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Updated: 44 weeks 4 days ago

The Argument Against Expanded Oil Drilling in Arctic Seas

Wed, 06/05/2013 - 21:05
New York Times: The Natural Resources Defense Council has issued a statement concluding that recent events — most notably the grounding of a Shell Oil drilling rig in Alaska — show the oil industry is not ready to safely, cleanly drill offshore in the Arctic. I agree. There’s no logic for pushing fossil-fuel frontiers this extreme while neglecting energy-efficiency measures at home. Here’s the group’s argument, which builds on its earlier, and justified, criticism of President Obama’s vague new “National Strategy...
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The Devastating Legacy of Extreme Fossil Fuel Extraction

Wed, 06/05/2013 - 15:12
EcoWatch: Watch this powerful video from Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance, Our Back is Against the Wall, featuring Ponca elders Carter Camp and Casey Camp-Horinek describing the devastating legacy of oil exploitation in their communities in present day Oklahoma. Expanding tar sands mining in Alberta, Canada, through the Keystone XL is the latest threat to indigenous sovereignty and traditional homelands.
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The Right Rules for Keeping Ships from Hitting Right Whales

Wed, 06/05/2013 - 14:39
New York Times: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has built a solid case for making permanent the rules the agency implemented five years ago to limit collisions between ships and endangered North Atlantic right whales along the East Coast. This whale population, hunted nearly to extinction generations ago, is slowly recovering, with an estimated 450 right whales dividing their time between winter calving areas off the southeastern United States and summer feeding grounds from New England north....
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The Effects of Climate Change on Coral Reef Health

Wed, 06/05/2013 - 13:50
Scientific American: Coral reefs are one of the most diverse ecosystems on this planet. They are home to numerous species of marine life and offer a plethora of benefits both to natural ecosystems and to the human population. Coral reefs bring in enormous funds to coastal countries through tourism, fishing, and discoveries of new biochemicals and drugs (Hoegh-Guldberg 1999). Additionally, they provide natural coastal protection and building materials (Hoegh-Guldberg 1999). However, coral reefs are experiencing massive...
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By the Numbers: Reducing Food Loss and Waste

Wed, 06/05/2013 - 12:57
World Resources Institute: This post is the second installment of WRI’s blog series, “Creating a Sustainable Food Future.” The series explores strategies to sustainably feed 9 billion people by 2050. All pieces are based on research being conducted for the 2013-2014 World Resources Report. Look for the next installment tomorrow, which will highlight a number of solutions to reduce food loss and waste. The world produces about 4 billion tons of food per year, or about 6 quadrillion calories. That’s a large amount, but what’s...
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Australia: Human Deforestation Outweighs Climate Change for Coral Reefs

Wed, 06/05/2013 - 11:32
ScienceDaily: Better land use is the key to preventing further damage to the world's coral reefs, according to a study published this week in the online science journal Nature Communications. The study, by an international team including a researcher from The University of Western Australia's Oceans Institute, has important implications for Australia's Great Barrier Reef. The study authors write that preventing soil erosion and sediment pollution arising from human activities such as deforestation are crucial...
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Hurricane Sandy and Climate Change Drive Up the Pollen Count

Wed, 06/05/2013 - 08:54
Daily Beast: FIRST THE heat. Then the storms. Now the ... pollen? Massive quantities of pollen are floating through the air, causing people to sniff, sneeze, and itch. And it turns out a changing climate could be to blame. In the Northeast, tree pollen is at the highest level in the 25 years that Leonard Bielory, an allergy and immunology expert at Rutgers University’s Center for Environmental Prediction, has been tracking it. He says it’s a continuation of a trend he’s been seeing for years, and he expects...
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Another contaminated water leak at Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant

Wed, 06/05/2013 - 07:54
Reuters: The operator of the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant said it had found another leak of contaminated water on Wednesday, piling pressure on the utility to curb the problem as it seeks permission to release water to the sea. The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power plant was hit by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami more than two years ago, triggering nuclear reactor meltdowns and explosions. Tokyo Electric Power, or Tepco, said a worker patrolling the area spotted the leak just after noon, with...
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BP’s Oil Spill Deal Sours as Claims Add Billions to Cost

Wed, 06/05/2013 - 04:00
Bloomberg: BP Plc’s $8 billion settlement with victims of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill may have hurt Europe’s second-largest oil company more than it helped. The company is relying on a U.S. appeals court to rein in awards by the settlement’s claims administrator for what it considers to be unreasonable demands, such as a $21 million payout to a rice mill 40 miles from the coast whose revenue rose the year of the spill. BP has protested in court filings that administrator Patrick Juneau’s interpretation...
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China’s plastic-bag ban turns five years old

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 21:21
Grist: What do you give a plastic-bag ban for its fifth birthday? In the case of China, which over the weekend celebrated five years of restrictions on plastic shopping bags, officials are showering their ban with accolades and crediting it with keeping tens of billions of bags out of landfills and the environment. The rules, which took effect on June 1, 2008, ban the manufacture or use of the thinnest types of plastic bags. They also prohibit supermarkets, department stores, and grocery stores from...
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U.S. to sell offshore leases for Northeast wind farms

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 20:45
Reuters: The Department of Interior said Tuesday its Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will hold the first ever competitive lease sale for renewable energy in federal waters south of Rhode Island and Massachusetts on July 31. The Interior Department said in a release BOEM will auction commercial wind energy leases to 164,750 acres located about 9.2 nautical miles south of Rhode Island. BOEM said it will auction the area as two leases - the 97,500 acre North Lease and the 67,250 acre South Lease....
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Warming oceans are killing baby puffins

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 19:15
Grist: Atlantic puffins - sometimes called the clowns of the sea because of their squat bodies and odd waddles - are finding themselves in a particularly unfunny predicament. Scientists think warming ocean temperatures are driving the puffins` normal meals of herring away from the coastlines; they`re being replaced with other fish that are too large for puffin fledglings to swallow. We told you in May that record-breaking Atlantic coastal water temperatures were driving some fish away. And on Friday...
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The intensity of land use doubled in the 20th century

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 18:16
ScienceDaily: The growth of green plants -- which can be measured in terms of "net primary production," or NPP for short -- provides the energetic foundation for all life on earth. The share of NPP appropriated by humans (HANPP) through agriculture and forestry, bioenergy production, and vegetation fires doubled over the course of the past century. Researchers at the Institute of Social Ecology at the AAU have shown that while land is used more efficiently, simultaneously, the intensity of land use has increased...
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Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Still Spilling After Nearly a Decade

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 13:59
EcoWatch: The 2013 hurricane season is now upon us, and it`s predicted to be a doozy this year. Which got us to thinking ... Remember that strange, persistent little oil slick about 12 miles offshore that SkyTruth discovered on satellite imagery during the BP oil spill in 2010, that was not related to BP's Deepwater Horizon disaster? Remember how SouthWings flew photographer J. Henry Fair out there and came across a deepwater drill rig with a miles-long oil slick next to it? When we published this, an...
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China’s New Arctic Presence Signals Future Development

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 13:01
Yale Environment 360: When China -- along with Japan, South Korea, Singapore, India, and Italy -- was granted permanent observer status in the Arctic Council last month, it left many experts wondering whether a paradigm shift in geopolitics is taking place in the region. Until recently, security issues, search and rescue protocols, indigenous rights, climate change, and other environmental priorities were the main concerns of the intergovernmental forum, which includes the eight voting states bordering the Arctic and...
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Turtle conservationist shot dead 'by poachers' on Costa Rica beach

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 23:31
Independent: Late in April a dedicated young Costa Rican conservationist, Jairo Mora Sandoval, logged on to his Facebook page, with its pictures of cavorting baby sea turtles and wild beaches, and typed out an urgent plea. "Can you send messages to the police to come to the Moin beach," he asked his friends, stressing that the officers must be armed and not afraid, "60 turtles are lost – there wasn't even a nest left. We need help and soon." In a comment beneath the post, Mr Mora Sandoval, who was working...
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The acid test: Changing seas trip up baby squid

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 14:00
LiveScience: Squid could be in trouble as the oceans grow more acidic, new research finds. As humans pump carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the oceans absorb about a third of the greenhouse gas. This buffers terrestrial creatures from even more extreme effects of climate change -- without the oceans, Earth's atmosphere would contain far more than the approximately 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide that it does today. However, the dissolved carbon dioxide makes the oceans more acidic, possibly affecting...
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New Maps Aim To Raise Awareness Of Storm Surge Danger

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 10:36
National Public Radio: Hurricane season begins Saturday, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is forecasting an active season, with perhaps seven to 11 hurricanes. With memories of last year's destruction from Hurricane Sandy still fresh, meteorologists are working on ways to improve how they forecast storms and communicate warnings to the public. When Sandy was making its way northward in the Atlantic and began to turn toward the East Coast, the National Hurricane Center tried to emphasize the...
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British Columbia Opposes Planned Oil Sands Pipeline

Sat, 06/01/2013 - 00:49
New York Times: A pipeline for exporting oil sands bitumen to Asia-bound tankers was dealt a severe blow on Friday when the province of British Columbia urged a federal review panel to reject the $6 billion plan. The proposal to build the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and its port is effectively Alberta's backup plan in case the Obama administration turns down the Keystone XL, a pipeline that would link the oil sands with American refineries on the Gulf Coast. Several of the concerns raised by British Columbia...
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Tar sands supporters suffer setback as British Columbia rejects pipeline

Fri, 05/31/2013 - 23:58
Guardian: Efforts to expand production from the Alberta tar sands suffered a significant setback on Friday when the provincial government of British Columbia rejected a pipeline project because of environmental shortcomings. In a strongly worded statement, the government of the province said it was not satisfied with the pipeline company's oil spill response plans. The rejection of the pipeline – which was to have given Alberta an outlet to Pacific coast ports and markets in China – further raises the...
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