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Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Water Sector

The Water Sector

  We’d like to start you off here with some statistics about China.  And H2O. China accounts for 30% of the world’s population but has only 7% of the world’s freshwater supply. Since 2008, China has added more than 50 million people.  Stop for a moment and think about that. That’s like adding two Australias.  Or ten Greeces.   In just a few years!

Ohio Agency Says Fracking-Related Activity Caused Earthquakes ...

Ohio Agency Says Fracking-Related Activity Caused Earthquakes ...
An Ohio state agency said on Friday there is evidence that the high-pressure injection of fluid underground related to fracking caused a series of Ohio ...
www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=ohio-agency...

How America Is Making the Whole World Fat and Unhealthy

How America Is Making the Whole World Fat and Unhealthy

We've exported the worst of our food to developing countries and we've imported the best of their food -- making poorer countries even more worse off.

Friday, March 9, 2012

More News On The Anniversary Of Last Year's Japanese Earthquake And Tsunami


More News On The Anniversary Of Last Year's Japanese Earthquake And Tsunami

The world's first YouTube catastrophe: One year on, how the tsunami changed Japan (and the world) forever -- Daily Mail
Japan earthquake and tsunami: 478 bodies remain unidentified one year on -- The Telegraph
Japan earthquake and tsunami anniversary: quarter of a million face five years in shelters -- The Telegraph
Japan Disaster: A Year Later: Without a blueprint -- L.A. Times
VOA Reporter Reflects on Devastation of Japan's Major Earthquake -- Voice of America
Japan’s 3/11 Triple Catastrophe Endures in Broken Families, Divided Towns -- Bloomberg
A year after disastrous earthquake, tsunami, travel to Japan slowly rebounds -- MSNBC
Grief of Japan's tsunami survivors -- BBC
Six videos of the Japanese tsunami [Video] -- L.A. Times
Japan’s disaster (Photo Gallery) -- Washington Post
Japan: Then and Now (Photo Gallery) -- New York Times
Graphic: Aftermath of Japan earthquake and tsunami -- The Telegraph

Update Videos from Fairewinds

Fukushima-Daiichi: An Accident Waiting to Happen CCTV Host Margaret Harrington speaks with Maggie and Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds about Arnie's recent trip to Japan and their report for Greenpeace about the Fukushima Daiichi disaster. The issue of regulatory capture is an issue that Japan and every energy producing country in the world is facing. As the Gundersen’s book Fukushima Daiichi: Truth and Future Prospects, published in Japan, points out, the Japanese people are poised to become energy innovators and world leaders with new technologies, if they choose to break their nuclear power dependency.
Watch Video Now

Fukushima - The Truth Behind The Meltdown
This documentary, not yet translated to English, is a joint venture between French and German television (available in French or German) that explores the nuclear accident at Fukushima Daiichi and its aftermath. With the help of international experts, including Fairewinds’ chief engineer Arnie Gundersen, who analyze the actual processes at Fukushima Daiichi on the day of the accident and in the weeks afterwards. The filmmakers draw a picture of the inadequate crisis management by the Japanese and international nuclear lobby, which is still promoting nuclear power even after the meltdown in Japan, so that the global multi-billion dollar business of creating nuclear energy may proceed unencumbered.
Watch Video Now

Did BP Cause Damage to the Gulf Sea Floor … Which Is Leading to Ever-Larger “Natural” Oil Seeps from the Macondo Reservoir?

Did BP Cause Damage to the Gulf Sea Floor … Which Is Leading to Ever-Larger “Natural” Oil Seeps from the Macondo Reservoir?

In June of 2010, BP officials admitted to damage beneath the seafloor under BP’s Gulf Macondo well.
Nmerous scientists have speculated that the blowout and subsequent clumsy attempts by BP to plug the well could have created new seeps, and made pre-existing natural seeps bigger.
We have repeatedly noted that the Macondo oil reservoir may still be leaking.
American reporter Dahr Jamail reports in a must-read article at Al Jazeera:
Al Jazeera has spotted a large oil sheen near the infamous Macondo 252 well.

One year after the Japan tsunami, USC engineers help California's ports prepare

One year after the Japan tsunami, USC engineers help California's ports prepare
On the one-year anniversary of the devastating Japanese tsunami, engineers from the USC Viterbi School of Engineering Tsunami Research Center are working with the State of California to better understand the damaging currents caused by tsunamis.

Mid-Atlantic suburbs can expect an early spring thanks to the heat of the big city

Mid-Atlantic suburbs can expect an early spring thanks to the heat of the big city
If you've been thinking our world is more green than frozen these days, you're right. A recent study has found that spring is indeed arriving earlier – and autumn later – in the suburbs of Baltimore and Washington, D.C. The reason? The urban landscape traps heat in the summer and holds it throughout the winter, triggering leaves to turn green earlier in the spring and to stay green later into autumn. The result is a new, extended growing season.

Climate risks of bioenergy underestimated

Climate risks of bioenergy underestimated
Energy from biomass presents underappreciated risks, new research published in Nature Climate Change shows.

VOA Reporter Reflects on Devastation of Japan's Major Earthquake

VOA Reporter Reflects on Devastation of Japan's Major Earthquake
Voice of America
It is still difficult to grasp the enormity of Japan's disastrous 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami and how close the nation came to a nuclear cataclysm that had some high officials contemplating an unimaginable evacuation of Tokyo.

Tokyo Warned that "Big" Earthquake Coming

Tokyo Warned that "Big" Earthquake Coming

As the world prepares to commemorate next week the first anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Japanese scientists are warning that Tokyo is in increasing danger from a potential massive earthquake. Greater Tokyo, with its 35 million inhabitants, has experienced a three-fold increase in tectonic activity in the year since the 9.0 Richter scale sub sea earthquake produced the tsunami that devastated Fukushima. Metropolitan Tokyo now averages 1.5 quakes in and around the city each day. Tokyo has had many experiences with earthquakes.…Read more...

Scrapping all Coal Plants Would have no Significant Effect for 100 Years

Scrapping all Coal Plants Would have no Significant Effect for 100 Years

Who could have dreamed solving climate change would be so easy? A new paper in Environmental Research Letters called “Greenhouse gases, climate change and the transition from coal to low-carbon electricity” concludes that replacement of all of the world’s currently operating coal-fired power plants — which produce about 40% of the world’s electricity — and replacing them with renewable energy would have an impact of 0.2 degrees Celsius 100 years from now. Cherry-Picking Conclusions According to One’s Viewpoint…Read more...

Japan earthquakes over time

Japan earthquakes over timehttp://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-03-09/japan-earthquakes-over-time/3879910

Quake researchers warn of Tokyo's 'Big One'

Quake researchers warn of Tokyo's 'Big One'http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Quake_researchers_warn_of_Tokyos_Big_One_999.html

Fukushima's Dirty Inheritance

Fukushima's Dirty Inheritance

Editorial, New Scientist
A year on, the world is still feeling the effects of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated eastern Japan. The dual catastrophe is estimated to have killed almost 20,000 people. Yet it is the consequences of the subsequent partial meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which has so far killed no one, that have reached furthest.

Gulf Groups Hail Senate Passage of Gulf Restoration Amendment




Mar 8, 2012 16:48 ET
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Gulf Groups Hail Senate Passage of Gulf Restoration Amendment


Vote Follows Recent House Approval of Similar Amendment
WASHINGTON, March 8, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A coalition of six Gulf Coast restoration advocacy groups praised the Senate today for its strong bipartisan approval of legislation that would dedicate 80 percent of the Clean Water Act (CWA) fines for the gulf oil disaster to restoring the gulf ecosystem and economy. The RESTORE the Gulf Coast States  Act was originally introduced by nine of the 10 gulf state senators, including Senators Mary Landrieu (D-La), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), and was also supported by Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Boxer. The RESTORE Act passed as an amendment to the Senate transportation bill by a vote of 76 to 22. 
"The Senate's overwhelming vote in favor of the RESTORE Act reflects the broad nationwide support for revitalizing the Gulf Coast region by ensuring the bulk of the money collected in spill fines is spent in the area that suffered so much harm," said a joint statement issued by Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, The Nature Conservancy, Ocean Conservancy and Oxfam America.
"Faith leaders, conservationists and sportsmen, and strong majorities of voters from all sides of the political spectrum in Gulf states and across the nation agree that it just makes sense for the fines from the Gulf spill to come back to help repair the damage that has been done to the economy and the environment," the groups added.
The legislation will ensure that penalties paid by BP and others responsible for the 2010 Gulf oil disaster are used to rebuild the economies of Gulf Coast communities that were impacted by the spill and to restore the natural resources, ecosystems, fisheries, marine and wildlife habitats, beaches, barrier islands, dunes, coastal wetlands, that are the foundation of the Gulf Coast economy. 
The Senate's approval of the RESTORE Act follows the House's recent approval of an amendment by the same name introduced by Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.). Both the House and Senate bills affirm the principle that the penalties for the Gulf oil spill belong in the Gulf for restoration. 
"The next step is for the House and Senate to resolve the differences between these two amendments in conference and enact RESTORE into law to bring this victory home for the Gulf region," concluded the groups. "We look forward to working with House, Senate and Gulf Coast leaders to make RESTORE reality to support the restoration needs of this critical ecosystem and its vulnerable communities."
http://media.prnewswire.com/en/jsp/latest.jsp?resourceid=5044055&access=EH

The Fukushima Syndrome

The Fukushima Syndrome
New Straits Times
To be sure, the environmental impact on those living close to Fukushima may take many years to remediate. But the response in many quarters -- not least in ...

James Cameron to explore Earth's deepest ocean trench

James Cameron to explore Earth's deepest ocean trench
"Titanic" director James Cameron will try in the coming weeks to dive to the deepest place on Earth, further than any other human has on a solo mission, to return with specimens and images.

Scientists survey seabed fractured by Japan quake

Scientists survey seabed fractured by Japan quake
Scientists on Thursday launched a mission to the seabed off Japan where a massive quake triggered last year's devastating tsunami, to get their first proper look at the buckled ocean floor.

Reproductive problems, death in animals exposed to fracking

Reproductive problems, death in animals exposed to fracking
(PhysOrg.com) -- A new report has found dozens of cases of illness, death and reproductive issues in cows, horses, goats, llamas, chickens, dogs, cats, fish and other wildlife, and humans. It says these conditions could be the result of exposure to gas drilling operations.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

What drives James Hansen on climate change

What drives James Hansen on climate change

James Hansen, a climate scientist who certainly needs no introduction to regular readers of this site, has given a TED talk about what motivates him to activism on climate change. I beg you to find 18 consecutive distraction-free minutes to watch this video of his talk:  

Decarbonising China by 2050

Decarbonising China by 2050
Power Engineering Magazine
A number of studies have been undertaken to assess the decarbonisation options in each of the major energy-supplying and energy-using sectors in China to 2050, and China's Energy Research Institute is in the process of finalising the first incarnation ...

D.C. Circuit Hears Arguments in EPA Lawsuits

D.C. Circuit Hears Arguments in EPA Lawsuits

Does the Environmental Protection Agency have the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions? The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will decide later this year, as it sits poised to hear oral arguments this week from four major lawsuits challenging the authority of the EPA.

2012 Is The 4th Warmest Winter for U.S.

2012 Is The 4th Warmest Winter for U.S.

NOAA reported today that whis winter turned out to be the 4th warmest on record in the contiguous United States. That’s not surprising given how much the world has warmed over the past few decades. In fact, all of the seven warmest years in over 100 years of climate data have occurred since 1992, and over the past three decades, a warmer-than-average winter has been twice as likely as a cool one. These data are consistent with how scientists say global warming affects the weather. The risk of warm winters is increasing over time, but that doesn’t mean that cold winters disappear, similar to the way that loaded dice change the probability of a particular roll but don’t eliminate other possibilities.

Children of the Tsunami

Children of the Tsunami

Children have a way of getting to the heart of things, and a new BBC documentary in the run-up to the anniversary of last year’s tsunami and nuclear crisis allows Japanese children the time and space to do exactly that. “Children of the Tsunami,” which aired last week, relies heavily on the words of those affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, which killed at least 16,000 people, to present a fresh picture to the world’s desensitized eyes. It’s a moving story that should refocus minds on a country where so much loss and devastation so recently occurred. Students from Okawa elementary school, where 74 children died in the tsunami, offer harrowing details about March 11, 2011, distilled down in a way only a child can do. “It was Manno’s birthday…she was my best friend,” says Fuka. “I didn’t realize I’d never see her again…So I didn’t even say goodbye ... Read More...

BP Settlement Falls Short

BP Settlement Falls Short

What does Louisiana get from the $8 billion BP settlement? Nothing, writes John M. Barry.

Water shortage a global threat without urgent reform: OECD

Water shortage a global threat without urgent reform: OECD

Paris (AFP) March 7, 2012
Urgent reforms to raise efficiency in the way water is used around the world are needed to avert serious shortages in the next decades, and markets in water can help, the OECD said on Wednesday. In about 40 years' time more than four out of 10 people in the world may be living in river areas in the grip of severe shortage, it warned. "Efficient use of water is essential, and pricing it

Why is wind power so expensive: An economic analysis -- GWPF

Why is wind power so expensive: An economic analysis -- GWPF


Why is wind power so expensive: An economic analysis, a report from the Global Warming Policy Foundation finds that (from the Summary):
1. Wind power is a capital-intensive means of generating electricity.  As such, it competes with electricity generated by nuclear or coal-fired generating plants (with or without carbon capture). However, because wind power is intermittent, the management of electricity systems becomes increasingly difficult if the share of wind power in total system capacity approaches or exceeds the minimum level of demand during the year (base load). It is expensive and inefficient to run large nuclear or coal plants so that their output matches fluctuations in demand. Large investments in wind power are therefore to undermine the economics of investing in nuclear or coal-fired capacity.

2. The problems posed by the intermittency of wind power can, in principle, be addressed by (a) complementary investments in pumped storage, and/or (b) long distance transmission to smooth out wind availability, and/or (c) transferring electricity demand from peak to off-peak periods by time of day pricing and related policies. However, if the economics of such options were genuinely attractive, they would already be adopted on a much larger scale today because similar considerations apply in any system with large amounts of either nuclear or coal generation.

3. In practice, it is typically much cheaper to transport gas and to rely upon open cycle gas turbines to match supply and demand than to adopt any of these options. As a consequence, any large scale investment in wind power will have to be backed up by an equivalent investment in gas-fired open cycle plants. These are quite cheap to build but they operate at relatively low levels of thermal efficiency, so they emit considerably more CO2 per MWh of electricity than combined cycle gas plants.

4. Meeting the UK Government’s target for renewable generation in 2020 will require total wind capacity of 36 GW backed up by 13 GW of open cycle gas plants plus large complementary investments in transmission capacity – the Wind Scenario. The same electricity demand could be

met from 21.5 GW of combined cycle gas plants with a capital cost of £13 billion – the Gas Scenario. Allowing for the shorter life of wind turbines, the comparative investment outlays would be about £120 billion for the Wind Scenario and a mere £13 for the Gas Scenario.
5. Wind farms have relatively high operating and maintenance costs but they require no fuel. Overall, the net saving in fuel, operating and maintenance costs for the Wind Scenario relative to the Gas Scenario is less than £500 million per year, a very poor return on an additional investment of over £105 billion.
6.  Indeed, there is a significant risk that annual CO2 emissions could be greater under the Wind Scenario than the Gas Scenario. The actual outcome will depend on how far wind power displaces gas generation used for either (a) base load demand, or (b) the middle of the daily demand curve, or (c) demand during peak hours of the day. Because of its intermittency, wind power combined with gas backup will certainly increase CO2 emissions when it displaces gas for base load demand, but it will reduce CO2 emissions when it displaces gas for peak load demand. The results can go either way for the middle of the demand curve according to the operating assumptions that are made.

7. Under the most favourable assumptions for wind power, the Wind Scenario will reduce emissions of CO2 relative to the Gas Scenario by 23 million metric tons in 2020 - 2.8% of the 1990 baseline – at an average cost of £270 per metric ton at 2009 prices. The average cost is far higher than the average price under the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme or the floor carbon prices that have been proposed by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). If this is typical of the cost of reducing carbon emissions to meet the UK’s 2020 target, then the total cost of meeting the target would be £78 billion in 2020, or 4.4% of projected GDP, far higher than the estimates that are usually given.

8. Wind power is an extraordinarily expensive and inefficient way of reducing CO2 emissions when compared with the option of investing in efficient and flexible gas combined cycle plants. Of course, this is not the way in which the case is usually presented. Instead, comparisons are made between wind power and old coal or gas-fired plants. Whatever happens, much of the coal capacity must be scrapped, while older gas plants will operate for fewer hours per year. It is not a matter of old vs new capacity. The correct comparison is between alternative ways of meeting the UK’s future demand for electricity for both base and peak load, allowing for the backup necessary to deal with the intermittency of wind power.

Draft guidance on waters protected by the Clean Water Act -- EPA

Draft guidance on waters protected by the Clean Water Act -- EPA

Draft guidance on waters protected by the Clean Water Act from the Environmental Protection Agency
From the Introduction: "This draft guidance clarifies how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) will identify waters protected by the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972 (Clean Water Act or CWA or Act) and implement the Supreme Court’s decisions concerning the extent of waters covered by the Act (Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (SWANCC)and Rapanos v. United States (Rapanos)). This document clarifies how the EPA and the Corps understand existing requirements of the CWA and the agencies' implementing regulations in light of SWANCC and Rapanos and provides guidance to agency field staff in making determinations about whether waters are protected by the CWA. "

Waters that Qualify as Waters of the United States Under Section (a)(1) of the Agencies’ Regulations -- EPA

Waters that Qualify as Waters of the United States Under Section (a)(1) of the Agencies’ Regulations -- EPA


From the introduction: "The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and United States Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) "Guidance on Identifying Waters Protected by the Clean Water Act" guidance (Guidance) affirms that EPA and the Corps will continue to assert jurisdiction over "[a]ll waters which are currently used, or were used in the past, or may be susceptible to use in interstate or foreign commerce, including all waters which are subject to the ebb and flow of the tide." 33 C.F.R. § 328.3(a)(1); 40 C.F.R. § 230.3(s)(1). The Guidance also states that, for purposes of the guidance, these "(a)(1)waters" are the "traditional navigable waters." These (a)(1) waters include all of the "navigable waters of the United States," defined in 33 C.F.R. Part 329 and by numerous decisions of the federal courts, plus all other waters that are navigable-in-fact (e.g., the Great Salt Lake, UT and Lake Minnetonka, MN)."

Study gets to the roots of enhanced CO2 experiment

Study gets to the roots of enhanced CO2 experiment

Three years after the US Department of Energy (DOE) elected to halt a series of high-profile forestry experiments, researchers are reporting that higher atmospheric carbon dioxide levels can increase soil carbon stocks, even if nitrogen limitations curtail the overall fertilization effect.

Plutonium spotted far from Fukushima by Geoffrey Brumfiel

Plutonium spotted far from Fukushima

Plutonium sample sites in Japan
A paper out today in the journal Scientific Reports shows evidence that radioactive plutonium spread tens of kilometres from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The new work could lead people to believe that there is a health risk, but that is not the case.

Coal: The Dirty Rock That Burns Bright

Coal: The Dirty Rock That Burns Bright

Ed Hiserodt, New American
Coal is very low on the scale of subjects for ballads or charming folklore. Like Rodney Dangerfield, it just doesn’t get any respect. What does a naughty boy get in his Christmas stocking? A lump of coal. As a career, few brave souls outside Appalachia would have a goal in life of riding a rail car several miles down several thousand feet below the surface to attack  a coal seam. The thought terrifies me; and probably many others. Coal is not the most pristine mineral in the world. Yet, more than any ..

Who Will Oversee a Revived Keystone XL?

Who Will Oversee a Revived Keystone XL?

Lisa Song, InsideClimate
TransCanada's decision last week to build the southern half of the rejected Keystone XL has raised a tricky question about who will regulate the project review.The $2.3 billion dollar pipeline would run from Cushing, Okla. to refineries near Houston, Texas. Dubbed the Gulf Coast Project, it follows the same route as the southern segment of the Keystone XL, a longer pipeline designed to move heavy crude oil from Alberta, Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast. The Obama administration denied the Keystone XL pipeline permit in mid-January.

Sun unleashes X-5 Class solar flare

Sun unleashes X-5 Class solar flare

March 7, 2011 SPACEMajor Solar Flare: Big sunspot AR1429 has unleashed another major flare. This one is the strongest yet, an X5-class eruption on March 7th at 00:28 UT. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the extreme UV flash: This eruption hurled a bright CME into space, shown here in a movie from the Solar Dynamics Observatory. Although the CME is not squarely Earth-directed, it appears direct enough to deliver a glancing blow to our planet’s magnetic field on March 8-9. This would add to the magnetic unrest already underway at high latitudes. The flare also accelerated energetic protons toward Earth, triggering an S3-class solar radiation storm, in progress. Such a storm is mainly a nuisance to satellites, causing occasional reboots of onboard computers and adding noise to imaging systems. –Space Weather

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

NASA sees second biggest flare of the solar cycle

NASA sees second biggest flare of the solar cycle

The leading edge of the first of two major coronal mass ejections will reach Earth at about 1:25 AM EST on the morning of March 8 (plus or minus 7 hours). Such a CME could result in a severe geomagnetic storm, causing aurora at low latitudes, with possible disruption to high frequency radio communication, global positioning systems (GPS), and power grids.

Why Fukushima Was Preventable

Why Fukushima Was Preventable

Why Fukushima Was PreventablePublic sentiment in many states has turned against nuclear energy following the March 2011 accident at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. The Fukushima accident was, however, preventable.

Israeli Scientists Hope to Develop New Type Seaweed for Biofuel Production

Israeli Scientists Hope to Develop New Type Seaweed for Biofuel Production

While they are cleaner and safer than fossil fuels, bioethanol production's ever-increasing need of valuable farmland for crops - like corn and sugarcane - could result to possible food shortages and price increases. To answer this dilemma, a group of scientists from various universities in Israel have been looking at marine macroalgae, or seaweed. They have found that it can be grown more quickly than land-based crops and harvested as fuel without sacrificing usable land. Avigdor Abelson, a professor of Tel Aviv University's Department of Zoology…Read more...

BINGAMAN INTRODUCES FEDERAL CLEAN ENERGY STANDARD ACT

BINGAMAN INTRODUCES FEDERAL CLEAN ENERGY STANDARD ACT
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) on Thursday introduced the Clean Energy Standard Act (CES) of 2012, a bill that could require some utilities around the nation to ensure at least 24% of all power sold could be defined as “clean energy.” Under the bill, by 2020, that percentage would grow to 39%; by 2025, 54%; and by 2035, 84%. Read More »

Shift to green energy sources could mean crunch in supply of scarce metals

Shift to green energy sources could mean crunch in supply of scarce metals
A large-scale shift from coal-fired electric power plants and gasoline-fueled cars to wind turbines and electric vehicles could increase demand for two already-scarce metals — available almost exclusively in China — by 600-2,600 percent over the next 25 years, a new study has concluded. Published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, it points out that production of the two metals has been increasing by only a few percentage points per year.

Earth's past is warning for the future

Earth's past is warning for the future
When the Earth’s carbon dioxide level increased at a rapid rate during the Triassic-Jurassic period 200 million years ago, nearly half the ocean’s marine life became extinct. USC Dornsife geologists contributed to a recent paper that examines materials embedded in ancient rocks to provide clues about the possibility of similar future global events.

Health uncertainties torment Japanese in nuke zone

Health uncertainties torment Japanese in nuke zone
(AP) -- Yoshiko Ota keeps her windows shut. She never hangs her laundry outdoors. Fearful of birth defects, she warns her daughters: Never have children.

NIST releases Gulf of Mexico crude oil reference material

NIST releases Gulf of Mexico crude oil reference material
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released a new certified reference material to support the federal government's Natural Resources Damage Assessment (NRDA) in the wake of the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill 40 miles off the Louisiana coast. The new Standard Reference Material, Gulf of Mexico Crude Oil" (SRM 2779), will be used as a quality control material for the ongoing environmental impact analyses for the NRDA effort.

- Solar storm headed toward Earth may disrupt power (Update)


- Solar storm headed toward Earth may disrupt power (Update)

Is Seaweed the Future of Biofuel

Is Seaweed the Future of Biofuel

Tel Aviv, Israel (SPX) Mar 07, 2012
As scientists continue the hunt for energy sources that are safer, cleaner alternatives to fossil fuel, an ever-increasing amount of valuable farmland is being used to produce bioethanol, a source of transportation fuel. And while land-bound sources are renewable, economists and ecologists fear that diverting crops to produce fuel will limit food resources and drive up costs

Disasters cost $380 billion in 2011, says UN

Disasters cost $380 billion in 2011, says UN

United Nations (AFP) March 5, 2012
Disasters led by the Japan earthquake cost the world a record figure of more than $380 billion last year, a UN official said Monday. While countries are managing to control the disaster death toll, economic costs are increasing more than ever before, said Margareta Wahlstrom, the UN special envoy on disaster risk reduction. She called the $380 billion figure "the minimum" cost, two third

Current rates of ocean acidification are unparalleled in Earth's history

Current rates of ocean acidification are unparalleled in Earth's history

Bristol UK (SPX) Mar 06, 2012
The study, based on an expert workshop led by Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the University of Bristol, assessed in detail a number of climate change events in the planet's history, including the asteroid impact that made the dinosaurs go extinct and the Permian mass-extinction which wiped out around 95 per cent of all life on Earth. The findings are reported this wee

Heavy metal pollution causes severe declines in wild bees

Heavy metal pollution causes severe declines in wild bees

Washington DC (SPX) Mar 07, 2012
Wild bees are important pollinators and numerous studies dealing with pollination of wild plants and crops underline their vital role in ecosystems functioning. While honey bees can be easily transported to various location when needed, wild bees' presence is dependent on the availability of high quality semi-natural habitats.

Seismic risk: from shaken to awakened

Seismic risk: from shaken to awakened
The earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan a year ago have brought a rethink on how to mitigate the effects of disasters, writes Mure Dickie
http://link.ft.com/r/ZE9K33/QNA7CX/V1UB9K/GDFSMQ/FKT5GK/LE/h?a1=2012&a2=3&a3=7
 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The EPA Says Pennsylvania Is Screwing Up The Fracking Investigating And It's Taking Over from Clusterstock by AP

The EPA Says Pennsylvania Is Screwing Up The Fracking Investigating And It's Taking Over

Deals of the Day: China Gains a Foothold in US Energy


Deals of the Day: China Gains a Foothold in US Energy
Wall Street Journal (blog)
Foothold in US: China Foothold in US Energy: Since 2010, Chinese companies have invested more than $17 billion into oil and gas deals in the US and Canada, giving their energy-thirsty nation a long-coveted foothold in a region known for innovative new ...

China's Footprint in US Oil: A State-by-State List

China's Footprint in US Oil: A State-by-State List

Wall Street Journal (blog) - ‎5 hours ago‎
By Ryan Dezember China is gathering oil and gas assets across the US, The Wall Street Journal reports today. State-run giants Cnooc and Sinopec are scooping up minority stakes and signing joint-ventures, to the tune of $17 billion in US and Canadian ...

Morning Brief: Surging Chinese Investment in North American Energy

Morning Brief: Surging Chinese Investment in North American Energy

Council on Foreign Relations (blog) - ‎6 hours ago‎
by Jonathan Masters Chairman of China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) Fu Chengyu speaks in Los Angeles (Fred Prouser/Courtesy Reuters). Chinese investment into North American energy is surging (WSJ), with over $17 billion invested since the ...

China Foothold in US Energy

China Foothold in US Energy
Wall Street Journal
China's state-owned energy companies, for their part, have been scouring the globe for supplies of oil and gas to help power the nation's surging economy, and the knowledge to extract their own hard-to-tap reserves back home. The North American energy ...

Cnooc Seeks to Invest in U.S. Shale Projects to Expand Reserves, Wang Says

Cnooc Seeks to Invest in U.S. Shale Projects to Expand Reserves, Wang Says

Bloomberg - ‎Mar 4, 2012‎
Cnooc Ltd. (883), China's biggest offshore energy explorer, plans to increase investments in North American shale projects to expand reserves and acquire technology to develop domestic fields. “The US has advanced shale oil and gas technology and rich ...

Fifth Circuit Katrina Suit: No Qualified Immunity for Corps Under FCA

Fifth Circuit Katrina Suit: No Qualified Immunity for Corps Under FCA

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week that the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) is liable to property owners who suffered billions of dollars in damage during Hurricane Katrina, reports the Associated Press. The court affirmed District Judge Stanwood Duvall's 2009 decision in the matter on Friday, finding......

Union of Concerned Scientists Names Ricardo Salvador Director of Food and Environment Program

Union of Concerned Scientists Names Ricardo Salvador Director of Food and Environment Program

Ricardo Salvador today joined the UCS as the director of the Food and Environment Program.

Interviewing Tom Friedman On The Urgency of Climate Action

Interviewing Tom Friedman On The Urgency of Climate Action

Friedman: “I’ve never been more concerned about climate change than I am now….”

China's One-Child Policy Should be Ended—Quickly

China's One-Child Policy Should be Ended—Quickly

China's One-Child Policy Should be Ended—QuicklyRising income, not the one-child policy, has driven down China's fertility rate. The policy has outgrown its limited purpose and should be ended to reverse lingering gender imbalances.

Beyond Keystone Pipeline: The Real Climate Debate

Beyond Keystone Pipeline: The Real Climate Debate

Beyond Keystone Pipeline: The Real Climate DebateThe real issue behind the Keystone XL pipeline debate is how to manage the climate effects of the shift from conventional oils to unconventional oils.

Embattled scientists publish study linking (surprise) diesel exhaust and cancer

Embattled scientists publish study linking (surprise) diesel exhaust and cancer

The notion that diesel exhaust can cause the body harm — specifically cancer — hardly seems shocking. The US National Toxicology Program suggests that diesel exhaust particles can be “reasonably anticipated” to be carcinogenic, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer lists them as “probable carcinogens“.  The US Mine Safety and Health Administration cited cancer risks when it regulated diesel emissions in mining operations back in 2001.
So it is not entirely surprising that a landmark new study involving US miners has identified sharply higher cancer rates in workers exposed to high levels of diesel exhaust. But the study is more comprehensive and apparently robust than those that have come before, and it comes as at least one major scientific organization prepares to reassess the link between diesel exhaust and cancer. Perhaps it was the fear of this exact scenario that led a coalition of industrial interests to wage a 17-year legal and political battle against government scientists conducting the study — a battle that now appears to have outlived its purpose thanks to a 29 February ruling from the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Myhrvold: We Need to Invent New Energy Technologies

By Matthew Stepp, March 6, 2012
 Previously, I wrote about a new study from top U.S. climate scientist Ken Caldeira and leading tech guru Nathan Myhrvold. The study’s modeling results show how monumentally difficult it will be to limit global temperature increase because of the emissions already “baked” into the system. As a result, building out natural gas – or so-called ‘cleaner’ fuel options - to replace coal plants...  » Continue...

Two states push for early BP trial

Two states push for early BP trial
http://link.ft.com/r/2SRI11/2OEI7W/JIYS70/L913XH/EXL2AF/MQ/h?a1=2012&a2=3&a3=6
 
Settlement process could delay BP trial
http://link.ft.com/r/2SRI11/2OEI7W/JIYS70/L913XH/97N6OU/MQ/h?a1=2012&a2=3&a3=6

Earthquake anxiety tops stress list in Japan

Earthquake anxiety tops stress list in Japan
CBC.ca
The 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake (magnitude 6.9) flattened part of the southwestern city of Kobe and killed 6400 people. Then there was the Great East Japan Earthquake (magnitude 9.0) of a year ago, March 11, 2011, that unleashed tsunami and a nuclear ...

No Nuclear Nirvana

No Nuclear Nirvana
Huffington Post (blog)
But it's too soon for nuclear boosters to pop their champagne corks. Japan's Fukushima disaster continues to unfold nearly a year after the deadly earthquake and tsunami unleashed what's shaping up to be the worst nuclear disaster ever.

Fault under Tsuruga nuclear plant could trigger M7.4 quake: research

Fault under Tsuruga nuclear plant could trigger M7.4 quake: research
Mainichi Daily News
s Tsuruga nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture is at least 35 kilometers long and could trigger an earthquake with a magnitude of around 7.4, much higher than previously anticipated, a team of government-affiliated researchers said Monday.

Analysts raise doubts about fracking-induced quakes

Analysts raise doubts about fracking-induced quakes
Alberta Oil Magazine
Others have tried to link the earth-shattering extraction method to minor earthquakes. Analysts and industry participants say the connection is iffy.

BP Deepwater Horizon settlement announced

BP Deepwater Horizon settlement announced
BP is announcing a settlement with PSC, subject to final written agreement, to resolve economic loss and medical claims from Deepwater Horizon accident and oil spill.
Full Article

Monday, March 5, 2012

Dust linked to increased glacier melting, ocean productivity

Dust linked to increased glacier melting, ocean productivity

A new study has established a link between large dust storms on Iceland and glacial melting. The dust is both accelerating glacial melting and contributing important nutrients to the surrounding North Atlantic Ocean. The results provide new insights on the role of dust in climate change and high-latitude ocean ecosystems.

BP to Pay $7.8 Billion to Settle Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Lawsuit -- Is the Company Getting Off Too Easy?

BP to Pay $7.8 Billion to Settle Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Lawsuit -- Is the Company Getting Off Too Easy?

Critics argue the settlement allows BP to avoid going to court, where more than 72 million pages of documents and hundreds of witnesses could reveal damning evidence.

Is seaweed the future of biofuel?

Is seaweed the future of biofuel?
As scientists continue the hunt for energy sources that are safer, cleaner alternatives to fossil fuel, an ever-increasing amount of valuable farmland is being used to produce bioethanol, a source of transportation fuel. And while land-bound sources are renewable, economists and ecologists fear that diverting crops to produce fuel will limit food resources and drive up costs.

Weathering of rocks impacts climate change

Weathering of rocks impacts climate change
Chemical weathering of rocks by carbon dioxide dissolved in rainwater has never been taken into account in models of future climate change so far. However, researchers from the Laboratoire Géosciences Environnement Toulouse, in collaboration with the Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement and the University of Bergen (Norway), have now demonstrated its sensitivity: the higher the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, the more powerful the carbon sink, which accelerates the dissolution of rocks. The study suggests that this mechanism should be incorporated into any models of future climate change. The research is published in the journal Nature Climate Change dated March 2012.

In Japan, seismic waves slower after rain, large earthquakes

In Japan, seismic waves slower after rain, large earthquakes
An earthquake is first detected by the abrupt side-to-side jolt of a passing primary wave. Lagging only slightly behind are shear waves, which radiate out from the earthquake's epicenter and are seen at the surface as a rolling wave of vertical motion. Also known as secondary or S waves, shear waves cause the lifting and twisting motions that are particularly effective at collapsing surface structures. With their capacity to cause damage, making sense of anything that can influence shear wave vertical velocities is important from both theoretical and engineering perspectives.

Quake researchers warn of Tokyo's 'Big One'

Quake researchers warn of Tokyo's 'Big One'
A year on from one of the biggest earthquakes in recorded history, Japanese scientists are warning anew that Tokyo could soon be hit by a quake that will kill thousands and cause untold damage.

China misses emissions and pollution targets - E & T Magazine

China misses emissions and pollution targets - E & T Magazine
China missed about half of these targets, including energy intensity, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions, and a measure of water pollution. "There are a lot of complicated reasons for failing to meet the targets.

The next Fukushima nuclear disaster is waiting to happen

The next Fukushima nuclear disaster is waiting to happen

Greenpeace International (blog) -
Greenpeace activists in 19 countries took action today to remind their governments that the next Fukushima disaster will be their fault. The nuclear disaster at Fukushima has shown us once again that nuclear reactors are fundamentally unsafe.

It's not just Fukushima: mass disaster evacuations challenge planners

It's not just Fukushima: mass disaster evacuations challenge planners

Nature.com 
The Fukushima evacuation zone raises the issue of what would happen during an evacuation in heavily populated US metropolises during a nuclear meltdown. More than 180 million people live within 50 miles of a nuclear power plant in the US — the radius ...

Questions about Nuclear Power

Questions about Nuclear Power: Nuclear power is all over the news today, yet there remains many unanswered questions regarding this power source.  A new article written by Dr. Frank Settle and Dr. Charles D. Ferguson, (editors of the recently published report, The Future of Nuclear Power in the United States), examines questions such as how nuclear power differs from other sources of electricity and future expansion of the nuclear power industry in the United States.

What We Can Learn from Cancer Statistics

What We Can Learn from Cancer Statistics: Dr. Y writes that many of the things we are concerned about (electromagnetic fields, radiofrequency radiation, cell phones, the level of radiation found in medical x-rays, and so forth) – things to which our exposure has skyrocketed over the last several decades without a concomitant increase in cancer rates – might not be as bad as we fear.

New Nuclear Reactor Consequences Analyses downplays risk of “unlikely” nuclear accident in United States

New Nuclear Reactor Consequences Analyses downplays risk of “unlikely” nuclear accident in United States

            As the first anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster arrives, the cover-up involving nuclear power is more extensive than ever.
The Big Lie was integral to the nuclear push from its start.


http://enformable.com/2012/03/new-nuclear-reactor-consequences-analyses-downplays-risk-of-unlikely-nuclear-accident-in-united-states/

Radiation and evolution

Surviving fallout

Birds can evolve to cope with the lingering effects of nuclear incidents

http://www.economist.com/node/21548920?frsc=dg|a

http://www.nrdc.org/nuclear/fallout/

These radioactive plumes from severe nuclear accidents were calculated by NRDC based on the actual weather patterns of March 11-12, 2011. The result on any given day will vary according to the type of reactor accident and on the prevailing weather patterns at the time.
These five nuclear power plants had emergency shutdowns in 2011:

Bob Lutz: Global Warming is a crock of $#%!

Bob Lutz: Global Warming is a crock of $#%!

That's what Bob Lutz, former senior executive for General Motors, says he believes.  Lutz is said to have been the driving force that spurred GM to create the Volt.  

Study: Eliminating Coal-Fired Power is Worth 0.2 Degrees in 100 Years

Study: Eliminating Coal-Fired Power is Worth 0.2 Degrees in 100 Years

Who could have dreamed solving climate change would be so easy? A new paper in Environmental Research Letters called “Greenhouse gases, climate change and the transition from coal to low-carbon electricity” concludes that replacement of all of the world’s currently operating coal-fired power plants — which produce about 40% of the world’s electricity — and replacing them with renewable energy would have an impact of 0.2 degrees Celsius 100 years from now.

$7B BP Spill Settlement Is Just the Beginning

$7B BP Spill Settlement Is Just the Beginning

Bryan Walsh, Time
Lawyers representing the oil giant BP on one side, and more than 100,000 Gulf Coast residents on the other, were set to show up at the court of U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier on Monday morning. There they would have begun contesting one of the biggest class-action lawsuits in American history, fighting over the responsibility BP still had towards the individuals and businesses affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. . .

BP settles while Macondo ‘seeps’ Aljazeera

BP settles while Macondo ‘seeps’ Aljazeera

Critical Infrastructure Problems Plague National Weather Service During Tornado Outbreaks

Critical Infrastructure Problems Plague National Weather Service During Tornado Outbreaks

WASHINGTON, March 2, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Meteorologists testing the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System, version 2 (AWIPS2), at the NWS Weather Forecast Office in Omaha Nebraska  experienced potentially life threatening  technical issues and missed critical information as they disseminated warnings. The problems highlight catastrophic infrastructure issues within the NWS as the agency tries to manage multiple technical problems with their already delayed AWIPS2 roll out. Meanwhile, the NWS plans on removing the Information Technology Officers from all weather forecast offices nationwide as part of the Presidents FY 13 budget request, the very same people the agency would count on to fix these technical problems.
(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120213/DC52459LOGO)

Study finds thickest parts of Arctic ice cap melting faster

Study finds thickest parts of Arctic ice cap melting faster
A new NASA study revealed that the oldest and thickest Arctic sea ice is disappearing at a faster rate than the younger and thinner ice at the edges of the Arctic Ocean's floating ice cap.