‘superstorm’ that floods state: scientists Raw Story

World is 'one poor harvest' from chaos, new book warns

World is 'one poor harvest' from chaos, new book warns

Washington (AFP) Jan 17, 2011 Like many environmentalists, Lester Brown is worried.
In his new book "World on the Edge," released this week, Brown says mankind has pushed civilization to the brink of collapse by bleeding aquifers dry and overplowing land to feed an ever-growing population, while overloading the atmosphere with carbon dioxide.
If we continue to sap Earth's natural resources, "civilizational collapse is no longer a matter of whether but when," Brown, the founder of Worldwatch and the Earth Policy Institute, which both seek to create a sustainable society, told AFP.
What distinguishes "World on the Edge" from his dozens of other books is "the sense of urgency," Brown told AFP. "Things could start unraveling at any time now and it's likely to start on the food front.
"We've got to get our act together quickly. We don't have generations or even decades -- we're one poor harvest away from chaos," he said.
"We have been talking for decades about saving the planet, but the question now is, can we save civilization?"
In "World on the Edge", Brown points to warning signs and lays out arguments for why he believes the cause of the chaos will be the unsustainable way that mankind is going about producing more and more food.
Resources are already beginning to be depleted, and that could cause a global "food bubble" created by overusing land and water to meet the exponential growth in demand for food -- grain, in particular -- to burst.
Two huge dustbowls have formed in the world, one in Africa and the other in China and Mongolia, because of soil erosion caused by overplowing.
In Lesotho, the grain harvest has dropped by more than half over the last decade or two because of soil erosion, Brown said.
In Saudi Arabia, grain supplies are shrinking as a fossil aquifer drilled in in the 1970s to sustain domestic grain production is running dry after years of "overpumping" to meet the needs of a population that wants to consume more meat and poultry.
Global warming is also impacting the global supply of grain, which Brown calls the foundation of the world food economy.
Every one-degree-Celsius rise above the normal temperature results in a 10 percent fall in grain yields, something that was painfully visible in Russia last year, where a seven-week heatwave killed tens of thousands and caused the grain harvest to shrink by 40 percent.
Food prices soared in Russia as a result of the poor harvest, and Russia -- which is one of the top wheat exporters in the world -- cut off grain exports.
Different grains are staple foods in most of the world, and foods like meat and dairy products are "grain-intensive."
It takes seven pounds (3.2 kilograms) of grain fed to a cow to produce a pound of beef, and around four pounds (1.8 kilograms) of grain to produce a pound of cheese, Brown told AFP.
In "World on the Edge", Brown paints a grim picture of how a failed harvest could spark a grain shortage that would send food prices sky-rocketing, cause hunger to spread, governments to collapse and states to fail.
Food riots would erupt in low-income countries and "with confidence in the world grain market shattered, the global economy could start to unravel," Brown warned.
But Brown still believes civilizational collapse can be averted, if there is a mass effort to confront threats such as global warming, soil erosion and falling water tables, not military superpowers.
"World on the Edge" can be downloaded free-of-charge at

Dramatic Ocean Circulation Changes Revealed

These are shells of a type of foraminifers used in this study. Credit: Cardiff University

Cardiff UK (SPX) Jan 18, 2011 The unusually cold weather this winter has been caused by a change in the winds. Instead of the typical westerly winds warmed by Atlantic surface ocean currents, cold northerly Arctic winds are influencing much of Europe. However, scientists have long suspected that far more severe and longer-lasting cold intervals have been caused by changes to the circulation of the warm Atlantic ocean currents themselves.
Now new research led by Cardiff University, with scientists in the UK and US, reveals that these ocean circulation changes may have been more dramatic than previously thought.
The findings, published in the journal Science, show that as the last Ice Age came to an end (10,000 - 20,000 years ago) the formation of deep water in the North-East Atlantic repeatedly switched on and off. This caused the climate to warm and cool for centuries at a time.
The circulation of the world's ocean helps to regulate the global climate. One way it does this is through the transport of heat carried by vast ocean currents, which together form the 'Great ocean conveyor'.
Key to this conveyor is the sinking of water in the North-East Atlantic, a process that causes warm tropical waters to flow northwards in order to replace the sinking water.
Europe is kept warmer by this circulation, so that a strong reduction in the rate at which deep water forms can cause widespread cooling of up to 10 degrees Celsius.
Lead author Dr David Thornalley, Cardiff School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, explains how the scientists studied changes in ocean circulation: "We retrieved ocean sediment cores from the seafloor of the Northeast Atlantic which contained the shells of small organisms.
"We used these shells to examine the past distribution of radiocarbon in the ocean. Radiocarbon is a radioactive form of carbon that acts like a natural stopwatch, timing how long it has been since water was last at the sea surface.
"This allows us to determine how quickly deep water was forming in the Northeast Atlantic at different times in the past."
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