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

04/20/2014
California's Drought Ripples Through Businesses And Even Schools
National Public Radio: Cannon Michael runs an 11,000-acre farm in California's Central Valley. His family has been farming in the state for six generations. Michael's multi-million-dollar operation usually provides a wealth of crops including tomatoes, onions and melons. But recently, he's pretty pessimistic about work. "It is going to be a year that's probably, at best, maybe break even. Or maybe lose some money," Michael tells NPR's Arun Rath. Michael says about one-fifth of the land will lie fallow this year. So...

04/20/2014
United Kingdom: Goldsmith backs campaign to protect ‘national jewel’ Kew Gardens
Independent: Kew Gardens is a “national jewel” and it would be a “tragedy” if its funding is cut excessively, Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith has warned. Mr Goldsmith, a former editor of The Ecologist magazine, urged the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in a number of letters not to damage the research carried out at Kew or harm its international reputation. Ministers have been accused of breaking the law by cutting Kew’s funding, resulting in the loss of 120 jobs. As revealed in The...

04/20/2014
Research casts doubt on global warming benefits of biofuels made cornfield waste
Associated Press: Biofuels made from the leftovers of harvested corn plants are worse than gasoline for global warming in the short term, a study shows, challenging the Obama administration's conclusions that they are a much cleaner oil alternative and will help combat climate change. A $500,000 study paid for by the federal government and released Sunday in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Climate Change concludes that biofuels made with corn residue release 7 per cent more greenhouse gases in the early years...

04/20/2014
It's Final -- Corn Ethanol Is Of No Use
Forbes: OK, can we please stop pretending biofuel made from corn is helping the planet and the environment? With huge subsidies for ethanol in gasoline, with all States now selling gasoline having some ethanol blend, and a general misconception that these biofuels are green, corn ethanol has taken on a $30 billion/yr life of its own. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released two of its Working Group reports at the end of last month (WGI and WGIII), and their short discussion...

04/20/2014
United Kingdom: Record number radioactive particles found beaches near Sellafield
Guardian: A record number of radioactive hotspots have been found contaminating public beaches near the Sellafield nuclear complex in Cumbria, according to a report by the site's operator. As many as 383 radioactive particles and stones were detected and removed from seven beaches in 2010-11, bringing the total retrieved since 2006 to 1,233. Although Sellafield insists that the health risks for beach users are "very low", there are concerns that some potentially dangerous particles may remain undetected...

04/20/2014
Mississippi dams aren't to blame for flood risks
New Scientist: Maybe the Mississippi river delta isn't doomed after all. Upstream dams on the rivers that run through the delta were thought to be starving it of the sediment it needs to stay above sea level -- but now it seems there's enough sand to feed the delta for centuries to come. The Mississippi river delta, home to 2 million people and the largest tonnage shipping port in the US, is vulnerable to flooding -- the city of New Orleans, which lies on the delta, was famously inundated...

04/20/2014
Setbacks Aside, Climate Change Is Finding Its Way Into the World's Classrooms
New York Times: From Mauritius to Manitoba, climate change is slowly moving from the headlines to the classroom. Schools around the world are beginning to tackle the difficult issue of global warming, teaching students how the planet is changing and encouraging them to think about what they can do to help slow that process. Strapped school budgets, concerns about overburdening teachers and political opposition to what in some places is a contentious subject have complicated the spread of lessons on climate change....

04/20/2014
Climate changes visible by ZIP code with new online tools
USA Today: With the click of a computer mouse, the potential risks of rising sea levels will soon be searchable - by ZIP code - for all U.S. coastal communities. An online mapping tool will show how much sea levels are expected to rise in each area, as well as the number of residents and buildings that could be flooded. Initially launched in March 2012 for New York, New Jersey and Florida, it will expand to cover New England on Wednesday, the Pacific states later this spring and the rest of the coastal U.S....

04/20/2014
In Indonesia, new Riau burning season threatens
Reuters: One of Indonesia's most unique biosphere reserves is at risk of being destroyed by forest fires unless local and national government can work together to save it, a UNESCO expert says. Covering around 700,000 hectares of the Bengkalis and Siak subdistricts of Riau province, Giam Siak Kecil-Bukit Batu was declared a UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Reserve in 2009, in recognition of the way it balances conservation and sustainable use. Giam Siak is home to two wildlife reserves that provide a sanctuary...

04/20/2014
Federal Study: Biofuels worse than gasoline
Associated Press: Could ethanol be worse for the environment than gasoline? A new study says yes. The study, paid for by the federal government says biofuels made from the leftovers of harvested corn plants are worse than gasoline for global warming in the short term. The research challenges the Obama administration's conclusions that biofuels are a much cleaner oil alternative and will help fight climate change. The study is being criticized by the biofuels industry and the president's administration as...

04/20/2014
'Cowboy Indian Alliance' Steps Forward in Earth's Time of Need
Common Dreams: In the week ahead, a coalition of tribal communities, ranchers, farmers and allies calling itself the 'Cowboy Indian Alliance' plans to lead a series of protests, ceremonies, and direct actions in the heart of Washington, DC in order to drive home their united opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline and the destructive expansion of tar sands mining and fossil fuel dependence it represents. Under the banner 'Reject and Project,' the five-day long event will kick off on this year's Earth Day--Tuesday,...

04/20/2014
United Kingdom: Cumbrian nuclear dump site was mistake, admits Environment Agency
Guardian: Britain's nuclear dump is virtually certain to be eroded by rising sea levels and to contaminate the Cumbrian coast with large amounts of radioactive waste, according to an internal document released by the Environment Agency (EA). The document suggests that in retrospect it was a mistake to site the Drigg Low-Level Waste Repository (LLWR) on the Cumbrian coast because of its vulnerability to flooding. "It is doubtful whether the location of the LLWR site would be chosen for a new facility for...

04/20/2014
The Slow Decline Of Biofuels - Corn Stover Inclusion Won't Help
Science 2.0: Biofuels - ethanol - were trumpeted as being a renewable alternative to fossil fuels for decades. Finally, in 2005, it got the mandates and subsidies environmentalists insisted were necessary to make inroads against a mature industry like petroleum. Immediately, what scientists knew became evident - they were more resource intensive to produce, were no better for emissions, and subsidies insured there was no reason to get more efficient. Worse, the gold rush of government money drove up corn prices,...

04/20/2014
United Kingdom: Why Wales needs both a Severn barrage and tidal lagoons
Wales Online: A combination of tidal lagoons on Wales' north coast and a barrage in the Severn could provide round the clock generating capacity, Roger Falconer writes In recent months Wales has experienced some of the worst winter storms in recent years, with some of the most extreme coastal erosion and flooding occurring since records began. Various other parts of the UK, such as the Somerset Levels and the Severn Estuary, also experienced unprecedented flooding of properties and agricultural land, primarily...

04/20/2014
Drilling holes in ice sheds light on future
U-T San Diego: For nearly two decades, Jeff Severinghaus has unearthed time capsules buried in polar ice. They chronicle past epochs of Earth’s history, record ice ages and act as thermometers of the prehistoric sea. The objects of Severinghaus’ exploration are tiny vaults of fresh air, preserved for thousands of years in some of the oldest ice on the planet. Scientists extract these time-stamped bubbles of ancient air from ice cores drilled thousands of meters below the surface. “What we get is, ultimately,...

04/20/2014
U.S. once again delays decision on Keystone XL pipeline
Globe and Mail: The Obama administration has once again punted the politically charged decision on the Keystone XL pipeline in a move that will likely delay a final ruling past November's congressional elections. The U.S. State Department said Friday it needs to assess the impact of a court battle in Nebraska that could force a change in the pipeline's route. But the project's supporters insisted the administration simply didn't want to make the controversial decision in advance of the November vote. Republican...

04/20/2014
Warm water, cold reality, new frontier for exploiting resources
Sacramento Bee: Big-screen “Noah,” the box office hit, presents the Biblical story of near apocalypse and indifference to God’s warnings. Small-screen NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, regularly warns of impending man-made environmental doom on its climate.gov website. Whether one is more susceptible to religious parables or scientific findings, the very real effects of contemporary climate change are happening at a stunning pace. If melting ice caps and shifting weather patterns are not...

04/20/2014
Keystone XL delay won't quell political wrangling
Associated Press: Democrats sweating this year's elections may be hoping that the Obama administration's latest delay to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline will take a politically fraught issue off the table for the midterms. Fat chance. An indefinite extension of the government's review of the contentious oil pipeline, announced late Friday by the State Department, almost certainly pushes a final decision past the November elections, keeping the project in a politically expedient holding pattern. But it is doing...

04/20/2014
Conservative heavyweights have solar industry in their sights
LA Times: The political attack ad that ran recently in Arizona had some familiar hallmarks of the genre, including a greedy villain who hogged sweets for himself and made children cry. But the bad guy, in this case, wasn't a fat-cat lobbyist or someone's political opponent. He was a solar-energy consumer. Solar, once almost universally regarded as a virtuous, if perhaps over-hyped, energy alternative, has now grown big enough to have enemies. The Koch brothers, anti-tax activist Grover Norquist...

04/20/2014
Wheat rust: The fungal disease that threatens to destroy the world crop
Independent: Scientists are warning that wheat is facing a serious threat from a fungal disease that could wipe out the world’s crop if not quickly contained. Wheat rust, a devastating disease known as the “polio of agriculture”, has spread from Africa to South and Central Asia, the Middle East and Europe, with calamitous losses for the world’s second most important grain crop, after rice. There is mounting concern at the dangers posed to global food security. Experts have been aware of the threat since a major...

04/20/2014
Philippines: UN warns govts on coal use
Manila Standard Today: The Aquino administration should heed the United Nations and stop the construction of 17 coal plants and shift to renewable energy in light of last Monday’s report of the UN scientific panel on climate change, according to a civil society group. The latest publication of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shows that the world can still keep global warming below dangerous levels only through immediate and drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, as well as by almost quadrupling the...

04/20/2014
A Fierce Green Fire: The Battle for a Living Planet Premiers Earth Day on PBS
EcoWatch: Mark Kitchell’s 1990 Oscar nominated documentary, Berkeley in the Sixties, covered the campus activism that disrupted the House Un-American Activities Committee’s hearings, launched the Free Speech Movement, fought the police at People’s Park and inspired student spokesman Mario Savio to declare: “There comes a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part … You’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon all...

04/20/2014
US Greenhouse Gas Emissions Slightly Decreased in 2012
Environmental News Network: Climate change is making the news for a number of reasons, including Showtime's new series called "Years of Living Dangerously." The rise in greenhouse gas emissions is responsible for climate change, and the majority of scientists agree that most of the increase is caused by human activity. That said, there is a bit of good news when it comes to U.S. GHG emissions. The Los Angeles Times reports that greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. decreased by 3.4 percent from 2011 to 2012. The report is based...

04/20/2014
With Climate Change, Wildfires Getting Worse in the West
LiveScience: Across the western United States, wildfires grew bigger and more frequent in the past 30 years, according to a new study that blames climate change and drought for the worsening flames. "It's not just something that is localized to forest or grasslands or deserts," said lead study author Phil Dennison, a geographer at the University of Utah. "Every region in the West is experiencing an increase in fire. These fire trends are very consistent with everything we know about how climate change should...

04/20/2014
Study casts doubt on climate benefit of biofuels from corn residue
PhysOrg: Using corn crop residue to make ethanol and other biofuels reduces soil carbon and can generate more greenhouse gases than gasoline, according to a study published today in the journal Nature Climate Change. The findings by a University of Nebraska-Lincoln team of researchers cast doubt on whether corn residue can be used to meet federal mandates to ramp up ethanol production and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Corn stover-the stalks, leaves and cobs in cornfields after harvest-has been considered...

04/20/2014
Fracking foes cringe as unions back drilling boom
Associated Perss: After early complaints that out-of-state firms got the most jobs, some local construction trade workers and union members in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia say they're now benefiting in a big way from the Marcellus and Utica Shale oil and gas boom. That vocal support from blue-collar workers complicates efforts by environmentalists to limit the drilling process known as fracking. "The shale became a lifesaver and a lifeline for a lot of working families," said Dennis Martire, the mid-Atlantic...

04/20/2014
Pipeline delay gives boost to Obama's political base
Reuters: The latest delay to a final decision on the Keystone XL oil pipeline will reinforce a White House strategy to energize President Barack Obama's liberal-leaning base before fall elections in which Democrats risk losing control of the U.S. Senate. Environmentalists, worried about the project's effect on climate change, have put enormous pressure on the president to reject the pipeline from Canada's oil sands, staging demonstrations outside the White House and protests in states where he travels....

04/20/2014
Transparency, good regulation needed as Wisconsin sand mines multiply, expert says
Wisconsin State Journal: Wisconsin can protect its place as the leading supplier of sand for the nation’s fracking boom provided it has good regulations in place and promptly addresses any nuisance concerns raised by neighbors of the state’s fast-multiplying sand-mining facilities, according to a former EPA administrator who spoke to a business convention Tuesday in Middleton. J. Winston Porter, now a Savannah, Ga.-based energy consultant and fracking proponent, also said maximum transparency by state regulators and the...

04/20/2014
Climate will push 2.9 million Mexicans into poverty
El Universal: Climate change will push 2.9 million Mexicans into poverty over the next 15 years, said the World Bank. Climate change in Mexico is expected to push 2.9 million Mexicans into poverty over the next 15 years, said the World Bank. According to the study "The Poverty Impact of Climate Change in Mexico", annual temperatures are expected to rise between 0.29 and 2.46 degrees Celsius in 2030-2039 compared to the historic average from 1950 to 2000. It added that "the largest increases in temperature...

04/20/2014
Plants that regulate sprouting tackle climate change well
Indo-Asian News Service: lants with the ability to regulate the timing of germination in response to environmental cues are more likely to spin off new species and are better at dealing with weather threats from climate change. Plants whose seeds put off sprouting until conditions are more certain give rise to more species, a study said. Plants whose seeds have since lost the ability may be prone to extinction under future climate change, especially if the timing of sprouting is no longer in tune with their environment,...

04/20/2014
Japan prepares for reduced Pacific Ocean whale hunt
Blue and Green: Japan is to launch a reduced whale hunt next week after an International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling prohibited the country from whaling off Antarctica. Japanese officials said that they aimed to catch around 210 whales – around half their current catch – in the Pacific Ocean. The move is believed to anger environmentalists across the world, after the ruling by the court said that Japan’s whaling programme is for commercial gain, and not for scientific purposes as officials had argued. Japan’s...

04/20/2014
Matt Damon: ‘Every 20 seconds child dies because lack of water’
Blue and Green: Providing clean drinking water to the 800 million people in desperate need of it is not a supply problem, but a distribution and financing one, according to Hollywood star and philanthropist Matt Damon. “Every 20 seconds, a child dies somewhere on the planet because of lack of access to clean water and sanitation. Millions of children are dying every year from completely preventable diseases,” Damon, the co-founder of the charity Water.org, said in an interview with the management consulting firm...

04/20/2014
At-Risk Cities May Help Drive Climate Change Solutions
Climate Central: It is already taking shape as the 21st century urban nightmare: a big storm hits a city like Shanghai, Mumbai, Miami or New York, knocking out power supply and waste treatment plants, washing out entire neighborhoods and marooning the survivors in a toxic and foul-smelling swamp. The rate of sea level rise is three or four times faster than the global average on the U.S. East Coast, which is also a "hotspot," with cities, beaches and wetlands exposed to flooding. Now the world's leading scientists...

04/20/2014
Climate One: Overselling the Fracking Boom
Energy Collective: In the Climate One video clip Trevor Houser, a partner in the Rhodium Group and climate negotiator at the 2009 COP15 climate conference in Copenhagen discusses a “middle road” for natural gas. Despite the good news that at the end of 2012 US carbon emissions were down 12 percent relative to 2005, there remains a long road to sustainable and sufficient emissions reductions to meet the goals scientists increasingly warn is required to avoid the worst consequences of climate change. The main reason...

04/19/2014
US wind industry slammed by tax uncertainty, fracking
USA Today: Once a booming industry, U.S. wind power saw its growth plummet 92 percent last year as it wrestled with tax uncertainties and cheap natural gas. The industry is still growing but not nearly as fast, says a report by the American Wind Energy Association. It added a record 13,131 megawatts of power in 2012 but that fell to only 1,087 MW last year — the lowest level since 2004. One reason was investors’ uncertainty that Congress would renew a federal wind tax subsidy. “People didn’t know it would...

04/19/2014
Poland Uses Ukraine to Push Coal
Inter Press Service: A European "˜energy union' plan proposed by Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk as an EU response to the crisis in Ukraine could be a Trojan horse for fossil fuels. On account of Poland's proximity and deep historical ties to Ukraine, the country's centre-right government led by Donald Tusk has assumed a prominent position in attempts to ease the crisis in Ukraine. Notoriously, Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski helped negotiate a February deal between then Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych...

04/19/2014
Al Gore On Climate Change Crisis
CleanTechnica: Former Vice President Al Gore delivered a powerful address to a packed house at the Stan Sheriff Center at the University of Hawaii at Manoa this week. Environmentally, Gore is most famous, perhaps, for his 2006 speaking tour and subsequent documentary called An Inconvenient Truth, but as opening speaker Senator Brian Schatz pointed out, Mr. Gore has been a climate change and environmental champion throughout his long career. Schatz, the current U.S. Senator from Hawaii, said he was inspired by Earth...

04/19/2014
The fracking divide: Mexico’s oil frontier beckons U.S. drillers in wake of new law
Washington Post: The geological marvel known to Texas oilmen as the Eagle Ford Shale Play is buried deep underground, but at night you can see its outline from space in a twinkling arc that sweeps south of San Antonio toward the Rio Grande. The light radiates from thousands of surface-level gas flares and drilling rigs. It is the glow of one of the most extravagant oil bonanzas in American history, the result of the drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. After the passage of a landmark...

04/19/2014
Coal: The fuel of the future, unfortunately
Economist: WHAT more could one want? It is cheap and simple to extract, ship and burn. It is abundant: proven reserves amount to 109 years of current consumption, reckons BP, a British energy giant. They are mostly in politically stable places. There is a wide choice of dependable sellers, such as BHP Billiton (Anglo-Australian), Glencore (Anglo-Swiss), Peabody Energy and Arch Coal (both American). Other fuels are beset by state interference and cartels, but in this industry consumers--in heating, power...

04/19/2014
People of Color Exposed to More Air Pollution
Nature World: People of color tend to live in neighborhoods that expose them to higher levels of air pollution when compared to Caucasians, a new nationwide study indicates. This study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, is the first of its kind to show a racial divide when it comes to air quality. Researchers at the University of Minnesota studied nitrogen dioxide (NO2) air levels in urban areas across the country and differentiated between specific areas in terms of their "nonwhite" or "white" populations....

04/19/2014
Specimen Collection Threatens Endangered Species
Nature World: Current specimen collection methods are threatening endangered species, a team of researchers from Arizona State University (ASU) says. In a time when habitat loss and global climate change are already causing concern, biologists are growing increasingly sensitive to their means of identifying species. "We are drawing attention to this issue as an important question bearing on the ethical responsibilities of field biologists," ASU School of Life Sciences conservation expert Ben Minteer said...

04/19/2014
Feds delay decision on Keystone XL making summer start more unlikely
Dallas Business Journal: The Keystone XL Pipeline hit a delay again Friday as the federal government announced it needs more time to study the controversial project, according to a statement by the Department of State. TransCanada, the company that proposes to build the pipeline from Alberta to Kansas, had hoped that a final decision would be reached this spring so construction could start this summer and the pipeline would be operating by 2016. “We are extremely disappointed and frustrated with yet another delay,”...

04/19/2014
Protest at Kew Gardens' endangered jobs and funds reaches 50,000 – and growing
Independent: Ministers were last night accused of breaking the law by cutting funding to Kew Gardens, a move that will axe 120 jobs at the world’s leading centre for conservation and plant science. Nearly 50,000 people have signed an online petition calling on Owen Paterson, Secretary of State for the Environment, to reverse the cuts that have contributed to Kew’s £5m deficit. MPs have signed a Commons motion opposing the cuts, while local councillors in Richmond, Kew Gardens’ west London home, are being emailed...

04/19/2014
Ancient Landscape Is Found Under 2 Miles Of Ice In Greenland
National Public Radio: In a surprising discovery, scientists have found evidence of a tundra landscape in Greenland that's millions of years old. The revelation goes against widely held ideas about how some glaciers work, and it suggests that at least parts of Greenland's ice sheet had survived periods of global warming intact. "Glaciers are commonly thought to work like a belt sander," a news release from the University of Vermont says. "As they move over the land they scrape off everything - vegetation, soil, and...

04/19/2014
Global Warming, A Disaster In The Making
Examiner: The die is cast and if the world doesn't start to eliminate the enormous amount of pollution in our oceans and drastically reduce green house gases the already noticeable harmful effects of global warming will spiral out of control sooner than we think. The Obama White House has already outlined a plan of action to utilize the technology developed to cut and eventually eliminate all together the sources of green house emissions. The United Nations confers that the cost of inaction would be catastrophic...

04/19/2014
Climate change increasing massive wildfires in West
USA Today: Massive wildfires are on the increase in the Western USA due to rising temperatures and worsening drought from climate change, and the trend could continue in the decades to come, new research suggests. Overall, the number of large wildfires increased by a rate of seven fires a year from 1984 to 2011, while the total area damaged by fire increased at a rate of nearly 90,000 acres per year, according to the study, published this week in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical...

04/19/2014
Research shows fishing affects coral reef recovery
Pacific Sunday News: Climate change continues to warm the waters around the islands in the Pacific Ocean, causing various types of damage to the surrounding reefs. One ecologist from the University of Guam believes "localized stressors" have a large impact on the recovery time of coral reef communities. But if looked at from a stakeholder approach, he's confident island communities can clearly define the future of coral reef communities. Peter Houk, coral reef ecologist from UOG's Marine Laboratory, presented...

04/19/2014
Telltale Rainbow Sheens Show Thousands Of Spills Across The Gulf
National Public Radio: Jonathan Henderson of New Orleans-based Gulf Restoration Network is flying Louisiana's coast looking for oil. As usual, he's found some. "I just noticed something out of the corner of my eye that looks like a sheen that had some form to it," he says. "We're going to go take a closer look and see if there's a rainbow sheen." It's a target-rich environment for Henderson, because more than 54,000 wells were planted in and off this coast — part of the 300,000 wells in the state. They're connected...

04/19/2014
Bill McKibben: We Need to Win Not Delay the Keystone XL Pipeline Decision
EcoWatch: Yesterday’s Keystone XL news from DC is both important and murky. In brief, the Obama administration announced yet another delay in their decision about the pipeline, meaning it may be past the midterm elections before a final call is made. Three things strike me: In pipeline terms it’s a win. Every day we delay a decision is a day when 830,000 barrels of oil stays safely in the ground. Together we’ve kept them at bay for three years now, and will continue to until perhaps the beginning of...

04/19/2014
China: Building the dream
Economist: SOME HISTORIANS BELIEVE that Marco Polo never went to China. But even if the 13th-century Venetian merchant did not lay eyes on the coastal city of Hangzhou himself, he certainly reflected the awe it inspired in other foreign traders when he described it as “beyond dispute the finest and the noblest in the world”. And, “incredible as it may seem”, he wrote, Hangzhou (which he called Kinsay) was but one of more than 1,200 “great and wealthy cities” in southern China. “Everything appertaining to this...

04/19/2014
Harbingers of global warming a cause for concern
Daily Record: Chickadees aren’t signs of spring, since these cheery little birds are year-round Jersey residents. But they could signal a warming climate. An interesting new study focuses on “hybrid” chickadees — the offspring of northern black-capped chickadees and their southern relatives, Carolina chickadees — in places where the two ranges overlap. Because the hybrid birds are infertile and can’t reproduce, they’re found only in a long, narrow strip of territory stretching from Kansas to New Jersey. The...

04/19/2014
Australia: Coal: Stop burning it, this is the next asbestos
Canberra Times: In the 1960s asbestos mining was a very profitable business. And it created a lot of jobs. Asbestos was very useful - indeed, one of the best insulating materials known to humankind. The link between asbestos and cancer was known as early as the 1930s. But mining continued. Hot water pipes were sheathed in it. In Australia, it was mined into the 1970s despite the known risk. Asbestos was mixed with cement to make building materials and sprinkled in roofs to insulate Canberra houses from the cold....

04/19/2014
Keystone decision delayed by US over Nebraska route
Bloomberg: The Obama administration’s announcement yesterday that it was delaying a ruling on the Keystone XL oil pipeline drew an angry reaction from supporters of the $5.4 billion project, including some who said it was designed to push the issue beyond the November election. “This decision is irresponsible, unnecessary and unacceptable,” Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Mary Landrieu, a Louisiana Democrat, said in a statement that called the move “nothing short of an indefinite delay.”...

04/19/2014
As politicians dither, we must act to save planet
Herald: The latest United Nations report on the impacts of climate change is playing out like a Greek tragedy. In the Greek myth, Cassandra was given the gift of prophecy by Apollo. When she failed to return his love, Apollo issued a curse so that her prophecies would not be believed. Climate scientists, who for over two decades have been sending us warnings about global warming, must feel like Cassandra -- cursed by Apollo. The 772 scientists who wrote and edited the UN report warn that world leaders...

04/19/2014
EU set to fund UK carbon capture and storage project
Blue and Green: The European Union has given the go-ahead to a UK-based carbon capture and storage (CCS) project that would help clean up a fossil fuel plant by capturing emissions and burying them deep under the North Sea. The White Rose CCS project will combine the existing coal-fired power station in Selby, North Yorkshire, with a carbon dioxide transportation network across Yorkshire and the Humber. It will capture some 2 million tonnes of CO2 – equivalent to 90% of all the emissions from the plant – and...

04/19/2014
National energy boom blurs traditional Democratic-Republican battle lines across country
Associated Press: The U.S. energy boom is blurring the traditional political battle lines across the country. Democrats are split between environmentalists and business and labor groups, with the proposed Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline a major wedge. Some deeply conservative areas are allying with conservationists against fracking, the drilling technique that's largely responsible for the boom. The divide is most visible among Democrats in the nation's capital, where 11 Democratic senators wrote President Barack...

04/19/2014
State Department Further Postpones Keystone XL Decision
National Geographic: The long wait for a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline grew even longer Friday, when the U.S. State Department announced it would allow more time for eight federal agencies to submit their views on the proposed project. The State Department said additional time was needed because of ongoing litigation in the Nebraska Supreme Court that leaves uncertainty over the pipeline's route. The proposed pipeline would carry crude oil from Alberta, Canada, through Nebraska and five other states to refineries...

04/19/2014
Klamath River Basin Pact Ends Decades of Water Wars
Environment News Service: An agreement that settles decades of conflict over water in the Upper Klamath River Basin was signed today by officials from the federal government, the states of Oregon and California, tribal authorities and water users. Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, Commerce Undersecretary Kathryn Sullivan, California Resources Secretary John Laird, Klamath Tribal Chair Don Gentry, and members of the Klamath Basin Task Force...

04/19/2014
Want to help combat the rising price of food? Grow your own vegetables
Blue and Green: Last month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a report that said all aspects of food security were at risk of being affected by global warming. Other studies have concluded that people can help matters simply by eating more vegetables and less cheese and meat. Growing your own vegetables might therefore help the environment, but can it save you money? We know that 250g of tomatoes can cost around £1.50 in the supermarket, while a small packet of seeds can be purchased...

04/18/2014
Climate change impact can be averted; nations need to act fast: IPCC
Economic Times: Unseasonal rains, freak snowstorms and droughts because of global warming may be becoming the new normal but now the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its recent report has offered a glimmer of hope. The severe impacts of climate change can be avoided or minimised provided countries act collectively and quickly. Besides, it will not cost the earth to save the earth. Efforts to reduce carbon emissions would have minimal impact on growth—0.06 per cent of GDP. However, there is a caveat,...

04/18/2014
US delay Keystone XL pipeline decision
Al Jazeera: The US has delayed its decision on the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada by extending its review of the controversial project indefinitely, a move considered disappointing by the Canadian Prime Minister. Friday's extension will push any decision over the project until after the US mid-term elections in November, with the US State Department saying that it was extending a comment period for several government agencies set by President Barack Obama until May. "The agency consultation process...

04/18/2014
U.S. further delays final decision on Keystone XL pipeline
Reuters: The Obama administration further delayed its decision on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project on Friday, with no conclusion now likely until after the U.S. mid-term elections in November. President Barack Obama has said he will have the final say on whether to allow the pipeline connecting Canada's oil sands region to Texas refiners, and several government agencies had been given until May to weigh in. This had raised expectations of a final decision by mid-year. But the State Department...

04/18/2014
Wisconsin debates fracking as sand mining for drilling booms
CBS: In Wisconsin, residents are having an emotional debate over fracking. The state is rich in a special kind of sand used in that controversial gas drilling technique, and mining companies are lining up to get to it. That means jobs, and lots of them. But some residents fear the sand mining boom is ruining their farmland -- not to mention their health. Dean Reynolds reports.

04/18/2014
Frigid Eastern winters and warm Western ones nothing new – blame the jet stream
ClimateWire: A new study has found that the wavy jet stream pattern that tends to bring warm winter weather to the U.S. West and cold weather to the East was set in place 4,000 years ago. The research, published in the journal Nature Communications, also suggests that climate change may help keep the wavy pattern in place. "It's possible the kinds of changes we are seeing with increased jet stream sinuosity might continue into the future as a result of anthropogenic CO2 emissions, although it's not a perfect...

04/18/2014
Change farming for climate: US expert
Australian Broadcasting Corporation: Last night, Professor Molly Jahn from the University of Wisconsin delivered the RD Watt lecture at the University of Sydney saying innovation in agricultural and food systems is imperative for society's survival and development. Professor Jahn has worked extensively in developing countries to link crop breeding with improved human nutrition and welfare. She says that lately the US projects she is involved in illustrate the big challenges to farmers due to a rapidly changing climate. "We...

04/18/2014
China's coal boom is slowing — that's huge deal for climate change
Vox: How much global warming will we get in the future? That largely depends on how much extra carbon-dioxide humans put in the atmosphere. And that -- in large part -- hinges on how much coal China ends up burning in the years ahead. China has been growing rapidly -- and with 1.3 billion people, it needs a staggering amount of energy. Currently, 65 percent of that energy comes from coal, the most carbon-intensive of all fossil fuels. That's a huge deal: Over the last decade, fully half of the global...

04/18/2014
Global Warming: Do We Have to Sit and Take It?
Huffington Post: Do you know the difference between the terms "climate change" and "global warming? Which of these is more ominous? They are often used interchangeably, with "climate change" somehow seeming more politically correct. Perhaps it's because "climate change" is a more natural, slow moving, and benign process (it's happened to the Earth before with ice ages); not something we have to act on immediately. The distinction is now clear, thanks to author Sneed B. Collard III and his book Global Warming: A Personal...

04/18/2014
Where Paul Krugman Goes Wrong On Solar Power And Climate Change
Forbes: Paul Krugman turns his attention to the impact of declining solar power prices on the prospects for climate change today and while his central fact is entirely correct there’s two errors in his argument. His central fact is that the price of solar power has fallen considerably in recent years, to the point that it’s becoming generally grid comparable in price. However, he then goes on to say that no one really predicted this and then also that we need to make some great effort now to use solar power...

04/18/2014
Options for limiting climate change are narrowing
Economist: THE Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a gathering of scientists who advise governments, describes itself as “policy-relevant and yet policy-neutral”. Its latest report, the third in six months, ignores that fine distinction. Pressure from governments forced it to strip out of its deliberations a table showing the link between greenhouse gases and national income, presumably because this made clear that middle-income countries such as China are the biggest contributors to new emissions....

04/18/2014
Obama Administration delays Keystone XL again
Human Events: A vitally-needed oil pipeline project, demanded by the vast majority of Americans, has been stymied for years, while the U.S. economy sputters along. The people want action... but a small group of highly influential environmentalists has made blocking the pipeline into a religious crusade, upon which much of their movement`s prestige has been staked. Every logical reason to delay the project has long since been exhausted. Democrats fearful of the 2014 elections panic at the thought of having to choose...

04/18/2014
Obama administration delays action Keystone XL
Beaumont Enterprise: The Obama administration on Friday confirmed it was giving eight federal agencies more time to weigh in on the Keystone XL pipeline, likely delaying a final decision on the controversial project until after the Nov. 4 midterm elections. The State Department said the agencies needed more time to respond in light of a Nebraska court ruling that struck down legislation authorizing Gov. Dave Heineman's approval of the pipeline's route through the state. "Agencies need additional time based on the uncertainty...

04/18/2014
Scientists predict modern society collapse
Examiner: Using research tools developed for another NASA activity, some researchers have published a report on the current civilization's doom. It asserts that estimated carrying capacity is a practical early way of detecting collapse. The study assesses the risk for collapse from five factors, population, climate, water, agriculture and energy. Whenever these have merged into two main criteria in the past 5,000 years, society has collapsed. The two are "the stretching of resources due to the strain placed...

04/18/2014
One-fifth of China’s farmland polluted
Blue and Green: As much as 16% of China’s soil is contaminated by dangerous pollutants, according to newly released information from the national environment ministry. The report, based on a seven-year survey covering 2.4 million square miles, found that about 16% of the country`s soil and 19% of its arable land was polluted. Some 82.8% of the contaminated samples contained toxic inorganic pollutants, such as nickel, mercury, arsenic, and lead. The report said it was certain that agricultural production...

04/18/2014
European Parliament backs clamp down on plastic bags
Blue and Green: The European Parliament has backed draft rules that would see EU countries forced to reduce the use of the most common and most polluting plastic bags. MEPs argue that plastic carrier bag litter is a major environmental problem that is known to pollute bodies of water and impact on eco-systems. If approved, member states would have to reduce their use of plastic bags by 50% by 2017 and by 80% by 2019. In 2010, every EU citizen is estimated to have used 198 plastic carrier bags, of which 90% were...

04/18/2014
Why This Is a Dark Time For the Field of Climate Science
Huffington Post: These are dark times for science -- in particular, climate science and related fields of study. Hate mail, harassment campaigns, accusations of scientific fraud and threats of lawsuits have become the new normal for climate scientists and researchers who study climate change denial. These problematic conditions have a chilling effect on scientific research. So what happens when a scientific journal becomes part of the problem? Last month, the journal Frontiers in Psychology retracted a paper,...

04/18/2014
High Tech Tackles Global Warming
Dissident Voice: Human-caused climate change may already be out of control, as suggested in recent reports by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), confirming that a “tipping point” may already have arrived (1) with warming of the Arctic and (2) with excessive levels of CO2 causing acidification in the ocean, thereby threatening the existence of both human and marine life. Likewise, it is common knowledge that fossil fuel emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) cause these problems. This, therefore,...

04/18/2014
Compensation battle rages four years after BP's U.S. oil spill
Reuters: Four years after the Deepwater Horizon spill, oil is still washing up on the long sandy beaches of Grand Isle, Louisiana, and some islanders are fed up with hearing from BP that the crisis is over. Jules Melancon, the last remaining oyster fisherman on an island dotted with colorful houses on stilts, says he has not found a single oyster alive in his leases in the area since the leak and relies on an onshore oyster nursery to make a living. He and others in the southern U.S. state say compensation...

04/18/2014
How BP turned a whole community into an endangered species
Grist: Whether you live in Seattle, Baltimore, or Schenectady, N.Y., if you’ve had an oyster dish, chances are the shelled delicacies came from the Gulf of Mexico, most likely off the Louisiana coast, which produces a third of the nation’s oysters. Crabs? Hate to break it to you, but those luscious “Baltimore” crab cakes - yep, those are from Louisiana too. This has been a fact for a long time, but it might soon become an artifact. The reason: the BP oil spill disaster of 2010, which dumped over 205...

04/18/2014
Jimmy Carter speaks out against Keystone XL tar sands pipeline
Blue and Green: Former US president Jimmy Carter has urged current president Barack Obama and secretary of state John Kerry to reject the construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. The proposed project would link Canada’s tar sands to refineries in Texas and could transport 800,000 barrels of oil per day. The development was originally proposed in 2008, but the environmental and economic impact of the pipeline has been debated. A letter signed by Carter, along with nine other Nobel prize laureates,...

04/18/2014
Japan to carry out NW Pacific whale hunt this yr -Agriculture Ministry
Reuters: Japan said on Friday it would conduct its annual Northwest Pacific whaling campaign this year despite an international court ruling against the program last month, but in a sharply scaled down form. The decision to proceed with the hunt was certain to provoke international anger. Tokyo's decades-old and disputed "scientific whaling" program suffered a blow last month when the International Court of Justice (ICJ), in a surprise ruling, ordered a halt to its annual hunts in the Southern Ocean....

04/18/2014
The Real Threat to Coastal Fishing
Field and Stream: The saltwater angling community is doing victory laps after finally gaining some parity with its commercial competition in federal management circles. It's a well-deserved celebration after a long, uphill battle. But now it's time to take on the real threat to its future, a challenge that will make gill-netters, purse seiners, and those interest-stacked policy boards seem like minor nuisances. This fight isn't about who gets which share of the fish -- it's about having any fish left. At...

04/18/2014
On climate, business as usual isn't good enough
Washington Post: The world's predicament on climate change reminds me of an old saying: "The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.' Despite mounting evidence that global warming is an urgent crisis, emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases grew faster between 2000 and 2010 than over the previous three decades, according to an authoritative new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Some governments have instituted policies to try to hold down emissions of carbon dioxide -- by far the biggest...

04/18/2014
US carbon emissions fall 3.4% in 2012
Blue and Green: Total greenhouse gas emissions in the US fell by 3.4% over the course of 2012, taking the country more than halfway towards its reduction target for 2020, according to newly released figures. The 19th edition of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) annual national emissions inventory reveals that the country’s emissions totalled 6,526m metric tons in 2012. This cut equals a reduction of almost 10% from 2005 levels – the benchmark by which the US government measures its emission reductions....

04/18/2014
One fifth of China farmland polluted
Guardian: New report confirms scale of China's soil pollution problem with 20% of farmland contaminated Share Tweet this Email A new government report estimates that a fifth of China's farmland is polluted. Photograph: Stringer/Reuters A fifth of China's farmland is polluted, according to an offical report based on the results of an extensive survey. Soil pollution has long been a concern in China due to the country's rapid industrialisation and the report carried on the website of the Ministry of Environmental...

04/18/2014
China admits widespread soil pollution
Financial Times: One-fifth of China’s agricultural land is polluted, particularly in the country’s southern rice baskets, according to a sobering government report previously classified as a “state secret”. Soil pollution, including hazardous levels of cadmium, nickel, arsenic, lead and mercury, is particularly pronounced in the Yangtze and Pearl River Deltas, and generally in the south where rice is grown, the report said. Previous exposés by Chinese media had found severe cadmium pollution in rice grown in the...

04/18/2014
Warmer Climate Could Signal Major Crop Shifts in Brazil
Bloomberg: Brazil may see a mass migration of crops and farm workers from huge swaths of currently tillable lands to more temperate zones as global warming takes hold, according to leading climate experts in the country. Longtime Brazilian climate researcher Hilton Silveira Pinto points to the drought that’s cutting grain and coffee output this year as an indicator that rising global temperatures may already be impacting the country’s crops. "This is a taste of what is to come in the future," said Pinto,...

04/18/2014
The high cost of climate change denial
Express: Prolonged droughts. Melting ice caps. Heat waves and deep freezes. Rising oceans. Increased flooding. Endangered species going extinct. Expect more of this and then some -- a threatened global food supply, for example -- if climate change is left unchecked. That is the grim message in a series of reports from the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which periodically summarizes climate science. It has issued three recent reports in recent months demonstrating a 95 percent...

04/18/2014
Tiny nuclear plants called key to future
Japan Times: Small underground nuclear power plants that could be cheaper to build than their behemoth counterparts may herald the future for an energy industry under intense scrutiny since the Fukushima disaster started, the incoming head of the Nuclear Energy Agency says. The modular plants could be about as big as a couple of semi-trailers, easily fitting on the dimensions of coal plants they are ultimately intended to replace in the U.S. They would have factory-built parts that are slotted together like...

04/18/2014
United Kingdom: Bluebells blooming three weeks earlier than last year due to warm spring
Telegraph: Bluebells are flowering much earlier than in last year's cold spring, with peak displays expected in time for Easter, according to the Woodland Trust. The charity said nearly 200 sightings of native bluebells had been recorded on its woodlandtrust.org.uk website. This time last year, just 43 submissions had been received because of the cold weather. The trust is expecting a much earlier average first flowering date for bluebells than in 2013, when the average date across the UK was May 5. The...

04/18/2014
World’s longest rice experiment seeks answers vs. climate change
GMA: Clouds hung heavy over the rice fields at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Laguna last April 15, seemingly auguring dark times ahead for the world’s longest-running rice experiment, which turned 52 on that day. "Mukhang uulan," said Tony Lambino, IRRI’s Head of Communications, just as the celebrations for the Long-Term Continuous Cropping Experiment’s (LTCCE’s) anniversary were about to begin. World’s longest-running rice experiment Since 1962, the LTCCE has been working to...

04/18/2014
Greenland: Chasing Ice movie reveals largest iceberg break-up ever filmed
Guardian: It's like watching 'Manhattan breaking apart in front of your eyes', says one of the researchers for filmmaker James Balog. He's describing the largest iceberg calving ever filmed, as featured in his movie, Chasing Ice. After weeks of waiting, the filmakers witnessed 7.4 cubic km of ice crashing off the Ilulissat glacier in Greenland. Chasing Ice, released in the UK on Friday, follows Balog's mission to document Arctic ice being melted by climate change. Watch our second clip from the documentary...

04/18/2014
Botswana bushmen: 'If you deny us right to hunt, you are killing us'
Guardian: It costs £500 a night to stay in a luxury safari camp in the Kalahari desert in Botswana. For that price, wealthy tourists get drinks, game drives and, says one tour company, an "interpretive Bushman walk with staff members who hail from the ancient Bushman clans of the area". Visitors watch half-naked men shooting bows and arrows in the sand dunes and, if they get permission, can pay to shoot giraffe, zebra and other wildlife with guns. For Jamunda Kakelebone, a 39-year-old bushman, or San, whose...

04/18/2014
Future droughts worse than expected
PhysOrg: A new study is helping astrobiologists understand how climate change may shape the future of life on Earth. As we approach the end of the next century, many scientists believe that we could be facing increasingly severe droughts due to changes in rainfall. The new study shows that things could be worse than originally thought. Previous theories have predicted that changes in rainfall due to global warming could cause the Earth's land area to experience increased drying. It turns out, however,...

04/18/2014
Thanks in part to climate change, American West will see more fiery summers
Washington Post: Wildfires are getting bigger and more frequent in the American West. It`s not your imagination. And the summers ahead will bring more of them, even larger than the ones that came before. That`s the conclusion of a new study for the American Geophysical Union (AGU) prepared by a team of researchers led by Philip Dennison, a geographer at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. The authors used satellite data to measure areas of more than 1,000 acres burned by large fires from Nebraska to...

04/17/2014
Democratic Republic of Congo: Park Director Survives Shooting
New York Times: Emmanuel de Merode, an internationally recognized Belgian conservationist who has been working to protect rare mountain gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo, is recovering from gunshot wounds after being attacked Tuesday by unknown assailants, officials said Thursday. Mr. de Merode, 43, the director of the Virunga National Park, Africa’s oldest national park, was attacked by the gunmen as he drove near Goma, not far from the border with Rwanda. He was taken to a hospital in Goma, where he...

04/17/2014
Study Chides U.S. Over Loan Default by Solar Business
New York Times: Long before the Energy Department lost $68 million on Abound Solar, a manufacturer that went bankrupt two years ago, it should have known that the company’s chance of repaying the loan it had guaranteed was deteriorating, according to a report by the department’s inspector general. The damning report was issued as the Obama administration prepared to offer as much as $8 billion in additional loan guarantees. The loan guarantee program has been a magnet for criticism since the failure of Solyndra...

04/17/2014
Unlikely Partnerships Spring From California Water Crisis
National Public Radio: At a recent rally in Fresno County, Calif., farmers in plaid shirts stood side by side with migrant farmworkers in ball caps, holding signs that read "sin agua, no futuro" and "no water, no food." Fresno is the top agriculture-producing county in the U.S., with more than $6 billion in annual sales. Protesters argued that farms could go out of business without more water, and there would be mass layoffs. That rhetoric may be familiar, but the two groups' alliance is decidedly unusual. "I'm really...

04/17/2014
Oxygen Analysis in Ancient Plankton Fossils Offers New Clues about Ice Ages
Nature World: A new method of establishing deep-sea and surface temperatures across the last 5 million years provides "crucial" information about how the ice ages came about, according to scientists. The study, published in the journal Nature, offers the first evidence that long-term trends in cooling and continental ice-volume cycles were not the same, while also providing new information on climate relationships that led to the development of ice ages over the last 2 million years. "In fact, for temperature...

04/17/2014
One-Fifth of China’s Farmland Is Polluted, State Report Finds
New York Times: The Chinese government released a report on Thursday that said nearly one-fifth of its arable land was polluted, a finding certain to raise questions about the toxic results of China's rapid industrialization, its lack of regulations over commercial interests and the consequences for the national food chain. The report, issued by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Ministry of Land Resources, said 16.1 percent of the country's soil was polluted, including 19.4 percent of farmland....

04/17/2014
Female Insect with Penis Found in Brazilian Cave
Nature World: A tiny group of cave insects in Brazil gave scientists a big surprise when they discovered that females in the group have penises and males are equipped with a vagina. This is the first time such a sex organ role reversal has ever been documented, and researchers had to invent the term "gynosome" for the female insect's penis. The males, in contrast, possess a vaginalike structure called a phallosome. The genus of insects called Neotrogla was first documented nearly 20 years ago in a Brazilian...


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It would only take a few drops of MTBE, a gasoline additive to contaminate a mid-size aquifer.

 

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