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Friday, June 29, 2012

EXCLUSIVE: Frackers Disclose Only 43% Of The Chemicals They Pump Into The Ground

EXCLUSIVE: Frackers Disclose Only 43% Of The Chemicals They Pump Into The Ground

Only 43.7 Percent of Gulf 'Oil Spill' Was Actually Oil

Only 43.7 Percent of Gulf 'Oil Spill' Was Actually Oil

The man who stands between the Obama administration and billions of dollars in a slush fund.

Saving the Baltic Sea

Saving the Baltic Sea

Lund, Sweden (SPX) Jun 29, 2012
Over the last decade, an average of 60,000 km2 of the Baltic Sea bottom has suffered from hypoxia without enough oxygen to support its normal ecosystem. Several large-scale geo-engineering interventions are currently on the table as proposed solutions to this problem. Researchers from Lund University are calling for geo-engineering efforts that mix oxygen into the Deep Baltic to be abandoned.

UCSB scientists compile first study of potential for tsunamis in northwestern California

UCSB scientists compile first study of potential for tsunamis in northwestern California

Santa Barbara CA (SPX) Jun 29, 2012
Using studies that span the last three decades, scientists at UC Santa Barbara have compiled the first evidence-based comprehensive study of the potential for tsunamis in Northwestern California. The paper, "Paleoseismicity of the Southern End of the Cascadia Subduction Zone, Northwestern California," was co-written by professors Edward Keller and Alexander Simms from UCSB's Department of Earth

New sea and air delivery systems to enable direct support to disaster zones from offshore container ships

New sea and air delivery systems to enable direct support to disaster zones from offshore container ships

DARPA’s Tactically Expandable Maritime Platform (TEMP) program has completed the design of innovative technologies to transform commercial container ships into self-contained floating supply bases during disaster relief operations, without needing port infrastructure. The program envisions a container ship anchoring offshore of a disaster area, and the ship’s crew delivering supplies ashore using DARPA-developed, modular on-board cranes and air- and sea-delivery vehicles.

S. America cattle outbreak threat lingers

S. America cattle outbreak threat lingers

Santiago, Chile (UPI) Jun 28, 2012
Latin America remains high on the list of regions where recurring foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks are upsetting the best-laid plans for sustained economic development. Before the latest political crisis over Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo's ouster from office through an impeachment vote rushed through the National Congress, the impoverished landlocked country was hit by foot-and-mo

Dying trees in Southwest set stage for erosion, water loss in Colorado River

Dying trees in Southwest set stage for erosion, water loss in Colorado River

Corvallis OR (SPX) Jun 29, 2012
New research concludes that a one-two punch of drought and mountain pine beetle attacks are the primary forces that have killed more than 2.5 million acres of pinyon pine and juniper trees in the American Southwest during the past 15 years, setting the stage for further ecological disruption. The widespread dieback of these tree species is a special concern, scientists say, because they are some

Will Carbon Capture Be Ready on Time?

Will Carbon Capture Be Ready on Time?

High cost and uncertainties over its risks have raised doubts about whether the technology can help address climate change.
Many long-term strategies for combating climate change count heavily on the ability to capture huge amounts of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels and store it permanently in deep underground rock formations. But high costs and lingering technical uncertainties mean the technology, so-called carbon capture and storage (CCS), might not be able to play a significant role in cutting carbon emissions.

GM Soy Linked to Illnesses in Farm Pigs Institute for Science in Society (Aquifer)

GM Soy Linked to Illnesses in Farm Pigs Institute for Science in Society (Aquifer)

Why genetically engineered food is dangerous: New report by genetic engineers EarthOpenSource

Why genetically engineered food is dangerous: New report by genetic engineers EarthOpenSource

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Significant sea-level rise in a two degree warming world

Significant sea-level rise in a two degree warming world

Potsdam, Germany (SPX) Jun 27, 2012
The study is the first to give a comprehensive projection for this long perspective, based on observed sea-level rise over the past millennium, as well as on scenarios for future greenhouse-gas emissions. "Sea-level rise is a hard to quantify, yet critical risk of climate change," says Michiel Schaeffer of Climate Analytics and Wageningen University, lead author of the study.

Risks and rewards of quantifying nature's 'ecosystem services'

Risks and rewards of quantifying nature's 'ecosystem services'

Washington DC (SPX) Jun 27, 2012
How much is a stream worth? Can we put a dollar value on a wetland? Some conservation proponents have moved to establish the economic value of "ecosystem services," the benefits that nature provides to people. The approach translates the beauty and utility of a wetland into pounds of phosphorus removed from agricultural runoff, Joules of heat pulled out of urban wastewater, and inches of floodwa

Climate change and the South Asian summer monsoon

Climate change and the South Asian summer monsoon

Manoa HI (SPX) Jun 27, 2012
The vagaries of South Asian summer monsoon rainfall impact the lives of more than one billion people. A review in Nature Climate Change (June 24 online issue) of over 100 recent research articles concludes that with continuing rise in CO2 and global warming, the region can expect generally more rainfall, due to the expected increase in atmospheric moisture, as well as more variability in rainfal

U.S. urges action on global cattle disease

U.S. urges action on global cattle disease

Bangkok (UPI) Jun 27, 2012
A global strategy to combat foot-and-mouth disease must be based on collective action and solid commitments from all countries, the U.N. food agency says. Foot-and-mouth disease, which affects all cloven-hoofed animals including sheep, goats, cattle, buffalo and pigs, causes serious production losses and can be fatal, particularly to younger animals. "Recent FMD outbreaks around

China to invest in Earth monitoring system

China to invest in Earth monitoring system

Beijing (UPI) Jun 27, 2012
China says it will invest $81 million to build a national network to monitor movement in the Earth's crust and for other Earth sciences in the next four years. The program will use more than 3,000 technicians to build a three-dimensional and dynamic "geodetic" network with high precision, the country's National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation announced Tuesday.

New Blog: Dr. Jeff Masters' WunderBlog

Dr. Jeff Masters' WunderBlog

 http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=2137

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

NASCAR's Effect on the Environment

NASCAR's Effect on the Environment

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about possible ways that climate change could affect baseball. This time I want to talk about how a sport can impact the climate.From constant travel to keeping the stadium lights on, every sport is energy intensive. But NASCAR — in which drivers race vehicles 500 miles at speeds of 200 miles per hour — takes energy intensity to a whole new level.NASCAR is arguably the second most popular sport in America. Though it lacks some of the broad appeal of other sports, the 75 million people that watch it each…Read more...

How to Avoid the Coming Environmental and Economic 'Perfect Storm'

How to Avoid the Coming Environmental and Economic 'Perfect Storm'

It is quite possible that by the year 2100 human life will have become extinct or will be confined to a few residential areas that have escaped the devastating effects of nuclear holocaust or global warming.—Brian BarryEvolution equipped us to deal with threats from dependably loathsome enemies and fearsome creatures, but not with the opaque and cumulative long-term consequences of our own technological and demographic success. As cartoonist Walt Kelly once put it, “We’ve met the enemy, and he is us.”Deforestation, agriculture,…Read more...
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Whatever Happened to the Keystone XL Pipeline?

Whatever Happened to the Keystone XL Pipeline?

Four and a half years of studies and five failed votes in the House later, exactly where are we with the Keystone XL pipeline? Stuck on the US-Canadian border where it is likely to remain until mid-2013 despite the headline-grabbing issuance of one of three permits to begin construction in Texas for the smaller and much less controversial portion of the pipeline.  On 26 June, the US Army Corps of Engineers granted TransCanada Corp one of three permits required in order to begin construction on the $2.3 billion southern section of the Keystone…Read more...

Congressman criticizes US handling of H5N1 papers

Congressman criticizes US handling of H5N1 papers

Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin
http://sensenbrenner.house.gov/
An influential member of the US Congress remains dissatisfied with the government’s handling of two research papers on mutant forms of avian influenza, and is threatening legislation to control the controversial research.
Jim Sensenbrenner (Republican, Wisconsin) today said that the lack of a cohesive policy for handling risky research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other federal agencies could necessitate new laws, a situation that researchers have been trying to avoid. “I prefer not to pursue legislation on this issue, with the hopes the scientific community can create its own approach. But failing a consequential … policy, Congressional action could be required,” Sensenbrenner told Nature in a statement.
The second of the controversial papers showing that H5N1, or ‘bird flu’, can spread through the air between mammals was published last week, providing some closure to the months-long debate about the work and whether its publication would result in the proliferation of dangerous viruses and increased risk of an accidental or intentional release. Sensenbrenner says not enough work has been done to ensure that such controversies don’t arise again.

US appeals court upholds rules curbing greenhouse gases

US appeals court upholds rules curbing greenhouse gases

A US court has unanimously upheld the efforts of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to limit greenhouse-gas emissions from industry and automobiles. The 26 June ruling, from a federal appeals court in Washington DC, dismisses the complaints brought against the federal government by, among others, four states — Virginia, Texas, Nebraska and North Dakota — and paves the way for further regulations.
“In the end, petitioners are asking us to re-weigh the scientific evidence before EPA and reach our own conclusion. This is not our role,” said the panel of three judges in a sharply worded 82-page brief.
The EPA has been ramping up its efforts to curb carbon dioxide emissions ince a 2007 US Supreme Court decision that allowed the agency to regulate greenhouse gases under the 1970 Clean Air Act. The court ruling on Tuesday found that in 2009, when the EPA labelled greenhouse gases a danger to public health, it was being “neither arbitrary nor capricious”. They also dismissed objections to the EPA’s later vehicular- and industrial-emissions rules.
The judges took particular issue with the allegations that the EPA has relied too much on reports from other agencies and uncertain climate science. “EPA is not required to re-prove the existence of the atom every time it approaches a scientific question,” said the panel.
According to the Washington Post, opponents have already said that they intend to appeal the decision, and the New York Times reports that Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has already made greenhouse-gas regulations a campaign issue.
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Atlantic heat constrains Arctic sea ice extent

Atlantic heat constrains Arctic sea ice extent

The Arctic sea ice cover is a sensitive indicator of climate variability and change. Researchers have for the first time quantified how Atlantic heat influences the sea ice extent in the Barents Sea, where the retreat in Arctic winter sea ice is the most pronounced.

BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill exacerbated existing environmental problems in Louisiana marshes

BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill exacerbated existing environmental problems in Louisiana marshes

The BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill temporarily worsened existing manmade problems in Louisiana’s salt marshes such as erosion, but there may be cause for optimism, according to a new study.

Dying trees in Southwest set stage for erosion, water loss in Colorado River

Dying trees in Southwest set stage for erosion, water loss in Colorado River

New research concludes that a one-two punch of drought and mountain pine beetle attacks are the primary forces that have killed more than 2.5 million acres of pinyon pine and juniper trees in the American Southwest during the past 15 years, setting the stage for further ecological disruption -- including more water loss in the Colorado River basin.

Half of inhaled soot particles from diesel exhaust, fires gets stuck in the lungs

Half of inhaled soot particles from diesel exhaust, fires gets stuck in the lungs

The exhaust from diesel-fueled vehicles, wood fires and coal-driven power stations contains small particles of soot that flow out into the atmosphere. The soot is a scourge for the climate but also for human health. Now for the first time, researchers have studied in detail how diesel soot gets stuck in the lungs. The results show that more than half of all inhaled soot particles remain in the body.

Researchers track impact of Gulf oil spill on region's marshes

Researchers track impact of Gulf oil spill on region's marshes
A new report from researchers at the University of Florida illustrates that the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill contributed significantly to the destruction of marshes in Louisiana.
Full Article

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Global warming worse than it appears: Nobel Prize laureate



Global warming worse than it appears: Nobel Prize laureate



http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/indepth/2012-06/21/c_131668783.htm

Today’s Severe Drought, Tomorrow’s Normal Berkeley Lab scientists part of team that analyzed 19 state-of-the-art climate models.

Today’s Severe Drought, Tomorrow’s Normal

Berkeley Lab scientists part of team that analyzed 19 state-of-the-art climate models.

 

Reforming National Flood Insurance Program

Posted: 26 Jun 2012 04:04 AM PDT
With the Senate set to vote today on fixes to the ailing National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a new C2ES brief explains why the program is chronically in debt to the U.S. Treasury, and how to make it solvent. We urge, among other things, that Congress allow federal underwriters to begin taking into account rising flood risk due to climate change.The 44-year-old federally-backed NFIP covers 5.6 million American households and more than $1 trillion in assets in flood-prone areas along rivers and coasts. Flooding is not an easy risk to insure, so historically private insurers chose not to. But in assuming that role, the NFIP has at times served to encourage rather than contain risk, and has racked up $18 billion in debt in the process.

Focusing on water for Central Everglades essential to reversing whole ecosystem's continuing decline

Focusing on water for Central Everglades essential to reversing whole ecosystem's continuing decline

Washington DC (SPX) Jun 26, 2012
Twelve years into a multibillion-dollar state and federal effort to save the Florida Everglades, little progress has been made in restoring the core of the ecosystem, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Research Council. Expedited restoration projects that improve the quality and amount of water in this area are necessary to reverse ongoing declines.

Food security and climate change

Food security and climate change

Washington DC (SPX) Jun 26, 2012
On a planet with sufficient food for all, today almost half a billion women and children under 5 in the developing world are undernourished -a consequence of persistently limited nutritious food intake. This number could increase by 20 percent, reaching one in five within a decade, compared to one in seven today, due to the impacts of climate change on global food production, according to

Deconstructing anti-nuclear economic myths - a response to Veronique de Rugy

Deconstructing anti-nuclear economic myths - a response to Veronique de Rugy

Let me start things off with a disclaimer - I am not an economist. I don't even pretend to be an economist; I'm a nuclear engineer by training (I hold Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering). That notwithstanding, economics (and specifically, the economics of energy) are a side interest of mine. So it was with mixed interest and trepidation when I read a recent piece by libertarian economist Veronique de Rugy from the upcoming July issue of Reason, entitled "No to Nukes."

Double Trouble in Washington for King Coal

Double Trouble in Washington for King Coal

Jen Alic, OilPrice.com

Destroying the Top 10 Myths about Nuclear Power

Destroying the Top 10 Myths about Nuclear Power

Greenbang
Despite its 50-plus-year history, nuclear power still struggles to squirm free of its reputation of danger, expense and unsustainability, remaining as contentious a topic as ever.However, as concern over climate change outstrips fears over nuclear safety, grudging support for nuclear power and its contribution to lower greenhouse gas emissions continues to grow.

Is Big Oil Serious About Renewables?

Is Big Oil Serious About Renewables?

Nino Marchetti, Energy Collective
On Chevron’s website there is a green mission statement. Alongside a video featuring some earnest-looking members of the public and Chevron employees talking about the importance of renewables, the statement says this:

Sen. Rockefeller's Plea to Coal Industry

Sen. Rockefeller's Plea to Coal Industry

Ken Silverstein, EnergyBiz
When President Obama ran in the West Virginia Democratic primary, he had some tough competition -- from a prisoner who got around 40 percent of the vote. The contentious issue: coal, and the host of new rules coming down that will put severe limitations on the industry that is vital to the state.

Obama Fracking Rules Coming by Year's End

Obama Fracking Rules Coming by Year's End

Ben Geman, The Hill
A senior White House official said Monday that regulations to toughen oversight of oil-and-gas fracking on federal lands are on track despite a two-month extension of the public comment period announced last week.

One-Time Alarmist James Lovelock Recants A Bit On Global Warming - Investor's Business Daily - Editorials 6-25-2012

One-Time Alarmist James Lovelock Recants A Bit On Global Warming - Investor's Business Daily -  Editorials  6-25-2012

Hysteria: The scientist who brought us the Gaia theory that Earth is a living being, which has led to a bizarre planet worship, has decided that global warming alarmists have gone too far. It's nice to see some clear thinking.

James Lovelock admitted on MSNBC in April that he had overstated the case for man-made global warming and conceded that "we don't know what the climate is doing."

The 92-year-old Lovelock said: "We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books — mine included — because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn't happened."

Lovelock explained that "the world has not warmed up very much since the millennium. Twelve years is a reasonable time" for the warming to occur. Yet the temperature "has stayed almost constant, whereas it should have been rising" as carbon dioxide was rising.

More recently, as revealed in an interview with the British Guardian, Lovelock disclosed other points of contention with those he calls "greens."

He has come to support fracking to produce more natural gas to fire electric power plants. He's rebuked environmentalists for creating a "green religion" that "is now taking over from the Christian religion." And he has called the idea of sustainable development through renewable energy "meaningless drivel."

Moreover, Lovelock has cast doubt on the article of faith that the science on global warming is settled.

Are any among the alarmist movement listening?

Unlikely. They don't want to hear one of their patriarchs confess that "the schemes" for development through renewable energy "are largely hopelessly inefficient and unpleasant."

Or that he's "very cross with the greens for trying to knock" natural gas fracking, which he sees as a preferred alternative to coal.

And they sure want to ignore that he said in reference to the "settled science" on global warming that the "one thing that being a scientist has taught me is that you can never be certain about anything."

He said: "You never know the truth. You can only approach it and hope to get a bit nearer to it each time."

No, the alarmists are still listening to the 2006 Lovelock, who predicted that "before this century is over, billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable."

The environmental left and its allies in the media and Democratic Party desperately want to keep the hysteria boiling. Stirring up an environmental doomsday furthers the politics of envy, sets up conditions that allow more government control over the economy and the freedom of movement, and serves a biased press that enjoys fanning class warfare and promoting heavy-handed government policies.

Consequently, any honest effort regarding conservation has been run over by a political movement that loathes capitalism, deemed private property an abomination and taken advantage of well-meaning people who have not been fully informed.

Lovelock says he still believes that man is causing the planet to warm but just not as sharply as he predicted it would.

The greens will latch onto that, too. But they had better not hold on too tightly.

The statement sounds a lot like a wind-down for a scientist who has indeed gotten "a bit nearer" the truth.
THE ABOVE EPIPHANY IS DELIGHTFUL, AS IS THE FOLLOWING.  FROM THE NOT TOO DISTANT (SADLY, POSTHUMASLY) PAST, THERE IS THIS QUITE COGENT OBSERVATION -- JOHN B.


Michael Crichton - Science as Religion -- Remarks to the Commonwealth Club -- San Francisco -- September 15, 2003

I have been asked to talk about what I consider the most important challenge facing mankind, and I have a fundamental answer. The greatest challenge facing mankind is the challenge of distinguishing reality from fantasy, truth from propaganda. Perceiving the truth has always been a challenge to mankind, but in the information age (or as I think of it, the disinformation age) it takes on a special urgency and importance.

We must daily decide whether the threats we face are real, whether the solutions we are offered will do any good, whether the problems we're told exist are in fact real problems, or non-problems. Every one of us has a sense of the world, and we all know that this sense is in part given to us by what other people and society tell us; in part generated by our emotional state, which we project outward; and in part by our genuine perceptions of reality. In short, our struggle to determine what is true is the struggle to decide which of our perceptions are genuine, and which are false because they are handed down, or sold to us, or generated by our own hopes and fears.

As an example of this challenge, I want to talk today about environmentalism. And in order not to be misunderstood, I want it perfectly clear that I believe it is incumbent on us to conduct our lives in a way that takes into account all the consequences of our actions, including the consequences to other people, and the consequences to the environment. I believe it is important to act in ways that are sympathetic to the environment, and I believe this will always be a need, carrying into the future. I believe the world has genuine problems and I believe it can and should be improved. But I also think that deciding what constitutes responsible action is immensely difficult, and the consequences of our actions are often difficult to know in advance. I think our past record of environmental action is discouraging, to put it mildly, because even our best intended efforts often go awry. But I think we do not recognize our past failures, and face them squarely. And I think I know why.

I studied anthropology in college, and one of the things I learned was that certain human social structures always reappear. They can't be eliminated from society. One of those structures is religion. Today it is said we live in a secular society in which many people---the best people, the most enlightened people---do not believe in any religion. But I think that you cannot eliminate religion from the psyche of mankind. If you suppress it in one form, it merely re-emerges in another form. You can not believe in God, but you still have to believe in something that gives meaning to your life, and shapes your sense of the world. Such a belief is religious.

Today, one of the most powerful religions in the Western World is environmentalism. Environmentalism seems to be the religion of choice for urban atheists. Why do I say it's a religion? Well, just look at the beliefs. If you look carefully, you see that environmentalism is in fact a perfect 21st century remapping of traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs and myths.
There's an initial Eden, a paradise, a state of grace and unity with nature, there's a fall from grace into a state of pollution as a result of eating from the tree of knowledge, and as a result of our actions there is a judgment day coming for us all. We are all energy sinners, doomed to die, unless we seek salvation, which is now called sustainability. Sustainability is salvation in the church of the environment. Just as organic food is its communion, that pesticide-free wafer that the right people with the right beliefs, imbibe.

Eden, the fall of man, the loss of grace, the coming doomsday---these are deeply held mythic structures.

They are profoundly conservative beliefs. They may even be hard-wired in the brain, for all I know. I certainly don't want to talk anybody out of them, as I don't want to talk anybody out of a belief that Jesus Christ is the son of God who rose from the dead. But the reason I don't want to talk anybody out of these beliefs is that I know that I can't talk anybody out of them. These are not facts that can be argued. These are issues of faith.

And so it is, sadly, with environmentalism. Increasingly it seems facts aren't necessary, because the tenets of environmentalism are all about belief. It's about whether you are going to be a sinner, or saved.

Whether you are going to be one of the people on the side of salvation, or on the side of doom. Whether you are going to be one of us, or one of them.
Am I exaggerating to make a point? I am afraid not. Because we know a lot more about the world than we did forty or fifty years ago. And what we know now is not so supportive of certain core environmental myths, yet the myths do not die. Let's examine some of those beliefs.

There is no Eden. There never was. What was that Eden of the wonderful mythic past? Is it the time when infant mortality was 80%, when four children in five died of disease before the age of five? When one woman in six died in childbirth? When the average lifespan was 40, as it was in America a century ago.

When plagues swept across the planet, killing millions in a stroke. Was it when millions starved to death?

Is that when it was Eden?

And what about indigenous peoples, living in a state of harmony with the Eden-like environment? Well, they never did. On this continent, the newly arrived people who crossed the land bridge almost immediately set about wiping out hundreds of species of large animals, and they did this several thousand years before the white man showed up, to accelerate the process. And what was the condition of life? Loving, peaceful, harmonious? Hardly: the early peoples of the New World lived in a state of constant warfare. Generations of hatred, tribal hatreds, constant battles. The warlike tribes of this continent are famous: the Comanche, Sioux, Apache, Mohawk, Aztecs, Toltec, Incas. Some of them practiced infanticide, and human sacrifice. And those tribes that were not fiercely warlike were exterminated, or learned to build their villages high in the cliffs to attain some measure of safety.

How about the human condition in the rest of the world? The Maori of New Zealand committed massacres regularly. The dyaks of Borneo were headhunters. The Polynesians, living in an environment as close to paradise as one can imagine, fought constantly, and created a society so hideously restrictive that you could lose your life if you stepped in the footprint of a chief. It was the Polynesians who gave us the very concept of taboo, as well as the word itself. The noble savage is a fantasy, and it was never true. That anyone still believes it, 200 years after Rousseau, shows the tenacity of religious myths, their ability to hang on in the face of centuries of factual contradiction.

There was even an academic movement, during the latter 20th century, that claimed that cannibalism was a white man's invention to demonize the indigenous peoples. (Only academics could fight such a battle.)

It was some thirty years before professors finally agreed that yes, cannibalism does inbdeed occur among human beings. Meanwhile, all during this time New Guinea highlanders in the 20th century continued to eat the brains of their enemies until they were finally made to understand that they risked kuru, a fatal neurological disease, when they did so.

More recently still the gentle Tasaday of the Philippines turned out to be a publicity stunt, a nonexistent tribe. And African pygmies have one of the highest murder rates on the planet.
In short, the romantic view of the natural world as a blissful Eden is only held by people who have no actual experience of nature. People who live in nature are not romantic about it at all. They may hold spiritual beliefs about the world around them, they may have a sense of the unity of nature or the aliveness of all things, but they still kill the animals and uproot the plants in order to eat, to live. If they don't, they will die.

And if you, even now, put yourself in nature even for a matter of days, you will quickly be disabused of all your romantic fantasies. Take a trek through the jungles of Borneo, and in short order you will have festering sores on your skin, you'll have bugs all over your body, biting in your hair, crawling up your nose and into your ears, you'll have infections and sickness and if you're not with somebody who knows what they're doing, you'll quickly starve to death. But chances are that even in the jungles of Borneo you won't experience nature so directly, because you will have covered your entire body with DEET and you will be doing everything you can to keep those bugs off you.

The truth is, almost nobody wants to experience real nature. What people want is to spend a week or two in a cabin in the woods, with screens on the windows. They want a simplified life for a while, without all their stuff. Or a nice river rafting trip for a few days, with somebody else doing the cooking. Nobody wants to go back to nature in any real way, and nobody does. It's all talk-and as the years go on, and the world population grows increasingly urban, it's uninformed talk. Farmers know what they're talking about. City people don't. It's all fantasy.

One way to measure the prevalence of fantasy is to note the number of people who die because they haven't the least knowledge of how nature really is. They stand beside wild animals, like buffalo, for a picture and get trampled to death; they climb a mountain in dicey weather without proper gear, and freeze to death. They drown in the surf on holiday because they can't conceive the real power of what we blithely call "the force of nature." They have seen the ocean. But they haven't been in it.

The television generation expects nature to act the way they want it to be. They think all life experiences can be tivo-ed. The notion that the natural world obeys its own rules and doesn't give a damn about your expectations comes as a massive shock. Well-to-do, educated people in an urban environment experience the ability to fashion their daily lives as they wish. They buy clothes that suit their taste, and decorate their apartments as they wish. Within limits, they can contrive a daily urban world that pleases them.

But the natural world is not so malleable. On the contrary, it will demand that you adapt to it-and if you don't, you die. It is a harsh, powerful, and unforgiving world, that most urban westerners have never experienced.

Many years ago I was trekking in the Karakorum mountains of northern Pakistan, when my group came to a river that we had to cross. It was a glacial river, freezing cold, and it was running very fast, but it wasn't deep---maybe three feet at most. My guide set out ropes for people to hold as they crossed the river, and everybody proceeded, one at a time, with extreme care. I asked the guide what was the big deal about crossing a three-foot river. He said, well, supposing you fell and suffered a compound fracture. We were now four days trek from the last big town, where there was a radio. Even if the guide went back double time to get help, it'd still be at least three days before he could return with a helicopter. If a helicopter were available at all. And in three days, I'd probably be dead from my injuries. So that was why everybody was crossing carefully. Because out in nature a little slip could be deadly.

But let's return to religion. If Eden is a fantasy that never existed, and mankind wasn't ever noble and kind and loving, if we didn't fall from grace, then what about the rest of the religious tenets? What about salvation, sustainability, and judgment day? What about the coming environmental doom from fossil fuels and global warming, if we all don't get down on our knees and conserve every day?

Well, it's interesting. You may have noticed that something has been left off the doomsday list, lately.

Although the preachers of environmentalism have been yelling about population for fifty years, over the last decade world population seems to be taking an unexpected turn. Fertility rates are falling almost everywhere. As a result, over the course of my lifetime the thoughtful predictions for total world population have gone from a high of 20 billion, to 15 billion, to 11 billion (which was the UN estimate around 1990) to now 9 billion, and soon, perhaps less. There are some who think that world population will peak in 2050 and then start to decline. There are some who predict we will have fewer people in 2100 than we do today. Is this a reason to rejoice, to say halleluiah? Certainly not. Without a pause, we now hear about the coming crisis of world economy from a shrinking population. We hear about the impending crisis of an aging population. Nobody anywhere will say that the core fears expressed for most of my life have turned out not to be true. As we have moved into the future, these doomsday visions vanished, like a mirage in the desert. They were never there---though they still appear, in the future. As mirages do.
Okay, so, the preachers made a mistake. They got one prediction wrong; they're human. So what.

Unfortunately, it's not just one prediction. It's a whole slew of them. We are running out of oil. We are running out of all natural resources. Paul Ehrlich: 60 million Americans will die of starvation in the 1980s.

Forty thousand species become extinct every year. Half of all species on the planet will be extinct by 2000. And on and on and on.

With so many past failures, you might think that environmental predictions would become more cautious. But not if it's a religion. Remember, the nut on the sidewalk carrying the placard that predicts the end of the world doesn't quit when the world doesn't end on the day he expects. He just changes his placard, sets a new doomsday date, and goes back to walking the streets. One of the defining features of religion is that your beliefs are not troubled by facts, because they have nothing to do with facts.

So I can tell you some facts. I know you haven't read any of what I am about to tell you in the newspaper, because newspapers literally don't report them. I can tell you that DDT is not a carcinogen and did not cause birds to die and should never have been banned. I can tell you that the people who banned it knew that it wasn't carcinogenic and banned it anyway. I can tell you that the DDT ban has caused the deaths of tens of millions of poor people, mostly children, whose deaths are directly attributable to a callous, technologically advanced western society that promoted the new cause of environmentalism by pushing a fantasy about a pesticide, and thus irrevocably harmed the third world. Banning DDT is one of the most disgraceful episodes in the twentieth century history of America. We knew better, and we did it anyway, and we let people around the world die and didn't give a damn.

I can tell you that second hand smoke is not a health hazard to anyone and never was, and the EPA has always known it. I can tell you that the evidence for global warming is far weaker than its proponents would ever admit. I can tell you the percentage the US land area that is taken by urbanization, including cities and roads, is 5%. I can tell you that the Sahara desert is shrinking, and the total ice of Antarctica is increasing. I can tell you that a blue-ribbon panel in Science magazine concluded that there is no known technology that will enable us to halt the rise of carbon dioxide in the 21st century. Not wind, not solar, not even nuclear. The panel concluded a totally new technology-like nuclear fusion-was necessary, otherwise nothing could be done and in the meantime all efforts would be a waste of time. They said that when the UN IPCC reports stated alternative technologies existed that could control greenhouse gases, the UN was wrong.
I can, with a lot of time, give you the factual basis for these views, and I can cite the appropriate journal articles not in whacko magazines, but in the most prestigeous science journals, such as Science and Nature. But such references probably won't impact more than a handful of you, because the beliefs of a religion are not dependant on facts, but rather are matters of faith. Unshakeable belief.

Most of us have had some experience interacting with religious fundamentalists, and we understand that one of the problems with fundamentalists is that they have no perspective on themselves. They never recognize that their way of thinking is just one of many other possible ways of thinking, which may be equally useful or good. On the contrary, they believe their way is the right way, everyone else is wrong; they are in the business of salvation, and they want to help you to see things the right way. They want to help you be saved. They are totally rigid and totally uninterested in opposing points of view. In our modern complex world, fundamentalism is dangerous because of its rigidity and its imperviousness to other ideas.

I want to argue that it is now time for us to make a major shift in our thinking about the environment, similar to the shift that occurred around the first Earth Day in 1970, when this awareness was first heightened. But this time around, we need to get environmentalism out of the sphere of religion. We need to stop the mythic fantasies, and we need to stop the doomsday predictions. We need to start doing hard science instead.

There are two reasons why I think we all need to get rid of the religion of environmentalism.

First, we need an environmental movement, and such a movement is not very effective if it is conducted as a religion. We know from history that religions tend to kill people, and environmentalism has already killed somewhere between 10-30 million people since the 1970s. It's not a good record. Environmentalism needs to be absolutely based in objective and verifiable science, it needs to be rational, and it needs to be flexible. And it needs to be apolitical. To mix environmental concerns with the frantic fantasies that people have about one political party or another is to miss the cold truth---that there is very little difference between the parties, except a difference in pandering rhetoric. The effort to promote effective legislation for the environment is not helped by thinking that the Democrats will save us and the Republicans won't.

Political history is more complicated than that. Never forget which president started the EPA: Richard Nixon. And never forget which president sold federal oil leases, allowing oil drilling in Santa Barbara: Lyndon Johnson. So get politics out of your thinking about the environment.

The second reason to abandon environmental religion is more pressing. Religions think they know it all, but the unhappy truth of the environment is that we are dealing with incredibly complex, evolving systems, and we usually are not certain how best to proceed. Those who are certain are demonstrating their personality type, or their belief system, not the state of their knowledge. Our record in the past, for example managing national parks, is humiliating. Our fifty-year effort at forest-fire suppression is a wellintentioned disaster from which our forests will never recover. We need to be humble, deeply humble, in the face of what we are trying to accomplish. We need to be trying various methods of accomplishing things. We need to be open-minded about assessing results of our efforts, and we need to be flexible about balancing needs. Religions are good at none of these things.

How will we manage to get environmentalism out of the clutches of religion, and back to a scientific discipline? There's a simple answer: we must institute far more stringent requirements for what constitutes knowledge in the environmental realm. I am thoroughly sick of politicized so-called facts that simply aren't true. It isn't that these "facts" are exaggerations of an underlying truth. Nor is it that certain organizations are spinning their case to present it in the strongest way. Not at all---what more and more groups are doing is putting out is lies, pure and simple. Falsehoods that they know to be false.

This trend began with the DDT campaign, and it persists to this day. At this moment, the EPA is hopelessly politicized. In the wake of Carol Browner, it is probably better to shut it down and start over.

What we need is a new organization much closer to the FDA. We need an organization that will be ruthless about acquiring verifiable results, that will fund identical research projects to more than one group, and that will make everybody in this field get honest fast.

Because in the end, science offers us the only way out of politics. And if we allow science to become politicized, then we are lost. We will enter the Internet version of the dark ages, an era of shifting fears and wild prejudices, transmitted to people who don't know any better. That's not a good future for the human race. That's our past. So it's time to abandon the religion of environmentalism, and return to the science of environmentalism, and base our public policy decisions firmly on that.

Thank you very much.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Radioactive “Dirt” Hits Tokyo

Radioactive “Dirt” Hits Tokyo

Radioactive “Dirt” Hits Tokyo

Tokyo Residents: Don’t Touch the Black or Blue Dirt

Fukushima has been decimated by radiation.
But Fukushima City has less than 300,000 residents.  And all of Fukushima prefecture has 2 million.  On the other hand, greater Tokyo – the world’s largest megacity – has 35 million inhabitants.
Tokyo soil has been blanketed by Fukushima radiation, even though the Japanese capital is 170 miles from the Fukushima nuclear complex.
Now, substances with even higher levels of radiation are showing up around Tokyo.
Minamisoma city council member Koichi Oyama writes:
People in Tokyo, the black substance is here!
***
Please, people who live around, look at that!
***
It’s on the roof, on the asphalt, on concrete… Everywhere on all surfaces.
“Almost every part where is black”.
“Those black substances have fallen away and because of the rain water it accumulates underfoot”.
“I think 1 micro is almost 100000 becquerels~, 1 second α,β,γ Ray 100 needles~”.
“Never touch them with naked hands”.
What is he talking about?

NASA satellite sees several western U.S. fires blazing

NASA satellite sees several western U.S. fires blazing

Fires are raging in the western U.S. and in one overpass from its orbit around Earth, NASA's Aqua satellite picked up smoke and identified hot spots from fires in Colorado, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico.

CCS and Earthquakes - Anything to Worry About?

CCS and Earthquakes - Anything to Worry About?

Would you buy Fukushima Fish?


Would you Buy Fukushima Fish?
http://www.darkgovernment.com/news/would-you-buy-fukushima-fish/

TOKYO — The first seafood caught off Japan’s Fukushima coastline since last
year’s nuclear disaster went on sale Monday, but the offerings were limited to
octopus and marine snails because of persisting fears about radiation.

Octopus and whelk, a kind of marine snail, were chosen for the initial shipments
because testing for radioactive cesium consistently measured [...]

Nature Revolts on Monsanto Franken Crops

Nature Revolts on Monsanto Franken Crops
http://www.darkgovernment.com/news/nature-revolts-on-monsanto-franken-crops/

A growing number of root worms are now able to devour genetically modified corn
specifically designed by Monsanto to kill those same pests. A new study shows
that while the biotech giant may triumph in Congress, it will never be able to
outsmart nature.



Western corn root worms have been able to harmlessly consume the genetically
[...]

Climate Science Debate Is a Brutal Battle - Tom Clynes, Popular Science

Climate Science Debate Is a Brutal Battle - Tom Clynes, Popular Science

China’s Jiaolong submersible plunges below 7,000 metres

China’s Jiaolong submersible plunges below 7,000 metres

Posted on behalf of Jane Qiu.
Xinhua/Photoshot
A week after China made history by sending astronauts to its space station, the country has celebrated another success in proving its technological prowess.
At 11 a.m. local time on Sunday, the country’s manned submersible Jiaolong successfully completed its deepest test dive yet, to 7,020 metres in the Mariana Trench in the western Pacific Ocean, reports China Daily.

End of an era as Lonesome George passes away

End of an era as Lonesome George passes away

Posted on behalf of Henry Nicholls.
Lonesome George has died, at the age of around 100.
RODRIGO BUENDIA/AFP/Getty Images
Lonesome George is dead. The celebrity Galapagos giant tortoise, widely known as the world’s rarest creature, passed away unexpectedly on Sunday in Puerto Ayora, the largest town in Galapagos on the central island of Santa Cruz.
George, who is thought to have been around 100 years old, was discovered in 1971 by a Hungarian-born snail biologist working alone on the uninhabited northerly island of Pinta. Until that point, conservationists had assumed his subspecies was extinct owing to centuries of exploitation by hungry pirates and whalers. When the Galapagos National Park captured him and shipped him to Santa Cruz the following year it was hoped Chelonoidis nigra abingdoni might be coaxed back from the brink of extinction.
But in spite of further searches on Pinta and in zoos around the world, the GNP never found another of his kind.

Fishing fleets grow, but catch relatively less

Fishing fleets grow, but catch relatively less

The world’s fishing fleets have expanded their range to cover most of the world’s oceans and increased their power to catch fish ten-fold, according to global analysis. But these same fleets are now catching fewer fish for the same amount of effort than they were in the 1950s, suggesting this important food resource is in perilous decline, according to Reg Watson of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.
Based on data from the United Nations, the European Union and several management agencies, Watson and his colleagues estimate that since 1950 the ‘fishing effort’, based on the engine power of vessels, has increased by ten-fold on average and the power of Asia’s fleets has increased 25-fold. But their analysis, published in Fish and Fisheries, also shows that landings from global fisheries in 2006 were half what they were in 1950 per unit of power expended.

Rising sea level puts US Atlantic coast at risk: report

Rising sea level puts US Atlantic coast at risk: report

Paris (AFP) June 24, 2012
The sea level on a stretch of the US Atlantic coast that features the cities of New York, Norfolk and Boston is rising up to four times faster than the global average, a report said Sunday. This increases the flood risk for one of the world's most densely-populated coastal areas and threatens wetland habitats, said a study reported in the journal Nature Climate Change. Since about 1990,

New report warns of rising sea levels on the East Coast by The Extinction Protocol

New report warns of rising sea levels on the East Coast

June 25, 2012 EARTH - The latest report from the U.S. Geological Survey paints a cautionary tale for the East Coast. According to the report, rates of sea level rise are augmenting three-to-four times faster along the East Coast than they are globally. The report says that sea-level rise from Cape Hatteras, North Carolina to Boston, Massachusetts (a 600-mile expanse of coastal zone called the “hotspot” by scientists) has grown 2-3.7 millimeters per year since 1990. For comparison, scientists say that the global growth rate over the same time frame was 0.6 -1.0 millimeter per year. The report warns that if global temperatures continue to increase, rates of sea level rise along the East Coast are likely to continue growing. Scientists say this prediction is based on data and analyses that are detailed in the report. The report demonstrates that the sea-level rise hotspot on the East Coast is in accordance with the retarding of Atlantic Ocean circulation. Several models suggest that this change in circulation may be connected to adjustments in water temperature, salinity and density in the sub-polar north Atlantic. “Many people mistakenly think that the rate of sea level rise is the same everywhere as glaciers and ice caps melt, increasing the volume of ocean water, but other effects can be as large or larger than the so-called ‘eustatic’ rise,” said USGS Director Marcia McNutt in a press release. “As demonstrated in this study, regional oceanographic contributions must be taken into account in planning for what happens to coastal property.” Scientists say that global sea level will not increase at the same rate at every location, even though calculations show that it is likely to rise approximately two-to-three feet or more by the end of the 21st century. Sea level rise can vary both regionally and locally due to deviations in land movements, strength of ocean currents, water temperatures and other factors. “Cities in the hotspot, like Norfolk, New York, and Boston already experience damaging floods during relatively low intensity storms,” said Asbury Sallenger, USGS oceanographer and project lead, in a statement. “Ongoing accelerated sea level rise in the hotspot will make coastal cities and surrounding areas increasingly vulnerable to flooding by adding to the height that storm surge and breaking waves reach on the coast.” –Bunsen Burner

Oil in the Bahamas - Potential Replay of BP/Gulf of Mexico?

Oil in the Bahamas - Potential Replay of BP/Gulf of Mexico?

Mention the Bahamas to most people and you’ll get a sigh, followed by imagined images of a tropical paradise surrounded by azure waters.That romantic image may be about to change, perhaps for good. According to the recent “Assessment of undiscovered conventional oil and gas resources of South America and the Caribbean, 2012” report by the U.S. Geological Survey, the region hold an estimated 126 billion barrels of oil and 679 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered natural gas in 31 geologic provinces of South America and the Caribbean.The…Read more...

Renewable Energy Investors Flock to Latin America

Renewable Energy Investors Flock to Latin America

Investors are rushing to finance renewable energy projects in Latin America, as many countries in the region now have attractive incentives and investment-grade ratings.“If you're not in a renewable project in Latin America and you’re a private equity investor, it's a little strange,” George Osorio, managing partner of New York-based private equity firm Conduit Capital, said at the Latin American and Caribbean Council on Renewable Energy's finance briefing in New York on Monday.Renewable energy has become a very attractive business…Read more...

Poll Shows Most Americans are Unfamiliar with Hydraulic Fracturing

Poll Shows Most Americans are Unfamiliar with Hydraulic Fracturing

Take nothing for granted. That is the most important thing to remember when communicating with the public — or the media or any other group for that matter. Readers of Climate Progress are immersed in the details of climate science and energy policy, but the vast majority of people aren’t.For instance, “Natural gas is mostly methane,” but many people don’t know it, which is why I wrote that post last year.As someone who has been working in the energy arena for over two decades, I myself sometimes forget to lead with…Read more...

Arctic climate more vulnerable than thought, maybe linked to Antarctic ice-sheet behavior

Arctic climate more vulnerable than thought, maybe linked to Antarctic ice-sheet behavior
First analyses of the longest sediment core ever collected on land in the terrestrial Arctic, published this week in Science, provide documentation that intense warm intervals, warmer than scientists thought possible, occurred there over the past 2.8 million years.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Melting Sea Ice Threatens Emperor Penguins

Melting Sea Ice Threatens Emperor Penguins

Woods Hole MA (SPX) Jun 25, 2012
At nearly four feet tall, the Emperor penguin is Antarctica's largest sea bird-and thanks to films like "March of the Penguins" and "Happy Feet," it's also one of the continent's most iconic. If global temperatures continue to rise, however, the Emperor penguins in Terre Adelie, in East Antarctica may eventually disappear, according to a new study by led by researchers from the Woods Hole Oceano

NOAA: Gulf of Mexico 'dead zone' predictions feature uncertainty

NOAA: Gulf of Mexico 'dead zone' predictions feature uncertainty

Washington DC (SPX) Jun 25, 2012
A team of NOAA-supported scientists is predicting that this year's Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone could range from a low of approximately 1,197 square miles to as much as 6,213 square miles. The wide range is the result of using two different forecast models. The forecast is based on Mississippi River nutrient inputs compiled annually by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

Soil Moisture Climate Data Record observed from Space

Soil Moisture Climate Data Record observed from Space

Vienna, Austria (SPX) Jun 21, 2012
The future of the world's climate is determined by various parameters, such as the density of clouds or the mass of the Antarctic ice sheet. One of these crucial climate parameters is soil moisture, which is hard to measure on a global scale. Now, the European Space Agency (ESA), in cooperation with the Vienna University of Technology (Institute of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing) and

Drought hits Argentine corn and soy crops

Drought hits Argentine corn and soy crops

Buenos Aires (UPI) Jun 22, 2012
Drought is claiming a heavy toll on Argentina's corn and soy crops, creating new problems for the economy amid an increasingly fraught confrontation between farmer groups and the government. Drought isn't a new threat to Argentine agriculture and has affected crops with varying severity over the pa

Trouble on the horizon for GM crops?

Trouble on the horizon for GM crops?

Tucson AZ (SPX) Jun 25, 2012
Resistance of cotton bollworm to insect-killing cotton plants involves more diverse genetic changes than expected, an international research team reports in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. To decrease sprays of broad-spectrum insecticides, which can harm animals other than the target pests, cotton and corn have been genetically engineered to produce toxins derived