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

04/27/2015
Just One Hour of Daily TV May Mean Weight Gain
Nature World: It's no secret that being a couch potato watching television all day may cause you to pack on a few pounds. But now new research shows that just one hour of television a day is linked to weight gain in children. Compared to their peers who watched less than 60 minutes of television daily, kindergartners and first-graders who watched as little as one hour of television a day were more likely to be overweight or obese. Childhood obesity is a nationwide epidemic, and has more than doubled in children...

04/27/2015
'Zero Deforestation' not necessarily the answer, environmentalists warn
Mongabay: Last week, the London-based think tank Innovation Forum convened a two-day conference on the subject of sustainable forestry in Washington, D.C. Titled “How Business Can Tackle Deforestation,” the conference brought together leaders from both public and private spheres, including forest commodities companies, NGOs and think tanks. Though the topics of discussion were diverse, ranging from the role of “green” certification to the viability of GMO crops, there was widespread agreement that significant...

04/26/2015
Australia's Direct Action fund may need $1bn more to meet emissions target
Guardian: The Australian government’s Direct Action emissions reduction fund could require up to $1bn of extra funds to meet its carbon emissions reduction goal, according to a Guardian Australia analysis based on initial auction results. The results of the first Direct Action auction, revealed last week, showed emissions reduction contracts worth $660.4m had been awarded to prevent 47m tonnes of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere. According to the Clean Energy Regulator, the average cost per tonne...

04/26/2015
Cyberattack Hits TMT and State Government Websites
Civil Beat: Hawaii state government’s official website went down Sunday, along with the main site for the organization building the Thirty Meter Telescope atop Mauna Kea. TMT spokeswoman Caroline Witherspoon confirmed that the organization’s website had received a denial of service attack but said that it was back up as of 3 p.m. She didn’t know how long the attack lasted. Update The state’s website, hawaii.gov, was back up and running by 5 p.m. Gov. David Ige’s communications director, Cindy McMillan,...

04/26/2015
NASA reveals rise in deforestation in remote Peruvian parks
Mongabay: New NASA data shows a jump in forest loss in two remote parks in the Peruvian Amazon during the first three months of 2015. NASA's Quarterly Indicator of Cover Change (QUICC), a MODIS satellite-based product that underpins Mongabay's Global Forest Disturbance Alert System (GloF-DAS), detected a significant increase in forest disturbance in Peru's Alto Nanay Pintuyacu Chambira conservation area and Alto Purus National Park between January 1 and March 31, 2015. The forest loss is unusual: according...

04/26/2015
Mauna Kea and the awakening of the lahui
Hawaiin Indpendent: Multiple generations of campaigners are rallying around Mauna Kea as a symbol for the larger issues of self-determination and Aloha ?Aina in what is becoming one of, if not the, largest mobilizations of Hawaiian activism in decades. “We have vowed to protect the remnants of our culture, no matter what cost; and the culture cannot exist without the land.” -- George Jarrett Helm “We are in a time of enlightenment for our people! We have risen; we have awakened; we have remembered; and we`re going...

04/26/2015
Warming climate may release vast amounts of carbon from long-frozen Arctic soils
ScienceDaily: While climatologists are carefully watching carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, another group of scientists is exploring a massive storehouse of carbon that has the potential to significantly affect the climate change picture. University of Georgia Skidaway Institute of Oceanography researcher Aron Stubbins is part of a team investigating how ancient carbon, locked away in Arctic permafrost for thousands of years, is now being transformed into carbon dioxide and released into the atmosphere....

04/26/2015
Deforestation in Brazilian Amazon continues to accelerate
Mongabay: Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon - the planet's largest rainforest - continues to pace well ahead of last year's rate, reveals data released by Imazon, a Manaus-based nonprofit. According to Imazon's analysis of satellite data, March 2015 was the eleventh consecutive month that forest loss increased relative to a year earlier. March 2015's loss of 58 square kilometers (14,300 acres) was 190 percent higher than March 2014. November through April is typically a period of low deforestation...

04/26/2015
Global Warming "Pause" That Wasn't Explained One Simple Video Graphic
Daily Kos: Deniers have repeatedly claimed the global warming "hit the pause button" over the last few years. This idea that global warming had "paused" has been their biggest talking point of late. They have employed it to attack research that shows global warming was caused by increased emissions of greenhouse gasses. In short, they argued climate scientists were the ones "in denial" about "global warming," not them. They proudly proclaimed victory over "eco-alarmists," asserting that this "pause" demonstrated...

04/26/2015
Leading group of climate change deniers accused of creating 'fake controversy'
Independent: The UK’s most prominent climate change denial group is launching an inquiry into the integrity of global surface temperature records. The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), established by notable climate-change sceptic Lord Lawson, announced an international team of “eminent climatologists, physicists and statisticians” would investigate the reliability of the current data. Professor Terence Kealey, the former vice-chancellor of the University of Buckingham, has been appointed chair of...

04/26/2015
At $24 Trillion, Oceans World’s 7th-Largest Economy
Guardian: By Oliver Milman, The Guardian The monetary value of the world's oceans has been estimated at $24 trillion in a new report that warns that overfishing, pollution and climate change are putting an unprecedented strain upon marine ecosystems. The report, commissioned by WWF, states the asset value of oceans is $24 trillion and values the annual "goods and services' it provides, such as food, at $2.5 trillion. This economic clout would make the oceans the seventh-largest economy in the world although...

04/26/2015
Dispersants sprayed after Deepwater Horizon oil spill more toxic oil alone
Ecologist: The dispersant used in the Deepwater Horizon clean-up appears to be more toxic to corals than crude oil, writes Danielle M DeLeo. It also increases the concentration of oil in seawater, leading to higher, more toxic exposures of oil components when they come into contact with corals and other marine organisms. Corals exposed to higher concentrations of dispersant, alone or mixed with oil, had the greatest health declines. In some cases the corals even appeared to do best in the oil-only treatments....

04/25/2015
End Nuclear Power Now, Says World Uranium Symposium
EcoWatch: Uranium mining across the world should cease, nuclear power stations be closed and nuclear weapons be banned, according to a group of scientists, environmentalists and representatives of indigenous peoples. Three hundred delegates from 20 countries that produce uranium for nuclear power, weapons and medical uses called for an end to all uranium mining in a declaration launched on Earth Day this week at a meeting in Quebec, Canada. The venue for the World Uranium Symposium was chosen because...

04/25/2015
Pope Francis forces issue climate change
Grist: High-profile climate researchers, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and church officials will gather at the Vatican next week for a conference on climate change. It`s Pope Francis`s latest effort to raise the profile of the issue among churchgoers, and it`s sure to make some Catholics hot under the collar. Since taking the helm of the church in 2013, Pope Francis has stated repeatedly that Christians have a moral obligation to lower carbon emissions. He has spoken frankly about how global warming...

04/24/2015
Protesters occupy OHA ahead of Board of Trustees meeting
KHON: Protesters are preparing to occupy the Office of Hawaiian Affairs building ahead of an upcoming Board of Trustees meeting. The sit-in was organized by MANA, Movement for Aloha No ka ??¯ina, one of several groups against the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea. "We have a right to be here and we expect the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to be decisive about this issue," said Andre Perez of MANA. "Our objective is to ensure that they get involved and put this issue on the agenda,...

04/24/2015
Mauna Kea defenders ask for OHA support
Hawaii News Now: Protect Mauna Kea advocates urged trustees with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to join them in opposing.the building of a thirty meter telescope on the mountain's summit. "We have risen. We have awakened. We have remembered," Kaleikoa Kaeo said. Leaders and supporters of the movement held signs at OHA's board meeting and begged the board to take a stand against the $1.4 billion project they believe will desecrate the mountain they call sacred. "Either we have a place to decide what is sacred...

04/24/2015
The Heart of Hawaiian People's Arguments Against the Telescope on Mauna Kea
Smithsonian: At this moment all over the Hawaiian islands, but especially atop Mauna Kea volcano, there are protests against the building of a new Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT) on this sacred mountain. The telescope has become a cause célèbre among Native Hawaiians and their allies, and the issue is going viral. Newspapers around the world are reporting the story and people are abuzz on social media—especially as the issue becomes more emotionally charged. This week, a University of California, Berkeley professor...

04/23/2015
MANA calls for “occupation” of OHA offices RE: Mauna Kea
Hawaii Independent: MANA, Movement for Aloha No ka ??¯ina, is calling upon the lahui kanaka (Hawaiian community) and supporters to join us in occupying the Office of Hawaiian Affairs for an extended vigil from Wednesday April 22, 3 p.m. until positive results for the protection of Mauna Kea are achieved. Concerned community members are being asked to bring their sleeping bags, toothbrushes, flags and banners and occupy the office until the Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. Two primary demands will...

04/23/2015
Univ of Hawaii regents hear more Thirty Meter Telescope testimony in Hilo
Pacific Business News: The University of Hawaii Board of Regents has scheduled a second special meeting in Hilo this weekend to hear concerns and support from the community on the planned Thirty Meter Telescope project, as opposition to the internationally-backed $1.4 billion planned observatory for Mauna Kea holds construction at a standstill. UH spokesman Dan Meisenzahl said it is unclear what the regents’ legal capacity is to halt the project, since the board gave its approval to the project in June 2010. The board...

04/23/2015
Construction halt Thirty Meter Telescope atop Hawaii Island's Mauna Kea
Hawaii Magazine: Construction on what would be the world’s largest visible light telescope atop Hawaii Island’s Mauna Kea has been delayed indefinitely following ongoing demonstrations by protestors. The non-profit Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) Observatory Corp., with backing from the governments of India, China, Japan and Canada, plans to build a 180-foot tall, thirty-meter mirrored telescope on Hawaii’s tallest summit. The telescope’s grounds would occupy five acres atop the shield volcano and within the Mauna...

04/23/2015
Protesters occupy OHA ahead of Board of Trustees meeting
KHON: Protesters are preparing to occupy the Office of Hawaiian Affairs building ahead of an upcoming Board of Trustees meeting. The sit-in was organized by MANA, Movement for Aloha No ka ??¯ina, one of several groups against the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea. "We have a right to be here and we expect the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to be decisive about this issue," said Andre Perez of MANA. "Our objective is to ensure that they get involved and put this issue on the agenda,...

04/23/2015
Office Of Hawaiian Affairs Looking Legal Resolution Mauna Kea Telescope Problem
Tech Times: The Office of Hawaiian Affairs continues to urge Governor David Ige and University of Hawaii President David Lassner to participate in the legal issues surrounding the planned Thirty Meter Telescope in Mauna Kea, resolving concerns before the construction moratorium is lifted. Robert K. Lindsey, Jr., OHA chairperson, addressed all stakeholders, encouraging everyone to come together to come up with a collective resolution that will have the best interests of Mauna Kea at heart, as well as those...

04/23/2015
Hawaiian telescope project seeks way forward amid protests
Nature: Protests against the Thirty Meter Telescope increased in early April, as construction was set to begin on Mauna Kea in Hawaii. The battle over the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) escalated on 21 April, as hundreds of protestors took to the streets of Honolulu to demonstrate against the planned observatory. Construction of the TMT is on hold as astronomers and Native Hawaiians continue the decades-long discussion about whether it and other astronomical facilities belong atop the sacred mountain of Mauna...

04/22/2015
Scott Walker Celebrates Earth Day by Proposing To Fire 57 Environmental Agency Employees
Mother Jones: Fifty-seven employees of the state Department of Natural Resources began receiving formal notices this week that they might face layoff as part of Gov. Scott Walker's budget for the next two fiscal years... The DNR's scientific staff conducts research on matters ranging from estimating the size of the state's deer herd to to studying the effects of aquatic invasive species. Work is paid for with state and federal funds... All told, Walker's budget would cut 66 positions from the DNR. Of this,...

04/22/2015
Protest march Mauna Kea telescope reaches State Capitol
KHON: Protesters took to the streets of Honolulu Tuesday to publicly voice their opposition to the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope. Construction of the telescope, slated to be built on Mauna Kea, has already been postponed several times as protests gained momentum throughout the state and the world. A large crowd marched from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs` Na Lama Kukui building to the law firm representing the telescope`s developer in downtown Honolulu to the State Capitol. The group...

04/22/2015
Construction Of Giant Telescope In Hawaii Draws Natives' Ire
National Public Radio: This is not simply a story of religion versus science. Activists consider the construction of a giant telescope on the island of Hawaii to be a desecration of their sacred land. On an overcast morning, barefoot men and women dance hula 9,200 feet above sea level, to a song honoring Mauna Kea, the mountain under their feet. Their hips sway to the beat of a drum as they call out in chant to Poliahu, one of the many Hawaiian gods said to reside in the mountain. Hundreds of protesters who have camped...

04/22/2015
The Legal Challenge to the Thirty Meter Telescope
Civil Beat: I admit it. I grew up reading “vintage” science fiction, including Ray Bradbury’s lyric stories that captured the wonder of the night sky and the curiosity inspired by the enormity of the universe and the meaning of our tiny place in it, along with the works of writers like Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov, who both wrote fiction grounded in a background of hard science. So I’ve been excited, from a distance, at the expansion of astronomy-related research and education here in Hawaii. As a result,...

04/22/2015
Global Warming Progressing Slower Than We Thought
Nature World: "Based on our analysis, a middle-of-the-road warming scenario is more likely, at least for now," researcher Patrick T. Brown, a doctoral student in climatology at Duke University, said in a statement. "But this could change." The new findings, based on 1,000 years of temperature records, shows that natural variability in surface temperatures - caused by interactions between the ocean and atmosphere, and other natural factors - can account for observed changes in the recent rates of warming from...

04/22/2015
Bees may become addicted to nicotine-like pesticides, study finds
Guardian: Bees may become addicted to nicotine-like pesticides in the same way humans get hooked on cigarettes, according to a new study, which was released as a landmark field trial provided further evidence that such neonicotinoids harm bee populations. In a study published in the journal Nature, scientists from Newcastle Univeristy showed that bees have a preference for sugar solutions that are laced with the pesticides imidacloprid and thiamethoxam, possibly indicating they can become hooked on the chemicals....

04/22/2015
Honduras is world’s number one for killing environmental activists
Guardian: More people were killed in Honduras per capita than any other country for each of the last five years as a result of their efforts to defend land and the environment, according to a report by UK-based NGO Global Witness. The report, How many more?, alleges that people are being “killed in record numbers” and that this is happening in response to “increased competition over natural resources” - particularly from hydropower projects, agribusiness, logging and mining and other extractive industries....

04/22/2015
India plans more tiger reserves on back jump in numbers
Guardian: India is planning to create three more tiger reserves in the country, environment minister Prakash Javadekar announced in the parliament on Tuesday. The development comes in the wake of a recent survey that showed that the tiger population is rising. The new reserves will be created in central and eastern India – in national parks in Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh and Orissa – taking the total number of tiger reserves in the country to 50. Villagers will no longer be allowed to live or work while...

04/22/2015
Climate Change is Coming for U.S. Energy Infrastructure
ClimateWire: Climate change will be a major factor in the future of power lines, natural gas pipelines, fuel depots and rail tanker cars, according to the Department of Energy's first installment of its Quadrennial Energy Review (QER), released yesterday. The 348-page document, stemming from the Obama administration's Climate Action Plan, focused on how hydrocarbons and electrons get from point A to point B, mapping out the current state of affairs and recommending pathways to ensure that energy reliably gets...

04/22/2015
Almost half Vanuatu people lack clean water month after cyclone: UNICEF
Reuters: More than 100,000 people in Vanuatu have no clean drinking water, a month after a monster cyclone struck the tiny Pacific nation, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said on Wednesday. Two thirds of the archipelago's water and sanitation infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed and most wells are contaminated, UNICEF said in a statement. "There is water but quality is not that good because of the contamination," Ketsamay Rajphangthong, chief of UNICEF Vanuatu field office, told...

04/22/2015
'PLANETARY' Documentary Gives Astronaut's-Eye View Fragile Earth
Yahoo: Fifteen years ago, a teenage Guy Reid was so passionate about the environment that he was handing out books about it to his friends. The trouble was, nobody wanted to read about the troubles facing the planet. Reid's answer was to produce documentaries about the environment and space, with a helping hand from former NASA astronauts Ron Garan and Mae Jemison. Reid's latest release, called "PLANETARY," launches on Earth Day (Wednesday, April 22). The film urges viewers to reduce the fast pace...

04/22/2015
Sydney storm erodes sandy beaches, giving a taste of the future
New Scientist: What if we lost Bondi? I just came back from a run on the famous Sydney beach, which has been battered by a twice-a-century storm that has hit the city and its surroundings in the last couple of days. The promenade has been covered in sand as waves have lapped at the footpaths. But waves have been even bigger and caused greater erosion at beaches north and south of Sydney, where the storm has moved sand and left houses vulnerable to such events in the future. A combination of heavy storms and...

04/22/2015
State of the Earth in Four Climate Trends
Scientific Ameircan: What better day to step back and take stock of the planet than Earth Day? Started in 1970 to raise awareness in the U.S. about the environmental state of the planet, Earth Day is now celebrated in more than 190 countries and has led to the creation of legislation in the U.S. aimed at protecting the environment. But one global trend has continued to alter the world--the rise of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions, which have led to an ever-rising average global temperature. It's easy...

04/22/2015
Obama to use Everglades trip to press climate agenda
New York Times: President Obama on Wednesday will make his first visit while in office to the Florida Everglades, choosing the backyard of a former Republican governor of the state, Jeb Bush, and its Republican senator, Marco Rubio, to demand action on climate change in a critical battleground in the 2016 presidential election. Officially, Mr. Obama will be commemorating the 45th Earth Day with a series of announcements, including the designation of a national historic landmark at the home of the environmentalist...

04/22/2015
Study finds low cost in reducing methane emissions
New York Times: Reducing methane leaks from oil and gas operations around the world could provide a relatively inexpensive way to fight climate change, according to a new report commissioned by the Environmental Defense Fund. The amount of methane that escaped worldwide in 2012 was roughly 3.6 billion cubic feet and would have been worth $30 billion on the market, said Kate Larsen, a director of the Rhodium Group, which produced the study. A country that produced that amount of gas would rank seventh in the world,...

04/22/2015
Using satellites to stop forest destruction in its tracks
Wired: Forests are often described as the lungs of our planet. They`re home to countless animal and plant species, provide humans with oxygen and food, and help stave off the effects of global warming. Yet we as a species are constantly imperiling these vital ecosystems. An estimated 46 to 58 thousand square miles of forest are cut each year. At the current rate of deforestation, the world`s rain forests could be obliterated within just 100 years, according to National Geographic. Now environmentalists...

04/22/2015
At Everglades, Obama to warn of damage from climate neglect
Washington Post: With swampy wetlands and alligators as his backdrop, President Barack Obama will use a visit to Florida’s Everglades to warn of the damage that climate change is already inflicting on the nation’s environmental treasures -- and to hammer political opponents he says are doing far too little about it. Obama’s trip to the Everglades on Wednesday, timed to coincide with Earth Day, marks an attempt to connect the dots between theoretical arguments about carbon emissions and real-life implications....

04/22/2015
Obama visits Everglades to talk about climate change - goad Republicans to do likewise
Washington Post: President Obama will visit an ecologically sensitive national park on Wednesday in a politically sensitive state. Obama’s Earth Day trip to the Florida Everglades will be accompanied by historical dedications -- the Miami home of Marjory Stoneman Douglas, who famously called the Everglades a “river of grass” -- and much talk of the value of national parks -- a new National Parks Service report documents their value to the economy. But the political context is unmistakable: Obama’s climate change-focused...

04/22/2015
McDonald to axe deforestation from its global supply chain
Guardian: On Tuesday, global fast food giant McDonald’s pledged to end deforestation across its entire supply chain. The announcement follows recent similar pledges by Dunkin’ Donuts, Krispy Kreme, Yum Brands and many others. But the World Wildlife Fund, which advised McDonald’s on its new commitment, said it could have big influence on other fast food chains. “McDonald’s brings size and scale to the debate of sustainable sourcing. Their reach is large, they are global, they work closely with the suppliers...

04/22/2015
Bjorn Lomborg centre: Leaked documents cast doubt on Abbott government claims
Morning Herald: It was the Abbott government's original idea for the University of Western Australia to host a think tank created by the "sceptical environmentalist" Bjorn Lomborg, according to leaked talking points. Mr Lomborg's views have no credibility in the scientific community The government will provide $4 million over four years to bring Dr Lomborg's Copenhagen Consensus Centre methodology to Australia at a new centre within the University of Western Australia (UWA) business school. In the talking...

04/22/2015
Calif drought: Brown admin stick with strict conservation targets, despite court ruling
Mercury News: Gov. Jerry Brown is sticking to his statewide mandatory water conservation targets, his administration said Tuesday, even as a new appeals court ruling limits the ability of cities and water districts to hit people with punishing rates to encourage them to save water. "The court's decision is bad," said Michael Lauffer, chief counsel at the State Water Resources Control Board in Sacramento of the Monday ruling by an Orange County appellate court. "It's going to frustrate some local agencies' abilities...

04/22/2015
Dry, warm conditions keep California national forests parched
LA Times: Warmer temperatures are rapidly drying out the state, he said. California had its second-warmest March since record-keeping began in 1880, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The first three months of this year were the warmest on record in 136 years for the globe, according to NOAA. The mortality of the national forest is further complicated by the invasion of bark beetles, he said. The tiny brown insects chew away at the pines, making them brittle and transforming...

04/22/2015
Report finds China could feasibly get most its energy from renewables by 2050
ClimateWire: Renewable energy could economically provide China the majority of its energy by midcentury, according to a new report. The "China 2050 High Renewable Energy Penetration Scenario and Roadmap Study" from the China National Renewable Energy Centre models energy trends in China, stipulating a goal of high renewable energy penetration with the constraints of pollution, emissions, technology and economics. The study found that wind, solar, hydropower, biomass and geothermal energy could produce 60...

04/22/2015
US disaster aid must be overhauled to deal with climate threats, insurers warn
ClimateWire: A coalition of insurance companies and environmental organizations is calling for a "complete overhaul" of the nation's disaster policies, which it says encourage dangerous development and wasteful spending after catastrophes strike. The SmarterSafer coalition urges policymakers in a 21-page report released today to increase pre-disaster spending on mitigation efforts, like raising homes and restoring oyster beds, to tackle climbing losses from floods and other perils exacerbated by climate change....

04/22/2015
Despite more risks, humanity less vulnerable to floods, study finds
Christian Science: Humanity's vulnerability to floods has eased, despite increases in population and in the value of assets located in flood-prone areas, according to a new study. The analysis notes a persistent vulnerability gap between rich and poor countries. But the gap has closed considerably, largely because developing countries have taken steps to reducing fatalities and economic losses from floods. One striking example: In 1999 and again in 2013, similarly powerful tropical cyclones struck in the same...

04/22/2015
America's about to hit a water crisis
Business Insider: Americans tend to take it for granted that when we open a tap, water will come out. Western states have been dealing with water problems for a while, but they won't be alone for long. As drought, flooding, and climate change restrict America's water supply, demands from population growth and energy production look set to increase, according to a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office. These two changes squeeze our natural water reserves from both directions. The stress is...

04/22/2015
Australia approach to climate 'different', but 'fair, constructive'
Australian Broadcasting Corporation: MARK COLVIN: Two days of climate talks in Washington have wrapped up with the lead negotiator for the US acknowledging that Australia's government has a 'somewhat different perspective' on managing climate change. But special envoy Todd Stern says Australia continues to play a "fair and constructive" role on the international scene. The Industry and Science Minister Ian Macfarlane, who's in Washington for other meetings, has defended Australia's record. North America correspondent Lisa Millar...

04/22/2015
Marshall Islands move to shake up shipping on emissions
RTCC: In UN climate circles, the Marshall Islands is mostly known as one of those states that will be swamped by rising sea levels. Its negligible contribution to greenhouse gas emissions makes its heartfelt pleas for ambitious action all too easy for bigger nations to ignore. At the International Maritime Organization (IMO), on the other hand, the Marshalls carry significant weight: 118 million tonnes, to be precise. That is the mass of 3,400 ships registered in Majuro, more than any other country...

04/21/2015
Humpback Whales No Longer Endangered
Nature World: Humpback whales can now breathe a heavy sigh of relief because as of Monday, most of these iconic mammals are no longer endangered, federal officials announced. That is, it has been proposed that 10 out of the 14 existing whale populations be removed from the endangered species list, thanks to protection and restoration efforts over the last 40 years, which have led to an increase in numbers and growth rates for humpback whales in many areas. "To be able to bring a species to a point where...

04/21/2015
Australia Could Attain 100 Percent Renewables by 2050, Study Says
Yale Environment 360: Australia could reduce its greenhouse emissions significantly and transition to an economy predominantly fueled by renewable energy for very little cost, according to an analysis by the Australian National University and WWF. The country could generate 100 percent of its electricity from renewables and have zero net emissions by 2050 because wind and solar technologies have fallen rapidly in price in recent years and Australia is the world's sunniest and windiest continent. Any progress, however,...

04/21/2015
As climate talks belch hot air, activists putting their lives on line
Guardian: How is it that in a year stuffed with conferences on environment and human development, from climate talks in Paris and on new development goals in New York, those actually trying to save the environment are at best dismissed as enemies of progress, and at worst are being killed at an increasing rate and with almost complete impunity? There is a recognisable theatrical form at UN summits where environmental agreements get negotiated and signed. It starts with general anticipation, the unreasonable...

04/21/2015
Natural Gas Leaks: A $30 Billion Opportunity and Global Warming Menace
Forbes: A new study released Tuesday suggests that the global oil and gas industries allow as much as 3.6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas — and almost certainly far more — to escape into the atmosphere annually. The leakage rate represents at least $30 billion in lost revenues, the analysis found, and it reinforces previous studies suggesting that the much-touted climate benefits of the expanding shale boom are unlikely to be realized unless these so-called fugitive emissions are brought under control....

04/21/2015
Big Insurance Companies Warning US To Prepare For Climate Change
ThinkProgress: A coalition of big insurance companies, consumer groups, and environmental advocates are urging the United States to overhaul its disaster policies in the face of increasingly extreme weather due to human-caused climate change. According to a report released Tuesday by the SmarterSafer coalition, the U.S. needs to increase how much it spends on pre-disaster mitigation efforts and infrastructure protection. That way, it asserts, the U.S. can stop wasting so much money on cleaning up after a disaster...

04/21/2015
Global warming more moderate than worst-case models, empirical data suggest
ScienceDaily: We are seeing "middle of the road" warming. Natural variability in surface temperatures -- caused by interactions between the ocean and atmosphere, and other natural factors -- can account for observed changes in the recent rates of warming from decade to decade, new data suggests. Credit: NASA image by Robert Simmon, based on data from the Goddard Institute for Space Studies A new study based on 1,000 years of temperature records suggests global warming is not progressing as fast as it would...

04/21/2015
Nobel winners to help Asian cities tackle climate change
Reuters: Nine Nobel prize winners in fields ranging from economics to medicine will try to come up with ideas this week to help fast-growing cities in Asia cope with global warming. Organizers of the April 22-25 symposium in Hong Kong, where the laureates will meet, said cities were key to tackling climate change, with more than half the global population living in urban areas. Within 30 years, 21 of a forecast 37 mega-cities of more than 10 million inhabitants worldwide will be in Asia, said the organizers,...

04/21/2015
Which U.S. states worry the most about climate change?
LiveScience: Residents in California are much more worried about the warming planet than those in parts of the central United States, according to a new set of interactive maps showing public opinion on climate change. As a nation, 63 percent of Americans think the planet is warming and 48 percent of Americans think these changes are caused by humans. But "Americans don't speak with a single voice on the issue," said Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and co-author...

04/21/2015
Traffic emissions may pollute one in three Canadian homes
ScienceDaily: A trio of recently published studies from a team of University of Toronto engineers has found that air pollution could be spreading up to three times farther than thought--contributing to varying levels of air quality across cities. Past research on air pollution from vehicle tailpipes has shown poor air quality anywhere between 100 to 250 metres of major roadways. But in a paper published in the recent edition of the journal Atmospheric Pollution Research, U of T chemical engineer Greg Evans...

04/21/2015
Japan nuclear ruling to show whether legal fight emboldened
Reuters: A Japanese court will rule on Wednesday on an injunction to block the restart of two more nuclear reactors, a decision that could determine whether a legal drive by citizens to prevent the reopening of the sector on safety grounds will gather steam. The ruling on the Sendai plant could show whether last week's halting of reopening the Takahama plant over safety concerns was an aberration by an anti-nuclear judge or whether the judiciary has become bolder in supporting the rights of citizens over...

04/21/2015
Illegal trade in endangered wildlife thriving on eBay despite controls
Guardian: Illegal online trafficking in imperiled wildlife is rampant, and attempted controls are few and largely ineffective. Log on to most any international internet store that deals in wildlife or wildlife parts, and you’ll find a charnel house of endangered and protected species hawked openly or under phony names and in violation of US law and international agreements. The world’s largest online marketplace by far, eBay, is one of the few that makes a serious effort to control wildlife smuggling by...

04/21/2015
Keeping up climate: efforts reduce African crop losses face extra hurdle of climate change
Mongabay: Farmers in tropical areas have long struggled to maximize their crop yields, but the strikes against them just continue to mount. To start with, they tend to lack storage and processing tools that industrialized countries take for granted -- things like refrigeration, ovens, and grain elevators. On top of that, they're working the land in places where climate change may already be wielding its effects, making disease, rainfall patterns, and crop yields less predictable. Africa, Latin America,...

04/21/2015
Three major canal schemes criticised over use science
SciDevNet: Three water management projects involving canals in separate parts of the world have been criticised for how they incorporate scientific evidence -- albeit for varying reasons. The ambitious projects are being marketed as an opportunity to improve the fortunes of the regions surrounding them. Yet perhaps due to their great geopolitical significance, each is treating the scientific analysis of the canals' potential risks and benefits very differently. All three projects reached turning points...

04/21/2015
New mass extinction event proposed
BBC: Over the past 450 million years, life on Earth has been devastated by five mass extinction events that are widely recognised by geologists. Now, an international team of researchers proposes adding a sixth mass extinction to the list. The team believes it has accumulated sufficient evidence to promote the Capitanian event to the rank of mass extinction. The extinction occurred approximately 262 million years ago. Their proposal would elevate the Capitanian, which occurred during the Middle Permian...

04/21/2015
Obama administration sets agenda to modernize energy infrastructure
Reuters: The Obama administration on Tuesday announced plans to modernize the country's aging energy infrastructure and make it more resilient to challenges ranging from extreme weather to changing domestic energy production. The Quadrennial Energy Review, more than a year in the making, recommends a program that would accelerate natural gas pipeline replacement, modernize the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and award up to $350 million to help states improve the reliability of their electricity delivery. The...

04/21/2015
EU threatens Thailand trade ban over illegal fishing
Guardian: The EU has given Thailand, the world’s third-largest seafood exporter, six months to crack down on illegal fishing or face a trade ban on its fish imports. South Korea and the Philippines though have escaped the commission’s net after bringing in legal reforms and improved control and inspection systems. “The commission has put Thailand on formal notice, after identifying serious shortcoming in its fish monitoring, control and sanctioning systems,” the environment and fisheries commissioner,...

04/21/2015
Students to push universities to ditch investments in fossil fuels
Guardian: Students and academics will stage a coordinated push to persuade their universities to divest from fossil fuels on Wednesday, with rallies to be held on 15 campuses across Australia. The protests, organised by climate activist group 350.org across six states and territories, will see petitions containing thousands of signatures handed to university vice chancellors. The universities urged to ditch their holdings in fossil fuel companies include the University of Melbourne, the University of...

04/21/2015
Australia should cut emissions by 30% by 2025 to catch up, review says
Guardian: Australia should aim to slash its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2025, compared with 2000 levels, in order to catch up to other countries’ efforts and prove it is a “good global citizen”, according to a Climate Change Authority review. The CCA, an independent statutory agency that advises the government, also recommended that Australia ramp up its emissions cuts even further by 2030, within a target range of 40% and 60%, again based on 2000 levels. The report restates the authority’s position...

04/21/2015
Batteries and renewable energy set to grow together
New York Times: The future of American energy, according to one widely held view, will include solar panels and wind turbines continuing to proliferate, churning out ever more electricity and eventually eclipsing fossil fuels to help offset the forces of climate change. With the cost of renewable technologies falling sharply, that vision is starting to take shape, especially in areas with abundant sunshine or steady wind. Here in California, the state is making such quick progress toward its goal of getting 33...

04/21/2015
Florida Everglades could be a powerful symbol in climate debate
Washington Post: It may not be as obvious a climate symbol as the rapidly warming Arctic. But with President Obama’s climate-focused visit on Earth Day, Everglades National Park could take on new significance as a politically potent case study of how global warming directly impacts people living in the United States. The chief reason? In the Everglades, the fate of an ecosystem, and the fate of millions of people, are tightly wrapped together -- and both are affected by rising seas. Everglades National Park...

04/21/2015
US carbon emissions are rising again. Can Obama push them back down?
Vox: One of the most promising climate-change stories of the last decade was the steep plunge in US carbon dioxide emissions after 2005. Before then, US emissions had been rising relentlessly for decades. Suddenly, they were falling. That drop was partly due to the US fracking boom, which created a glut of cheap natural gas and spurred utilities to burn less coal for electricity. It was partly due to various clean-energy and efficiency measures. And it was partly making real progress on global warming....

04/21/2015
The California town no water: Even 'angel' can't stop wells going dry
Guardian: Water has its own language in this town. Residents talk about nervous neighbors “pulling the hose”, or speculate about which houses on a street are “on the line”. People gripe about how neighbors use “tank water” to hydrate plants. That water lingo developed in this rural city of 6,700 – mostly poor Latino farm workers – should not be surprising. There has been a preoccupation with the stuff that comes from the tap since residents started running out of it. East Porterville is the epicenter...

04/21/2015
Major changes will be needed for US power infrastructure, says Obama report
Washington Post: The U.S. electric grid will require major changes to reposition itself for the future challenges of climate change, new technologies, and national security in coming decades, according to a first-ever “Quadrennial Energy Review” released by the Obama administration. The report says our system for getting electricity stands at a “strategic inflection point” and requires “significant change” in order to accommodate more renewables and the growth of distributed energy technologies like rooftop solar....

04/21/2015
Deep carbon emission cuts possible and inevitable, reports find
Sydney Morning Herald: Futures of the power sector and carbon reductions are closely tied. Australia's abundance of renewable energy resources leaves it well-placed to exit fossil fuels altogether by 2050 at a manageable cost of the economy, according to an Australian National University report. The report, synthesising research by the CSIRO, ClimateWorks and other sources, argues that the country can tap solar, wind and other renewable energy sources in the order of 500 times the current power generation capacity....

04/21/2015
California drought: LADWP's Owens Valley pumping might suffer without snowpack runoff
KPCC: A possible consequence of another dry winter in California: the water supplies Los Angeles can take from Inyo County may be limited. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has oversight of the water it derives from the area. Today, it releases its plan for pumping groundwater out of the Owens Valley over the next six months. In wet times -- as in the winter of 2011-2012 -- about a quarter of the L.A.'s water supply can come from Owens Valley's below ground reservoirs. But the city's...

04/21/2015
California drought causes cattle and elk to lock horns over pasture
Reuters: A herd of tule elk move warily along a California coastal hill as a herd of Black Angus cattle graze nearby. Despite the apparent peaceful coexistence, the animals are at the center of a battle for precious grasslands reduced by the state's drought. Ranchers and farmers who live and work within the 71,000-acre (287-square km) Point Reyes National Seashore, 35 miles (56 km) northwest of San Francisco, want the free-roaming elk fenced in so their livestock do not have to compete for grass. Wildlife...

04/21/2015
Germany's environment minister hits back at opposition to coal levy
Reuters: Germany's environment minister on Monday hit back at opposition from leading members of Angela Merkel's conservatives to a proposed coal levy, saying it risked jeopardizing the chancellor's credibility ahead of the G7 summit in June. Germany has made climate one of the key issues of its G7 presidency and hopes to use the summit in Ellmau in Bavaria to encourage others to pledge tough goals to cut greenhouse gases ahead of a U.N. climate summit in Paris in December. But opposition to plans to...

04/21/2015
William Shatner: Solve Calif drought Seattle pipeline
LA Times: For generations, water-hungry Southern California has jealously eyed the rainy Pacific Northwest as a potential source of the precious resource. And time after time, it has been rebuffed. When Los Angeles County Supervisor Kenneth Hahn in 1990 proposed digging aqueducts that would grab water from the Columbia and Snake rivers, Oregon Gov. Neil Goldschmidt responded: "I have the distinct impression that you are trying to steal my water." Now actor William Shatner has waded in with his own...

04/21/2015
Jeb Bush, 'concerned' about climate change, tries to stake out middle ground on the issue
ClimateWire: Jeb Bush detached himself from the growing group of conservative presidential candidates by speaking openly about climate change, analysts and strategists say, inviting support from moderate voters and attacks from the right. His comments Friday appear to be the first among Republican White House hopefuls to suggest that global warming is a problem that could be addressed by international negotiations to curb emissions in China and other nations. Many Republicans are critical of the talks and...

04/21/2015
China could cut coal (mostly) by 2050
Climate Central: From a climate change perspective, China's carbon footprint is huge: It consumes nearly as much coal as every other country in the world combined. And it's the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter. But it may be possible for China to shake most of its reliance on fossil fuels, in part by producing more than 85 percent of its electricity and more than 60 percent of its total energy needs from renewables by 2050, according to a study published Monday. Showing that it's feasible for China to...

04/21/2015
Carbon dioxide could be turned into a huge underground battery
New Scientist: What if we transformed carbon dioxide from being a waste product into being a huge battery to help even out our energy supply? We could make carbon storage pay off, while solving problems of intermittent energy supply from renewables. So say Tom Buscheck from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and his colleagues who presented a design for this type of energy storage at the European Geosciences Union general assembly last week in Vienna, Austria. Their design would be able...

04/21/2015
Utah's oldest coal plant retired in face of new EPA standards
Salt Lake Tribune: The turbines of Utah's oldest coal-fired power plant have stopped spinning. Rocky Mountain Power took its 60-year-old Carbon Power Plant offline Wednesday, one day before more strict federal mercury-pollution rules went into effect. The plant's age and location in a tight canyon a few miles up the Price River from Helper made retrofitting the two-unit, 172-megawatt station a losing proposition, according to company spokesman Dave Eskelsen. The utility company will spend the next two years...

04/21/2015
Restoring delta must be part of tunnels plan
Fresno Bee: As Gov. Jerry Brown tries to salvage the $25 billion project to build twin tunnels through the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, he should keep in mind that it won’t be acceptable to give up its environmental goals. His new tack is understandable; federal agencies have signaled that they probably won’t issue the 50-year environmental permits that were a key element of the old plan. But if he wants to persuade the public that his approach won’t degenerate into a water grab for Southern California...

04/21/2015
Renewables Beat Fossil Fuels Second Year in a Row
EcoWatch: Start spreading the news: The world is now deploying more renewable energy in the production of electricity—more wind and solar power, in particular—than it is fossil fuels. And it has been since 2013, according to the analysts at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. That year, the world added 143 gigawatts of new renewables capacity, compared to the 141 gigawatts of power generated by coal, natural gas and oil combined. Not only that, but by 2030, we’ll likely add a whopping four times as much renewable...

04/21/2015
Canada's GHG Emissions Rose 2013, Little Room Meet 2020 Target
Globe and Mail: Canada's greenhouse-gas emissions rose in 2013, propelled by higher oil and gas production, Environment Canada said in a report to the United Nations that suggests the country has little hope of meeting its international commitments. Ministers in the Conservative government have frequently touted the fact that the production of GHGs has declined since 2005, but that decrease reflects the steep losses during the 2008-09 recession. The report released Monday shows that Canada's annual GHG emissions...

04/21/2015
We must not let the Mediterranean turn into a mass grave
Blue and Green: Another boat capsizes and 800 people drown. Many of those who died were children, trapped deep in the hold of the boat. Their final moment would have been one of utter terror, being torn at by those around them, as water rose around their necks and the horrific certainty that they were going to die in darkness. What does drowning feel like to a child? “As her lungs were squeezed smaller by the pressure, she choked and gagged on nothing. Her throat burned with trapped air and her ears were pounding....

04/21/2015
4 Ways to Beat the California Drought and Save the Colorado River
EcoWatch: The epic drought in California is beatable and we can save the Colorado River. All of Southern California—including the massive farm fields in Imperial County, the grapes and golf courses in the Coachella Valley and Palm Springs, and every person from Los Angeles to San Diego—gets most of its water from the Colorado River. The very same drought that has hammered southern California is almost as bad across the entire Southwest U.S.—including in the mountains of Utah, Wyoming and Colorado which are...

04/21/2015
Climate pledges don’t go far enough, say scientists
Blue and Green: Follow us Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Connect on Linkedin RSS Feed Make a donation Log In Your Account or Register Home ›› News ›› Climate pledges don’t go far enough, say scientists Climate pledges don’t go far enough, say scientists Tuesday, April 21st, 2015 By Charlotte Malone Air emissions by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Climate change pledges made by countries ahead of a UN summit later this year are not ambitious enough to limit warming to the internationally...

04/21/2015
What one farmer learned from surviving the ’80s farm crisis
Grist: Some basic economic forces are driving mid-sized farms out of existence. First, food prices keep falling. "Ever since World War II, agricultural commodities have trended steadily down," agricultural economist Otto Doering told me. We are on a technology treadmill: Farmers get a new tech (like hybrid seeds), increase productivity, and make money. But then all the farmers get it, they all produce more, and prices drop, Doering said. Those new technologies cost money, so farm costs go up while food...

04/20/2015
Canada: Woman defeats mine, saves wildnerness, wins $175,000
Mongabay: Marilyn Baptiste, 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize winner for North America, led the Xeni Gwet'in community in defeating one of the largest proposed gold and copper mines in British Columbia that would have destroyed Fish Lake--a source of spiritual identity and livelihood for the Xeni Gwet’in. Photo courtesy of the Goldman Environmental Prize. When a huge open-pit mine threatened a pristine lake and surrounding forest in British Columbia, Canada, Marilyn Baptiste jumped into action, spearheading...

04/20/2015
Should California produce farming move to Arkansas?
Grist: California is by far the dominant U.S. produce-growing state -- source of 81 percent of U.S.-grown carrots, 95 percent of broccoli, 86 percent of cauliflower, 74 percent of raspberries, 91 percent of strawberries, etc. But all three of its main veggie growing regions -- the Imperial Valley, the Central Valley, and the Salinas Valley -- face serious short- and long-term water challenges. As I recently argued in a New York Times debate, it`s time to "de-Californify" the nation`s supply of fruits...

04/20/2015
Earth Day call double native forest canopy by 2035
Mongabay: A group of prominent researchers, philanthropists, and activists are calling for a doubling of the planet's native forest canopy by 2035 as a way to make a "U-turn" on global environmental degradation. "The Earth Day Declaration to Double Native Forests" was initiated by Randy Hayes, the head of Foundation Earth and the co-founder of the Rainforest Action Network (RAN). It calls for a halt to all deforestation and massive restoration of native forests to stem climate change, biodiversity loss,...

04/20/2015
There’s a Place That’s Nearly Perfect for Growing Food. It’s Not California
Mother Jones: California is by far the dominant US produce-growing state--source of (large PDF) 81 percent of US-grown carrots, 95 percent of broccoli, 86 percent of cauliflower, 74 percent of raspberries, 91 percent of strawberries, etc. But all three of its main veggie growing regions--the Imperial Valley, the Central Valley, and the Salinas Valley--face serious short- and long-term water challenges. As I recently argued in a New York Times debate, it's time to "de-Californify" the nation's supply of fruits...

04/20/2015
Michael Brune: BP Oil Disaster Was Not an Accident, It Was a Crime
EcoWatch: April 20, 2010 should be, to borrow a phrase from Franklin Roosevelt, “a date that will live in infamy.” Today is the anniversary of the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history: the explosion of Deepwater Horizon and subsequent oil catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico. I don’t like to call it a spill, because spills are accidents. What happened that day was not an accident; it was a crime.

04/20/2015
Killings of environmental activists jumped by 20 percent last year
Mongabay: The assassination, murder, and extrajudicial killing of environmental activists rose by 20 percent last year, according to a new grim report by Global Witness. The organization documented 116 killings in 2014 across 17 countries with the highest number in Brazil, which saw 29 environmental and land defenders killed. Still, the report is a major understatement of the problem as data across much of Africa, China, the Middle East, and Central Asia remains scarce to non-existent. "Across the world...

04/20/2015
Commercial bushmeat hunters put previously undetected pressure on Central Africa large birds
Mongabay: While conducting a bird survey in the Ebo Forest Reserve of Cameroon, Scottish ornithologist Robin Whytock noted two uncommon forest raptors in a camp regularly used by commercial bushmeat hunters. The birds, a crowned eagle (Stephanoaetus coronatus) and a Cassin's hawk-eagle (Aquila Africana) were notable sightings not only because they are infrequently spotted. Both raptors were dead, and their stripped carcasses lay discarded on the ground. Whytock suspected that hunters had eaten them while...

04/20/2015
Polar Bears to People: Momentum on Climate Change
Huffington Post: In the past several months, there has been much troubling news for all who are concerned about polar bears. Atmospheric CO2 concentrations hit 400 parts per million, higher than any time in perhaps 3 million years. The global average air temperature for all of 2014 was the highest on record. The maximum extent of Arctic sea ice this winter was the lowest ever recorded. My colleagues and I published papers showing that: land-based foods cannot sustain polar bears forced off the melting ice; the key...

04/20/2015
Plants may not protect us against climate change
Science Now: Plants are one of the last bulwarks against climate change. They feed on carbon dioxide, growing faster and absorbing more of the greenhouse gas as humans produce it. But a new study finds that limited nutrients may keep plants from growing as fast as scientists thought, leading to more global warming than some climate models had predicted by 2100. Plants need different nutrients to thrive, such as nitrogen for making the light-absorbing pigment chlorophyll and phosphorus for building proteins....

04/20/2015
BP Oil Spill Happened 5 Years Ago Today. Still Paying the Price
Climate Desk: The Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico five years ago today, killing 11 men and sending nearly 5 million barrels of oil into the sea. After the well was finally plugged, the national media went home, but the story is still very much unfolding everywhere from federal courtrooms to Louisiana backyards. Let`s have a look back at the nation`s worst-ever oil spill, by the numbers:


Did You Know?

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

 

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