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

08/20/2014
Faith Groups Divest From Fossil Fuels
Hispanic Business: Worried about global warming, a growing number of churches and other faith groups are divesting their holdings in fossil fuel companies that release large amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. "The warning in scripture that 'the wages of sin is death' could not be more literally true than it is in the case of fossil fuels," said Serene Jones, president of New York's Union Theological Seminary, whose board voted earlier this summer to divest its $108.4 million...

08/20/2014
Seals, Sea Lions Likely Culprits of TB
Nature World: Seals and sea lions may be behind human cases of tuberculosis, one of the most persistent and deadliest infectious diseases in the world, according to new research. "We found that the tuberculosis strains were most closely related to strains in pinnipeds, which are seals and sea lions," researcher Anne Stone said in a university news release. Tuberculosis kills two million Americans each year, but how did it first spread to the United States? Researchers from Arizona State University speculate...

08/20/2014
Hunting Down Ebola's Origins: Too Little Too Late?
Nature World: The deadly Ebola virus that is sweeping across west Africa, infecting and killing thousands of people, is thought have had originated in small and unassuming animals. Researchers have stumbled upon a number of carriers of the disease in the animal kingdom, where it is just as much an epidemic as it is in urban Africa. Some hope that finding the source of the disease will help them understand how it suddenly became so prevalent among humans. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), as...

08/20/2014
As Ebola Crisis Spreads in West Africa, Liberia's Deterioration Stands Out
National Geographic: The massive effort to get control of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the most devastating in history with more than 1,350 dead to date, has taken some bizarre turns in Liberia. The country's government on Tuesday quarantined a slum in Monrovia, the capital, provoking clashes there between angry residents and authorities. The country's public health officials had already been reduced to rounding up patients that angry mobs "liberated" from an isolation facility last weekend, imposing a nationwide...

08/20/2014
Fate of captured beluga whales in hands of Georgia judge
Reuters: A Georgia aquarium went to court on Wednesday seeking federal permission to bring 18 captured beluga whales to the United States from Russia. The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta sued the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration fisheries service in September for the right to acquire the whales, which were captured off the coast of northern Russia in the Sea of Okhotsk and are currently in the care of Russian scientists. Lawyers for both sides argued the case before a U.S. district judge...

08/20/2014
United Kingdom: Non-native wildlife ‘at risk under new legislation’
Independent: Animals including the red kite, the goshawk, the barn owl and the wild boar could be completely wiped out of the UK if a new bill to encourage the development of infrastructure is passed, a group of leading scientists warns today. The threat stems from a new definition of the term “non-native species”, which is so broad that it includes native species that died out in the UK but have since been reintroduced. The labelling means many species, such as the white-tailed eagle, eagle owl and common...

08/20/2014
Life Hidden Half-Mile Beneath Antarctic Ice
Nature World: Antarctica may be the coldest place on Earth, but that doesn't mean life won't find a way to survive. Researchers recently found a rich microbial ecosystem living underneath Antarctica's thick ice sheet, where no sunlight has been felt for millions of years. Nearly 4,000 species of microbes inhabit Lake Whillans, which lies beneath 2,625 feet (800 meters) of ice in West Antarctica, researchers reported in the journal Nature. "We were able to prove unequivocally to the world that Antarctica...

08/20/2014
U.S. effort to protect bald eagle suffers legal setback
Reuters: The bald eagle may no longer be extinct, but the U.S. effort to protect the national bird became harder on Wednesday. A federal appeals court revived a religion-based challenge to a U.S. regulation that allows only members of Indian tribes recognized by the government to possess the birds' feathers, so long as they first obtain permits. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the Department of the Interior did not show the regulation was the "least restrictive means" to advance the compelling...

08/20/2014
Understanding How Ancestors Today's Mammals Responded Climate Change
RedOrbit: About 10 million years into the current Cenozoic Era, or roughly 56 million years ago, during a climate that was hot and wet, two groups of mammals moved from land to water. These were the cetaceans, which include whales, dolphins and porpoises, and the sirenians, with its sea cows, manatees and dugongs. Over time, their bodies began to adapt to their new environment. They lost their hind limbs, and their forelimbs began to resemble flippers. Their nostrils moved higher on their skulls. The cetaceans...

08/20/2014
EPA Wades Into Water Fight With Farmers
National Public Radio: The EPA wants to "clarify" the scope of its oversight of water under the Clean Water Act. Big farm groups like the American Farm Bureau Federation call this a power grab that would place every ditch and mud puddle under federal regulation, forcing farmers to get permits for small trenches around the farm.

08/20/2014
Successful Marburg Virus Treatment Offers Hope for Ebola Patients
National Geographic: A new treatment has successfully protected monkeys infected with Marburg virus, a disease with a course so similar to Ebola's that it's impossible to clinically differentiate the two, scientists announced Wednesday. Though the technique has not yet been tested in people, the development has researchers noting that what's helpful for Marburg could well be helpful for Ebola, which is now seeing its worst-ever outbreak, claiming over 1,200 lives in West Africa. "This technology may have potential...

08/20/2014
Climate Change Threatens South Asian Economy, Bank Warns
Environment News Service: Climate change will slash up to nine percent off the South Asian economy every year by the end of this century if the world continues on its current fossil-fuel intensive path, the Asian Development Bank warns in a new report. The human and financial toll could be even higher if the damage from floods, droughts, and other extreme weather events is included, the bank says. "South Asia's economy is under serious threat and the lives and livelihoods of millions of South Asians inhabiting the region's...

08/20/2014
Life Found 800 Meters Down in Antarctic Subglacial Lake
Nature: A cold breeze blew off the Antarctic plain, numbing the noses and ears of scientists standing around a dark hole in the ice. Flecks of ice crackled off a winch as it reeled the last few meters of cable out of the hole. Two workers in sterile suits leaned over to grab the payload -- a cylinder the length of a baseball bat -- dangling at the end of the cable. They used a hammer to chip away the ice and a blow drier to thaw part of the assembly. "Did it close?' asked the winch operator. "Yeah,' shouted...

08/20/2014
California Drought Threatens Salmon as River Water Levels Drop
EcoWatch: Recalling a disastrous 2002 salmon die-off in the rivers of northern California`s Klamath Basin, members of Native tribes in that area, including the Karuk, Yurok and Hoopa, are pressuring the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to act to prevent another kill they say is imminent. Tribal members are asking for the release of water from the Lewiston Dam on the Trinity River to prevent the spread of a parasite that preys on salmon and thrives in warmer, shallower water. While the bureau says it will release...

08/20/2014
Why the Current Mass Extinction Matters
National Geographic: More species are becoming extinct today than at any time since dinosaurs were wiped off the face of the Earth by an asteroid 65 million years ago. Yet this bio-Armageddon, caused mainly by humans, is greeted by most of us with a yawn and a shrug. One fewer bat species? I've got my mortgage to pay! Another frog extinct? There are plenty more! In his new book Australian anthropologist Thom Van Dooren tries to break through this wall of indifference by showing us how we're connected to the living...

08/20/2014
Antarctic hides extreme ecosystem
BBC: While the underbelly of Antarctica may not exactly be teeming with life, it certainly supports viable ecosystems. Scientists have pulled up thousands of different types of micro-organisms from Lake Whillans, a large body of water buried 800m under the ice sheet. It proves the dark, cold bottom of Antarctica is not a sterile domain. In doing so, it raises the tantalising prospect that similar benign - albeit challenging - conditions could exist elsewhere in the Solar System. There are...

08/20/2014
Ohio River reopens as oil spill clean-up progresses
Reuters: The cleanup of a 5,000-gallon fuel oil spill from a Duke Energy Corp power plant into the Ohio River could stretch into Thursday, Duke said on Wednesday, as the U.S. Coast Guard reopened a 15-mile section of the river to limited traffic. The Coast Guard closed a stretch of the river between Cincinnati, Ohio, and Dayton, Kentucky, on Tuesday after late Monday's spill. The incident occurred during what Duke called a "routine transfer of fuel oil" at the company's 60-year-old W.C. Beckjord Station...

08/20/2014
Drought in California in pictures
Guardian: As the severe drought continues for a third year, water levels in the state’s lakes and reservoirs are reaching historic lows

08/20/2014
US Sent Thousands of Sailors To Help With Fukushima Relief. Did Radiation Make Them Sick?
Climate Desk: A $1 billion lawsuit accuses the Japanese nuclear energy company Tepco of lying about radiation levels. This story was originally published by the Guardian and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. The article was reported by the Guardian`s Suzanne Goldenberg, and the video was produced by Climate Desk`s James West. The first time it occurred to James Jackson that there could be lasting damage from his US Navy service during Japan`s tsunami and nuclear disaster came...

08/20/2014
Exporting Coal to Korea Could Slash Emissions by 21 Percent, Analysis Finds
Yale Environment 360: Exporting U.S. coal to South Korean power plants could cut greenhouse gas emissions by 21 percent compared to burning it at less efficient U.S. plants, according to researchers at Duke University. The strategy could also generate more than $25 billion in economic activity in the U.S. and cut emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and particulate matter, the researchers say. For those benefits to occur, however, U.S. plants would need to replace the exported coal with natural gas, and South...

08/20/2014
Protecting produce: ten African countries get biosecurity investment
Guardian: The Australian International Food Security Research Centre recently announced the launch of a two-year, $800,000 initiative for sub-Saharan Africa. The project aims to help 10 countries become better equipped to combat plant biosecurity threats. So, what is biosecurity? Biosecurity broadly refers to ways of preventing or mitigating the threat of pests and diseases affecting animals, plants and humans. It can include food safety hazards, animal diseases and plant pests. How does it affect...

08/20/2014
Leonardo DiCaprio voices climate change film
Politico: Actor Leonardo DiCaprio is lending his voice and support to a new short film, bringing attention to climate change and calling for federal action over carbon pollution. "We cannot sit idly by and watch the fossil fuel industry make billions at our collective expense. We must put a price on carbon -- now,' DiCaprio says in his narration of "Carbon,' released Wednesday. "If national governments won't take action, your community can,' DiCaprio says. "We can move our economy town by town, state...

08/20/2014
Mining company escapes Great Barrier Reef compensation payments and strict operating conditions
Blue and Green: The Australian government’s environmental protections system has been labelled “broken” after Gina Rinehart’s mining company managed to negotiate down both compensation repayments and operating practices. Information released due to a freedom of information request shows the previous Labour government demanded $800,000 (£446,000) a year in “biodiversity offsets” from mining company GVK Hancock as the environmental damage from its operations were deemed significant. The company counter offered...

08/20/2014
Impacts of climate change and land use on wildlife must be considered, say researchers
Blue and Green: Policymakers need to consider the impacts of both climate change and land use when studying ecosystems, researchers have said. A study has found that when the two factors are analysed together, there are variances in the findings depending on the region. Volker Radeloff, one of the researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said, “For conservation, as the world is changing, we want to know, how will wildlife respond. We need to take both land use and climate into account as we look...

08/20/2014
Why Vandana Shiva is so right and yet so wrong
Grist: Romantic environmentalists tend to get the big-picture problems right, while fudging the details. Rationalists nail the details, but sometimes become so immersed in the minutiae that they lose sight of the big picture. Michael Specter’s New Yorker profile of Vandana Shiva, the environmentalist and crusader against globalization and Big Agriculture, is a portrait of someone who understands the big-picture concerns of green-inclined young people with great clarity. Specter quotes a few key lines...

08/20/2014
Ebola outbreak affects tourism in Africa
Blue and Green: The outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa, which has already resulted in the deaths of more than 1,200 people, is threatening the tourism sector even in areas not affected by the virus, such as Kenya and South Africa. The Ebola outbreak started to hit the headlines earlier this summer, when the virus killed hundreds of people in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. While other African states have taken measures to prevent the virus from entering their borders, the World Health Organisation...

08/19/2014
Louisville, fastest-warming city in U.S., reaches for the brakes
ClimateWire: Two years ago, the home of the Kentucky Derby, Kentucky Fried Chicken and the Louisville Slugger received an unwelcome distinction: fastest-warming heat island in the United States. Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology found that since the 1960s, urban Louisville, Ky., saw its temperature rise above that of its surroundings at a rate greater than any other city in the country and more than double the warming rate of the planet as a whole. This trend puts Louisville on track to...

08/19/2014
Here’s How Arctic Sea Ice Could Shrink Even More
Climate Central: As the sea ice covering the Arctic continues to shrink under the influence of greenhouse gas-induced warming, it's causing a host of other changes in the region, including the growth of large waves in the previously iced-over areas. Those waves could potentially reinforce and hasten the demise of sea ice, leading to further changes in the fragile polar realm. Changes brought on by global warming in the Arctic region have been well documented. Temperatures there have risen twice as fast as the...

08/19/2014
Climate change to slash south Asian GDP
Financial Times: South Asian economies will be badly squeezed by climate change within a few decades if no action is taken to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for global warming, according to a report published on Tuesday by the Asian Development Bank. The report calculates that the six countries studied – India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and the Maldives – would on average lose 1.8 per cent of their gross domestic product by 2050 and 8.8 per cent by the end of the century, under a “business...

08/18/2014
Oregon Rejects Key Permit for Coal Export Terminal
EcoWatch: The state of Oregon stood up to dirty coal exports today by denying a key dock-building permit. This denial is a major victory for residents and climate activists who have waged a huge, high-profile campaign against coal exports. Oregon’s decision today shows that our state leadership values clean air, our climate and healthy salmon runs. Coal export proponent, Ambre Energy asked the Oregon’s Department of State Lands for permission to build a new loading dock to ship Powder River Basin coal down...

08/18/2014
Mexico closes 80 schools after chemical leak
Agence France-Presse: Authorities in Mexico said Monday they have closed about 80 schools after sulfuric acid leaked from a copper mine in the country's northwest and contaminated the Sonora River. "About 5,000 students from around 80 schools will not have classes this week because of a lack of water and in some locations their proximity to the river," said the director of the Sonora state civil protection agency, Jesus Arias. On August 6, some 40,000 cubic meters (10.6 million gallons) of sulfuric acid used to...

08/18/2014
Reason Climate Change Optimism as Forest Strategy Validated
Huffington Post: Finally there's good news on climate change: We have part of the solution, and it's already working. For a long time, experts have theorized that indigenous people in forest communities and their management of these forests are critical to controlling and eventually diminishing carbon emissions in the atmosphere -- and now a new study shows that this is true. The report, called "Securing Rights, Combating Climate Change: How Strengthening Community Forest Rights Mitigates Climate Change" and released...

08/18/2014
One Year After Calif. Rim Fire, Debate Simmers Over Forest Recovery
National Public Radio: Eric Knapp breaks apart a burnt pine cone, looking for seeds - in his line of work this is considered a clue. "Going into an area after a fire, you almost feel like CSI, you know, sleuthing," Knapp says. He is standing in a part of the Stanislaus National Forest that was severely burned by the Rim Fire. Knapp, an ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service, is studying how forests recover. "It's completely dead," he says. "These trees won't be coming back to life." A lot of the forest was charred...

08/18/2014
As risk of drought rises, Australian farmers struggle to invest
Reuters: When a scorching drought struck eastern Australia in 2006, cattle farmers Robyn and Paul Kendal had to slaughter nearly all their livestock and spend around a year of their normal turnover on feed to keep the remainder alive. With a recurrence of El Nino, the weather pattern behind the drought, looming and dry conditions already affecting an area larger than South Africa, another major drought could be one struggle too many for farmers such as the Kendals. "In 2006, we saw the lowest amount of...

08/18/2014
Chinese ivory trade blamed as poachers drive down elephant population by 2% a year
Independent: Elephant poaching has driven down the population across Africa by an average of two per cent per year since 2010 according to a major study into the effect of the illegal Chinese ivory trade on the world’s largest land animal. Scientists have for the first time analysed elephant deaths on a continental scale by reviewing data from 45 sites across Africa. The researchers were able to show a link between the rate of killing by poachers and the black market price of ivory, which is used in Chinese...

08/18/2014
Ebola Crisis Worse Than Feared, Health Workers Harassed
Environment News Service: The numbers of reported Ebola virus cases and deaths "vastly underestimate the magnitude of the crisis" health workers at Ebola outbreak sites in four West African countries have told the United Nations World Health Organization, WHO. The deadly virus is spreading in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. At the same time, health workers have been are being threatened and harassed as they work around the clock to stop the deadly disease from spreading, WHO officials say. These professionals...

08/18/2014
July Ocean Temperature Hits Record High—Again
EcoWatch: Last month, Earth’s ocean surfaces tied the previous record for the hottest July during the 130 years the U.S. government has been compiling data. The National Climatic Data Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that the average temperature was 62.56 degrees Fahrenheit, 1.06 degrees above the 20th-century average. The ocean surfaces also reached that temperature in July 2009. It`s the third straight month this year that ocean surface temperatures set a record....

08/18/2014
Figuring out the way to make really clean energy
Oxford Times: FOR years, scientists just down the road from Oxford have been quietly working at the forefront of a project that could change the world. But fusion power is the best invention you have probably never heard of. That may sound like a bold claim, but Prof Steve Cowley, chief executive officer of the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, is convinced that it is the only solution to a fast-approacing world energy crisis. He has been working at the science centre since 2008, but the project – the...

08/18/2014
United Kingdom: Anti-fracking group stages day of action
Guardian: Anti-fracking protesters caused peaceful disruption at several locations on Monday, gluing themselves to the doors of a government department, occupying a building used by an energy firm and blockading access to a test drilling site. Activists dressed in toxic hazard suits staged a protest outside the London offices of Political Planning Services (PPS), a PR firm that represents the oil and gas exploration company Cuadrilla. The stunts were part of a day of direct action declared by Reclaim...

08/18/2014
Change in critical grasslands diminishing cattle production
ASU: Half of the Earth’s land mass is made up of rangelands, which include grasslands and savannas, yet they are being transformed at an alarming rate. Woody plants, such as trees and shrubs are taking over, leading to a loss of critical habitat and causing a drastic change in the ability of ecosystems to produce food – specifically meat. Half of the Earth's land mass is made up of rangelands, which include grasslands and savannas, yet they are being transformed at an alarming rate. Woody plants, such...

08/18/2014
When forests aren't really forests: the high cost of Chile’s tree plantations
Mongabay: At first glance, the statistics tell a hopeful story: Chile’s forests are expanding. According to Global Forest Watch, overall forest cover changes show approximately 300,000 hectares were gained between 2000 and 2013 in Chile’s central and southern regions. Specifically, 1.4 million hectares of forest cover were gained, while about 1.1 million hectares were lost. On the ground, however, a different scene plays out: monocultures have replaced diverse natural forests while Mapuche native protesters...

08/18/2014
Fracking's Impact on Animals Still Largely Unknown
Nature World: Fracking's impact on animals is still largely unknown, which scientists see as a real problem given that business is booming. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, shows no signs of stopping. Between 2005 and 2013, some 82,000 fracking wells were drilled into the shale deposits beneath 17 states, according to the environmental advocacy group Environment America. But scientists are concerned about this method of accessing oil and gas beneath the soil - which involves injecting chemicals into the...

08/18/2014
Recent Glacier Losses Are Mostly Driven by Human Activity, Study Says
Yale Environment 360: Roughly one-quarter of the global glacier mass loss between the years 1851 and 2010 can be attributed to human activities, and that fraction increased to more than two-thirds between 1991 and 2010, according to research published in the journal Science. The study is the first to document the extent of human contribution to glacier mass loss, which is driven by both naturally caused climate factors, such as fluctuations in solar radiation, and anthropogenic influences. “In the 19th and first half...

08/18/2014
Half of world could face extreme water scarcity by 2095
Blue and Green: Without climate change mitigation policies, half of the world could face extreme water scarcity before the end of the century, a study has found. However, researchers from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) also warned that poorly planned policies could exacerbate the crisis. The study, which was carried out with the help of the Joint Global Change Research Institute, is comprehensive and used unique modelling technology. The model linked economic, energy, land-use and climate systems...

08/18/2014
United Kingdom: Activists launch national protests against fracking
Blue and Green: Activists have superglued themselves to the doors at the entrance of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) building in London, in a protest against fracking. The action was timed to coincide with a number of protests across the country, including the occupation of fracking firm Cuadrilla’s northern headquarters near Blackpool. Campaigners have hung a banner from a bridge at Salford Media City, while others have staged a "die-in" protest at the Blackpool branch of HSBC,...

08/18/2014
Scientists Say Greenhouse Gas Emissions Cont Wreak Havoc on Climate
EcoWatch: Two new scientific studies, reported by Climate News Network, have added still more links between human-caused release of greenhouse gases and climate change. In Austria, scientist Ben Marzeion of University of Innsbruck’s Institute of Meteorology and Geophysics was part of a team that tracked changes in glaciers around the world between 1851 and 2010, using 19th-century photos and paintings as a baseline. Computer models allowed them to take into account natural factors like volcanic eruptions...

08/18/2014
Wall Street warned $91 billion of high-risk oil megaprojects
InsideClimate News: Critics of environmentally risky oil projects proposed for deep undersea and Canada's tar sands got new ammunition last week when a report labeled those ventures and others as the industry's most financially questionable pursuits. The new report, published by the Carbon Tracker Initiative (CTI), identifies a host of drawing-board oil projects that would cost a combined $91 billion over the next decade--and that would lose money if lower demand, carbon restrictions or other factors forced crude...

08/18/2014
Fracking the Arctic
Yale Environment 360: Among the dozens of rivers that flow unfettered through the Canadian North, the Natla and the Keele may be the most picturesque and culturally important. They are especially significant to the Dene people of the Sahtu region, which straddles the Arctic Circle in the Northwest Territories. Both of the rivers flow crystal clear out of the Mackenzie Mountains along the Yukon/Northwest Territories border before coming together in their final course to the Mackenzie River. For hundreds--if not thousands--of...

08/18/2014
Environmentalist Marina Silva presidential candidate Brazil socialist party
Blue and Green: Brazil’s Socialist Party (PSB) is expected to name former environment minister Marina Silva to run for the presidency after former candidate Eduardo Campos died in a plane crash. Silva, who was set to run as Campos’ vice-president, is a popular figure in Brazil. She gained nearly 20% of the vote when she ran as the Green Party’s presidential candidate in 2010. Silva will now run against president Dilma Rousseff in October’s election. Rousseff’s popularity fell slightly after the country’s elimination...

08/18/2014
Royal Society Propose Framework Climate Engineer Experiments
Motherboard: The Royal Society of London, the world's oldest scientific publisher, has unveiled a proposal to create the first serious framework for future geoengineering experiments. It's a sign that what are still considered drastic and risky measures to combat climate change, like artificially injecting tiny particles into the Earth's atmosphere to reflect sunlight back into space, are drifting further into the purview of mainstream science. The august scientific body has issued a call to create "an open...

08/18/2014
Older coral species more hardy, biologists say
PhysOrg: New research indicates older species of coral have more of what it takes to survive a warming and increasingly polluted climate, according to biologists from the University of Texas at Arlington and the University of Puerto Rico – Mayagüez. The researchers examined 140 samples of 14 species of Caribbean corals for a study published by the open-access journal PLOS ONE on Aug. 18. Jorge H. Pinzón C., a postdoctoral researcher in the UT Arlington Department of Biology, is lead author on the study....

08/18/2014
Scottish North Sea oil reserves six times higher than estimated
Blue and Green: A new report from business organisation N-56 has said that revenue from oil in the Scottish North Sea could be as high as £365 billion over the next few decades, rather than the £57 billion previously estimated. The study argues that the figures put forward by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) for oil revenue for the next 30 years are far too pessimistic compared to the industry’s forecast. If measures to maximise profits are put in place, such as a new tax regime and the creation...

08/18/2014
Canada: A Gallon Of Tar Sands Oil Can Send An EV Over 30 Miles
Clean Technica: The Alberta tar sands are an all-around environmental disaster, though its defenders will claim that the energy wrung out of the ground is worth it. A new report published over at Hybrid Cars, however, reveals that the energy it takes to produce just one gallon of gasoline from the Canadian tar sands could propel an electric car or plug-in hybrid for more than 30 miles. I’ll readily admit that math isn’t my strong point, and as with any report or study on energy consumption, the Devil is in the...

08/18/2014
Study finds link between Arctic change and extreme mid-latitude weather
PhysOrg: A team of researchers with members from Europe and the U.S. has found a possible link between Arctic amplification and severe weather in the northern mid-latitude parts of the planet. In their paper published in the journal Nature Geoscience, the researchers describe how they conducted a review of the findings of other researchers looking for a connection between Arctic warming and extreme weather events and what they found as a result. For the past several years planetary researchers have begun...

08/18/2014
A climate change convention: Clive Palmer really knows how to mess with Abbott’s mind
Conversation: Clive Palmer may have all sorts of motives but one surely is to drive Tony Abbott to distraction. As Palmer put it on Monday, after sending Joe Hockey’s chief of staff Grant Lovett on his way to do more work on budget measures, the government had found it quite surprising that it did not have the power to govern – that it had to go to PUP on things. Perhaps not so much surprising as infuriating and humiliating. Palmer announced, following his talks with the Hockey officials about the mining...

08/17/2014
Side Street: In the Bronx, an Unlikely Sanctuary for Birds, and People
New York Times: Troy Lancaster lives in exile. In the Bronx. His relatives won’t visit him, he says, because like a lot of folks with roots in the South, they are not keen on concrete, noise and narrow streets. He felt the same way in the 1980s when he moved to a stretch of Grant Avenue that had been reduced to an open-air drug market along a weed-choked street. His relatives do not know what they are missing. Today, Mr. Lancaster spends his time tending to trees and plants that line shaded, winding paths inside...

08/17/2014
Tesla's 'Gigafactory' is worth the fight
San Francisco Chronicle: Tesla, a standout California success story, is about to build a "Gigafactory" somewhere in the Western United States. This huge plant, covering 300 acres, will manufacture the next generation of batteries that will power cars of the future as well as homes and office buildings. This venture will require a $4 billion investment by Tesla and will initially create 6,500 full-time jobs, followed by tens of thousands more jobs in support and service industries, such as construction and retail. Tesla's...

08/17/2014
Fighting (Tasty) Invasive Fish With Forks And Knives
National Public Radio: Add kitchen knives to the list of weapons that humans are using to fight invasive species. I'm talking about fish who've made their way into non-native waters. How do they get here? Sometimes they catch a ride in the ballast water of ships. Or they're imported as live food or dumped out of aquariums. Once here, they can wipe out native fish, trash the ecosystem and wreck the beach business. Take the northern snakehead, which has made its way into tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay. It competes...

08/17/2014
The cost of caring for Europe's elderly nuclear plants
Reuters: Europe's ageing nuclear fleet will undergo more prolonged outages over the next few years, reducing the reliability of power supply and costing plant operators many millions of dollars. Nuclear power provides about a third of the European Union's electricity generation, but the 28-nation bloc's 131 reactors are well past their prime, with an average age of 30 years. And the energy companies, already feeling the pinch from falling energy prices and weak demand, want to extend the life of their plants...

08/17/2014
Methane leaking from Sacramento gas pipelines adds to greenhouse effect
Tribune: The natural gas pipelines snaking under the Sacramento region likely leak a significant amount of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, scientists say. Methane is a major component of the natural gas that travels from transmission lines to the underground pipelines that deliver it to homes and businesses. The amount that leaks out is relatively small, but scientists say it has a big impact, since methane is about 25 times stronger than carbon dioxide when it comes to trapping heat in the atmosphere....

08/17/2014
Floods submerge cane fields in North India
Reuters: Heavy monsoon rains in India have caused flooding in the country's main sugar producing state Uttar Pradesh, but the full extent of any damage to the crop will not be known until floodwaters recede. There were apprehensions that a slow start to India's monsoon season would trim cane output in the world's second biggest sugar producing nation, but a late revival in rains resulted in higher acreage being planted. However, fresh floods in North India have now raised fears of damage to the cane crop....

08/17/2014
Marine Economy Takes Dive as Ocean Acidity Rises
Climate News Network: The waters off the U.S. state of Alaska are some of the best fishing grounds anywhere, teeming with salmon and with shellfish such as crab. But a new study, funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), says growing acidification of Alaska's waters, particularly those off the southern coast, threatens the state's whole economy − largely dependent on the fishing industry. Research has highlighted the negative effect acidification of oceans can have on marine life,...

08/16/2014
Europe’s Forests Suffer Effects of Climate Change
Climate Central: Climate change is here, it's happening now, and for the last few decades it has been demonstrably bad news for many of Europe's forests. A report published in the journal Nature Climate Change shows that damage from wind, bark beetles, and wildfires has increased significantly in Europe's forests in recent years. An international team of researchers say in a report from the European Forest Institute that climate change is altering the environment, and it is long-lived ecosystems like forests...

08/16/2014
On climate rules, regulators look beyond litigation
Texas Tribune: Gov. Rick Perry has said that a new federal proposal to cut carbon emissions is "the most direct assault yet on the energy providers that employ thousands of Americans." Texas should not bank on legal action to free itself from the Obama administration's proposal to tackle climate change, two state regulators said Friday. Referring to a string of recent defeats­ in challenges to U.S. EPA rules, Texas Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman said regulators should think beyond litigation when...

08/16/2014
Endangered seabirds making comeback in Scotland
Scotsman: A SCOTTISH seabird -- which disappeared from a Hebridean island after it was invaded by rats -- has returned to nest in what is proving to be a bumper year for important species. The discovery that the manx shearwater has returned to deserted nest burrows comes as studies show many threatened seabirds are making a comeback after years of decline, with some having their most successful breeding seasons for a decade. Scotland is home to around 45 per cent of the European Union’s breeding population...

08/16/2014
Water in the West: The west gets thirstier as water supplies dwindle
Post Independent: The soothing sound of the Colorado River as it meanders its way across Colorado’s Western Slope is the sound of a thriving economy, a fragile environment and an impending crisis. The state of water supplies in the arid West is volatile, and forecasts are grim. Lake Powell and Lake Mead are at alarmingly low levels, while populations across the West are swelling past the capacities of current water supplies. The Colorado River Basin is facing a battle of sorts as the state works to create a water...

08/16/2014
Fact-checking Obama's rules on carbon and coal plants
PolitiFact: President Barack Obama’s second-term promise to tackle climate change has clashed with election-year politics. Much of the political debate has focused on the Environmental Protection Agency’s newly proposed regulations on existing power plants. If enacted, the rules would curb carbon emissions that scientists say cause global warming. Misinformation about these new regulations started even before the EPA released them. In the days leading up to the EPA’s June 2 announcement, the U.S. Chamber...

08/16/2014
Kentucky faces challenging deadline to reduce carbon emissions, lawmakers told
Herald Leader: A draft of Kentucky's response to proposed federal limits on carbon dioxide emissions won't be available until next month, but the state plans to express concern about the limits' economic impact, Energy and Environment Secretary Len Peters told state lawmakers Friday. Kentucky will retire the majority of its aging coal-fired power plants in coming decades, making it essential that federal rules on "new sources" of carbon dioxide are reasonable, Peters told the legislature's Special Subcommittee...

08/16/2014
Real conservatives are conservationists
Herald Extra: Why is it that some political conservatives have been so obstinate in opposing any government action to address human-caused climate change? The answer is that they aren’t real conservatives. Real conservatives favor working toward a truly free and equitable society by intelligently considering our options and choosing those that will cause the least social upheaval and loss of individual freedom. This minimalist approach to managing change stems from a healthy respect for “the Law of Unintended...

08/16/2014
Enviros push 'public trust' as trump card over oil and gas influence
EnergyWire: Last Dec. 19 was a gratifying day for John Dernbach. In 162 pages the state's highest court had resurrected a provision in Pennsylvania's Constitution that had long ago faded into obscurity. The forgotten measure is an environmental rights amendment nestled in Article 1, among core protections of civil rights and due process. The amendment gives people a right to clean air, pure water and conservation of natural resources. It hands environmentalists an opportunity to transform the natural gas debate...

08/16/2014
Extinction or 'translocation' as impacts climate change increase?
ClimateWire: Climate change is altering the way some scientists are trying to save endangered plant and animal species from extinction. For nearly 100 years, conservationists have focused preservation efforts on maintaining species' historical ranges and reintroducing captive-bred species to boost dwindling populations. Now, some scientists are experimenting with a new approach. "What's changed over the years is we introduce [species] into areas where they have never been before," said Philip Seddon an...

08/16/2014
Humans now major cause of alpine glacier melt, researchers say
Christian Science Monitor: Retreating alpine glaciers in a warming world may seem to have an obvious connection. But glaciers respond to environmental changes, well, glacially. At any point, it's hard to tell how much of a glacier's retreat is due to human-triggered factors now and how much is due to natural factors that might have held sway years ago, researchers say. Now comes an analysis estimating that between 1990 and 2010, some 69 percent of the mass lost by the world's alpine glaciers can be traced to human influence...

08/16/2014
Many Republicans privately support action climate
Bloomberg: In stark contrast to their party's public stance on Capitol Hill, many Republicans privately acknowledge the scientific consensus that human activity is at least partially responsible for climate change and recognize the need to address the problem. However, they see little political benefit to speaking out on the issue, since congressional action is probably years away, according to former congressmen, former congressional aides and other sources. In Bloomberg BNA interviews with several dozen...

08/16/2014
Fukushima nuclear disaster inflicted ‘serious biological effects’ on wildlife
Blue and Green: An investigation into the impacts of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster has found that radiation may be harming wildlife in the area. In a series of new studies, published this week in the Journal of Heredity, scientists found evidence of population declines and genetic damage in species around Fukushima, Japan. "A growing body of empirical results from studies of birds, monkeys, butterflies, and other insects suggests that some species have been significantly impacted by the radioactive...

08/16/2014
More uncontacted Indians emerge in Brazil – fleeing attacks in Peru
Survival International: A second wave of highly vulnerable uncontacted Indians has made contact with outsiders in Brazil`s Amazon rainforest, just weeks after Brazilian experts warned of "genocide" and "extermination" of the tribe. The group of around two dozen Indians is believed to include men, women and children who reported fleeing attacks by invaders in Peru. According to Brazil`s Ministry of Health, the Indians are in good health and have been residing at the "Xinane" government monitoring post. The contact...

08/16/2014
Solar Energy Grows in Russia
Ria Novosti: A tender for the generation of 496 Megawatts of electricity by solar power was recently issued by the Russian government. Russia’s allocation for power generation by alternative energy sources is still small, but growing. Is Russia beginning to turn to alternative energy sources? Andrey Malafeev, the PR and Communications director at Bright Capital, a Russian investment bank, and Victor Antonov, the vice president of Solar Energy Holdings answer these and related questions. What does this mean...

08/15/2014
Colorado hunting outfitter admits harming wild cats for easy hunt
Reuters: A Colorado hunting outfitter accused of injuring mountain lions and bobcats to help clients kill them more easily pleaded guilty on Friday in a U.S. court in Denver to one felony count of conspiring to break a federal wildlife law, prosecutors said. In a plea agreement struck with federal attorneys, Christopher Loncarich, 55, of Mack, Colorado, admitted to conspiring to violate the Lacey Act, which bans the transportation or sale across state lines of illegally gained wildlife, according to the...

08/15/2014
Pittsburgh’s kale-lovers crying after another loss to the frackers
Grist: About three weeks ago, we wrote about a natural gas compressor station that was proposed adjacent to one of the Pittsburgh area’s old guard organic farms. Don and Becky Kretschmann, the owners of the farm, argued that toxins associated with the natural gas processing could threaten Kretschmann Farm’s organic certification. The Kretschmanns fought against it, the community came together to support them, and hundreds of urban CSA customers wrote in to the town’s board of supervisors to oppose the...

08/15/2014
Why Does Less Meat Mean Less Heat?
LiveScience: After long focusing on fuel economy and energy production, environmentalists and scientists are now promoting a diet of more plants and less meat to slow climate change — but why? It's a problem with efficiency. Industrial farm-animal production — getting animals from farms to our plates — is inherently inefficient. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, global animal agriculture produces vast amounts of crops to feed billions of farm animals long before they are...

08/15/2014
New York's Power to Fight Illegal Ivory
LiveScience: The exact origin of the nickname "The Empire State" is unclear to historians. Most agree that it dates back to the early 19th century, due to the vast wealth and resources of the state, or perhaps because of the Erie Canal's role in opening up the West for economic expansion into the continent. Regardless of the origin, the moniker stuck, and it illustrates the grandeur — and influence — of the city and state of New York. As a New Yorker, I take great pride in this role — and realize that we have...

08/15/2014
A Hundred Years Old Today, the Panama Canal Is About to Get a Lot Bigger
National Geographic: Part of our weekly "In Focus" series-stepping back, looking closer. Even after a century of constant use and the passage of more than a million ships, the great steel gates of the Miraflores locks, at the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal, still swing open with the precision of a Swiss watch. So exquisitely fitted and balanced are they that each of the 672-ton leaves can be moved by a pair of 25-horsepower motors. The same can be said for the massive Gatun locks on the Caribbean side. Engineered...

08/15/2014
California Drought Spurs Groundwater Drilling Boom in Central Valley
National Geographic: When Floyd Arthur moved to California's Central Valley as a child in the mid-20th century, his migrant worker parents found water by digging just a few feet into the ground. But now, the drilling company Arthur and his son own has to bore holes 1,000 or even 2,000 feet (300 to 600 meters) deep for water. "If we don't get a bigger snowpack soon, we're going to be in trouble. I don't know what we're going to do," Arthur said about the most serious drought in California's recorded history. The Arthurs...

08/15/2014
Humans to Blame for World's Melting Glaciers
Nature World: As our world warms, glacial ice continues to retreat. However, scientists have now come to realize that humans are mostly to blame, rather than being able to solely peg it on natural climate fluctuations, according to a new study. Glacier extent actually responds very slowly to climate changes. In fact, it typically takes glaciers decades or centuries to adjust. The global retreat of these massive chunks of ice started around the middle of the 19th century at the end of the Little Ice Age. Though...

08/15/2014
US cities combating climate change on the local level
Al Jazeera America: When it comes to climate change, a major part of President Barack Obama's plan is to promote ideas and solutions at state and local levels. Last month, surrounded by his task force of state, local and tribal leaders, Obama unveiled a national climate preparedness plan, pressing forward in his commitment to combat the effects of climate change in the United States. The plan activates a variety of federal agencies to implement recommendations from the task force. The Department of Agriculture...

08/15/2014
Evangelicals Pressure Florida Governor on Climate Change
EcoWatch: Evangelicals are frequently called out for appearing to care only about the unborn and giving little attention to post-birth conditions. The 21-year-old Evangelical Environment Network, which describes itself as "a ministry that educates, inspires and mobilizes Christians in their effort to care for God`s creation, to be faithful stewards of God`s provision and to advocate for actions and policies that honor God and protect the environment," is working to change that impression. Led by its...

08/15/2014
Want to change international climate change policy? Use your body
Crosscut: On Sunday, September 21, I will be with my daughter in New York City, marching with tens of thousands of concerned citizens demanding action on the climate crisis. The march is timed to build pressure on world leaders and show support for U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon's Climate Solutions Summit on September 23. Almost a year ago, in December 2013, I was in Warsaw at the 19th Conference of the Parties (COP) for the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change — the world's legally binding climate...

08/15/2014
United Kingdom: Heathrow airport protesters revive Greenham Common spirit
Guardian: Some formed defensive positions around underground tunnels, others nervously guarded the greenhouses, and one brave squatter scaled a makeshift watchtower to catch an early glimpse of any mob-handed intruders. Nearby, a 16-year-old girl chained herself to the gates while a human chain of protesters sang a piano-led rendition of the Drunken Sailor sea shanty with the chorus: "What shall we do with the nasty bailiff?" They rose at dawn and, after tending to the vegetable patch for what might...

08/15/2014
Japan: The Fukushima Effect: Insidious Radiation Impact
Nature World: Compared to the Chernobyl meltdown, the levels of radiation released by the Fukushima-Daiichi power plant disaster in 2011 were a drop in the bucket. Even so, a new series of studies has shown that certain types of birds, plants and insects in Japan are all suffering from the impacts of fallout. Researchers say studying these organisms will help them better understand the complex dangers of radiation. These studies were all recently published in the Journal of Heredity and detail observations...

08/15/2014
Ecologist's Passion for Preserving Ocean's Pristine Places
National Geographic: Enric Sala, leader of National Geographic's Pristine Seas project, took time out from packing for a voyage to the Galápagos Islands to answer a few questions about his goal to protect the ocean's last wild places. A widely published marine ecologist who grew up on Spain's Mediterranean coast, Sala is seeking to identify isolated places that warrant protection from overfishing. His expedition to Kiribati's southern Line Islands in the remote South Pacific is featured in the September issue of...

08/15/2014
Nothing else left to log: is eco-certified logging stripping Russia last old growth forests?
Mongabay: Russia’s trees fuel our increasing demand for wood-based products. The country’s vast forests, which cover over 800 million hectares or almost half its land area, are a major source of wood for global timber, paper and pulp industries. They are also home to some of the world’s most threatened wildlife species such as Siberian tigers and Amur leopards, as well as others like bears and lynx, and act as major carbon sinks. Among Russia’s forested lands lie intact forest landscapes (or IFLs). These...

08/15/2014
SeaWorld in US tries to reverse falling audiences after film showing effects of captivity
Independent: Suffering negative publicity and poor attendance in the wake of the critical 2013 documentary Blackfish, the SeaWorld park in San Diego announced today that it intends to upgrade and expand its orca habitat to double its current size. The new Blue World Project will cover a surface area of 1.5 acres with water 50 feet deep, a total of 10 million gallons for the California park’s 10 orcas. The plan features a “fast water current” for the whales to swim against as exercise. Officials said the...

08/15/2014
Antarctica Could Raise Sea Level Faster Than Previously Thought
RedOrbit: Ice discharge from Antarctica could contribute up to 37 centimeters to the global sea level rise within this century, a new study shows. For the first time, an international team of scientists provide a comprehensive estimate on the full range of Antarctica’s potential contribution to global sea level rise based on physical computer simulations. Led by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, the study combines a whole set of state-of-the-art climate models and observational data with various...

08/15/2014
Climate Impacts Of Arctic Sea Ice Loss To Be Investigated By NASA
RedOrbit: A new NASA field campaign will begin flights over the Arctic this summer to study the effect of sea ice retreat on Arctic climate. The Arctic Radiation IceBridge Sea and Ice Experiment (ARISE) will conduct research flights Aug. 28 through Oct. 1, covering the peak of summer sea ice melt. ARISE is NASA`s first Arctic airborne campaign designed to take simultaneous measurements of ice, clouds and the levels of incoming and outgoing radiation, the balance of which determines the degree of climate...

08/15/2014
United Kingdom: Thousands to protest against fracking in Lancashire
Independent: From his bedroom Rod Knight can see the field which campaigners claim could be the first commercial fracking site in Britain. Having been diagnosed with terminal cancer three years ago and after a lifetime in the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, he says he is not a natural protester. But he does fear the arrival of energy company Cuadrilla and the potentially devastating impact it might have on his kennels business, his life and his property which he believes had already suffered cracks as a result...

08/15/2014
'Mission Blue' film charts scientist's quest to save oceans
Reuters: From the Galapagos Islands to Australia's Coral Sea and a marine park off the coast of Mexico, the documentary "Mission Blue" navigates the journey of renowned oceanographer Sylvia Earle as she travels the globe to save the planet's threatened seas. With stunning underwater footage, the film that airs on Friday on the online streaming service Netflix and in selected U.S. theaters, shows the devastating impact of pollution, overfishing and climate change on the oceans through the eyes of the renowned...

08/15/2014
The Terminators of the high seas: Lionfish's ruthless killing alarms scientists
LiveScience: Lionfish, an invasive Pacific Ocean species, have been wiping out native fish populations in the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean for the past couple of decades. Now, research reveals the "terminator"-style approach to hunting that has likely made them so successful: When other predatory fish quit stalking their prey to look for easier targets, lionfish just keep on killing. "Lionfish seem to be the ultimate invader," study researcher Kurt Ingeman, a doctoral student at Oregon State University,...

08/15/2014
United Kingdom: Blackpool anti-fracking camp: 'I'm here for my 10 grandchildren'
Guardian: A group of local anti-fracking campaigners is set to be joined by up to 1,000 people this weekend as the nationwide protest against the controversial extraction process moves to Lancashire. The group, which is mainly composed of mothers and grandparents, has occupied a local farmer’s field in Little Plumpton, five miles from Blackpool, since 5am last Thursday. The field is adjacent to two sites where Cuadrilla plans to drill. “We’d put all over Facebook that we were in Preston so nobody would...

08/15/2014
10 Places Where Climate Change Is Being Felt the Fastest
Weather Channel: In the future, Miami-Dade County could be one of the nation's most susceptible places to rising water levels from global warming. Some cities in the South Florida area are starting to plan for potentially catastrophic flooding events. Where are the effects of global warming already having a major impact? In places like South Florida and especially Miami, which faces major long-term threats from a slow but stealthy adversary: sea level rise. In this region, sea levels already have risen by about...

08/15/2014
Rapid melting of world’s glaciers proven to be man-made
Blue and Green: A study has found that more than two-thirds of the recent rapid melting of the Earth’s glaciers can be attributed to human activity. In a new study, scientists have analysed glaciers’ melting activities since 1851, but did not find any evidence of man-made effects up until the middle of the twentieth century. However, since 1991, there has been a huge increase in glacial melting, with 69% proven to be due to human activity. Ben Marzeion, a climate scientist at the University of Innsbruck...

08/15/2014
Heathrow protesters facing eviction breathe easier as bailiffs fail to appear
Guardian: Protesters campaigning against the expansion of Heathrow airport have faced down an attempt to evict them, forming a musical barricade in front of the greenbelt site in west London. The Grow Heathrow campaign has established a community market garden on land in Sipson, a village that could be bulldozed if a third runway is built. Some of the protesters have been at the site for four years. About 200 protesters gathered at the half-acre site on Friday morning to peacefully resist an attempt...


Did You Know?

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

 

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