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Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Spreading Slick of Blame for the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

The Spreading Slick of Blame for the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

BP and its contractors bear primary responsibility for the disaster. But regulators, the White House, even we share in it, too


http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/03/02-4

"Serious climate advocates don't turn upon their vanguard"


"Serious climate advocates don't turn upon their vanguard"

A key way to distinguish "serious" environmentalists from the dilatory variety is in how they treat the vanguard against climate change: nuclear energy.

NASA's Aquarius Sees Salty Shifts

 NASA's Aquarius Sees Salty Shifts by Maria-Jose Vinas for Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt MD (SPX) Feb 28, 2013


NASAs Aquarius instrument has been orbiting the Earth for a year, measuring changes in salinity, or salt concentration, in the surface of the oceans. The Aquarius team released last September this first global map of ocean saltiness, a composite of the first two and a half weeks of data since the instrument became operational on August 25. Credit: NASA/GSFC/JPL-Caltech. Watch an animation of how Aquarius works.
The colorful images chronicle the seasonal stirrings of our salty world: Pulses of freshwater gush from the Amazon River's mouth; an invisible seam divides the salty Arabian Sea from the fresher waters of the Bay of Bengal; a large patch of freshwater appears in the eastern tropical Pacific in the winter. These and other changes in ocean salinity patterns are revealed by the first full year of surface salinity data captured by NASA's Aquarius instrument.
http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/NASAs_Aquarius_Sees_Salty_Shifts_999.html

SMOS: the global success story continues

 SMOS: the global success story continues by Staff Writers Paris (ESA) Feb 26, 2013


The Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) mission makes global observations of soil moisture over Earth's landmasses and salinity over the oceans. Variations in soil moisture and ocean salinity are a consequence of the continuous exchange of water between the oceans, the atmosphere and the land - Earth's water cycle.
ESA's water mission is shedding new light on the meandering Gulf Stream, just one of the SMOS satellite's numerous achievements. Launched in 2009, ESA's Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity satellite has been helping us to understand the water cycle.
Over the past three years it has been providing more accurate information on global soil moisture and ocean salinity.
http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/SMOS_the_global_success_story_continues_999.html

Caves point to thawing of Siberia

Caves point to thawing of Siberia by Staff Writers Oxford, UK (SPX) Feb 28, 2013


File image.
Evidence from Siberian caves suggests that a global temperature rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius could see permanently frozen ground thaw over a large area of Siberia, threatening release of carbon from soils, and damage to natural and human environments.


http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Caves_point_to_thawing_of_Siberia_999.html

WOOD PILE Science synthesis to help guide land management of US forest

.
WOOD PILE
Science synthesis to help guide land management of US forests
http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Science_synthesis_to_help_guide_land_management_of_US_forests_999.html

Environmental Issues Rank Low Among Most People's Concerns

 Environmental Issues Rank Low Among Most People's Concerns
http://www.terradaily.com/reports/International_Surveys_Show_Environmental_Issues_Rank_Low_Among_Most_Peoples_Concerns_999.html

Fukushima raised cancer risk near plant: WHO


TECH SPACE
Fukushima raised cancer risk near plant: WHO
http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Fukushima_raised_cancer_risk_near_plant_WHO_999.html

World agriculture suffers from loss of wild bees: study

World agriculture suffers from loss of wild bees: study
http://www.seeddaily.com/reports/World_agriculture_suffers_from_loss_of_wild_bees_study_999.html

Stanford scientists help shed light on key component of China's pollution problem

Stanford scientists help shed light on key component of China's pollution problem
http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Stanford_scientists_help_shed_light_on_key_component_of_Chinas_pollution_problem_999.html

Clean Energy Report Weekly Analysis - March 1, 2013

Clean Energy Report

Weekly Analysis - March 1, 2013 

http://environmentalnewsstand.com/Clean-Energy-General/Weekly-Analysis/menu-id-1002.html?S=LI&D=030113&goback=.gde_78238_member_218887570#.UTID3lfNkS8

Can You Cut Your Breast Cancer Risk by Skipping Mammograms?


Can You Cut Your Breast Cancer Risk by Skipping Mammograms?

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/03/02/3d-tomosynthesis-more-risky.aspx?e_cid=20130302_DNL_art_1&utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20130302

Temperature-Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Link Observed In New Study


Temperature-Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Link Observed In New Study

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/01/temperature-atmospheric-carbon-dioxide_n_2792149.html

Natural Gas Dethrones King Coal As Power Companies Look To Future

Natural Gas Dethrones King Coal As Power Companies Look To Future

A Blog’s Adieu By THE NEW YORK TIMES

A Blog’s Adieu

The Times is discontinuing the Green blog, which was created  to track environmental and energy news and to foster lively discussion of developments in both areas. This change will allow us to direct production resources to other online projects. But we will forge ahead with our aggressive reporting on environmental and energy topics, including climate change, land use, threatened ecosystems, government policy, the fossil fuel industries, the growing renewables sector and consumer choices.
Thanks to all of our readers.
http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/01/a-blogs-adieu/

Friday, March 1, 2013

Andrew Simms: Apocalypse? No. But Unless We Change Tack, Earth is Running Out of Time

Andrew Simms: Apocalypse? No. But Unless We Change Tack, Earth is Running Out of Time
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/03/01-12

Salt Sugar Fat: NY Times Reporter Michael Moss on How the Food Giants Hooked America on Junk Food

Salt Sugar Fat: NY Times Reporter Michael Moss on How the Food Giants Hooked America on Junk Food
http://www.commondreams.org/video/2013/03/01-1

The New Normal: Australia Had Hottest Summer on Record

The New Normal: Australia Had Hottest Summer on Record
http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/03/01-8

'Outrage' as State Dept. Releases 'Deeply Flawed' KXL Report

'Outrage' as State Dept. Releases 'Deeply Flawed' KXL Report
http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/03/01-7

End Of The World In 2036?

Friday, March 1, 2013

End Of The World In 2036?



REPORT: Keystone Pipeline Approved As Environmentally Sound

REPORT: Keystone Pipeline Approved As Environmentally Soundhttp://www.businessinsider.com/keystone-pipeline-decision-2013-3?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+clusterstock+%28ClusterStock%29&utm_content=Google+Reader

New study reveals how sensitive US East Coast regions may be to ocean acidification

New study reveals how sensitive US East Coast regions may be to ocean acidification

A continental-scale chemical survey in the waters of the eastern US and Gulf of Mexico is helping researchers determine how distinct bodies of water will resist changes in acidity.http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130301123042.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Latest+Science+News%29&utm_content=Google+Reader

In California, What Price Water?

In California, What Price Water?


http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/01/business/energy-environment/a-costly-california-desalination-plant-bets-on-future-affordability.html?ref=business&_r=0

Thursday, February 28, 2013

CRS Report Released: Oil Sands and the Keystone XL Pipeline: Background and Selected Environmental Issues

CRS Report Released: Oil Sands and the Keystone XL Pipeline: Background and Selected Environmental Issues

The Congressional Research Service (CRS), the public policy research arm of Congress, recently issued the report Oil Sands and the Keystone XL Pipeline: Background and Selected Environmental Issues (Feb. 21, 2013). The 56-page report authored by Jonathan L. Ramseur, Richard K. Lattanzio, Linda Luther, Paul W. Parfomak, and Nicole T. Carter discusses the following:

Summary

If constructed, the Keystone XL pipeline would transport crude oil (e.g., synthetic crude oil or diluted bitumen) derived from oil sands in Alberta, Canada to destinations in the United States. Because the pipeline crosses an international border, it requires a Presidential Permit that is issued by the Department of State (DOS). The permit decision rests on a “national interest” determination, a term not defined in the authorizing Executive Orders. DOS states that it has “significant discretion” in the factors it examines in this determination.
Key events related to the Presidential Permit include
  • September 19, 2008: TransCanada submitted an application for a Presidential Permit for its Keystone XL pipeline.
  •  November 10, 2011: DOS announced it needed additional information concerning alternative pipeline routes through the Nebraska Sandhills.
  • January 18, 2012: In response to a legislative mandate in P.L. 112-78, DOS, with the President’s consent, announced its denial of the Keystone XL permit.
  • May 4, 2012: TransCanada submitted a revised permit application to DOS.
  • January 22, 2013: Nebraska Governor approved TransCanada’s new route through Nebraska.
Although some groups have opposed previous oil pipeline permits, opposition to the Keystone XL proposal has generated substantially more interest among environmental stakeholders. Pipeline opponents are not a monolithic group: some raise concerns about potential local impacts, such as oil spills or extraction impacts in Canada; some argue the pipeline would have national energy and climate change policy implications.
A number of key studies indicate that oil sands crude has a higher greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity than many other forms of crude oil. The primary reason for the higher intensity: oil sands are heavy oils with a high viscosity, requiring more energy- and resourceintensive activities to extract. However, analytical results vary due to different modeling assumptions. Moreover, industry stakeholders point out that many analyses indicate that GHG emissions from oil sands crude oil are comparable to other heavy crudes, some of which are produced and/or consumed in the United States.
Because of oil sands’ increased emissions intensity, further oil sands development runs counter to some stakeholders’ energy and climate change policy objectives. These objectives may vary based on differing views concerning the severity of climate change risk and/or the need for significant mitigation efforts. Opponents worry that oil sands crude oil will account for a greater percentage of U.S. oil consumption over time, making GHG emissions reduction more difficult.
On the other hand, neither issuance of a Presidential Permit nor increased oil sands development would preclude the implementation of energy/climate policies that would support less carbon intensive fuels or energy efficiency improvements.
A primary local/regional environmental concern of any oil pipeline is the risk of a spill. Environmental groups have argued that both the pipeline’s operating parameters and the material being transported imposes an increased risk of spill. Industry stakeholders have been critical of these assertions. To examine the concerns, Congress included provisions in P.L. 112-90 requiring a review of current oil pipeline regulations and a risk analysis of oil sands crude.
Opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline and oil sands development often highlight the environmental impacts that pertain to the region in which the oil sands resources are extracted. Potential impacts include, among others, land disturbance and water resource issues. In general, these local/regional impacts from Canadian oil sands development may not directly affect public health or the environment in the United States. Within the context of a Presidential Permit, the mechanism to consider local Canadian impacts is unclear.

CRS Report Released: Environmental Regulation and Agriculture

CRS Report Released: Environmental Regulation and Agriculture

The Congressional Research Service (CRS), the public policy research arm of Congress, recently issued the report Environmental Regulation and Agriculture (Feb. 22, 2013). The 51-page report authored by Megan Stubbs discusses the following:

Summary


As the U.S. and global economies continue to struggle, some inside and outside of Congress have expressed concern about how environmental regulation may stifle growth and productivity. Much of the criticism has focused on environmental regulations promulgated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Some claim that EPA is overreaching its regulatory authority and imposing costly and burdensome requirements on society. In general, the agriculture community, among others, has been vocal in its concerns, contending that EPA appears to be focusing some of its recent regulatory efforts on agriculture. Many public health and environmental advocates, on the other hand, support many of EPA’s overall regulatory efforts and in some cases argue that EPA has not taken adequate action to control the impacts of certain agricultural activities. Where agriculture contributes to environmental impairment, these groups say, it is appropriate to consider ways to minimize or eliminate the adverse impacts.
Growing interest in the impact of regulatory actions on many sectors of the economy is evident in Congress, which continues to examine the role of EPA and other federal agencies in regulating environmental protection. Congress has a number of policy options to address or respond to potential regulatory impacts
Most environmental regulations, in terms of permitting, inspection and enforcement, are implemented by state and local governments, often based on federal EPA regulatory guidance. In some cases, agriculture is the direct or primary focus of the regulatory actions. In other cases, agriculture is one of many affected sectors. Traditionally, farm and ranch operations have been exempt or excluded from many environmental regulations. Given the agricultural sector’s size and its potential to affect its surrounding environment, there is interest in both managing potential impacts of agricultural actions on the environment and also maintaining an economically viable agricultural industry. Of particular interest to agriculture are a number of regulatory actions affecting air, water, energy, and chemicals.
Air
Agricultural production practices from both livestock and crop operations generate a variety of substances that enter the atmosphere, potentially creating health and environmental issues. Recent actions by EPA to regulate emissions and pollutants have drawn criticism, including greenhouse gas emission reporting and permitting requirements, and National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) related to particulate matter (commonly referred to as dust). The agricultural community continues to show particular interest in NAAQS because some farming and livestock practices contribute to particulate matter emissions.
Water
Water quality issues also are of interest to the agricultural industry. Water is an input for production and can also be degraded as a result of production through the potential release of sediment, nutrients, pathogens, and pesticides. The extent and magnitude of water quality degradation from agriculture practices varies greatly, but agriculture is proven to be a significant source of impairment of several U.S. waters. Federal environmental laws largely do not regulate agricultural actors, in many cases giving the regulatory responsibilities to the states. One exception is large concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), which are subject to permitting requirements. Constraints on agricultural production to reduce pollution discharges typically arise at the state level in response to local concerns, and how to manage agricultural sources has been a prominent issue in several large watershed restoration efforts, such as those in the Chesapeake Bay and Florida Everglades.
Energy
Changes in energy policy, namely increased bioenergy production, have recently become important to many in the agricultural industry, based on the potential of corn-based biofuel production to contribute to the nation’s energy supply through both the renewable fuel standard (RFS) and the increased percentage of ethanol in gasoline (E15).
Chemicals
Hundreds of chemical products are available to repel or kill “pests” that affect agricultural production. The federal regulation of these chemicals includes registering and restricting their use. The risks associated with agricultural chemical use and possible impacts on human health and the environment also have led to recent federal regulatory reviews of chemical fertilizer and pesticide use.

USGS Report Released: Monitoring Storm Tide and Flooding from Hurricane Sandy Along the Atlantic Coast of the United States, October 2012

USGS Report Released: Monitoring Storm Tide and Flooding from Hurricane Sandy Along the Atlantic Coast of the United States, October 2012

Recently, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) released a report titled Monitoring Storm Tide and Flooding From Hurricane Sandy along the Atlantic Coast of the United States, October 2012 (USGS Open-File Rep. 2013-1043). The 48-page report available here, discusses the following:
[t]he U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) deployed a temporary monitoring network of water-level and barometric pressure sensors at 224 locations along the Atlantic coast from Virginia to Maine to continuously record the timing, areal extent, and magnitude of hurricane storm tide and coastal flooding generated by Hurricane Sandy. These records were greatly supplemented by an extensive post-flood high-water mark (HWM) flagging and surveying campaign from November to December 2012 involving more than 950 HWMs. Both efforts were undertaken as part of a coordinated federal emergency response as outlined by the Stafford Act under a directed mission assignment by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Weather warning

Weather warning

Boston MA (SPX) Feb 28, 2013
A Harvard researcher is pointing toward a new reason to worry about the effects of climate change - national security. A new report co-authored by Michael McElroy, the Gilbert Butler Professor of Environmental Studies, and D. James Baker, a former administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, connects global climate change, extreme weather, and national security.http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Weather_warning_999.html
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Pipelines, Powerplants and Refineries All at Risk

Pipelines, Powerplants and Refineries All at Risk


http://enr.construction.com/infrastructure/environment/2013/0304-pipelines-powerplants-and-refineries-all-at-risk.asp

Shell to pause Alaska drilling program

Shell to pause Alaska drilling program
Royal Dutch Shell announced it will pause its exploration drilling activity for 2013 in Alaska’s Beaufort and Chukchi Seas to prepare equipment and plans for a later stage.
Full Articlehttp://www.pennenergy.com/articles/pennenergy/2013/02/shell-to-pause-alaska-drilling-program.html?cmpid=EnlDailyPetroFebruary282013

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Environmental Issues that Could De-Rail the Natural Gas Boom

Environmental Issues that Could De-Rail the Natural Gas Boom

There are two key environmental issues that have the most likelihood of slowing the natural gas boom or, perhaps, redirecting its trajectory: fracking chemicals and fracking water usage.Fracking chemicals: what the frack?Inflamed by dramatic scenes like tap water catching on fire, worries over the effect of fracking on the quality of groundwater have been the hottest point of contention and examination. Years of research has shown that these concerns are overblown. Consider, for example, the most exhaustive study of the claims versus the facts…Read more...http://oilprice.com/Energy/Natural-Gas/Environmental-Issues-that-Could-De-Rail-the-Natural-Gas-Boom.html

Food Production and Energy Usage, Efficiency

Food Production and Energy Usage, Efficiency


http://theenergycollective.com/energyrefuge/192081/food-gives-us-energy-it-takes-lot-energy-produce-it?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=The+Energy+Collective+%28all+posts%29

List of Asteroids



NASA has discovered that a lot of asteroids [possibly as many as 50% of them] have tiny "moons" associate with them, much smaller objects that orbit around them.

http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/profile.cfm?Object=Asteroids&Display=Sats

List of Asteroids
   Overview   Read More   Asteroids   Gallery   Education 
Color image of asteroid Ida with its tiny moon Dactyl to the right
Asteroid Ida (left) and its moon Dactyl (right).
Just as 17th century astronomer Galileo Galilei was first to see moons around another planet, the 20th century spacecraft named in his honor was the first to discover a moon orbiting an asteroid.
Most scientists imagined asteroids as isolated mountains or rock piles tumbling alone through space. But while en route to Jupiter in 1993, NASA's Galileo spacecraft flew by a 19-mile-wide asteroid called Ida and discovered that it has its own little moon. Just one mile wide, the moon was named Dactyl. Ida and Dactyl were the first binary -- or double -- asteroids.
It was six years before another asteroid-moon system was found, but a small avalanche of discoveries followed:
  • In 1999, astronomers using Earth-based telescopes found that 135-mile-wide Eugenia has an eight-mile-diameter moon, which they dubbed Petit-Prince.
  • In 2000, 90-mile-wide Pulcova was discovered to have its own moon, about nine miles wide.
  • In 2001, scientists found Linus orbiting Kalliope, and another moon around asteroid Sylvia.
Dozens of binary asteroids have been confirmed in the main asteroid belt and among Near-Earth Objects, including some in which the moon is much closer in size to the main asteroid. Some Trans-Neptunian Objects (beyond the orbit of Neptune) are also binaries.
It seems likely that most asteroid moonlets are fragments from past collisions. It's also possible that some loose-rubble asteroids passed close enough to a planet at some point for gravity to pull them apart and create natural satellites (the formal name for a moon).
Astronomers used radar to observe some of the closer asteroid-moon pairs. Most of the others were discovered in visible light, using ground-based telescopes with adaptive optics. (These systems use computer-controlled deformable mirrors to compensate for the blurring effects of Earth's atmosphere, creating sharper images.) Furthermore, scientists are able to calculate an asteroid's
  http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/profile.cfm?Object=Asteroids&Display=Sats