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

09/01/2014
Wisc: Mining company, allies spent freely get bill approved
Journal-Sentinel: The recent disclosure that Gogebic Taconite donated $700,000 to a Wisconsin political group is the latest example of how the mining company and its supporters used money, influence and the allure of jobs to persuade lawmakers to relax state environmental regulations. Gogebic zoomed into Wisconsin politics in 2011. The company had plans for a massive open pit iron ore mine, but it demanded changes in mining laws before starting a multimillion-dollar regulatory review. The $1.5 billion project...

09/01/2014
China national carbon market on track for 2016 launch
BusinessGreen: China's ambitious plans to introduce a national carbon market remain firmly on track, after a senior government official indicated the planned emission trading scheme will kick off in 2016. Reuters reported this week that the Chinese government is planning to approve the necessary legislation before the end of this year, paving the way for the launch of a national carbon market in 2016. The news agency quoted Sun Cuihua, a senior climate official with the National Development and Reform Commission,...

09/01/2014
California Warms, Greener Mountains Will Mean Less Water for People
National Geographic: Scientists have more bad news for drought-stricken California: The climate warming expected in this century is likely to result in even less water flow from the mountains, as trees and plants growing higher on the slopes soak up more of the available precipitation. This finding should be "of great interest to water managers in California," says Roger C. Bales, a professor of hydrology and environmental engineering at the University of California, Merced, who co-authored the study published Monday...

09/01/2014
The last of her kind: centennial of the death of the world's last passenger pigeon
Mongabay: “The air was literally filled with Pigeons; the light of noon-day was obscured as by an eclipse; the dung fell in spots, not unlike melting flakes of snow; and the continued buzz of wings had a tendency to lull my senses to repose.” Echoed through time are the words of John James Audubon, iconic American ornithologist, who, in the autumn of 1813, watched a flock of passenger pigeons fly over the Ohio countryside. Its numbers were so vast, he recounted, that it took more than three days for the...

09/01/2014
How minor parties help address climate change
Washington Post: Concern over climate change continues to grow among climate scientists and across the political spectrum. But climate change is a difficult problem to address in large part because its consequences are not immediately apparent, and thus it can be difficult to convince the public to accept the material sacrifices required. In democracies, this task can be made more difficult by the incentives parties and politicians face to pander; that is, to pursue votes by appealing to voters’ short-term interests....

09/01/2014
78 Killer Whales in Pudget Sound, Numbers Continue to Decline
Nature World: There are only 78 killer whales left in Pudget Sound, and their numbers continue to decline. Such frighteningly low levels have not been seen in the area - located off the state of Washington - since 1985, according to a census by the Center for Whale Research. What's more, the whales appear to be "splintering" from their pods, or social groups. Where typically all three pods of orcas have come together in waters off the San Juan Islands during summer months, now they are dividing. "What...

09/01/2014
Mountain Forest Changes Threaten Water Supplies
Climate Central: Hike high enough up California's Sierra Nevada and the forest morphs around you. At around 6,000 feet, the dazzling diversity of the lower montane forest, replete with California black oak, ponderosa pine, and incense cedars gives way to more monotonous landscapes of red fir and lodgepole pine. Hike further still and trees eventually disappear altogether, replaced with rocky topographies reminiscent of Mars. The forestry changes underway threaten to slash the amount of water that flows down the...

09/01/2014
EU power vacuum new rules will make cleaners more efficient
Guardian: New EU rules on vacuum cleaners will not harm people with dust allergies as your correspondent (Letters, 25 August) suggests. The new rules – supported by most manufacturers and agreed by national governments – will not mean vacuum cleaners picking up less dust or extended vacuuming time. And they include tough standards to reduce dust escaping from the back. The whole point is that better “eco-design” for domestic appliances can reduce energy consumption without damaging performance. That is good...

09/01/2014
Fukushima accepts 'temporary' radioactive waste storage
Agence France-Presse: The governor of disaster-struck Fukushima agreed Monday to accept the "temporary" storage of nuclear waste from the Japanese accident, paving the way for an end to a years-long standoff. Yuhei Sato has been cajoled and lavished with the promises of subsidies if he accepts a central government plan to build a depot on land near the battered Fukushima Daiichi plant. "I have made an agonising decision to accept plans to construct temporary storage facilities in order to achieve recovery in the...

09/01/2014
Climate Change Could Soak Up California's Fresh Mountain Water Runoff
KPBS: The Sierra Nevadas deliver freshwater runoff that could dry up if temperatures continue rising. A new study suggests rising global temperatures could cut into California's water supply by altering high-altitude vegetation. Water used to irrigate crops in the Central Valley often begins as runoff from the top of Sierra Nevada mountains. It's so cold up there, vegetation can't take root. But with global temperatures rising, that could change. "Rain or snow comes in, and the vegetation -- the...

09/01/2014
Mexico investigates mass fish death in lagoon
Agence France-Presse: Fishermen used shovels, wheel-carts and trucks in western Mexico on Monday to pull tons of dead fish out of a lagoon that has been the scene of four fish kills this year. Authorities are investigating whether negligence at wastewater treatment plants was to blame after millions of fresh water fish locally known as "popocha" began to float up in the Cajititlan lagoon last week. Some 130 fishermen from the town of Tlajomulco continued to pull dead fish out of the water on Monday and buried them in...

09/01/2014
Historic Wildfires Burn Through Canada As Sub-Arctic Forests Heat Up
ThinkProgress: Wildfires are taking off in Canada as the country goes through one of its hottest and driest summers in decades. Wildfire activity in the Northwest Territories is more than six times higher than its 25-year average, and as of August 23 a total of 162 wildfires were burning in British Columbia. The latter province has seen 1,269 wildfires so far this year, along with 314,895 hectares of land burned - almost equivalent to 2010, when the province lost 337,149 hectares to various blazes. The fires...

09/01/2014
Exploring a Tree One Cell at a Time
New York Times: Not every scientist would choose to spend a peaceful summer Sunday morning perched on a jittery scaffold 40 feet up a red oak tree, peering through a microscope to jab a leaf with a tiny glass needle filled with oil. But Michael Knoblauch, a plant cell biologist at Washington State University, is in the stretch run of a 20-year quest to prove a longstanding hypothesis about how nutrients are transported in plants. He is also running out of time: He’s nearing the end of a sabbatical year, much of...

09/01/2014
Powerful hairdryers could be banned in EU attempt tackle climate change
Independent: Powerful hairdryers may be banned under European Union (EU) regulations aimed at tackling climate change. Up to 30 other appliances, including toasters and kettles, appear in a study requested by the European Commission in order to meet a target for energy savings of 30 per cent across the EU by 2030. Hairdryers can range in power from 900 watts to as much as 2,300 watts Hairdressers and consumers the fear more powerful models favoured by salons would no longer be available. The National...

09/01/2014
A doomed Earth of science fiction may well become a reality
Guardian: There’s a scene in the newly-restored science fiction classic The Day the Earth Caught Fire (premiered last week in the summer open air cinema at the British Museum) when The Daily Express’s fictional, bull-nosed science reporter, Bill Maguire, barks at a newsroom junior to fetch him information on the melting points of various substances. It’s to illustrate a spread in the paper which is investigating how massive nuclear tests have shifted the planet on its axis, causing chaotic weather and a heat...

09/01/2014
Policy uncertainty threatens renewable energy development
Vanguard: The development of renewable energy will slow down over the next five years unless policy uncertainty is diminished, the International Energy Agency, IEA, said in its latest third annual Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report. This gives credence to what the National Power Training Institute of Nigeria, NAPTIN, Director-General, Mr. Reuben Okeke recently said that renewable energy will not give the quantum megawatts needed to effectively grow the Nigerian economy. Okeke had said that western...

09/01/2014
Bad weather for 2050 as TV forecasters imagine climate change
Reuters: Imaginary television weather forecasts predicted floods, storms and searing heat from Arizona to Zambia within four decades, as part of a United Nations campaign on Monday to draw attention to a U.N. summit this month on fighting global warming. "Miami South Beach is under water," one forecaster says in a first edition of "weather reports from the future", a series set in 2050 and produced by companies including Japan's NHK, the U.S. Weather Channel and ARD in Germany. The U.N.'s World Meteorological...

09/01/2014
‘Urgent need’ to control rabies-spreading vampire bats
SciDevNet: The destruction of natural habitats in the Amazon is increasingly forcing vampire bats into contact with people and even into cities, causing more outbreaks of the deadly rabies disease, say scientists. In remote parts of the Amazon, rabies is usually controlled by vaccination of local populations in response to human deaths from the virus. But that has not succeeded in preventing further outbreaks, says Benjamin Stoner-Duncan from the University of Washington, who co-authored a recent review...

09/01/2014
World will warm faster than predicted in next five years, study warns
Guardian: The world faces record-breaking temperatures as the sun's activity increases, leading the planet to heat up significantly faster than scientists had predicted for the next five years, according to a study. The hottest year on record was 1998, and the relatively cool years since have led to some global warming sceptics claiming that temperatures have levelled off or started to decline. But new research firmly rejects that argument. The research, to be published in Geophysical Research Letters,...

09/01/2014
Coalgate: India urges supreme court not to close coal mines
Guardian: The Indian government has urged the country’s supreme court to allow 46 illegally granted coal licenses to continue to operate. The court is considering what action to take in the “Coalgate” corruption scandal. Last week, it found that every coal mining license the government allocated between 1993 and 2009, 218 in all, had been granted in an “illegal and arbitrary” manner and the government committee that oversaw the process was a regulatory vacuum in which cronyism thrived. India’s attorney...

09/01/2014
Reducing Red Meat Consumption Key Keeping Greenhouse Gas Emissions Manageable
RedOrbit: Unless global red meat and dairy product consumption is reduced, greenhouse gases resulting from food production will increase by 80 percent in the years to come, a team of researchers from the UK reported Sunday in the journal Nature Climate Change. This dire warning comes as an increasing number of people all over the world are “adopting American-style diets, leading to a sizeable increase in meat and dairy consumption,” said BBC News environmental analyst Roger Harrabin. If this continues,...

09/01/2014
Poverty and hunger will not end without better rainwater management
Reuters: The world will fail to meet international targets to eradicate poverty and hunger unless countries improve the way they use rainwater, which billions of people depend on to grow food, leading water experts said. More than two billion of the world's poorest people live in the driest "hot spots', including Africa's Sahel region, parts of India, northern China and parts of Brazil. These regions, which also have the world's highest population growth rates, depend on unpredictable rainfall. But these...

09/01/2014
How to Buy a Mine in Wisconsin
New York Times: Last year, Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin and the Republican-controlled State Legislature approved the world’s largest open-pit iron ore mine, a gash in the northern part of the state that could be as long as 21 miles, a half-mile wide and 1,000 feet deep. The mine legislation was bad enough from an environmental point of view: It allows the operator to fill streams with mine waste, eliminates public hearings and reduces the taxes the operator would have to pay. It turns out to be even more shocking...

08/31/2014
On climate change, much work is needed to save our globe
Daily Star: A crack in a house’s foundation, if not repaired, can continue to grow, ultimately destabilizing the structure and rendering it uninhabitable. Its occupants must then move to another home. But the world’s population cannot move somewhere else. Houses, while not cheap, are replaceable; our planet is not. Climate change, as we have known for years, is one such crack in the foundation. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been studying the phenomenon since 1988. Twenty-two years ago, the...

08/31/2014
Scientists identify deforested idle land as source of Indonesia "haze" fires
Reuters: A month after Singapore was shrouded in a thick haze produced by Indonesian fires in June 2013, scientist David Gaveau went to the source of the smoke in Riau province to survey the charred aftermath. News reports attributed the haze to slash-and-burn forest clearance to make way for oil palm plantations. But what Gaveau, a scientist with the Indonesia-based Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), discovered during his five days examining the still-smouldering ground on Sumatra island...

08/31/2014
Americans have a moral obligation to tackle climate change now
Oregonian: My children's names are Aaron and Norah. Aaron is a somewhat serious 9-yr-old who likes to build things and tease his sister. Norah is a bubbly, curly haired 4-year-old who likes princesses and anything pink or green, especially if it is growing in the garden. Hearing about climate change denial makes me feel frustrated that my children's future is dangerously at stake. I know that with global warming there are only two uncertainties: "How bad will things get and how quickly will things deteriorate?"...

08/31/2014
Rich nations have moral duty to help island nations as climate change shifts weather patterns
Sydney Morning Herald: Small island nations, particularly those in the Pacific, are already experiencing "extreme effects" from global warming, and rich nations including Australia have a "moral responsibility" to help them cope with future unavoidable threats, a senior World Bank executive said. Atoll nations including Kiribati, Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands are seeing shifting rainfall patterns, rising sea-levels and ocean acidification that are forcing islanders to move, said Rachel Kyte, the World Bank's special...

08/31/2014
Changing global diets is vital to reducing climate change
PhysOrg: A new study, published today in Nature Climate Change, suggests that - if current trends continue - food production alone will reach, if not exceed, the global targets for total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2050. The study's authors say we should all think carefully about the food we choose and its environmental impact. A shift to healthier diets across the world is just one of a number of actions that need to be taken to avoid dangerous climate change and ensure there is enough food for...

08/31/2014
Sea-level surge at Antarctica linked to icesheet loss
Agence France-Presse: Sea levels around Antarctica have been rising a third faster than the global average, a clear sign of high meltwater runoff from the continent's icesheet, scientists said on Sunday. Satellite data from 1992 to 2011 found the sea surface around Antarctica's coast rose by around eight centimetres (3.2 inches) in total compared to a rise of six cm for the average of the world's oceans, they said. The local increase is accompanied by a fall in salinity at the sea surface, as detected by research...

08/31/2014
‘Ban Fracking in North Carolina’
Stokes News: An occasionally raucous crowd of nearly 450 sent a message to Raleigh Monday: Ban Fracking in North Carolina. In rapid sequence, with no breaks, for four solid hours, 84 speakers appeared before the members of the NC Mining and Energy Commission in Reidsville, to comment on the state`s proposed rules on Oil and Gas exploration. The theme was apparent: Either ban oil and gas drilling entirely, or write a better set of rules to protect citizens more than drillers. Or, as one speaker said, "Make...

08/31/2014
Obama Opened Floodgates Offshore Fracking
Ring of Fire: In little-noticed news arising out of a recent Gulf of Mexico offshore oil and gas lease held by the U.S. Department of Interior`s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the floodgates have opened for Gulf offshore hydraulic fracturing ("fracking"). With 21.6 million acres auctioned off by the Obama Administration and 433,822 acres receiving bids, some press accounts have declared BP America -- of 2010 Gulf of Mexico offshore oil spill infamy -- a big winner of the auction. If true, fracking and the...

08/31/2014
Century After Extinction, Passenger Pigeons Remain Iconic
National Geographic: A hundred years ago on Monday, a once-mighty species became extinct. At the Cincinnati Zoo, a passenger pigeon named Martha died at the age of 29. People coming to the zoo to see the last passenger pigeon were disappointed by the bird, which barely budged off its perch. As Joel Greenberg writes in his recent book A Feathered River Across the Sky, some threw sand into its cage to try to force it to walk around. But on that first day of September a century ago, Martha no longer had to put up with...

08/31/2014
Pests Pose Increasing Risk to Food Security
Climate News Network: Coming soon to a farm near you: just about every possible type of pest that could take advantage of the ripening harvest in the nearby fields. Wherever pests can make a living, they will. None of this bodes well for food security in a world of nine billion people and increasingly rapid climate change By 2050, according to new research in the journal Global Ecology and Biogeography, those opportunistic viruses, bacteria, fungi, blights, mildews, rusts, beetles, nematodes, flies, mites, spiders and...

08/31/2014
Bakken crude oil production relies on rail shipments
Times_Dispatch: The frequency and volume of Bakken crude rail shipments are driven by oil production in North Dakota that is second only to Texas in the U.S. Production there rose from 81,000 barrels a day in 2006 to 900,000 barrels a day last year. With production exceeding pipeline capacity, “rail became attractive because of the location and the fact there is a ready market for (light crude oil) on the East Coast,” said Sandy Fielden, an analyst at RBN Energy in Houston. “Generally, everything produced...

08/31/2014
Coral protection decision could have big impact
Sun Sentinel: A federal decision to protect an unprecedented variety of corals found in South Florida could affect beach restoration work, coastal development, channel dredging and fishing. The National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration announced last week it would place 20 corals on the threatened species list in response to a petition from an environmental group. Fifteen of these live in the Pacific Ocean and the remaining five can be found in the Caribbean Sea and the South Florida reefs, which stretch...

08/31/2014
Crude rides Texas' rails with little oversight
Houston Chronicle: Six days a week, bumping through the scrub, oil trucks pull up to the rail stations at Muleshoe or Kermit, Dimmit or Roy, Whiteface, Seagraves or Wellman, any of the flyspeck boomtowns of the Permian Basin. By the tracks, roustabouts and railroaders meet for a transfer as old as their industries. Pumping crude into tank cars, they step back as the locomotives lurch off toward the transfer stations of BNSF and Union Pacific, the two big lines that crisscross the state on their way to Houston, where...

08/31/2014
Solar energy users claim victory as 'sun tax' rejected
Deseret News: Utah solar advocates and customers are hailing a decision Friday by the Utah Public Service Commission to reject Rocky Mountain Power's request of a monthly fee for rooftop solar homes. "What a bright day for Utah`s future. This order protects energy choice in Utah and recognizes the potential solar has to benefit all Utahns," said Sarah Wright, executive director of Utah Clean Energy. Members of another advocacy group, HEAL Utah, were also pleased. "We`re thrilled. Rocky Mountain Power...

08/31/2014
A climate for change
Berkshire Eagle: Modest efforts to confront human-caused global warming are being overwhelmed by the pace of climate change, according to a draft of a major United Nations report to be released this fall. This conclusion is hardly surprising given what was already known. What would be surprising if there was meaningful reaction to it not sabotaged by politics. A copy of the draft report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was obtained by The New York Times, and while the report could change in the weeks...

08/31/2014
What I didn’t say to Gov. Scott about climate change
Tampa Tribune: I recently joined fellow climate scientists in a meeting with Gov. Rick Scott to discuss the threat climate change poses to our state. We appreciated the opportunity to have a dialogue with the governor, but we left the meeting with concerns about his willingness to take meaningful action to address this problem. This is a leadership moment for Scott, since Florida is ground zero for the impacts of climate change. We explained to Scott that the fundamentals of climate science are not complicated....

08/31/2014
Puget Sound's endangered killer whales continue decline
Associated Press: With two deaths this year and no new calves since 2012, the population of endangered killer whales in the Puget Sound continues to decline. The number of whales in J, K and L pods has dropped to 78, a level not seen since 1985, according to a census by the Center for Whale Research (CWR). Adding to the concerns, the whales appear to be “splintering” from their pods, which are their basic social groups. Since 1976, Ken Balcomb of the CWR has been observing the Puget Sound orcas, or “southern...

08/31/2014
Protesters who blocked coal shipment set for trial
Associated Press: Two men who used an old lobster boat to block a coal shipment to New England's largest coal-burning power plant say they plan to argue at trial that their actions were necessary because of the threat posed by climate change. Environmental activists Ken Ward and Jonathan "Jay" O'Hara say they don't intend to dispute many of the facts of the case during their jury trial, which opens Sept. 8 in Fall River District Court. Instead, they want to prove that global warming is real and that bold auction...

08/31/2014
Marine protection areas must be expanded for threatened fish species
Blue and Green: Conservationists and policymakers have to do more to ensure the survival of important fish species by expanding marine protection areas, according to a new study. The paper, published in the journal Ecology Letters, warns that previous efforts launched to protect fish have irresponsibly prioritised saving the largest numbers of species, at the expense of species that provide key ecological functions. As a result, the report says, some of the world’s most vulnerable and ecological valuable fish...

08/31/2014
Climate change tops UN summit agenda in Samoa
Al Jazeera: It is the biggest event the tiny Pacific nation of Samoa has ever seen. A United Nations conference is getting underway to discuss the issues facing some of the world’s most vulnerable countries. The UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon says economic and environmental sustainability will top the agenda. Al Jazeera's Andrew Thomas reports from Apia.

08/31/2014
Fires and drought have transformed New Mexico forests
Las Cruces News: Gambel oak and other shrubs whose roots survived a lightning-sparked wildfire in 2013 sprout on many slopes once dominated by ponderosa pines. Black, mangled masses of wood and dead barley plants loom over the new growth, which also includes aspens, grass and wildflowers. The barley grew last fall from seeds the U.S. Forest Service dropped to minimize erosion after the Silver Fire. Pines survived in many areas within the 139,000-acre burn scar. But in other places, the trees were incinerated --...

08/31/2014
Federal funds boost Native American climate resilience efforts
Summit Voice: We are following up on our grassroots fundraising campaign with a Sept. 12 dinner event at the Sunshine Cafe (6 p.m., 250 Summit Place shopping center, Silverthorne, CO) that you don`t want to miss. First of all, the Sunshine Cafe -- under new ownership -- rarely opens for dinner, so it`s a chance for you to sample the great cooking that makes this a longtime favorite eatery for locals and visitors. Proceeds from the dinner and a silent auction will benefit Summit Voice and the Beacon Rocky Mountain...

08/31/2014
Booming electric car sales under fire in Norway
Agence France-Presse: Ministers in Norway -- a major and rich oil-producing country -- are under increasing public pressure to reduce perks and tax breaks for booming electric car sales. "It's become a problem," said Erik Haugstad, a bus driver in the Oslo region who complains about the numerous electric cars clogging bus lanes, which they have the right to use in Norway. The cars are also exempt from urban toll payments or fees at public parking spaces, where they can recharge batteries without cost. But above...

08/30/2014
Local salamanders could shed light on life under climate change
Richmond Times-Dispatch: Does a rough life as a youngster foretell hard times as an adult? A Virginia Commonwealth University researcher wants to know if that’s true -- for salamanders. Doctoral student Julie Charbonnier is studying whether deprivation in early life affects how the little amphibians might fare in a world changed by global warming. “How does your childhood impact you later in life?” asked Charbonnier, summarizing the work. The object of her attention is the spotted salamander, a dark little cigar...

08/30/2014
Amid oil and gas boom, Colorado continues role as earthquake lab
Denver Post: University of Colorado researcher Will Yeck checks seismometers where he is monitoring activity around Greeley in the wake of a May 31 earthquake there. Some in the area believe the earthquake, at 3.2 magnitude, may have been caused by wastewater injection wells used in fracking. (RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post)Aug 23:Let's make a deal: How Colorado came to a fracking compromiseAug 7:Colorado commission votes to pull lawsuit over Longmont oil, gas ruleAug 5:Six petitions seeking Colorado ballot measures...

08/30/2014
Corporate farms get blame as key water-pollution culprit
Blade: Perhaps former President Theodore Roosevelt said it best when he addressed a Buffalo audience in 1910, most likely in his trademark fist-pounding, cantankerous style. "Civilized people,' Mr. Roosevelt said, "should be able to dispose of sewage in a better way than by putting it into drinking water.' Hailed by historians as a key ally of naturalist John Muir, the founder of the Sierra Club, during the fledgling days of the American conservation movement, Mr. Roosevelt was no doubt using that...

08/30/2014
Drought conditions cause record years fSouthern Calif lifeguards
Press Telegram: The endless summer. That’s what lifeguards are calling the past 12 months. As the hot and dry weather parches the state, people are fleeing to the beach. Southern California guards are rescuing swimmers at record levels. Beaches are hitting capacity. Unusually warm water and large swells have amplified the crowds and danger. Guards are manning the towers more, even during typically mellow months, and taxpayers must cover a burgeoning overtime bill. Los Angeles County beaches in 2014 saw...

08/30/2014
California Drought Threatens Nation's Most Productive Farming Valley
NBC: In the rich farmland of the San Joaquin Valley it's summertime , peak growing season for many crops. But every sunbaked, scorching day brings another test of water reserves in a region running on empty. The dearth of irrigation water from rivers or reservoirs has forced growers in the valley 80 miles north of Los Angeles to rely almost entirely on water pumped from wells. "I'm worried from a couple of standpoints," said grower Stuart Woolf, as he stood in a field of tomatoes at harvest time....

08/30/2014
Committed Carbon Emissions Are Rising Fast
Truthdig: Challenging news for those climate campaigners who believe that renewable sources of energy are on the increase: they may be, but so are carbon dioxide emissions. Steven Davis of the University of California, Irvine and Robert Socolow of Princeton University in the US report in the journal Environmental Research Letters that existing power plants will emit 300 billion tons of additional carbon dioxide into the atmosphere during their lifetimes. In this century alone, emissions have grown by 4%...

08/30/2014
Will Climate Change Denialism Help the Russian Economy?
Inter Press Service: The recent call from Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev for "tightening belts" has convinced even optimists that something is deeply wrong with the Russian economy. No doubt the planned tax increases (introduction of a sales tax and increases in VAT and income tax) will inflict severe damage on most businesses and their employees, if last year's example of what happened when taxes were raised for individual entrepreneurs is anything to go by - 650,000 of them were forced to close their businesses....

08/30/2014
We can’t delay the fight against sea-level rise
Miami Herald: Regardless of its cause, sea-level rise is the inevitable, non-debatable consequence of the warming of the oceans and the melting of the planet's ice sheets. It is a measurable, trackable and relentless reality. Without innovative adaptive capital planning, it will threaten trillions of dollars of the region's built environment, our future water supply, unique natural resources, agricultural soils and basic economy. Without such a plan, we invite escalating insurance rates, at best, and risk our...

08/30/2014
On Climate, a Younger Bush’s Ideas Stray From Party Ideology
New York Times: On the campaign trail in Texas for a little-known statewide office, George P. Bush is generally toeing the Republican Party line: He is attacking the federal health care overhaul, decrying abortion and championing gun rights. But it is environmental policy that will be under his purview if, as expected, he wins his race to be the state’s next land commissioner in November. Last week, in his first in-depth interview on the topic nearly a year and a half into his campaign, the son of former Gov....

08/30/2014
Nuclear waste is allowed above ground indefinitely
New York Times: As the country struggles to find a place to bury spent nuclear fuel, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has decided that nuclear waste from power plants can be stored above ground in containers that can be maintained and guarded indefinitely. The decision, in a unanimous vote of the commission on Tuesday, means that new nuclear plants can be built and old ones can expand their operations despite the lack of a long-term plan for disposing of the waste. The chairwoman of the commission, who voted...

08/30/2014
Rising sea levels pose salt threat in Vietnam
Straits Times: Pham Thi Ly buys fresh water every 10 days from a well operator in another commune during the dry season. To ensure her children have clean drinking water, she has to buy the bottled stuff. The dry season typically runs for four months and this buying of water puts a dent into whatever she earns from fishing. But Mrs Ly has no choice - there is no fresh water to be had as the groundwater under the Thua Duc Commune in Vietnam's southern Ben Tre province has become too salty for daily use. Mr Tran...

08/30/2014
Eat U.S. seafood — and get political
Providence Journal: As this newspaper goes to print, commercial fishermen on America’s coasts are warming their engines, donning their rain gear, and plotting their course for the day. In a few hours, they will let out their nets, bait their hooks, and haul up their first traps. And by the time landlubbers slog through rush hour traffic this evening, much of what those fishermen catch will be neatly trimmed, glistening under a thin coat of glaze ice, packed and ready to ship ... to China. While this type of turnaround...

08/30/2014
Chance 'megadrought' in US Southwest now 50%, study concludes
LA Times: The chance of a "megadrought" gripping the Southwest for more than 30 years has increased to 50%, scientists say, which means bad news for California's already parched landscape. The odds of a 10-year drought afflicting the southwestern U.S. have increased to 80%, according to a new study by Cornell University, the University of Arizona and the U.S. Geological Survey. Whatever happens, California is likely to see prolonged drought and drier conditions, especially in the southern portion of...

08/30/2014
What would GDP look like if it considered that industry tends to destroy the planet?
Fast Company: Considering that it's the basic yardstick by which we measure the health of our economy, gross domestic product (GDP) is pretty flawed. Critics have pointed out for decades that GDP fails to measure consequences of industry, which can in turn impede economic growth. (Think about, say, climate change, which promises to eviscerate certain cash crops.) GDP just doesn’t tell the whole story. But what if we factored air pollution into the equation? What if we actually calculated the premature mortality...

08/30/2014
Drought leaves up to 2.81 million hungry in Central America
Reuters: A severe drought has ravaged crops in Central America and as many as 2.81 million people are struggling to feed themselves, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said on Friday, though the region's coffee crop has been largely unscathed. The drought, which is also affecting South America, has been particularly hard on the so-called "dry corridor" of Central America, which includes southern Guatemala, northern Honduras and western El Salvador. "The drought has killed us. We lost all...

08/30/2014
Environmentalists like Tom Steyer see Colorado as key in election
Denver Post: Environmentalists in Colorado may have lost a rallying cry this year when efforts to limit fracking didn't make the ballot, but that hasn't stopped eco-activists from painting a big, green bull's-eye on the state. Several national groups already have begun campaigning in Colorado in preparation for Election Day, and the Environmental Defense Fund on Tuesday vowed to make the state the centerpiece of a broad effort to highlight the issue of climate change. The overall aim is to energize young...

08/30/2014
Colorado fracking ban scorecard: 3 ruled illegal, 2 remain
Business Jurnal: Three out of five Front Range cities' bans on hydraulic fracturing in the last few years have been struck down by district court judges in recent weeks, and two others still stand. Both Boulder and Broomfield still have fracking bans in place. The city of Lafayette’s ban, which was approved by voters in November 2013, was struck down Thursday by Boulder District Court Judge D.D. Mallard. She’s the same judge that in late July who ruled the city of Longmont’s ban on fracking, approved by...

08/30/2014
How Hot Was Summer 2014?
Scientific American: Get ready to retire the white wardrobes, cover the grill and shutter the lake house. Labor Day Weekend marks the psychological – and meteorological – end of summer. While you're enjoying one last cold one this weekend or snapping photos on the beach, take a look at how the summer's average temperatures stacked up for a number of cities across the U.S. Was it hotter than average? Colder? About in the middle? The answer is . . . yes, depending on where you live. However, even with rounds of record...

08/30/2014
Solar panel makers set for record sales in 2014
Blue and Green: A record number of solar panels will be shipped by solar manufacturers this year, with an expected 52% increase in sales from 2013. Quarterly profit reports from major solar distributors like Trina Solar Ltd, First Solar Inc and JinkoSolar Holding CO from across the globe have confirmed the industry’s expected growth and triumph for this year. Due to a surge in demand in markets like the US, China and Japan, the industry is expected to develop a total of 50.3 gigawatts of electricity, up from...

08/29/2014
Swirls of Dust and Drama, Punctuating Life in the Southwest
New York Times: The best way to explain a haboob is to say it is a tsunami of sand, in the sense that there is no stopping it or outrunning it. It is a supreme spectacle. The fierce winds that precede it make the leaves on palm trees stand as if they are hands waving an effusive goodbye, the sky darkens and the world takes the color of caramel as the dust swallows everything in its path. Last week, a dense dust storm turned daytime into night in Palm Springs, Calif., “blowing so bad that I could not even see...

08/29/2014
Thanks to fracking, there’s something in the water in Pennsylvania
Grist: It’s been a bad, bad summer for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. But arguably, it’s been a much worse summer for the actual citizens of Pennsylvania, because they have been repeatedly and consistently screwed over by an unhappy combination of corporate interests, bureaucratic incompetence, and methane. That’s quite a cocktail of misery - when life gives you a Long Island iced tea, if you will. The latest development: The DEP has released a list of 243 reports of drinking...

08/29/2014
Climate Change Ups Odds of a Southwest Megadrought
Climate Central: If you think the drought in California is bad, you ain't seen nothing yet. New research indicates that climate change is giving a boost to the odds of long-term drought across the Southwest. The research, published Thursday in the Journal of Climate, puts the chances of a megadrought lasting 35 years or longer at up to 50 percent in the region. It would be a drought of epic proportions that would wreak havoc on the region's already tenuous water supply for its growing population. "It's been...

08/29/2014
New Database Tracks Ecologic Health Impacts of Dams on World's Rivers
Yale Environment 360: A newly launched online database illustrates the impacts of nearly 6,000 dams on the world's 50 major river basins, ranking their ecological health according to indicators of river fragmentation, water quality, and biodiversity. The "State of the World's Rivers" project was developed by the advocacy organization International Rivers and created using Google Earth. Users can compare the health of individual river basins, see the locations of existing and planned dams, and explore 10 of the most significant...

08/29/2014
Testing of Ebola Vaccine on Humans Begins
Environment News Service: Fast-tracked human testing of a vaccine to prevent Ebola virus disease will begin next week by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIAID, part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health. The early-stage trial will begin human testing of a vaccine co-developed by NIAID and the British company GlaxoSmithKline. Tests will evaluate the experimental vaccine's safety and ability to generate an immune system response in healthy adults. In an effort to curb the spread of Ebola...

08/29/2014
5 Terrifying Facts Leaked UN Climate Report
Climate Desk: Even if we slash greenhouse gases immediately, the dangerous effects of global warming will continue for centuries to come. How many synonyms for "grim" can I pack into one article? I had to consult the thesaurus: ghastly, horrid, awful, shocking, grisly, gruesome. This week, a big report from the UN`s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was leaked before publication, and it confirmed, yet again, the grim--dire, frightful--reality the we face if we don`t slash our global greenhouse gas...

08/29/2014
Court rules in favour Cuadrilla in anti-fracking protest dispute
Blue and Green: Manchester High Court Judge, David Hodge QC has imposed an interim injunction against a group of anti-fracking protestors in Lancashire after a court battle with gas firm Cuadrilla. Cuadrilla took up legal proceedings alongside ten local farmers earlier this week, claiming protestors were trespassing and affecting business for landowners. The anti-fracking campaigners, also known as ‘nanas’, camped on farmland at Little Plumpton in Lancashire from August 7 – 27 to protest against proposed shale...

08/29/2014
TED Talks: Can we prevent end of the world? – Martin Rees
Blue and Green: In this week’s featured TED talk Lord Martin Rees, astronomer royal and former master of Trinity College, Cambridge, describes the existential threats that could spell the end of humanity. This century, he observes, is the first where the fate of the entire world lies in the hands of just one species – ours. While we all worry about minor dangers, our species is in denial about the possibility of truly cataclysmic scenarios. “It’s not just the nuclear threat,” he explains. “In our interconnected...

08/29/2014
Activists to be chosen to speak at UN climate summit
Blue and Green: Today more than 500 members of the public will hear whether they have been chosen to attend the UN Climate Summit in September. Environmental activists from 115 countries put forward their names to be considered to address issues of climate change to world leaders at the summit. The competition is described as the first of its kind that has opened to allow members of the public to apply to address more than 100 heads of state and government. The summit will be held at UN headquarters in New...

08/29/2014
Officials Confirm Fracking Caused Water Contamination In Penn Wells
Gothamist: As Governor Cuomo continues to mull over the current statewide moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, some disturbing fracking-related news has come out of Pennsylvania: fracking has contaminated private drinking wells a previously undisclosed 243 times over six years, according to the state's Department of Environmental Protection. The Associated Press reported this week that the 243 cases were reported between 2008 and 2014, thanks to the DEP's "thorough review" of statewide files [pdf]. Contamination...

08/29/2014
IEA: renewable power capacity grew fastest pace 2013
Blue and Green: Last year global capacity for renewable power grew at its fastest pace to date, with almost 22% of power generation coming from clean sources, data in a report from the International energy Agency (IEA) has revealed. In 2013 global renewable electricity generation rose by an estimated 240 terawatt hours (TWh), a 5% increase on the previous year, taking the total to almost 5,070 TWh. The figure accounts for almost 22% of total power generation across the world. The growth in the sector means...

08/29/2014
Investors should be worried Shell revived Arctic oil ambitions
Blue and Green: Responsible investment charity ShareAction has warned that investors should be concerned by Shell’s revived plans to drill in the Arctic, after the oil giant admitted it has failed to meet environmental targets elsewhere. The company had suspended its plans for Arctic exploration earlier this year, but on Thursday submitted a proposal to the US government that would see it construct two rigs in the Chukchi Sea, northwest of Alaska. However, on Wednesday Lorraine Mitchelmore, president of Shell...

08/29/2014
Climate Change Has an Outrage Problem
Motherboard: In the years to come, it’s not a stretch to imagine millions of people flooding the streets to protest--flooding in the streets. What will it take to turn climate change into a social movement? The struggles surrounding women’s suffrage, civil rights, the Vietnam War, South African Apartheid, the Arab Spring, and gay marriage were pervasive. They changed history. These movements had very visible leaders. They also had a role in shaping popular culture, with iconic music and movies. In hindsight,...

08/29/2014
22.6% Of Homes Use Solar In South Australia
Clean Technica: Nearly one in four homes in South Australia now has rooftop solar, as the share of renewable energy in the state neared 33 per cent in 2013/14 – delivering the state’s ambitious 2020 target six years ahead of schedule. Official data released by the Australian Energy Market Operator shows that the share of wind and solar generation in South Australia jumped to 32.1 per cent in 2013/14. This exceed the state’s target, but doesn’t include the 275MW Snowtown II wind farm that was brought on line in...

08/29/2014
Yale committee fails to back fossil fuel divestment
Blue and Green: The Yale Corporation’s Committee on Investor Responsibility (CCIR) has not recommended that the Ivy League school divests from fossil fuels, despite pressure from students. Instead shareholder proxy voting guidelines on climate change will be adopted. A survey conducted last year found that 83% of students at Yale University would like the school to free its endowment from fossil fuel investment, with over half of the undergraduate population taking part. After the referendum was set up an...

08/29/2014
UN seeks 'Malala' on climate change
BBC: Five hundred people are to learn if they have won the chance to vent their frustration at world leaders over the stalemate on climate policy. They applied to address more than 100 heads of state and government at next month's UN climate summit in New York. Many of the candidates are established climate campaigners; they span 115 countries and include victims of natural disasters like Typhoon Haiyan. Just one winner will be chosen to speak at the plenary session. The rules stipulate that...

08/29/2014
New Study Offers Clues to Swift Arctic Extinction
New York Times: even hundred years ago, the Dorset people disappeared from the Arctic. The last of the Paleo-Eskimos, the Dorset had dominated eastern Canada and Greenland for centuries, hunting seal and walrus through holes in the ice and practicing shamanistic rituals with ornate carvings and masks. Then, they promptly ceased to exist. Modern archaeologists have scoured troves of Arctic artifacts, searching for clues to the Dorset’s sudden extinction. Did they assimilate when the Thule, ancestors of the modern...

08/28/2014
‘Urgency of Climate Change’ to Debut as Legal Defense
Climate Central: As protests go, Ken Ward's and Jay O'Hara's daylong blockade of a coal delivery was low-key. There were no kerfuffles involving authorities and nobody was arrested -- the men learned of criminal charges later by mail. But the duo's trial, scheduled to begin Sept. 8 in a Massachusetts district court, is shaping up as a high-profile affair, featuring an unusual defense and planned testimony by some of the biggest names in climate science. The men's attorneys are planning to deploy a novel strategy....

08/28/2014
U.S. to resume oil drilling leases in California
Associated Press: The U.S. Bureau of Land Management will resume issuing oil and gas leases next year for federal lands in California after a new study found limited environmental impacts from fracking and other enhanced drilling techniques, the agency said Thursday. The move will end a halt that has stood since a federal judge ruled in 2013 that the federal agency failed to follow environmental law in allowing an oil extraction method known as fracking on public land in Monterey County. The study released Thursday...

08/28/2014
Potatoes could be off menu crop pests threaten UK
Independent: Britain has “significantly underestimated” the risk that crop pests pose to its food supply. Fungi and viruses present so great a danger to staples such as wheat and potatoes that they may force the nation to change its diet, an academic has warned. The rise of deadly pests poses a threat to the world’s entire food system, but the UK is among the most vulnerable countries, according to a new study from the University of Exeter. It forecasts that food-growing nations, including the UK, will be...

08/28/2014
Coal Plants Lock in 300 Billion Ton of CO2 Emissions
Climate Central: It seems straightforward to say that when you buy a new car by taking out a loan, you're committing to spending a certain amount of your income per month on that car for a specific period of time. Of course, by buying that car, you're also committing to polluting the atmosphere with some amount of carbon dioxide. But how often do car buyers make that calculation? The same can be said for coal-fired power plants, which spew billions of tons of climate-changing CO2 into the atmosphere each year,...

08/28/2014
How Cutting Emissions Pays Off
Environmental News Network: Lower rates of asthma and other health problems are frequently cited as benefits of policies aimed at cutting carbon emissions from sources like power plants and vehicles, because these policies also lead to reductions in other harmful types of air pollution. But just how large are the health benefits of cleaner air in comparison to the costs of reducing carbon emissions? MIT researchers looked at three policies achieving the same reductions in the United States, and found that the savings on...

08/28/2014
Every living thing in the Antarctic Ocean mapped
New Scientist: WHALE what's going on here then? Climate change's dramatic effects on the Southern Ocean just got easier to track, thanks to a comprehensive biodiversity map of the region. Some estimates suggest that the Southern Ocean is home to half of all the human-linked carbon dioxide that the world's oceans absorb, and the consequent drop in ocean-water pH there has already begun to dissolve animal shells in the region. The new Biogeographic Atlas of the Southern Ocean will make it easier to monitor problems...

08/28/2014
Climate change poses growing health threat
Agence France-Presse: Climate change poses a growing health threat, the UN warned on Wednesday, saying extreme weather and rising temperatures could claim hundreds of thousands of lives and spread disease. "Climate change is no longer only an environmental issue," said Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum, head of the climate change team at the World Health Organisation (WHO). The UN agency on Wednesday began a three-day conference at its Geneva base, folding together climate and health issues. The goal is to put health in the...

08/28/2014
Climate change's health toll: 'We can save millions of lives, even now'
Deutsche Welle: While the effects of climate change on the environment are gaining wide attention, there's a lack of awareness about the impact on human health. The WHO's Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum tells DW how both can be adressed. DW: How much of a threat is climate change to human health? As the earth warms, it makes it easier to transmit diseases in many parts of the world - diseases like malaria, which kills around 600,000 people every year, or diarrheal disease, including cholera and other forms of diarrhea,...

08/28/2014
Thousands protest against coal mining along German-Polish border
Australian Broadcasting Corporation: Horse breeders and winemakers in the New South Wales Hunter Valley have warned that their industries are at threat because of open-cut coal mining. Now the practise is causing upheaval in eastern Europe. Tom Morton visited a region along the Germany-Poland border to investigate. When Julia Huscher and Kuba Gogolewski fell in love, they could not have imagined that one day they would reach out for each other's hands in the middle of the Neisse River and seal the last link in a human chain eight kilometres...

08/28/2014
Bad news for Republicans: IPCC report warns 'irreversible' climate extremes
Examiner: Republicans won't be happy about the leaked Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) draft report on Monday, because it contains the most dire predictions about climate change to date, which is something they don't believe exists. The report is shocking in its bluntness, because it warns human-induced climate change may have already reached the tipping point and be past the point of no return and "irreversible". The IPCC report is the 4th installment of the 5th periodic climate progress...

08/28/2014
Bill Oddie protests against HSBC illegal logging in spoof documentary - video
Guardian: In this spoof documentary, Bankwatch with Bill Oddie, the naturalist protests against HSBC's illegal logging by entering the den of a creature closely related to humans: the banker. HSBC has made nearly £100m bankrolling some of the world's most destructive logging companies in Sarawak Malaysia, and is at risk of violating international money laundering rules, according to NGO Global Witness.

08/28/2014
Don't underestimate rightwing desperation in media attacks on greens
Guardian: The gloves are off. In recent days, a sustained attack on environmentalism has been mounted in the UK media. The Times, the Telegraph and the Financial Times have all run articles by influential journalists blaming the environment community for our current woes. In the Financial Times, John Kay blamed environmentalist's malign influence on procrastinating politicians for the risk that the lights will go out. In the Telegraph a fawning interview of Nigel Lawson by Cristina Odone saw him accusing...

08/28/2014
Stephen Emmott's population book is unscientific and misanthropic
Guardian: Stephen Emmott's book on global ecological challenges is attracting much attention. The work is extremely short – perhaps about 15,000 words – and is in the form of notes that provide terse commentary on a series of graphs. It is little more than a Powerpoint presentation turned into a slim paperback. Although any attempt to increase mankind's alarm at the threat from climate change is welcome, Emmott's book is error-strewn, full of careless exaggeration and weak on basic science. Its reliance on...

08/28/2014
UK rewards polluters & locks up people who want to save the planet
Guardian: What if, instead of giving Marie Curie and Alexander Fleming Nobel prizes for their life-saving work on radiation and penicillin, they'd been thrown in jail? Or, instead of being awarded the Grand Croix of the Légion d'honneur for his work on the germ theory of disease, Louis Pasteur was imprisoned like Napoleon on Elba? It would be perverse to return the favour of great, public works by depriving people of their freedom. Yet that is just what we're doing in Britain right now. The contributions...

08/28/2014
Deforestation campaign deportation from Indonesia
Guardian: Last week, I was in Indonesia. I'd travelled there to work with colleagues in Jakarta and Sumatra on our continuing campaign to end the devastation of the country's magnificent rainforests. But after an extremely intense few days, I left the country prematurely on Wednesday evening. I had been due to stay longer and had a business visa to allow me to do so, but we were receiving advice that if I stayed it was likely to bring more risk to my colleagues working there. I feel very sad about leaving,...

08/28/2014
The US-EU trade deal could take Monsanto's GM crops off the table
Guardian: As President Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron stood smiling for the cameras at a press conference on free trade this week, a secret lurked behind them: the average American couldn't care less about whether the US has a good trade deal with Europe, or whether Europeans buy our products or we buy theirs. With over 12 million unemployed people at home, no one's worried about whether we have enough ripe cheese from France or beer from Germany. Yet a confluence of events over the past week shows...

08/28/2014
The cost spurning GM crops is too high
Guardian: The term "genetic modification" provokes widespread fears about the corporate control of agriculture, and of the unknown. However, results from 25 years of EU-funded research show that there is "no scientific evidence associating GM plants with higher risks for the environment or for food and feed safety than conventional plants and organisms". This of course does not prove GM methods are 100% safe, but makes clear there is no evidence to the contrary. This Saturday, anti-GM campaigners plan to...

08/28/2014
EU fishing reforms will give fish stocks a chance to recover
Guardian: The publication of today's Common Fishery Policy (CFP) proposals in Brussels is a critical moment for us all – a real, unmissable chance to change the way we catch fish, and to make sure that we preserve fish stocks for future generations. The proposals look encouraging. But it's vital to remember that these are just proposals. There is another 18 months to go before anything becomes law, and the next year-and-a-half will be full of behind-the-scenes deals and compromises cooked up by the fishing...


Did You Know?

There is only 0.5 percentage of available fresh water on earth.

 

Website developed by: