News

EBR Decision
Dr. Tom Puk, a Professor from Lakehead University in Thunder Bay was the person who made the application which resulted in the land-mark 2005 decision to have the Ministry of Education subject to the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR). This decision is important because it requires the Minister of Education to establish and make public a Statement of Environmental Values (SEV). In addition it means that the public can voice any concerns they have about the SEV via a public forum on the internet. Until this time the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Finance were two of the major Ministries that were not accountable to the EBR (there are still eleven Ministries not subject to the EBR). Acts, regulations or instruments that Ministries put forward that might affect environment must be posted on the Registry before these laws are legislated. Like most of the other Ministries, under the current ruling the Ministry of Education is still not subject to the review process. Unfortunately the Ontario Government has never followed-up on their commitment and the decision to prescribe the Ministry of Education to the EBR has never been acted upon. We would ask that people write in and demand that the Ministry of Education be subject to Notice and Comment and Review ASAP. Even better, citizens should contact their MPP's, the Premier, Minister of Environment, and Minister of Education now. For additional information on how the EBR can impact Ecological Education please contact us at inquiries@ecologicaleducation.ca.



The following Earth News items provided by:

EcoEarth.Info - The Environmental Sustainability Portal

07/22/2014
Drier Dust Bowl: Waiting for relief in rural America
Washington Post: The water could start at any time. Every few hours, Anita Pointon refreshes the Web site that tells when it’s coming, because the work begins as soon as they know. Her husband, Chuck, 62, will set out to walk the farm with a moisture probe to see which fields are the driest. One run of water covers only about 18 acres of their 500, so they have to choose carefully. As rural America wilts, this is how those left working its powder-dry land get by: At the appointed hour, Chuck turns the head...

07/22/2014
South-west is the UK's jellyfish hotspot, survey finds
Guardian: The south-west may be home to some of the cleanest beaches in the UK, but the first survey of its kind in over 40 years shows that it is also a thriving area for the country's jellyfish. More jellyfish were spotted per kilometre along the south-west coast than anywhere else in Britain's waters, with the south-east home to the fewest, according to an analysis of nine years of data collected by the public. The study by a team at the University of Exeter also shows that reports this year of swarms...

07/22/2014
Australia: Great Barrier Reef's decline buried in government reports, says agency
Guardian: Australia’s marine research agency has warned that the government has downplayed the declining health of the Great Barrier Reef and there is “clear potential for conflicts of interest” in development decisions. The Australian Institute of Marine Science (Aims) said assessments of the Great Barrier Reef’s condition, compiled by the federal and Queensland governments, effectively buried the bad news of the reef’s decline. John Gunn, chief executive of Aims, said that while the federal and state...

07/22/2014
Climate change wins precarious slot in proposed development goals
Reuters: Proposed new global development goals, drafted by a U.N. working group, include a goal to take urgent action on climate change, despite opposition from some countries - even though the goal is weaker than many campaigners would like. How the "post-2015 development agenda' -- which will follow the expiring Millennium Development Goals -- should approach climate change has been a thorny issue for the past 18 months, not least because the world is simultaneously trying to hammer out a new deal to...

07/22/2014
Tinderbox Explodes in Wildfires Across Northwest
New York Times: A cool, wet spring that drew out luxuriant growth in parts of the Pacific Northwest, followed by a ferociously hot and dry early summer, has created a fire-season tinderbox across the Pacific Northwest that exploded over the past week with dozens of wildfires burning hundreds of thousands of acres and forcing thousands of residents from their homes. More than 3,500 people, including fire crews from all over the country and National Guard troops in Washington and Oregon, have been battling the...

07/21/2014
Scientists blast Australian government moves dismantle environmental protections
Mongabay: On Tuesday a prominent group of conservation scientists condemned the Australian government's recent moves to eliminate protections for native ecosystems, cut research funding, backtrack on commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and step up persecution of individuals and organizations that speak out on environmental matters. Convening in Cairns, Australia at its annual meeting, The Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC) issued a resolution in support of stronger laws...

07/21/2014
Activists say arrests made in protest at Utah tar sands mine project
Reuters: Sheriff's deputies in Utah arrested nearly two dozen environmental protesters who chained themselves to fences and construction equipment on Monday at a tar sands mining project in the remote Book Cliffs mountains, an activist group said. The Tar Sands Resistance group said about 80 activists set up a "blockade" at the PR Springs mine to highlight what it said would be huge environmental damage if it goes ahead. "These projects do nothing but devastate the land and pollute the water and air,"...

07/21/2014
Global warming emissions from meat consumption rising rapidly
Mongabay: Greenhouse gas emissions from livestock production have increased by more than 50 percent over the past 50 years and are set to zoom higher as the developing world consumes more meat, finds a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The research is based on analysis of the impacts of livestock production per calorie consumed, including water and fertilizer use, land area requirements, and other factors. It went beyond carbon dioxide, evaluating...

07/21/2014
Report: Sunday shows give climate change more air time
Hill: Sunday shows have given climate change issues more air time in the first half of 2014 than in the last four years combined, according to a new analysis. The group Media Matters released the analysis Monday, which regularly tracks coverage of climate change by broadcast news, found that coverage in 2014 is substantially greater than previous years, but still down from its peak in 2009. The report credits a letter led by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) sent late last year, which railed against Sunday...

07/21/2014
Roads through the rainforest: an overview of South America's 'arc of deforestation'
Mongabay: When a new road centipedes its way across a landscape, the best of intentions may be laid with the pavement. But roads, by their very nature, are indiscriminate pathways, granting access for travel and trade along with deforestation and other forms of environmental degradation. And as the impacts of roads on forest ecosystems become clear, governments and planning agencies reach a moral crossroads. Roads have the potential to greatly cut costs for businesses and farms, grant rural communities...

07/21/2014
Beef pollutes more than pork, poultry, study says
Associated Press: Raising beef for the American dinner table does far more damage to the environment than producing pork, poultry, eggs or dairy, a new study says. Compared with the other animal proteins, beef produces five times more heat-trapping gases per calorie, puts out six times as much water-polluting nitrogen, takes 11 times more water for irrigation and uses 28 times the land, according to the study published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Cows are not efficient...

07/21/2014
Poll 60% back carbon tax if used for renewables
USA Today: Most Americans oppose a carbon tax, considered by many economists a cost-effective way to fight climate change, but they are willing to support it if the money is returned to them or used to fund renewable energy, a poll Monday finds. Only a third, or 34%, say they support taxing fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas that emit heat-trapping carbon dioxide when burned, according to researchers at the University of Michigan's Center for Local, State and Urban Policy and Muhlenberg College's Institute...

07/21/2014
Giving up beef will reduce carbon footprint more than cars, says expert
Guardian: Beef’s environmental impact dwarfs that of other meat including chicken and pork, new research reveals, with one expert saying that eating less red meat would be a better way for people to cut carbon emissions than giving up their cars. The heavier impact on the environment of meat production was known but the research shows a new scale and scope of damage, particularly for beef. The popular red meat requires 28 times more land to produce than pork or chicken, 11 times more water and results in...

07/21/2014
Climate: Meat turns up the heat as livestock emit greenhouse gases
ScienceDaily: Eating meat contributes to climate change, due to greenhouse gasses emitted by livestock. New research finds that livestock emissions are on the rise and that beef cattle are responsible for far more greenhouse gas emissions than other types of animals. It is published by Climactic Change. Carbon dioxide is the most-prevalent gas when it comes to climate change. It is released by vehicles, industry, and forest removal and comprises the greatest portion of greenhouse gas totals. But methane and...

07/21/2014
Replacing coal, oil with natural gas will not help fight global warming, expert argues
ScienceDaily: Both shale gas and conventional natural gas have a larger greenhouse gas footprint than do coal or oil, especially for the primary uses of residential and commercial heating. Dr. Robert Howarth, a professor of ecology and environmental biology, came to this conclusion after assessing the best available data and analyzing greenhouse gas footprints for both methane (including shale gas and conventional gas) and carbon dioxide over a timescale of 20-years following emissions. The findings are...

07/21/2014
California marks warmest winter and spring on record
Reuters: California had its warmest winter and spring on record this year, leading to stresses on water resources and agriculture, as well as increased risk of wildfire in the most populous U.S. state, the National Weather Service said Monday. In an overview of the nation's weather released on the agency's website, meteorologists said temperatures in California were about 5 degrees Fahrenheit above normal during the first six months of 2014, and just over 1 degree hotter than the previous record. "Despite...

07/21/2014
Your Cheeseburger Is Leaving a Giant Environmental Footprint
LiveScience: Beef production takes a big toll on the environment, according to one of the most comprehensive studies to date on livestock management in the United States. To make one steak, 28 times more land, 11 times more irrigation water, five times more greenhouse-gas emissions and six times more fertilizer is needed compared to what's required for other sources of commonly eaten protein, like pork and poultry, the researchers found. "We were trying to see how many resources we take from planet Earth...

07/21/2014
Washington state wildfire claims first fatality, weather improving
Reuters: Cooler weather and lower winds aided firefighters on Monday as they battled a week-old wildfire in Washington state that has destroyed up to 150 homes, scorched a wide swath of wilderness east of the Cascade Mountains and left one person dead. Several miles of containment lines have been put in place around the perimeter of the Carlton Complex Fire, which has burned through 243,000 acres since it was sparked by lightning on July 14, fire officials said. A drop in temperatures on Sunday, with...

07/21/2014
Beef's greater environment burden
BBC: A new study suggests that the production of beef is around 10 times more damaging to the environment than any other form of livestock. Scientists measured the environment inputs required to produce the main US sources of protein. Beef cattle need 28 times more land and 11 times more irrigation water than pork, poultry, eggs or dairy. The research has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. While it has long been known that beef has a greater environmental...

07/21/2014
India Doubles Coal Tax to Fund Ambitious Clean Energy Initiatives
Yale Environment 360: India's finance minister has doubled the tax on coal imported to or mined in the country, raising the tariff from $0.83 to $1.67 per metric ton, with plans to use the revenue to fund a host of renewable energy projects over the next decade, Clean Technica reports. The revenue will be added to the National Clean Energy Fund, which was established to provide low-cost financing for renewable energy projects. The fund's scope will be expanded to include environmental projects as well as clean energy...

07/21/2014
Surprising habitat: camera traps reveal high levels mammal diversity in oil palm plantations
Mongabay: At first the forest seems still, with only the sounds of busy insects and slight movement of wind betraying activity in the patchy undergrowth. Then, curiously, a Malay civet (Viverra tangalunga), an animal resembling half cat and half weasel, scampers out to claim its prize: a stick smeared with margarine and honey. CLICK! Sensing the animal’s body heat, a camera trap strapped to a nearby tree captures an image of this creature's inquisitive behavior. After more than four and a half years of...

07/21/2014
Foreign investment in UK renewable energy projects on the rise
Blue and Green: The number of UK renewable energy projects supported by foreign investors has increased by 25% in a year, new figures have revealed. A report from UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), released on Sunday, showed that from 2013-2014, the nation has attracted the most inward investment projects since records began in the 1980s. Overall, the UK attracted inward investment to 14% more projects than last year, with 66,390 new jobs created. Among the sectors that most appealed to foreign investors is the...

07/21/2014
Germany tops energy efficiency rating U.S. remains stuck near bottom
Mongabay: Two years after the first energy efficiency ranking report put out by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), and the U.S. still lags widely behind most of the world's other large economies. In the second report, the U.S. came in at number 13 out of 16 nations-even beaten by new-comer to the report, India-while Germany took the top spot. "Germany is a prime example of a nation that has made energy efficiency a top priority," said ACEEE Executive Director Steven Nadel. "The...

07/21/2014
Primate Rights vs Research: Battle in Colombian Rainforest
Yale Environment 360: Angela Maldonado’s day has just been made. Crouched on an observation platform built at tree canopy level 100 feet above the floor of Colombia’s Amazon jungle, she spies a family of pygmy marmosets. Adults grow to no more than 7 inches in size, making them Latin America’s smallest primates. “It’s thrilling not only because they are hard to spot but because they are special in other ways,” Maldonado whispered from her perch in the Tanimboca Nature Reserve, located 10 miles north of Leticia,...

07/21/2014
Renewables Account For More Than Half 2014's New U.S. Energy Capacity
EcoWatch: Renewable energy continues growing its share of new electricity generation in the U.S. According to the latest Energy Infrastructure Update from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, solar and wind energy constituted more than half of the new generating capacity in the country for the first half of 2014. Solar and wind energy combined for 1.83 gigawatts (GW) of the total 3.53 GW installed from January to June. Natural gas constituted much of the remainder of installed capacity with about...

07/21/2014
Climate Change Already Profound Impacts on Lakes in Europe
National Geographic: For perspective on how climate change is affecting lakes, those of us here in the U.S. can just look across the pond, where scientists and the agencies involved in meeting the European Union’s Water Framework Directive have amassed an impressive body of research on the topic. Not only are extreme weather events such as droughts and intense rainstorms becoming more common, climate warming is leading to increased algal growth and more frequent toxic algal blooms. It also affects the entire aquatic...

07/21/2014
California City Blocks New Power Plant, Cites Climate Change
Triple Pundit: When it comes to updating your neighborhood power plant these days, nothing is certain. But for NRG, California’s largest power plant operator, that message came home last month with an odd twist: The city of Oxnard voted to place a moratorium on the construction of a plant that would replace the current structure at its oceanside location. The reason? Climate change. Very often, shifting climate projections are used as the basis for updating facilities, like power plants, with infrastructures...

07/21/2014
Renewable energy is ready to supply all of Australia’s electricity
Conversation: In a recent article on The Conversation, University of Melbourne Professor Emeritus Frank Larkins wrote that Australia’s targets to increase renewable energy will make electricity more expensive, thanks to problems with consistency and storage. But Professor Larkins is several years behind developments in renewable energy and its integration into electricity grids. In fact, we already have technically feasible scenarios to run the Australian electricity industry on 100% renewable energy -- without...

07/21/2014
United Kingdom: Sainsburys store to be powered solely food waste
Guardian: A Sainsbury’s store in the West Midlands will be the first retail outlet in the UK to come off the National Grid and be powered by food waste alone in a groundbreaking project being unveiled on Monday. Sainsbury’s and waste recycling company Biffa have been working on new technology to allow the Cannock store to run on electricity solely generated from anaerobic digestion. Sainsbury’s is already the UK’s largest retail user of anaerobic digestion, generating enough energy to power 2,500 homes...

07/20/2014
Australia: Great Barrier Reef 'in worst state since records began'
AAP: The Great Barrier Reef is in the worst state it's been in since records began and will be "pretty ugly" within 40 years, Australian scientists say. A Senate committee is investigating how the Australian and Queensland governments have managed the reef, with Unesco to decide next year whether to list it as a world heritage site in danger. Scientists have told the committee the reef is facing threats from coastal development, such as a massive port-related dredging project at Abbot Point, farm...

07/20/2014
Combat global warming by taxing carbon
Oregonian: This month, energy experts from the United States, China, and 13 other nations released a report to the United Nations called "Pathways to Deep Decarbonization" offering practical paths for transitioning their countries away from fossil fuels. This is a response to the message relentlessly championed by the world's climate scientists: Stop burning things that release greenhouse gases by transitioning quickly to clean energy and low-carbon modes of transportation. If you have to burn stuff, capture...

07/20/2014
Climate models on the mark, Australian-led research finds
Sydney Morning Herald: A relatively cool period in the El Nino cycles is masking a global heat build-up. A common refrain by climate sceptics that surface temperatures have not warmed over the past 17 years, implying climate models predicting otherwise are unreliable, has been refuted by new research led by James Risbey, a senior CSIRO researcher. Setting aside the fact the equal hottest years on record 2005 and 2010 fall well within the past 17 years, Dr Risbey and fellow researchers examined claims -- including...

07/20/2014
Despite California's Drought, Taps Still Flowing In LA County
National Public Radio: This January, after the driest calendar year in California history, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency. He called on residents to reduce their water intake by 20 percent. But downtown Los Angeles doesn't look like a city devastated by the state's worst drought in decades. The city is green with landscaping, and fountains are running. People still water their lawns, wash their cars and fill their pools. Earlier this week, Gov. Brown announced that, compared to last year, water use...

07/20/2014
Indonesia: What is peat swamp, and why should I care?
Mongabay: Long considered an unproductive hindrance to growth and development, peat swamp forests in Southeast Asia have been systematically cleared, drained and burned away to make room plantations and construction. Now, as alternating cycles of fires and flood create larger development problems, while greenhouse gas emissions skyrocket, it is time to take a closer look at peat, and understand why clearing it is at best a very bad idea. What is a tropical peat swamp forest? Peat swamp forests form in...

07/20/2014
Drought hinders California's clean energy goals
Associated Press: California's ongoing drought could complicate the state's effort to combat global warming. The San Francisco Chronicle reports Sunday (http://bit.ly/1qTT5Ej ) that a drought stretching on for years could slash the amount of clean energy collected from the state's dams and send emissions spewing from other sources. State officials are pushing utility companies by 2020 to obtain 33 percent of their electricity from renewable sources that also include wind and solar power. California is in its third...

07/20/2014
Why Does Politics Keep Getting in the Way of Pricing Carbon?
Energy Collective: While a carbon price is every economists' favorite climate plan, real-world political constraints get in the way (just ask Australia!) In a new paper in Energy Policy, I examine a variety of political economy constraints that limit the environmental efficacy and economic efficiency of real-world carbon pricing policies. Households in the United States appear willing to pay just $80-200 per year to combat climate change, equivalent to a carbon tax of roughly $2-8 per ton. In contrast, estimates...

07/20/2014
Rain-fed farms common, but India unique in letting bad rains wreak economic havoc
Quartz: Last week’s rains helped dispel some of the gathering economic clouds?. Though the storm has yet not passed, there is a collective sigh of relief, because poor rains would have meant higher inflation, lower GDP, commodity price swings and widespread human misery among India’s vast number of farmers and farm hands. India might nurse delusions of becoming an economic superpower, but monsoons are still the final arbiter of our GDP. With all the progress in technology and weather forecasting in the...

07/20/2014
Crews make progress in calming massive Washington state wildfire
Reuters: A massive wildfire raging east of Washington state's Cascade Mountains showed some sign of calming Sunday, with fire crews saying they had slowed the expansion of a wind-whipped blaze that destroyed about 100 homes and displaced hundreds of people. The Carlton Complex blaze did not grow overnight, the first time since the fire was triggered by lightning strikes six days ago that it showed any sign of abatement, local officials said. By early Sunday, the fire was still burning over 280,000 acres...

07/20/2014
BRICS: $100bn sustainable development bank launched by world’s largest developing economies
Blue and Green: The BRICS group, made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, have established their own international bank, to promote sustainable investment and to act as an emergency reserve. The bank will be based in Shanghai and its first president will be from India, the group announced. In a declaration, the nations said, “BRICS continue to face significant financing constraints to address infrastructure gaps and sustainable development needs. “With this in mind, we are pleased to announce...

07/20/2014
Drought hinders state's emissions goals
San Francisco Chronicle: No state has done more than California to fight global warming. But a deepening drought could make that battle more difficult and more expensive. A prolonged dry spell, stretching on for years, would slash the amount of power flowing from the state's hydroelectric dams, already running low after three parched winters. The dams have, for years, been one of California's main sources of clean electricity, generating power without spewing greenhouse gases into the air. Drought forces utility companies...

07/20/2014
Palau – where size doesn’t matter
Islands Business: Not counting the 400 or so volcano-uplifted little limestone islands that make up the spectacular Rock Islands, Palau is small. With a population of 21,000 living in the islands’ 16 states, the island republic does live up to the Greek meaning of the name of the cultural grouping it belongs to, that of Micronesia. However being tiny does not matter when it comes to marine conservation or in the protection of the environment. In fact in the sphere of sustainable development, the republic of Palau...

07/20/2014
CO2 emissions reach historic levels
Daily Mail: For climate change activists, this week was marked by an 'I-told-you-so' moment after a group of experts from around the world released their annual report indicating that the Earth is getting warmer. The State of the Climate in 2013 report, published online Thursday by the American Meteorological Society, showed that greenhouse gases, sea levels, global temperatures and other key climate indicators were all on the rise last year. The report, compiled by 425 scientists from 57 countries around...

07/20/2014
US Becomes Biggest Oil Producer After Overtaking Saudi Arabia
EcoWatch: Is President Obama’s “all of the above” energy policy a success? Or a climate failure? A report issued recently by Bank of America declared the U.S. has now surpassed Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer. The daily output average for the first quarter of 2104 exceeded 11 million barrels, a significant increase from the previous quarters’ (Sept-Dec 2013) average of 7 million barrels, according to the International Energy Agency. The expansion of domestic oil production in the U.S....

07/20/2014
Size and age of plants impact productivity more than climate, study shows
EurekAlert: The size and age of plants has more of an impact on their productivity than temperature and precipitation, according to a landmark study by University of Arizona researchers. UA professor Brian Enquist and postdoctoral researcher Sean Michaletz, along with collaborators Dongliang Cheng from Fujian Normal University in China and Drew Kerkhoff from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, have combined a new mathematical theory with data from more than 1,000 forests across the world to show that climate...

07/20/2014
Team finds sea level rise in western tropical Pacific anthropogenic
PhysOrg: A new study led by Old Dominion University and the University of Colorado Boulder indicates sea levels likely will continue to rise in the tropical Pacific Ocean off the coasts of the Philippines and northeastern Australia as humans continue to alter the climate. The study authors combined past sea level data gathered from both satellite altimeters and traditional tide gauges as part of the study. The goal was to find out how much a naturally occurring climate phenomenon called the Pacific Decadal...

07/20/2014
Canada: Newfoundland’s healthy bees a global rarity
Canadian Press: Newfoundland's healthy honeybees are an increasing draw for researchers in the race to understand why colonies across much of the globe are struggling or dying off. "There is definitely interest in what's happening here," said Dave Jennings, a director with the provincial Natural Resources department. "There are fewer and fewer places as we look around the world now that can claim to be free from the major bee pests. And we're one of the few." Honeybees are crucial pollinators for fruit,...

07/20/2014
Marshall Islands: 2015 climate agreement matter of life or death
Blue and Green: Small Pacific countries at increasing risk of sea levels rise caused by climate change have their survival depending on rich nations’ commitment to reach a global climate agreement in 2015 in Paris, the Marshall Islands’ minister of foreign affairs Tony de Brum has said. Writing on the Guardian, Brum said that the most polluting countries –China and the US in particular – have no choice but to reach a final and strong agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions in 2015, otherwise Pacific nations,...

07/20/2014
Climate’s ‘annual physical’ reveals record-breaking global warming, report
Canada Journal: The world is getting warmer, as greenhouse gases reach historic highs and Arctic sea ice melts, making 2013 one of the hottest years on record, international scientists said on Thursday. The annual State of the Climate report 2013 is a review of scientific data and weather events over the past year, compiled by 425 scientists from 57 countries. In Australia, it proved to be the number one warmest year on record. Similar trends have also been confirmed in the oceans. Again, independent datasets...

07/20/2014
Late monsoon starts Indian farmer's 'journey to hell'
Reuters: Indian farmer Asghar Bhura scrapes a living by growing sugarcane, but this year's late monsoon has left his tiny plot parched and he will earn nothing from his harvest. Bhura will have to go and work for a big grower to feed his family of six, making 250 rupees ($4.00) a day, as he did when India suffered its last severe drought in 2009. "I have no option but to become a bonded labourer just to feed my family one meal a day," said Bhura, 50, looking at his stunted crop on his third of a hectare...

07/20/2014
A Carbon Tax That Can Rise From Australia's Ashes
Huffington Post: As the post-mortems arrive to determine the cause of death for Australia's carbon tax, a couple of questions emerge: Why did this happen? What lessons can we learn? The answer to the first question is fairly simple: A politician - Julia Gillard - promised she wouldn't tax carbon, and then she broke that promise. This happened because her Labor Party needed to form a coalition government with the Green Party. The price the Greens demanded for that alliance was a carbon tax, and so she acquiesced....

07/20/2014
138,000 species threat as Obama approves gas and oil exploration
Blue and Green: US president Barack Obama has approved a project that will open up an area off the east coast of the US to oil and gas exploration with the use of sonic cannons -- which are highly damaging to marine wildlife. The decision to use sonic cannons was approved by The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). Their deployment is quite common in drilling operations. However, a White House report has stated that 138,000 sea creatures could actually be hurt by the new project by exploration and the use...

07/20/2014
Frack Quietly, Please: Sage Grouse Is Nesting
New York Times: In a new oil field among the rolling hills near here, Chesapeake Energy limits truck traffic to avoid disturbing the breeding and nesting of a finicky bird called the greater sage grouse. To the west, on a gas field near Yellowstone National Park, Shell Oil is sowing its own special seed mix to grow plants that nourish the birds and hide their chicks from predators. And on a 320,000-acre ranch near the northern tail of the Sierra Madres, developers of an enormous wind farm have decided not to plant...

07/19/2014
March against climate change crosses pipeline's path
Lincoln Journal Star: Corn grew to the left, soybeans to the right and gravel crunched under their feet on Road 22 Saturday afternoon as about 70 Nebraskans met 35 marchers who are on a cross-country trek to inspire action in combating climate change. The Great March for Climate Action, which started in Los Angeles, reached Nebraska soil on June 30 and participants have been slowly winding their way through the state. By Saturday, their shoes' souls had covered about 1,800 miles -- about 20 miles a day -- with about...

07/19/2014
Grizzles Travel Hundreds of Miles Along Canadian "Bear Highway"
Nature World: In a rather unusual study, a group of indigenous people has mapped out a "grizzly highway" that stretches hundreds of miles through British Colombia, shedding light on bear populations in the area. Conducted over three years, authors of the study identified nearly 60 individual bears, the majority of which travelled roughly 380 square miles - much farther than previously thought - in search of autumn-spawning salmon in the Koeye River. The research was guided by the Heiltsuk First Nation, native...

07/19/2014
Microplastics Entering Marine Creatures' Body via Gills
Nature World: A new research finds that crabs and other higher marine organisms aren't just ingesting tiny bits of plastics, but are even "breathing" them. According to researchers at the University of Exeter, microplastics enter the organism's body via gills. What's worse is that these extremely tiny bits of plastic, when drawn through the respiratory system, take six times longer duration to be expelled from the body than the ingested bits. Recently, Australian researchers found that millions of tons of...

07/19/2014
Drought Conditions Linked to Human Activity
Environmental News Network: US Government scientists have developed a new high-resolution climate model that shows southwestern Australia's long-term decline in fall and winter rainfall is caused by increases in manmade greenhouse gas emissions and ozone depletion. "This new high-resolution climate model is able to simulate regional-scale precipitation with considerably improved accuracy compared to previous generation models," said Tom Delworth, a research scientist at NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton,...

07/19/2014
LA River: From Concrete Ditch to Urban Oasis
National Geographic: There's a stretch of the Los Angeles River in the Elysian Valley, roughly midway along its 51-mile route to the sea, where native willows rise from the east bank and arundo-an invasive grass-closes in from the west. If you're lucky enough to be out there in a kayak, and there's no train rushing past on the tracks above, you will hear something very strange in this city of millions: quiet. On a recent evening, Omar Brownson, the head of the L.A. River Revitalization Corporation, leaned back in...

07/19/2014
As Arctic Ice Melts, Polar Bears Find a New Menu
Climate Central: Starving polar bears, icon of the climate change movement, may be able to adapt to an ice-free summer season in the Arctic after all. Polar bears have proven adept at finding food on land, according to new findings contradicting earlier research suggesting bears will starve without access to Arctic sea ice. Scientists have long thought that polar bears essentially starve during the summer, living off fat reserves until the sea ice returns and they can venture out to sea to capture their main...

07/19/2014
Melting permafrost and Global Warming
Environmental News Network: The study, published this week in the journal Nature, focuses on thermokarst lakes, which occur as permafrost thaws and creates surface depressions that fill with melted fresh water, converting what was previously frozen land into lakes. The research suggests that arctic thermokarst lakes are "net climate coolers" when observed over longer, millennial, time scales. "Until now, we've only thought of thermokarst lakes as positive contributors to climate warming," said lead researcher Katey Walter...

07/19/2014
It ain’t over… Texas city blocks fracking ban but… voters get their say in November
UK Progressive: ThinkProgress details a Texas city’s overturning of a fracking ban. But the issue will be on the ballot in November. Denton, Texas blew its opportunity to become the first community in the state to ban hydraulic fracturing but will get a second chance for the title at the ballot box in November. After an emotional eight-hour public hearing on Tuesday, the city council in the north Texas community voted 5-2 against a citizen proposal to stop issuing permits for hydraulic fracturing, or fracking,...

07/19/2014
Who Will Save the Wolverine? Not the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Daily Beast: A witless remark by a single bureaucrat may be dooming America’s remaining wolverines to extinction. The specious crack by Noreen Walsh, the Rocky Mountain region director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, denies climate-change models and claims that predictions of reduced snowfall because of rising temperatures are merely “speculative.” This bureaucratic ignorance, buried in a recently leaked memo, in essence overrides government field scientists who have been urging the FWS to list wolverines...

07/19/2014
Whales under threat US approves seismic oil prospecting in Atlantic
Associated Press: The Obama administration is reopening the eastern seaboard to offshore oil and gas exploration, approving seismic surveys using sonic cannons that can pinpoint energy deposits deep beneath the ocean floor. Friday's announcement was the first real step towards what could be a transformation in coastal states, creating thousands of jobs to support a new energy infrastructure. But it dismayed environmentalists and people who owe their livelihoods to fisheries and tourism. The cannons create noise...

07/19/2014
Former Treasury Sec. Paulson calls climate change 'biggest risk of our time'
Oregonian: There are no easy solutions to mitigate the risks of climate change, but ending fuel subsidies and taxing carbon could be the first steps, Former Treasury Sec. Henry Paulson Jr. said Friday in Portland. And if that were an easy sell to make anywhere, it should be Oregon, he told a crowd of community, business and political leaders at a talk hosted Friday by the Portland City Club. Paulson, who was in office when the economy collapsed in 2008, said he now considers climate change the biggest...

07/19/2014
New Zealand: Actions against sea-level rise identified
Otago Daily Times: Turning Forbury Park racecourse into a lake, building a wall around it or raising the whole area have been rejected as options for defending Dunedin's harbourside and south city areas from sea-level rise. But a series of pumps at low-lying points and wells around its coastal fringes could be viable ways of saving one of the city's most valuable areas - home to $4.3 billion worth of infrastructure and property assets and 10,000 people - from going under water, an initial assessment of the options...

07/19/2014
Climate scientists see 'very rapid declines' in annual NOAA report
NBC: Leading climate scientists on Thursday issued their annual physical of Earth, comparing the planet in 2013 to a patient that's only getting worse and highlighting problems with key vital signs: from record warmth in Australia and China to sea levels that continue to rise and Arctic sea ice in continued decline. The vital signs reflect "the largest changes that we've been able to witness in the historical record," said Tom Karl, director of the National Climatic Data Center, part of the National...

07/19/2014
Climate risk for real estate values in south Florida
Living on Earth: Biologist Phil Stoddard is the mayor of South Miami, a South Florida suburb threatened by rising sea levels. Mayor Stoddard tells host Steve Curwood that municipalities in Florida are doing all they can to prepare for climate change, but he does not think the state government is taking the issue seriously, and the risk to real estate values is considerable. Transcript CURWOOD: It's Living on Earth. I'm Steve Curwood. The latest climate science is sobering when it comes to projected sea level...

07/19/2014
United States: Wildfire threat only going to get worse, says premier
Daily Courier: Climate change is drying out B.C.’s Interior and the province has to prepare for what’s likely a drier future, Premier Christy Clark said Friday in West Kelowna. Within sight of the wispy clouds of smoke rising from the Smith Creek fire, Clark told reporters this year’s fire season started far earlier than usual and she expects a greater threat of wildfires in the coming years. “I don’t anticipate, given the realities of climate change and the drying climate here in B.C., that we’re going to see...

07/19/2014
Obama opens Eastern Seaboard to oil exploration
Associated Press: The Obama administration is reopening the Eastern Seaboard to offshore oil and gas exploration, approving seismic surveys using sonic cannons that can pinpoint energy deposits deep beneath the ocean floor. Friday's announcement is the first real step toward what could be a transformation in coastal states, creating thousands of jobs to support a new energy infrastructure. But it dismayed environmentalists and people who owe their livelihoods to fisheries and tourism. The cannons create noise...

07/19/2014
Philippines: What’s behind super typhoon rapid intensification?
Climate Central: Typhoon Rammasun first tore across the Philippines earlier this week, dumping up to 13 inches of rain in some spots and causing the deaths of at least 40 people. According to the Red Cross, more than 1 million people were affected. The storm then emerged over the South China Sea and underwent a rapid re-intensification that boosted it to Super Typhoon status before it hit China's Hainan Island, becoming the most intense typhoon to hit southern China since 1973, according to the World Meteorological...

07/19/2014
Worst wildfire season in decades in Canada’s Northwest Territories
Radio Canada: The wildfire season continues to get worse in Canada’s Northwest Territories. Already listed as the worst season for fires in memory, it’s now estimated to be costing the territorial government Canadian $1 million (U.S. $931,000) a day to fight the fires. “What we are seeing in the Northwest Territories this year is an indicator of what to expect with climate change,” says Mike Flannigan, a professor of Wildland Fire in the University of Alberta’s renewable resources department. “Expect more...

07/19/2014
Google maps methane leaks
Nature: Google’s fleet of city-mapping cars are now working to measure urban natural gas leaks. The technology giant’s collaboration with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), announced on 16 July, equips Google’s Street View cars with sensors to detect methane leaking from ageing city pipes, through city streets and into the atmosphere. The sensors were developed by researchers at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. The project has released online methane maps for Boston, Massachusetts; Staten...

07/19/2014
China and US boost search for carbon capture
Climate News Network: For years, the energy companies have been telling us not to worry. Yes, mounting carbon emissions threaten to heat up the world -- but technology, particularly carbon capture and storage, or CCS, will come to the rescue. Despite various geopolitical rivalries and disputes over trade, China and the US have shown increasing willingness to co-operate when it comes to climate change issues. The trouble is that there's been plenty of talk about CCS and little action, with few projects being implemented...

07/19/2014
Boris Johnson rejects claim London’s Oxford Street world worst pollution as ‘bollocks’
Blue and Green: The mayor of London has taken to Twitter to dispute a study, conducted by Kings College London, that found Oxford Street has the world’s worst pollution levels – at up to four times higher than EU regulations. In the study, researchers found nitrogen oxide levels are the highest in the world on Oxford Street, one of the capital’s most popular shopping destinations. The study warned that concentrated emission levels from diesel engines used by buses and cars are a health risk to residents and shoppers...

07/19/2014
Warmer seas could see increase in exotic fish along British coasts
Blue and Green: Warmer sea temperatures could cause more exotic fish such as sunfish and bluefin tuna to migrate to the south west of England – a scientist has said. In an interview with the BBC, Dr Tim Smyth of Plymouth Marine Laboratory, explained how the Cornish coast could see increases in numbers of exotic fish as they migrate to English waters due to warmer sea temperatures. Devon and Cornwall have recorded sea temperatures of 2C more than usual and locals have already seen species such as bluefin tuna....

07/19/2014
Scientists investigate Arctic sea ice melt with sensors & aquatic robots
Blue and Green: An international team of scientists have attached sensors to Arctic sea ice to measure this year’s summer melt in a massive, unprecedented experiment. The study will focus on the so-called ‘marginal ice zone’ north of Alaska and Canada, the region that lies between the solid Arctic ice and the open water out to sea. Scientists will use the sensors, placed both above and below the ice, to investigate the various impacts that open water can have on sea ice. Open water can, for example, expose...

07/18/2014
Washington state just lopped up to $2,500 off the cost of solar panels. Here’s how
Grist: All new technology, no matter how innovative, arrives in a world of pre-existing laws and regulations. But not all technology catches the same breaks. A company like Lyft or Uber can do its thing right out there in the open for a surprisingly long time, despite being - essentially - appified versions of such already-illegal innovations as dollar vans and jitneys. By comparison, solar energy, despite having made leaps and bounds both technologically and finance-wise, can`t show up at the block...

07/18/2014
Marine Life Defenseless Against Microplastics
Nature World: Marine life is defenseless against microplastics, the tiny particles polluting our seas, which are not only orally ingested by these creatures but also enter their systems via their gills, according to a new study. Scientists also discovered that when microplastics are drawn in through this method they take over six times longer to leave the body compared with standard digestion. "Many studies on microplastics only consider ingestion as a route of uptake into animals. The results we have just...

07/18/2014
Why is NASA Spying on Plankton from Space?
Nature World: NASA is bringing together marine and atmospheric scientists for a very unusual purpose. The space agency says that it wants to spy on phytoplankton from space. Starting July 20, NASA's Ship-Aircraft Bio-Optical Research (SABOR) team will make coordinated flights over the Earth's oceans in the UC-12 airborne laboratory, testing new tools that can collect in-depth data on phytoplankton even from remarkable heights. So why spy on the microscopic plants that cover the Earth's oceans? According...

07/18/2014
Existing Cropland Could Feed Billions More, Reduce Environmental Footprint
Nature World: Trying to feed the world's ever growing human population without further straining Earth's resources seems like an impossible challenge. But a new study maintains that by focusing efforts to improve food systems on a few specific regions, existing cropland could feed as much as three billion more people while also reducing agriculture's environmental footprint. The report, published in the journal Science, focuses on 17 key crops that produce 86 percent of the world's crop calories and account...

07/18/2014
U.S. EPA pushes ahead with plan to block Alaska copper mine
Reuters: U.S. environmental regulators laid out proposed protections for Alaska's Bristol Bay watershed on Friday that would effectively block the development of the Pebble deposit, which could be one of the world's largest copper mines. In a 214-page document posted to its website, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to restrict the use of certain waters in the region for disposal of dredged or fill material associated with mining the Pebble deposit. It is the latest step by the agency...

07/18/2014
El Nino may not bring needed rains parched California
Reuters: California's drought - its worst in decades - is likely to hold steady through the summer months and may not ease in the fall even with an anticipated El Nino weather pattern, a federal drought expert said on Friday. Extreme drought conditions have enveloped California - the most populous U.S. state and an important agricultural center - since the beginning of the year. The conditions have left more than 80 percent of the state in parched conditions defined as "extreme" as of this week, up...

07/18/2014
Charlie Crist Wants to Meet With Scientists Who Asked to Meet With Rick Scott
Broward-Palm Beach: In what some would call a wily veteran move, Charlie Crist has publicly offered to meet with the ten Florida environmental scientists who asked Gov. Rick Scott to meet to discuss climate change. And now that Crist has come out and said he'll meet with the scientists, Scott has also come out and said he'll meet with them. Ah, politics. It's most likely going to kill us all, but it's fun to watch. The scientists had written a letter to Scott earlier in the week, requesting a sitdown with the...

07/18/2014
Extreme Drought in CA Triggers Halting Fracking Waste Injection Avoid Aquifer Contamination
EcoWatch: California officials have ordered an emergency shut-down of 11 oil and gas waste injection sites and a review of more than 100 others in the state`s drought-wracked Central Valley out of fear that companies may have been pumping fracking fluids and other toxic waste into drinking water aquifers there. The state`s Division of Oil and Gas and Geothermal Resources on July 7 issued cease and desist orders to seven energy companies warning that they may be injecting their waste into aquifers that could...

07/18/2014
United Kingdom: Senseless brutality spoils the shimmer of purest pink orchids
Guardian: Excited chatter bounces off the amphitheatre's great walls, syncopates with screech of trekking poles on rock-pavement. This nature reserve in vast old quarries that straddle the Wales-England border seldom enjoys the accomplished silence of most abandoned industrial sites in Wales. Traffic-roar from the busy trunk road below amplifies against plane surfaces of pale grey limestone, mutters away like threat of thunder into the flat mere country eastwards. I walk from a lane where dog-rose is still...

07/18/2014
EPA: Proposed Pebble Mine could destroy Alaskan salmon fishery
Mother Nature Network: For one of the largest mines ever conceived, the proposed Pebble Mine project in southwest Alaska hasn't gotten much press. The site, located about 200 miles from Anchorage and accessible only by plane, is said to contain half a trillion dollars' worth of copper, gold and other valuable minerals. For years now a group called the Pebble Limited Partnership has been working to start mining operations at the site, but for just as long, conservation groups have fought the plan, saying it would cause...

07/18/2014
China & US Partner Boost Search for CO2 Capture
Scientific American: For years, the energy companies have been telling us not to worry. Yes, mounting carbon emissions threaten to heat up the world -- but technology, particularly carbon capture and storage, or CCS, will come to the rescue. The trouble is that there's been plenty of talk about CCS and little action, with few projects being implemented on a large scale. That could be about to change as China and the US, who have been leading the way on CCS research in recent years, this month signed a raft of agreements...

07/18/2014
U.S. approves plan to open Atlantic to oil reserve surveys
Reuters: The Obama administration on Friday approved a plan that would allow companies to assess oil resources off the Atlantic Coast, angering environmental groups that worried the plan will harm marine life and open the door to offshore drilling. First outlined by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in February, the plan lays out the mitigation measures companies would be required to undertake before conducting seismic testing to gauge the oil reserves in the Atlantic Ocean. "We are taking every...

07/18/2014
EPA Blocks Giant Alaska Mine to Protect Bristol Bay Salmon
Environment News Service: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today proposed regulations to protect one of the world's most valuable salmon fisheries, in Bristol Bay, Alaska, from the risks posed by a proposed open pit mine nearly as deep as the Grand Canyon and larger than Manhattan. This deposit of copper, gold and molybdenum is owned by Northern Dynasty Minerals based in Vancouver, Canada and the Pebble Limited Partnership, based in Anchorage, Alaska. It could become one of the largest open pit mines in the world...

07/18/2014
Washington state wildfires force evacuation of town, destroy homes
Reuters: A wildfire burning out of control in Washington state’s Cascade Mountains destroyed at least 35 homes and forced the evacuation of an entire town early on Friday, as firefighters faced another tough day battling the blaze amid drought-like conditions. Four separate fires triggered by lightning in the Methow Valley merged into two on Thursday, quickly scorching 15 miles of land and sending flames encroaching on the central Washington town of Pateros, some 120 miles northeast of Seattle, local emergency...

07/18/2014
What If Climate Change Triggers Cooperation, Not Conflict?
Huffington Post: "Climate change increases the likelihood of war and terrorism," President Obama said earlier this summer. The Pentagon and a distinguished committee of retired generals and admirals both produced reports earlier this year highlighting the accelerating risks of climate change to US national security. A recent Showtime series on climate change had Tom Friedman linking climate change to political instability in the Middle East. But what is the basis of these claims? Do we have good evidence to support...

07/18/2014
Wildfires Intensify in Pacific Northwest as Winds Rise
National Geographic: More than two dozen wildfires in Oregon and Washington, sparked by lightning strikes last weekend and spurred by hot, dry conditions and strong winds, are expected to intensify Friday. Hundreds of people have been evacuated and about 1,000 homes have been threatened as more than 300,000 acres burn. "We're going to have another windy day today, so we expect more fire growth, but we're doing the best we can to contain them," says Ken Frederick, a spokesperson with the National Interagency Fire Center...

07/18/2014
Atlantic Salmon can Adapt to Warm Waters
Nature World: Atlantic salmon can cope with climate change, a new study has found. The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Oslo and University of British Columbia, has found that populations of Atlantic salmon have the ability to adjust to warmer temperatures. For the study, researchers looked at salmon populations in two European rivers. The team compared fish population from Norway's northern Alta River with fish population in France's Dordogne River. The temperature of the Alta river...

07/18/2014
First Litter Mexican Gray Wolves Raises Hope Recovery
Nature World: The first known litter of Mexican gray wolves was reportedly found, Mexico City officials said Thursday, raising hope that this endangered species is on its way to recovery. Mexico's National Commission for Natural Protected Areas says the wolf pups were sighted in June by a team of researchers in the western Sierra Madre Mountains, according to The Associated Press. The gray wolf had almost completely disappeared from the wild in Mexico three decades ago, and this new litter is part of a reintroduction...

07/18/2014
First U.S. Chikungunya Virus Infections Take Hold
National Geographic: Two people in South Florida are the first to contract a debilitating mosquito-borne disease called chikungunya within the continental United States. The disease, which causes severe joint pain but is rarely lethal, has spread rapidly throughout the Caribbean in recent months. Of the previous 234 cases reported in the continental U.S., all were in people who got mosquito bites while traveling. elated: "Mosquitoes Carry Painful Chikungunya Disease to Americas.") The two people, one in Miami and...

07/18/2014
Can Drones Fight Illegal "Pirate" Fishing?
National Geographic: Aquamarine waters and an abundance of marine life make Glover Reef off the coast of Belize a popular diving spot. But soon the azure sky above this barrier reef may be filled with the buzzing of drones, sent to combat the illegal fishing that plagues the region. An estimated 20 percent of all fish hauled in around the globe are caught illegally, through a combination of fishing in restricted areas, subverting quotas and seasonal limits, and using banned gear. The fish are shipped around the world...

07/18/2014
Do You Know Where Your Aquarium Fish Come From?
National Geographic: Watching flamboyantly colored fish flit about a saltwater aquarium can be relaxing. Figuring out where they came from, and whether they were caught in a sustainable manner, can be an exercise in frustration. The aquarium trade is a global industry with no centralized database to track what gets bought and sold, and with no central governing body to enforce regulations. Collectors and exporters in places as far-flung as the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Florida pump tens of millions of marine animals-more...

07/18/2014
Germany Tops Energy-Efficiency Ranking and U.S. Scores Near Bottom
Yale Environment 360: Germany tops a new energy efficiency ranking of the world’s major economies, followed by Italy, China, France, and Japan, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). The United States ranked 13th out of 16 nations, behind countries such as India, China, and Canada, although new carbon pollution standards proposed this June for existing power plants would be a major stride in the right direction, the ACEEE said. The group also admonished Australia, which ranked 10th,...

07/18/2014
Peru Ratifies Nagoya Protocol On Genetic Resources
Bernama: Peru has recently ratified the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (ABS) to the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Andean country's Foreign Ministry reported Tuesday. Following the ratification of 12 more countries last week, including Peru, the Nagoya Protocol on ABS, which was adopted on 29 October 2010 in Nagoya, Japan, will enter into force on October 12 this year. According to the UN Convention on...

07/18/2014
Germany: 'Merkel might come back as a climate leader'
Deutsche-Welle: This week, Germany hosted the fifth Petersberg Climate Dialogue in preparation for the Climate Change Conference in Peru at the end of this year. Christoph Bals from Germanwatch gives his verdict on how the talks went. DW: What were the major outcomes of the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Berlin? Christoph Bals: Big players for climate policy, and the EU too, are willing to get an ambitious deal next year in Paris for a new climate deal which is so necessary. China has, for the first time,...

07/18/2014
A Fresh Look at Iron, Plankton, Carbon, Salmon and Ocean Engineering
New York Times: Two years ago this month, an edge-pushing environmental entrepreneur and a company formed by a Native Canadian village set off a wave of international protest by dispersing a pink slurry of 100 tons of iron-rich dust over one of the 60-mile-wide ocean eddies that routinely drift across the salmon feeding grounds of the Gulf of Alaska. Their goal, in the face of steep declines in Pacific salmon catches, was to trigger a plankton population explosion with the infusion of iron, a vital nutrient that’s...


Did You Know?

It takes 15,000 tons of water to produce one ton of beef or cotton. Whereas, it takes only 300 tons of water to produce the same amount of wheat and soybeans.

 

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