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Saturday, July 28, 2012

In the News: Climate Change Perceptions

In the News: Climate Change Perceptions

In an ironic confluence, several news articles and reports have been issued discussing public perceptions surrounding climate change.  While each article or resource that has been published discusses this issue in a slightly different way, the underlying theme of each is that while the populace acknowledges Climate Change, most people have very little interest in following the issue or have no ambition/ability to "do" anything about it.  For some of most recent articles and reports on this topic see below:

Debra Cassens Weiss, Law Prof Has an Explanation for Differing Opinions on Climate Change, A.B.A. J. (July 25, 2012). See also
Beth Gardner, We're All Climate-Change Idiots, NY Times(July 21, 2012).  See also
Eryn Brown, Many in Generation X are "Disengaged" on Climate Change, LA Times (July 19, 2012). See also

The Mysterious Deaths of Nine Gulf Oil Spill Whistleblowers Wake-up Call

The Mysterious Deaths of Nine Gulf Oil Spill Whistleblowers
Wake-up Call

From American Drought to “Global Catastrophe” The Daily Impact

From American Drought to “Global Catastrophe”
The Daily Impact

Greenland May Become Green Again Global Economic Intersection

Greenland May Become Green Again
Global Economic Intersection

US 'extreme drought' zones triple in size

US 'extreme drought' zones triple in size

The drought in America's breadbasket is intensifying at an unprecedented rate, experts warned, driving concern food prices could soar if crops in the world's key producer are decimated.

Melting Arctic sea ice: How much is down to us?

Melting Arctic sea ice: How much is down to us?

(Phys.org) -- Natural climate variations could explain up to 30% of the loss in Arctic sea ice since the 1970s, scientists have found.

Solar Trade War With China Goes Global

Posted: 27 Jul 2012 06:00 AM PDT
Its mission statement doesn’t mention China, but there’s no doubt as to what brought together the 20 or so companies that comprise the new trade group EU ProSun: The flood of Chinese solar products into Europe that has pushed a growing number of companies to and over the financial brink.

How Secure Are Green Jobs?

How Secure Are Green Jobs?

Climate change and capitalism

Climate change and capitalism

The Facts About Canada’s Oil Sands and Climate Change

Posted: 27 Jul 2012 06:44 AM PDT
Motivated ReasoningThis week I was reading an article from the Associated Press called Some fracking critics use bad science. The gist of the article is that Gasland director Josh Fox used false information in his new film, The Sky is Pink. Among other things, he claimed that cancer rates were higher in Texas where fracking is taking place.

Friday, July 27, 2012

In the News: Greenland's Petermann Glacier Fractures (Again)

In the News: Greenland's Petermann Glacier Fractures (Again)

Last week, a northern section of Greenland's Petermann Glacier calved creating a 46 mile iceberg.   The crack which seems to have taken scientists by surprise has lent an increase in urgency to issues such as sea level rise and climate change.  For those interested in more information, below please find some additional resources that may be of assistance to environmental legal researchers.

Resources:

National Snow and Ice Data Center, http://nsidc.org/ (last visited July 25, 2012)

World Glacier Monitoring Service, http://www.geo.uzh.ch/microsite/wgms/index.html (last visited July 25, 2012).

Petermann Glacier, Image of the Day, NASA, http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegallery/image_feature_2310.html (last visited July 25, 2012).

Iceberg Breaks Off from Greenland's Petermann Glacier, BBC News (July 18, 2012), http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-18896984 (video).

Joanna M. Foster, Green: Again, A Glacier Downsizes, NY Times (July 18, 2012), http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/18/again-a-glacier-downsizes/.

Seth Borenstein, Petermann Glacier in Greenland Breaks Off Iceberg Twice the Size of Manhattan, Huffington Post (July 17, 2012), http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/18/greenlands-petermann-glacier-iceberg_n_1682463.html.

GAO Report Released: EPA Needs Better Information on New Source Review Permits

GAO Report Released: EPA Needs Better Information on New Source Review Permits

Recently the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released its report, titled EPA Needs Better Information on New Source Review Permits GAO-12-590 (Jun 22, 2012).  The forty-four page report, available here, recommends that
EPA, among other actions, consider ways to develop a centralized source of data on NSR permits issued to electricity generating units. EPA expressed its commitment to filling gaps in its data systems, but disagreed with the actions GAO recommended. GAO believes that its recommendations would enhance oversight of NSR permitting and enforcement.
A virtually identical recommendation was made six years ago in report issued by the National Research Council in 2006 titled, New Source Review for Stationary Sources of Air PollutionFor more information about the current structure and permit reporting for New Source Review permits under the Clean Air Act (CAA), see the additional resources listed below.

Additional Resources:


New Source Review Publications, EPA, http://www.epa.gov/nsr/publications.html (last visited July 26, 2012).

New Source Review, Policy & Guidance, EPA, http://www.epa.gov/nsr/guidance.html (last visited July 26, 2012).

Where You Live, NSR Permit Contacts, EPA, http://www.epa.gov/nsr/where.html (last visited July 26, 2012) (organized by state).

The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2012

The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2012

In July, the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) released its 2012 edition of the The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture Report.  The report which is released every two years is now available as a pdf from the FAO's website: http://www.fao.org/docrep/016/i2727e/i2727e00.htm.  Older versions of the report, dating back to 1994 are available here: http://www.fao.org/fishery/publications/sofia/en.

If you are looking for additional documents related to aquaculture and fisheries from this organization it may also be advisable to visit the FAO's Corporate Document Repository available here: http://www.fao.org/documents/en/docrep.jsp.  The Repository has links on the left-hand sidebar for a quick subject-matter sort of full-text articles and documents (including a link for Fisheries Aquaculture Management and Conservation).  In the alternative, the Repository offers an Advanced Search  feature (accessible on the top of the left-hand sidebar).  Readers should note that while the Advanced Search offers more options including dates, ISBN, language, country, etc. the keyword search should generally be avoided as it is not as refined as the subject-specific quick-links. 
In addition other publications and documents (including select full-text pdfs) are available from the FAO's Fisheries and Aquaculture Department including: Fisheries Technical Papers; Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries; Technical Guidelines for Responsible Fisheries; Fisheries Circulars and Reports; International Plans of Action; and Yearbooks of Fishery Statistics.

Public Trust Doctrine May Extend to the Air

Public Trust Doctrine May Extend to the Air

On July 9th 2012, a 200th District Texas Civil Court held in a letter ruling in the case of Angela Bonser-Lain, et al. v Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, No. D-1-GN-11-002194 that the public trust doctrine "[i]ncludes all natural resources of the State" including the atmosphere.  Since District Court Judge Gisela D. Triana's opinion was issued, the Internet has exploded with news stories on this issue, however, few links are available to the primary source documents.  Below please find links to some key resources:

Related Documents:

Letter Ruling, Angela Bonser-Lain, et al. v Texas Commission on Environmental Quality,(Tex. 200th Dist July 9, 2012) (No. D-1-GN-11-002194),
http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/files/judge-trianas-letter-ruling.pdf

Complaint, Angela Bonser-Lain, et al. v Texas Commission on Environmental Quality,(Tex. 200th Dist July 21, 2011) (No. D-1-GN-11-002194), http://www.law.uh.edu/faculty/thester/courses/Climate-Change-2012/BonserLain%20v%20TCEQ.pdf

Texas Comm'n on Envtl. Quality, Interoffice Memorandum (June 3, 2011),
http://www.tceq.texas.gov/assets/public/legal/rules/rule_lib/petitions/11020PET_petex.pdf

Letter from Bryan W. Shaw, Texas Comm'n on Envtl. Quality & Greg Abbott,  Attorney General of Texas to EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson & Dr. Alfredo Armendariz, EPA Administrator Region 6 (Aug. 2, 2010),
http://texasclimatenews.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/texas_letter.pdf.

Commentary:

Press Release, Our Children's Trust,Texas Court Recognizes the Atmosphere as a Public Trust Resource in Climate Change Lawsuit (July 10, 2012), http://ourchildrenstrust.org/sites/default/files/Texas%20PR%2007-10-2012%20.pdf.

Daniel Firger, A Novel Use of the Public Trust Doctrine, Climate L. Blog (May 11, 2011)
Tim Mulvaney, Texas Court Finds the Atmosphere Protected under the Public Trust Doctrine, Envtl. L. Professor Blog (July 12, 2012), http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/environmental_law/.

Alexandra Klass, Federalism at Work: Recent Developments in Public Trust Lawsuits to Limit Greenhouse Gas Emissions, CPRBlog (July 13, 2012),  http://www.progressivereform.org/CPRBlog.cfm?idBlog=8092FA68-ADF9-7258-98BF80BAC5FA4AA7.

Articles:

Karl S. Coplan, Public Trust Limits on Greenhouse Gas Trading Schemes: A Sustainable Middle Ground?, Pace L. Sch. Faculty Publ'ns (Sept. 1, 2009).
Mary Christina Wood, Law and Climate Change: Government’s Atmospheric Trust Responsibility, 38 Envtl. L. Reptr10652 (2008).

Tim Eichenberg, Sean Bothwell, & Darcy Vaughn, Climate Change and the Public Trust Doctrine: Using an Ancient Doctrine to Adapt to Rising Sea Levels in San Francisco Bay, 3 Golden Gate U. Envtl. L.J. 243 (2001).


In the News: Guar Gum in Hydraulic Fracking Fluid

In the News: Guar Gum in Hydraulic Fracking Fluid

Recently, the New York Times and other news outlets have reported that many poverty stricken areas in India have been the unwitting beneficiaries of a much needed financial boom from a very unlikely source -- guar beans, a small hard legume. The reason for this recent demand for the bean (or more specifically for the powder or concentrate produced from milling the bean) is similarly to its use as a thickening additive in ice cream, guar has become an essential ingredient in most hydraulic fracturing fluids by increasing viscosity. Below please find additional resources discussing the role of guar in fracking fluids.

Recent News Stories:
Gardiner Harris, In Tiny Bean, India’s Dirt-Poor Farmers Strike Gas-Drilling Gold, NY Times (July 16, 2012).

Christopher Helman, Fracking Boom Means Good Times For India's Guar Farmers, Forbes (July 17, 2012).

Meenakshi Sharma & Selam Gebrekidan, Shale Energy Triggers bean Rush in India, Reuters (May 28, 2012).

Scientific Resources:
Chemicals Use in Hydraulic Fracturing, Hearing Before the H. Comm. on Energy and Commerce, 112th Cong. (2011) (use Ctrl F to search for "guar").

EPA, Evaluation of Impacts to Underground Sources of Drinking Water by Hydraulic Fracturing of Coalbed Methane Reservoirs (2004) (seesec. 4.2.1 Linear Gels) full report.

Ahmad Bahamdan & William H. Daly, Poly(oxyalkylene) Grafts to Guar Gum with Applications in Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids, Proceeding of the 8th Polymers for Advanced Technologies International Symposium Budapest, Hungary (Sept. 13-16, 2005).

Aung Kyaw et al., Fracturing Fluid (Guar Polymer Gel) Degradation Study by using Oxidative and Enzyme Breaker, 4 Res. J. of Applied Sci. Engineering & Tech. 1667 (2012).

Global Environmental Outlook (GEO 5) Released

Global Environmental Outlook (GEO 5) Released

In June, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) released its report, Global Environmental Outlook 5 (GEO 5)The new, five hundred and fifty page report titled, Environment for the Future we Want, available here, is published periodically and is broken out into three parts including: State and Trends of the Environment; Policy Options; and Global Responses. 
The main goal of UNEP’s Global Environment Outlook (GEO) is to keep governments and stakeholders informed of the state and trends of the global environment. Over the past 15 years, the GEO reports have examined a wealth of data, information and knowledge about the global environment; identified potential policy responses; and provided an outlook for the future. The assessments, and their consultative and collaborative processes, have worked to bridge the gap between science and policy by turning the best available scientific knowledge into information relevant for decision makers.
Prior editions of the report are available from the GEO website:

Drought diminishes mighty Mississippi, puts heat on Congress Reuters (Current U.S. Drought Monitor ; U.S. Drought Portal )

Drought diminishes mighty Mississippi, puts heat on Congress
Reuters (Current U.S. Drought Monitor; U.S. Drought Portal)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Food vs. Fuel and the Midwest Drought

Food vs. Fuel and the Midwest Drought

Geoffrey Styles, Energy Outlook
It was bound to happen.  As long as US corn output continued to climb year after year, the federal mandate to blend steadily increasing quantities of ethanol into gasoline could be accommodated without creating a shortage of this staple grain.  Unfortunately, crops are subject to all sorts of uncertainties, including the severe drought conditions that the middle of the country is experiencing this year.  Estimates for this year's corn crop have been revised downward, and corn prices have already broken through $8 per bushel, up from less than $6 a...

Chevron's Oil Pollution Mess Gets Messier

Chevron's Oil Pollution Mess Gets Messier

Paul Barrett, BusinessWeek
The world’s largest, most complicated environmental litigation mess has just become even messier, as dissent erupts among the plaintiffs who won an $18.2 billion verdict against Chevron (CVX) in a provincial rainforest court in Ecuador. . .

A Clean Energy Policy Will Drive Us into the Future

A Clean Energy Policy Will Drive Us into the Future

David Roberts, Grist
Last week, I highlighted some energy projections from 2000 or so that substantially underestimated the growth of renewables. Mainly I wanted an excuse to repost Michael Noble’s list. So as not to merely thieve, I added a few musings of my own, reflecting my ongoing obsessions with the dynamics of distributed energy and the values-based assumptions buried in economic models. I didn’t think about it all that much, to be honest, nor did I aspire to offer a comprehensive account of why projections fail. (The much-more-qualified Nate Silver has a book on that subject...

Will New EPA Rule Shut Down West's Biggest Coal Plant?

Will New EPA Rule Shut Down West's Biggest Coal Plant?

Deseret News
Controversy is boiling over the West's biggest coal-fired power plant,  located just south of the Utah-Arizona border near the shores of Lake Powell. . .

EPA Exonerates Pennsylvania Fracking

EPA Exonerates Pennsylvania Fracking

Kenneth Green, AEI
The Environmental Protection Agency today shattered the environmental narrative that hydraulic fracturing in Dimock, PA caused groundwater contamination so severe that residents had to survive on bottled water. . .

BP Still Hasn't Learned From Fatal Mistakes

BP Still Hasn't Learned From Fatal Mistakes

Loren Steffy, FuelFix
The deaths were never far away. They hovered over the esoteric discussions of safety processes; they were brought up by members of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board who were conducting the two-day public hearing. . .

Tropical plankton invade arctic waters: Researchers see natural cycle, but questions arise on climate change

Tropical plankton invade arctic waters: Researchers see natural cycle, but questions arise on climate change

For the first time, scientists have identified tropical and subtropical species of marine protozoa living in the Arctic Ocean. Apparently, they traveled thousands of miles on Atlantic currents and ended up above Norway with an unusual -- but naturally cyclic -- pulse of warm water, not as a direct result of overall warming climate, say the researchers. On the other hand: Arctic waters are warming rapidly, and such pulses are predicted to grow as global climate change causes shifts in long-distance currents.

Marine protected areas: what is their impact on fishing?

Marine protected areas: what is their impact on fishing?

In a context of overfishing of aquatic resources, marine protected areas (MPAs) are tools for protecting biodiversity. These defined marine areas are subject to preservation measures to save habitats necessary for fish reproduction and juvenile growth. What role do they have to play in the management of halieutic resources?

The new face of El Niño

The new face of El Niño

Emerging once every two to seven years in the equatorial Pacific, El Niño causes disorder across the globe and for the global economy. But in the past ten years, it has changed its face. It is increasingly taking the form of Modoki, ‘similar but different’ as it was baptised by the Japanese team who first discovered this less tumultuous cousin that provokes droughts in India and Australia.

Why Is Earth So Dry?

Why Is Earth So Dry?

Baltimore MD (SPX) Jul 20, 2012
With large swaths of oceans, rivers that snake for hundreds of miles, and behemoth glaciers near the north and south poles, Earth doesn't seem to have a water shortage. And yet, less than one percent of our planet's mass is locked up in water, and even that may have been delivered by comets and asteroids after Earth's initial formation. Astronomers have been puzzled by Earth's water defici

Earth-observing Camera Launches to International Space Station

Earth-observing Camera Launches to International Space Station

Washington DC (SPX) Jul 23, 2012
A remote-controlled Earth-observing camera system called ISERV was launched to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's third H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV-3) on July 20. Once installed, the system will be directed by researchers on the ground to acquire imagery of specific areas of the globe for disaster analysis and environmental studies. ISERV P

Landsat Looks and Sees

Landsat Looks and Sees

Greenbelt MD (SPX) Jul 23, 2012
The American sage Yogi Berra once said: "You can see a lot by just looking." The Landsat program is the longest continuous global record of Earth observations from space - ever. Since its first satellite went up in the summer of 1972, Landsat has been looking at our planet. The view of Earth that this 40-year satellite program has recorded allows scientists to see, in ways they never imagined, h

Mexico to vaccinate 10 million birds in flu outbreak

Mexico to vaccinate 10 million birds in flu outbreak

Mexico City (AFP) July 25, 2012
Mexico will start vaccinating some 10 million poultry Thursday against the highly contagious bird flu strain that has already led to the deaths of five million birds which either fell ill or were slaughtered. "Starting tomorrow, we are going to vaccinate hens and chicks across the country to put an end to this bird flu epidemic," Mexican President Felipe Calderon said. The president indi

US drought woes deepen

US drought woes deepen

Washington (AFP) July 26, 2012
The drought in America's breadbasket is intensifying at an unprecedented rate, experts warned Thursday, driving concern food prices could soar if crops in the world's key producer are decimated. The US Drought Monitor reported almost a threefold increase in areas of extreme drought over the past week in the nine Midwestern states where three quarters of the country's corn and soybean crops a

A Macondo Response to Oil Sands?

A Macondo Response to Oil Sands?

Provincial authorities in Alberta announced plans to review pipeline safety regulations following a series of oil spills in the region. Plains Midstream Canada, Pace Energy Oil and Gas, and Enbridge Energy all experienced releases, sparking ire from aboriginal groups and environmentalists already upset over plans to move oil to the western coast. In the U.S., protesters are likely to flock to Michigan's state capital this week to mark the two-year anniversary of the costliest onshore pipeline spill on record. With increasing focus on regional oil…Read more...

New EPA Rules Could See the West's Largest Coal Power Plant Shut Down by 2017

New EPA Rules Could See the West's Largest Coal Power Plant Shut Down by 2017

The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a new plan to clean the air in the national parks of Arizona; a move that could force the largest coal-fired power plant in the West out of business.Owners of the plant fear that the proposal could push them into an unprofitable situation which would force a shutdown of the plant as soon as 2017.George Hardeen, a spokesman for the plant, has admitted that “the critical issue is the timing of it. If the EPA requires it to be done within a short period of time, it becomes economically non-viable.”The…Read more...

Ten Reasons Why Fracking is Doomed

Ten Reasons Why Fracking is Doomed

Proponents of natural gas fracturing and oil drilling are delirious with joy over the ability to recover shale gas, which has brought down world gas prices and made the US a major player again. Likewise, North Dakota wells are set to produce up to 800,000 barrels of oil a day soon. (Although, since the world uses roughly 89 million barrels a day, and the US uses a fifth of that, and demand in Asia will likely spike in coming years, the ND addition is just not that much).Fracking is dangerous to ground water purity, and both oil and gas, as hydrocarbons,…Read more...

8.6 earthquake possible in Southern California? Caltech study suggests new ‘mega-earthquake’ risk

8.6 earthquake possible in Southern California? Caltech study suggests new ‘mega-earthquake’ risk

July 26, 2012 LOS ANGELES - In recent years, scientists, first responders and utilities have been preparing for “The Big One,” that inevitable quake that will rock Southern California to its core. It’s coming. For sure. They just don’t know when. But the U.S. Geological Survey and Caltech have been on the ball, working from a likely scenario, a simulated “Shakeout” that would have a 7.8 quake hitting greater L.A. It would be deadly, destructive and put us in the dark for days, if not weeks. Unfortunately, a 7.8 might now be too low of an estimate for The Big One: Caltech researchers looked at Sumatra’s (April 11) 8.6 earthquake and concluded — maybe — that a similar temblor could happen along the same San Andreas fault that will produce our Big One. Make that a possible Bigger One. Scientists said the Indonesian rocker was larger than they ever thought such a quake “could be,” according to Caltech. It was a ‘intraplate strike-slip quake,” similar to what would happen at San Andreas, where much of California, from Baja to San Francisco, is moving north as the rest of America moves south. In Sumatra, scientists found that this was not only the biggest strike-slip fault temblor ever, but that it set of a series of right-angle ruptures that amplified the shaking, like a block of ice cracking up in the heat. And yes, it could happen here. The research, published last week in the journal Science Express, argues: The new details provide fresh insights into the possibility of ruptures involving multiple faults occurring elsewhere–something that could be important for earthquake-hazard assessment along California’s San Andreas fault, which itself is made up of many different segments and is intersected by a number of other faults at right angles. Lingsen Meng, lead author of the Caltech research: If other earthquake ruptures are able to go this deep or to connect as many fault segments as this earthquake did, they might also be very large and cause significant damage. The USGS, of course, is begging Southern Californians to prepare for our “mega-earthquake,” as academics called the Indonesian shaker. You know, flashlights, batteries, radios, water, nonperishable food. All that good stuff. –LA Weekly

Summer Storms to Create New Ozone Holes as Earth Warms?

Researchers find link between climate change, ozone loss and possible increase in skin cancer incidence

Researchers find link between climate change, ozone loss and possible increase in skin cancer incidence
For decades, scientists have known that the effects of global climate change could have a potentially devastating impact across the globe, but Harvard researchers say there is now evidence that it may also have a dramatic impact on public health.

Fracking Guidelines Expand as Technology Evolves


Fracking Guidelines Expand as Technology Evolves
July/August 2012| GAS POWER
New federal regulations promise to change the fracking landscape in the coming years, perhaps substantially. But technology may be running ahead of the law, as improvements in the fracking process threaten to make some of the new rules unnecessary. More »

DOI, DOE Blueprint Foresees 23.7 GW of Solar Energy Development on Federal Lands



DOI, DOE BLUEPRINT FORESEES 23.7 GW OF SOLAR ENERGY DEVELOPMENT ON FEDERAL LANDS
A Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) released by the Department of the Interior (DOI) and Department of Energy (DOE) on Tuesday identifies 17 Solar Energy Zones (SEZs) in six southwestern states—Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah—totaling about 285,000 acres of public lands, as priority areas for utility-scale solar development. Read More »

Federal Appeals Ct. Upholds EPA NAAQS for NOX, SO2



FEDERAL APPEALS COURT UPHOLDS EPA NAAQS FOR NOX, SO2
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit last week handed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) two legal victories over challenges from states and industry, affirming the agency's revisions to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for nitrogen oxides (NOx) and upholding its revised final sulfur dioxide (SO2) standard. Read More »

EPA Delays Issuance of Final Cooling Water Intake Rule by Nearly a Year




EPA DELAYS ISSUANCE OF FINAL COOLING WATER INTAKE RULE BY NEARLY A YEAR
An amended settlement reached with environmental groups will allow the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to delay by nearly a year issuance of rules that would govern cooling water intake structures at existing power plants and mandate compliance under Section 316(b) of the Clean Water Act. Read More »

A Carbon Tax is More Viable than Cap and Trade


Posted: 26 Jul 2012 05:11 AM PDT
Pricing carbon is the cornerstone of a blueprint to contain climate change as it would provide both incentives and disincentives to reduce emissions.

The nuclear approach to climate risk

 

The nuclear approach to climate risk

From desertification in China to glacier melt in Nepal to water scarcity in South Africa, climate change is beginning to make itself felt in the developing world. As developing countries search for ways to contain carbon emissions while also maximizing economic potential, a natural focus of attention is nuclear power. But nuclear energy presents its own dangers. Below, Wang Haibin of China, Anthony Turton of South Africa, and Hira Bahadur Thapa of Nepal answer this question: "Given nuclear energy's potential to slow global warming, do its benefits outweigh its risks, or do its risks outweigh its benefits for developing countries?"
http://thebulletin.org/web-edition/roundtables/the-nuclear-approach-to-climate-risk#

Most read on The Energy Collective 7/26

The Energy Collective sponsored by Siemens

Most read on The Energy Collective

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

If Pandemic Strikes, Avoid Honolulu

If Pandemic Strikes, Avoid Honolulu
http://www.darkgovernment.com/news/if-pandemic-strikes-avoid-honolulu/


MIT researchers have analyzed which airport hubs would be key to spreading a
virulent disease, with some surprising results






World map shows flight routes from the 40 largest US airports. Image: Christos
Nicolaides/Juanes Research Group



When the next outbreak of Sars or Swine flu hits, New York's John F Kennedy
airport and Los Angeles's airports will likely [...]

First U.S. Tidal Power Project Launches in Maine


Posted: 24 Jul 2012 10:02 AM PDT
The ocean is a tremendous bank of energy. Covering more than two-thirds of our planet, the amount of energy embodied in the ocean’s tides, currents, and waves, not to mention temperature and salinity gradients, could power the world—if we were able to commercialize the technology to harness its renewable power.

Greenland Ice Melt: ‘Scientists Say They’ve Never Seen Anything Like This Before’


Posted: 25 Jul 2012 05:56 AM PDT
NASA reported today some truly shocking findings on the melting of the Greenland ice sheet this summer:

Bakken formation, Eagle Ford shale drilling could slow and other Oil and Gas News

Bakken formation, Eagle Ford shale drilling could slow and other Oil and Gas News

Clean Air and Climate Coalition against Soot and other Short Term Air Pollution

Clean Air and Climate Coalition against Soot and other Short Term Air Pollution

Tropical plankton invade Artic waters

Tropical plankton invade Arctic waters

For the first time, scientists have identified tropical and subtropical species of marine protozoa living in the Arctic Ocean. Apparently, they traveled thousands of miles on Atlantic currents and ended up above Norway with an unusual—but naturally cyclic—pulse of warm water, not as a direct result of overall warming climate, say the researchers. On the other hand: arctic waters are warming rapidly, and such pulses are predicted to grow as global climate change causes shifts in long-distance currents. Thus, colleagues wonder if the exotic creatures offers a preview of climate-induced changes already overtaking the oceans and land, causing redistributions of species and shifts in ecology. The study, by a team from the United States, Norway and Russia, was just published in the British Journal of Micropalaeontology.

Study shows economic feasibility for capturing carbon dioxide directly from the air

Study shows economic feasibility for capturing carbon dioxide directly from the air

With a series of papers published in chemistry and chemical engineering journals, researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology have advanced the case for extracting carbon dioxide directly from the air using newly-developed adsorbent materials.

Shrinking glaciers: A chronology of climate change (w/ Video)

Shrinking glaciers: A chronology of climate change (w/ Video)

During the last ice age, glaciers dominated New Zealand’s Southern Alps until warming temperatures some 20,000 years ago sent them into retreat. Scientists at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, with their colleagues, are investigating the rocky remnants these glaciers left behind to learn precisely when the ice withdrew, and what glacier retreats globally can tell us about the climate system. 

Shaking the foundations of earthquake hazard prediction

Shaking the foundations of earthquake hazard prediction

European research into earthquakes of low seismicity is being incorporated into models that are more appropriate for Europe. To date, hazard assessment has been based on data from strong earthquakes.

Pulling CO2 from air vital, but lower-cost technology a stumbling block so far: researchers

Pulling CO2 from air vital, but lower-cost technology a stumbling block so far: researchers
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Satellites see unprecedented Greenland ice sheet surface melt

Satellites see unprecedented Greenland ice sheet surface melt
 GPS can now measure ice melt, change in Greenland over months rather than years

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As the world's population grows, hunger persists on a massive scale

Beyond 7 Billion | Hunger Without End
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/population/la-fg-population-matters3-20120726-html,0,2752228.htmlstory

As the world's population grows, hunger persists on a massive scale

Nearly 1 billion people are malnourished, and a child dies of hunger every 11 seconds. By 2050, farmers would have to double crop production to meet the demand.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Unprecedented Greenland Ice Sheet Surface Melt

Unprecedented Greenland Ice Sheet Surface Melt

ScienceDaily (July 24, 2012) — For several days this month, Greenland's surface ice cover melted over a larger area than at any time in more than 30 years of satellite observations. Nearly the entire ice cover of Greenland, from its thin, low-lying coastal edges to its two-mile-thick center, experienced some degree of melting at its surface, according to measurements from three independent satellites analyzed by NASA and university scientists.


 The greenland glacier is melting faster than ever. The difference in the area of surface melting between July 8 and July 12 is stunning. Check it out...
  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120724131608.htm


Top Ten Stories of Landsat's 40 Years

Top Ten Stories of Landsat's 40 Years

About the Images

Landsat has been capturing change, both worldwide and of the American landscape for 40 years. NASA and U.S. Geological Survey scientists chose the 10 most significant images from this four-decade Landsat data record to highlight the accomplishments and contributions of the world's longest-running Earth-observing satellite program.
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/landsat/news/landsat-40th-top10.html

Your Airport Is a Petri Dish

Your Airport Is a Petri Dish

The part of air travel that gives you a cold (or worse) isn't usually the plane ride -- it's these leading disease-spreading airports.

Creating a Sensible Offshore Drilling Plan

Creating a Sensible Offshore Drilling Plan

Rep. Doc Hastings, The Hill
While the American people and news media were distracted by the Supreme Court’s decision on Obamacare, the Obama Administration quietly released its final proposed offshore drilling plan for the next five years.  Though President Obama uses lofty rhetoric to claim support for American oil and natural gas production, the administration chose to bury the announcement of this plan under mountains of news coverage. It’s no surprise that during an election year the president doesn’t want to hype a plan that represents a giant step backwards for...

Will Drought Cause the Next Blackout?

Will Drought Cause the Next Blackout?

Michael Webber, New York Times
WE’RE now in the midst of the nation’s most widespread drought in 60 years, stretching across 29 states and threatening farmers, their crops and livestock. But there is another risk as water becomes more scarce. Power plants may be forced to shut down, and oil and gas production may be threatened.

Food vs. Fuel and the Midwest Drought

Food vs. Fuel and the Midwest Drought

Geoffrey Styles, Energy Outlook
It was bound to happen; As long as US corn output continued to climb year after year, the federal mandate to blend steadily; increasing quantities of ethanol into gasoline could be accommodated without creating a shortage of this staple grain; Unfortunately, crops are subject to all sorts of uncertainties, including the severe drought conditions that the middle of the country is experiencing this year. Estimates for this year's corn crop have been revised downward, and corn prices have already broken through $8 per bushel, up from less than $6 a...

A New Frontier For Our Energy Future

A New Frontier For Our Energy Future

Craig Rucker, National Journal
It has taken seven years, reams of red tape, prolonged litigation, and $4.5 billion, but Royal Dutch Shell is finally on the verge of drilling for oil in the energy-rich American Arctic.Last August, Shell received conditional approval from the U.S. Department of Interior to drill wells in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, and drilling could be underway in a few weeks. It may well have been worth the wait. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that 25 percent of the world’s remaining undiscovered conventional oil and natural gas reserves are located in the Arctic, most of it in...

Brazil to build first algae-based biofuel plant

Brazil to build first algae-based biofuel plant

Rio De Janeiro (AFP) July 24, 2012
The world's first industrial plant producing biofuels from seaweed will be built in the northeastern Brazilian state of Pernambuco in late 2013, the official in charge of the project said Thursday. The factory to be set up by Austrian firm SAT on a sugar cane plantation that yields ethanol, will produce 1.2 million liters of algae-based biofuels annually, Rafael Bianchini, head of SAT's Braz

Better Soil Management With Nuclear Techniques


Better Soil Management With Nuclear Techniques

International Soil Symposium Highlights Significant Advances in Farm and Land Management

International Symposium on Managing Soils for Food Security and Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation
Delegates peruse an exhibit on the sidelines of the International Symposium on Managing Soils for Food Security and Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation taking place at the IAEA in Vienna, 23-27 July 2012. (Photo Credit: D. Calma/IAEA)
A week-long international symposium on Managing Soils for Food Security and Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation has opened in Vienna highlighting the benefits of using nuclear techniques for farm and land management. Approximately 400 participants, consisting of scientists, policymakers, donors and collaborators from 80 countries and partner organizations, are signed up for the event.
Organized by the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture, the symposium is the first to be held in this field since 2000. It will review the significant advances that have been made so far, particularly the role that nuclear techniques have played to support the advances in improving farm management practices to enhance productivity. The symposium aims to communicate scientific and technological developments, identify gaps, and will give special emphasis on the importance of soil management in enhancing food security in the context of climate change.
IAEA Deputy Director General for Nuclear Sciences and Applications, Daud Mohamad, highlighted the importance of the symposium during his opening address.
"With the global population growing steadily, it has never been more important to develop agricultural technology to reduce hunger and poverty in an equitable and environmentally sustainable manner. Nuclear techniques enable farmers, food processors and government agencies to provide people with more and safer food, while conserving soil and water resources," he said.
About 83 oral contributions and 131 poster presentations are to be presented during the 5-day symposium, touching on areas such as soil and nutrient resources management; preservation and protection of soil resources; managing soils for climate change adaptation and mitigation; application of isotopic tracers for measuring water and nutrient dynamics; and advances in the development of nuclear-based instruments and analytical techniques.
In the first 4 days of the event, experts will share information on conventional technologies, as well as on the role of nuclear techniques in generating data on soil. Scientists will debate how this data can be used in improving soil quality for food production and for making soil more resilient against climate change.
The fifth day will host the FAO's Global Soil Partnership workshop. This workshop aims to link science and policy in an effort towards sustainable management of soil resource for food security and climate change adaptation.
With the help of nuclear techniques, the IAEA helps countries improve the quality of the soil and adapt to the devastating effects of climate change. Through these techniques, scientists have managed to not only help the soil become more resilient to climate change, but also to help reduce the emissions that cause it.
--by Iulia Iliut, IAEA Division of Public Information

Report on US corn crop worst since 1988

Report on US corn crop worst since 1988
Jack Farchy and Greg Meyer on soaring corn prices and fears of a food crisis. 

Canadian Senate calls for greater environmental concern

Canadian Senate calls for greater environmental concern
A new report being released by the Canadian Senate calls on the nation's energy industry to significantly reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.
Full Article

Number of natural gas exploration rigs declines to 13-year low

Number of natural gas exploration rigs declines to 13-year low
With natural gas prices remaining at extraordinarily low levels, the number of natural gas exploration rigs has fallen dramatically to reach a more-than-decade low.
Full Article

Falling prices threaten unconventional oil development

Falling prices threaten unconventional oil development
Despite its stunning success over the past decade, one oil services firm believes the U.S. shale oil industry could see a quick decline if oil prices in the country fall much lower.
Full Article