Search This Blog

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Natural Gas Extraction Is Destroying Forests in Pennsylvania


Posted: 13 Oct 2012 03:08 PM PDT

Scientists Fight Back Against Anti-GMO Propaganda

Scientists Fight Back Against Anti-GMO Propaganda

Jon Entine, Forbes
The recent hullabaloo over the controversial Seralini GM maize study and questions about the safety of foods made from genetically modified crops has obscured another line of attack on biotechnology: claims that GM crops are environmentally unfriendly.http://www.forbes.com/sites/jonentine/2012/10/12/scientists-journalists-challenge-claim-that-gm-crops-harm-the-environment/

Where and When Will the Next Pandemic Emerge?

Where and When Will the Next Pandemic Emerge?

The Economist
ON OCTOBER 2nd a British traveller, flying home to Glasgow from Afghanistan, began to feel ill. Within hours he was diagnosed with Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever, a virus nasty enough for him to be put onto a military transport aircraft for transfer to an isolation hospital in London. Less than 24 hours later he was dead.http://www.economist.com/node/21564529

Obama's War on Nuclear Power

Obama's War on Nuclear Power

This administration has thrown up roadblock after roadblock to cheap and reliable power for the United States.http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/10/obamas_war_on_nuclear_power.html

Japan's TEPCO admits downplaying tsunami risk

Japan's TEPCO admits downplaying tsunami risk

Tokyo (AFP) Oct 12, 2012
The operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant on Friday admitted it had played down the risks to the facility of a tsunami for fear of the political, financial and reputational cost. The admission is one of the starkest yet by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), which has been criticised for trying to shirk responsibility for the worst nuclear disaster in a generation.http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Japans_TEPCO_admits_downplaying_tsunami_risk_999.html

Scientists Uncover Diversion of Gulf Stream Path in Late 2011

Scientists Uncover Diversion of Gulf Stream Path in Late 2011

Cape Cod, MA (SPX) Oct 15, 2012
At a meeting with New England commercial fishermen last December, physical oceanographers Glen Gawarkiewicz and Al Plueddemann from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) were alerted by three fishermen about unusually high surface water temperatures and strong currents on the outer continental shelf south of New England. "I promised them I would look into why that was happening,"http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Scientists_Uncover_Diversion_of_Gulf_Stream_Path_in_Late_2011_999.html

Should There Be a Price on Carbon?

Should There Be a Price on Carbon?http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444450004578004074034640026.html

Friday, October 12, 2012

Opinion: The death of environmental common law?

Opinion: The death of environmental common law?

The Ninth Circuit in 'Kivalina' affirmed dismissal, issuing a significant environmental law decision, one with the potential to completely remake the way environmental law works.http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNLJ.jsp?id=1202574727966&rss=rss_nlj

Scientists identify trigger for explosive volcanic eruptions

Scientists identify trigger for explosive volcanic eruptions

Scientists have identified a repeating trigger for the largest explosive volcanic eruptions on Earth. The Las Cañadas volcanic caldera on Tenerife, in the Canary Islands, has generated at least eight major eruptions during the last 700,000 years. These catastrophic events have resulted in eruption columns of over 25km high and expelled widespread pyroclastic material over 130km. By comparison, even the smallest of these eruptions expelled over 25 times more material than the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland.http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121012074747.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Ftop_news%2Ftop_environment+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Top+News+--+Top+Environment%29&utm_content=Google+Reader

Barack Obama's Record On Addressing Climate Change In First Term Under Scrutiny By Activists


Barack Obama's Record On Addressing Climate Change In First Term Under Scrutiny By Activists http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/11/barack-obama-climate-change_n_1951965.html?utm_hp_ref=green

Yet Another Huge Oil Find in the Anadarko Basin

Yet Another Huge Oil Find in the Anadarko Basin

Continental Resources Inc. unveiled its newest oil field with a reservoir rock of an oil-rich portion of the Woodford Shale that lies beneath oil fields tapped long ago by some of the state’s biggest oil names, including Phillips Petroleum, Noble, Hefner and Skelly Oil.The Woodford Shale Located in OklahomaRelated Article: Oil Industry to Face Epic Changes over the Coming YearsThe new field is in an area of southern Oklahoma that has produced some of the state’s richest discoveries.  The South Central Oklahoma Oil Province, that…Read more...http://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/Yet-Another-Huge-Oil-Find-in-the-Anadarko-Basin.html

U.S. Biomass Has Huge Potential for Renewable Energy

U.S. Biomass Has Huge Potential for Renewable Energy

Non-food crops, farm residues and waste -- collectively known as “biomass” -- have the power to dramatically increase our nation’s renewable energy supply, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) concluded in a report released today.http://www.ucsusa.org/news/press_release/biomass-resource-report-0343.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ucsusa%2Frss+%28Union+of+Concerned+Scientists%29&utm_content=Google+Reader

Florida scientists, city and county officials ask presidential candidates to address sea level rise

Florida scientists, city and county officials ask presidential candidates to address sea level rise

More than 120 city and county officials and scientists in Florida, all of whom are working on issues related to sea level rise, sent a letter to the presidential candidates urging them to discuss how they will address rising sea levels that threaten the state.http://www.ucsusa.org/news/press_release/florida-sea-level-rise-letter-0342.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A%20ucsusa%2Frss%20%28Union%20of%20Concerned%20Scientists%29&utm_content=Google%20Reader

Oceans' rising acidity a threat to shellfish and humans

Oceans' rising acidity a threat to shellfish and humans
Peering into the microscope, Alan Barton thought the baby oysters looked normal, except for one thing: They were dead. http://phys.org/news/2012-10-oceans-acidity-threat-shellfish-humans.html#nwlt

Biofuels benefit billionaires, study finds

Biofuels benefit billionaires, study finds
Biofuels will serve the interests of large industrial groups rather than helping to cut carbon emissions and ward off climate change, according to research to be published in the International Journal of Environment and Health this month. http://phys.org/news/2012-10-biofuels-benefit-billionaires.html#nwlt

First 3-D map of under the East Antarctic sea ice

First 3-D map of under the East Antarctic sea ice
For the first time in East Antarctica, climate scientists have produced a three-dimensional (3-D) map of the surface beneath a sea ice floe, revealing an inverted complex topography evocative of lakes and mountain ranges. http://phys.org/news/2012-10-d-east-antarctic-sea-ice.html#nwlt

Forests to feel climate change effect—damage could cost billions

Forests to feel climate change effect—damage could cost billions
A new pan-European study suggests that the economic value of forests will decline between 14 % and 50 % due to climate change. If measures are not taken to change this, the damage could reach several hundred billion euros, say researchers led by the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL) in Switzerland. The study was presented in the journal Nature Climate Change. http://phys.org/news/2012-10-forests-climate-effectdamage-billions.html#nwlt

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Editor's Note

Dear Readers
I have meetings in Cambridge today, so won't resume posting until this evening.
Bear with me with business travel.
Regards.
Michele Kearney

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Glaciers cracking in the presence of carbon dioxide

Glaciers cracking in the presence of carbon dioxide

The well-documented presence of excessive levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere is causing global temperatures to rise and glaciers and ice caps to melt. New research has shown that carbon dioxide molecules may be also having a more direct impact on the ice that covers our planet.http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121010191749.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Ftop_news%2Ftop_environment+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Top+News+--+Top+Environment%29&utm_content=Google+Reader

Greenpeace, Greenwashing & Geoengineering

Greenpeace, Greenwashing & Geoengineering

Nathan Currier, Huff Post
There was much media attention a couple of weeks ago when this year's sea ice extent minimum broke all records: it was down almost 50 percent from the 1979-2000 average. Little attention, though, accompanied a possibly even more significant figure, released a few days ago: those who run the PIOMAS sea ice volume model at the Polar Research Center showed the 2012 sea ice volume minimum was down almost 50 percent not from decades ago -- but from 2007! That's right: the volume of arctic sea ice this September minimum was probably about half of what it was, just back in 2007.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nathan-currier/arctic-climate-change_b_1911550.html?utm_hp_ref=green

Study maps greenhouse gas emissions to building, street level for US cities

Study maps greenhouse gas emissions to building, street level for US cities

Tempe, AZ (SPX) Oct 10, 2012
Arizona State University researchers have developed a new software system capable of estimating greenhouse gas emissions across entire urban landscapes, all the way down to roads and individual buildings.http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Study_maps_greenhouse_gas_emissions_to_building_street_level_for_US_cities_999.html

EPA Releases National Estuary Program (NEP) Interactive Map

EPA Releases National Estuary Program (NEP) Interactive Map

Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a new interactive map, NEPmap, based on information obtained from the EPA's National Estuary Program (NEP), a program, "established under Section 320 of the 1987 Clean Water Act (CWA) Amendments as a[n EPA] . . . place-based program to protect and restore the water quality and ecological integrity of estuaries of national significance."  According to the press release,
NEPmap, [contains] more than a decade's worth of NEP habitat data. A simple static map with contained descriptions of NEP habitat protection and yearly restoration projects, has been replaced with a large set of data layers to enable viewing of NEP habitat information in a wider environmental context. The NEPmap allows users to view water quality conditions in their estuary and surrounding watershed alongside NEP habitat projects. NEPmap users can also generate and print maps and reports, change map scales, turn on and off background layers and interact with information points to provide a greater level of detail than a traditional static map. [1].
Of particular note to researchers, is the NEPmap's User Guide available on the bottom right-hand side of the interface which provides information on how to navigate the map.


1. Water Headlines for the Week of October 2nd, EPA, http://water.epa.gov/aboutow/ownews/waterheadlines/index.cfm

Pace Academy for Applied Environmental Studies Event: Water Wars: Is Water an Endangered Species?

Pace Academy for Applied Environmental Studies Event: Water Wars: Is Water an Endangered Species?

GAO Reports Released on the Environmental and Public Health Risks of Oil and Gas Shale Development

GAO Reports Released on the Environmental and Public Health Risks of Oil and Gas Shale Development

Today, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released two reports related to hydrofracking and shale development in the U.S..  While neither report makes any recommendations, both have been released in a timely manner as states such as New York are currently weighing the environmental and public health risks associated with the development of shale resources.  

  • Unconventional Oil and Gas Development: Key Environmental and Public Health Requirements, GAO-12-874 (Sept. 5, 2012). In the 241-page report available here, the  
    GAO was asked to review environmental and public health requirements for unconventional oil and gas development and (1) describe federal requirements; (2) describe state requirements; (3) describe additional requirements that apply on federal lands; and (4) identify challenges, if any, that federal and state agencies reported facing in regulating oil and gas development from unconventional reservoirs. GAO identified and analyzed federal laws, state laws in six selected states (Colorado, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wyoming), and interviewed federal and state officials and representatives from industry, environmental, and public health organizations.
Oil and Gas: Information on Shale Resources, Development, and Environmental and Public Health Risks, GAO 12-732 (Sept. 5, 2012).  In the 70-page report available here, the  GAO was asked to determine what is known about the (1) size of shale oil and gas resources and the amount produced from 2007 through 2011 and (2) environmental and public health risks associated with the development of shale oil and gas. GAO reviewed estimates and data from federal and nongovernmental organizations on the size and production of shale oil and gas resources. GAO also interviewed federal and state regulatory officials, representatives from industry and environmental organizations, oil and gas operators, and researchers from academic institutions.

Congressional Research Service Report Released: EPA Regulations: Too Much, Too Little, or On Track?

Congressional Research Service Report Released: EPA Regulations: Too Much, Too Little, or On Track?

The Congressional Research Service (CRS), the public policy research arm of Congress, just issued the report
EPA Regulations: Too Much, Too Little, or On Track? (Oct. 5, 2012).  The 46 page report authored by James E. McCarthy and Claudia Copeland,
provides background information on recent EPA regulatory activity . . . [i]t [also]examines 45 major or controversial regulatory actions taken by or under development at EPA since January 2009, providing details on the regulatory action itself, presenting an estimated timeline for completion of the rule (including identification of related court or statutory deadlines), and, in general, providing EPA’s estimates of costs and benefits, where available. The report includes tables that show which rules have been finalized and which remain under development.
 
The report also discusses factors that affect the timeframe in which regulations take effect, including statutory and judicial deadlines, public comment periods, judicial review, and permitting procedures, the net results of which are that existing facilities are likely to have several years before being required to comply with most of the regulatory actions under discussion. Unable to account for such factors, which will vary from case to case, timelines that show dates for proposal and promulgation of EPA standards effectively underestimate the complexities of the regulatory process and overstate the near-term impact of many of the regulatory actions.

National Academies Report Released: Corps of Engineers Water Resources Infrastructure: Deterioration, Investment, or Divestment?

National Academies Report Released: Corps of Engineers Water Resources Infrastructure: Deterioration, Investment, or Divestment?

Recently, the National Academies Press (NAP) released a report produced by the Committee on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Water Resources Science, Engineering, and Planning; Water Science and Technology Board; Division on Earth and Life Studies; and the National Research Council titled, Corps of Engineers Water Resources Infrastructure: Deterioration, Investment, or Divestment? (2012). The 108 page report is available here, free with a one-time registration. According to the abstract,
[o]ver the past century, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has built a vast network of water management infrastructure that includes approximately 700 dams, 14,000 miles of levees, 12,000 miles of river navigation channels and control structures, harbors and ports, and other facilities. Historically, the construction of new infrastructure dominated the Corps' water resources budget and activities. Today, national water needs and priorities increasingly are shifting to operations, maintenance, and rehabilitation of existing infrastructure, much of which has exceeded its design life. However, since the mid-1980s federal funding for new project construction and major rehabilitation has declined steadily. As a result, much of the Corps' water resources infrastructure is deteriorating and wearing out faster than it is being replaced. This report explores the status of operations, maintenance, and rehabilitation of Corps water resources infrastructure, and identifies options for the Corps and the nation in setting maintenance and rehabilitation priorities.

Experts: Global warming means more Antarctic ice

Experts: Global warming means more Antarctic ice
The ice goes on seemingly forever in a white pancake-flat landscape, stretching farther than ever before. And yet in this confounding region of the world, that spreading ice may be a cockeyed signal of man-made climate change, scientists say. http://phys.org/news/2012-10-experts-global-antarctic-ice.html#nwlt

Marine scientists charting the location of North Atlantic deep-sea coral reefs

Marine scientists charting the location of North Atlantic deep-sea coral reefs
A team of marine biologists and geologists have unveiled the first-ever set of maps detailing where vulnerable deep-sea habitats including cold water coral reefs and sponge fields are likely to be found in the North East Atlantic. http://phys.org/news/2012-10-marine-scientists-north-atlantic-deep-sea.html#nwlt

How much water does a steelhead need to thrive?

How much water does a steelhead need to thrive?
Pescadero Estuary, located an hour south of San Francisco, is a coastal habitat under intense pressure from several interest groups, some human, others wild. The 643 citizens of the nearby town of Pescadero need fresh water to drink. Local farmers need irrigation water to grow crops. The wild denizens of the wetlands, such as the California red-legged frog and the San Francisco garter snake, need the land for their habitat. And the estuary's endangered fish species need specific seasonal water regimens and salinity levels to survive. http://phys.org/news/2012-10-steelhead.html#nwlt

Fracking not the answer for energy concerns


Fracking not the answer for energy concerns
Monterey County Herald
Seismologists from Columbia University affirmed the likelihood that fracking activities caused the quakes. Fracking-related earthquakes in Ohio and Texas ...http://www.montereyherald.com/opinion/ci_21737180/fracking-not-answer-energy-concerns

Monday, October 8, 2012

How the World Can Survive Climate Change and Resource Depletion

How the World Can Survive Climate Change and Resource Depletion

It is sometimes useful when confronted with the flood of information we all receive these days to step back to ponder the major forces that currently are shaping our civilization. Although these forces are too varied and complex to give much of a picture of what life might be like 25 or 50 years from now, they raise many warning flags that we may or may not heed before it is too late.At the moment, the most dangerous force that is changing our way of life has to be climate change which from all indications is starting to affect our economies, lifestyles,…Read more...http://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/How-the-World-Can-Survive-Climate-Change-and-Resource-Depletion.html

Sea-level study shows signs of things to come

Sea-level study shows signs of things to come
Our greenhouse gas emissions up to now have triggered an irreversible warming of the Earth that will cause sea-levels to rise for thousands of years to come, new research has shown. http://phys.org/news/2012-10-sea-level.html#nwlt

Global Food Prices Set To Soar--Again

Global Food Prices Set To Soar--Again

The last food price bubble triggered riots around the world. Now prices are set to rise again, say complexity theoristshttp://www.technologyreview.com/view/429514/global-food-prices-set-to-soar-again/?utm_campaign=newsletters&utm_source=newsletter-daily-all&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20121008

Alexander Reed Kelly on the Environment and Journalism




Alexander Reed Kelly on the Environment and Journalism
"What Environmental Reporting Leaves Out" -- Accounts of scientists being "surprised" that their predictions are being surpassed suggest that chaos theory-which says the particulars of the breakdown of the earth's ecosystems are unpredictable-is going unread, disbelieved or ignored.
http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/what_environmental_reporting_leaves_out_20121004/

More Evidence that Fracking Waste Is Poorly Regulated


Posted: 07 Oct 2012 01:31 PM PDT
A class action lawsuit filed in Arkansas this week has uncovered some very frightening information about the enormous amounts of potentially very toxic waste being generated by the oil and gas industry and how poorly it is regulated.http://theenergycollective.com/amymall/121111/more-evidence-fracking-waste-poorly-regulated?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=The+Energy+Collective+%28all+posts%29

Sunday, October 7, 2012

New York Times Story Bizarrely Downplays Impact of Ocean Acidification

Posted: 06 Oct 2012 09:03 PM PDT
The Grey Lady tonight, in true “newspaper of record” fashion, has an article that manages to acknowledge some of the effects of ocean acidification, and its links to global warming, while sidestepping how grim the implications are.
The article, titled “Scientists Adopt Tiny Island as a Warming Bellwether,” does point out, via recounting how the number and health of various species on Tatoosh Island, Washington, have declined over time, and that the culprit is rising CO2 levels.http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/10/new-york-times-story-bizarrely-downplays-impact-of-ocean-acidification.html