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Fri, 31 Aug 12
Sea Change: German Shipyards See Future in Wind Power
Spiegel: Two years ago, Tomas Marutz became the head of the Nordseewerke in Emden, Germany. The shipyard is one of the biggest and oldest in the country. But Marutz's most important task now is, he says, "to get shipbuilding out of people's heads." That's no easy task for a man who speaks about ships like a father talking about his children. He is fascinating by the process of shipbuilding, from the lucky penny that is tossed under the first sheet of steel used in construction to the moment when a finished...

Fri, 31 Aug 12
Isaac rainfall lifts U.S. farmers' spirits
Reuters: Torrential rainfall from Hurricane Isaac hurt rice, cotton, soybean and sugar cane crops in the Deep South, but elsewhere the storm will bring relief to American farmers suffering from the worst drought in more than 50 years, an agricultural meteorologist said on Thursday. "The (moisture) deficits are so great that it will take up to 10 or 15 inches of rain over a longer period of time to replenish soil moisture supplies," said Andy Karst, meteorologist for World Weather Inc. "However, this will...

Fri, 31 Aug 12
Arctic summer sea ice might thaw by 2015 - or linger for decades
Reuters: Ice on the Arctic Ocean could vanish in summertime as early as 2015 or linger for many decades after a thaw to a record low this month that is widely blamed on climate change, according to scientists. Huge variations in climate experts' predictions complicate long-term plans by everyone from indigenous peoples who depend on ice for hunting to shipping firms hoping for new trans-Arctic shipping routes and oil firms seeking new areas for drilling. Most computer models of climate change indicate...

Fri, 31 Aug 12
Climate change could push up the risk of bird flu
Times of India: Climate change could pose high risk of avian flu virus transmission in wild birds, a new study has warned. Ecologists from the University of Michigan used a math model to explore the consequences of altered interactions between an important species of migratory shorebird and horseshoe crabs at Delaware Bay as a result of climate change. They found that climate change could upset the carefully choreographed interactions between ruddy turnstone shorebirds and the horseshoe crabs that provide...

Fri, 31 Aug 12
Arctic Tipping Point: A North Pole Without Ice
Yale Environment 360: As the northern summer draws to a close, two milestones have been reached in the Arctic Ocean -- record-low sea ice extent, and an even more dramatic new low in Arctic sea ice volume. This extreme melting offers dramatic evidence, many scientists say, that the region’s sea ice has passed a tipping point and that sometime in the next decade or two the North Pole will be largely ice-free in summer. NASA and U.S. ice experts announced earlier this week that the extent of Arctic sea ice has dropped...

Fri, 31 Aug 12
Indian monsoon consolidates revival in past week: Met office
Reuters: India's monsoon rains were 6 percent above average in the past week, the weather office said on Thursday, the first time they have been heavier than average in the current rainy season that began in June, in what is turning out to be a drought year. The crucial monsoon rains, vital for the 55 percent of Indian farmland without irrigation, are 12 percent short of average so far and threaten cereal and pulses production as drought continues in some areas of west and south India. In the previous...

Fri, 31 Aug 12
China Beats U.S. to Become Number One In Installed Wind Power
Environmental News Network: China surpassed the U.S. this year to become the number one in the world for installed wind power generating capacity. In the last six years, installed wind power generating capacity in China increased from 2,000 megawatts (MW) to 52,580 MW, according to the country's state grid company, the State Grid Corporation, which is the country's largest utility company. In 2011, China generated 70.6 terrawatt hours (TWh) of wind power, a 96 percent increase. The Chinese government projects that China's wind...

Fri, 31 Aug 12
Tiny Pacific island nations create world's largest marine parks
Guardian: Two of the world's smallest countries are to place nearly 2.5 million square kilometres of south Pacific Ocean in newly created marine protected areas. The Cook Islands, nation of 20,000 people on 15 islands, formally announced on Tuesday the creation of the world's largest marine park covering nearly 1.1m sq km, an area bigger than France and Germany. "This is our contribution not only to our own wellbeing but also to humanity's wellbeing," said the prime minister, Henry Puna. "The Pacific...

Fri, 31 Aug 12
Developed countries reluctant to take lead vs climate change
GMA News: Despite the recognition of the global dangers of climate change and of the need to “act to protect the climate on the basis of equity and respective capabilities," developed countries seemed to remain reluctant in taking the lead in undertaking measures to mitigate factors contributing to climate change even after years of international discussions on the issue. Ahead of the next round of climate change talks in Bangkok, a Philippine senior climate change negotiator on Thursday said most of the...

Fri, 31 Aug 12
Japan Strives to Go Nuclear-Free
New York Times: As Japan moves to cut back on nuclear power after last year’s disaster in Fukushima, it is running into a harsh economic reality: the cost of immediately abandoning its nuclear reactors may be too high for some big utilities to shoulder. If the country’s 50 nuclear reactors were permanently closed this year, power companies would be hit with losses totaling 4.4 trillion yen ($55.9 billion), rendering at least four of them insolvent, according to calculations this summer by the government’s Agency...

Fri, 31 Aug 12
Nations warn of broken promises at U.N. climate talks
Reuters: Almost 50 of the world's poorest nations said pledges made by rich countries to provide funds to help them adapt to a warmer planet risk being overlooked as U.N. negotiations over a global climate pact to start in 2020 got underway in Bangkok on Wednesday. The group of mostly African nations said that ill-fated talks launched in 2007 to find a successor to the Kyoto Protocol must not end without richer nations pledging financial aid to help them cope with rising sea levels cause by climate change....

Fri, 31 Aug 12
Carbon markets may increase cost of fighting climate change
Resource: A report released by the Rainforest Foundation yesterday (28 August) has found that using forest carbon markets could actually increase (rather than reduce) the cost of tackling climate change and may not reduce greenhouse gas emissions due to ‘major design loopholes’. ‘Rainforest Roulette? Why creating a forest carbon offset market is a risky bet for REDD’ looks closely at the use of forest carbon markets in offsetting carbon emissions, and finds that rather than reducing emissions, these markets...

Fri, 31 Aug 12
India Plans Auction to Double Solar Power Capacity
Bloomberg: India may auction a third of the solar projects planned by 2017 in the current financial year to double the nation's sun-powered capacity as it seeks additional clean-energy investments to combat power shortages. Of the 3,000 megawatts of solar plants proposed to be built starting in 2013, contracts for "1,000 megawatts or a little less' may be tendered in the first batch, Tarun Kapoor, joint secretary at the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, said yesterday in a phone interview from New Delhi....

Fri, 31 Aug 12
In Drought, Should Corn Be Food Or Fuel?
National Public Radio: Standing outside the Central Minnesota Ethanol Co-Op in Little Falls, Minn., there's not a lot going on. The pungent smell of fermentation that typically hangs in the air here is absent. And trucks piled high with corn are nowhere to be seen. They're idled in part because of high corn prices. And it's unclear when that will change. "Most of the industry is just breaking even in terms of profitability or actually running at slightly negative margins," says Geoff Cooper, vice president of research...

Fri, 31 Aug 12
What ice-free summers will mean for Arctic life
New Scientist: "WE ARE witnessing the early stages of the transformation of the Arctic," says Louis Fortier of Laval University in Quebec City, Canada. For millennia, the top of the planet has been the preserve of specialist organisms, from fish with antifreeze running through their veins to bears capable of fasting for months. That's all changing. An increasingly ice-free Arctic is opening a new frontier for life on Earth. There are some windows into this warmer future: natural open-water hotspots that have always...

Fri, 31 Aug 12
Energy From The Ocean’s Heat
Manila Bulletin: Renewables are tres chic -- that is undeniable, be it in this part of the world or elsewhere. Unfortunately, not all markets are created equal. For some jurisdictions, it is like an 'exercise in attrition' to survive the investment course. Amid the hurdles, it is worth noting that on the horizon, ocean-harnessed or marine energy cannot be left behind. Albeit, it is a technology of which time has yet to come. Keeping in mind the science of global warming, the UK to a great extent is a pioneer...

Fri, 31 Aug 12
Storms, drought overshadow new UN climate talks
Agence France-Presse: World climate change negotiators faced warnings Thursday that a string of extreme weather events around the globe show urgent action on emission cuts is needed as they opened new talks in Bangkok. The week-long meeting in the Thai capital, which was devastated by major floods last year, aims to prepare the ground for a meeting of ministers under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Doha starting in November. 'This meeting opens in the immediate aftermath of a deadly typhoon in the...

Fri, 31 Aug 12
Hurricane Isaac Highlights Vulnerabilities in the Caribbean
Inter Press Service: - The impact of Hurricane Isaac as it made its way through the Caribbean region highlighted both the fragility of some countries in the face of extreme meteorological events, which are expected to become more and more intense, and the different strategies adopted to mitigate the risk of disasters. Isaac made landfall twice in the southeast U.S. state of Louisiana as a category 1 storm, almost 600 km wide, with top sustained winds up to 130 km an hour. Its slow motion over land -- it was travelling...

Fri, 31 Aug 12
China coal mine gas explosion kills 19 miners and traps dozens
Associated Press: A gas explosion at a coal mine in south-west China has killed 19 miners and trapped dozens more, state media has reported. The Xiaojiawan coal mine in Sichuan province's coal-rich Panzhihua city exploded on Wednesday evening with 152 miners inside, Central China Television (CCTV) said. Rescuers recovered the bodies of 16 miners who died from carbon monoxide poisoning. Three other miners died at a hospital after being pulled to the surface, CCTV said. It did not provide details on the cause...

Fri, 31 Aug 12
Amazon tribe massacre alleged in Venezuela
Guardian: A massacre of up to 80 Yanomami Indians has taken place in the Venezuelan state of Amazonas, according to claims emerging from the region, prompting the government to send in investigators. Blame is being placed on illegal garimpeiro miners who cross the border from Brazil to prospect for gold and have clashed violently with Amazon tribes before. According to local testimonies an armed group flew over in a helicopter, opening fire with guns and launching explosives into Irotatheri settlement in...

Fri, 31 Aug 12
Water crisis will make Gaza strip 'unliveable'
Guardian: The Gaza strip faces a water crisis that will soon make it "unliveable" unless plans for a $500m desalination plant are approved by banks, delegates at a water conference in Stockholm were told this week. Water for the 1.6 million people – half of them children and two-thirds refugees – who live in just 365 sq km of land bordering the Mediterranean comes entirely from the shallow coastal aquifer shared between Gaza, Israel and Egypt, which is only partly replenished each year by rainfall. Decades...

Fri, 31 Aug 12
Report: Wind power is 'unequivocally' reliable and green
BusinessGreen: Criticism from 106 Conservative MPs about the effectiveness of wind power are incorrect and are seriously damaging the technology's potential to cut carbon emissions and boost the green economy. That is the stark finding of a new report by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) and consultancy Garrad Hassan, which aims to "debunk the myths" about the effectiveness and reliability of wind power. The Prime Minister is under pressure from backbench MPs to cut subsidies for onshore wind...

Fri, 31 Aug 12
Asia's extreme storm season dominates climate talks
Agence France-Presse: Climate change negotiators meeting in Thailand say a string of extreme weather events around the world point to a need for urgent carbon emissions cuts. The week-long meeting in Bangkok, which was devastated by major floods last year, aims to prepare the ground for a meeting of ministers under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Doha starting in November. "This meeting opens in the immediate aftermath of a deadly typhoon in the Republic of Korea and a hurricane that hit near New Orleans...

Fri, 31 Aug 12
The cultural divide over climate change
Record-Searchlight: Andrew Hoffman recently wrote a piece for the Stanford Social Innovation Review in which he argued that a scientific consensus on climate change is irrelevant if we cannot attain a social consensus on this critical concern. We are too divided culturally and politically to establish a common ground. One reason, Hoffman suggests for this sorry predicament is scientific illiteracy. "With upwards of two-thirds of Americans not clearly understanding science or the scientific process and fewer able...

Thu, 30 Aug 12
Mysterious New 'Heartland Virus' Discovered In Missouri
National Public Radio: Two Missouri farmers have been infected with a brand-new tick-borne virus that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is calling the Heartland virus. The men recovered but suffered serious illness that required hospital care and weeks of convalescence. Symptoms included fever, severe fatigue, headache and nausea. Their platelet counts plummeted, but even though platelets are necessary for blood clotting, the men didn't suffer abnormal bleeding. A report on the new virus is in the current...

Thu, 30 Aug 12
Isaac's Size, Speed Help It Pack A Heavyweight Punch
National Public Radio: Isaac might not be in the same league as Hurricane Katrina seven years ago, but the latest storm to batter Louisiana's Gulf Coast is punching above its weight class in more ways than one, scientists say. The 2005 Hurricane Katrina, which devastated Louisiana and parts of Mississippi and Alabama, was a Category 3 storm (sustained winds of 125 mph) moving at about 15 mph when it made landfall on the Gulf Coast. By comparison, Isaac was a weak Category 1 storm as measured on the Saffir-Simpson scale,...

Thu, 30 Aug 12
Sweden to Fund Innovations in Water Sector
Inter Press Service: When the international community was struggling to ward off a potential decline in development aid in early 2000, it came up with a novel idea: a proposal for "new and innovative sources of financing", including a tax on airline tickets and a levy on foreign exchange transactions. The funding, mostly from the tax alone, first proposed at the 2002 U.N. conference on Financing for Development, has already generated over 11.7 billion dollars, according to the World Bank. And now, the Swedish government...

Thu, 30 Aug 12
Chile hails groundbreaking deep geothermal well
BusinessGreen: Plans to build the first fully operational deep geothermal well in South America have taken a major step forward after developer GeoGlobal Energy (GGE) finished a test drilling programme in Chile. GGE Chile, a subsidiary of Maryland-based GGE, confirmed this week that it has successfully completed an exploratory drilling program on the northwestern flank of the Tolhuaca mountain in southern Chile. The company said it had demonstrated that the production and injection wells are capable of supporting...

Thu, 30 Aug 12
Potential methane reservoirs beneath Antarctica
ScienceDaily: The Antarctic Ice Sheet could be an overlooked but important source of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, according to research published August 29 in Nature and conducted by an international team led by Professor Jemma Wadham from the University of Bristol's School of Geographical Sciences. The new study demonstrates that old organic matter in sedimentary basins located beneath the Antarctic Ice Sheet may have been converted to methane by micro-organisms living under oxygen-deprived conditions....

Thu, 30 Aug 12
Large methane reservoirs beneath Antarctic ice sheet, study suggests
ScienceDaily: The Antarctic Ice Sheet could be an overlooked but important source of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, according to a report in the August 30 issue of Nature by an international team of scientists. The new study demonstrates that old organic matter in sedimentary basins located beneath the Antarctic Ice Sheet may have been converted to methane by micro-organisms living under oxygen-deprived conditions. The methane could be released to the atmosphere if the ice sheet shrinks and exposes these...

Thu, 30 Aug 12
Landslide deaths 'four times higher than thought'
SciDev.Net: A detailed global database has revealed that the number of landslide-related deaths worldwide has been greatly underestimated by previous surveys. The database was compiled by David Petley, a professor of geography at Durham University's International Landslide Centre, in the United Kingdom. Writing in the journal Geology, Petley reports that a total of 2,620 fatal landslides were recorded worldwide in the period 2004 to 2010. These landslides caused 32,322 deaths -- a number over four times higher...

Thu, 30 Aug 12
Antarctic methane could worsen global warming: scientists
Reuters: Large volumes of the greenhouse gas methane could have been produced under the Antarctic Ice Sheet over millions of years, which could add to global warming if released into the atmosphere by a thaw, a study said on Wednesday. Scientists from the universities of Bristol, Utrecht, California and Alberta simulated the accumulation of methane in Antarctic sedimentary basins using models and calculations. They found it was likely there were micro-organisms there that would have been able to convert...

Thu, 30 Aug 12
With West Nile On The Rise, We Answer Your Questions
National Public Radio: This year is on track to be the worst ever for West Nile virus in the United States. Here are the latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: 1,590 reported cases, nearly 500 more than a week ago for a rise of 44 percent. 889 cases, or 56 percent, involve severe neurological disease. 66 deaths, compared to 41 last week. Every state except Alaska and Hawaii has reported West Nile virus in people, birds or mosquitoes. "We expect the number of cases will rise through...

Thu, 30 Aug 12
Arctic ice low heralds end of 3-million-year cover
New Scientist: IT IS smaller, patchier and thinner than ever - and rotten in parts. The extent of the Arctic ice cap has hit a record low, and the consequences of what is arguably the greatest environmental change in human history will extend far beyond the North Pole. For at least 3 million years, and most likely 13 million, says Louis Fortier of the University of Laval in Quebec City, Canada, the Arctic Ocean has been covered by a thick, floating ice cap, the breadth of which fluctuates with the seasons and...

Thu, 30 Aug 12
Arctic melt, smash and grab ahead
New Scientist: SHELL'S push to open up the Arctic Ocean is not going well. Having already scaled back its plans, it may be prevented from exploratory drilling in the Beaufort Sea this year. The reason? Whaling takes priority. With the Arctic sea ice at its lowest for at least 3 million years (see "Arctic ice low heralds end of 3-million-year cover"), the rush to exploit hitherto inaccessible resources - principally oil, fish and minerals - is well and truly on. The massive melt constitutes an environmental disaster...

Thu, 30 Aug 12
Antarctic breeding penguins vanishing
LiveScience: In the first complete survey of chinstrap penguins' breeding across Deception Island in the Antarctic, scientists have found a significant number of the chic birds have disappeared from the breeding grounds since the 1980s. The largest colony, called Baily Head on Deception Island, which is located in the Antarctic's South Shetland Islands, saw a drop of more than 50 percent over the past two decades, the researchers added. The culprit? The scientists point to climate change. The study,...

Thu, 30 Aug 12
As Temperatures Rise in Sri Lanka, Drought Wreaks Havoc
Inter Press Service: - It is a time of extreme heat and anxiety in Sri Lanka. Even the rains last week felt like a sudden burst of cold water on the smouldering asbestos sheets on most Sri Lankan household roofs, creating a blast of cold air before the heat returns once the rains end. In some regions, like the north-central Pollonaruwa District, temperatures have been hitting highs in the region of 35 Celsius at uncomfortably regular intervals between July and mid-August. "Temperatures have been rising for some...

Thu, 30 Aug 12
Vast methane reservoir could be beneath Antarctic ice
Independent: A vast reservoir of the potent greenhouse gas methane may be locked beneath the Antarctic ice sheet, a study suggests. Scientists say the gas could be released into the atmosphere if enough of the ice melts away, adding to global warming. Research indicates that ancient deposits of organic matter may have been converted to methane by microbes living in low-oxygen conditions. The organic material dates back to a period 35 million years ago when the Antarctic was much warmer than it is today...

Thu, 30 Aug 12
Wind power study says opponents claims are unfounded
Guardian: A new study into the efficiency and reliability of wind farms has concluded that a campaign against them by Conservative backbenchers and others is not supported by the evidence. The report, from the left-leaning thinktank IPPR in association with the leading energy consultancy GL Garrad Hassan, concludes there is no technical reason why turbines should not be supported. Reg Platt, an IPPR fellow, said government and local communities were right to scrutinise costs and planning issues, but...

Thu, 30 Aug 12
Thomas Ball's best photograph: Canada's oil sands in Alberta
Guardian: In August 2007 I travelled to northern Alberta in Canada, to photograph the mining of oil sands. The owner of this mine, Syncrude, is the largest and oldest of the oil sands companies, producing more than 350,000 barrels a day. Oil sands release three times more greenhouse gases than conventional oil sources, and the extraction process has turned vast swaths of boreal forest into a desert-like landscape, pockmarked by toxic lakes. I wanted to show how desperate things have become that we are using...

Thu, 30 Aug 12
Slow-Moving Hurricane Isaac Pummels Louisiana
Climate Central: Although it made landfall more than 12 hours earlier, Hurricane Isaac continued to pummel southern Louisiana Wednesday morning as the huge Category 1 storm stalled in its motion to the northwest. New Orleans' system of flood-protection levees and canal floodgates, upgraded to the tune of $14.5 billion after the system's catastrophic failure due to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, continued to hold against the wall of water pushed onshore by the storm -- a surge that reached 11 feet in Shell Beach, La.,...

Thu, 30 Aug 12
Scientists Suggest Cloud Brightening To Halt Hurricanes
Climate Central: As Tropical Storm Isaac batters southeastern Louisiana and nearby coastal areas with surging seas, howling winds, and torrential rainfall, it's nearly impossible to imagine that humans could have done anything to stop such powerful force of nature. Nearly impossible, but not quite. A team of atmospheric scientists, writing in the journal Atmospheric Science Letters, has imagined precisely that. They suggest that brightening the clouds that float above hurricane-forming regions could effectively...

Thu, 30 Aug 12
Antarctic Methane: A New Factor in the Climate Equation
Climate Central: Climate scientists have long fretted about the hundreds of billions of tons of methane frozen under the floor of the Arctic Ocean. If the water warms enough, some of that methane could escape. Nobody knows how soon or how quickly such a release might happen, but since methane is a far more potent heat-trapping gas than the more familiar carbon dioxide, it could add to the temperature increase already under way thanks largely to human emissions from fossil fuel burning. But frozen Arctic methane...

Thu, 30 Aug 12
Climate change could increase levels of wild bird flu
Science Blog: Rising sea levels, melting glaciers, more intense rainstorms and more frequent heat waves are among the planetary woes that may come to mind when climate change is mentioned. Now, two University of Michigan researchers say an increased risk of avian influenza transmission in wild birds can be added to the list. Population ecologists Pejman Rohani and Victoria Brown used a mathematical model to explore the consequences of altered interactions between an important species of migratory shorebird...

Thu, 30 Aug 12
Black Bears Can "Count" as Well as Primates
National Geographic: Do black bears count in the woods? Possibly, according to a recent study that shows the mammals are as smart as primates. In experiments, captive bears showed that they could perform numerical tasks, including distinguishing the number of dots on an image. Even though bears have the largest relative brain size of any carnivore (still not as big as primates), surprisingly little research has been done on their cognitive abilities, according to the study. (Read "Animal Minds" in National Geographic...

Thu, 30 Aug 12
Emissions from Amazon deforestation in Brazil fall 57% since 2004
Mongabay: Annual emissions from deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon fell by about 57 percent between 2004 and 2011, 20 percentage points lower than the recorded drop in deforestation, reports a new study published in the journal Global Change Biology by Brazilian scientists. Overall, Brazilian deforestation represented roughly 1.5 percent of global carbon emissions from human activities. The results are based on a new emissions tracking system developed by researchers at Brazil's National Institute for...

Thu, 30 Aug 12
India Approves $4 Billion Plan to Add 6 Million Green Vehicles by 2020
Yale Environment 360: The government of India has approved a 230-billion rupee strategy ($4.13 billion) to spur increased production of electric and hybrid vehicles over the next eight years, setting a target of 6 million green vehicles by 2020. The new plan, designed to reduce the nation’s reliance on fossil fuels and cut carbon emissions, would attempt to close the gap between the costs of producing green vehicles in India and what consumers can afford to pay. The country’s nascent electric and hybrid car sector slowed...

Thu, 30 Aug 12
Study: Climate change threatens Atlantic seashores
USA Today: Climate change is already hurting seven national seashores on the Atlantic Coast and threatens to submerge some of their land within a century, according to a report Wednesday by environmental groups. In five of the seven parks, more than half of the land lies low enough (less than 3.3 feet) to risk becoming submerged by the year 2100, says the report by the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization and the Natural Resources Defense Council. Those parks include Fire Island in New York, Assateague Island...

Thu, 30 Aug 12
US Cars Creeping Toward Decent MPG Standard
Mother Jones: I've been looking to buy a car for more than a year now, an adventure I've chronicled here before. I still don't have one, largely because it's really hard to find something that meets both my high miles-per-gallon and low cost standards. But thanks to a new rule that the Obama administration finalized on Tuesday, an ideal car for me might be available ... in 2025. The EPA and the Department of Transportation announced that they had finalized rules that will require new cars and light trucks to...

Thu, 30 Aug 12
Isaac rains stall harvest, buoy wheat prospects
Reuters: Heavy rain from Hurricane Isaac will stall the harvest of U.S. crops but also add valuable soil moisture ahead of autumn seeding of winter wheat and boost river water levels, aiding waterway transport, an agricultural meteorologist said on Wednesday. Isaac made landfall early Wednesday and topped a levee near New Orleans, triggering life-threatening flooding seven years to the day after Hurricane Katrina devastated the same area, authorities said. Global Weather Monitoring meteorologist John...

Thu, 30 Aug 12
Australia EU Link Makes Carbon-Market Theory Real, Marcu Says
Bloomberg: The proposed linking of the European Union and Australian greenhouse-gas-reduction programs will demonstrate to policy makers across the world that carbon markets can help address climate change, said Andrei Marcu. “Those who say there is no urgency are being contradicted on the ground,” Marcu, head of the Centre for European Policy Studies’ Carbon Market Forum in Brussels, said today in an interview from United Nations climate talks in Bangkok. “This is a very good signal. This is not theory...

Thu, 30 Aug 12
New certification to harmonise carbon storage checks
BusinessGreen: A new certification framework promises to provide a standardised method to help carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects select the best sites to deposit captured CO2. The approach has been developed over five years by Norwegian risk management company DNV KEMA, which today published two documents designed to strengthen its previous guidelines for CO2 storage. The framework also assists with risk assessment of sites and monitoring and verification, with the aim of harmonising the implementation...

Thu, 30 Aug 12
Germany Hits Brakes on Race to Renewable Energy Future
Spiegel: The share of renewable energies in Germany's power mix has shot up so high that the electricity grid and the subsidy framework has been unable to keep up. Now, the government wants to slow down the process. German commentators say that the current chaos endangers the entire project. Many scoffed at the initial target that Chancellor Angela Merkel set last June, when she announced that Germany was turning away from nuclear power and toward renewable energies. Her government decided that by 2020...

Thu, 30 Aug 12
Japan Q2 solar cell sales rise 72 pct ahead of new subsidy launch
Reuters: Sales of solar cells in Japan rose 72.2 percent from a year earlier to 445.3 megawatts in April-June, industry data showed, helped by a jump in demand for non-residential power generation ahead of the launch of a new renewable power subsidy scheme. In July, Japan introduced a feed-in tariff (FIT) programme under which regional power utilities buy power from renewable energy suppliers at pre-set premiums for up to 20 years. The move, aimed at helping the world's third-biggest economy shift away...

Thu, 30 Aug 12
Convention billboard touts John Kasich's view of climate change to GOP delegates
Plain Dealer: A series of billboards like this one featuring Ohio Gov. John Kasich tout climate change as a bipartisan issue to delegates at the Republican National Convention in Tampa. Republican devotees who have traveled to Tampa, Fla. for their party's national convention expect a week filled with activities aimed at unifying the GOP around the central policy and agenda messages as they nominate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for president. But as thousands of out-of-towners arrived and made their...

Thu, 30 Aug 12
White House Unveils New Fuel-Efficiency Standards
National Public Radio: The new rules, for cars and trucks, mandate nearly a doubling of gas efficiency by 2025. The latest requirements are a rare example of industry agreeing to tough environmental regulations.

Thu, 30 Aug 12
Drought Dries Up Balkans Harvests
Inter Press Service: After two months of waiting, people from the central Serbian town Valjevo followed the call of their bishop and went to local Orthodox Church to pray for rain. "It wasn`t because I am religious, but because I didn`t know what else could help," said Milan Stankovic (55), who attended the Sunday service. "Half of my raspberries are gone, half of the corn as well." And the rain fell in the night between Sunday and Monday all over the Balkans, bringing a little relief to a region where hundreds...

Thu, 30 Aug 12
US announces tough fuel-efficiency rules
Reuters: Fuel efficiency of US cars and light trucks will nearly double by 2025 under a standard finalised by the Obama administration on Tuesday. American vehicles will get 54.5 miles to the gallon in the new standard that aims to save consumers at the fuel pump, while cutting dependency on foreign oil imports and greenhouse gas emissions. The rule, strongly opposed by Republicans and some car makers, builds on the standard for vehicles for model years 2011-2016, which requires automakers to raise...

Thu, 30 Aug 12
Australia: Govt defends decision to scrap carbon floor price
Australian Broadcasting Corporation: ELEANOR HALL: Well, now to that other big policy announcement in Canberra. The Federal Government is defending its decision to remove the floor price from its carbon pricing scheme. The Coalition says it's an admission by the Government that the scheme was poorly designed, and is further evidence that it should be scrapped. But the Climate Change Minister says linking Australia's emissions trading scheme to the European Union's is a "breakthrough" that will strengthen efforts to reduce greenhouse...

Thu, 30 Aug 12
Climate change: backflipping on a policy bugger
Australian Broadcasting Corporation: Climate change is no longer the great moral challenge of our time or a great economic catastrophe; it's just a bit of a policy bugger. It's been 15 years since scientists cajoled the world's politicians into signing the Kyoto Protocol and the politicians have been squirming and procrastinating ever since. But slowly, painfully, emissions trading schemes and renewable energy targets have been sprouting: 191 countries signed Kyoto; 89 have done something about it. Australia, unusually, has managed...

Thu, 30 Aug 12
Joining the EU is a cautious climate tick
Australian Broadcasting Corporation: AUSTRALIA'S CARBON LAWS are designed to do two things: reduce pollution to levels consistent with avoiding dangerous climate change; and drive low pollution investment in Australia. With this in mind The Climate Institute cautiously welcomed yesterday's announcement by the Government to join Australia's carbon price to the European Union's. Much of the recent political debate in Australia has suggested that our carbon laws have been more ambitious than those in other economies. Some businesses...

Wed, 29 Aug 12
Indonesia: Rainforests decline sharply in Sumatra, but rate of deforestation slows
Mongabay: The extent of old-growth forest in Sumatra shrank by 40 percent over the past 20 years, while overall forest on the Indonesian island declined by 36 percent, finds a comprehensive new satellite-based assessment published in Environmental Research Letters. The research, conducted by an international team led by Belinda Arunarwati Margono of South Dakota State University and Indonesia's Ministry of Forestry, reveals the dire condition of Sumatra's once extensive rainforests. Overall Sumatra lost 7.5...

Wed, 29 Aug 12
Obama warns of flooding from Tropical Storm Isaac
Reuters: President Barack Obama warned residents of the Gulf Coast on Tuesday that there could be significant flooding from Tropical Storm Isaac and encouraged people to evacuate if instructed by authorities to do so. "As we prepare for Isaac to hit, I want to encourage all residents of the Gulf Coast to listen to your local officials and follow their directions, including if they tell you to evacuate," Obama said at the White House before departing on a two-day campaign trip. "Now is not the time to tempt...

Wed, 29 Aug 12
UK minister hints at resignation in London airport row
Reuters: Britain's transport minister said on Tuesday she would probably resign if the government gave in to pressure to expand London's Heathrow airport. Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron's government has ruled out building a third runway at Heathrow before the next election, in part to appease the junior coalition partner, the Liberal Democrats, but the issue has returned to the agenda with the economy still stuck in recession. Government insiders say Cameron and finance minister George Osborne...

Wed, 29 Aug 12
German offshore wind sector needs more than just new law: executives
Reuters: Changing regulations will not be enough to make Germany's planned offshore wind expansion work, executives and industry experts say, arguing the industry needs to find other ways to support one of the main pillars of the country's energy shift. Germany's cabinet will discuss on Wednesday a draft law on expanding the use of offshore wind parks, a reaction to the slow expansion that network operators said was caused by insufficient regulation. "Certainly, the new law is a step in the right direction,"...

Wed, 29 Aug 12
Forest fire forces evacuation west of Madrid - video
Guardian: Terrified residents are forced to leave their homes west of Madrid to escape a forest fire. Up to 2,000 people were evacuated, and local roads closed. Authorities say they believe the fire may have been started deliberately by several people working together. Firefighters say they believe the fire can be brought under control

Wed, 29 Aug 12
Heathrow is one of three big transport headaches for the government
Guardian: The coalition has officially ruled out new runways at London's three largest airports: Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted. Labour, too, is opposed to Heathrow expansion. But business leaders are lobbying hard to relieve the Heathrow bottleneck and the government is under increasing pressure to come up with some major infrastructure projects. The government has now launched a call for evidence and is consulting on the options to relieve this impasse. While the frontbench has ruled out a third runway...

Wed, 29 Aug 12
A global carbon market is no longer a pipe dream
BusinessGreen: Does your business take account of the carbon price when making strategic decisions? By the end of the decade the answer to this question could be "yes", regardless of where you are located or what sector you work in. Currently, not that many firms pay close attention to the EU's carbon price. The record low prices that have resulted from the economic recession and the over-supply of carbon allowances means those businesses not directly impacted by the cap-and-trade scheme are not seeing the increase...

Wed, 29 Aug 12
Arctic Sea Ice Reaches Record Low Extent
Yale Environment 360: The extent of ice covering the Arctic Ocean has reached a new record low and will likely continue to retreat until mid-September, when re-freezing begins to occur, according to satellite observations. NASA and the U.S.-funded National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) reported that sea ice extent fell in the past few days to 1.58 million square miles (4.1 million square kilometers), breaking by 27,000 square miles the previous record low extent, set in September 2007. Summer sea ice extent has declined...

Wed, 29 Aug 12
Australia: World warms to need for action
Mercury: I'LL concede one point to the climate sceptics: there is something surreal in the whole debate about man-made climate change. Last week, Australia's Climate Commission released a report describing the efforts of governments to limit how much carbon dioxide we put into the air, so that the climate might be prevented from heating to unendurable levels. Such a thing has not happened in all of human history. We've had doomsday scenarios since people first looked up to the sky. Many a scientist or storyteller...

Wed, 29 Aug 12
Climate change deniers 'are either extreme free marketeers or conspiracy theorists’
Telegraph: The study, to be published in the journal Psychological Science, also found that those who reject the scientific consensus on the human contribution to climate change are more likely to to reject other scientific findings such as the linkage between tobacco and lung cancer or between HIV and Aids. The paper, titled "NASA faked the moon landing -- Therefore (Climate) Science is a Hoax: An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science', was based on a survey of more than 1000 visitors to blogs dedicated...

Wed, 29 Aug 12
India backs exploration of rare earths in deep sea
SciDev.Net: With China controlling most of valuable rare-earth mineral supplies, India makes a strategic move to back exploration off its own coast, writes Paula Park. India has joined the race to explore and develop deep-sea mining for rare earth elements -- further complicating the geopolitics surrounding untapped sources of valuable minerals beneath the oceans. The country is building a rare-earth mineral processing plant in the east coast state of Orissa and it is spending around US$135 million to...

Wed, 29 Aug 12
Finance key as U.N. talks on climate deal resume
Reuters: The U.S., Japan and the EU will come under pressure this week to pledge billions of dollars a year from 2013 to help the world's poorest nations fight climate change, as negotiators from more than 190 countries meet to advance talks on a new global climate pact. Delegates will gather for a week-long U.N. meeting in Thailand on Thursday to agree a work plan towards signing in 2015 a new pact that would force all nations to cut emissions of heat-trapping gases starting in 2020. The talks are...

Wed, 29 Aug 12
Tropical Storm Isaac nearly a hurricane: NHC
Reuters: Tropical Storm Isaac has nearly become a hurricane, with significant storm surge and flood threat from rainfall expected along the northern Gulf coast, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said on Tuesday. The storm was located about 105 miles southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River, with maximum sustained winds of 70 miles per hour (110 kmph), the NHC said. Isaac was moving toward the northwest at a speed near 7 mph (11 kmph). Once ashore, the storm could wreak havoc on low-lying...

Wed, 29 Aug 12
Isaac a blessing and a curse for U.S. farmers
Reuters: Torrential rain and flooding from Tropical Storm Isaac will bring relief to a large chunk of drought-stricken cropland but will stall early harvest of corn, soybeans and rice, an agricultural meteorologist said on Tuesday. Isaac was near hurricane force as it bore down on the northern U.S. Gulf Coast. It was expected to make landfall in the New Orleans area, seven years after the city was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. "It will barrel first into southeast Louisiana and southern Mississippi...

Wed, 29 Aug 12
Minister mulls slower German green revolution due to costs
Reuters: Germany may have to slow down its planned transformation to green energy, Environment Minister Peter Altmaier said on Tuesday in an effort to assuage worries that consumers will bear the brunt of the immense costs of the switch from nuclear. A year before an election, fears of rising energy bills in Europe's biggest economy have become a major concern for Chancellor Angela Merkel's centre-right government which has ambitious targets for renewables to replace atomic power. Thanks in part to...

Wed, 29 Aug 12
E.ON expands in U.S. solar market: unit head
Reuters: E.ON, Germany's largest utility, is planning to expand its solar business to the United States, aiming to install an annual 120 megawatts (MW) of solar power there from 2015, the head of its renewable unit said. "There is more sun in the United States, projects are bigger and competition greater than in Europe," Mike Winkel, chief executive of E.ON Climate & Renewables told Reuters at the annual Handelsblatt conference on renewable energy. He said E.ON was building its first photovoltaic (PV)...

Wed, 29 Aug 12
Australia scraps carbon floor price, agrees to EU link
Reuters: Australia and the European Commission on Tuesday agreed to link their carbon trading schemes by 2018, allowing Australian companies to buy cheaper EU carbon credits and providing a much-needed boost for the flagging European market. Australia will also scrap its planned A$15 ($15.58) a metric ton (1.1023 tons) carbon floor price when its emissions trading scheme starts in July 2015. Australia's carbon tax is fixed at A$23 a metric ton. The ditching of the floor price is the first major change...

Wed, 29 Aug 12
United Kingdom: Heathrow third runway 'not a long-term solution'
Guardian: Loading the player... Transport secretary Justine Greening says there is no cross-party consensus on a third Heathrow runway Link to this video The transport secretary has insisted that cross-party consensus means a third runway at Heathrow will not be considered, as a senior Conservative stepped up the pressure for airport expansion by saying David Cameron must decide whether he is a "man or a mouse". The former environment minister Tim Yeo, a convert to Heathrow's cause, said the prime minister...

Wed, 29 Aug 12
Australian and EU carbon markets to be linked
Guardian: Australian and European carbon markets will be linked in 2015, creating the world's biggest emissions trading market. Under the deal struck by Canberra and the European commission, Australian liable entities will be able to buy up to 50% of their carbon permits in Europe from 2015. In 2018, European entities will also be able to purchase credits from Australia. "Linking the Australian and EU systems reaffirms that carbon markets are the prime vehicle for tackling climate change and the most...

Tue, 28 Aug 12
Kenyan University Offers Degree Programs on Climate Change
Voice of America: Changing climate conditions are making it harder for people in East Africa, most of whom grow food or raise livestock, to survive. Rainy seasons are changing, destructive floods and temperatures have risen, and the soils have become drier than in recent years. Among the hardest hit are arid and semi-arid regions, small islands and the coastal strips. Environmental experts say it's important for the people of the region to learn to adapt. In an effort to help farmers, the University of Nairobi...

Tue, 28 Aug 12
'A less polar pole': Arctic sea ice at record low
NBC News: The amount of summer sea ice in the Arctic has reached a record low in three decades of satellite data, scientists reported Tuesday, with one of them describing recent warm years there as creating a "less polar pole." The decline was expected to continue for at least several more days before cold weather sets in and creates new ice through fall and winter. The area of Arctic waters covered by sea ice was measured at 1.58 million square miles on Sunday, the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC)...

Tue, 28 Aug 12
Sea Ice in Arctic Measured at Record Low
New York Times: The amount of sea ice in the Arctic has fallen to the lowest level on record, a confirmation of the drastic warming in the region and a likely harbinger of larger changes to come. Satellites tracking the extent of the sea ice found over the weekend that it covered about 1.58 million square miles, or less than 30 percent of the Arctic Ocean’s surface, scientists said. That is only slightly below the previous record low, set in 2007, but with weeks still to go in the summer melting season, it is clear...

Tue, 28 Aug 12
India could do better on renewable energy, experts say
AlertNet: When India was hit by huge power cuts at the end of July, the residents of Patragonda, a tribal village in the eastern state of Jharkhand, remained blissfully unaware. The reason is simple - the village, nestled in a dense forest, has never been connected to the national grid. Instead it gets its electricity from the sun. Barely 10 km away, the Jharkhand state capital, Ranchi, suffers frequent power cuts and low voltages. On July 30, the city of nearly 3 million people experienced one of its...

Tue, 28 Aug 12
Cooled coal emissions would clean air and lower health and climate-change costs
ScienceDaily: Refrigerating coal-plant emissions would reduce levels of dangerous chemicals that pour into the air -- including carbon dioxide by more than 90 percent -- at a cost of 25 percent efficiency, according to a simple math-driven formula designed by a team of University of Oregon physicists. The computations for such a system, prepared on an electronic spreadsheet, appeared in Physical Review E, a journal of the American Physical Society. In a separate, unpublished and preliminary economic analysis,...

Tue, 28 Aug 12
Don't say "climate change"
Salon: The fact that Hurricane Isaac is threatening the Republican National Convention is not, as some Democrats have argued, evidence of karma. But it is evidence of climate change -- undermining the best efforts of Republicans to deny that it even exists. Earlier this month, Congress held its first hearing on climate science in more than two years. This was, of course, a hearing in the Democrat-led Senate; the Republican-controlled House wouldn’t even bother. Senators heard testimony from a top...

Tue, 28 Aug 12
Arctic sea ice at record low, expected to keep on melting
Reuters: The world's Arctic ice cap has shrunk to a new low, surpassing a record set only five years ago, and is expected to keep retreating for a few more weeks, according to U.S. data released on Monday. The Arctic sea ice fell to 1.58 million square miles, or 4.10 million square kilometers, down 27,000 square miles from 2007, the lowest since satellites began measuring the ice in 1979, according to the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center. "It's a little surprising to see the 2012 Arctic sea ice...

Tue, 28 Aug 12
Isaac poses risks due to storm surges, heavy rainfall
Reuters: Tropical Storm Isaac poses risks to life and could cause extensive damage to states along the U.S. Gulf Coast with a storm surge of up to six to 12 feet, U.S. federal emergency officials said on Monday. "There are some aspects of this storm that are very concerning, particularly storm surge as well as now potentially heavy rainfall across the area of impact," Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate said in a conference call with reporters.

Tue, 28 Aug 12
Private sector must fund bulk of green energy: EIB
Reuters: Most of the funding for Europe's push into green energy needs to come from the private sector, the president of the EU's long-term lending arm said on Monday, adding that the continent's credibility hinged on its ability to manage the shift. "If we want to switch to renewables in Europe on a permanent basis, the lion's share (of investment) needs to come from the private sector," Werner Hoyer, president of the European Investment Bank (EIB), said at the annual Handelsblatt renewable energy conference....

Tue, 28 Aug 12
‘Eating’ Water Latest and Rising Threat to a Thirsty World
Inter Press Service: Paradoxically, the water we "eat" is likely to become one of the growing new dangers to millions of the world's thirsty, hungering for this finite natural resource. "More than one-fourth of all the water we use worldwide is taken to grow over one billion tons of food that nobody eats," Torgny Holmgren, executive director of the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), told delegates during the opening of the annual international water conference, World Water Week, in the Swedish capital...

Tue, 28 Aug 12
Arctic ice cap shrinks to smallest area ever
Independent: The news that came yesterday should be, environmental campaigners said, a global wake-up call. The ice cap covering the top of the world is now smaller than it has been at any point since scientists started to measure it precisely from space. Satellite data released last night show that the sea ice floating on the Arctic Ocean has reached a record low, retreating further than it has done since detailed records began more than 30 years ago. The US National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Boulder,...

Tue, 28 Aug 12
Republicans braced for more disruption as Isaac heads for New Orleans
Guardian: Republicans are working on emergency plans to salvage their convention as tropical storm Isaac hurtles towards New Orleans, with party officials acknowledging that their carefully-choreographed event could face further disruption. The Republicans, still haunted by the fatal delays of President Bush in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina exactly seven years ago, would find it difficult to push ahead with their convention in Tampa in the event of serious flooding. Organisers said for the first...

Tue, 28 Aug 12
Arctic sea ice shrinks to lowest extent ever recorded
Guardian: The Arctic sea ice has hit its lowest extent ever recorded, according to the US-based National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency, and Norwegian, Danish and other government monitoring organisations. With possibly two weeks' further melt likely before the ice reaches its minimum extent and starts to refreeze ahead of the winter, satellites showed it had shrunk to 4.1m sq km (1.6m sq miles) on Sunday. The previous record of 4.3m sq km was set in 2007. The...

Tue, 28 Aug 12
Along with the Arctic ice, the rich world's smugness will melt
Guardian: There are no comparisons to be made. This is not like war or plague or a stockmarket crash. We are ill-equipped, historically and psychologically, to understand it, which is one of the reasons why so many refuse to accept that it is happening. What we are seeing, here and now, is the transformation of the atmospheric physics of this planet. Three weeks before the likely minimum, the melting of Arctic sea ice has already broken the record set in 2007. The daily rate of loss is now 50% higher than...

Tue, 28 Aug 12
As Arctic Ice Reaches Record Low, Meteorologists Name Humans 'Dominant' Cause Of Climate Change
Forbes: Today, the National Snow and Ice Data Center, in conjunction with NASA, announced today that Arctic sea ice has reached a record low since the previous record-breaking low in 2007. The extent of Arctic sea ice extent fell to 4.10 million square kilometers on August 26, 2012. That’s particularly disturbing because Arcitc sea ice minima usually happen in late September, meaning that if the usual trends hold up, there’s still more melting to go. For example, the last record Arctic ice low was set on...

Tue, 28 Aug 12
Green energy to hit Germans' bills: Vattenfall
Reuters: Germany's energy strategy will cost consumers dearly as costs for new renewable power generation units and networks must be passed on, the head of the German unit of Swedish state-owned energy group Vattenfall was quoted saying on Monday. The comment came a day before Chancellor Angela Merkel is to meet with industry, unions and social causes lobbyists on run-away power prices, which already need reining in much more immediately. "In the next 10 years some investments totaling 150 billion euros...

Tue, 28 Aug 12
Mekong dam spree could create regional food crisis
Mongabay: Fish are a hugely important protein source for many people around the world. This is no more evident than along the lower Mekong River delta where an estimated 48 million people depend directly on the river for food and livelihoods. But now a new study in Global Environmental Change cautions that 11 planned hydroelectric dams in the region could cut vital fish populations by 16 percent while putting more strain on water and land resources. "The Mekong countries are striving for economic growth,...

Tue, 28 Aug 12
Record-Drought Gets Cattle Hoofin’ It
Climate Desk: The great expansion of America took ranchers west. The drought is pushing them back east. Lifelong Wyoming rancher Neil Forgey is hoping the grass is greener in Winner, South Dakota. This year`s drought has forced a terrible choice on mid-West ranchers: sell, or haul. Neil`s usually verdant land in Douglas, Wyoming--home for decades--is "drier than it`s ever been," he said. Every county in that state is a declared disaster area, eligible for federal money. Neil`s property was also threatened by...

Tue, 28 Aug 12
Geo-engineering: fixing climate for just US$6 billion
ZDNet: Some engineers think that geo-engineering, or re-engineering the planet, is a far more cost-effective way of tackling climate change than market mechanisms, like emissions trading schemes or Australia's carbon tax. One model suggests that a technique called "cloud brightening" could counter all of the 21st century's projected temperature rises, for a cost of just US$6 billion. To put that into perspective, that's around the price being paid for 24 F/A-18 Super Hornet jet fighters by the Royal...

Tue, 28 Aug 12
Pacific Forum Tackles Climate Change, Major Powers
Voice of America: In the Cook Islands the annual Pacific Islands Forum is about to get underway with climate change, trade and regional security expected to top the agenda as major powers vie for influence over a range of issues. Forum The Forum brings together 16 isolated states from the South Pacific. A further 41 countries are sending delegations, including China, which has sought to expand its role in the region, where Taiwan has diplomatic recognition from a handful of countries. The Russians have also...

Tue, 28 Aug 12
Why Your Weathercaster Doesn't Mention Climate Change
Triple Pundit: Call him one of the bravest weathercasters in the country. Broadcasting in South Carolina, a red state for sure, Jim Gandy is not afraid to link extreme weather events and patterns with climate change. Gandy does a segment called Climate Matters, a series that Grist describes as placing "weathercasts in the context of climate change." One Climate Matters broadcast looked at global warming and heat waves. Just how common is it for weathercasters to even mention climate change? Unfortunately, not...

Mon, 27 Aug 12
Isaac heads for U.S. Gulf Coast after drenching south Florida
Reuters: Tropical Storm Isaac lashed south Florida with winds and heavy rain on Sunday after battering the Caribbean, threatening to interrupt most U.S. offshore oil production in the Gulf of Mexico and disrupting plans for the Republican National Convention in Tampa. Isaac is expected to strengthen to a Category 2 hurricane and hit the Gulf Coast somewhere between Florida and Louisiana at midweek - on or near the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina - the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said...

Mon, 27 Aug 12
Green belt must be safeguarded, say campaigners
Guardian: Green belt land may be under threat from plans to build 81,000 new homes, according to the Campaign to Protect Rural England. Proposals to build houses, roads, industrial parks, mines and airport expansions, which are either out for consultation, have been submitted for planning permission or have already been approved, would cover protected land equivalent to a new town larger than Slough, the CPRE claims. Plans include the expansion of Birmingham airport, proposals for freight terminals near...

Mon, 27 Aug 12
Vietnam: Poor urban planning to blame for climate change affects
VietNamNet Bridge: Dr. Bach Tan Sinh from the Ministry of Science and Technology’s National Institute for Science and Technology Policy and Strategy Studies said that integrating climate change adaptation issues into urban planning remains a pressing issue in Vietnam. “Many of Hanoi’s lakes have been filled in for real estate projects, which has resulted in flooding after heavy rain. This is due to human interference, it’s not a natural occurrence,” he added. Over the past 50 years, up to 80% of the capital’s...

Mon, 27 Aug 12
Dozens of developments pose threat to sanctity of green belt
Independent: The scale of the threat to the green belt is revealed today with a report highlighting more than 35 proposed developments on protected land. Local authorities are under growing pressure to rip up countryside-planning rules by approving dozens of building projects including mines, industrial parks and 81,000 homes, according to the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE). Government policies requiring councils to allocate more than five years' worth of land for new housing is opening up large...

Mon, 27 Aug 12
Isaac delays GOP Convention: nature's revenge on climate change deniers?
Vancouver Observer: Tropical Storm Isaac forced the cancellation of the opening day of festivities for the U.S. Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. Given the GOP leadership's denial of climate change, the timing of the storm (now expected to become a category 2 hurricane) was deeply ironic. Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan has long held a dismisssive stance on climate change. He argued in a 2009 op-ed that the debate was still out on global warming (especially since it was snowing in...

Mon, 27 Aug 12
On Climate, It's Not the Heat, It's the Timidity
National Journal: This year’s unremitting heat, droughts, wildfires, and freak storms have thrust climate change back into the spotlight. But even with the issue fresh in people’s minds--not to mention in media coverage and Washington’s echo chamber--climate change hasn’t made it onto the priority list that matters most: the one kept by the two presidential contenders. “It’s going to take something like [the presidential debates] to put it into the campaign,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who advised Republican Sen....

Mon, 27 Aug 12
Weatherwatch: This summer cannot beat the wettest summer record in 1912
Guardian: It may be some comfort to know that despite the earlier washout, this summer cannot beat 1912, the wettest summer on record. Gales, thunderstorms and horrendous downpours battered the country, and the weather actually grew worse, setting new records for the coldest, dullest and wettest August. East Anglia was hit particularly hard. Incessant rains fell for days before a tremendous storm struck on 25 and 26 August. Over 7in (180mm) rain fell in a single day in Norwich: rivers burst their banks,...

Mon, 27 Aug 12
Food shortages could force world into vegetarianism, warn scientists
Guardian: Leading water scientists have issued one of the sternest warnings yet about global food supplies, saying that the world's population may have to switch almost completely to a vegetarian diet over the next 40 years to avoid catastrophic shortages. Humans derive about 20% of their protein from animal-based products now, but this may need to drop to just 5% to feed the extra 2 billion people expected to be alive by 2050, according to research by some of the world's leading water scientists. "There...

Mon, 27 Aug 12
Is Humanity Pushing Earth Past a Tipping Point?
Wired: Could human activity push Earth`s biological systems to a planet-wide tipping point, causing changes as radical as the Ice Age`s end - but with less pleasant results, and with billions of people along for a bumpy ride? It`s by no means a settled scientific proposition, but many researchers say it`s worth considering - and not just as an apocalyptic warning or far-fetched speculation, but as a legitimate question raised by emerging science. "There are some biological realities we can`t ignore,"...

Mon, 27 Aug 12
Britain's lakes and canals hit by toxic algae
Telegraph: Mild weather and fertilisers washing into waterways after heavy rain have been blamed for widespread algae covering inland water, putting pets at risk and devastating fish stocks. The Environment Agency said it had recorded 127 incidents of algae, halfway through the three-month peak season for the blight. The record figure is 226, set in 2005, making a new record this year possible. The algae starve fresh water of oxygen and when they are the blue-green toxic cyanobacteria are a risk to human...

Mon, 27 Aug 12
'Torture Lab' Kills Trees To Learn How To Save Them
National Public Radio: The droughts that have parched big regions of the country are killing forests. In the arid Southwest, the body count is especially high. Besides trying to keep wildfires from burning up these desiccated forests, there's not much anyone can do. In fact, scientists are only now figuring out how drought affects trees. Park Williams studies trees at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, but not the way most scientists do. "We're interested in trees that die," he says - spefiically,...

Mon, 27 Aug 12
UN green climate fund, aiding poor, to pick HQ in 2012
Reuters: Leaders of a fledgling U.N. green fund agreed at a first meeting on Saturday to pick a headquarters this year as part of a plan to oversee billions of dollars in aid to help developing nations fight global warming. The three-day meeting in Geneva heard pitches from the six countries -- Germany, Mexico, Namibia, Poland, South Korea and Switzerland -- that want to host the Green Climate Fund, the main U.N. body due to manage $100 billion in aid from 2020. "This first meeting was a very productive...

Mon, 27 Aug 12
United Kingdom: Ministers get ready to go for green-belt grab
Independent: Building on green belt land around towns and cities will "irreversibly damage the countryside" yet fail to deliver the Government's hoped-for economic growth, the former poet laureate Sir Andrew Motion warns today, as ministers face charges that they are ignoring the needs of Britain's rural communities. So desperate is the Treasury in its search for growth that George Osborne is said to want to redesignate protected land to kickstart large-scale housing schemes. Developers wanting to build on...

Sun, 26 Aug 12
Greenpeace Activists Climb Russian Oil Rig in Arctic Ocean
New York Times: A team of Greenpeace activists scaled the side of a Russian oil-drilling platform far out in the Arctic Ocean on Friday and suspended themselves on ropes while unfurling a banner that said “Save the Arctic,” as workers above sprayed cold water on them. In one of the more brazen recent protests by Greenpeace, the environmental group focused on marine conservation, the activists set out from their ship, the Arctic Sunrise, and skipped over the waves in inflatable motorboats. Greenpeace’s global executive...

Sun, 26 Aug 12
Climate change deniers are almost extinct
Western Star: Most North Americans know that human-caused global warming is real, even if political leaders don’t always reflect or act on that knowledge. According to a recent poll, only two per cent of Canadians reject the overwhelming scientific evidence that Earth is warming at alarming rates — a figure that may seem surprising given the volume of nonsense deniers (many of them funded by the fossil fuel industry) spread through letters to the editor, blogs, radio call-ins, and website comments. Polling indicates...

Sun, 26 Aug 12
United Kingdom: Gardeners urged to plant wildflowers
Telegraph: While exotic plants and paving stones might make gardens appear neat and tidy, cultivating a wilder and more natural environment would benefit Britain's dwindling birds and butterflies, Sir Robert Watson said. Educating people about the benefits that native flowers like milkwort and cowslips bring to wildlife could help turn around the steep decline in certain species, he claimed. Sir Robert, who will leave his five year post at Defra at the end of this month, admitted Britain's wildlife was...

Sun, 26 Aug 12
Why worry about methane seeping up through Alaska tundra?
Alaska Dispatch: As people watch the decline of Arctic sea ice, the most obvious sign of climate warming in that region, scientists are noting other signs of change, like methane seeping out of the ground as permafrost thaws and glaciers melt across the Arctic. Scientists suspected these methane seeps existed, but no one had measured how much methane was escaping -- until recently. After working for nearly 10 years on the ground studying Siberian lakes, Katey Walter Anthony, an aquatic ecosystem ecologist at the...

Sun, 26 Aug 12
United States: Bloomberg Backs Fracking, With Rules to Protect the Environment
New York Times: After giving away a chunk of his personal fortune to the cause of eliminating coal-fired power plants, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is opening his checkbook in support of “responsible” extraction of natural gas by hydraulic fracturing. In an op-ed article in The Washington Post on Friday, the mayor came out strongly in favor of natural gas extraction through the controversial drilling process, known as fracking, as a way to lower utility bills, spur economic growth and reduce the nation’s dependence...

Sun, 26 Aug 12
Isaac bears down on Haiti, south Florida under storm watch
Reuters: Tropical Storm Isaac emerged over warm Caribbean waters on Saturday slightly weaker but ready to regroup after dumping torrential rains on Haiti, where thousands of people remain homeless more than two years after a devastating earthquake. Heavy rains and high winds lashed Haiti's southern coast, flooding parts of the capital Port-au-Prince, and flattening tents in some of the fragile resettlement camps that house more than 350,000 survivors of the 2010 earthquake. A 10-year-old girl was killed...

Sat, 25 Aug 12
United Kingdom: Do we still need nature reserves?
Guardian: On a curve of soft sand are the broad hieroglyphics made by seals hauling themselves above the tideline the previous night. As the sea slips away again, hundreds of these beige and brown bananas sunbathe on distant sandbanks, between ribbons of blue water. Blakeney Point celebrates its centenary this month. This pristine four-mile spit of shingle and sand in Norfolk is, of course, far older, but its purchase by the National Trust 100 years ago marked the beginning of a radical movement in Britain:...

Sat, 25 Aug 12
Drought Weakens Mississippi River’s Flow; Threatens New Orleans’ Water
National Geographic: New Orleans may be the victim of a one-two punch as Hurricane Isaac threatens to strengthen over the Gulf of Mexico and the ongoing affects of this summer's drought continue to trickle down to the Delta. The record temperatures and lack of rain that have devastated crops in America's heartland upstream also have weakened the once-mighty Mississippi River's defenses against saltwater intrusion. Freshwater flowing south from the Mississippi and salty water from the Gulf are constantly arm wrestling...

Sat, 25 Aug 12
United Kingdom: Let's keep the green belt safely fastened
Telegraph: Among the many striking images from the London Olympics, TV shots of the glorious countryside that rings Europe's greatest metropolis will live long in the memory. The Games opened with a cycle race that hurtled through the lush downland of the Surrey Hills, past ancient villages with Norman churches and 16th-century coaching inns and back to the capital by way of well-preserved market towns. It was an idealised vision of England that could have been conjured by Danny Boyle. But it was, in fact,...

Sat, 25 Aug 12
Is It Too Late To Defuse The Danger Of Megafires?
National Public Radio: I hike up into the Santa Fe National Forest just outside Santa Fe, N.M. My guide is William Armstrong, the service's fire manager for this forest. He's dressed all in green and is so lanky, he looks like a sapling himself, except his eyes are a piercing blue. I remark just how lush his forest is, how the Ponderosa pines almost reach out and touch one another. He doesn't take it as a compliment. "They're a plague," he says. "On this forest, it's averaging about 900 trees per acre. Historically...

Sat, 25 Aug 12
Reviewing how native peoples will deal with climate change
High Country News: Extreme weather events forced an awareness of urgent climate disruptions this year, with July 2012 being the hottest month on record – hotter even than the Dust Bowl’s July 1936.The science tells us climate changes would be abrupt and include extreme weather events. The book, Asserting Native Resilience – Pacific Rim Indigenous Nations Face the Climate Crisis, issued June 1, 2012, couldn’t be more timely. In the book’s introduction editors Zoltán Grossman and Alan Parker tell us, “Climate change...

Sat, 25 Aug 12
Will Emissions Disclosure Mean Investor Pressure on Polluters?
New York Times: A new financial tool developed by the investment firm South Pole Carbon, in partnership with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, provides greenhouse gas emissions profiles of more than 40,000 publicly listed companies. This index is aimed at encouraging greater disclosure from companies while, hopefully, also pushing investors to build more responsible portfolios. "Investors have long been aware that the greenhouse gas profile, especially of major emitters like electric utilities, is a...

Sat, 25 Aug 12
Republican National Convention likely to face bad weather even if Isaac tracks west
Washington Post: Tampa may escape the full brunt of hurricane force winds next week, but it appears increasingly likely that the Republican National Convention won't be able to avoid some impact from what is now Tropical Storm Isaac. A significant weather event is likely to cause high winds and rain in the Tampa Bay area, even if the storm sticks to its current track and has a more significant effect on the Gulf Coast. Data show the gender gap is no more pronounced than it has been in any recent presidential...

Sat, 25 Aug 12
Norway Urges Indonesia to Keep Forest Protection
Jakarta Globe: Norway’s environment minister on Friday urged Brazil and Indonesia to avoid backtracking on policies to protect tropical forests, saying up to $2 billion in aid promised by Oslo hinged on proof of slower rates of forest clearance. Norway, rich from oil and gas, has promised more cash than any other donor nation to slow rainforest clearance from the Amazon to the Congo. Protecting forests slows climate change, since plants soak up heat-trapping carbon dioxide gas. Environment Minister Baard Vegar...

Sat, 25 Aug 12
ICT will help Ugandan farmers cope with climate change
SciDev.Net: Ugandan cattle farmers are set to benefit from the use of information and communications technology (ICT) tools and meteorological data to improve their ability to adapt to climate change-induced hazards such as water stress and prolonged droughts. Climate Change Adaptation and ICT (CHAI), a two-year project launched in Kampala earlier this month (3 August), will generate agricultural, environmental management, market and meteorological information for herdsmen in Uganda's 'cattle corridor'. The...

Sat, 25 Aug 12
U.S. farmers hope Isaac will bring drought relief
Reuters: Tropical Storm Isaac, poised to hit Cuba on Saturday, will likely bring minimal relief from the worst U.S. drought in more than half a century, with rains expected in a limited area in the U.S. Southeast or possibly further west into Alabama and Mississippi, an agricultural meteorologist said on Friday. "Computer maps have been all over the place but it looks like the storm will make landfall in Florida Sunday. That would bring the most rain, probably an inch to four inches or more in the southeast,"...

Sat, 25 Aug 12
“The Truth is That All Problems Have Solutions” – Even Climate Change in Ethiopia
Inter Press Service: Eight years ago Kenbesh Mengesha earned an uncertain income collecting firewood from local government forests and selling them to her fellow slum-dwellers in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She would earn on average about 50 cents a day, if she was lucky. But now she is part of a successful women's farming project that is a model for training other urban farmer groups all over Africa on how to adapt to climate change. According to the World Bank, Ethiopia is extremely vulnerable to drought and other...

Sat, 25 Aug 12
Time to put a stop to speculating on hunger
Independent: Comments from a senior director at the world's largest commodities trader that the rapidly worsening global food crisis will be "good for Glencore" only add to the sense that there are those in the finance sector still dismayingly out of touch with the world in which most people live. Chris Mahoney's remarks also make the case for the closer regulation of agricultural futures markets stronger than ever. The scale of the emergency now unfolding is deeply concerning. The severest droughts for decades...

Sat, 25 Aug 12
Greenpeace storms Arctic oil platform
Guardian: Greenpeace has signalled its determination to try to halt the Kremlin's march into the Arctic with activists led by its executive director boarding an oil platform belonging to state-owned Gazprom. It is the first time that the green group has taken "direct action" against the Russian drilling and comes amid alarming new evidence about the speed with which Arctic sea ice is melting. Six environmentalists in inflatable boats launched from Greenpeace's Arctic Sunrise ship approached the Prirazlomnaya...

Sat, 25 Aug 12
Is Antarctica's warming natural or man-made?
Guardian: Most people know that the Antarctic Peninsula is one of the most rapidly warming places on earth. But like everywhere else in Antarctica, the length of available temperature data is short - most records begin in 1957 (when stations were put in place during the International Geophysical Year); a few start in the late 1940s. This makes the recent rapid warming difficult to evaluate; in general, what's interesting is how the trend compares with the underlying variability. As anyone who's been there...

Sat, 25 Aug 12
Species Adapting to Climate Change is more complicated than thought
Environmental News Network: With climate change happening, species will be forced to adapt or to move out of the habitats they are accustomed to. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, are trying to understand how these species will respond to changing environmental conditions and where they will go. One study published in the journal Global Change Biology finds that changes in precipitation have been overlooked as a factor in driving bird species out of their normal range. The second study, published in...

Sat, 25 Aug 12
Construction of controversial Belo Monte dam halted after court ruling
Mongabay: Belo Monte dam developer Norte Energia, S.A. has stopped all work on the Belo Monte dam after receiving formal notification of the decision last week by the Brazilian Federal Appeals Court to suspend the project, reports International Rivers. Norte Energia said it would take "all available measures to reverse the decision." The Federal Appeals Court ruled that Belo Monte cannot proceed without the consent of indigenous communities that will be impacted by the dam, which will redirect 80 percent...

Sat, 25 Aug 12
Drought Conditions Trigger Smallest Gulf ‘Dead Zone’ in Years
Yale Environment 360: U.S. scientists say the nation’s worst drought in five decades has had at least one positive effect: the smallest so-called “dead zone” seen in the Gulf of Mexico in years. In a 1,200-mile research cruise NASA. Algal blooms in the Gulf of Mexico conducted in the waters of the gulf this month, scientists from Texas A&M University found only 1,580 square miles of oxygen-depleted, or hypoxic, water in the gulf, compared with 3,400 square miles last August. The hypoxic zone is created when algal blooms,...

Sat, 25 Aug 12
United Kingdom: Defra scientist's grim warning on climate change
Channel 4 News: Speaking before he steps down as chief scientist at the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, Sir Bob Watson also warned that governments couldn't afford to do nothing about greenhouse gas emissions despite the economic downturn, writes Channel 4 News Science Editor Tom Clarke. At global climate summits like in Copenhagen in 2009 it was agreed to try and limit global warming to two degrees centigrade above pre-industrial temperatures. "There is really almost no chance now of meeting...

Sat, 25 Aug 12
Science advisor warns climate target 'out the window'
BBC: One of the government's most senior scientific advisers has said that efforts to stop a sharp rise in global temperatures were now "unrealistic". Prof Sir Bob Watson said that any hope of restricting the average temperature rise to 2C was "out the window". He said that the rise could be as high as 5C - with dire consequences. Sir Bob added the Chancellor, George Osborne, should back efforts to cut the UK's CO2 emissions. He said: "I have to look back on [the outcome of successive climate...

Sat, 25 Aug 12
Organizers move to award $100 billion in climate-change funds
Associated Press: A new global fund on climate change that aims to channel $100 billion a year in aid to poor countries selected officials from South Africa and Australia as its leaders at its first meeting Thursday. The U.N.'s Green Climate Fund -- created as part of a deal struck in December 2011 at the 194-nation climate talks in Durban, South Africa -- will be led by Zaheer Fakir, head of international relations for South Africa's environment agency, and Ewen McDonald, deputy head of Australia's international...

Sat, 25 Aug 12
Storm Threatening Tampa Puts GOP Climate Position in Spotlight
National Journal: Politically, Tampa, Fla., was a perfect choice to host the Republican National Convention -- the city sits at the heart of a swing district in a crucial 2012 battleground state. Practically, it may have been less so -- as organizers worry that it remains right in the path of Hurricane Isaac. It wasn’t hard to predict this problem. Florida is one of the most hurricane-prone states in the nation. Late August is the peak of the hurricane season. In fact, Gulf Coast hurricanes disrupted both of the...

Fri, 24 Aug 12
Past tropical climate change linked to ocean circulation, says Texas A&M team
Science Codex: A new record of past temperature change in the tropical Atlantic Ocean's subsurface provides clues as to why the Earth's climate is so sensitive to ocean circulation patterns, according to climate scientists at Texas A&M University. Geological oceanographer Matthew Schmidt and two of his graduate students teamed up with Ping Chang, a physical oceanographer and climate modeler, to help uncover an important climate connection between the tropics and the high latitude North Atlantic. Their new...

Fri, 24 Aug 12
Romney energy plan supports U.S. ethanol mandate
Reuters: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney released an energy plan on Thursday that supports Washington's ethanol quota, a mandate several governors want to suspend as the worst drought in over 50 years sends corn prices to record levels. Governors from North Carolina, Arkansas, Georgia and New Mexico, where large numbers of livestock are reared, have petitioned the Obama administration to waive the mandate which they say raises prices for corn, an important animal feed. The grain is also...

Fri, 24 Aug 12
Drought eases for some U.S. states, worsens for others
Reuters: Rainfall and cooler temperatures have combined to ease slightly the grip that the worst U.S. drought in over five decades is holding on some key farming states, but the suffering expanded in many others. "There has been some improvement, at least in the eastern corn belt. And for the region as a whole we've seen a respite from the high temperatures," said Mark Svoboda, a climatologist with the University of Nebraska's National Drought Mitigation Center. But he said the forecast for the next...

Fri, 24 Aug 12
Coal plants still pressured despite Romney plan, EPA court loss
Reuters: Coal-fired power plants will face pressure and in some cases closure despite a Republican energy plan favorable to the industry and a court victory against new environmental rules. As many as one-sixth of U.S. coal-fired power plants would close within eight years and be replaced by natural gas, according to an Energy Department estimate. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Thursday laid out his new energy policy that aims to promote oil and natural gas production and roll back...

Fri, 24 Aug 12
Arctic sea ice shrinks to record low, by some estimates
Reuters: The area of ice in the Arctic Ocean has thawed to a record low, surpassing the previous 2007 minimum in a sign of climate change transforming the region, according to some scientific estimates. "We reached the minimum ice area today (Thursday). It has never been measured less than right now," Ola Johannessen, founding director of the Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center in Norway, told Reuters. "It is just below the 2007 minimum." The U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC),...

Fri, 24 Aug 12
Cargill says to open Brazil biodiesel plant this month
Reuters: Global grains trading powerhouse Cargill Inc will open a biodiesel plant in Brazil's Mato Grosso do Sul state by the end of August, the company's vice president of corporate affairs in Brazil, Valeria Militelli, said on Thursday. Cargill, one of the largest soybean exporters in Brazil, announced an investment of some 130 billion reais, ($64.5 million) in the plant located in the Tres Lagoas municipality in 2010. Brazil's young biodiesel industry, that began about a half decade ago, is small compared...

Fri, 24 Aug 12
Antarctic Ice Shelf Collapse Has Been Occurring For 600 Years
redOrbit: The Antarctic Peninsula has been continually shrinking for centuries, since long before the Industrial Revolution, according to an international team of researchers. However, rapid warming over the past 100 years has been unusual and, if it continues, the ice shelf could be on par for a complete collapse. Temperatures in the Antarctic Peninsula began rising around 600 years ago, occurring naturally. This was long before manmade influences on the climate further increased them, scientists said...

Fri, 24 Aug 12
Why Forest-Killing Megafires Are The New Normal
National Public Radio: Fire scientists are calling it "the new normal": a time of fires so big and hot that no one can remember anything like it. One of the scientists who coined that term is Craig Allen. I drive with him to New Mexico's Bandelier National Monument, where he works for the U.S. Geological Survey. We take a dirt road up into the Jemez Mountains, into a landscape of black poles as far as you can see. Except they aren't poles. Every single tree is dead. For miles. "You can tell me the next time you...

Fri, 24 Aug 12
Arctic sea ice shrinks to record low, estimates show
Reuters: The area of ice in the Arctic Ocean has thawed to a record low, surpassing the previous 2007 minimum in a sign of climate change transforming the region, according to some scientific estimates. Only on NBCNews.com Faith in Army's direction hits all-time low, survey shows Mormon in America: Church members on impact of Romney campaign Growing number of Latinos have no religious affiliation California school district sued over abstinence-only sex ed Jeanne Noonan for New York Daily Hidden health...

Fri, 24 Aug 12
How cities are using nature to cut pollution
Yale Environment 360: In Puget Sound, one of America's great estuaries, killer whales, seals, and schools of salmon swim not far from more than 3 million people who live in the Seattle region. The presence of such impressive marine life, however, belies the fact that the sound is seriously polluted. When it rains, storm water washes into the same system of underground pipes that carries the region's sewage, and 1 billion gallons a year overflow into the sound when area sewer systems contain more water than can be treated....

Fri, 24 Aug 12
The Killer Drought of 2012 Eases — But Not By Much
Climate Central: The historic drought of 2012 continues to parch the nation, according to the latest version of the U.S. Drought Monitor, released Thursday. Although conditions have improved somewhat in the hard-hit states of Ohio and Indiana, nearly 63 percent of the U.S. remains at some level in drought as of August 21, the most recent date for which statistics are available. It's possible to look at the new numbers optimistically. "The total area in moderate or worse drought actually increased, but that's not...

Fri, 24 Aug 12
South Africa and Australia appointed co-chairs of Green Climate Fund
BusinessGreen: After a series of delays, the first meeting of the UN's Green Climate Fund (GCF) kicked off yesterday in Geneva with the appointment of representatives from Australia and South Africa as co-chairs of the fund's influential board. Zaheer Fakir, head of international relations and governance at South Africa's Department of Environmental Affairs, and Ewen McDonald, deputy director general of the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), were elected as co-chairs of the new board....

Fri, 24 Aug 12
Obama aide hints climate will stay in campaign background
The Hill: A spokesman for President Obama’s reelection campaign suggested Thursday that climate change is unlikely to take center stage in the 2012 White House battle, noting that Obama’s contrast with GOP rival Mitt Romney is already apparent. “Clearly [climate change] is something that is important to the administration, but right now we are obviously going to be focusing on jobs and the economy and talking about what our contrast is,” said Tom Reynolds. Climate change has played little role in the Obama-Romney...

Fri, 24 Aug 12
Report Finds Americans Wasteful of Food
New York Times: Forty percent of the food Americans have available to them goes uneaten, according to a report released this week by the Natural Resources Defense Council. Most of this nutrient-rich uneaten food ends up rotting in landfills. “This issue has received very little attention in the U.S.,” said Dana Gunders, a project scientist at the N.R.D.C. who specializes in food and agriculture. Yet a significant amount of land, energy and fresh water go into producing food for American consumers. The report,...

Fri, 24 Aug 12
U.S. Solar Panel maker to Build Solar Farms in Energy-Hungry India
Yale Environment 360: First Solar Inc., the U.S.-based solar panel manufacturer, plans to expand its role in the global energy industry by developing solar power farms in India, where an emerging industrial sector is looking to shore up energy security in the aftermath of record blackouts. The company aims to secure 20 percent of India’s photovoltaic sales by expanding beyond its role as a solar panel supplier and building large solar arrays, Sujoy Ghosh, First Solar’s new India head, told Bloomberg News. According to...

Fri, 24 Aug 12
As Climate Changes, Urban Planners Help Cities Adapt
WBUR: Despite the ongoing national political dissension over climate change, Boston and Cambridge, among other cities around the world, are searching for ways to cope with its effects. A recent survey finds that "79 percent of cities worldwide report that in the past five years they perceived changes in temperature, precipitation, sea level, or natural hazards that they attribute to climate change." JoAnn Carmin, co-author of the study, is Associate Professor of Environmental Policy and Planning...

Fri, 24 Aug 12
U.N. green climate fund, meant to aid poor, holds first talks
Reuters: Leaders of a U.N. green fund meant to channel billions of dollars to help developing economies cope with climate change met for the first time on Thursday after months of delays. The 24-strong board began 3-day talks in Geneva, trying to decide where the fund will be based and other details, officials said. Ways to extract planned new aid from the anemic economies of rich countries will be left for later meetings. Developed nations agreed in 2009 to raise climate aid, now about $10 billion...

Fri, 24 Aug 12
Australia: Kyoto 2 crucial to carbon permits - report
Age: BIG greenhouse gas emitters could pay more under the Gillard government's carbon price if Australia refuses to sign up to a second round of the Kyoto Protocol, a leading climate think tank has said. In a report to be released this morning, the Climate Institute says that Australian businesses would have more difficulty accessing cheap international carbon permits unless the government joins ''Kyoto 2''. The Kyoto Protocol is the agreement that sets legally-binding targets for developed economies,...

Fri, 24 Aug 12
Shoppers in England support plastic bag charge
Telegraph: Which?, the consumer group, found that 56 per cent of people in England would support a charge of 5 pence-per-bag when they do their weekly shop. The findings come days after official figures from WRAP, the waste reduction group, showed that supermarkets handed out nearly 400 million more carrier bags last year than they did in 2010. The group said that a total of 8 billion plastic bags were given out by supermarkets last year, despite pledges by the retailers to cut down on bags. According...

Fri, 24 Aug 12
California declares emergency as wildfire advances on town
Reuters: California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in three Northern California counties on Wednesday after a wildfire that has already destroyed 64 homes advanced with 75-foot flames on a tiny community at the doorstep of a national park. Firefighters scrambled to head off the so-called Ponderosa Fire, which had scorched 24,000 acres, before it reached the outskirts of Mineral, a community of less than 200 people just south of Lassen National Volcanic Park. Authorities issued an...

Fri, 24 Aug 12
Romney to declare goal of N. American energy independence by 2020
Reuters: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will lay out policies on Thursday aimed at achieving North American energy independence by 2020 by pursuing a sharp increase in production of oil and natural gas on federal lands and off the U.S. coast. Romney is to unveil his plan at a truck and supply business in Hobbs, New Mexico, as he seeks to draw a sharp contrast between his energy policies and those of President Barack Obama and detail in part how he would rekindle job growth in the United...

Fri, 24 Aug 12
Japan to see warmer to normal weather in Sept-Nov
Reuters: Japan will see mostly warmer-than-average to normal weather from September to November, potentially increasing electricity and gasoline demand for air-conditioning, official forecaster Japan Meteorological Agency said on Thursday. The heat wave in Japan's eastern and western regions has lifted power demand this week, but there were no immediate concerns for a shortage thanks to power-saving efforts at a time when most nuclear reactors remain shut following last year's earthquake and tsunami that...

Fri, 24 Aug 12
India's GVK wins approval for $10 billion Aussie coal mine, rail project
Reuters: India's GVK Power and Infrastructure won environmental approval for its A$10 billion ($10.4 billion) Alpha coal and rail project in Australia's Queensland state on Thursday, with 19 conditions to protect the environment. The approval came as Australia declared the end of the resources boom that cushioned the country from the global financial crisis, a day after the world's biggest miner, BHP Billiton shelved two major expansion plans worth at least $40 billion. The Alpha scheme is the front-runner...

Fri, 24 Aug 12
China may start building rare earths stockpile in Sept -report
Reuters: China, the world's largest producer and consumer of rare earths, may start building an 18,000-tonne strategic stockpile of the elements in September, the Economic Information Daily newspaper said on Thursday. Though it has just 23 percent of global reserves, China accounts for more than 90 percent of the world's supplies of rare earths. It has trimmed its export quotas in recent years, angering trade partners who say the curbs are unfair. "Given the fluctuation of the market and falling rare...

Fri, 24 Aug 12
Our Changing Forests: An 88-Year Time Lapse
National Public Radio: Intense forest fires have been raging across the western United States this summer. So far this year, nearly 43,000 wildfires have torched almost 7 million acres of land. As NPR Science correspondent Christopher Joyce and photographer David Gilkey report from Arizona and New Mexico this week, the forests of the American Southwest have become so overgrown that they're essentially tinderboxes just waiting for a spark. This "tree epidemic" stems from Forest Service policy dating back to the early...

Fri, 24 Aug 12
United Kingdom: 56% 'back plastic bag store charge'
Press Association: Consumers have an average of 17 plastic bags stored at home while more than half support retailers charging for them, according to a Which? survey. The poll by the watchdog found 56 per cent of consumers in England and Scotland support a 5p charge for bags but, among those opposed to a charge, 70 per cent think they already pay enough for their shopping and 45 per cent think they should be entitled to free bags. A charge is already in place in Wales while Northern Ireland is introducing one...

Fri, 24 Aug 12
Bangladesh farmers caught in vicious cycle of flood and debt
Guardian: Seven-year-old Mili Begum knows her classroom like the back of her hand. She should, because she's been living in it for the past six weeks. The flood waters that surged through her village in the Sunamganj district of north-east Bangladesh have receded, but her family is one of many struggling to cope after losing both home and belongings. The monsoon floods killed more than 100 people and displaced an estimated 600,000 in June and July, mainly in the north-east and south-east of the country....

Fri, 24 Aug 12
Renewable distributed electricity generation to triple by 2017
Eco-Business: Annual global installations of renewable distributed electricity generation will nearly triple between 2012 and 2017 says Pike Research. The research group`s "Renewable Distributed Energy Generation" report projects installations will reach 63.5 gigawatts (GW) capacity a year in 2017. Between now and then, close to 232 GW of distributed renewables will be added. Pike points out the centralized model of power generation, transmission, and distribution "is growing more and more costly to maintain...

Fri, 24 Aug 12
UN calls for policies to counter drought threats worldwide
Press Trust of India: As farmers from Africa to India struggle with insufficient rainfall, the United Nations has sought consolidated efforts to combat climate change threat and counter its effects on global food security. "Climate change is projected to increase the frequency, intensity, and duration of droughts, with impacts on many sectors, in particular food, water, and energy," warned World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. "We need to move away from a piecemeal, crisis-driven...

Fri, 24 Aug 12
Climate change denial doesn't hold water
Delmarva Now: People who live inland on the Delmarva Peninsula may still argue that sea level isn't rising or that global warming isn't happening. But they're either in denial or not paying attention. Those who live along the various shorelines of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia are watching as it unfolds. Scientists tell us not only is sea level rising, in part because of polar glacial melt, but Delmarva is slowly sinking at the same time. Islands in the Chesapeake Bay and other bodies of water that surround...

Fri, 24 Aug 12
Antarctic melt alarm as scientists find 'very unusual' warming
Crikey: Scientists have drilled 364 metres into ice to complete the first ever comprehensive temperature record of the Antarctic Peninsula - and they`ve found evidence of "very unusual" and dramatic warming over the last century. The collapse of ice shelves in Antarctica has seen some of the most dramatic images of human-induced climate change. The collapse of the Prince Gustav and Larsen A Ice Shelves in 1995 and then the collapse of the Larsen B Ice Shelve in 2002 stunned scientists, and...

Fri, 24 Aug 12
Romney to back fossil fuels as key to energy independence
BusinessGreen: Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney will today set out a new strategy for ramping up oil and gas production, designed to ensure North America is energy self-sufficient by the end of the decade. The programme looks set to play to concerns expressed by GOP politicians in Congress and state legislatures, both of which have put an expansion of domestic fossil fuel production at the top of wish lists released in the lead-up to the release of Romney's full energy policy plans. Energy is...

Fri, 24 Aug 12
No-till could help maintain crop yields despite climate change
Phys.Org: Reducing tillage for some Central Great Plains crops could help conserve water and reduce losses caused by climate change, according to studies at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Research leader Laj Ahuja and others at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Agricultural Systems Research Unit at Fort Collins, Colo., superimposed climate projections onto 15 to 17 years of field data to see how future crop yields might be affected. ARS is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency,...

Fri, 24 Aug 12
Burma warns of deforestation crisis
Mongabay: An official warned that Myanmar is facing a deforestation crisis due to poor forest management, illegal logging, and fuelwood collection, reports Chinese state media. U Thein Lwin, secretary of the Lower House's Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation Committee, claimed during a workshop on energy, environment and climate change that forest cover had fallen from 51 percent in 2005 to 24 percent in 2008. However the figures differed substantially with independent assessments of Myanmar's...

Fri, 24 Aug 12
Public Wants Bigger Role in Deciding Fate of Troubled Calif. Nuke Plant
Inside Climate News: Two more Southern California city councils voiced urgent concerns [3] about the crippled San Onofre nuclear plant this month, but hopes are dimming that those communities and others near the troubled plant will have any role in deciding its fate. The Laguna Beach and Santa Monica city councils joined a growing list of local officials imploring federal regulators to conduct trial-like public hearings on San Onofre's problems. The cities also called on the California Public Utilities Commission [4]...

Fri, 24 Aug 12
Is Climate Change To Blame For This Year's West Nile Outbreak?
Scientific American: According to the Centers for Disease Control, there have been over 1100 reported cases of West Nile virus disease in the US this year, including 42 deaths. If these numbers seem high, they are -- in fact, it`s the highest number of reported cases since West Nile was first detected in the US in 1999, and West Nile season has just begun. Given that the peak of West Nile epidemics generally occurs in mid August, and it takes a few weeks for people to fall ill, the CDC expects that number to rise dramatically....

Thu, 23 Aug 12
Half of the particulate pollution in North America comes from other continents
ScienceDaily: Roughly half the aerosols that affect air quality and climate change in North America may be coming from other continents, including Asia, Africa and Europe, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Maryland, College Park, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, University of Maryland at Baltimore County and the Universities Space Research Association. Atmospheric particles can travel thousands of miles downwind and impact the environment in other regions, found lead researcher Hongbin...

Thu, 23 Aug 12
United Kingdom: Treasury told to park cars and invest in public transport
BusinessGreen: The government should stop delaying fuel duty increases and instead invest in improving rail and bus services and reducing fares, according to an influential think tank. The IPPR says in a report to be published today that the so-called "war on motorists" is a myth and it is public transport users who have had to shoulder much more hostile policies and price hikes in recent years. It says that between 1997 and 2010 rail fares alone rose by more than 66 per cent, while bus and coach fares shot...

Thu, 23 Aug 12
Could Hurricane Isaac derail the GOP convention?
Washington Post: It's deja vu all over again: Four years ago, Hurricane Gustav threatened Republican National Convention plans. This year, it's Hurricane Isaac. The bad weather, still a tropical storm in the Atlantic, has convention planners and emergency officials tracking the weather closely and reviewing contingency plans in case it tracks toward Tampa, where the Republican convention begins on Monday. For now, the storm is closing in on the Lesser Antilles, and forecasters expect that it will become a hurricane...

Thu, 23 Aug 12
Tropical Storm Isaac threatens Caribbean, Republican Convention
Reuters: Tropical Storm Isaac swirled over the Caribbean on Wednesday and was forecast to become a hurricane as it moved on a track that would put it off the coast of Florida on Monday, the opening day of the Republican National Convention in Tampa. Isaac was already dumping heavy rains on the Leeward Islands on Wednesday afternoon and hurricane watches were in effect for many places, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands. Isaac could also potentially threaten U.S. energy interests...

Thu, 23 Aug 12
Antarctic Peninsula started warming 600 years ago
Reuters: Temperatures in the Antarctic Peninsula started rising naturally 600 years ago, long before man-made climate changes further increased them, scientists said in a study on Wednesday that helps explain the recent collapses of vast ice shelves. The study, reconstructing ancient temperatures to understand a region that is warming faster than anywhere else in the southern hemisphere, said a current warming rate of 2.6 degrees Celsius (4.7 Fahrenheit) per century was "unusual" but not unprecedented....

Thu, 23 Aug 12
Rain or Shine, Climate Change Pushes Farmers to the Brink
PBS: Mother Nature been unkind to farmers this year. Last week, the NewsHour talked to cherry farmers in Michigan who lost 90 percent of their crops when an early spring warm-up meant trees were battered by frosts after blooming early. A drought sweeping the Corn Belt killed crops and raised food prices this summer, leaving farmers without profits and ranchers without feed for their livestock. These are just some of the new normals for farmers around the world, said Jonathan Foley, director of the...

Thu, 23 Aug 12
Drought Forces Ranchers Into Difficult Decisions
National Public Radio: This summer's brutal drought has put ranchers in a difficult position; water and feed are running low and ruinously expensive to replace. NPR's Neal Conan speaks to stricken ranchers and agricultural economist Norman Dalsted about how to deal with the drought, and what to expect in terms of food prices.

Thu, 23 Aug 12
Humans' Role In Antarctic Ice Melt Is Unclear
National Public Radio: Ten years ago, a piece of ice the size of Rhode Island disintegrated and melted in the waters off Antarctica. Two other massive ice shelves along the Antarctic Peninsula had suffered similar fates a few years before. The events became poster children for the effects of global warming. But a new study finds that the story isn't quite so simple. There's no question that unusually warm air triggered the final demise of these huge chunks of ice. But a lingering question is whether these events can...

Thu, 23 Aug 12
Lowest US carbon emissions won't slow climate change
New Scientist: IT SOUNDS like good news, but it's not. The US has recorded a sharp fall in greenhouse gas emissions from its power stations. In the first quarter of 2012, emissions reached their lowest level since 1992. The catch: they have simply been exported. The US Energy Information Administration says that a rise in gas-fired power generation, and a corresponding decline in the use of coal, contributed to the low. Per unit of energy generated, burning natural gas produces less emissions than burning coal,...

Thu, 23 Aug 12
What the Akin Incident Can Teach the Media About Science and Climate Reporting
Huffington Post: For once, the media's explosive reaction to a politician saying something idiotic is completely justified and proportional. Congressman Todd Akin's remarks on rape, pregnancy, and abortion were ignorant and hurtful, and it's been oddly comforting to hear and read every reasonable news outlet and talking head agree on that point. What in the heck does Akin or the media's reaction to his verbal rake-stepping have to do with climate change? In a word: science. Let's set aside the insensitive and...

Thu, 23 Aug 12
TV Viewers to Weathermen: We Want Climate Coverage
Huffington Post: This week in Boston, Mass., the nation's broadcast meteorologists will meet in their yearly conference sponsored by the American Meteorological Society (AMS). You probably don't have it marked on your calendar, but from the point of view of the planet, it's the most important meeting of weather reporters in history. Because the burning question in Beantown is whether weathercasters will embrace their responsibility to communicate how climate change is creating a new normal of dangerous, extreme weather....

Thu, 23 Aug 12
Why are so many forests on fire?
Guardian: They may be an annual occurrence in California but "wildfires" seem particularly ubiquitous this summer, with big blazes everywhere from Spain to Sri Lanka, Bosnia and Greece. "Wild" may be a misnomer. The malicious starting of fires is as old as the human fascination with flame and many of the fires may be directly or indirectly caused by humans. In the dry west of the US, where forest fires are routine in late summer, a winter drought is the trigger for current outbreaks after several cooler,...

Thu, 23 Aug 12
United Kingdom: Vestas to cut 1,400 more jobs as it reports quarterly pre-tax loss
Guardian: Vestas is to shed another 1,400 jobs, bringing total redundancies for the year to more than 3,700, after the world's biggest wind turbine maker slumped to a quarterly pre-tax loss. The Danish-based company, which recently ditched plans to build a plant in Kent, also reduced its forecast for current-year sales on Wednesday from seven gigawatts' worth of turbines to 6.3. Next year is expected to be even worse at 5GW. Chief executive Ditlev Engels said: "2013, as it looks today, is probably going...

Thu, 23 Aug 12
Isaac On Track for Florida, May Disrupt RNC Convention
Climate Central: All eyes are on Tropical Storm Isaac as on Wednesday it was moving into the eastern Caribbean Sea, and forecast scenarios include the possibility that it may hit Florida next week, potentially disrupting the Republican National Convention, which is set to begin Monday in Tampa. Southern Florida is now within the "cone of uncertainty' track forecast issued by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami. Those forecasts indicate that by early next week, what at that time could be Hurricane Isaac,...

Thu, 23 Aug 12
Enviros want climate question at Obama-Romney debate
The Hill: Environmentalists are trying a new strategy to bring climate change into the 2012 White House race: Work the refs. The League of Conservation Voters has launched a petition drive pressing the moderator of the first presidential debate, Jim Lehrer of PBS, to ask about the topic. The first debate is Oct. 3. “We urge you to ask President Obama and Gov. Romney how they will confront the greatest challenge of our generation -- climate change,” states the online petition, launched Wednesday. “Millions...

Thu, 23 Aug 12
Warmer temperatures eyed in devastation of Massachusetts butterflies
Reuters: The devastation of native cold weather butterfly species in Massachusetts and the arrival of southern subtropical species is likely tied to climate warming and signals a massive shift in the butterfly population of the U.S. East Coast, a new study shows. The research, published in the current issue of the journal Nature Climate Change, shows 17 of 21 species of butterflies whose habitat is centered north of Boston have declined since 1992 - some by as much as 90 percent. Meanwhile 12 species...

Thu, 23 Aug 12
Solar Shingles Made With Abundant Metals Offer Cheaper Energy Option
Yale Environment 360: U.S. scientists say that emerging photovoltaic technologies will enable the production of solar shingles made from abundantly available elements rather than rare-earth metals, an innovation that would make solar energy cheaper and more sustainable. Speaking at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society, a team of researchers described advances in solar cells made with abundant metals, such as copper and zinc. While the market already offers solar shingles that convert the sun’s energy into...

Thu, 23 Aug 12
Todd Akin screws up the science on climate change, too
Star-Ledger: Rep. Todd Akin only recently made himself infamous, but he was bumbling science long before he ever opened his mouth about women's reproductive plumbing. The Missouri GOP nominee for Senate is equally clueless when it comes to climate change, as bloggers at Grist and ThinkProgress noted today. Check out this House floor address three years ago by Akin (attached below). Here, Akin praises the turning of seasons from winter to spring in Missouri as "good climate change." He confuses "weather"...

Thu, 23 Aug 12
Showers seen giving minimal lift to stunted U.S. crops
Reuters: Light showers late this week in the northern Midwest and heavier rainfall in most of the region early next week will provide little benefit to drought-stricken U.S. corn and soybeans since both crops are nearing the end of their growing season, an agricultural meteorologist said on Wednesday. "It will help some of the later crops in the north such as in Wisconsin but not much elsewhere," said Andy Karst, a meteorologist for World Weather Inc. Karst also said there would not be enough rain to...

Thu, 23 Aug 12
Kenya steps up measures to contain deadly maize disease
Reuters: Kenya has asked farmers to burn tracts of maize fields and plant alternative crops to mitigate the spread of a deadly maize virus that has the potential to wipe out 80 percent of the crop, a senior official in the Ministry of Agriculture said on Wednesday. The disease - maize lethal necrosis - has caused fears of soaring food prices in east Africa's biggest economy, which faces a deficit of the staple every year and bridges the gap through imports from Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia and Malawi. Wilson...

Thu, 23 Aug 12
Japan Citizens Favor Zero Nuclear in Debate Over Energy Options
Bloomberg: Japan’s public wants the government to phase out nuclear power according to the results of town hall-like forums to give the public a say in the debate on the nation’s energy supply post-Fukushima. The forums brought together 286 citizens for two days in early August in Tokyo from thousands surveyed by phone. They were broken into smaller groups to discuss and vote on three energy supply options the government proposed: Zero nuclear, 15 percent nuclear, and 20 percent to 25 percent nuclear. A...

Thu, 23 Aug 12
Germany Needs to Keep Some Conventional Power-Study
Reuters: Germany must keep a safe layer of fossil fuels-based power capacity in the decades to 2050 by when it hopes to derive 80 percent of electricity from renewable sources, said a study released by Deutsche Energie Agentur (Dena) on Wednesday. Coal and gas-fired power plants at that stage would still have to provide 60 percent of the secure capacity in place in 2010, said the study, which was carried out by the Aachen Technical University and commissioned by utility RWE. Capacity is considered secure...

Thu, 23 Aug 12
Dems Want Obama to Appeal Ruling that Nixed Emissions Rule
The Hill: A pair of senior Capitol Hill Democrats is urging the Obama administration to appeal a Tuesday federal court ruling that struck down a major rule to cut power plant pollution. But other lawmakers applauded the appellate decision to vacate Environmental Protection Agency’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, underscoring political divides over the White House's green agenda. “I encourage the Administration to appeal the decision. In the meantime, as Chairman of the Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee...

Thu, 23 Aug 12
China to Spend $372 Billion on Cutting Energy Use, Pollution
Reuters: China will plough $372 billion into energy conservation projects and anti-pollution measures over the next three-and-a-half years, part of a drive to cut energy consumption by 300 million tonnes of standard coal, the country's cabinet said Tuesday. A report from China's State Council, or cabinet, said the investments will take China almost halfway to meeting its target to cut the energy intensity 16 percent below 2010 levels by 2015. The government has earmarked $155 billion of the money for...

Thu, 23 Aug 12
Climate vs. weather: Extreme events narrow doubts
Agence France-Presse: Heatwaves, drought and floods that have struck the northern hemisphere for the third summer running are narrowing doubts that man-made warming is disrupting Earth's climate system, say some scientists. Climate experts as a group are reluctant to ascribe a single extreme event or season to global warming. Weather, they argue, has to be assessed over far longer periods to confirm a shift in the climate and whether natural factors or fossil-fuel emissions are the cause. But for some, such caution...

Thu, 23 Aug 12
Climate change, deforestation behind collapse of ancient Maya
Asian News International: Multiple factors -- some natural, like climate change; some human-made, including large-scale landscape alterations and shifts in trade routes -- led to the 9th century collapse and abandonment of the Central Maya Lowlands in the Yucatan Peninsula. These findings, resulted from a new analysis of complex interactions between humans and the environment preceding the collapse of the ancient Maya, have lessons for contemporary decision-makers and sustainability scientists. In their revised model...

Thu, 23 Aug 12
Appeals Court Blocks E.P.A. Rule on Cross-State Pollution
New York Times: A federal appeals court on Tuesday overturned a federal rule that laid out how much air pollution states would have to clean up to avoid incurring violations in downwind states. The decision sends the Environmental Protection Agency, and perhaps even Congress, back to the drawing board in what has become a long and paralyzing argument over how to mesh a system of state-by-state regulation with the problem of industrial smokestacks pumping pollutants into a single atmosphere. In a 2-to-1 ruling,...

Thu, 23 Aug 12
Hydrofracking Ads, Pro and Con, Come to New York State
New York Times: As Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration finishes up new regulations on where and how to allow hydraulic fracturing in New York State, groups on both sides of the issue are turning to the airwaves in a late-inning effort to press their cases. The advertisements are appearing in the Southern Tier region, just north of the Pennsylvania border, where the Marcellus Shale rock formation is rich in natural gas, and where communities may have to give local approval for drilling to be allowed in their area...

Thu, 23 Aug 12
Climate Change: Coping With The Health Effects Of Rising Temperatures
WBUR: Recently, city leaders have started to consider strategies for coping with the coming effects of climate change in Massachusetts. With the average annual temperature already on the rise - up 1.5 degrees over the past 100 years - Greater Boston communities are looking at ways to handle the effects an increased number of heat waves could have on our health. BOSTON - Sam Lipson only has to walk a few yards from his office at the Cambridge Public Health Department to see the type of people and buildings...

Thu, 23 Aug 12
Climate issues important to our region
Toledo Blade: A new scientific paper asserts the Earth is warming even faster than expected. As the United States, including the Great Lakes region, endures one of the worst droughts in history, an effective strategy to address climate change requires a stronger commitment from Washington and the private sector to control greenhouse gases. The study, whose principal author is NASA's James Hansen, blames the 2011 Texas-Oklahoma drought, the 2010 heat waves in Russia and the Middle East and the 2003 European...

Thu, 23 Aug 12
Wind farm developers using 'tricks' to make turbines look smaller
Telegraph: Alan MacDonald, an architect based in Inverness, says that computer-generated images of turbines in planning applications are often little more than "artifice". Small changes in the size of the photo, the angle at which it is taken, the zoom on the camera and how it is presented can all make turbines look smaller, he said. His concerns have been accepted by Scottish National Heritage, which issues planning guidance on "wind farm visualisation" across the whole of the UK. Brendan Turvey,...

Thu, 23 Aug 12
India signals it may be willing to consider emissions target at UN climate talks
RTCC: The Indian Government could be on the brink of a major shift in its climate change policy, according to reports in India. The influential Planning Commission is currently working on its 12th five-year plan, which includes agreeing to a global emissions cap prior to developed countries making binding pledges to cut emissions. This would represent a major shift in the Ministry of Environment`s determined stance at the UNFCCC climate change negotiations where it has been insistent on rich countries...

Thu, 23 Aug 12
Hungary set for row with EU over non-profit energy
Reuters: Hungary expects heated debate with the European Union over government plans to transform energy distribution in the household sector into a "non-profit activity", Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Wednesday. Orban's conservative government has often been at odds with Brussels over controversial policies such as Europe's highest bank levy or hefty windfall taxes on selected business sectors. These new taxes have helped stabilize the budget but have contributed to an erosion of investor confidence...

Thu, 23 Aug 12
China should boost rare earths imports -industry body
Reuters: China, the world's largest producer and consumer of rare earths, should boost imports of the materials due to growing demand and to protect domestic resources, the China Daily reported on Wednesday, citing senior industry officials. Global demand for rare earths, crucial in manufacturing high-tech products such as smartphones and hybrid cars, is expected to rise sharply, with appetite in China growing even faster, Liu Yinan, vice-chairman of the China Chamber of Commerce of Metals, Minerals &...

Thu, 23 Aug 12
Ruling Is A Set-Back To Obama's Clean Air Plan
National Public Radio: A federal court has rejected a rule that would have regulated air pollution that blows from one state to the next. The ruling puts a damper on the Obama administration's efforts to reduce asthma, heart disease and other ailments related to air pollution. States and utilities asserted that the rules overstepped the EPA's authority under the Clean Air Act.

Thu, 23 Aug 12
Arctic Sea Ice Record Now Could Be Set in August
Climate Central: Arctic sea ice cover is likely to reach a new record low as soon as next week, several weeks before the end of the melt season, according to data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and news reports. In fact, by at least one measure -- sea ice area -- the ice cover has already set a record low. The rapid decline in Arctic sea ice during the past several decades is one of the most visible signs of manmade global warming. The Arctic is warming at nearly twice the rate of the rest...

Thu, 23 Aug 12
UN urges countries to adopt national drought policies
BusinessGreen: Nations across the world have been told to adopt drought management policies as a matter of urgency as estimates of the cost to insurers of this year's dry summer in the US skyrockets. The ripple effects of America's worst drought in more than half a century on world food markets shows the vulnerability of an interconnected world to a hazard expected to increase in the future, UN agencies including the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)...

Thu, 23 Aug 12
Multiple Factors Including Climate Change Led to Collapse and Depopulation of Ancient Maya
EP Magazine: A new analysis of complex interactions between humans and the environment preceding the 9th century collapse and abandonment of the Central Maya Lowlands in the Yucatán Peninsula points to a series of events -- some natural, like climate change; some human-made, including large-scale landscape alterations and shifts in trade routes -- that have lessons for contemporary decision-makers and sustainability scientists. In their revised model of the collapse of the ancient Maya, social scientists B.L....

Thu, 23 Aug 12
UN calls for integrated climate policies to counter drought threats
Samay Live: As farmers from Africa to India struggle with insufficient rainfall, the United Nations has sought consolidated efforts to combat climate change threat and counter its effects on global food security. "Climate change is projected to increase the frequency, intensity, and duration of droughts, with impacts on many sectors, in particular food, water, and energy," warned World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. "We need to move away from a piecemeal, crisis-driven...

Wed, 22 Aug 12
India's diesel subsidies stoke emissions, choke clean alternatives
AlertNet: India's high subsidies for polluting fuels like diesel and kerosene place a heavy burden on public finances and are compromising investment in clean energy alternatives, while removing them would hurt the poor less than commonly believed, researchers said this week. In 2011-12, the fuel subsidies, together with the losses made by state-owned oil companies on the sale of regulated fuel, totalled 1.4 trillion Indian rupees ($27.7 billion), notes one of three new reports on the subject. In India,...

Wed, 22 Aug 12
Tepid turnout for Peru rally against Newmont mine
Reuters: Weak turnout on Tuesday hobbled the latest in a string of protests to stop a $5 billion gold mine in the northern Peruvian region of Cajamarca and denounce the government's ban on rallies against U.S.-based Newmont Mining Corp's Conga project. Only several hundred people marched, local media reports said, and throngs of police, helped by 300 soldiers, patrolled the streets. A high-level security source in Peru's government said the atmosphere was "calm" and that a repeat of clashes that killed...

Wed, 22 Aug 12
Speeding the search for better carbon capture
ScienceDaily: A computer model that can identify the best molecular candidates for removing carbon dioxide, molecular nitrogen and other greenhouse gases from power plant flues has been developed by researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)'s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), the University of California (UC) Berkeley and the University of Minnesota. The model is the first computational method to provide accurate simulations of the interactions between flue gases and a special variety...

Wed, 22 Aug 12
Slowing Global Warming With Cloud Geoengineering
redOrbit: Imagine futuristic ships shooting salt water into the clouds over the world`s oceans to create clouds that reflect sunlight. Sounds like science fiction, but it could be reality before too long. An international team of researchers is taking a second look at this controversial idea to slow global warming effects and has published their concept in this month`s Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. University of Washington atmospheric physicist Rob Woods describes a possible way to...

Wed, 22 Aug 12
Wind Power in the US Expected to Peak in 2012
Environmental News Network: The U.S. Department of Energy's "2011 Wind Technologies Market Report" finds that in 2011, the United States was still one of the fastest-growing markets for wind power. Around 6.8 gigwatts (GW) of new wind power capabilities were established in 2011, up from 5.2 GW in 2010. 2011 levels, however, were still beneath the 10 GW built in 2009. With the concerns of uncertain federal policies on the way, 2012 is expected to have the wind power market reach its peak, according to the research. Put together...

Wed, 22 Aug 12
Exxon Nigeria unit says begins oil spill clean-up
Reuters: ExxonMobil's Nigeria unit said on Tuesday it was helping clean up an oil spill near its facility off the West African country's southeast coast, although the company wasn't yet sure what caused the leak. Mobil Producing Nigeria, a joint venture between ExxonMobil and the state oil firm, confirmed last week oil had been sighted near Ibeno in Akwa Ibom state but the source was unknown. Local fishing communities blame Mobil for the spill, which they say has cut off their livelihood. "Mobil...

Wed, 22 Aug 12
NASA Image Shows Low Waters of Drought-Stricken Mississippi River
Yale Environment 360: The top satellite photo, taken just south of Memphis, Tenn. on Aug. 8, reveals extensive sandbars that are newly exposed or far larger than they were in August, 2011 (bottom). In addition, numerous stretches of the river have become significantly narrowed by decreased water flow. The low water levels have allowed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to repair levees damaged by floods in 2011, which are visible as tan lines surrounding the river in these images. (NASA images)

Wed, 22 Aug 12
Georgia latest state seeking to end U.S. ethanol rule
Reuters: Georgia, the center of U.S. poultry production, is adding its voice to a string of states asking Washington to help ease pressure on corn prices by suspending rules that send a large share of the crop to produce ethanol. Ethanol fuel made from corn is blended with gasoline under a federal program meant to encourage domestic energy sources, but the rules can be waived under a formal appeal from a state. Livestock farmers complain that demand for ethanol wrongly diverts a large share of the feed...

Wed, 22 Aug 12
Shell to invest $1bn a year in China shale gas strategy
Reuters: Royal Dutch Shell plans to spend at least $1bn (£633m) a year exploiting China's potentially vast resources of shale gas, the firm's top China executive has said, in an aggressive strategy to expand in the world's biggest energy market. Shell in March secured China's first product sharing contract for shale gas, hoping that getting in early will allow it to be a big beneficiary from the sort of boom in shale that has transformed the US energy market. Asked if the firm remained committed to...

Wed, 22 Aug 12
U.S. court strikes down EPA pollution rule
Reuters: A federal court on Tuesday vacated an Environmental Protection Agency's rule that set strict limits on sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions - pollutants that cause acid rain and smog - in 28 mostly Eastern states and Texas. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit sent the rule back to the agency for revision and told it to administer its existing Clean Air Interstate Rule in the interim. The rule was designed to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by 73 percent and nitrogen oxide...

Wed, 22 Aug 12
China's mega coal power bases exacerbate water crisis
Guardian: A new Greenpeace report warns China's plan to rapidly expand large coal mines and power plants in its arid northern and western provinces threatens to drain precious water supply and could trigger a severe water crisis. The photographer Lu Guang has documented the water-intensive coal extraction, forcing deterioration of arid grassland and forcing herders to seek alternative livelihoods

Wed, 22 Aug 12
Philippines sets up climate change fund
Agence France-Presse: Residents wade through a flooded street in the town of Navotas in suburban Manila on August 2, 2012, after heavy rains and strong winds were brought about by Typhoon Saola. Philippine President Benigno Aquino has signed a law creating a one billion peso (about $24 million) "survival fund" to combat the effects of climate change, a government official said Tuesday. Philippine President Benigno Aquino has signed a law creating a one billion peso (about $24 million) "survival fund" to combat the...

Wed, 22 Aug 12
Cloud Brightening Scheme Should Be Tested Over Oceans, Scientists Say
Yale Environment 360: An international group of scientists has urged a small-scale experiment to test the viability of creating human-made clouds as a way to counter the effects of global warming. Writing in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, the scientists say there should at least be a scientific debate over the possibilities of so-called cloud brightening, a process that involves sending particles, in this case sea water, into the atmosphere to create clouds that would, theoretically, reflect...

Wed, 22 Aug 12
America Hit With Record Devastation From Wildfires
Mother Jones: The National Interagency Fire Center reports [2] that 2012 just broke the record for most acreage burned by wildfires as of this date (see chart below). The previous record was set in 2006, another mega drought year. Year-to-date statitstics for acreage bruned by wildfires, with more lands having burned in 2012 than any previous year: National Interagency Fire Center [2]Year-to-date statistics for acreage burned by wildfires: National Interagency Fire Center That's nearly 7 million acres—or...

Wed, 22 Aug 12
Raising Money for Rising Temperatures
Voice of America: The Green Climate Fund will hold its first board meeting this week (8/23-25). The eventual goal is to raise billions of dollars to help developing countries adapt to climate change. The Green Climate Fund was officially launched at the 2011 Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa. "The long delayed and long awaited first board meeting of the Green Climate Fund is taking place this week in Geneva. The timing really couldn't be more urgent. In the U.S. alone, we've all these stories about...

Wed, 22 Aug 12
Eight Ways Climate Change Is Throwing Animal Populations 'Out Of Kilter'
ThinkProgress: Well over half the country is suffering from extreme drought, and locally, pets and animals are struggling with the effects of climate change as well. Triple-digit temperatures have gripped much of the U.S. this summer, and extreme heat, which NASA`s James Hansen wrote is "almost certainly" connected to climate change, can have a serious impact on animal biodiversity, as food grows scarcer and a wide variety of habitats dry out. “The whole ecosystem is going to have to move north as the climate...

Wed, 22 Aug 12
UCSD Nobel Laureate Cites Potential Evidence Linking Extreme Weather And Global Warming
redOrbit: In the keynote address at the 244th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society in Philadelphia, Nobel Laureate Mario J. Molina stressed that the latest scientific evidence has only strengthened the link between human activity and extreme weather events and global warming. Molina has some experience in working with human-atmospheric interactions on a global scale. The University of California, San Diego professor won the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his key role in...

Wed, 22 Aug 12
UN calls on nations to adopt urgent drought policies
Guardian: The nations of the world urgently need to adopt drought-management policies, as farmers from Africa to India struggle with lack of rainfall and the United States endures the worst drought it has experienced in decades, top officials with the UN weather agency said on Tuesday. The World Meteorological Organisation says the US drought and its ripple effects on global food markets show the need for policies with more water conservation and less consumption. It is summoning ministers and other high-level...

Wed, 22 Aug 12
Tanzanian herders get free cows to cope with drought
AlertNet: As recurring drought afflicts much of East Africa's drylands, the Tanzanian government is trying to save the livelihoods of traditional herders by giving them free animals. The Cattle Replenishing Initiative aims to rebuild the stocks of herders who have lost thousands of cattle, goats, sheep and donkeys during the worst drought in the country's history, which began in 2008. Many experts believe increasingly erratic rainfall is linked to climate change. President Jakaya Kikwete asserts that,...

Wed, 22 Aug 12
How A Biofuel Dream Called Jatropha Came Crashing Down
National Public Radio: From Congress to The Colbert Report, people are talking about the Midwestern drought and debating whether it makes sense to convert the country's shrinking corn supplies into ethanol to power our cars. It's the latest installment of the long-running food vs. fuel battle. But wouldn't it be lovely if somebody came up with a biofuel that didn't take food out of people's mouths? A few years ago, some people thought they'd found it: A miracle tree called Jatropha. Unfortunately, the miracle...

Wed, 22 Aug 12
No drought-busting rains seen for crop belt
Reuters: Benign weather is expected for the next week or two in the Midwest crop region, with no serious delays of early harvest but also no significant relief to corn and soybeans from the worst drought in half a century, an agricultural meteorologist said on Tuesday. "The bottom line is there are no earth-shattering weather events in sight, it will be quiet most of the week," said John Dee, meteorologist for Global Weather Monitoring. High temperatures in the upper 80s (degrees Fahrenheit) to low...

Wed, 22 Aug 12
India: Beating the Weather With Sustainable Crops
Inter Press Service: Narrow, cobblestoned lanes separate the rows of mud houses with cool interiors and mud-smoothened patios, some with goats tethered to the wooden posts. This is Tajpura village, deep in this water-stressed, drought-prone region of northern India. An area of stark beauty marked by deep ravines in central India, Bundelkhand spans the states of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. The ruins of stone fortresses dotting the landscape betray a history of constant warfare just as the remnants of water courses...

Wed, 22 Aug 12
Environmental activism gains a foothold in China
Guardian: Li Wei, 18 (not her real name), doesn't seem like a dissident. She is more focused on her accounting studies, her friends on the social networks and chatting with her sister. Nevertheless, she took part in a demonstration last month in front of the Chinese Communist party offices that degenerated into violent clashes with police. The demonstrators gathered at dawn in Qidong, a small coastal town north of Shanghai. By noon, the local government headquarters were occupied and files were being thrown...

Wed, 22 Aug 12
Droughts cut Europe's food output, raise fire risks
EurActiv: Droughts in southern and eastern Europe are contributing to the global decline in grain production while also elevating concern about the long-term impact on freshwater supplies. The European Commission, which has declared 2012 the Year of Water, is preparing a review some of Europe's water legislation partly with climate change and extreme weather events in mind. Food security and how the EU safeguards its liquid resources are among the topics due to be discussed during World Water Week events...

Wed, 22 Aug 12
Australia: Abandoning an economics-only climate approach
Crikey: A new report from the Climate Commission paints a more optimistic scenario of global momentum toward renewable energy while suggesting a mix of carbon abatement methods and voluntary action might become the de facto path toward worldwide emissions reduction. The report, released this morning by Chief Commissioner Professor Tim Flannery, suggests Australia`s bipartisan 5% reduction target by 2020 places it neither behind nor ahead of other countries in terms of targets, despite our status as the...

Wed, 22 Aug 12
Could Australia sign up to Kyoto extension?
BusinessGreen: In a surprise move, hopes have been raised that Australia could become the first non-European industrialised country to sign up to an extension of the Kyoto Protocol, after the opposition coalition offered "in principle support" to the idea. The coalition has been fiercely critical of the Labor government's climate change policies and opposition leader Tony Abbott has enjoyed a surge in the polls after vowing to repeal Australia's recently introduced carbon tax. But in an interview with The...

Wed, 22 Aug 12
China hits back at US in clean tech trade dispute
BusinessGreen: The simmering trade war between the US and China over renewable energy policy intensified yesterday, as Chinese officials accused the US of violating World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules through its support for clean technologies. According to state news agency Xinhua, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOC) has completed an investigation that concluded six US renewable energy programmes are in breach of article three of the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures, as well as article...

Wed, 22 Aug 12
Poll sheds light on Oklahomans' climate-change beliefs
Tulsa World: Oklahomans’ attitudes and opinions on climate change can be as hard to interpret as an occluded front in March. Only 8 percent of the 495 surveyed in the latest Oklahoma Poll think human activity is solely responsible for any change in the Earth’s climate. But two-thirds think human activity may be partly responsible. More than half say the record-breaking heat of the past 18 months has not changed their minds about climate change. But more than a third say it has. One interpretation...

Wed, 22 Aug 12
Mount Rainier's avalanche lilies could teach us about climate change
Seattle Times: University of Washington researcher Elinore Theobald is studying the relationship between flowers and their pollinators on Washington's highest mountain. And what she is finding so far - avalanche lilies at higher elevation set seed at one-third the rate of lilies elsewhere on the mountain - points to troubling questions. Is it possible that the lilies are struggling because of a mismatch in their timing with their pollinators? And does that, in turn, point to trouble as the climate changes? ...

Wed, 22 Aug 12
Brazil: Independent assessment confirms drop in Amazon deforestation for 2011-2012
Mongabay: Independent analysis has confirmed a drop in deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon for the year ended July 31, 2012. The assessment, released by Brazil-based Imazon, is consistent with a sharp decline in deforestation reported by the Brazilian government earlier this month. Imazon's data shows accumulated deforestation between August 2011 and July 2012 amounting to 1,047 sq km, down 36 percent relative to the same period a year earlier. The data is from SAD, Imazon's near-real-time system for...

Wed, 22 Aug 12
Australia: Al Gore praises Australia on climate change measures
Sydney Morning Herald: The Gillard government's carbon price has already "inspired the world" to press ahead with measures to tackle climate change, former US vice-president Al Gore says. Labelling Australia one of the "canaries in the coalmine" for the effects of global warming, Mr Gore told a breakfast launch in Canberra of a new Climate Commission report there was much cause for optimism about global efforts to solve the problem. Speaking via video presentation, Mr Gore said that the Queensland floods and Black...

Wed, 22 Aug 12
Seismic study near California nuclear plant wins key approval
Reuters: A plan to fire powerful sonar devices and map seismic fault lines off California's central coast near a nuclear power plant received key approval on Monday from state officials despite concerns about its impact on marine life. The proposed $64 million seismic study was designed to help Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and its regulators gauge hazards posed by potential earthquakes near the 2,160-megawatt Diablo Canyon power plant in San Luis Obispo County, about 183 miles northwest of Los Angeles....

Wed, 22 Aug 12
Australia: Climate change action 'lies'- Flannery
Sky News: Chief climate commissioner Tim Flannery says Australians have been misled by 'lies' about global efforts to tackle climate change, but they're increasingly less fearful of Labor's pollution price. Prime Minister Julia Gillard has been attacked for breaking her promise not to introduce a carbon tax, but Professor Flannery says on the flip-side people have been repeatedly told the world isn't acting, when it is. The Climate Commission on Tuesday released a report which suggests by next year 33...

Wed, 22 Aug 12
Australia: Action on climate change speeding up: Commission
Australian Broadcasting Corporation: The Climate Commission has released its third major report, saying international efforts to tackle climate change are accelerating rapidly. The expert Commission was set up by the Federal Government last year and says its remit is to "provide all Australians with an independent and reliable source of information" about climate change, action on greenhouse gas emissions, and the carbon price. Its latest report, subtitled 'The Critical Decade' and released today, says nearly 850 million people...

Wed, 22 Aug 12
Plan panel seeks to rewrite India's climate change stance
Times of India: The Planning Commission's attempt to rewrite the international and domestic obligations of the government on climate change in the 12th five-year plan, with a push for greater commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, has miffed the environment ministry. The draft of the chapter on climate change finalized by the plan panel, accessed by TOI, also dilutes India's long-standing position that a bulk of funds for adaptation as well as emission reduction measures should come from developed countries....

Tue, 21 Aug 12
Young Conservatives Discover Climate Change
Daily Beast: As recently as 2010, major Republican leaders such as Lindsey Graham were comfortable proposing (although not passing) market-based solutions to climate change. That was largely swept away with the Tea Party, but the hints of a comeback are emerging. From National Journal, the tale of two young conservatives attempting to create safer conditions for GOP politicians to vote on climate-change issues: It’s in that atmosphere that the two cofounders of Young Conservatives for Energy Reform, Michele...

Tue, 21 Aug 12
Fire crews battle wildfires blazing across West
NBC News: As a flurry of wildfires rage across the Western United States, firefighters on Monday were trying to gain control of the 15,000-acre Ponderosa fire in Northern California that began over the weekend. Firefighters have only been able to contain five percent of the blaze, which is burning across both Tehama and Shasta counties. The fire began on Saturday after lighting strikes hit the densely forested area about 170 miles north of Sacramento, according to The Associated Press. So far, it has...

Tue, 21 Aug 12
Ocean salinity may help forecast cyclone intensity
SciDev.Net: Forecasting tropical cyclone intensity -- a key factor in the damage they cause -- could be made more accurate by monitoring ocean salinity, according to a study. The differences in salinity caused by an inflow of big rivers in tropical regions cause a layering of ocean water temperature that may reduce the intensity of cyclones passing over its surface, scientists report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) last week (13 August). Although previous studies have showed...

Tue, 21 Aug 12
Sinclair to pay $3.8 million for Wyoming refinery pollution violations
Reuters: Sinclair Oil Corp will pay $3.8 million in penalties and spend $10.5 million for pollution-control equipment at its Wyoming refineries to settle alleged violations of air pollution limits as agreed in 2008, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Monday. The violations stem from exceeding nitrogen oxide emissions limits at its 74,000 barrels-per-day (bpd) refinery in Sinclair and its 24,500 bpd plant in Evansville. The EPA also said the company failed to comply with requirements to operate...

Tue, 21 Aug 12
Balkan drought highlights years of farm neglect
Reuters: As crops wilt and die in the Balkans, farmers struck down by a particularly harsh drought this year are ruing the region's failure to upgrade irrigation networks and invest in a long-term agricultural strategy. Hot, dry weather in eastern and southern Europe has piled pressure on world grain markets already reeling from huge drought damage in the United States. The toll in Bosnia, where surface soil temperatures in the south have hit 47 degrees Celsius (116 Fahrenheit), is estimated at almost...

Tue, 21 Aug 12
Indian solar hit by climate financing
United Press International: NEW DELHI, Aug. 20 (UPI) -- The United States is using climate finance funds to kill India's solar power industry, says an Indian public interest research and advocacy group. Fast-start finance is a $30 billion fund set up under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. Adopted at the Copenhagen climate meeting in 2009, the fund is intended to help developing countries deal with the affects of climate change. "The U.S. has been very ingeniously using this fund to promote its own solar...

Tue, 21 Aug 12
US drought will lead to inflation and higher food prices, says report
Guardian: America's severest drought in half a century will push up inflation and put a fresh obstacle in the path of the struggling global economy, one of the UK's leading banks has warned. Karen Ward, senior global economist at HSBC, said sharp increases in the cost of wheat, corn and soya beans came at a time when growth was slowing but said the weakness of wage pressure meant there was no need for central banks to raise interest in response to a higher cost of living." Blistering heat in the US has...

Tue, 21 Aug 12
Shell running out of time to drill in U.S. Arctic - this year
Mongabay: The clock is running out for oil giant, Royal Dutch Shell, to drill controversial oil wells in the U.S. Arctic before the harsh winter sets in, reports the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg. While the company is still optimistic it can reach the Arctic by summer's end, it awaits a number of final permits after suffering numerous setbacks, including one of its drilling ships going adrift and nearly running aground in Alaska. If it makes it to its drilling sites, the company would have to complete...

Tue, 21 Aug 12
The Climate Change Limits of US Natural Gas
Council on Foreign Relations: The Associated Press reported last week that U.S. greenhouse gas emissions have dropped to a twenty-year low on the back of abundant natural gas. “The question,” it correctly observed, “is whether the shift is just one bright spot in a big, gloomy [climate change] picture, or a potentially larger trend.” I’ve argued repeatedly in the past that surging supplies of natural gas are good news for climate change. But there are important limits to what U.S. natural gas can do. This post is going to illustrate...

Tue, 21 Aug 12
Can natural gas really help tackle global warming? A primer.
Washington Post: This winter, the United States reached a striking milestone. Carbon-dioxide emissions from the energy sector sank to their lowest levels in 20 years. At a glance, the country appears to be making major progress in tackling climate change. And many analysts give credit to the recent flood of cheap natural gas, which is shoving aside coal as America’s top source of electricity. Yet some environmentalists have argued that the accolades for natural gas are premature. True, the shale gas boom has led...

Tue, 21 Aug 12
US emissions lowest since 1992
New Scientist: It looks like good news, but it's not. The US has recorded a sharp fall in its greenhouse gas emissions from energy use. Thanks to a rise in the use of natural gas, emissions are at their lowest since 1992. The fall will boost the natural gas industry, but in reality the emissions have simply been exported. According to the US Energy Information Agency (EIA), energy-related CO2 emissions in the first quarter of 2012 were the lowest in two decades. Emissions are normally high between January and...

Tue, 21 Aug 12
Does the world need nuclear power to solve the climate crisis?
Guardian: Shortly after the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, the celebrated Guardian journalist George Monbiot wrote one of his most widely read articles. It was entitled 'Why Fukushima made me stop worrying and love nuclear power'. Whatever you might think of his judgement, you cannot fault his sense of the dramatic, or the paradoxical. "As a result of the disaster at Fukushima, I am no longer nuclear-neutral," he announced. "I now support the technology." Monbiot is not the first environmentalist to back...

Tue, 21 Aug 12
German Shift from Nuclear Triggers an Increase in Coal Burning
Yale Environment 360: The German government’s decision to phase out all of the nation’s nuclear power plants following the 2011 Fukushima disaster has led to an increase in coal-burning within Europe’s largest economy. Coal consumption in Germany has grown by 4.9 percent since Chancellor Angela Merkel announced plans to shift away from nuclear power over the next decade, according to a Bloomberg News report. While German leaders intended the new policy to strengthen the nation’s reliance on renewable energy, Germany’s...

Tue, 21 Aug 12
U.N. fund could ease route to 2015 global climate deal
Reuters: Board members of the U.N's Green Climate Fund (GCF) must rise above politics when they meet for the first time later this week to help channel $100 billion a year towards the world's poorest nations to fight the catastrophic effects of rising temperatures, and to act as a springboard to a global climate deal in 2015. After a five-month delay board members of the U.N.'s GCF will finally take their seats on August 23 to begin thrashing out details on how the fund will operate, where it will be located...

Tue, 21 Aug 12
United States: Climate Change Pushes Butterflies North
LiveScience: Butterfly populations in Massachusetts have shifted north over the past two decades likely in response to climate change, new research shows. Species that are used to subtropical and warm climates, such as the giant swallowtail and zabulon skipper, were rare or absent in Massachusetts in the late 1980s. But now these butterflies are showing up in high numbers in the state, the Harvard study found. Meanwhile, more than three quarters of northerly species, usually found north of Boston, seem to be...

Tue, 21 Aug 12
Canada: Climate change adaptation: street surfaces that absorb water
Toronto Star: There’s a post-rain freshness at the Kortright Centre for Conservation as Glenn MacMillan tamps his boots across the still-wet pavers. MacMillan is senior manager, water and energy, for the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, and he’s based here at Kortright, the city’s bucolic testing ground for energy and conservation initiatives. The pavers in question are deemed pervious, or permeable, due to the void space that rims the hard stones, space that is filled with penetrable, pea-sized...

Tue, 21 Aug 12
Reclaiming the seed
Ecologist: Seed is the first link in the food chain. Seed sovereignty is the foundation of food sovereignty. If farmers do not have their own seed or access to open pollinated varieties that they can save, improve or exchange, then they have no seed sovereignty and consequently no food sovereignty. The deepening food crisis has its roots in changes in the seed supply system, and the erosion of seed diversity and seed sovereignty. Seed sovereignty includes the farmer's rights to save, breed and exchange seed,...

Tue, 21 Aug 12
Argentina files WTO complaint over Spanish biodiesel rules
Reuters: Argentina has filed a complaint against the European Union, the World Trade Organization said on Monday, challenging Spanish rules that the South American country argues discriminate against its biodiesel exports. The dispute comes after the EU filed a complaint against Argentina's import licensing rules, and signals a worsening of trade relations since Argentina seized control of oil company YPF, a subsidiary of Spain's Repsol, in April. By "requesting consultations" at the WTO, Argentina...

Tue, 21 Aug 12
IEA: Subsidies, climate change don't mix
United Press International: Eliminating fossil fuel subsidies could help the international community meet goals of curbing climate change, an international energy leader said from Canada. Global emissions peaked in 2011 to a level 1 gigaton short of a benchmark needed to limit the increase in the average global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius. The International Energy Agency said carbon dioxide emissions should peak at 32.6 gigatons no later than 2017 to keep warming trends in check. IEA Executive Director Maria van...

Tue, 21 Aug 12
Dry weather gives early U.S. corn and soy harvest a boost
Reuters: Dry weather will speed early harvesting of corn and soybean crops for the next week to 10 days in the southern section of the U.S. Midwest, agricultural meteorologists said Monday. Don Keeney, meteorologist for MDA EarthSat Weather, said cooler and mostly dry weather was expected this week in the Midwest crop belt. The exception would be light rain late in the week in the northwestern Midwest and showers in the southwest Plains on Monday and Tuesday. "Rather benign weather this week, and...

Tue, 21 Aug 12
Russia harvest forecasts cut as drought hits crop in east
Reuters: Two leading Russian agricultural analysts cut their forecasts for Russia's grain harvest on Monday after harvest data from two drought-stricken eastern growing regions reduced the outlook for the overall crop. SovEcon narrowed their grain forecast to 71-72.5 million metric tons (78.3- 79.9 million tons)from a previous 70-74 million tonnes after the start of harvesting campaign in Urals and Siberia regions showed weak crop prospects. It has also cut wheat harvest forecast to 39-41 million tonnes...

Tue, 21 Aug 12
China says U.S. support for clean energy violates WTO rules
Reuters: China's Commerce Ministry said on Monday the United States must cut support for six government-backed renewable energy programs or face unspecified penalties, in the latest trade dispute between the world's two largest economies. The U.S. measures supporting wind, solar and hydroelectric energy programs in several U.S. states, including Massachusetts, Ohio and New Jersey, present a barrier to Chinese exports, the ministry said in a statement on its website. The announcement, the final ruling...

Tue, 21 Aug 12
Materials worth £650m thrown in landfill or burned in the UK – survey
Press Association: At least £650m worth of valuable materials are being thrown into landfill or burned in the UK each year, despite rising costs of natural resources, campaigners and industry warned on Monday. A coalition of business groups and environmentalists said products ranging from steel, wheat and rubber to rare earth metals necessary for making goods such as mobile phones will become increasingly costly, threatening UK productivity. The coalition, which includes the manufacturers' organisation EEF and...

Tue, 21 Aug 12
Canada: The corporate cock-up that's refuelled the Canadian tar sands debate
Guardian: Let's say you want to convince an entire province that the pipeline you're planning to run through some of its most treasured natural areas is a great idea. Probably the last thing you'd want to do is suggest that you didn't know what those treasured natural areas look like. And, the chances are, if you did, you'd probably hope not many people heard about it or, say, spread it around on Facebook. Unfortunately for Enbridge, the company that hopes to run the Northern Gateway pipeline from northern...

Tue, 21 Aug 12
As climate changes, sea-level rise a coastal concern
Tasley Eastern Shore News: Inch by inch along parts of the Atlantic Coast, global climate change is running in what scientists warn is geology’s version of fast-forward -- swamping and eroding beaches, wetlands and farm fields. Shorelines from North Carolina to Boston are in a “hotspot” for sea-level rise and will see water levels rise at double the rate of most places on the planet, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The doubling is largely because of a geologic double whammy. Delaware also has the lowest average...

Tue, 21 Aug 12
United Kingdom: Solar performance database promises power boost
BusinessGreen: Businesses and households that have installed solar panels are being invited to submit data on their performance to a new free service that promises to let them know if their system has been properly optimised. The University of Sheffield is managing the online MicroGen Database, which compares solar panel performance data with weather information from the Met Office and the performance of other installations in the area to produce a "performance ratio" revealing the difference between how much...

Tue, 21 Aug 12
Eyes in the sky aim to cut down illegal logging
Reuters: In the two minutes it takes to read this story, an area the size of 60 football fields will have been clear-cut by illegal loggers globally, according to Chatham House, an independent policy institute in London. Catching the loggers and their bosses has long been a problem because of corruption, lax law enforcement and limited ability to detect the crime quickly. Satellite monitoring is changing that. Powerful eyes in the sky and cheaper and more powerful data-crunching computers mean there...

Tue, 21 Aug 12
Gauging the Impact of Warming On Asia’s Life-Giving Monsoons
Yale Environment 360: Bouncing along bad roads in a jeep through central Mongolia, with bright blue skies and high clouds overhead, we drive for miles through a treeless landscape, passing only dry grasslands dotted with cattle and white yurts. But as we head north -- myself, two U.S. scientists, and one Mongolian forestry expert -- we begin to notice Siberian pine and larch growing on the northern slopes of rolling hills, but not the southern slopes, and at some elevations, but not others. In water-scarce Mongolia, as...

Tue, 21 Aug 12
In Midst of a Drought, Trying to Keep Cargo Moving on the Mississippi
New York Times: This ship is making sure that the Big River, shrinking under one of the worst droughts in modern history, stays deep enough. The Potter is scooping this stretch of the Mississippi River’s navigation channel just south of St. Louis, the ship’s 32-foot-wide head sucking up about 60,000 cubic yards of sediment each day and depositing it via a long discharge pipe a thousand feet to the side in a violent, muddy plume that smells like muck and summer. The Army Corps of Engineers has more than a dozen...

Tue, 21 Aug 12
Pakistan women hard hit by climate change
The News International: The adverse impacts of climate change are visible among women fold of the country who are fast becoming their victims in respect of resource wars and violence. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, there is a common perception that "˜it is men who are the farmers'. Contrary to this perception, women in Pakistan produce 60-80 percent of food consumed in the house. The phenomenon of climate change in the years 1999 and 2000 clearly indicated the vulnerability when thousands...

Tue, 21 Aug 12
Chart: Forest loss in Latin America
Mongabay: Latin America lost nearly 260,000 square kilometers (100,000 square miles) of forest - an area larger than the state of Oregon - between 2001 and 2010, finds a new study that is the first to assess both net forest loss and regrowth across the Caribbean, Central and South America. The study, published in the journal Biotropica by researchers from the University of Puerto Rico and other institutions, analyzes change in vegetation cover across several biomes, including forests (dry, temperate, moist,...

Mon, 20 Aug 12
Canada: Climate change: How Toronto is adapting to our scary new reality
Toronto Star: Michael D'Andrea had no notion that August day just how wrathful the afternoon would turn, how calamitous, what an effect it would have on the city's future. It was an off-duty day for the director of Toronto's Water Infrastructure Management, who had planned a pleasant Niagara-on-the-Lake getaway with his wife in what was a hot, dry summer. "We had lunch, we walked by the lake,' D'Andrea recounts of the pretty afternoon. And then came the reckoning: "I looked toward Toronto and said, 'Oh my...

Mon, 20 Aug 12
Horses fall victim to hard times and dry times on the range
New York Times: The land is parched, the fields are withering and thousands of the nation’s horses are being left to fend for themselves on the dried range, abandoned by people who can no longer afford to feed them. They have been dropping dead in the Navajo reservation in the Southwest, where neighbors are battling neighbors and livestock for water, an inherently scant resource on tribal land. They have been found stumbling through state parks in Missouri, in backyards and along country roads in Illinois, and...

Mon, 20 Aug 12
Status of water level in Pakistan's dams 'highly critical'
The News: The status of water level in five major dams is "˜highly critical' with meteorological department indicating no dramatic improvement due to low rain forecast in the coming days, sources told "The News" here on Saturday. The sources in the Climate Change Ministry said the impact of fast changing climate situation has started showing its dire consequences and the office of the president has been informed about looming water crisis resulting in little likelihood of the country's reservoirs being...

Mon, 20 Aug 12
Oklahoma heat, drought allow deadly amoeba to thrive
Associated Press: High temperatures and an ongoing drought are having an impact on more than just crops and livestock. State health officials say they are also creating ideal conditions for the growth of a tiny, single-cell organism that lives in Oklahoma's rivers, lakes and ponds and can cause a disease that is almost always fatal. The organism, Naegleria fowleri, is being blamed for the death of a 9-year-old Bryan County boy who came down with a case of primary amoebic meningoencephalitis, or PAM, after swimming...

Mon, 20 Aug 12
What's going on with Colorado's climate?
Denver Post: Does the recent spate of devastating wildfires, sparse rain and snowfall, and record breaking high temperatures demonstrate that the Colorado climate is changing? Are natural variations the culprit, or might it be that global warming is the reason? This debate has been taking place in our country (and the world for that matter) for well over a decade, and it continues unabated today. So which is it? Let's look at some information, and then you decide. No reasonable debate exists; the global climate...

Mon, 20 Aug 12
: We can't hide from threat of rising sea
Delaware Online: No single storm, no single dry spell and no single flood makes the argument for climate change. There have always been freakish weather events. To the contrary, it is the slow accumulation of data that should alarm us. We should worry about the succession of hotter than normal summers, the growing frequency of intense and unexpected thunderstorms, and the widespread flooding that keeps sweeping over farms and through small towns throughout the country. More to the point, our concern should...

Mon, 20 Aug 12
Climate skeptics good at casting doubt
Delaware Online: As heat records tumble and weather disasters increase, aggressive skepticism has displaced outright denial among some of those unwilling to accept the idea that humans are changing the air on a global scale. Perhaps pollution is warming the planet, skeptics concede, but measurement errors, misinterpretation, solar activity or very long-term climate cycles could account for what most scientists now see as human-triggered climate change. For good measure, some brand those who believe human activity...

Mon, 20 Aug 12
Ripples in Arctic become surging waves along Mid-Atlantic
Delaware Online: Up in the Arctic – where temperatures have risen 3.5 degrees in the last 40 years – an island-size chunk of ice broke off this summer from the Petermann Glacier, one of the two largest glaciers left in Greenland. It may seem distant, but “what happens in Greenland does not stay in Greenland,” said University of Delaware researcher Andreas Muenchow. “A first Manhattan-sized section of the 2010 ice island breaking off from Petermann Glacier arrived off Newfoundland last summer where it melted....

Mon, 20 Aug 12
Green groups worry Congress will cut land conservation program amid drought
The Hill: Even as lawmakers fret this summer’s severe drought might cause another Dust Bowl, environmental groups are sounding alarms that Congress is slated to cut a program designed to prevent such a catastrophe from occurring in dry years. Both the House and the Senate aim to cut funding for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), which pays farmers to take crop land out of production and instead use that acreage to plant trees and grass. Both the House and Senate versions of the five-year farm bill would...

Mon, 20 Aug 12
Biofuel fails EU sustainability test, German researchers claim
Guardian: The growing row over biofuels is ready to flare up again with German researchers claiming to have found evidence that European-produced biodiesel does not meet the sustainability targets claimed by Brussels. Two experts at Friedrich Schiller University in Jena say eight out of their 10 tests on locally produced rapeseed biodiesel failed to show the 35% greenhouse gas savings promised. In most cases it was under 30%. The use of biofuels would be further undermined when the EU emissions target increases,...

Mon, 20 Aug 12
Weeds take root in crops, climate change, cuisine
CBS News: The dictionary definition of a weed: "A plant considered undesirable, unattractive, or troublesome, especially one growing where it is not wanted." (American Heritage Dictionary) They insult us by their very existence. They bring out the killer instinct in us. We wage chemical warfare against them, and they win. This story is about the survival of the fittest and who might that be? No doubt about it: Weeds. "This is an absolute enemy of the state; there's no question whatsoever," said Stanley Culpeper,...

Mon, 20 Aug 12
Europe Thinks Again About Food
Inter Press Service: Present day European farming is based on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which was created over six decades ago by countries emerging from severe food shortages that swept the continent during and after the Second World War. But at a time of widespread famine, lingering droughts, and looming resource wars, experts warn that the logic behind the CAP`s theory of producing huge quantities of food, using largely industrial farming methods, needs reassessment. For one thing, Europeans are...

Mon, 20 Aug 12
Climate change puts Atlantic coastline in crosshairs
News Journal: Inch by inch along parts of the Atlantic Coast, global climate change is running in what scientists warn is geology's version of fast-forward -- swamping and eroding beaches, wetlands and farm fields. Shorelines from North Carolina to Boston are in a 'hotspot' for sea-level rise and will see water levels rise at double the rate of most places on the planet, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The doubling is largely because of a geologic double whammy. The treasured lifestyle of residents...

Mon, 20 Aug 12
Climate coverage losing steam?
Desert Sun: Guess who's not talking about climate change? Besides the usual suspects, we can now add some unusual ones: most of the major media outlets in the U.S., according to a new analysis from Media Matters for America, a media watchdog website. In the face of last month's record heat wave in the U.S., Media Matters found major broadcast newscasts only mentioned climate change in 8.7 percent of their stories on the extreme temperatures. The number was 25.5 percent for major print media. The caveat...

Mon, 20 Aug 12
Climate change described in dire terms
Delmarva Daily Times: Across the mid-Atlantic and around the nation, the vocabulary of climate change has taken on the tone of a coming siege. Maryland describes its approach as "fighting climate change." New Jersey talks of resilience for those "in harm's way." Delaware considers "defenses, vulnerability, losses." All refer to adaptation and retreat, with sides bracing for battles over the rights of property owners threatened by rising water or by government action or inaction. Planners are viewing models of future...

Mon, 20 Aug 12
Climate change puts East Coast in crosshairs
USA Today: Inch by inch along parts of the Atlantic Coast, global climate change is running in what scientists warn is geology’s version of fast-forward — swamping and eroding beaches, wetlands and farm fields. Shorelines from North Carolina to Boston are in a ‘hotspot’ for sea-level rise and will see water levels rise at double the rate of most places on the planet, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The doubling is largely because of a geologic double whammy. The treasured lifestyle of residents along...

Mon, 20 Aug 12
Idaho resort town ordered to evacuate over wildfire
Reuters: Authorities on Saturday ordered the evacuation of a small mountain resort in Idaho as firefighters braced for the possibility that a wildfire that has charred 82,000 acres could reach the town of Featherville in the evening. Smoke from the Trinity Ridge Fire in the Boise National Forest blanketed roadways leading to Featherville, raising health concerns and reducing visibility, said Gary Walker, spokesman for the Elmore County Sheriff's Office. Featherville has fewer than 100 full-time residents...

Mon, 20 Aug 12
Fracking floors energy giants
Independent: BHP Billiton is about to become the next victim of the latest asset bubble to burst – US shale gas, the rock-based hydrocarbon that is released via the controversial process of fracking. A fortnight after writing $2.84bn (£1.84bn) off the value of its Fayetteville shale gas business in Arkansas, BHP is poised to reveal on Wednesday that the charge helped push down its profits by a massive 40 per cent – to $14.2bn – in the year to June 30. The FTSE 100 mining giant was forced into the writedown...

Sun, 19 Aug 12
Climate models that predict more droughts win further scientific support
Washington Post: The United States will suffer a series of severe droughts in the next two decades, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change. Moreover, global warming will play an increasingly important role in their abundance and severity, claims Aiguo Dai, the study's author. His findings bolster conclusions from climate models used by researchers around the globe that have predicted severe and widespread droughts in coming decades over many land areas. Those models had been questioned...

Sun, 19 Aug 12
Why species stay or go in response to climate change
Asian News International: In two new studies, researchers have provided a clearer picture of why some species move according to climate change, and where they go. UC Berkeley researchers found that the Ash-throated Flycatcher, a low-elevation species, shifted its range down slope in response to climate change. One study finds that changes in precipitation have been underappreciated as a factor in driving bird species out of their normal range. In the other study, the researchers found a sharp decrease in range for...

Sun, 19 Aug 12
Arctic Drilling by Shell Expected to Begin This Year
New York Times: Despite embarrassing delays and trouble with its equipment, Shell remains confident that it will get final approval from regulators and be able to begin drilling for oil in Arctic waters off the Alaskan coast this summer, the oil company’s top Alaska executive said on Friday. “We absolutely expect to drill this year,” Peter E. Slaiby, Shell’s vice president in charge of Alaskan operations, said in a telephone interview. “Our confidence continues to grow, and we are feeling good.” Mr. Slaiby said...

Sun, 19 Aug 12
Cambodia’s Hydro Plans Carry Steep Costs
Inter Press Service: The Cambodian government has committed to the construction of five dams along the Mekong River in order to meet a huge demand for electricity, but environmental groups warn that severe repercussions loom for this strategy. "While each project proposed in Cambodia comes with a different set of impacts, large dams are likely to widen the gap between the rich and the poor, increase malnourishment levels and lead to an environmentally unsustainable future," Ame Trandem, South East Asia programme...

Sun, 19 Aug 12
Hold Your Rejoicing About Those Falling CO2 Emissions
Climate Central: Remember global warming? You know, that worldwide disaster we were all so worried about way back in 2011? It wasn't an unreasonable fear, of course: the world has been pumping greenhouse gases (especially carbon dioxide, or CO2) into the atmosphere like there was no tomorrow. Greenhouse gases trap heat. Ergo, said both the theory and the evidence, global temperatures are heading upward, forcing ice to melt, sea level to rise, and extreme weather to come along more often. But all of that is so...

Sun, 19 Aug 12
Incentives slow rainforest destruction, researcher says
Phys.Org: Tropical rainforests are the biggest defense against global warming, absorbing 50 percent more carbon than other kinds of forests. Yet they are disappearing at a rate of about 11 million hectares a year. Yeon-Su Kim, a Northern Arizona University ecological economic professor, is researching how economic incentives may slow the destruction of these important carbon-storing ecosystems and decrease the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. "We have a way of helping rainforest...

Sat, 18 Aug 12
Climate change: Should I stay or should I go?
Science Codex: Two new studies by scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, provide a clearer picture of why some species move in response to climate change, and where they go. One study, published online Monday, Aug. 6, in the journal Global Change Biology, finds that changes in precipitation have been underappreciated as a factor in driving bird species out of their normal range. In the other study, published today (Wednesday, Aug. 15) in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, researchers...

Sat, 18 Aug 12
Cost-wary Forest Service tries to douse each fire
Associated Press: If lightning strikes in the New Mexico wilderness and starts a fire, the blaze would normally be little more than a blip on the radar of land managers who have earned a reputation for letting flames burn to keep forested lands from growing into a tangled mess. This season is different. Now firefighters are trekking deep into the Gila National Forest with trains of equipment-carrying horses and one overriding goal: snuffing out all fires, no matter how small or remote. The U.S. Forest Service's...

Sat, 18 Aug 12
Q&A: Water and Food Security Are Inseparable
Inter Press Service: With the U.N. ominously warning of an impending food crisis following severe droughts in farmlands in the United States, Brazil, Russia and at least two rain-deprived states in India, the world will once again turn its attention to a finite natural resource: water. The U.N`s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said last week that if the international community fails to heed the warning, the food crisis of 2008 could repeat itself, triggering worldwide shortages and raising prices for agricultural...

Sat, 18 Aug 12
Climate is Ripe for Deadly West Nile Virus Attack on Texas
Climate Central: Texas dodged one major bullet this year: the crushing drought that seared the Lone Star State in 2011 shifted its sights northward in 2012, frying the nation's agricultural midland but leaving Texas at least a little wetter than it was last summer. But that little bit of extra moisture has put Texas in the crosshairs of another climate-related disaster. A major outbreak this month of West Nile virus -- the worst since the brain infection first reached America in 1999 -- has infected some 200 people...

Sat, 18 Aug 12
A 20-Year Low in U.S. Carbon Emissions
New York Times: In the first three months of this year, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions were lower than in any first quarter in 20 years. Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in the United States from January through March were the lowest of any recorded for the first quarter of the year since 1992, the federal Energy Information Administration reports. The agency attributed the decline to a combination of three factors: a mild winter, reduced demand for gasoline and, most significantly, a drop in...

Sat, 18 Aug 12
Rare wildfires threaten Canadian polar bear habitat
Reuters: Wildfires sparked by lightning near Canada's Hudson Bay are threatening the habitat of polar bears, encroaching on the old tree roots and frozen soil where females make their dens, a conservation expert on the big, white bears said on Thursday. Polar bears are more typically threatened by the melting of sea ice, which they use as platforms for hunting seals, their main prey. But those who live near Hudson Bay spend their summers resting up on shore when the bay thaws, living in dens dug in the...

Sat, 18 Aug 12
Australia's fish react to climate change
United Press International: Australia's fish populations are moving southward because the waters around Australia are becoming warmer, a new report says. The "2012 Marine Climate Change in Australia Report Card" from Australia's national science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, shows that climate change is having significant effects on Australia's marine ecosystems. "Although there are some concerning findings in the 2012 report card, the information we've compiled is helping to...

Sat, 18 Aug 12
Canada: Is Toronto ready for climate change?
Toronto Star: "Imagine a 43- or 44-degree day, which we have repeatedly had this summer with the humidex, and then with a severe thunderstorm,' muses Franz Hartmann, executive director of the Toronto Environmental Alliance. "Imagine the electricity system goes down and we get severe flooding,' he continues. Imagine collapsed culverts, backed up basement drains, sewage bubbling up in toilets, high winds, hail, highway sinkholes, toppled trees, maybe a twister. Imagine people are trapped in their sweltering...

Sat, 18 Aug 12
A urine based 'potion' can act as a CO2 absorbent
ScienceDaily: Absorbing the large quantities of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases present in cities would require millions of tonnes of some naturally occurring substance. A study published in the Journal of Hazardous Materials suggests urine as a reactive. As a resource available across all human societies, it is produced in large quantities and is close to the pollution hubs of large cities. "For every molecule of urea in urine, one mole (a chemical unit used to measure the quantity of a substance)...

Sat, 18 Aug 12
U.S. court upholds higher blend of ethanol in gasoline
Reuters: A U.S. appeals court upheld government approval for a higher blend of corn ethanol into gasoline on Friday in a ruling that may help the biofuels industry in the longer term but have little immediate impact on sales. In a 2-1 ruling, the court said foodmakers, automakers and oil refiners failed to show they were harmed by approval of a 15 percent blend of ethanol, up from the usual 10 percent. Foodmakers said the approved blend could mean higher corn prices and automakers said they might be sued...

Sat, 18 Aug 12
First Chinese ship crosses Arctic Ocean amid record melt
Reuters: An icebreaker has become the first ship from China to cross the Arctic Ocean, underscoring Beijing's growing interest in a remote region where a record thaw caused by climate change may open new trade routes. The voyage highlights how China, the world's no.2 economy, is extending its reach to the Arctic which is rich in oil and gas and is a potential commercial shipping route between the north Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The icebreaker Xuelong, or Snow Dragon, arrived in Iceland this week...

Sat, 18 Aug 12
Solar Toilet Disinfects Waste, Makes Hydrogen Fuel
National Public Radio: The Reinvent the Toilet Challenge asked engineers to dream up a replacement for the antiquated flush toilet. Michael Hoffmann and his team at Caltech responded with a solar-powered toilet that disinfects waste and reuses wastewater to flush. Better yet, it pumps out hydrogen gas for use in fuel cells.

Sat, 18 Aug 12
Drought, Climate Change Ended Egypt's Pyramid-Building Era
Laboratory Equipment: Ancient pollen and charcoal preserved in deeply buried sediments in Egypt's Nile Delta document the region's ancient droughts and fires, including a huge drought 4,200 years ago associated with the demise of Egypt's Old Kingdom, the era known as the pyramid-building time. "Humans have a long history of having to deal with climate change," says Christopher Bernhardt, a researcher with the U.S. Geological Survey. "Along with other research, this study geologically reveals that the evolution of societies...

Sat, 18 Aug 12
United Kingdom: Government officials accused of 'schmooze-athon' with Shell
Guardian: Senior Whitehall officials from 10 government departments and agencies attended exclusive "training courses" laid on by Shell over two days at its London headquarters, according to documents released by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) following a freedom of information request. The documents show that in June this year and last, "30-40 mid- to senior-level civil servants" attended the two-day "Shell energy course for Whitehall", laid on at the energy giant's expense at its UK...

Sat, 18 Aug 12
New England Aquarium will lead $5.5 million climate change effort
Boston Herald: The National Science Foundation is giving The New England Aquarium and a consortium of other institutions $5.5 million to better communicate the science of climate change in the ocean. Called the National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation, the money will be used to research strategies to better explain the complex processes of global warming and then have staff at aquariums and zoos use those techniques. More than 60 percent of the public each year visits a zoo or aquarium or...

Sat, 18 Aug 12
Is spraying for West Nile virus safe?
NBC News: Texas state health officials, alarmed by the worst outbreak of West Nile virus since the infection first hit the United States in 1999, started spraying insecticide from airplanes Thursday night. Years of research show the poisons being used in the spray are safe for humans -- and certainly safer than the virus, health officials said. But blogs and social media lit up with concerned comments from people afraid the insecticide might hurt them, their children or other creatures in the environment....

Sat, 18 Aug 12
Texas will spray for West Nile virus despite fears of insecticide risks
Guardian: Aerial spraying to combat the West Nile virus will continue tonight across north Texas despite the concerns of residents worried about potential health risks posed by the insecticide. Dallas is the center of the worst West Nile outbreak in the US this year, which prompted local officials to declare a state of emergency on Wednesday and dispatch two airplanes to spray the city and surrounding areas last night. The planes left Dallas' Executive Airport as planned at 10pm last night but were only...

Sat, 18 Aug 12
Record Heat, Drought Pose Problems for U.S. Electric Power
National Geographic: Record heat and drought conditions across the United States this summer have plagued power plants that require cool water to produce electricity. From Connecticut to California, high water temperatures and diminished access to water caused by drought have forced a number of power plants to ramp down production or acquire waivers to operate with cooling water above regulated temperatures. At least one plant has suspended operations. Many nuclear plants have struggled this summer with cooling...

Sat, 18 Aug 12
Triage System for Plant Species Devised Based on Geographic Range
Yale Environment 360: With an increasing number of plant species worldwide facing growing threats, from climate change to invasive species, a team of U.S. scientists has developed a process to more rapidly evaluate those plants facing the greatest risks of extinction. Writing in the journal Biodiversity and Conservation, the scientists from the New York Botanical Garden describe a triage method to identify at-risk species based on data from plant research collections and geographic information systems (GIS) technology....

Sat, 18 Aug 12
EU forces marine fuel dilemma for ships, refiners
Reuters: A European crackdown on pollution from ships will require billions of dollars worth of investment by shipping firms on filter technology and by refineries on upgrades to produce cleaner fuels - burdens they can ill afford. The shipping industry is already struggling due to poor global demand and overcapacity, which have pushed freight rates to unprofitable levels for many operators. European refineries are under pressure from high crude costs, cheap refined product imports and weak demand. To...

Sat, 18 Aug 12
Lessons from Manila floods on climate change, responses
Bay Area Indymedia: As the Philippine government dithered and made excuses for its grossly inadequate response to the catastrophic floods -- which inundated 80% of the country's capital, Manila -- Sonny Melencio was leading a grassroots relief effort that brought the first food supplies in days to some of the poorest and most badly affected communities. Together with other activists from the Party of the Labouring Masses (PLM), Melencio went to urban poor communities along the flood-breached Marikina River with supplies...

Sat, 18 Aug 12
CO2 emissions in US drop to 20-year low; some experts optimistic on global warming
Associated Press: In a surprising turnaround, the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere in the U.S. has fallen dramatically to its lowest level in 20 years, and government officials say the biggest reason is that cheap and plentiful natural gas has led many power plant operators to switch from dirtier-burning coal. Many of the world’s leading climate scientists didn’t see the drop coming, in large part because it happened as a result of market forces rather than direct government action against...

Sat, 18 Aug 12
Lack of Warning on Drought Reflects Forecasting Flaws
Climate Central: In May, the U.S. Agriculture Department predicted a record corn yield after farmers planted the largest area of corn and soybeans since 1937. Three months later, after a searing drought engulfed a wide swath of the continental U.S., those crops lie in ruin. Despite all of the resources at forecasters' disposal, the worst drought to strike the U.S. in nearly 50 years came on largely without warning across the fields of the Midwest and High Plains during late spring and early summer. Between May 1...

Sat, 18 Aug 12
TransCanada Begins Construction of Southern Leg of Keystone Pipeline
Yale Environment 360: The Canadian company, TransCanada, has begun construction on the U.S. leg of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, installing segments in east Texas even as the fate of the pipeline’s northern leg remains in question. Company officials confirmed that work began Aug. 9 on the section of the pipeline that will run from Oklahoma to Texas, just weeks after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved the final construction permit. TransCanada, which ultimately hopes to build a pipeline to carry tar sands...

Sat, 18 Aug 12
Carbon emissions dropped to a 20-year low
Washington Post: U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide dropped to a 20-year low in July. “In a surprising turnaround, the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere in the U.S. has fallen dramatically to its lowest level in 20 years, and government officials say the biggest reason is that cheap and plentiful natural gas has led many power plant operators to switch from dirtier-burning coal. Many of the world’s leading climate scientists didn’t see the drop coming, in large part because it happened as...

Sat, 18 Aug 12
Rains come too late to revive drought-stricken U.S. crops
Reuters: Dry weather will return to the drought-stricken U.S. Midwest crop region, with corn and soybeans ending their growing season on a negative note after this week's rains proved to be too little too late, an agricultural meteorologist said Friday. "There were some decent rains in central Illinois and west central Indiana yesterday, but it's too late for corn and too late for most of the bean crop," said Don Keeney, meteorologist for MDA EarthSat Weather. The worst drought in more than 50 years...

Sat, 18 Aug 12
United Kingdom: Full report published on Cumbria nuclear waste burial and local involvement
Guardian: The complicated and contentious issue of burying nuclear waste in Cumbria is heading for a milestone on 11 October when the three local councils which have expressed an interest meet to debate further involvement. A useful waymarker has now been published in full, based on the views of some 2,300 people and organisations whose submissions, while often very different and sometimes in direct conflict, have led to changes and hesitations, albeit not altering the general approach of cautiously making...

Sat, 18 Aug 12
South-east braced for summer heat while rest of country fears floods
Guardian: The hottest days of the year are forecast for London and the south-east this weekend, with temperatures up to 30C on Saturday and Sunday, even higher in places like central London, while the rest of the country squelches through warnings of torrential rain and possible flooding. The hottest day so far, in what has mostly been a miserable summer, was 30.7C, recorded on 30 July at St James's Park in London. The Met Office believes that could be beaten with temperatures possibly rising to 32C as...

Sat, 18 Aug 12
US offshore wind farm cleared for take-off as aviation authorities grant approval
BusinessGreen: America's first offshore wind farm, the proposed 130-turbine Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound, has this week received crucial planning approval, paving the way for construction at the site to begin next year. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a "Determination of No Hazard", confirming that it has ruled that the project presents no danger to air traffic and can proceed. The ruling, which represents the fourth time the FAA has ruled in favour of the project following numerous...

Sat, 18 Aug 12
Coal and Corruption: The Battle for Gerze
Ecologist: After years of protest, plans by the Anadolu Group to build a coal power plant in the seaside town of Gerze are awaiting the go-ahead from the Turkish government. But protest group YEGEP are not giving up without a fight At three o'clock in the afternoon, the protesters finally got a break. The police had completely run out of pepper spray, having already thrown everything they had at the townspeople since the standoff first began at 8:30 that morning. Tears lined the faces of those who had been...

Sat, 18 Aug 12
US drought could spur civil unrest around the world
New Scientist: As prices rise, tempers fray. The US drought has pushed up global food prices and is likely to continue to do so. Some say riots and unrest may follow. According to the Climate Prediction Center, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, El Niño conditions are likely to develop over the Pacific in August or September, which should affect global weather before the end of the year. This may drive food prices up further if it causes floods or further drought. US farms are already...

Sat, 18 Aug 12
Japan: Butterfly Mutations Found Near Damaged Nuclear Plant
Associated Press: Radiation that leaked from the Fukushima nuclear plant after last year’s earthquake and tsunami caused mutations in some butterflies, including dented eyes and stunted wings, though humans seem relatively unaffected, researchers say. The mutations are the first evidence that the radiation has caused genetic changes in living organisms. They are likely to add to concerns about potential health risks among humans though there is no evidence of it yet. Scientists say more study is needed to link human...

Sat, 18 Aug 12
Drought May Be Leveling Off or Easing, Report Says
New York Times: The worst drought in the United States in decades may be leveling off or even be easing slightly in some places, federal weather forecasters said Thursday in a report of little comfort to farmers and ranchers who already have begun tallying this year’s losses. While the latest forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center calls for the drought to linger in the nation’s breadbasket and parts of some mountain states at least through November, it said...

Sat, 18 Aug 12
U.S. Reliance on Saudi Oil Is Growing Again
New York Times: The United States is increasing its dependence on oil from Saudi Arabia, raising its imports from the kingdom by more than 20 percent this year, even as fears of military conflict in the tinderbox Persian Gulf region grow. The increase in Saudi oil exports to the United States began slowly last summer and has picked up pace this year. Until then, the United States had decreased its dependence on foreign oil and from the Gulf in particular. This reversal is driven in part by the battle over Iran’s...

Sat, 18 Aug 12
Ethanol Quota Debated by Corn Farmers and Meat Industry
New York Times: Three big intertwined but rival agribusinesses — corn farmers, meat and poultry producers, and biofuel refineries — are in a political fight to protect their interests as a drought ravages corn producers and industrial consumers alike. At issue is whether to suspend a five-year-old federal mandate requiring more ethanol in gasoline each year, a policy that has diverted almost half of the domestic corn supply from animal feedlots to ethanol refineries, driven up corn prices and plantings and created...

Sat, 18 Aug 12
Australia: Climate change is 'driving fish south'
AAP: CSIRO researchers say there is striking evidence of tropical species moving south as Australia's marine ecosystems feel the heat of climate change. Tropical fish are moving south as Australia's marine ecosystems begin to feel the heat of climate change, a study has found. CSIRO researchers say there is striking evidence of tropical species moving south as sea temperatures rise quickly. The scientists say large numbers of marine animals and plants are already dying off or migrating. The...

Sat, 18 Aug 12
Wildfires menace towns in Idaho, California
Reuters: A wildfire roaring through mountainous terrain in Idaho's Boise National Forest headed toward a resort town on Thursday, as voluntary evacuations began and firefighters scrambled to make a last stand against the advancing flames. The Idaho blaze, sparked by a utility vehicle that caught fire, has charred nearly 70,000 acres of sagebrush and woodlands east of Boise over the past six days, burning a rental cabin and six non-residential structures, authorities said. The fire is one of dozens burning...

Sat, 18 Aug 12
US carbon emissions drop to 20-year low
News.com.au: THE amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere in the US has fallen to its lowest level in 20 years as power plant operators switch from coal to natural gas. Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University, said on Thursday the shift away from coal was reason for "cautious optimism" about potential ways to deal with climate change. "There's a very clear lesson here. What it shows is that if you make a cleaner energy source cheaper, you will...

Sat, 18 Aug 12
Climate change driving Australian fish south
Agence France-Presse: Australian scientists said Friday there was now "striking evidence" of extensive southward migration of tropical fish and declines in other species due to climate change, in a major ocean report card. Compiled by more than 80 of Australia's leading marine experts for the government science body CSIRO, the snapshot of global warming's effects on the island continent's oceans warned of "significant impacts". "Climate change is already happening; widespread physical changes include rapid warming...

Sat, 18 Aug 12
Belo Monte dam construction halted by Brazilian court
BusinessGreen: Opponents of the world's biggest new hydroelectric project - the Belo Monte dam in Brazil - notched up a rare victory this week, when a federal appeals court ordered construction to be suspended until indigenous groups are properly consulted about the project. The judgment on Tuesday may prove only a temporary reprieve but it is seen as a scathing verdict on the government's efforts to rush forward with the Xingu River project in the Amazon, which - despite controversy - is one of the pillars...

Sat, 18 Aug 12
In U.S. surprise, CO2 levels hit 20-year low
USA Today: Mainly because power plants have switched from coal to natural gas, climate-changing carbon dioxide emissions hit an unexpected 20-year low earlier this year, the Associated Press reports. AP cites a "little-noticed technical report" released earlier this month by the U.S. Energy Department. It stated that CO2 emissions from January through April hit 1992 levels, a "surprising turnaround," AP writes. AP says it contacted environmental experts, scientists and utility companies "and learned that...

Fri, 17 Aug 12
Climate change sees tropical fish arrive in Tasmania
Australian Broadcasting Corporation: The CSIRO is warning climate change is having a big impact on the country's oceans, with tropical fish turning up as far south as Tasmania. A major report on oceans and climate change, to be released today, says the damage under the sea is much clearer than when it released its last report on the subject three years ago. As well as causing a southern migration, climate change is causing a decline in some temperate fish stocks and ocean acidification is beginning to affect shellfish. The...

Fri, 17 Aug 12
Greenland suffers record melt
Mongabay: Four weeks before Greenland's melting season usually ends, it has already blown past all previous records. By August 8th, nearly a month before cooler weather usually sets in around the world's largest island, the island toppled the past record set in 2010. "With more yet to come in August, this year's overall melting will fall way above the old records. That's a goliath year-the greatest melt since satellite recording began in 1979," said Earth and atmospheric scientist Marco Tedesco in a press...

Fri, 17 Aug 12
Top executives say no thanks to U.S. cleantech jobs
Reuters: U.S. solar and biofuel companies are struggling to find new top executives after a string of departures over the past year, demonstrating a lack of faith among executives that the sector can recover from a supply glut that has hammered share prices. Almost all the top U.S.-listed solar companies, including First Solar Inc, SunPower Corp, Canadian Solar Inc and JA Solar Holdings Co, have seen either their CEO or CFO leave over the past year. The turnover has coincided with a rapid decline in...

Fri, 17 Aug 12
When This Oil Spills, It's 'A Whole New Monster'
National Public Radio: Sometime in the next few months, David Daniel probably will have to stand by and watch as bulldozers knock down his thick forest and dig up the streams he loves. His East Texas property is one of more than 1,000 in the path of a new pipeline, the southern stretch of what is known as the Keystone XL system. For years, Daniel has tried to avoid this fate - or at least figure out what risks will come with it. But it has been difficult for him to get straight answers about the tar sands oil the...

Fri, 17 Aug 12
Germany delays windfarm over threat to porpoises
Guardian: Germany's plan to wean itself off nuclear power has suffered a submarine setback. Utility companies have had to delay construction of a 25,000 megawatt windfarm off the coast because of fears the noise may kill thousands of porpoises. E.ON and RWE are spending millions on developing technology to reduce the noise caused by driving turbines into the seabed after environmental groups warned of the threat to porpoises' hearing. "A porpoise is doomed to die if its hearing is shattered," Kim Detloff,...

Fri, 17 Aug 12
Drought May Ease in Coming Weeks; Too Late for Crops
Climate Central: The epic drought that has gripped large parts of the U.S. for much of the summer, and which now ranks as the nation's fifth worst on record, should ease some in parts of the country in the coming weeks, according to an outlook on Thursday from the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) of the National Weather Service. The dryness has been so intense in the nation's heartland, however, that for a broad swath of the country -- covering all or part from Missouri west to California and from Texas north to Montana...

Fri, 17 Aug 12
Experts warn of long-term climate change impacts on food
The Hill: Experts working on a food security report for the United Nations warn climate change will cause disruptions to global food supplies beyond the U.S. drought this year, according to Reuters. The researchers note in a forthcoming chapter for the U.N.’s 2014 report on global warming that heat waves and massive downpours will become more common if nations fail to address climate change. That will make food supplies more unpredictable, which could cause volatile prices. "It has not been properly...

Fri, 17 Aug 12
Palm oil need not come at expense of the environment
Mongabay: Palm oil production need not come at the expense of the environment, says Greenpeace in a new campaign that highlights a smallholder approach used by a community in Riau Province on the island of Sumatra. The campaign - noted in July on Mongabay-Indonesia - looks at the village of Dosan, which manages an oil palm plantation and has committed to not expanding into forest areas. According to Greenpeace, the Dosan community is "moving to improved environmental management practices that include zero...

Fri, 17 Aug 12
CO2 emissions in US drop to 20-year low
Associated Press: In a surprising turnaround, the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere in the U.S. has fallen dramatically to its lowest level in 20 years, and government officials say the biggest reason is that cheap and plentiful natural gas has led many power plant operators to switch from dirtier-burning coal. Many of the world's leading climate scientists didn't see the drop coming, in large part because it happened as a result of market forces rather than direct government action against...

Fri, 17 Aug 12
Large Utah Tar Sands Mine a Threat to Region’s Water Supplies, Groups Say
Yale Environment 360: Two environmental organizations are fighting a Canadian company’s plan to mine a massive reserve of oil sands in eastern Utah, saying the project would tax water supplies in what is already the U.S.’s second-driest state. In what would be the U.S.'s first large-scale oil sands mining operation, Calgary-based U.S. Oil Sands Inc. has already excavated a two-acre test mine at site called PR Spring and ultimately hopes to establish a sprawling, 6,000-acre mine as early as 2014. According to the Utah...

Fri, 17 Aug 12
National Science Foundation gives $5.8M for Maryland, Delaware climate change education
Associated Press: Teachers in Maryland and Delaware are getting help in teaching about climate change The National Science Foundation announced Thursday that it's giving $5.8 million to a partnership on climate change education led by the University of Maryland and the University of Delaware. The project is one of six such programs being funded by the foundation. Dr. Donald Boesch, president of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and director of the new partnership, says the program will...

Fri, 17 Aug 12
Temperature rise 'slows economy in poor countries'
SciDev.Net: Small increases in temperature may have reduced the industrial and agricultural production of poor countries, according to a study by US economists. Higher temperatures may also have contributed to political instability in these countries -- defined as those with below-median per capita income, adjusted for the purchasing power of the country's currency -- according to the study published in the American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics last month. In contrast, rich countries have so far shown no...

Fri, 17 Aug 12
Midwest farmland values rise just one percent due to drought
Reuters: The price of prime farmland in the drought-hit U.S. Midwest grain belt rose 1 percent in the second quarter, the smallest quarterly increase in two years, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago said on Thursday. But while the district's worst drought in nearly a quarter century will dramatically shrink soybean and corn output, land values this quarter were not expected to fall, the Fed said in its quarterly survey of 205 bankers in the district. The Chicago Fed district includes the heart of the...

Fri, 17 Aug 12
Light rains give some relief to drought-stricken U.S. corn, soy
Reuters: After weeks of relentless heat stress from the worst U.S. drought in more than half a century, deteriorating corn and soybean crops were getting some relief by light rains this week, an agricultural meteorologist said Thursday. But the shift in weather came too late to help much of the corn crop which had been planted early and bore the brunt of high heat and drought this summer. Some late-planted soybeans may benefit from the turn to cooler and damper weather. "A cool front is moving through...

Fri, 17 Aug 12
Food Activists See Portents of New and Deeper Hunger Crisis
Inter Press Service: Food rights activists from around the world will descend on the coastal U.S. state of Florida next week to protest homelessness and hunger facing millions of people in the United States and across the globe. The Aug. 20-26 protests in Tampa were organised to draw attention to the Republican Party's aggressive stance on tax cuts for the rich and reductions in the social safety net for poor and working families. The Republicans hold their national convention in Tampa on Aug. 17 to formally anoint...

Fri, 17 Aug 12
Texas plans insecticide canvass as West Nile Virus deaths reach 16
Guardian: Aerial spraying of insecticide is set to begin over Dallas on Thursday night as the city battles the worst outbreak of the West Nile virus in the US this year. Mayor Mike Rawlings has declared a state of emergency and announced the first aerial spraying in the city and its suburbs since 1966 in response to the growing number of victims of the virus, which spreads to humans via mosquito bites and is reaching epidemic proportions in north Texas. "Right now, Texas has half the West Nile cases...

Fri, 17 Aug 12
In Fuel Cells, Some Hope for Urban Sanitation
New York Times: As more and more people around the world flock to cities, urban areas in developing nations are struggling to keep up with the human influx and the waste that people produce. In 2010 roughly 2.5 billion people lacked basic sanitation, according to the World Health Organization. Energy Environ. Sci., 2012Microbes on the anodes (shown in green) break down the organic material in wastewater, producing carbon dioxide, protons and electrons. A team of engineers has developed a tool that may prove...

Fri, 17 Aug 12
Experts mull global system to monitor water resources
AlertNet: A global system to monitor management of water resources would help governments secure food and water supplies for the future, a U.N. expert due to attend the World Water Week conference later this month has told AlertNet. "There's demand for a global reporting mechanism that will help us see what is the status of water security and how water is used around the world as a resource, whether in agriculture, industrial production or any other way," said Joakim Harlin, senior water resources advisor...

Fri, 17 Aug 12
Landslide deaths much higher than thought: study
Reuters: Landslides killed more than 32,000 people across the world from 2004 to 2010 - up to 10 times more than previously thought, the first detailed study of the disasters showed on Thursday. The new data on the scale of the problem should force governments to rethink how they dealt with the slides which have left a trail of destruction from China to Central and South America, researchers said. "Landslides are a global hazard requiring a major change in perception and policy," said David Petley,...

Fri, 17 Aug 12
Drought slashes EU maize crop, adds to global squeeze: analyst
Reuters: Hot, dry weather in eastern and southern European Union countries has severely hit prospects for this year's EU maize harvest, adding pressure to a world market already reeling from huge drought damage in the United States, a grain analyst said. French-based Strategie Grains also said that even an improved outlook for the EU's wheat harvest would provide little relief to grain supply as this would be swallowed up by export demand and a shift in livestock feed away from scarce maize. Grain markets...

Fri, 17 Aug 12
Climate change poses risks to food, beyond US drought
Reuters: Downpours and heatwaves caused by climate change could disrupt food supplies from the fields to the supermarkets, raising the risk of more price spikes such as this year's leap triggered by drought in the United States. Food security experts working on a chapter in a U.N. overview of global warming due in 2014 said governments should take more account of how extremes of heat, droughts or floods could affect food supplies from seeds to consumers' plates. "It has not been properly recognised...

Fri, 17 Aug 12
Some like it hot: Tropical species 'not as vulnerable' to climate change extinction
Phys.Org: In the face of a changing climate many species must adapt or perish. Ecologists studying evolutionary responses to climate change forecast that cold-blooded tropical species are not as vulnerable to extinction as previously thought. The study, published in the British Ecological Society's Functional Ecology, considers how fast species can evolve and adapt to compensate for a rise in temperature. The research, carried out at the University of Zurich, was led by Dr Richard Walters, now at Reading...

Fri, 17 Aug 12
Singapore issues national climate change strategy
National Geographic: “Our vision for Singapore is a climate resilient global city that is well positioned for green growth...We need a whole-of-nation effort – involving the people, the private and the public sectors to realize our vision.” - Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean Singapore, the newest addition to the global C40 network, has recently published its national climate change strategy, “Climate Change & Singapore: Challenges. Opportunities. Partnerships.” The comprehensive document reflects the key elements...

Fri, 17 Aug 12
India's water reservoirs at 51 percent of capacity: government
Reuters: Water levels in India's main reservoirs were at 51 percent of capacity in the week to August 16, down 12 percentage points from a year ago, reflecting this year's weak monsoon, government data showed on Thursday. The latest level was equal to the 10-year average for the week. It was 9 percentage points higher than the previous week, reflecting improvement in the monsoon since the last week of July. Reservoirs are primarily they important for hydropower, which accounts for a quarter of India's...

Fri, 17 Aug 12
Challenges facing the future of Antarctica
Environmental News Network: A century ago, Antarctica was one of Earth's last frontiers, but now the continent is under threat from human activity. An international team of experts, including scientists from British Antarctic Survey (BAS), has set out the current and future conservation challenges facing the Antarctic in a Policy Forum article published this week in the journal Science. The team analysed the effectiveness of the existing Antarctic Treaty System for protecting the region from the threats of climate change...

Fri, 17 Aug 12
Australia: Coalition supports sequel to Kyoto protocol
Sydney Morning Herald: THE Coalition has declared its support for Australia's involvement in a second round of the Kyoto protocol climate pact - a pledge that goes even further than the Gillard government's present stance. Despite past resistance to Kyoto under John Howard, the Coalition's climate action spokesman, Greg Hunt, has given ''in principle support'' to Australia's involvement in a second round of the Kyoto deal, after the first round expires in December. His remarks came as new polling showed strong voter...

Fri, 17 Aug 12
Global warming causes more extreme shifts of the Southern Hemisphere's largest rain band, study sugges
ScienceDaily: The changes will result from the South Pacific rain band responding to greenhouse warming. The South Pacific rain band is largest and most persistent of the Southern Hemisphere spanning the Pacific from south of the Equator, south-eastward to French Polynesia. Occasionally, the rain band moves northwards towards the Equator by 1000 kilometres, inducing extreme climate events. The international study, led by CSIRO oceanographer Dr Wenju Cai, focuses on how the frequency of such movement may...

Fri, 17 Aug 12
Australia's opposition backs Kyoto 2
Reuters: Australia's opposition Liberal party climate spokesman Greg Hunt on Thursday gave his "in principle" backing to signing up for a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, making it easier for the under-fire government to sign the U.N. climate treaty. Hunt told The Age newspaper that the opposition coalition's intention is to join a new Kyoto period, although a final decision would depend on the exact terms. "What the world really needs is to bring China and India and Indonesia on board,...

Fri, 17 Aug 12
Belo Monte dam construction halted by Brazilian court
Guardian: Opponents of the world's biggest new hydroelectric project - the Belo Monte dam in Brazil - notched up a rare victory this week, when a federal appeals court ordered construction to be suspended until indigenous groups are properly consulted about the project. The judgment on Tuesday may prove only a temporary reprieve but it is seen as a scathing verdict on the government's efforts to rush forward with the Xingu River project in the Amazon, which - despite controversy - is one of the pillars...

Fri, 17 Aug 12
Birds struggling after poor British summer
Press Association: The cold, wet start to the summer appears to have hit chicks of birds species such as blackbirds, song thrushes and robins, according to the results of a national bird survey. The RSPB said the cold, wet weather in the early part of the breeding season could be to blame, as it made it harder for adult birds to find enough food for their chicks. With the adults spending longer away from the nest searching for food, the chicks may also have been more exposed to the chilly, wet conditions, in...

Fri, 17 Aug 12
Has Fukushima radiation created mutant butterflies?
Mother Jones: Last March, the 9.0 magnitude Tohoku earthquake triggered a tsunami that sent over 45-foot waves of water crashing down on the reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant, causing the largest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986. While health officials scrambled to quickly stabilize the situation, it was unclear how much radiation had made it out of the plant--and how it could affect people, plants, and animals who came into contact with it. Preliminary studies concluded that most...

Fri, 17 Aug 12
Climate change forces South Pacific rain band movement
Examiner: CSIRO oceanographer Dr. Wenju Cai led an international group of researchers in the first definition of the impact of greenhouse gases and resultant climate change on weather patterns produced by the South Pacific rain band. The research was reported in the journal Nature and reviewed at the Eureka Alert web site on August 16, 2012. Cai and colleagues predict more extreme floods and droughts in South Pacific countries as climate change produces more frequent and more severe fluctuations in the...

Fri, 17 Aug 12
Rules Lacking for Geoengineering Projects for Global Warming
LiveScience: What if someone wanted to deploy a massive project to try to reverse climate change today? Perhaps some researchers wanted to spray sulfur particles into the stratosphere to reflect away some of the sun's energy, cooling the Earth in an attempt to compensate for global warming. Or perhaps a group wanted to unload some fertilizer into the ocean, so more algae will grow and absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Their actions may have global consequences, but would such projects have to answer...

Fri, 17 Aug 12
Data mixed on radiation from Japan nuke leaks
Associated Press: Researchers say radiation from the leaking Fukushima nuclear plant following last year's tsunami caused mutations in some butterflies and damaged the local environment though humans seem relatively unaffected. Many Japanese, especially those who lived close to the Fukushima Dai-Ichi power plant, are concerned over the potential health risks from radiation emitted due to catastrophic meltdowns in three reactors after it was damaged by the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011....

Fri, 17 Aug 12
Climate change is real, Canadians say, but they can't agree on the cause
National Post: Canadians are far from a consensus on what causes climate change, a new public opinion poll shows. Almost every Canadian surveyed in the online Insightrix Research poll said they believe climate change is happening, but a clear rift emerged on the more specific, and politically important, question of whether humans or natural factors, or some combination, is the catalyst. According to the survey of 1,550 people released Wednesday, 32% of Canadians think climate change is occurring because of...

Fri, 17 Aug 12
Should Candidates Discuss Global Warming?
New York Times: A vast majority of Americans polled say they believe that the United States should make an effort to reduce global warming. But they differ on how the potential economic costs should dictate the country`s response. Ever since comprehensive legislation to reduce greenhouse gases died in Congress two years ago, my colleague John Broder noted here recently, climate change has been the issue that national politicians seem to avoid at all costs. Supporting renewable energy? Fine. Advocating energy...

Thu, 16 Aug 12
Bill Gates lifts lid on solar-powered toilet with $6.5m funding
BusinessGreen: People living in the developing world could soon be flushing solar-powered toilets capable of creating hydrogen and electricity from that most renewable of sources -- poo. Microsoft founder and philanthropist, Bill Gates, yesterday awarded a total of $240,000 (£153,000) in prize money to universities which produced the most impressive concepts for his "Reinventing the Toilet" challenge. He also handed out a further $3.4m in grants to help develop a series of other clean tech toilet projects,...

Thu, 16 Aug 12
Tars Sands Blockade working to physically stop Keystone XL pipeline construction
Waging Nonviolence: One year after more than 1,200 people were arrested in front of the White House during two weeks of sit-ins against the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline, a coalition of Texas landowners and activists will attempt to physically halt its construction. Led by veteran climate justice organizers, participants ranging from environmentalists to Tea Partiers are preparing to lock arms for a sustained nonviolent civil disobedience campaign, beginning perhaps as early as this week. The impetus for such...

Thu, 16 Aug 12
Oregon seed, farm groups sue state over GMO canola
Reuters: A U.S. farm group, seed producers and biotech critics filed suit on Wednesday against Oregon officials in an effort to curtail planting of genetically modified canola, warning of a potential "disaster" for the state's seed and organic industries. The litigation joins a long list of efforts to limit the footprint of many genetically altered crops, which opponents fear are threatening conventional and organic farm production as well as increasing weed and pest resistance. The plaintiffs are seeking...

Thu, 16 Aug 12
Delay of US auto efficiency rule a win for consumers: GOP
Reuters: A delay in the Obama Administration's tough new automobile efficiency standards is a victory for consumers and automobile safety, a chief Republican critic of the fuel economy rule said on Wednesday. The new fuel economy proposal, announced in July 2011 after months of negotiations between the Obama administration and auto makers, would require the companies to reach an average fuel efficiency across their U.S. fleets of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. "Increased fuel efficiency is a goal all...

Thu, 16 Aug 12
Climate change effects, potential mitigation in Northeast forests subject of Forest Service Report
Phys.org: A new report by U.S. and Canadian scientists analyzes decades of research and concludes that the climate of the Northeast has changed and is likely to change more. The report outlines the effects of climate change on multiple aspects of forests in the northeastern corner of the United States and eastern Canada and concludes with recommendations on adaptive and mitigating strategies for dealing with future effects. The report, "Changing Climate, Changing Forests: The impacts of climate change on...

Thu, 16 Aug 12
2012 Drought Inches Up In U.S. Historical Rankings
Climate Central: The costly and ongoing drought that stretches across a majority of the lower 48 states worsened during the past month, and by one measure it now ranks fifth on the top 10 list of the largest droughts ever recorded in the U.S., according to a new report released Wednesday from the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). The drought is affecting the broadest swath of land and has the greatest intensity of any drought since 1956, and is comparable to the Dust Bowl era droughts of the 1930s as well, NCDC...

Thu, 16 Aug 12
Court suspends Amazon dam construction
Al Jazeera: A federal judge in Brazil has suspended construction work on a massive dam in the heart of the Amazon rainforest. In a statement released on Tuesday, Judge Souza Prudente said that work could only resume on the $11bn, 11,000MW Belo Monte Dam after the indigenous communities living in the area were consulted. The dam has been condemned by environmentalists and rights activists, who say that it would devastate wildlife and the livelihoods of 40,000 people who live in the area that would be flooded....

Thu, 16 Aug 12
New Ocean Health Index Measures the Global State of the Seas
National Geographic: The U.S. beat China in the overall medals race at the 2012 London Olympics, and now Americans can add another trophy to their case: A better score on ocean protection. The U.S. scored a 63 on the new Ocean Health Index-compared with China's 53-out of a possible 100, according to a new study. To make the index, marine scientists from a range of conservation, academic, and government institutions developed a scoring system to assess the health of the oceans, with an eye to the benefits that the...

Thu, 16 Aug 12
Belo Monte mega-dam halted again by high Brazilian court, appeal likely but difficult
Mongabay: A high federal court in Brazil has ruled that work on the Belo Monte dam in the Brazilian Amazon be immediately suspended. Finding that the government failed to properly consult indigenous people on the dam, the ruling is the latest in innumerable twists and turns regarding the massive dam, which was first conceived in the 1970s, and has been widely criticized for its impact on tribal groups in the region and the Amazon environment. In addition the Regional Federal Tribunal (TRF1) found that Brazil's...

Thu, 16 Aug 12
Little relief seen from U.S. drought despite cooler trend
Reuters: Midday weather maps indicated a better chance for rains during the last two weeks of August in the drought-stricken U.S. Midwest, but they will come too late to provide much help to corn or soybean prospects, an agricultural meteorologist forecast Wednesday. Meteorologists and crop experts have said that the domestic corn crop was harmed beyond repair from the worst drought in more than 50 years over the summer, and much of the soybean crop was damaged as well. "There is a chance for quite...

Thu, 16 Aug 12
After drought blights crops, U.S. farmers face toxin threat
Reuters: The worst U.S. drought in five decades has parched the land and decimated crops. It now threatens to deal a second blow to farmers, who may have to throw out metric tons of toxic feed. Growers are rushing to check the nitrate levels of that silage, the stalks and leaves that corn farmers often harvest to feed to locally raised cattle or hogs. Agriculture groups are warning farmers that drought-hit plants may have failed to process nitrogen fertilizer due to stunted growth, making them poisonous...

Thu, 16 Aug 12
Consequences of Climate Change: A World Awash With Environmental Refugees
Huffington Post: The modern world has long thought of refugees in strictly political terms, victims in a world riven by competing ideologies. But as climate change continues unabated, there is a growing population of displaced men, women and children whose homes have been rendered unlivable thanks to a wide spectrum of environmental disasters. Despite their numbers, and their need, most nations refuse to recognize their status. The 1951 U.N. Convention relating to the Status of Refugees defines a refugee as...

Thu, 16 Aug 12
Tiny Pacific island tops world ocean health index
Guardian: An uninhabited Pacific island has come top of the first comprehensive ocean health index, which compares all the world's coastal countries and scores them for how well the seas around them benefit both man and nature. Tiny 4.5 sq km Jarvis island, halfway between Hawaii and the Cook Islands, was briefly mined for seabird fertiliser in the 19th century but both the waters around it and the island itself have been left more or less untouched since then, which accounts for its top score of 86 out...

Thu, 16 Aug 12
Greenland Melt Sets Record Weeks Before Summer Ends
Climate Central: Even as the sea ice on the Arctic Ocean looks to be headed for a possible record meltback this year, scientists reported Wednesday that the land-based ice sitting atop Greenland has already melted more than any time in the past 30 years -- and that's with another four weeks left in the melting season. The new study, based on satellite observations, expands on a report in July that showed a record 97 percent of Greenland's icy surface had undergone at least some melting during the summer season. ...

Thu, 16 Aug 12
Planet Records Fourth-Warmest July on Record
Climate Central: July was the fourth-warmest such month on record globally, and the 329th consecutive month with a global-average surface temperature above the 20th-century average, according to an analysis released Wednesday by the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). The combined-average July temperature over global land and ocean surfaces was 61.52°F, which was 1.12°F above the 20th-century average. This was the 36th straight July with a global temperature above the 20th-century average. The last time the...

Thu, 16 Aug 12
Forced to sell cattle during drought, dairy farmers 'just keep praying' for rain
NBC News: The crumbling earth and burned out fields in this small town of 10,000 are sad evidence of what has been a dry, hot and, at times, desperate summer. See our full drought coverage here. And on Wednesday, Aug. 15, watch NBC News, CNBC, MSNBC, The Weather Channel and Telemundo for daylong, network-wide coverage of the drought. "The drought has been excessive in this region for several weeks, and it's not just that we've had the 100 degree-plus temperatures -- but they started so early,' said Darin...

Thu, 16 Aug 12
Drought expected to take toll at checkout
NBC News: At a grocery store in Fort Worth, shoppers walk the aisles with coupons in their hands and off-brand products in their carts. A still-recovering economy has many looking to save a few dollars on their food bill, a job that is expected to become more difficult before year's end. See our full drought coverage here. And on Wednesday, Aug. 15, watch NBC News, CNBC, MSNBC, The Weather Channel and Telemundo for daylong, network-wide coverage of the drought. The lingering and pervasive drought that's...

Thu, 16 Aug 12
United States ranks near bottom on first ever energy efficiency scorecard
Mongabay: Last month, the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy released its first ever international energy efficiency scorecard, which gave the United Kingdom the top score. Using data points honed over years of rating U.S. states, the organization hoped to inspire nations to learn from each others' effective policies, as well as encourage "friendly competition" in the spirit of lowering global carbon emissions. At number one, the United Kingdom achieved a score of 67 out of 100 points, followed...

Thu, 16 Aug 12
Brazilian Judge Halts Belo Monte Dam Project Over Lack of Consultation
Yale Environment 360: A Brazilian judge has ordered a suspension of the controversial Belo Monte dam project, saying that local indigenous people who will be affected by the massive hydroelectric project were not sufficiently consulted during the environmental assessment process. In a ruling issued Tuesday, Judge Souza Prudente of the Federal Tribunal of Brazil’s Amazon region found that no consultations were held with local communities before Congress approved what would be the world’s third-largest dam project. The...

Thu, 16 Aug 12
Exxon unit investigates oil spill near Nigeria facility
Reuters: ExxonMobil's Nigeria unit said it was investigating an oil spill near its facility off the country's southeast coast, which local fishermen said had covered the waters where they fish with a toxic film. Mobil Producing Nigeria, a joint venture between ExxonMobil and the state oil firm, said on Wednesday that relevant government agencies had been notified of the spill. "Mobil Producing Nigeria ... confirms that oiling from an unknown source has been sighted along the shoreline near Ibeno, Akwa...

Thu, 16 Aug 12
City Temps May Soar From Urbanization, Global Warming
Climate Central: For scientists who worry about climate change, cities are just plain annoying. The acres of asphalt that cover roads and parking lots and roofs absorb enormous amounts of heat. In the summer, whirring air conditioners channel even more heat out of buildings and into the air. Climate scientists have to subtract this so-called urban heat island effect from their calculations if they want to get a true picture of how greenhouse gas emissions are warming the planet. For people who actually live in...

Thu, 16 Aug 12
'Crazy': Dozens of dead birds fall from NJ sky
MSNBC: Residents in a Cumberland County, N.J., community were left wondering what caused dozens of birds to drop dead from the sky earlier this week. Residents along Peach Drive in Millville found at least 80 dead birds -- mostly red-winged blackbirds -- on the ground, having fallen from trees and the sky. "Crazy -- something out of a movie," said resident Michelle Cavalieri, who saw the birds fall. The birds caused a bloody mess on roadways in the residential neighborhood. "They'd get up and...

Thu, 16 Aug 12
Drought sends Mississippi into 'uncharted territory'
NBC News: The drought of 2012 has humbled the mighty Mississippi River. A year after near-historic flooding, the river's water levels are at near-historic lows from Cairo, Ill., where the Ohio River empties into it, to New Orleans, just north of its endpoint at the Gulf of Mexico. In July, water levels in Cairo, Memphis, Tenn., and Vicksburg, Miss., dipped below those of the historic drought of 1988. That's affecting everything from commerce on the maritime superhighway to recreation to the drinking...

Thu, 16 Aug 12
Methane from fracking triggers climate change
Post-Standard: As this record-breaking summer continues to heat up, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is purportedly nearing a decision about fracking. In support of his commitment to base his decision on the facts and science, I strongly urge the governor to heed the warnings from two recent national stories. First, this month the U.S. Department of Agriculture designated more than half of all U.S. counties disaster zones, due to excessive heat and devastating droughts. Second, a new study - from top NASA scientist James Hansen...

Thu, 16 Aug 12
Zimbabwe's forests go up in smoke amid energy crisis
AlertNet: Pensioner Thandazani Ndlovu earns his living selling firewood, making him better off than Zimbabwe's millions of jobless. From the back of his pick-up truck, he has established a thriving business as demand for firewood continues to grow in Bulawayo, a city of 2 million people in the southwest. Residents are turning to wood for cooking and heating as Zimbabwe's electricity outages get worse, with its energy utility battling to keep the lights on in urban areas. As winter began, the state-owned...

Thu, 16 Aug 12
Greener approach in Asian cities would protect millions from disasters - report
AlertNet: Asia's cities are growing at an unprecedented rate and must improve their infrastructure and become greener to keep hundreds of millions of residents safe from floods and other disasters, a report from the Asian Development Bank said on Wednesday. Asia added more than 1 billion people to its cities between 1980 and 2010, leading to more slum dwellers, polluted neighbourhoods and soaring greenhouse gas emissions, said the Manila-based bank. By 2025, 760 million people across the region will be...

Thu, 16 Aug 12
Food crisis strengthens EU biofuel critics, may hasten deal
Reuters: Drought-stricken crops and record-high grain prices have strengthened critics of the European Union biofuel industry, adding fears of a food crisis to their claims that it does not ultimately reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The renewed anxiety adds to pressure on the EU's executive Commission to forge a deal this year to help ensure that EU biofuels do not clash with food production or the environment. Such an agreement would remove some of the uncertainty that has hung over the multi-billion...

Thu, 16 Aug 12
California city eyes carbon credit revenue from its trees
Reuters: California's seventh-largest city may try to bolster its strained budget by maintaining its 393,000-tree urban forest and selling carbon credits to regulated greenhouse gas emitters in the state's forthcoming cap-and-trade program. Long Beach Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske said Tuesday she will ask the city's office of sustainability to review her proposal to enroll its urban forest as an offset project that can supply credits to California's carbon market. Planting and maintaining forests in...

Thu, 16 Aug 12
China's coal expansion may spark water crisis, warns Greenpeace
Guardian: China's plan to rapidly expand large coal mines and power plants in its arid northern and western provinces threatens to drain precious water supply and could trigger a severe water crisis, a report by environmental activists Greenpeace said on Tuesday. China intends to boost coal production in provinces including Inner Mongolia, Shanxi, Shaanxi and Ningxia, with output in those areas expected to reach 2.2bn tonnes, or 56% of the country's forecast production of 3.9bn tonnes, by 2015. As part...

Thu, 16 Aug 12
Black Carbon from Slash and Burn Practices Still a Problem in Brazil
Environmental News Network: Although nearly 40 years have passed since Brazil banned slash-and-burn practices in its Atlantic Forest, the destruction lingers. New research reveals that charred plant material is leaching out of the soil and into rivers, eventually making its way to the ocean. So much of this "black carbon" is entering the marine ecosystem that it could be hurting ocean life, although further tests will be needed to confirm this possibility. People have used fire to shape Earth's vegetation for millennia....

Thu, 16 Aug 12
Poll: Most Canadians believe climate change is happening
Canadian Press: Only two per cent of Canadians who responded to a new opinion poll believe climate change is not occurring. The findings are in a survey conducted by Insightrix Research, Inc. for IPAC-CO2 Research Inc., a Regina-based centre that studies carbon capture and storage. The online poll of 1,550 people was done between May 29 and June 11. The results were to be released on Wednesday. "Our survey indicates that Canadians from coast to coast overwhelmingly believe climate change is real and is...

Thu, 16 Aug 12
US energy wars intensify as Obama lampoons Romney’s anti-wind stance
BusinessGreen: The election-year row over the direction of US energy policy ratcheted up a notch yesterday, as President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney set out competing visions for the future of America's energy mix. Speaking during a campaign tour of Iowa, Obama stressed his support for the burgeoning wind energy sector, drawing direct contrasts with Romney's plans to cut support for the industry. Meanwhile, Romney used a trip to a coal mine in Ohio to slam the president for passing environmental...

Thu, 16 Aug 12
Report: Emerging Asian economies face highest risk from climate disasters
BusinessGreen: Some of Asia's most important economies face the highest financial risk from the threat of natural hazards, because their cities and trading hubs are highly exposed to climate-related impacts such as flooding. That is the conclusion of a new Natural Hazards Risk Atlas released by Maplecroft today, which evaluated natural hazard risks across 197 countries in a bid to help companies understand the potential impact on their supply chains. Bangladesh, the Philippines, Myanmar, India, and Vietnam...

Thu, 16 Aug 12
Emergency well drilling brings relief to farmers stricken by drought
NBC News: There's a desperate search for water under way throughout Missouri where 95 percent of the state is enduring extreme levels of drought. In the rural area of Truxton, farmer Rusty Lee estimates he'll likely lose 40 percent of his crops. See our full drought coverage here. And on Wednesday, Aug. 15, watch NBC News, CNBC, MSNBC, The Weather Channel and Telemundo for daylong, network-wide coverage of the drought. We walked through his withering fields where rows of yellow squash lay shriveled under...

Wed, 8 Aug 12
2012 Hottest Year on Record for Northeast So Far
Inside Climate News: The first seven months of 2012 were the warmest the U.S. Northeast has seen since recordkeeping began in 1895. So says the Northeast Regional Climate Center (NRCC) at Cornell University, adding to a string of data showing record-smashing temperatures amid the country's worst heat wave and drought in more than 50 years. The average temperature regionally was 49.9 degrees Fahrenheit from January through July, the warmest on record for the 12-state Northeast, except for Pennsylvania and West Virginia....

Wed, 8 Aug 12
Near Fracking Wells, the Many Quakes That Go Unfelt
New York Times: A series of small earthquakes made Halloween of 2008 an unusually scary one for people in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. While it has long been theorized that underground injections of fluids from oil and gas development operations could decrease friction and cause faults to slip, the quakes occurred in an area where people weren`t accustomed to tremors, renewing calls for research into the geological consequences of the booming natural gas industry in Texas. In a new study, one of the researchers...

Wed, 8 Aug 12
Wonkbook: Climate change may be to blame for extreme weather events now
Washington Post: A new study finds some extreme weather events wouldn`t have happened without climate change. "The percentage of the earth’s land surface covered by extreme heat in the summer has soared in recent decades, from less than 1 percent in the years before 1980 to as much as 13 percent in recent years, according to a new scientific paper. The change is so drastic, the paper says, that scientists can claim with near certainty that events like the Texas heat wave last year, the Russian heat wave of 2010 and...

Wed, 8 Aug 12
China to build agricultural research facility in Mali
SciDev.Net: China plans to build a centre for agricultural research and technological demonstration near Bamako, Mali, to carry out experiments and technical training, and to contribute to the development of sustainable agriculture in the country, according to an agreement between the two governments announced last month (11 July). The announcement came ahead of the fifth Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Beijing (19--20 July), at which the Chinese president, Hu Jintao, pledged to build further...

Wed, 8 Aug 12
Climate change threatens to alter marine ecosystem
Vancouver Sun: Climate change threatens to wreak havoc on entire marine ecosystems due to factors such as rising water temperatures, increased acidification, and reduced oxygen levels, according to a report on B.C.'s Pacific coast. The report by World Wildlife Fund-Canada and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society warns that species such as Pacific salmon, southern pink shrimp, Pacific cod, and hake are expected to move northward, along with Humboldt squid, which have arrived in B.C. in large numbers in recent...

Wed, 8 Aug 12
Deforestation fuels temperature hikes around Mt. Kilimanjaro
AlertNet: A logging boom has hit Tanzania's tourist-drawing Kilimanjaro region, reducing the region's native forests, hitting rainfall and leading to unusually high temperatures. The increasingly extreme weather has come as a surprise to people who live a stone's throw from one of the world's heritage sites, and who had been used to a cold, misty climate. Joshua Meena, 72, a resident of Machame, told AlertNet that the annual rainfall in the region has been dwindling from year to year over the past decade,...

Wed, 8 Aug 12
While We Feel the Heat, Another Climate Denier Sees the Light
Triple Pundit: There is an overwhelming scientific consensus on the question of anthropomorphic (human-induced) climate change. In fact, most people would say that it is no longer a question. A number of the most prestigious scientific institutions in the world, including the American Physical Society, the National Academy of Science and numerous others have issued formal statements affirming their conviction that global warming is real and that it is man-made. There remain a few skeptics, however, some of them...

Tue, 7 Aug 12
Recent extreme heatwaves 'a result of global warming'
Independent: Global warming is responsible for the recent spate of summer heatwaves, according to James Hansen, the scientist who first alerted the world to the dangers of climate change. Dr Hansen, director of Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, said that the "climate dice" are now loaded in favour of extreme heatwaves which now affect 10 per cent of the Earth's surface, compared with about 1 per cent in the period between 1951 to 1980. Dr Hansen said that at least three extreme summers...

Tue, 7 Aug 12
Fred Krupp: A New Climate-Change Consensus
Wall Street Journal: One scorching summer doesn't confirm that climate change is real any more than a white Christmas proves it's a hoax. What matters is the trend-a decades-long march toward hotter and wilder weather. But with more than 26,000 heat records broken in the last 12 months and pervasive drought turning nearly half of all U.S. counties into federal disaster areas, many data-driven climate skeptics are reassessing the issue. Respected Republican leaders like Govs. John Kasich of Ohio and Chris Christie...

Tue, 7 Aug 12
Climate Change's Role in Heat Waves Still Under Debate
LiveScience: It's no surprise to those who follow climate science that temperature patterns have shifted as the world has warmed up. But in a new study, outspoken climate scientist James Hansen goes a step further, saying devastating heat waves in recent years are the result of global warming. Since natural dynamics -- such as fluctuations in sea-surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean -- contribute to extreme events like heat waves, this connection can be controversial. Scientists disagree...

Tue, 7 Aug 12
U.S. business group challenges EPA mercury rule
Reuters: The biggest U.S. business lobby group said Monday it has petitioned a federal appeals court to invalidate environmental regulations it claims will lead to sweeping electricity blackouts by forcing coal-fired power plants to close. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said it filed a friend-of-the-court brief with a broader business coalition in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on Friday to challenge the Environmental Protection Agency‘s "Utility MACT" rule, which aims to reduce emissions...

Tue, 7 Aug 12
Heat Waves "Almost Certainly" Due to Global Warming
National Geographic: Recent heat waves that have triggered wildfires, droughts, and heat-related deaths in the United States and around the globe "almost certainly would not have occurred" without global warming-and will become more routine in coming years, NASA climate scientist James Hansen says. A new study examining six decades of global temperature data concludes that a sharp increase in the frequency of extremely hot summers can only be the result of human-caused global warming. ee an interactive map of global...

Tue, 7 Aug 12
Earth's ecosystems still soaking up half of human carbon emissions
Mongabay: Even as humans emit ever more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, Earth's ecosystems are still sequestering about half, according to new research in Nature. The study finds that the planet's oceans, forests, and other vegetation have stepped into overdrive to deal with the influx of carbon emitted from burning fossil fuels, but notes that this doesn't come without a price, including the acidification of the oceans. "We're already seeing climate change happen despite the fact that only half of...

Tue, 7 Aug 12
Midwest Fish Kills Exacerbated By Record Heat
National Public Radio: This summer, extreme heat and drought have brought on larger than normal "fish kills" throughout the Midwest. Fish are dying by the tens of thousands. All Things Considered host Audie Cornish speaks with Aaron Woldt, Fisheries Program Supervisor for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Midwestern Region, about what's happening in these waters.

Tue, 7 Aug 12
Are Recent Heat Waves A Result Of Climate Change?
National Public Radio: It's been an unusually hot couple of years in many parts of the U.S. But just how unusual is this? It's a question climate scientists are getting asked a lot. They wonder whether a warming climate is doing this or whether it's just part of the normal variation in the weather. Among scientists there's a growing view that these latest heat waves are a result of climate change. NASA climate scientist James Hansen has been looking at the past century's temperatures all over the world. He has measured...

Tue, 7 Aug 12
Have the Kochs Had a Change of Heart?
Huffington Post: A recent study funded in part by the Charles G. Koch Foundation supports existing scientific evidence that global climate change is happening and is primarily caused by humans. The study's lead author, Dr. Richard Muller, was a well-known climate skeptic who was "converted" by his own examination of global temperature data. Charles Koch and his brother David have funneled over $61 million to groups that deny the science and seriousness of climate change. Because of this massive effort and the...

Tue, 7 Aug 12
World Bank unveils carbon incentive plan in Philippines
Agence France-Presse: The World Bank said on Monday it plans to buy carbon credits from pig farms in the Philippines, helping farmers generate extra income by setting up environment friendly waste treatment facilities. Under the program it will finance the installation of such waste treatment systems that will capture methane gas from pig manure which could be used to generate electricity, thereby reducing dependence on fossil fuels. The World Bank's Carbon Finance Unit will buy carbon credits from farms that instal...

Tue, 7 Aug 12
Gibson Guitar to pay $300,000 for violating Lacey Act with illegal timber imports from Madagascar
Mongabay: Gibson Guitar Company has avoided criminal prosecution under the Lacey Act - a law that aims to curb illegal logging abroad - by settling with the Department of Justice. Gibson had been charged with importing timber illegally logged from Madagascar's rainforests in 2008 and 2009. The instrument-maker was also under investigation for sourcing questionable rosewood and ebony products from India. Under the settlement, Gibson will pay a $300,000 fine for violating the Lacey Act and pay $50,000...

Tue, 7 Aug 12
Green moving is not just about the environment
Reuters: Brian Fox recently moved from one house to another in Irvine, Calif., and joined a growing number of consumers going "green" in the relocation process. Only on NBCNews.com Alleged gunman, 'Jack Boot,' led neo-Nazi punk band Updated 115 minutes ago 8/6/2012 7:07:51 PM +00:00 Wounded cop in Sikh temple shooting praised as hero Prenatal drug targeted lesbians, researchers say Man blasts Alaska Airlines for treatment of fellow flier AFP - Getty Images, file Interpol drops 'red notice' for dissident...

Tue, 7 Aug 12
United Kingdom: Putting a price on the rivers and rain diminishes us all
Guardian: 'The first man who, having enclosed a piece of ground, bethought himself of saying 'This is mine', and found people simple enough to believe him, was the real founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not anyone have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows, 'Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and...

Tue, 7 Aug 12
Greenpeace Presses Charles Koch to Speak on Climate Change
U.S. News and World Report: Charles Koch's brother David, in New York on Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2008. David Koch has mostly denied the existence of climate change. A week ago, a Charles Koch-funded climate change skeptic made waves when he said a new study had changed his mind about global warming, and that he believes humankind does play a role. Now, Greenpeace wants to know whether the petrochemical billionaire at the helm of Koch Industries has changed his mind, too. A letter, written by Greenpeace Executive Director...

Tue, 7 Aug 12
U.S. to allow restart of Enbridge's Line 14
Reuters: Enbridge Inc plans to restart on Tuesday a pipeline that leaked more than 1,000 barrels of crude onto a Wisconsin field after receiving the greenlight from U.S. regulators. U.S. pipeline regulators last week issued Enbridge a corrective action order, calling for measures to be taken before it would allow the resumption of flows along Line 14, which was halted after a leak was discovered on July 27. The Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration said...

Tue, 7 Aug 12
Extreme summer heat linked to climate change, scientists say
LA Times: Exceedingly high summer temperatures, longer summers and related catastrophes, such as wildfire and drought, are poised to be the norm, and they are driven by climate change, according to a new research paper published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In an opinion article over the weekend in the Washington Post that previewed the findings, the paper's lead author, James E. Hansen wrote: "It is no longer enough to say that global warming will increase the likelihood...

Tue, 7 Aug 12
Hansen Study: Extreme Weather Tied to Climate Change
Climate Central: Extreme weather events, such as the heat waves that have broiled the High Plains and Midwest this summer, smashing thousands of temperature records, are a direct consequence of global warming, according to a new study led by prominent climate scientist, James Hansen of NASA. The study seeks to reframe how people view the links between manmade global warming and extreme weather events, going farther than ever before in making direct ties between the two. The study by Hansen, who first warned of...

Tue, 7 Aug 12
Southeast Asia's largest lowland rainforest spared from new land concessions
Mongabay: Four economic land concessions have been cancelled in Cambodia's Prey Lang forest, known as the largest intact lowland forest in Southeast Asia, reports the Phnom Penh Post. The economic land concessions, totaling over 40,000 hectares, would have been used for rubber plantations. Prey Lang forest is home to some 350,000 people, many from the Kuy ethnic group, who depend on its resources for their livelihoods. Most locals have vocally opposed economic land concessions in the region, including by...

Tue, 7 Aug 12
The Arctic Drilling Countdown
New York Times: After several weeks of delays linked to mechanical problems and persistent sea ice, Shell is completing its final preparations for drilling in the Arctic Ocean, company officials said Monday. The company hopes over the next several days to demonstrate to regulators that its oil spill containment equipment is ready and to receive clearance from the Environmental Protection Agency to operate its drill ships without running afoul of air pollution laws. Shell hopes to get the final green light from...

Tue, 7 Aug 12
Water shortages driving growing thefts, conflicts in Kenya
AlertNet: As droughts become more frequent and water shortages worsen, Kenya is seeing an increase in water thefts and other water-related crime, police records show. The most common crimes are theft, muggings and illegal disconnections of water pipes by thieves who collect and sell the water. Many of the crimes occur in urban slums, which lack sufficient piped water. "Since 2003, we have made piped water available to at least half of the slum residents in the entire country, but we are faced with severe...

Tue, 7 Aug 12
China to increase support for African science
SciDev.Net: The Chinese president has promised to increase science, technology and innovation (STI) assistance to Africa, although experts from the continent warn assistance will only work if it is Africa-led and promotes sustainable development. President Hu Jintao has pledged to expand China-Africa collaboration in science, through maintaining successful research programmes and supporting new initiatives in agriculture, health, water, forestry and meteorological technologies, as well as capacity building....

Tue, 7 Aug 12
Analysis: Green growth not targets needed for 2015 climate deal
Reuters: Green economic growth rather than strict targets for cutting greenhouse gases needs higher priority if the world is to reach a deal to fight climate change by a 2015 deadline. Despite growing scientific evidence of a warming world, greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise and United Nations talks aimed at doing something about it are moving at a glacial pace. Years of talks have failed to deliver a deal to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which set emissions targets for industrial nations. And...

Tue, 7 Aug 12
Climate change blamed for heatwaves
New Scientist: Another week, another row about blaming climate change for extreme weather events. A top climate scientist now says that the 2010 Russian heatwave, and last year's Texas drought, were both the result of global warming - and the current US drought probably is too. James Hansen of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York and colleagues compared global temperatures between 1981 and 2010 to the cooler climes of 1950 to 1980. Extreme warming events, when temperatures were more than...

Tue, 7 Aug 12
Droughts Bring Climate Change Home to Nepali Farmers
Inter Press Service: Farmers in this fertile central district of south Nepal are convinced that an intense drought between May and early July that destroyed their maize crops is the result of climate change. "Last year my farms produced over 20 quintals of maize, but this time I could barely harvest one quintal," 60-year-old farmer Padmakanta Poudel told IPS in the remote Jutpani village of the district. Poudel explained that his family had taken bank a loan of over 500 dollars to invest on his maize farm. The...

Tue, 7 Aug 12
United Kingdom: Cuts to Scotland eco-farming schemes could mean species loss, RSPB warns
Guardian: Scotland faces the loss of some of its most vulnerable bird species and habitats after ministers cut environment spending on farmland by £25m, a senior conservationist has warned. Stuart Housden, the Scottish director of the RSPB, said ministers in Edinburgh were risking legal action by the EU after "raiding" the budget which was intended to conserve corncrakes, rare orchids, peatbogs and flower meadows in the face of modern farming techniques, climate change and habitat loss. Despite the heavy...

Tue, 7 Aug 12
Crop data gives drought-stricken farmers a leg up on getting by with less
Guardian: The device keeping disaster away from Glenn Cox's farm in this summer's devastating drought could well be the laptop on his kitchen counter. A few keystrokes and eventually his painfully slow dial-up connection pulls up graphs tracking temperature and moisture levels from his corn and peanut fields. The real-time feed gives Cox an advantage over farmers across a vast swathe of the mid-west who are preparing to give up on their crops. It's taken away the guess work. He knows where to water,...

Tue, 7 Aug 12
Walmart Winds Up Wind Power In California
Forbes: As Walmart installed solar panels on its 100th California store in San Diego last week, a 265-foot-high wind turbine was rising outside one of the retail giant’s distribution centers in the rural reaches of the Golden State. The 1-megawatt, General Electric turbine in Red Bluff is Walmart’s first such installation and the next stage in the company’s efforts to eventually obtain 100% of its energy from renewable sources. “It looks like our renewable energy strategy is going to take...

Tue, 7 Aug 12
US signals desire to axe global two degree climate goal
BusinessGreen: International negotiations to agree a new global climate change treaty should ditch previous commitments to limit warming to two degrees centigrade in favour of a more "flexible" legal agreement, according to the US' top climate change official. Speaking in a wide-ranging lecture at Darmouth University late last week, President Obama's special envoy on climate change, Todd Stern, argued the two degree target that was included in 2009's Copenhagen Accord risked leading to "deadlock" as countries...

Tue, 7 Aug 12
Mangrove conservation is 'economic' CO2 fix
BBC: Protecting mangroves to lock carbon away in trees may be an economic way to curb climate change, research suggests. Carbon credit schemes already exist for rainforests; the new work suggests mangroves could be included too. But other researchers say the economics depend on the global carbon price. Presenting their results in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the US-based team emphasises that protecting mangroves has important benefits for wildlife as well. Mangrove...

Tue, 7 Aug 12
Rise in Extreme Heat Events Linked to Climate Change, Study Says
Yale Environment 360: A new NASA study has found that extreme heat events are far more likely to occur than five decades ago, a phenomenon that researchers link to climate change. In an analysis of long-term statistical trends, a team of researchers led by James Hansen of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies describes how “extremely hot” summers -- defined as abnormally high mean summer temperatures that affected less than 1 percent of the planet’s land area between 1951 and 1980 -- have become far more routine...

Tue, 7 Aug 12
California Meets 20 Percent of Electricity Demand With Clean Energy
Yale Environment 360: California power utilities are now achieving more than 20 percent of the state’s electricity needs with renewable energy sources, state regulators say. In its latest quarterly report, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) said that the state met 20.6 percent of its electricity demand with renewable sources -- including wind, solar, and geothermal -- during 2011, up from 17 percent in 2010. In 2012, the report says, the state is on pace to far surpass that level. According to the CPUC...

Tue, 7 Aug 12
Climate change in Alaska forces break with tradition
Washington Post: Residents of Kotzebue and Point Hope, Alaska reflect on how climate change is affecting their way of life. They are trying to keep their generation-old traditions alive in the face of beach erosion, changing migration patterns and diverging Alaskan weather.

Tue, 7 Aug 12
PNG's forest sell-off revealed
Sydney Morning Herald: PAPUA New Guinea's former Somare government introduced a controversial concession that allegedly accelerated deforestation of its tropical forests and gave away a potential $US23 billion in carbon-trading rights to foreign interests, according to a Greenpeace report. The political time-bomb that awaits PNG's new government, in a report by Greenpeace Australia Pacific released today, gives details of how a new type of concession introduced by the Somare government in 2003 called Special Agricultural...

Tue, 7 Aug 12
NGOs urge Obama not to undermine ICAO efforts
Reuters: Sixteen environmental groups on Friday urged President Barack Obama not to give into pressure by the U.S. airline industry to file an action under the U.N.'s aviation body to block an EU law requiring all foreign airlines to participate in its carbon trading system. In their letter to the White House, the groups warned that filing a so-called Article-84 action in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to challenge the EU climate change directive would undermine the body's effort...

Mon, 6 Aug 12
Alaskan Arctic villages hit hard by climate change
Washington Post: Out late on a Friday night, teenage Inupiat Eskimos go ice-hopping on the Chukchi Sea, one of the rare distractions in Shishmaref, Alaska. The choice for the federal government — and state and local officials — is whether to try to preserve, if it is even possible, the heritage of the Inuit villages, their ice cellars, sod ancestral homes and cemeteries ringed with spires of whale bones. Or spend the hundreds of millions of dollars it would cost to move even one village.

Mon, 6 Aug 12
Ocean acidification could disrupt marine food chains
Reuters: Ocean acidification caused by climate change is making it harder for creatures from clams to sea urchins to grow their shells, and the trend is likely to be felt most in polar regions, scientists said on Monday. A thinning of the protective cases of mussels, oysters, lobsters and crabs is likely to disrupt marine food chains by making the creatures more vulnerable to predators, which could reduce human sources of seafood. "The results suggest that increased acidity is affecting the size and...

Mon, 6 Aug 12
Nick Clegg denies splits with chancellor over green energy
Guardian: Nick Clegg will try to get the coalition back on track on Monday by denying splits with the chancellor, George Osborne, over green energy. The aim is to reassure sceptical business leaders that the government is united about its long-term, renewable targets. The deputy prime minister will insist disputes over the order of investment – in this case, on green energy – are normal for any government. He will also tell a green business summit in London that £100m is being invested in small-scale, non-domestic...

Mon, 6 Aug 12
Democrat tables carbon tax bill
BusinessGreen: Democrat Congressman Jim McDermott has become the latest politician to try and deliver a US carbon pricing mechanism, after last week tabling a bill in the House of Representatives that would result in a new national tax on carbon emissions. McDermott said the tax would help cut emissions to 80 per cent below 2005 levels within 42 years of the bill being enacted, by driving investment in new low carbon energy infrastructure. Significantly, the legislation, entitled the Managed Carbon Price...

Mon, 6 Aug 12
United Kingdom: Exclusive: Government poised to open Green Deal Register
BusinessGreen: The government is plannning to this week invite businesses to start applying for its official Green Deal stamp of approval, further preparing the ground for the launch of the energy efficiency scheme this autumn. Green Deal Providers will responsible for co-ordinating finance and delivering loans to property owners wishing to install energy efficiency measures, such as insulation and solar panels. Following months of software trials with more than 20 pioneer Green Deal Providers, including...

Mon, 6 Aug 12
Eastern Montana farmers' ability to manage soil key as climate changes
Billings Gazette: On an afternoon when the air presses against his face like a hot iron, Mitch Auer grabs a shovel from his pickup and lumbers into an old wheat stand that hasn’t seen 3 inches of moisture this year. It’s the last day in July and the National Weather Service has just confirmed that Yellowstone County is experiencing one of its hottest summers ever. A couple of weeks earlier, the same meteorologists were declaring the first six months of the 2012 the county’s driest on record. The misery in farm...

Mon, 6 Aug 12
London's ozone level cleared just before Olympic start
Guardian: During the week leading up to the Olympic Games, London experienced its worst ozone episode for six years. Fortunately fresh westerly winds began to clear London's air pollution just before the opening ceremony. On 21 July high pressure moved over the UK and air began to slowly circulate over southern England and the near continent, one of the most densely populated and industrial areas of Europe. Ground-level ozone slowly built up due to the action of sunlight and high temperatures on pollution...

Mon, 6 Aug 12
New Zealand: How New Zealand's megabirds survived climate change
io9: About 11,000 years ago, the final Ice Age end and humans began to spread out to all corners of the globe. Shortly thereafter, the world's megafauna went extinct. So was it climate or humanity that killed the last megafauna? To solve a question like this, the ideal test case would be one where the emergence of humans as the region's apex predator happened at a completely different time than when the climate changed. That's why New Zealand, which remained completely isolated from humans until the...

Mon, 6 Aug 12
Climate change puts moves on coffee growers
Charlotte Observer: Coffee is migrating. As it's getting hotter at lower altitudes, the lower plants are dying off, so it marches the coffee forest up the slopes. Coffee, java, morning Joe, black wine, jolt juice, espresso, cappuccino. ... A cup of coffee has inspired business deals, exam-preparation, student all-nighters, real estate transactions, truck-driving, dating, and diplomacy. It represents a daily ritual for millions of Americans. Imagine a world without coffee? Several biological challenges threaten...

Mon, 6 Aug 12
Harsh weather doesn't prove global warming, Republican lawmakers say
The Hill: GOP lawmakers say this year's harsh weather that has produced devastating wildfires and the most widespread drought in 50 years has not changed their minds on climate change. Republican lawmakers say this year's harsh weather that has produced devastating wildfires and the most widespread drought in 50 years has not changed their minds on climate change. With more than a month left, the summer of 2012 is on pace to be one of the three hottest since 1950, according to an analysis by WeatherBank...

Mon, 6 Aug 12
Climate change brings tropical diseases closer to California
KPCC: Inside an air-conditioned hearing with the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, climate skeptics argued temperature statistics with scientists. Dr. Jonathan Fielding, head of L.A. County’s health department, told senators that when he sees a threat, it’s his job to be prepared to respond. He says he's concerned that climate change is leading to warming temperatures, and that they in turn are "providing a habitat for vectors (insects particularly) that weren’t here before." Vectors...

Mon, 6 Aug 12
Oklahoma wildfires destroy homes - in pictures
Guardian: Wildfires have burned out of control in Oklahoma, destroying homes and shutting down highways in a state that has suffered 18 straight days of sweltering temperatures and persistent drought. Emergency officials counted 11 different wildfires around the state, with at least 65 homes destroyed

Mon, 6 Aug 12
NER 300: Prize fund for carbon capture projects shrinks by £800m
Guardian: The future of carbon capture and storage in Europe has been thrown into doubt after £800m was wiped off the value of a prize fund for developing the technology. The NER300 fund was supposed to encourage firms across the continent to build commercially viable CCS projects in return for about EUR3bn (£2.4bn) but the cash was linked to the value of carbon credits, which have plunged 50% in the two years since the project was launched. The UK leads the way in CCS technology, but now experts are...

Mon, 6 Aug 12
The risks of climate disaster demand straight talking
Financial Times: These pages often focus on how the eurozone crisis will play out. Yet within a decade, this crisis will resolve itself one way or another. Meanwhile, the more important climate crisis gathers momentum with hardly a word on where it will lead. This is partly because climate change has slipped from the public agenda. But there is also, we suspect, a concern that climate is too contentious and complex a topic for a non-expert commentator to tackle. There may also be a fear that any honest appraisal...

Mon, 6 Aug 12
New study ties heat waves to climate change
The Hill: Extreme summer heat waves and droughts in recent years are the result of climate change, a top federal scientist concludes in a new peer-reviewed study. The study by James Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, could provide new political ammunition for environmentalists struggling to defend and advance climate regulations. Hansen touted the analysis he authored with two colleagues – which will be published Monday – in a weekend Washington Post column. “These weather...

Mon, 6 Aug 12
Extreme heatwaves 50 to 100 times more likely due to climate change
Mongabay: A recent rise in deadly, debilitating, and expensive heatwaves was caused by climate change, argues a new statistical analysis published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Climatologists found that extreme heatwaves have increased by at least 50 times during the last 30 years. The researchers, including James Hansen of NASA, conclude that climate change is the only explanation for such a statistical jump. "This is not a climate model or a prediction but actual observations...

Mon, 6 Aug 12
Oklahoma wildfires prompt evacuations and destroy dozens of homes
Guardian: Several wildfires raging around the parched Oklahoma landscape prompted more evacuations Sunday as emergency workers sought to shelter those forced out by flames that destroyed dozens of homes and threatened others in the drought-stricken region. One roaring fire near Luther, about 25 miles northeast of Oklahoma City, destroyed nearly five dozen homes and other buildings before firefighters gained a measure of control Saturday. Authorities said several state roads remained closed early Sunday...

Mon, 6 Aug 12
Debate continues over NC climate-change legislation
Associated Press: Most scientists agree the hills where the Wright brothers first took flight along the Outer Banks of North Carolina will someday be under water. The debate over exactly when that will happen is taking shape in state and local governments and has been fueled by both scientific speculation and late-night witticisms. In North Carolina, a state-sponsored science panel warned sea levels could rise by more than 3 feet by 2100. Lawmakers supported by development interests responded with a bill to ban...

Mon, 6 Aug 12
Water Meters Are Being Replaced Across Texas
Texas Tribune:: Early one recent morning, Buddy Franklin and a team of utility workers descended on the Rock Hollow neighborhood in this Austin suburb. They went from house to house with one mission: to install new electronic water meters that change how the city records, and bills for, water use. “They won’t see another meter reader for a long time,” Mr. Franklin said as his team dug through loose dirt at the homes to replace the old meters. Similar scenes are playing out across Texas. The installation of electronic...

Mon, 6 Aug 12
Fairs, Like Crops, Are Drooping With the Heat
New York Times: The cheese curds were sizzling in vats of oil, the cartoon-colored carnival rides were spinning, and the tractors, ready to pull something heavy, were revving. Yet all was not right last week at the Ozaukee County Fair, age 153. Inside the barns here, the entries competing for top vegetable and flower were fewer than usual. The rabbits vying for prizes were scarcer, too, said Elaine Diedrich, supervisor of the rabbit tent, as she paced the aisles, ready to submerge overheated animals up to their...

Mon, 6 Aug 12
New study links heat waves to climate change
Associated Press: The relentless, weather-gone-crazy type of heat that has blistered the United States and other parts of the world in recent years is so rare that it can't be anything but man-made global warming, says a new statistical analysis from a top government scientist. The research by a man often called the "godfather of global warming" says that the likelihood of such temperatures occurring from the 1950s through the 1980s was rarer than 1 in 300. Now, the odds are closer to 1 in 10, according to the...

Mon, 6 Aug 12
Insight: A year on, Nigeria's oil still poisons Ogoniland
Reuters: A bright yellow sign above the well in this sleepy Nigerian village says 'caution: not fit for use', and the sulphurous stink off the water that children still pump into buckets sharply reinforces that warning. "Can you smell it? Don't get any in your mouth or you'll be sick," said Victoria Jiji, 55, as she walked past the bore hole in her home village of Ekpangbala, one of several in Ogoniland, southeast Nigeria, whose drinking water has turned toxic. Prosperity has flowed from Ogoniland,...

Mon, 6 Aug 12
Is Climate Change Responsible For Record-Breaking June Heat?
redOrbit: More than half of the contiguous states in the US were experiencing drought by early July 2012, and over 170 all-time American heat records were tied or surpassed during the month of June, according to new research released by NASA scientists on Friday. Many of the record highs experienced during the sixth month of the year surpassed records originally set during the months of July and August, which historically have been hotter than June, Dauna Coulter reported in an August 3 piece entitled "The...

Mon, 6 Aug 12
Heatwaves are proof of global warming, says Nasa scientist
Associated Press: The relentless, weather-gone-crazy heat that has blistered the United States and other parts of the world in recent years is so rare it cannot be anything but man-made global warming, a top Nasa scientist says. The research, by a man often called the "godfather of global warming" says the likelihood of such temperatures occurring from the 1950s through the 1980s was rarer than one in 300. Now the odds are closer to 1 in 10, according to the study by Professor James Hansen. He says that statistically...

Mon, 6 Aug 12
Obama Silent On Climate
BuzzFeed: In an April interview with Rolling Stone, President Barack Obama promised to make the changing global environment a central topic in this year's presidential campaign. "I will be very clear in voicing my belief that we're going to have to take further steps to deal with climate change in a serious way,' he said at the time. "I'm deeply concerned that internationally, we have not made as much progress as we need to make.' But mentions of climate change have been almost entirely absent from this...

Sun, 5 Aug 12
Opinion: Is It Hot Enough for Ya?
New York Times: CLIMATE change is hardly a seasonal issue, but summer is the only time of year when Americans and the news media regularly fix their attention on the everyday heat emergency that’s already altering life on our planet. Indeed, this summer’s record-shattering weather across the United States has created a heightened level of interest in and concern about the consequences of climate change. For the moment, we have an opportunity to make fundamental changes to the way our country deals with the environment,...

Sun, 5 Aug 12
Brazil backslides on protecting the Amazon
Reuters: Ivo Lubrinna has been wildcatting for gold in the jungle here for more than 30 years. It's a notoriously messy business, as crews strip away topsoil in the forest and along riverbanks and use mercury and other pollutants to draw precious metal from mud. For the past two years, Lubrinna has held a second job: environment secretary for this riverside city of 100,000 people, gateway to the oldest national park and half a dozen nature reserves in Brazil's vast Amazon wilderness. As such, it's his...

Sun, 5 Aug 12
This Drought's No Dry Run: Lessons Of The Dust Bowl
National Public Radio: This summer's drought continues to wilt and bake crops from Ohio to the Great Plains and beyond. Under a baking, late-afternoon sun just outside of the tiny east-central Illinois town of Thawville, John Hildenbrand walks down his dusty, gravel driveway toward one of his corn fields. "You can see on the outer edge, these are a lot better-looking ears on the outside rows. Of course, it's not near as hot as it is inside the field," he says. Walking deeper into the 7-foot-high corn stalks, the...

Sun, 5 Aug 12
Wildfires burn dozens of homes in Oklahoma as temperatures reach 113F
Associated Press: Wildfires whipped by gusty, southerly winds have swept through rural woodlands north and south of Oklahoma City, burning dozens of homes as firefighters struggled to contain some of the fires amid 113F heat. Hundreds of people were told to leave their homes in at least four counties on Friday, while smoke and flames prompted authorities to close parts of Interstate 44, the main roadway between Oklahoma City and Tulsa, and two state highways. "A man refused to leave. From what I know, he wanted...

Sun, 5 Aug 12
6 Ways California Is Planning to Adapt to Climate Change
Mother Jones: North Carolina is dealing with sea level rise by banning science. California is doing something else: actually making plans. The Golden State has made itself a leader on climate change in recent years, with initiatives to slash greenhouse gas emissions and amp up renewable energy, and has now just released a hefty report on global warming's impacts on the state and how it plans to adapt to a hot new West. The report, put out by the California Energy Commission and Natural Resources Agency on...

Sun, 5 Aug 12
We need to fix Congress to fix climate change
Foster's Daily Democrat: America and the world have had quite an awful time the past few years with wild weather - drought, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, wind, heat. Many people in our country have died in these natural disasters, and New Hampshire has had its share of trouble. While we use the word "natural," most people now believe that these disasters are a result of global warming, also called climate change. However, there are still too many climate change deniers in Congress, and this is preventing the United States...

Sun, 5 Aug 12
No help for Okla. as wildfires burn out of control
NBC News: Wildfires are burning out of control in Oklahoma, destroying homes and shutting down highways in a state that has suffered 18 straight days of 100-plus degree temperatures and persistent drought. Emergency officials counted 12 different wildfires around the state, with at least 65 homes destroyed in parched areas north and south of Oklahoma City and south of Tulsa. A state-wide burn ban was issued by Governor Mary Fallin Friday, according to a statement by Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management....

Sun, 5 Aug 12
Court Weighs an Order on Yucca Mountain
New York Times: A federal appeals court indicated Friday that it would issue an order for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to resume an evaluation of a possible nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, a volcanic ridge in the Nevada desert, unless Congress acted by December to resolve the legal tangle around the project. The commission is required by a 1987 law to determine if the site, 100 miles from Las Vegas, is suitable, but in 2010, President Obama had the government stop work on the project, making good...

Sun, 5 Aug 12
Enbridge says pipeline system safe despite U.S. concerns
Reuters: Enbridge Inc, whose pipelines ship the bulk of Canada's oil exports to the United States, defended the record of its system on Friday after a U.S. regulator said it had concerns about the safety of the operation following a series of spills. The U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has refused to allow Enbridge to reopen its 318,000 barrel per day Line 14 after a rupture spilled 1,200 barrels of oil into a Wisconsin field a week ago. After a series of spills,...

Fri, 3 Aug 12
Treaty That Saved the Ozone May Worsen Climate Change
Inter Press Service: The Montreal Protocol, a climate treaty that gathers all U.N. member countries behind the goal of protecting the ozone layer, may not be the "most successful international agreement" anymore, as former U.N. secretary general Kofi Annan used to put it. The treaty has achieved a great deal in the more than two decades it has been in force, with a 97-percent reduction in the consumption of ozone-depleting substances. However, it is now being widely criticised for worsening climate change by replacing...

Fri, 3 Aug 12
Brazil's deforestation rate still on decline in 2012?
Mongabay: Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon fell by more than a fifth for the 12-month period ending July 31, 2012, according to preliminary data released by Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE). INPE's Real Time Deforestation Detection System (DETER), picked up 2011 square kilometers of forest clearing between August 1, 2011 and July 31, 2012. In the year-earlier period, deforestation amounted to 2,578 sq km. DETER is based on relatively coarse satellite imagery, using 25 hectare...

Fri, 3 Aug 12
Drought Intensifies and May Last Through October
Climate Central: Drought conditions intensified in parts of the Midwest and Great Plains during the week ending on July 31, and a new forecast calls for the drought to persist straight on through until October. Beneficial rainfall did trim the edges of the drought area slightly during the past week, and may alleviate the drought in some spots during the next several months, according to the new edition of the U.S. Drought Monitor and Seasonal Drought Outlook, both of which were released Thursday morning. As of...

Fri, 3 Aug 12
Mangroves should be part of solution to climate change
Mongabay: Mangroves are under-appreciated assets in the effort to slow climate change, argues a new Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences paper which makes a argument for including the coastal ecosystems in carbon credit programs. The study, authored by researchers from Resources for the Future and University of California at Davis, estimated the cost of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by preserving mangrove forests, which globally store 6.5 billion tons of carbon in their biomass and soils...

Fri, 3 Aug 12
Greenland ice said more robust than feared
NBC News: Greenland's ice seems less vulnerable than feared to a runaway melt that would drive up world sea levels, according to a study showing that a surge of ice loss had petered out. Only on NBCNews.com Courtesy of Bill DeVos Eagle Scouts return badges to protest ban on gays Redux Constitutional militia rises in Idaho AP Very superstitious: Olympians woo Lady Luck with rituals Getty Images UK cops to probe spies' alleged role in Gitmo 'torture' NBC News The lives of Syrian rebels AP Olympics bring pride,...

Fri, 3 Aug 12
Chevron says Ecuador arbitration to stretch into 2014
Reuters: An international tribunal that will weigh in on Chevron Corp's two-decade dispute over pollution in Ecuador has set a timeline that runs into 2014, according to a Chevron regulatory filing on Thursday. The panel, formed via The Hague's Permanent Court of Arbitration under the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law, is hearing a dispute over whether Ecuador violated a treaty with the United States requiring it to guarantee Chevron a fair trial. An Ecuador court ruled against Chevron...

Fri, 3 Aug 12
Greenland loses ice in fits and starts
New Scientist: The surge of ice loss from Greenland between 2005 and 2010, which drove up sea levels around the world, was not unprecedented. A similar spurt happened in the late 1980s, and possibly decades earlier as well. While such surges will be tricky to predict, better models of the ice sheet mean that we can make more confident long-term predictions of its behaviour - predictions that suggest Greenland's effects on global sea levels may not be as bad as feared. In 2005, the Greenland ice sheet suddenly...

Fri, 3 Aug 12
Extreme weather and climate change: Caution required but not reckless statements
Washington Post: In the wake of punishing heat waves, historic droughts, extensive flooding and extraordinary melt activity on Greenland, many are asking if we are seeing long-predicted results of climate change, caused primarily by man-made heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions. Recent studies on extreme events found in an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report and the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society suggest that such events may not be attributable to weather variability alone....

Fri, 3 Aug 12
Women 'are the foot soldiers of climate change adaptation' - expert
AlertNet: In 2006, when the Asian Development Bank (ADB) decided to launch a multi-million dollar rural water project in eastern and north central regions of Sri Lanka, there was one overriding requirement -- women would be placed in key positions. As a result, experts say, the $263 million program, aimed at providing drinking water to over 900,000 people by 2011, has been a particular success. In the village of Talpothta, in the rural north-central Polonnaruwa District, the village women's association...

Fri, 3 Aug 12
Earth absorbing more carbon, even as CO2 emissions rise
ScienceDaily: Despite sharp increases in carbon dioxide emissions by humans in recent decades that are warming the planet, Earth's vegetation and oceans continue to soak up about half of them, according to a surprising new study led by the University of Colorado Boulder. The study, led by CU-Boulder postdoctoral researcher Ashley Ballantyne, looked at global CO2 emissions reports from the past 50 years and compared them with rising levels of CO2 in Earth's atmosphere during that time, primarily because of fossil...

Fri, 3 Aug 12
Enbridge insists pipe safety regimen is working
Reuters: Enbridge Inc insisted on Thursday its quick response to a U.S. oil pipeline leak last week showed that safety improvements implemented after a devastating 2010 spill in Michigan were working, despite sharp criticism from regulators. Enbridge, which reported a 7 percent increase in adjusted second-quarter profit, said it was still uncertain when it could reopen the line. The Canadian pipeline company is under growing pressure from the public, its oil-shipping customers and now investors to show...

Fri, 3 Aug 12
Foes of EU airlines carbon plan say back U.N. scheme
Reuters: Seventeen countries opposed to an EU law that makes all airlines pay for carbon they emit on flights to and from Europe reaffirmed they want to keep working on an alternative plan at the U.N. global aviation body, a senior U.S. official said. The European Commission has repeatedly said the only grounds for waiving its scheme, which has stirred threats of an international trade war, would be if the U.N.'s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) could come up with an equally effective world-wide...

Fri, 3 Aug 12
Drought-Stricken Farmers Pay the Price for Failed Climate Bill
Huffington Post: In the face of crippling drought across the Corn Belt, Congress is considering funding a disaster aid package with cuts to climate friendly conservation programs. Even as extreme drought wreaks havoc on crops and communities across the Midwest, government officials are now confident that they can link recent bouts of extreme weather to man-made climate change. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration underscored that point in early July when it released research conducted by 378 scientists...

Fri, 3 Aug 12
Stop paying politicians for climate denial
Guardian: "The best lack all conviction, while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity." These words, from WB Yeats's poem The Second Coming, came to mind as I read the testimony from Wednesday's Senate hearings on climate change. They're not a precise description of what took place, as the two most eminent climate scientists who testified before the environment and public works committee, Christopher Field and James McCarthy, were not lacking in conviction. But they were, as scientists should be, careful...

Fri, 3 Aug 12
Hong Kong suffers worst air pollution in two years
Reuters: The worst pollution in two years smothered Hong Kong for a second day on Thursday, prompting warnings to the elderly and sick to stay indoors and obscuring one of the world's most famous views. Pollution readings were "very high" in business and shopping districts such as Central, Western, Causeway Bay and Mongkok, air monitoring stations showed. The levels have surpassed only once in March 2010 when a sandstorm in northern China covered Hong Kong in dust. "Bad air is trapped here. But even...

Fri, 3 Aug 12
Drought worsens in midwest and threatens next year's corn crop
Guardian: The worst drought in 50 years has intensified across the US midwest, not only condemning this year's corn crop but threatening the prospects for next year's too, new figures showed on Thursday. The political fallout intensified as well, with growing pressure for the Obama administration to end its support for corn ethanol. Critics say diverting food to fuel for corn ethanol production risks a global food crisis, tightening supplies and driving up prices. Nearly a third of Congress members signed...

Fri, 3 Aug 12
Southern Ocean Carbon Sink
Environmental News Network: A team of British and Australian scientists has discovered an important carbon sink from water drawn down from the surface of the Southern Ocean to the deep waters beneath. The Southern Ocean is an important carbon sink in the world -- around 40% of the annual global CO2 emissions absorbed by the world's oceans enter through this region. Reporting this week in the journal Nature Geoscience, scientists from British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and Australia's national research agency, the Commonwealth Scientific...

Fri, 3 Aug 12
Humpback Whales alter migration pattern, stay in Antarctic waters longer
ScienceDaily: Large numbers of humpback whales are remaining in bays along the Western Antarctic Peninsula to feast on krill late into the austral autumn, long after their annual migrations to distant breeding grounds were believed to begin, according to a new Duke University study. The study, published July 30 in the journal Endangered Species Research, provides the first density estimates for these whales in both open and enclosed habitats along the peninsula in late autumn. It suggests that the little-studied...

Fri, 3 Aug 12
Extreme weather from climate change increases urgency of pollution reductions
The Hill: The warnings about climate change have grown to a deafening roar. This summer we are experiencing deadly heat waves and costly drought. The recent heat led to at least 55 fatalities. The New York Times describes the widespread drought. The drought that has settled over more than half of the continental United States this summer is the most widespread in more than half a century. And it is likely to grow worse. The government has declared one-third of the nation’s counties…to be federal disaster...

Fri, 3 Aug 12
Europe's Carbon Market Trips on a New Proposal
Wall Street Journal: A recent proposal by the European Union to buttress its program to curb greenhouse gases has raised new questions about the long-term path to clean air. The proposal, which aims to slow the pace at which permits to emit CO2 are sold on the Emissions Trading System between 2013 and 2020, risks having only limited effect if it isn't followed by permanent measures, analysts say. The ETS, as the EU carbon market is known, was designed to encourage companies to invest in technologies that reduce...

Fri, 3 Aug 12
US, allies renew opposition to EU airline tax
Agence France-Presse: The United States and 16 other nations Wednesday renewed their "strong opposition" to a controversial EU carbon tax on airlines, vowing to work for a multilateral global solution. The meeting hosted in Washington with 16 other countries was called to explore ideas for a global solution to address greenhouse gases stemming from the aviation industry, among emissions blamed for climate change. A carbon tax, or emissions trading scheme (ETS), was imposed on airlines by the European Union on January...

Fri, 3 Aug 12
U.S. Midwest and central Plains bake as drought intensifies
Reuters: The worst U.S. drought in 56 years intensified over the past week as above-normal temperatures and scant rainfall parched corn and soybean crops across the Midwest and central Plains, a report from climate experts said on Thursday. The drought became more severe in the southern United States as well, just a year removed from a record-breaking dry spell that ruined crops and wilted grazing pastures across Texas and Oklahoma enough to force an unprecedented northward migration of cattle. Nearly...

Fri, 3 Aug 12
Big Drought Makes for a Small 'Dead Zone'
New York Times: The dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico, outlined in red, were far smaller than last summer`s when measured at the end of July. In yet another display of the inexorable interdependence of Earth’s ecosystems, a bad summer for Midwestern farmland has turned out to be a good one for life in the Gulf of Mexico. Researchers from the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium have found that this summer’s hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico – the oxygen-devoid area of water colloquially known as the dead...

Fri, 3 Aug 12
In New Jersey Solar Decision, Economics Trumped Ideology
Inside Climate News: A law in New Jersey requiring more use of solar power was approved with virtually no opposition—which speaks to the growing importance of solar to the state's economy, according to industry experts. Late last month, Gov. Chris Christie, a popular Republican party figure, signed into law [3]a bill that aims to break the state's boom-bust solar cycle by tweaking its broken incentives program. The move could double its 800 megawatts of solar capacity by 2014. Christie's signing of S-1925 [4] comes...

Fri, 3 Aug 12
Planet’s Carbon Storing Capacity Keeping Pace with Human Emissions
Yale Environment 360: A new study finds that earth’s oceans and lands continue to absorb more than half of the human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, suggesting that the planet has not yet reached its carbon-storage capacity even as emissions continue to escalate. Writing in the journal Nature, a team of U.S. scientists calculate that the world’s natural systems -- including seas, forests, and soils -- have absorbed about 55 percent of the roughly 350 billion tons of greenhouse gases emitted during the last 50 years....

Thu, 2 Aug 12
Gas drilling research suffers from lack of funding
Associated Press: Is gas drilling ruining the air, polluting water and making people sick? The evidence is sketchy and inconclusive, but a lack of serious funding is delaying efforts to resolve those pressing questions and creating a vacuum that could lead to a crush of lawsuits, some experts say. A House committee in June turned down an Obama administration request to fund $4.25 million in research on how drilling may affect water quality. In the spring, Pennsylvania stripped $2 million of funding that included...

Thu, 2 Aug 12
Human Right to Water and Sanitation Remains a Political Mirage
Inter Press Service: When the 193-member General Assembly, the U.N.`s highest policy-making body, declared water and sanitation a basic human right back in July 2010, the adoption of that divisive resolution was hailed by many as a "historic" achievement. But as the international community commemorated the second anniversary of that resolution last week, there was hardly any political rejoicing either inside or outside the United Nations. "This human right is yet to be fully implemented," complained a coalition...

Thu, 2 Aug 12
Scientists Warn Congress About Disastrous Effects of Climate Change
Guardian: Drought, wildfires, hurricanes and heatwaves are becoming normal in America because of climate change, Congress was told on Wednesday in the first hearing on climate science in more than two years. In a predictably contentious hearing, the Senate`s environment and public works committee heard from a lead scientist for the United Nations` climate body, the IPCC, on the growing evidence linking extreme weather and climate change. "It is critical to understand that the link between climate change...

Thu, 2 Aug 12
Earth's oceans and other ecosystems still absorbing about half the greenhouse gases emitted by people
ScienceDaily: Earth's oceans, forests and other ecosystems continue to soak up about half the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere by human activities, even as those emissions have increased, according to a study by University of Colorado and NOAA scientists published August 1 in the journal Nature. The scientists analyzed 50 years of global carbon dioxide (CO2) measurements and found that the processes by which the planet's oceans and ecosystems absorb the greenhouse gas are not yet at capacity. "Globally,...

Thu, 2 Aug 12
Tropical climate in the Antarctic: Palm trees once thrived on today’s icy coasts 52 million years ago
ScienceDaily: Given the predicted rise in global temperatures in the coming decades, climate scientists are particularly interested in warm periods that occurred in the geological past. Knowledge of past episodes of global warmth can be used to better understand the relationship between climate change, variations in atmospheric carbon dioxide and the reaction of Earth's biosphere. An international team led by scientists from the Goethe University and the Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre in Frankfurt, Germany,...

Thu, 2 Aug 12
Use of mercury in gold mining stirs controversy in Brazil
SciDev.Net: Scientists in Brazil have expressed concern that new regulations in the country's Amazonas state continue to permit the use of mercury in gold mining, and have put forward what they say are more environmentally-friendly alternatives. Mercury is used mainly in small-scale 'artisanal' mining, using amalgamation processes that extract gold from other minerals by binding it to the mercury, and then burning off the mercury. This activity is increasing in developing countries across Latin America...

Thu, 2 Aug 12
Nature soaks up more greenhouse gases, brakes warming
Reuters: Oceans and land have more than doubled the amount of greenhouse gases they absorb since 1960 in new evidence that nature is helping to brake global warming, a study showed on Wednesday. "Even though we have done very little to decrease our emissions, the Earth continues to lend us a helping hand," lead author Ashley Ballantyne of the University of Colorado told Reuters. Carbon soaked up from the atmosphere by the seas and by plants and soil on land rose to an estimated 5 billion metric tons...

Thu, 2 Aug 12
Claims of Flawed Weather Data Don't Change Global Warming: Scientists
LiveScience: The stations spread across the continental United States to collect temperature data have become the flashpoint in the latest climate-change skirmish. A new analysis, released online by former TV meteorologist, climate-change skeptic and blogger, Anthony Watts, suggests many of these stations are collecting inaccurate records. Add statistical fiddling by climatologists, and the result is an artificial doubling of the rate of warming for the lower 48 U.S. states over the past 30 year years, he...

Thu, 2 Aug 12
Facebook reveals its carbon footprint
Guardian: Facebook has, for the first time, revealed the carbon footprint of its operations and its more than 900m users' likes, photo albums and status updates. The data, published on Wednesday, shows that despite the social networking's rising star, its carbon emissions are still a fraction of internet rival Google. Facebook's annual emissions were 285,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent in 2011, compared with Google's 1.5m tons in 2010. The vast majority of the emissions (72%) come from the company's...

Thu, 2 Aug 12
Climate change the cause of summer's extreme weather, Congress told
Guardian: Drought, wildfires, hurricanes and heatwaves are becoming normal in America because of climate change, Congress was told on Wednesday in the first hearing on climate science in more than two years. In a predictably contentious hearing, the Senate's environment and public works committee heard from a lead scientist for the UN's climate body, the IPCC, on the growing evidence linking extreme weather and climate change. "It is critical to understand that the link between climate change and the...

Thu, 2 Aug 12
India's Blackouts And The Dark Future Of Emerging Markets: More Disruptions, More Coal
Forbes: The good news is that power has been restored in Northern India after a grid failure left over half its population (600 million people) without electricity. The bad news follows, and does so on three levels. The most obvious is that vast tranches of the developing world currently lack access to energy supplies. The second is that more explosive outages will hit in a wide range of emerging markets where import dependency for fuel is high, but subsidised prices for domestic end users are even higher....

Thu, 2 Aug 12
Drought Helps Dry Up Tornadoes as July Sees Record Low
Climate Central: Thanks, in part, to the record-setting drought that is gripping much of the U.S., the country had a record low number of tornadoes for the month of July, and the lowest number of tornadoes for any May-through-July period since high quality recordkeeping began in 1954, according to the U.S. Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla. With just 24 tornado reports in July, the U.S. saw fewer tornadoes this month than Canada did, which is unusual. With about 231 tornadoes during the May-to-July period,...

Thu, 2 Aug 12
Cities Across U.S. Bore Brunt of Record-Setting July Heat
Climate Central: Preliminary climate data for July shows that many cities across the U.S. experienced record-setting months, with temperatures propelled upwards by a massive area of High Pressure, more popularly known as a Heat Dome, that kept cooling rains at bay. For example, in St. Louis, Mo., where the year-to-date has been the warmest such period on record, the city has already exceeded its all-time record for the greatest number of days with high temperatures of 105°F or above, beating the 10 such days that...

Thu, 2 Aug 12
Juiced by Climate Change: Extreme Weather On Steroids
ThinkProgress: The brutal summer of 2012 is what climate change looks like. It’s only the beginning of August, and yet nearly every corner of the United States has suffered through extreme weather such as oppressive heat waves, damaging storms, and devastating droughts and wildfires. 2011 saw the most billion-dollar disasters on record in the United States, and 2012 may be similarly as costly. Insurance claims from wildfires in Colorado have already reached nearly $500 million, and experts fear costs from the current...

Thu, 2 Aug 12
Historic Blackouts Reveal Troubling Holes in India’s Power Network
Yale Environment 360: The historic blackouts that left more than 670 million people in India without electricity this week revealed profound problems with a power network struggling to keep pace with one of the world’s fastest growing economies, experts say. While it’s unclear what specifically triggered this week’s massive grid failures, which knocked out power in 20 Indian states, government officials accused several northern states of drawing more power from the grid than their allocated amounts. Another factor may...

Thu, 2 Aug 12
Cut emissions further or face risks of high air pollution, study shows
European Geosciences Union: Most of the world’s population will be subject to degraded air quality in 2050 if man-made emissions continue as usual. In this ‘business-as-usual’ scenario, the average world citizen 40 years from now will experience similar air pollution to that of today’s average East Asian citizen. These conclusions are those of a study published today in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, an Open Access journal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU). Air pollution is a major health risk that may worsen with...

Thu, 2 Aug 12
India's power struggle
Guardian: This week, much of northern India was plunged into darkness for two consecutive days. About 700 million people were left without power, a situation that has affected transport, communication, healthcare, industries, agriculture and everything in between. The outgoing power minister, Sushil Kumar Shinde, blamed a few states for drawing more power than they were entitled to receive. He didn't name them, but Indian newspapers were less coy, identifying Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, and Jammu Kashmir...

Thu, 2 Aug 12
United Kingdom: Blackberries fruiting at record late time of the year
Guardian: The devil is set to get into the blackberries later than ever before this century, according to early reports from the UK's annual survey of wild trees and shrubs' fruiting season. The traditional phrase for the fruit over-ripening and losing its crisp taste is unlikely to be bandied around until mid or late August, if first reports from the mass exercise prove to be a consistent pattern. Early indications from the army of amateur naturalists – or "citizen scientists" as they are now called...

Thu, 2 Aug 12
Like Ozone Layer, Holes in Study on Thunderstorms
Climate Central: Scientists know plenty about how Earth's climate works, and greenhouse-gas pollution is messing with sea level, weather patterns, and more. There's also plenty they don't know yet -- how global warming might affect tornadoes, for example, or how quickly the massive ice caps on Greenland and Antarctica could slide into the oceans. But there are also plenty of unknown unknowns, as ex-defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld famously put it -- climate disasters nobody has even thought of yet. Last week,...

Thu, 2 Aug 12
Romney and Obama draw wind power battle lines
BusinessGreen: Mitt Romney looks set to declare war on America's wind energy industry, further emphasising the dividing line between the presumptive Republican presidential candidate and President Barack Obama on energy issues. Romney's campaign confirmed this week he wants to end long-standing tax credits for wind farm projects when the incentives come up for review later this year. The pledge means the popular production tax credits (PTCs) -- which have helped drive a surge in new wind energy investment...

Thu, 2 Aug 12
Canada: Let’s stop catering to Big Oil
Globe and Mail: Big Oil must love Canada. Our Prime Minister has become an unapologetic hustler for multinational oil companies (as if the most profitable corporations in history really needed the help). Now the two westernmost premiers are going all High Noon to maximize their cut from oil-sands pipelines. This year's premiers' summit turned into such a bitumen babblefest that it was shockingly refreshing to hear Quebec's Jean Charest make the obvious point that "you cannot disassociate the issues of energy...

Thu, 2 Aug 12
UK cuts feed-in tariff for solar panels
Guardian: The UK's solar industry maintained it has a sunny outlook on Wednesday despite dull summer weather and fresh cuts to the feed-in tariff subsidy for solar panels. From today, anyone installing solar panels will receive 16p per kilowatt hour of electricity generated, compared with 21p previously, and will receive the subsidy for 20 years instead of the 25-year duration that was formerly available. But even that substantial cut, announced by the Department of Energy and Climate Change in May,...

Thu, 2 Aug 12
Don't fall for comforting illusions of progress on climate change
Guardian: "The Owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the falling of the dusk," wrote Hegel on wisdom's habit of arriving late in a time of crisis. Will the final acceptance by some former sceptics of climate science aid effective action by nightfall? It is all to play for. Global events leave only the most pathological forms of denial standing, and challenge dated economic doctrines. The worst drought in half a century in the US mid-west coincides with the hottest first half year from January to...

Thu, 2 Aug 12
Congress ups ante in row over EU aviation emissions rules
BusinessGreen: The simmering row over the EU's aviation emissions levy cranked up another notch yesterday, as a key Senate Committee approved legislation that could effectively ban US airlines from complying with the EU's rules. The approval from the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee cleared the way for a full Senate vote and also threatened to overshadow a meeting this week of 16 countries intended to develop an international mechanism for tackling aviation emissions that would satisfy...

Thu, 2 Aug 12
England urged to pick up Wales' plastic bag levy
BusinessGreen: The government has today faced fresh calls to introduce a levy on plastic carrier bags to help cut down on waste, after recent figures showed supermarkets voluntary efforts to curb bag use have stalled. Eight billion "thin-gauge" bags were issued in the UK in 2011 at a rate of 254 per second, marking an increase of 5.4 per cent on the previous year, according to the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP). Significantly, shoppers in Wales, who since October 2011 have had to pay 5 pence...

Thu, 2 Aug 12
Extreme weather events reflect climate change
Korea Herald: For years, climate scientists have been warning the world that the heavy use of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) threatens the world with human-induced climate change. The rising atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, a byproduct of burning fossil fuels, would warm the planet and change rainfall and storm patterns and raise sea levels. Now those changes are hitting in every direction, even as powerful corporate lobbies and media propagandists like Rupert Murdoch try to deny the truth....

Thu, 2 Aug 12
Tiny atmospheric particles driving climate change
Press Trust of India: Scientists have discovered a tiny particle one thirtieth the width of a human hair which they claim plays a key role in pollution and climate change. Researchers from Harvard University studied atmospheric particles, highly lethal air pollutants which appear everywhere in the atmosphere, but are more common above cities, the Daily Mail reported. The tiny particles play a key role in air pollution and climate change by providing a surface for chemical reactions and reflecting and absorbing radiation....

Thu, 2 Aug 12
Judge in Chevron Case Declines Request
Bloomberg: The Chevron Corporation failed on Tuesday to persuade a federal judge in New York to find an $18.2 billion judgment by an Ecuadorean court unenforceable, but the judge left an injunction against the award in place pending further litigation. The judge, Lewis A. Kaplan of United States District Court in Manhattan, declined to rule on Chevron’s request, saying it remained to be seen whether the judgment was based on fraudulent evidence. The oil company is suing lawyers for Ecuadorean plaintiffs who...

Thu, 2 Aug 12
About-face on climate change
San Francisco Chronicle: For nearly 20 years climate change studies have carried the same message: The planet is heating up, the cause is atmosphere-clogging gases caused by human activity, and it's urgent to reverse the trend. To all but an isolated few in the science world, it's a case-closed verdict. That's why it's significant that one of the few credentialed doubters is stepping forward to declare a "total turnaround" and profess belief in climate change. UC Berkeley physics Professor Richard Muller says he's...

Thu, 2 Aug 12
Atmospheric CO2 drove climate change during longest interglacial
ScienceDaily: Known as the marine isotope stage 11 (MIS 11), the interglacial period centered around 400,000 years ago was the longest and possibly the warmest interglacial in the past 0.5 million years. Because the orbital configurations, atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, climate, and faunal characteristics during MIS 11 closely resemble those of the past 5,000 years, paleoclimatologists use MIS 11 as a geological analogue of the present and the near future. There exist several high-resolution records...

Thu, 2 Aug 12
Drought deepens worries about food supplies, prices
Reuters: Alarm grew over the unrelenting Midwest drought on Tuesday, as one of the top corporate leaders in agriculture warned that the government must act quickly to reduce the amount of corn going to ethanol to prevent a sharp spike in food prices. Worries about the worst drought in more than half a century afflicting the world's largest grain exporter also deepened overseas, where buyers in China and other hungry nations fret that the expected sharp drop in U.S. harvests will cause shortages and price...

Thu, 2 Aug 12
U.S. ethanol waiver would roil grains market: traders
Reuters: The U.S. government is unlikely to bow to pressure for a waiver on quotas requiring a proportion of corn is used to make ethanol before November, at the earliest, traders said, despite the expected slump in global corn production due to severe drought. And any change in the Renewable Fuels Standard, requiring that over a third of the corn crop is made into fuel ethanol, could cause market chaos after dwindling corn stocks had already been priced in, traders at an Australian grains conference said....

Thu, 2 Aug 12
California weighs giving away more CO2 permits
Reuters: In an effort to dissuade companies in key industries facing new carbon costs from leaving the state, California is considering giving them millions of dollars worth of additional free greenhouse gas allowances, state's air regulator said on Monday. California's cap-and-trade program seeks to emulate tactics used in the European Union and Australia to address emission "leakage" - a term describing the exodus of employers from a state or country in order to sidestep environmental costs. The California...

Thu, 2 Aug 12
NC can't outlaw global climate change
News & Observer: The recent decision of North Carolina’s legislature to disregard projections of sea-level rise reflects a major problem in our society: Nationwide, too many people still refuse to accept the scientific facts about global climate change. Among scientists, there is virtually no disagreement that global climate change is real, it is under way now, and humans are contributing to it. Yet over the past few years, the percentage of Americans who still reject scientific evidence of climate change...

Thu, 2 Aug 12
India Drowning in Waste, Experts Warn
Inter Press Service: Almitra Patel, a civil engineer by qualification, says she was first alerted to India's huge problem of inadequate waste disposal when she noticed that the frogs in the marshlands near her farmhouse, on the city's outskirts, had stopped croaking. Seeing that the frogs had died from sewage and garbage being dumped in the wetlands, she petitioned the Supreme Court in 1996 to intervene and get the city fathers to take responsibility for safe waste handling. Investigations showed that less than...

Thu, 2 Aug 12
Congress vote on EU carbon tax may block US airlines from paying
Guardian: Congress threatened to bring chaos to European Union airports on Tuesday, moving towards a vote on a measure that would ban US carriers from paying for their carbon emissions. The Senate's commerce, science and transportation committee cleared the way for a floor vote on a bill that would make it illegal for US carriers to comply with new EU legislation requiring airlines that use European airports to pay for carbon emissions. The measure has already been approved by the House of Representatives....

Thu, 2 Aug 12
United Kingdom: Campaigners dismayed as controversial Powys pylon route revealed
BusinessGreen: Campaigners have vowed to continue their fight against onshore wind farms in mid-Wales after the National Grid selected the route for high-voltage pylons along the picturesque Vyrnwy valley. The pylons and a major new substation at Cefn Coch in Powys will connect the proposed windfarms to the high voltage electricity network in Shropshire using a combination of overhead lines and underground cables. National Grid said it had listened to concerns that the Vyrnwy valley was particularly sensitive...

Thu, 2 Aug 12
Climate change takes back seat on campaign trail
Boston Globe: It's been a summer of discontent, with much of the country broiling under a heat wave like few before. Out West, parched wildlands burn. In the Midwest, farmers are sweating out another year of drought and wilted crops. Consumers are feeling it, too, as they fume over rising food prices and muse about what's behind the scorching temperatures. Many scientists and environmentalists, and some politicians, are sure of what's at least partly to blame: climate change. But global warming is hardly...

Thu, 2 Aug 12
Drought pits farmers against frackers
Mongabay: Drought has created a standoff over water supplies in the U.S. Midwest between energy producers and farmers, reports Bloomberg. Natural gas and oil producers have been forced to seek new water sources as they mull calls from farmers and activists to recycle their water, a practice that would make 'fracking' more expensive. Already hugely controversial, hydraulic fracturing, or fracking as its become known, exploits fossil fuel deposits by busting up shale rock using a potent combination of water,...

Wed, 1 Aug 12
United States: Enbridge Line 14 pipeline expected to restart Wed: official
Reuters: Enbridge Inc could get approval from U.S. regulators to restart the Line 14 crude oil pipeline by Wednesday evening after a spill in Wisconsin forced its closure, a local official said. The 318,000-barrels-per-day Line 14, which carries Canadian crude to refiners in the Midwest, was shut on Friday after the discovery of the spill that leaked more than 1,000 barrels of crude, covering one nearby house with oil. Line repairs were expected to be completed on Tuesday, prior to testing by the U.S....

Wed, 1 Aug 12
Ex-sceptic says humans to blame for global warming
New Scientist: It's a road-to-Damascus moment. Long-standing climate sceptic Richard Muller, a physicist at the University of California at Berkeley, now says there is strong evidence that humans are indeed warming the planet. His results are under attack from all sides. Climate sceptics slate him for his apparent betrayal, while mainstream climate scientists say his results are based on outdated methods. Muller is a director of Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST). Made up of avowed climate sceptics,...

Wed, 1 Aug 12
Study: West's forests could see 100-year drought
LiveScience: Western forests could be facing a 100-year drought, turning to scrubland by the end of the century – and taking their ability to soak up carbon with them, according to a new study. The new research, published in Nature Geoscience July 29, suggests the western evergreen forests, which cover an area from southern Canada to northern Mexico, took up a lot less carbon from the atmosphere during the drought that lasted from 2000-2004. That's normal, and expected. The question is what happens after that....

Wed, 1 Aug 12
California prepares for harsh realities of changing climate
San Jose Mercury News: Climate change is real and unfolding, and the outlook for California is bleak. A series of state-sponsored scientific studies released Tuesday warns that California can expect more scorching heat waves, severe and damaging wildfires, emergency room visits and strain on the electric grid as the Earth continues to warm and sea levels rise along the state's 1,100-mile long coast. Higher temperatures in the next decade means that far more of the state's 37 million people will depend on air conditioning--increasing...

Wed, 1 Aug 12
India blackout: a history of major power cuts
Guardian: November 2009 Storms near the Itaipu hydroelectric dam on the Paraguay-Brazil border are tentatively blamed for outages that cut power to as many as 60 million people in Brazil for two to three hours. The entire nation of Paraguay, population 7 million, is also briefly blacked out. January-February 2008 Winter storms cause a nearly two-week blackout to about 4 million people around the central Chinese city of Chenzhou. Eleven technicians reportedly die trying to restore power. November...

Wed, 1 Aug 12
India blackouts leave 700 million without power
Guardian: More than 700 million people in India have been left without power in the world's worst modern blackout, prompting fears that protests and even riots could follow if the country's electricity supply continues to fail to meet growing demand. Twenty of India's 28 states were hit by power cuts, along with the capital, New Delhi, when three of the five electricity grids failed at lunchtime. As engineers struggled for hours to fix the problem, hundreds of trains stalled, leaving passengers stranded...

Wed, 1 Aug 12
Extreme Heat Continues to Plague South Central States
Climate Central: Dangerous heat is once again roasting South Central states, with heat advisories and warnings in effect through the end of the week in eight states -- including nearly all of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. So far this month, numerous heat records have been shattered across the U.S., and for some locations in the lower 48 states, July 2012 may go down in history as the warmest of any month on record. According to the National Weather Service, Tulsa, Okla., likely set a record on Monday for...

Wed, 1 Aug 12
Texans join call for EPA to waive ethanol mandate
Houston Chronicle: Texas ranchers and dairy operators Monday backed a request by national agricultural producers to suspend the nation's Renewable Fuels Standard because it is causing corn prices to soar and livestock producers to suffer. A coalition including the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and National Pork Producers Council petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency for a waiver "in whole or in substantial part" to the output requirements under the Renewable Fuels Standard for 12 months. "An...

Wed, 1 Aug 12
Conspiracy Of Silence: The Irresponsible Politics Of Climate Change
ThinkProgress: In a summer dominated by heat waves and a devastating nationwide drought, it would seem that climate change would be a major issue in the US presidential campaign. However, quite the opposite is happening. Neither President Barack Obama nor the presumptive Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, has focused any attention on this critical issue. In a recent speech on the Senate floor, Senator John Kerry characterized the political discourse in the United States as a "conspiracy of silence … a story of...

Wed, 1 Aug 12
Human rights court favors indigenous tribe over Ecuadorian government in oil battle
Mongabay: The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has found in favor of a Kichwa community's right to consultation prior to industrial projects on their land in a ruling that could have implications for many indigenous peoples across the Americas. The court found that the government of Ecuador violated the indigenous people's rights by allowing the Argentine oil company, Compania General de Combustibles (CGC), on their land without proper consultation. The Kichwa community of Sarayaku filed the lawsuit...

Wed, 1 Aug 12
Drought strains U.S. oil production
CNN: One of the worst droughts in U.S. history is hampering oil production, pitting farmers against oilmen and highlighting just how dependent on water modern U.S. energy development has become. Over 60% of the nation is in some form of drought. Areas affected include West Texas, North Dakota, Kansas, Colorado and Pennsylvania, all of which are part of the recent boom in North American energy production. That boom is possible partly by hydraulic fracturing. Known as fracking for short, the controversial...

Wed, 1 Aug 12
Record summer heat killing more fish
Great Lakes Echo: This summer’s unusually high temperatures and continuing drought are killing fish across the Great Lakes region. “There’s nothing wrong water quality-wise,” said Randy Schumacher, fisheries supervisor for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. “The species simply can’t tolerate that hot of water for this extended period of time.” There were multiple reports of fish kills in early July across Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana and Illinois, according to state fisheries supervisors....

Wed, 1 Aug 12
Keystone XL Opponents Try to Bring Climate Change Back into the Debate
InsideClimate News: Major environmental groups submitted over 440,000 petition signatures to the State Department Monday, urging the agency to consider the tar sands industry's greenhouse gas emissions in its environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline's northern segment. Monday was the deadline for people to make their opinions heard on issues the department should include in its new environmental analysis of the pipeline. The groups say the Keystone XL would lock in the United States to a type of crude...

Wed, 1 Aug 12
China's largest inland saltwater lake keeps expanding
Xinhua: The surface area of China's largest inland saltwater lake has been expanding for eight years, according to the latest remote sensing survey. The Qinghai Lake in northwest China's Qinghai province measured 4,354.28 square km, according to satellite data collected on July 19 and published on Sunday, said Zhou Bingrong, deputy chief of the provincial institute of meteorological sciences. The figure was 14.58 square km larger than the same time last year, and the largest in 12 years, he said. ...

Wed, 1 Aug 12
Are fast-breeder reactors a nuclear power panacea?
Yale 360: Plutonium is the nuclear nightmare. A by-product of conventional power-station reactors, it is the key ingredient in nuclear weapons. And even when not made into bombs, it is a million-year radioactive waste legacy that is already costing the world billions of dollars a year to contain. And yet, some scientists say, we have the technology to burn plutonium in a new generation of “fast” reactors. That could dispose of the waste problem, reducing the threat of radiation and nuclear proliferation,...

Wed, 1 Aug 12
U.S. Meat Producers Call for Pause in Ethanol Quotas in Wake of Drought
Yale Environment 360: U.S. meat, poultry, and dairy producers are urging the Obama administration to suspend a quota for corn-based ethanol production, warning that the renewable fuels standard could trigger a food crisis as a prolonged drought pushes corn and soybean prices to record levels. In a letter sent to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a coalition that includes the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the National Pork Producers Council asked for a one-year waiver on federal ethanol quotas, saying...

Wed, 1 Aug 12
REDD Scare Over Tropics
Dissident Voice: NASA satellites recently between April 1 and June 30 have picked up extensive signals confirming what surfaced since quite a long time ago. The signals specify potential deforestation across large parts of the tropics-encompassing Columbia, Ecuador, and Paraguay in Latin America; Liberia, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, and Gabon in Africa; and India, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia in Asia as well as Russia and northwestern North America. The alarming tropical deforestation...

Wed, 1 Aug 12
More than 22% of Streams in Southern W.Va. Damaged by Mine Pollution
Duke: Water pollution from surface coal mining has degraded more than 22 percent of streams and rivers in southern West Virginia to the point they may now qualify as impaired under state criteria, according to a new study by scientists at Duke and Baylor universities. The study, published this week in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Science & Technology, documents substantial losses in aquatic insect biodiversity and increases in salinity linked to sulfates and other pollutants in runoff...


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