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.



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EcoEarth.Info - The Environmental Sustainability Portal

07/24/2016
Climate change of heart
Inquirer: PRESIDENT DUTERTE is no climate change denier. In fact, in his very first Cabinet meeting, he declared: “Climate change is here. We were warned several years ago.” He proceeded to underscore the vulnerability of our country to the effects of climate change by referencing Supertyphoon “Yolanda,” echoing what he had voiced out during the campaign period. This ready acknowledgment of the reality of global warming, coupled with his proenvironment stances (albeit equivocal), has caused green groups...

07/24/2016
A blanket of smoke from fires in Siberia is so huge it can be seen from nearly 1 million miles away in space
Discover Magazine: It`s a tad faint, but a smudge of smoke is clearly visible in the image below, captured by a spacecraft in deep space This image was acquired by the EPIC camera on NOAA`s DSCOVR spacecraft when it was 975,074 miles from Earth on July 21, 2016. Bluish-gray wildfire smoke over Siberia can be seen within the circled area. Make sure to click the image to open it in a new window, and then click on it again to enlarge it. (Source: http://epic.gsfc.nasa.gov/ ) The Deep Space Climate Observatory spacecraft...

07/24/2016
Crib notes: Democrat convention to debate Clinton climate plan
Climate Home: Climate change barely featured at the US Republican National Convention in Cleveland, except in Donald Trump`s coded attack on the clean power plan. This week it`s the Democrats` turn in Philadelphia and you can expect building a low carbon economy to feature on the agenda. Hillary Clinton has picked Virginia senator Tim Kaine as her running mate, seen as a safe centrist. He doesn`t tick all the climate hawk boxes, having opposed the Keystone XL pipeline but supported fracking and Atlantic...

07/24/2016
Los Angeles-area wildfire spreads, motorist found dead
Reuters: A huge wildfire in the Los Angeles area spread another 2,000 acres overnight and appeared to have killed a motorist whose remains were found in a charred vehicle in the fire's path, officials said on Sunday. This brought to 22,000 acres -- or 34 square miles -- the total area enveloped by the wildfire, which has forced hundreds of evacuations and is casting a dark haze over parts of Southern California. The fire is one of a series this summer that have hit the state, which has suffered drought...

07/24/2016
Something Is Causing Siberia's Tundra to Literally Bubble Underground
Vice: The frigid plains of northern Siberia are becoming a hotspot for mysterious geological phenomena. Over the past couple of years, sudden craters have been exploding from the permafrost-laden ground. Last month, we reported on a giant chasm in the Sakha Republic that looms so wide and deep, locals refer to it as a “gateway to the underworld.” Now, the frozen tundra on Siberia’s remote Belyy Island is home to the region’s newest aberration: eerie, rippling, underground bubbles. In a video released...

07/24/2016
Campaigners seek to reintroduce Eurasian lynx to parts of Britain
Guardian: Lynx could soon be reintroduced to the north of England and southern Scotland as the charity campaigning for the return of the wild mammal, which was last seen across Britain around 700AD, launches its final stage of a consultation. The project to introduce 10 Eurasian lynxes back into the wild, which has also considered sites in Aberdeenshire, will this week begin discussions with farmers and tourist operators around Kielder Forest in Northumberland. Paul O’Donoghue, chief scientific adviser...

07/24/2016
Deal on cutting greenhouse gases in sight for this year: Vienna delegates
Reuters: A global agreement on cutting the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) - potent greenhouse gases used in aerosols, refrigerants and air conditioning - seems within grasp, delegates said on Sunday after ten days of talks on climate change in Vienna. A final deal is expected to be reached at a meeting in October in Kigali, Rwanda. If successful, it would be the biggest single measure to limit global warming since governments adopted the Paris Agreement last December, seeking to limit heat waves, floods,...

07/24/2016
A sequel to the Paris Climate Accord takes shape in Vienna
New York Times: When negotiators from nearly 200 countries gathered outside Paris in December for the United Nations summit meeting on climate change, they reached the first agreement to take action on curbing their planet-warming pollution. This weekend in Vienna, with far less attention, negotiators from those same countries neared a deal that many environmentalists have called the most significant action this year to reduce global warming. While the Paris agreement aims to reduce the use of coal and oil, which...

07/24/2016
This Republican says his party's denial of climate science is 'courting disaster' with voter
PRI: A "hoax." A "con job." "Bull----." These are among the phrases Donald Trump has used in recent years to express his contempt for the science of climate change. And while the new Republican presidential nominee is out of step with much of his own party on many issues, he's solidly in the GOP mainstream on this one. We should be focused on clean and beautiful air-not expensive and business closing GLOBAL WARMING-a total hoax! -- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 28, 2013 But former...

07/24/2016
Fire near Santa Clarita continues to burn out of control, explodes to more than 20,000 acres
LA Times: A wildfire in the Santa Clarita Valley area has grown to more than 20,000 acres, prompting new evacuations Saturday for hundreds of homes in canyon areas, authorities said. The evacuation order was issued about 3:15 p.m. for residents in Sand and Placerita canyons, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department. At least 1,500 homes are threatened, fire officials said. The Sand fire, which was reported about 2 p.m. Friday, is still only 10% contained, fire officials said. The fire...

07/24/2016
Toxic algae bloom closes Utah lake, sickens more than 100 people
Associated Press: A huge toxic algae bloom in Utah has closed one of the largest freshwater lakes west of the Mississippi River, sickening more than 100 people and leaving farmers scrambling for clean water for days during the hottest part of the year. The bacteria commonly known as blue-green algae has spread rapidly to cover almost all of 150-square-mile Utah Lake, turning the water bright, anti-freeze green with a pea soup texture and leaving scummy foam along the shore. "It smells like something is rotting,"...

07/24/2016
Diving Enthusiasts Could Measure Ocean Temperatures
Guardian: Millions of holidaying scuba divers are able to become citizen scientists and take vital measurements of ocean temperatures, which are being driven up by climate change. More than 90 percent of the heat trapped by global warming goes into oceans, where it drives hurricanes and disrupts fish stocks. Satellites can measure surface temperature when there are no clouds, but getting data from below the surface is much harder and more expensive. A flotilla of 3,000 diving robot buoys provides measurements,...

07/24/2016
Malaysia: 19,000 Sea Turtle Eggs Seized in Anti-Smuggling Operation
National Geographic: Police seized 19,000 sea turtle eggs off the coast of Malaysia in the early hours of July 16 in a special operation to hobble a major smuggling syndicate, the Straits Times of Singapore reports. Malaysian Marine Police in the state of Sabah got a tip-off that smugglers were in the area, so they sent three police vessels to intercept them. When the police vessels came into view of the suspected smugglers' four wooden boats, a chase ensued. "The team spotted the pump boats around 1:30 a.m., and...

07/24/2016
Top cocoa grower Ivory Coast stung by caterpillar invasion
Digital Journal: Cocoa crops in the world's top producer, Ivory Coast, are being ravaged by caterpillars but authorities are playing down the new scourge, saying they have it under control. The west African nation, now a beacon of stability and prosperity in the restive region, is slowly emerging from about a decade of low-level civil war and political turbulence, and is desperately trying to restore its once-booming economy to its former glory. "This is the new menace for cocoa cultivation," a researcher at...

07/24/2016
North American Forests Not a Climate Change Remedy
Reuters: North American forests will not fight climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide at levels once hoped for because the trees may not grow big enough, a study said. The new research challenges previous studies that said trees could grow larger due to higher temperatures brought on by global warming, said the authors of the study published in the journal Ecology Letters. Typically, up to a third of carbon-dioxide emissions from human activity, such as automobile driving or steel production, is...

07/24/2016
Irish agriculture faces emissions dilemma
Climate News Network: Ireland is facing a classic conflict, pitching economic growth targets against the need for action on climate change. On one hand, Ireland’s planners want to see significant growth in its food and agriculture industry – a sector that is one of the main pillars of the country’s economy, accounting for about 8% of gross domestic product. On the other hand, the country - along with other members of the European Union (EU) - is committed to lowering greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by “at least”...

07/24/2016
Wisconsin AG fights feds with new 5-lawyer unit
WiscNews: Wisconsin attorney general Brad Schimel has appointed five attorneys to a new solicitor general's office. Above, Schimel attends an election night party for Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Wauwatosa. Wisconsin’s Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel has established a new office dedicated to defending the state’s most controversial laws from court challenges and fighting President Barack Obama on climate change, water pollution and bathroom access....

07/23/2016
Climate change may be turning gulls into cannibals
Kitsap Sun: Jim Hayward slips on a hard hat and pops open an umbrella before stepping into a storm of angry gulls. Hayward, a seabird biologist based on Protection Island in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, is making his evening rounds through the largest gull nesting colony in the Puget Sound region. He's been monitoring this site since 1987, so he's used to the shrieking, the divebombing, the frequent splatterings of gull poop, and the pecking at his head, hands and feet. What he's not accustomed to is the...

07/23/2016
Solar Impulse: Zero-fuel plane begins final flight
BBC: The zero-fuel aeroplane, Solar Impulse, has left the Egyptian capital, Cairo, on the last leg of its global tour. The aircraft should take about 48 hours to reach Abu Dhabi, UEA - the place it began the circumnavigation in March 2015. Pilot Bertrand Piccard is at the controls one final time. His flight ought to be fairly straightforward, although his team has some concerns about how the heat in the Middle East may affect the plane. Mr Piccard is likely to have to spend a lot of time at high altitude...

07/23/2016
Haze epicenter receives environmental award in Indonesia
Mongabay: The Indonesian government on Friday bestowed the annual Adipura Awards to 143 cities and districts across the country. The awards, conceived as an incentive for local governments to commit to green and clean management, were presented in Siak, Riau province, on the island of Sumatra. This year marks the first time the prizes were awarded outside the presidential palace in Jakarta, according to environment and forestry minister Siti Nurbaya, who attended the ceremony with vice president Jusuf Kalla...

07/23/2016
Think you’re hot? Spare a thought for Kuwait, as mercury hits record 54C
Guardian: For those struggling to cope with Britain’s minor heatwave it’s an unfathomable idea, but temperatures in Kuwait reached 54C last week, a record for the eastern hemisphere and possibly the entire planet. A weather station in Mitribah, a remote area of north-west Kuwait, recorded the temperature on Thursday, with Basra, across the border in Iraq, reaching 53.9C (129F). The record has yet to be confirmed by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), which still has to receive the actual data...

07/23/2016
Saskatchewan Oil Spill: Husky Energy Pipeline Leaks Crude Oil Into Major River
Canadian Press: Attempts to stop a pipeline oil spill from flowing down a major river in Saskatchewan failed Friday and new steps were being taken to try to contain the slick. A government official said booms placed on the North Saskatchewan River by Husky Energy to contain the spill were ineffective because high water levels lifted the oil over the barriers. Crews work to clean up an oil spill on the North Saskatchewan river near Maidstone, Sask. on Friday. (Photo: Jason Franson/The Canadian Press) The...

07/23/2016
New study finds baby songbirds in the nest may face different risks out of the nest
ScienceDaily: Baby songbirds in the nest face naturally tough odds. Unable to fly, they are easy prey for cats, snakes, and even other birds. But the perils don't end when the young birds venture out from the nest. Now, new research from the University of Missouri shows that the risks baby migratory songbirds face in the nest are not necessarily the same out of the nest. The findings may have important implications for migratory songbird conservation. "For a lot of migratory songbird species, the current conservation...

07/23/2016
Canadian authorities seek to contain oil spill moving down river
Reuters: Authorities are building a new containment boom to fight an oil spill in a major western Canadian river, officials said on Saturday, after the spill breached a previous barrier and threatened the drinking water of several communities along the coast. The city of North Battleford, which draws its drinking water in part from the North Saskatchewan River, shut its supply intake on Friday and switched to using ground water, provincial officials said in a telephone conference with reporters. Some 1,572...

07/23/2016
A FIFTH of global warming in the past 150 years has been missed by historical records due to 'quirks
Daily Mail: A fifth of the global warming that has occurred in the past 150 years has been missed by historical records due to quirks in how global temperatures were recorded, a new Nasa study has claimed. Experts say the controversial study helps explain why projections of future climate based solely on historical records estimate lower rates of warming than predictions from climate models. Scientists have known about these quirks for some time, but this is the first study to calculate their impact. ...

07/22/2016
Canada: Risk of abandoned oil and gas wells rises in B.C
CBC: Northeastern B.C. is now home to 45 abandoned oil and gas sites, according to the province's energy regulator. They're dubbed "orphan sites," abandoned by parent companies that go bust and take off before capping or cleaning up their wells, pipelines and facilities. But a scientist with the David Suzuki Foundation says there are literally thousands of abandoned sites in BC, some impacting local First Nations and farmers. 45 abandoned sites in B.C. -- or thousands? Companies that end production...

07/22/2016
Tree ring warning: Forests may not be able to save us
Futurity: Forests take up 25 to 30 percent of human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide--a strong greenhouse gas--and therefore are considered to play a crucial role in mitigating the speed and magnitude of climate change. However, a new study that combines future climate model projections; historic tree-ring records across the entire continent of North America; and how the growth rates of trees may respond to a higher concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere shows that the mitigation effect of...

07/22/2016
Sizzling Midwest feels a preview of a hotter future climate
InsideClimate: Extreme heat waves like the current string of scorching days in the Midwest have become more frequent worldwide in the last 60 years, and climate scientists expect that human-caused global warming will exacerbate the dangerous trend in coming decades. It comes with potentially life-threatening consequences for millions of people. Research has shown that overall mortality increases by 4 percent during heat waves compared to normal days in the U.S. A study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives...

07/22/2016
World leaders poised to seal landmark emissions deal in Vienna
Christian Science Monitor: In 1987, the Montreal Protocol set the ozone layer on the path to recovery. In 2016, it could take a bite out of greenhouse gas emissions. Officials convened in Vienna this week to amend the Montreal Protocol, which phased out ozone-killing refrigerants called CFCs nearly three decades earlier. Now the delegation is nearing an international deal to reduce HFCs, says EPA administrator Gina McCarthy. “We are seeing all countries coming into this meeting with an incredibly positive and collaborative...

07/22/2016
Alameda Becomes 5th County in California to Ban Fracking
EcoWatch: Five counties in California have now banned fracking. Alameda County is the latest to join the list after county leaders voted unanimously in favor of banning fracking Tuesday evening. Alameda County is the first county in the San Francisco Bay area to ban hydraulic fracturing, CBS San Francisco reported. A coalition of environmental groups worked for more than two years to persuade county officials to ban the practice. "We've taken a step that will protect everyone in Alameda County, especially...

07/22/2016
Leo makes his biggest commitment ever to the environment
PageSix: This may be enough for everyone to forget about the whole private jet episode at Cannes. Leonardo DiCaprio's foundation has announced $15.6 million in grants for conservation efforts, the largest series of donations ever by the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. The foundation boasts donations of more than $59 million since it was founded in 1998. DiCaprio, 41, has lobbied world leaders about climate change, protecting wildlife and more, and even spoke of the environment during his Oscar acceptance...

07/22/2016
US calls for rapid progress on greenhouse-gas pact
Reuters: US Secretary of State John Kerry urged UN nations on Friday to reach a deal to cut the use of a family of powerful greenhouse gases and take a big step towards keeping global warming in check. Officials from nearly 200 countries are meeting this week to hammer out an agreement to cut the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are used in refrigeration, aerosols and air conditioning, by amending the landmark Montreal Protocol. The Montreal Protocol succeeded in slashing the use of chlorofluorocarbons...

07/22/2016
China: Green infrastructure minimizes flood risk
ECNS: Recent storms in China affecting especially cities along the Yangtze River and even in the northern part of the country show current water engineering approaches are not offering enough protection from flooding disasters. It is both the failure of local flood defense systems and the lack of effective river-basin-wide management that amplify flood disasters. Indeed, around the world, people have started realizing that cities need to reinvent themselves if they are to become resilient to the effects...

07/22/2016
Why the "Heat Dome" Will Scorch Nearly the Entire U.S. This Weekend
LiveScience: A blast of sweltering heat will sweep across the United States over the next four days, and some places will see temperatures as much as 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit (5.6 to 8.3 degrees Celsius) above average for this time of year, according to the National Weather Service. Hot weather in July is to be expected, of course — after all, it's the middle of summer — but a so-called heat dome is kicking these hot and humid temperatures up a notch. A heat dome happens when a "dome" of high pressure...

07/22/2016
Heat Wave: Middle East Sets New Temperature Record
Time: Temperatures Thursday reached an incredible 54°C (129.2°F) in Mitribah, Kuwait, setting the record for the warmest temperature ever recorded outside of California`s Death Valley, according to a Weather Underground report. The report, which still awaits confirmation, came during a heat wave that raised already sweltering temperatures across the region even higher. An all-time temperature record was set in Iraq where temperatures reached 128°F (53.4°C) at Basrah. Temperatures Thursday are expected...

07/21/2016
We are the 'last generation' that can stop climate change, warns Leonardo DiCaprio
Edie: The third annual gala for Leonardo DiCaprio's eponymous charity raised $45m for environmental causes on Wednesday night (20 July), with the Hollywood actor warning that this generation has been given the "last chance" to combat climate change. DiCaprio lauded the signing of the Paris Agreement, which took place in April, as well as highlighting the Foundation's successful environmental initiatives The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation welcomed celebrities including Edward Norton, Arnold Schwarzenegger...

07/21/2016
Sadiq Khan: violence across London was 'fuelled by hot weather'
Evening Standard: London Mayor Sadiq Khan has said last night's shocking violence across the capital was "fuelled by the hot weather". Clashes broke out between police and youths as up to 4,000 teenagers gathered in Hyde Park last night, with one youth stabbed after being chased through traffic nearby. Meanwhile, in a separate incident in Hackney, dozens of police officers were attacked with missiles as they shut down an illegal rave on an estate, and a water fight between 200 youths in Burgess Park, Peckham,...

07/21/2016
Why Americans waste so much food
ScienceDaily: Even though American consumers throw away about 80 billion pounds of food a year, only about half are aware that food waste is a problem. Even more, researchers have identified that most people perceive benefits to throwing food away, some of which have limited basis in fact. A study published in PLOS ONE is just the second peer-reviewed large-scale consumer survey about food waste and is the first in the U.S. to identify patterns regarding how Americans form attitudes on food waste. The results...

07/21/2016
Trees' surprising role in the boreal water cycle quantified
ScienceDaily: Approximately 25 to 50 percent of a living tree is made up of water, depending on the species and time of year. The water stored in trees has previously been considered just a minor part of the water cycle, but a new study by University of Alaska Fairbanks scientists shows otherwise. Research published this week in Nature Scientific Reports is the first to show that the uptake of snowmelt water by deciduous trees represents a large and previously overlooked aspect of the water balance in boreal...

07/21/2016
Antarctic Peninsula Has Cooled, but Warming Will Win
Climate Central: For most of the latter half of the 20th century, the Antarctic Peninsula was one of the fastest-warming places on the planet, with serious repercussions for the local environment, including the spectacular disintegration of a millennia-old ice shelf, and global sea level rise. But a new study detailed Thursday in the journal Nature suggests temperatures on the peninsula have dropped slightly since the late 1990s. This relative cooling is partly driven by the recovery of the ozone hole, and is,...

07/21/2016
Wild birds 'come when called' to help hunt honey
BBC: New findings suggest that the famous cooperation between human honey hunters and honeyguide birds in sub-Saharan Africa is a two-way conversation. Honeyguides fly ahead of hunters and point out beehives which the hunters raid, leaving wax for the birds to eat. The birds were already known to chirp at potential human hunting partners. Now, a study in the journal Science reports that they are also listening out for a specific call made by their human collaborators. Experiments conducted in the...

07/21/2016
Starving bald eagle chicks hint at ecosystem collapse in Florida
New Scientist: Short rations for America's iconic raptors. A team at Florida Atlantic University installed cameras at four bald eagle nests in Florida Bay, between the southern mainland and the Florida Keys, to figure out why the population has been declining. They found that eagle parents were feeding their young less than twice a day - nearly half what eagle chicks get to eat in other regions. The team also observed that the biomass of the food deliveries declined throughout the breeding season even as the...

07/21/2016
Record number of dolphin deaths along Bulgaria's Black Sea coast
Reuters: Carcasses of dolphins are washing up on Bulgaria's Black Sea beaches at a higher than normal rate, with a record 108 dead animals discovered this year, local authorities said on Thursday. The cause of the deaths has yet to be determined, said Environment Minister Ivelina Vasileva after collecting information by regional centers, adding that 77 of the dead dolphins were found in the southern part of the country's Black Sea coast. Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov on Thursday called for a special...

07/21/2016
South Africa’s Great White Shark Population At Risk of Extinction
Yale Environment 360: South Africa’s great white sharks are at risk of disappearing due to pollution, human interference, and a limited gene pool, according to a new study in the journal Marine Ecology Process Series. Scientists from Stellenbosch University spent six years tracking great white populations in Gansbaai, a fishing town and shark hotspot in western South Africa. They estimated there are 350 to 520 great whites remaining along the country’s coastline — 52 percent fewer than previously thought. "The numbers…...

07/21/2016
Poland ‘cannot afford’ share of EU 2030 climate target
Climate Home: Poland’s environment ministry says the country will struggle to meet an EU proposed 7% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, branding the goal an “inconvenience”. On Thursday the European Commission released its vision of all 28 member states would contribute towards the bloc’s goal of cutting emissions 40% on 1990 levels by 2030. Covering around 60% of EU emissions, the plan sees Sweden and Luxembourg making cuts of 40% on 2005 levels. Poland’s 7% goal is the fourth smallest after Bulgaria...

07/21/2016
Can palm oil be sustainable?
ScienceDaily: Land used for palm oil production could be nearly doubled without expanding into protected or high-biodiversity forests, according to a new study published in the journal Global Environmental Change. The study is the first to map land suitable for palm oil production on a global scale, while taking into account environmental and climate considerations. "There is room to expand palm oil production and to do it in a sustainable way," says IIASA researcher Johannes Pirker, who led the study. Palm...

07/21/2016
Germany and China are beating the U.S. in energy efficiency
Yahoo!: The United States ranks No. 8 among the world's most energy-efficient nations, while the clean-energy powerhouse Germany holds the top slot, a new report found. Oil-rich Saudi Arabia, perhaps unsurprisingly, landed with a thud at the bottom of the list. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) ranked 23 of the world’s top energy-consuming countries for its 2016 international scorecard, released Wednesday. Energy-efficient steps include outfitting buildings with intelligent...

07/21/2016
Lyme disease: You can't blame the deer
ScienceDaily: The last decades the disease Lyme borreliosis that is spread by ticks has been increasing, but this increase cannot be explained by the increasing deer population only. Results from the research project TickDeer, recently published in Nature Communications, shows that the percentage of ticks with Borrelia is decreasing in areas with a high deer population (deer, red deer and moose). However, the total number of ticks is higher. This means that the risk of catching Borrelia is not decreasing as...

07/21/2016
Chemical pollution gets to Antarctic marine bird colonies
ScienceDaily: Latitude is the main factor which determines the organic pollutant concentration in Antarctic giant petrels -emblematic species in the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic regions-, according to an article from the journal Environmental Research in which Professor Jacob González Solís, from the Department of Evolutionary Biology, Ecology and Environmental Sciences and the Biodiversity Research Institute of the University of Barcelona (IRBio) takes part. The research, directed by experts of the Institute...

07/21/2016
The Republican Party makes its hatred of mass transit official
Grist: The Republican Party has made its views on transportation clear: highways good, transit and bike share bad - or at least not worth spending any federal money on. This is the vision laid out in the recently released GOP platform. It’s intensely anti-urban, anti-transit, opposed to smart growth, and far outside the mainstream. According to the GOP, the only legitimate federal transportation expense is building highways. The Republicans propose eliminating all federal spending on mass transit,...

07/21/2016
Fukushima River Radiation 200 Times Higher Than Pacific Ocean
Blue and Green: According to Greenpeace Japan’s survey released today, radioactive contamination residing in the seabed off the Fukushima coast is hundreds of times above the levels of pre-2011, whereas contamination in local rivers is up to 200 times higher than ocean sediment. “The extremely high levels of radioactivity we found along the river systems highlights the enormity and longevity of both the environmental contamination and the public health risks resulting from the Fukushima disaster,” said Ai Kashiwagi,...

07/21/2016
Hey, someone mentioned climate change on stage at the Republican convention
Grist: Harold Hamm, a fracking mogul and GOP donor, ventured where few Republicans are willing to go on Wednesday night: He mentioned climate change on stage at the Republican National Convention. “Climate change isn’t our biggest problem,” he said. “It’s Islamic terrorism.” OK, not a rousing call to action, but at least there’s the implication that climate is a problem. But, of course, the real focus of the speech was the need for more oil and gas drilling — and how it could save us from the bad guys....

07/21/2016
Oceans may be large, overlooked source of hydrogen gas
ScienceDaily: Rocks formed beneath the ocean floor by fast-spreading tectonic plates may be a large and previously overlooked source of free hydrogen gas (H2), a new Duke University study suggests. The finding could have far-ranging implications since scientists believe H2 might be the fuel source responsible for triggering life on Earth. And, if it were found in large enough quantities, some experts speculate that it could be used as a clean-burning substitute for fossil fuels today because it gives off high...

07/21/2016
Massive relocation of 500 elephants begins in Malawi
Mongabay: African elephants are on the move. But this time it’s human-assisted. In one of the largest scale translocations ever, some 500 African elephants are currently being moved to what is believed to be a safer habitat in Malawi. Elephants from are being shot by tranquilizer darts, then retrieved by cranes and recovery trucks. The elephants are then awoken up in special “wake-up crates” and then transported 450 kilometers (~280 miles) by trucks from Liwonde National Park and Majete Wildlife Reserve to...

07/21/2016
Luzon Island in the Philippines is an endemic mammalian hotspot
Mongabay: A team of researchers has concluded that, in addition to being the Philippines’ largest and most populous island, Luzon Island is also home to the greatest concentration of unique species of mammals in the world. The team, made up of scientists from the United States and the Philippines, has just concluded a 15-year study on Luzon Island, during which they discovered 28 new species of mammals. The study’s results have been published in the journal Frontiers of Biogeography. Among the newly encountered...

07/21/2016
WMO: 2016 on track to be hottest year on record
Climate Home: Average temperature in the first six months of 2016 was 1.3C says NASA as fears over climate change impacts continue to mount We are on course for the hottest year on record, the UN’s World Meteorological Organisation has confirmed. Data from US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA published this week confirmed June was the 14th month in a row to break temperature records. “Another month, another record. And another. And another. Decades-long trends of climate change...

07/21/2016
Trump considering fracking mogul Harold Hamm as energy secretary
Reuters: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is considering nominating Oklahoma oil and gas mogul Harold Hamm as energy secretary if elected to the White House on Nov. 8, according to four sources close to Trump's campaign. The chief executive of Continental Resources (CLR.N) would be the first U.S. energy secretary drawn directly from the oil and gas industry since the cabinet position was created in 1977, a move that would jolt environmental advocates but bolster Trump's pro-drilling energy...

07/21/2016
After warming fast, part of Antarctica gets a chill: Study
Reuters: The Antarctic Peninsula, among the fastest warming places on Earth last century, has since cooled due to natural swings in the local climate, scientists said on Wednesday, adding that the respite from the thaw is likely to be brief. Rapid warming until the late 1990s on the peninsula, which snakes up toward South America, triggered the break-up of ancient ice shelves, which are vast expanses of ice floating on the sea at the end of glaciers, and declines in some penguin colonies. But a shift...

07/21/2016
Do ancient sequoias hold a key to reversing climate change?
Christian Science Monitor: Planting more trees to absorb carbon is one of the many ways that humans are working to combat climate change across the world – as evidenced by "carbon sink" planting efforts to meet zero net emissions, or the recent tree planting initiative in India. But meticulously collecting samples from ancient sequoia trees to then clone them in a lab and replant them throughout the world, well, that is a bit more of a novelty. But that's the task being undertaken by the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive, a...

07/21/2016
Alameda county becomes first in Bay Area to ban fracking
KQED: Alameda County is now the first Bay Area county to ban fracking, and supporters say it could have a domino effect across the region and the state. County supervisors unanimously approved the ban at their Tuesday meeting. Fracking is the process of extracting oil and gas from the earth using high-pressure water mixtures. Activists have raised concerns it could cause environmental damage such as ground water contamination. "I am deeply relieved that the Board of Supervisors passed the fracking...

07/21/2016
Cleveland is not the place for mocking environmental justice
ThinkProgress: n Monday, the first day of the Republican National Convention, the GOP platform committee chair was met with a chorus of laughter when he mocked the Democratic party for including climate justice - the part of environmental justice that deals with climate change and greenhouse gas emissions - in their party platform. "There`s sections about that they call 'climate justice` - climate justice!" Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) said, drawing attention to the Democratic Party`s newly-published platform that...

07/21/2016
The climate that most of us grew up with is gone for good
Mashable: On Tuesday, two government science agencies announced that the first six months of 2016 were the warmest first half of any year on record. The data confirms what climate scientists have been startled to see during the past several years -- the Earth's climate has made a step jump into a new, hotter era with more intense and frequent extreme events. SEE ALSO: June marks Earth's 14th-straight record warm month, catapults globe into new climate regime One way to look at the recent climate trends...

07/21/2016
Minnesota must do more to cut greenhouse gas linked to climate change -
Minnesota Public Radio: Officials in Gov. Mark Dayton's administration say Minnesota should look at strengthening its renewable energy law. The state is on track to meet a requirement of 25 percent renewable electricity generation by 2025. But that has not been enough to help reach another state goal: a major reduction in the greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change. Republicans and Democrats came together in 2007 to act on climate change. The Minnesota Legislature passed goals that -- at the time -- were among...

07/21/2016
Hottest Year Ever? 2016 Burns Through Heat Records, NASA Says
LiveScience: This year may be only half over, but 2016 is already on track to be the hottest year ever on record, with each of the first six months, from January to June, setting new temperature records, NASA officials announced this week. For the first time, NASA shared a midyear climate analysis, doing so because temperature averages this year have been so in excess of previous data, agency officials said. NASA's data showed that each month in 2016 was the warmest respective month globally in the modern...

07/21/2016
Trump's Border Wall Would Be a Disaster for Wildlife
KCET: California's border with Baja California is a complex region with unique environmental issues. Our Borderlands series takes a deeper look at this region unified by shared landscapes and friendship, and divided by international politics. A female arroyo toad shelters under a streamside cottonwood in early March, twenty years from now. It's unseasonably warm, and there's something ancient stirring inside her. She listens. A male is singing. She finds his song beautiful. Everything in her wants to...

07/21/2016
We need to eat less meat. Should the government step in?
Washington Post: Each week, In Theory takes on a big idea in the news and explores it from a range of perspectives. This week we’re talking about meat consumption. Need a primer? Catch up here. Laura Wellesley is a research associate in the Energy, Environment and Resources department at Chatham House, where she focuses on issues relating to climate change and food security. Meat consumption in the United States -- and across much of the Western world -- has reached a level that is unsustainable, both for our...

07/21/2016
?A New Study Adds Fuel to Calls for a Fracking Ban
Nation: About 386 million years ago, Pennsylvania received a great gift-or, depending on your point of view, a curse: the Marcellus Shale, a formation of black rock and limestone containing vast reserves of natural gas. The formation stretches from New York through the Appalachian Basin, but it's Pennsylvania that has played host to the most intensive plundering of those reserves since the mid-2000s, when energy companies began to use hydraulic fracturing to free up the gas trapped a mile below the surface...

07/21/2016
Local Efforts to Save Coral Reefs May Be Futile
Climate Central: Corals in remote and relatively pristine reefs fare little better overall amid global warming than those growing alongside heavily populated coastlines, according to research published Wednesday. The new paper, published in Nature's Scientific Reports by the University of North Carolina, reinvigorated debate among reef scientists over whether local safeguards and programs could save some of the world's most spectacular and crucial ecosystems from being wiped out. Scientists agree that coral...

07/21/2016
Study: Drought impedes tree growth, shuts down Amazon carbon sink
Mongabay: The Amazon rainforest is popularly known as the “the planet’s lungs” — absorbing and storing 100 billion tons of carbon and preventing it from entering the atmosphere. Maintaining that vast carbon sink is seen as vital to limiting climate change impacts. Now, new research published in the Global Biogeochemical Cycles journal shows that droughts can bring this crucial ecosystem service to a grinding halt. University of Exeter scientist Dr. Ted Feldpausch and an international team of researchers...

07/21/2016
2016 set to be hottest year yet, CO2 on rise: WMO
Reuters: The world is on track for its hottest year on record and levels of carbon dioxide have reached new highs, further fuelling global warming, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Thursday. June marked the 14th straight month of record heat for land and oceans, the United Nations agency said. It called for speedy implementation of a pact reached last December to limit climate change by shifting from fossil fuels to green energy by 2100. A strong El Nino weather event in the Pacific Ocean,...

07/21/2016
Sweden's Vattenfall commits to UK offshore windfarm despite Brexit
Guardian: The Swedish energy company Vattenfall is pushing ahead with a £300m windfarm off the coast of Aberdeen despite last month’s EU referendum vote. The offshore windfarm has been dogged by years of legal battles between Donald Trump and the Scottish government over its impact on his golf course, which the tycoon ultimately lost in the courts last year. But on Thursday Vattenfall announced its final investment decision on the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre, which sees it buying out Aberdeen...

07/21/2016
Climate change: Greenland loses a trillion tonnes of ice in four years as melting rate triples
Independent: It’s no news that Greenland is in serious trouble -- but now, new research has helped quantify just how bad its problems are. A satellite study, published last week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, suggests that the Greenland ice sheet lost a whopping 1 trillion tonnes of ice between the years 2011 and 2014 alone. And a big portion of it came from just five glaciers, about which scientists now have more cause to worry than ever. It’s the latest story in a long series of increasingly...

07/21/2016
Bakery venture feeds German appetite for pesticide-free food
Deutsche-Welle: There's a booming demand in Germany for produce that is both locally sourced and free from chemicals. One cooperative in Karlsruhe is linking farmers producing pesticide-free grains with artisanal bakers in the region. Farmer Ulrich Ratzel slides open the metal door of his machinery shed in Linkenheim, a small village in the sunny plains of the Rhine valley in southwestern Germany. Just inside the doorway sits a long red harrow, which Ratzel has already hooked up to his tractor in preparation...

07/21/2016
EU Emission Targets Don’t Meet Paris Agreement Goals
Blue and Green: According to Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, the Commission missed an important opportunity to scale up EU climate action in today’s proposal by failing to introduce a ratchet-up mechanism to increase targets over time and by refusing to set the lowest starting point for emission reductions in 2021. The Effort Sharing Regulation proposal presented by the European Commission today outlines how to break down the EU-wide target to reduce emissions from transport, buildings and farming by 30%...

07/21/2016
San Diego Bans Plastic Bags
EcoWatch: The San Diego City Council voted Tuesday to ban single-use plastic bags at grocery stores, pharmacies and corner markets. The goal of the new ordinance is to encourage shoppers to use reusable bags, decreasing the number of plastic checkout bags used every year. San Diego goest through roughly 700 million plastic bags a year, with only 3 percent of them being recycled, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported. "The vast majority of plastic bags we see are entangled in the brushes next to our rivers...

07/21/2016
Extreme heat is exhausting and expensive
Grist: It’s July, the month where the whole world collectively reaches for the nearest chilled beverage. Work be damned: Hordes of city-dwellers are relocating to the seaside, celebrities frolic in Ibiza, and most of us in the continental United States are tethered to the air conditioner right now. Just kidding — first-world problems are the least of our worries in the middle of this 14-month global heat streak. It turns out that increasingly hot summers are going to wreak total havoc on some countries’...

07/21/2016
The best strategies to keep bodies cool in a heatwave, according to researchers
Guardian: As we hit high-heat season in the Northern Hemisphere, it is useful to clarify tactics that can be used to help maintain healthy body temperatures. These tips are not commonly known and can be adopted by anyone, anywhere. While I am a climate scientist, my funded work is in the area of heat transfer, particularly in the human body. I work with medical companies to maintain healthy body temperatures during surgeries or other situations. I also deal with scald burns and I often serve in burn injury...

07/21/2016
Scientists warn of ecological recession as biodiversity declines
Climate Home: Humans have reduced biodiversity – the teeming variety of plant and animal life that competes and co-operates in every ecosystem – to below safe levels across more than 58% of the planet’s land surface. This is ultimately bad news for human food security because biological diversity underwrites what naturalists call the resilient ecosystem services on which humans and all higher animals depend – crop pollination and pest control, nutrient decomposition and recycling, water and air purification...

07/21/2016
How Markets Can Help Us Adapt to Climate Change
New York Times: We are on course to set another record for the hottest year, the third year in a row, and 2016 may well have the most billion dollar weather disasters. Adaptation to a changing climate looks both necessary and inevitable. Adaptation is most successful when we let markets identify the best opportunities to protect us. Markets have helped society conquer countless challenges, including the discovery of drugs to protect against new diseases, innovations to solve communications problems, and more. But...

07/21/2016
UN chief invites leaders to fast-track ratification of
United Nations News Centre: An Inside Look UN Art and Gifts Photo Stories Vox Populi Newsmakers History Corner UN chief invites leaders to fast-track ratification of Paris climate deal Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (second left), UNFCCC's Christiana Figueres (left), French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and President of the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP21), and President François Hollande of France (right), celebrate historic adoption of Paris Agreement. 20 July 2016 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon...

07/20/2016
Scientists review methods to prevent bites, suppress ticks that transmit Lyme disease
ScienceDaily: Dr. Lars Eisen and Marc Dolan of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reviewed decades of scientific literature on the effectiveness of various methods of preventing bites and controlling ticks that transmit Lyme disease. Their findings are published in the Journal of Medical Entomology. "One of the most important outcomes from this review of the existing evidence base was to clarify the outstanding knowledge gaps, and they are substantial," Eisen said. "The challenges are great,...

07/20/2016
North American forests not the climate change remedy hoped for - study
Reuters: North American forests will not fight climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide at levels once hoped for because the trees may not grow big enough, a study said on Wednesday. The new research challenges previous studies that said trees could grow larger due to higher temperatures brought on by global warming, said the authors of the study published in the journal Ecology Letters. Typically, up to a tharizird of carbon-dioxide emissions from human activity, such as automobile driving or steel production,...

07/19/2016
Event: 3rd Annual Hackathon on Climate Change
PC Tech: Makerere University School of Public Health -- Resilient Africa Network (RAN) in collaboration with AidData Center for Development Policy (AidData); and National Information Technology Authority Uganda (NITA – U ) have organized the 3rd Annual Hackathon on Climate Change on 22nd July 2016 from 7:30am to 6:00pm at RAN Lab (Plot 30 Upper Kololo Terrace opposite Kololo Airstrip -- Makerere University School of Public Health Annex). The Resilient Africa Network (RAN) funded by USAID is a partnership...

07/19/2016
The UK and Australia no longer have dedicated environmental protection ministries
Vice: The United Kingdom and Australia no longer have ministries dedicated to protecting the environment and fighting climate change, after both countries folded their environment portfolios in to other departments. That's leaving many worried that the two Commonwealth countries are stepping back in the fight against climate change. The cabinet reshuffles in both countries come after a wave of political instability that saw Australia narrowly re-elect Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, and the UK usher...

07/19/2016
UK's 2050 CO2 goal to cost extra 30 billion pounds without CCS: report
Reuters: Meeting Britain's carbon emissions reduction target for 2050 will cost an additional 30 billion pounds ($40 billion) without large-scale deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, a report by the National Audit Office shows. The British government decided to withdraw 1 billion pounds of funding to help commercialize CCS technology in a spending review in November last year. CCS captures carbon dioxide and stores it underground to stop it escaping into the atmosphere. CCS is...

07/19/2016
Vienna climate meeting aims for progress on deal to cut HFC use
Reuters: Diplomats meeting in Vienna this week hope to take a major step toward a deal under the Montreal Protocol to decrease the use of a potent greenhouse gas, in what could be the most significant measure to combat global warming since last year's Paris climate agreement. Officials from nearly 200 countries are trying to hammer out details of an agreement to cut the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) used in heating and air conditioning by amending the ozone-protection treaty that went into force in 1989....

07/19/2016
Environmental Impacts of Solar Farms Revealed
Soureable: A new study has concluded that solar farms can have a significant impact on local environmental conditions, achieving temperature reductions of as much as 5 degrees Centigrade beneath photovoltaic panels under certain circumstances. Scientists from the UK have released the first detailed study into the effect that solar PV installations can have on local climate conditions, with a view to assessing their potential environmental impact and enabling farmers to make better land management decisions....

07/19/2016
Offshore wind powers ahead as prices drop 30% below nuclear
Environmental News Network: The cost of offshore wind power in the North Sea is 30% lower than that of new nuclear, writes Kieran Cooke - helped along by low oil and steel prices, reduced maintenance and mass production. By 2030 the sector is expected to supply 7% of Europe's electricity. Output from the Dogger Bank project will be 1.2 GW (gigawatts) - enough to power more than a million homes. Next year, a 150-turbine wind farm off the coast of the Netherlands is due to start operating, and other schemes along the Dutch coast...

07/19/2016
Full of holes: why Australia's mining boom will leave permanent scars
Guardian: Australia is teetering on the edge of a massive hole – one left by huge mines that may soon close. As they do, the country is playing a desperate game of catch-up to make sure the mining companies pay for the cleanup. But a legacy of limited environmental requirements means that even if that succeeds, the end of the coal boom will leave Australia pockmarked with unfilled holes. This game has been highlighted in recent years by a trend of major miners unloading projects to industry minnows amid a...

07/19/2016
2016 will likely be the hottest year on record for a third consecutive year
Associated Press: Earth's persistent record 2016 heat is now dancing near levels that a world agreement is trying to avoid, federal scientists said. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Tuesday that globally , June was the 14th straight record hot month, with Earth averaging 61.52 degrees (16.4 degrees Celsius). That is 1.62 degrees (0.9 degrees Celsius) warmer than average and a shade above the record set in 2015. The last month Earth wasn't record hot was April 2015. NOAA Tuesday also warned...

07/19/2016
Cattle Grazing Is Now Causing Massive Deforestation Hotspots In The Peruvian Amazon
ThinkProgress: Deforestation in the Amazon has been a growing problem over the past five decades, with ranchers leading the way in clearing rainforest for cattle and cultivation. But while Brazil, the largest country in South America, seems on track to reduce deforestation, other major Amazonian countries like Peru are increasingly struggling to protect their share of the world`s largest rainforest. In fact, a new wave of deforestation is underway in the Huanuco region of central Peru, which now has the highest...

07/19/2016
Global Temperatures Are on Course for Another Record This Year
New York Times: The world is on pace to set another high temperature benchmark, with 2016 becoming the third year in a row of record heat. NASA scientists announced on Tuesday that global temperatures so far this year were much higher than in the first half of 2015. Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies, said that while the first six months of 2015 made it the hottest half-year ever recorded, “2016 really has blown that out of the water.” He said calculations showed there was...

07/19/2016
Genetically Engineered Crops Are Part and Parcel of the Decline of Rural Communities
In These Times: The endless miles of dead brown fields are finally gone. Spring in the Midwest should be announced by endless miles of green, but at best, a haphazard patchwork of winter wheat, rye, hayfields and the occasional bit of pasture are the only green that show up after snow-melt. Most of the winter grains planted last fall have been sprayed and killed to make way for endless miles of corn and soybeans. (We use cover crops to protect the soil in organic production too, but they are not sprayed in...

07/19/2016
First half of 2016 hit record-setting global warmth
Ars Technica: After 2014 set the record for annual average global surface temperature, 2015 promptly smashed it. By the end of 2015, the incredibly strong El Niño that had developed to help fuel that record enabled climate scientists to predict that 2016 was almost certain to break the record again. With the first half of 2016’s temperatures in the books, this prediction is proving to be on target. In a press conference Tuesday, NASA scientists highlighted the standout temperatures we've seen so far in 2016....

07/19/2016
Obama tries to revive a grassroots solar program
Grist: Can the Obama administration Frankenstein a celebrated solar program back to life? The administration announced a new plan on Tuesday to bring solar power to more neighborhoods - but it’s actually an old plan, long-stymied. The Property Assessed Clean Energy program, known as PACE, was created in 2007 when Berkeley, California, realized the same tools used by neighborhoods to pay for big projects like street paving could also be used to pay for installing solar panels. People in homes with panels...

07/19/2016
NASA science flights target melting Arctic Sea ice
ScienceDaily: This summer, with sea ice across the Arctic Ocean shrinking to below-average levels, a NASA airborne survey of polar ice just completed its first flights. Its target: aquamarine pools of melt water on the ice surface that may be accelerating the overall sea ice retreat. NASA's Operation IceBridge completed the first research flight of its new 2016 Arctic summer campaign on July 13. The science flights, which continue through July 25, are collecting data on sea ice in a year following a record-warm...

07/19/2016
Cattle driving big forest loss in Peru’s ‘under-appreciated’ Amazon
Mongabay: Despite having some of Peru's highest levels of deforestation, its Central Amazon is often overlooked by conservationists and NGOs. Cattle grazing in the area has ramped up over the past decade, leading to a deforestation hotspot almost the size of Connecticut that lost a quarter of its tree cover over 15 years. Deforestation is infiltrating protected areas and the ranges of threatened, endemic species. Recent data indicate 2016 tree cover loss rates may be more than triple those of 2015....

07/19/2016
NASA Scientists Predict Another All-Time Heat Record For 2016
National Public Radio: During the 12 months from May 2015 to May 2016, each month set an all-time heat record. That's on average around the world. Some places were not record breakers, but overall, global warming is increasing. NASA scientists talk about what the rest of this year may look like, and whether it will set yet another global record.

07/19/2016
2016 Is Breaking All Kinds of Climate Records, and It’s Only Half Over
Vice: 2016 is only half over, and already two big indicators of climate change (global surface temperatures, and the diminishing extent of Arctic sea ice) are smashing record after record, NASA scientists said on Tuesday in a press conference. It’s a troubling trend that’s hitting home in many parts of the world, like western Canada, which has seen hot and dry weather contribute to some extraordinarily destructive wildfires this year: In May, wildfire levelled the oiltown of Fort McMurray, Alberta....

07/19/2016
Ancient rocks reveal how Earth recovered from mass extinction
ScienceDaily: Scientists have shed light on why life on Earth took millions of years to recover from the greatest mass extinction of all time. The study provides fresh insight into how Earth's oceans became starved of oxygen in the wake of the event 252 million years ago, delaying the recovery of life by five million years. Findings from the study are helping scientists to better understand how environmental change can have disastrous consequences for life on Earth. The Permian-Triassic Boundary extinction...


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