September 20, 2013, from San Francisco Chronicle
While officials try to pin down the source of a deadly amoeba found in the water supply of a suburban New Orleans community, bottled water sales in St. Bernard Parish have skyrocketed and some people worry about washing their faces in the shower.
That's despite experts who say the only danger is to people who manage to get the microscopic organism way up their noses. Its only entry to the brain is through minute openings in a bone about level with the top of the eyeball, said Dr. Raoult Ratard, Louisiana's state epidemiologist.
September 20, 2011, from Los Angeles Times
Authorities ordered a solar-panel manufacturing plant in eastern China to close after four days of protests by hundreds of villagers who have accused the facility of causing air and water pollution, Chinese media reported Monday.
The decision is an indication of the growing power of environmental protesters to sway government policy in China. As many as 500 villagers participated in the protests near Haining, an industrial city of 640,000 in coastal Zhejiang province.
The plant's operator, JinkoSolar, a New York Stock Exchange-listed company, issued a public apology Monday.
September 20, 2009, from New York Times
CAIRO It is unlikely anyone has ever come to this city and commented on how clean the streets are. But this litter-strewn metropolis is now wrestling with a garbage problem so severe it has managed to incite its weary residents and command the attention of the president... When the government killed all the pigs in Egypt this spring in what public health experts said was a misguided attempt to combat swine flu it was warned the city would be overwhelmed with trash.
The pigs used to eat tons of organic waste. Now the pigs are gone and the rotting food piles up on the streets of middle-class neighborhoods like Heliopolis and in the poor streets of communities like Imbaba.
September 20, 2013, from Mother Jones
...Because, sadly, the people who deny the reality around them have a very large megaphone, and in some cases have a lot of motivation to use it. Money, power, riling up the electorate, or, perhaps worst of all, pure zealotry. Nothing is as impenetrable as an armor wrought from fervent ideology.
It's also upsetting to know that we have the facts, the science, the scientists, and really all of reality on our side. But human nature is a contrary beast, and doubt is a seed that grows lushly in dark places.
September 20, 2013, from Climate Progress
The good news: A sample of what are probably the best fracked wells in the country finds low emissions of methane, a potent heat-trapping gas.
The bad news: The study likely missed the super-emitters, the wells that are responsible for the vast majority of methane leakage.
The ugly news: Same as ever ï¿½" natural gas from even the best fracked wells is still a climate-destroying fossil fuel. If we are to avoid catastrophic warming, our natural gas consumption has to peak sometime between in the next 10 to 15 years, according to studies by both the Center for American Progress and the Union of Concerned Scientists.
If natural gas is a bridge fuel, it has got to be a very short bridge. Otherwise it is merely "a bridge to a world with high CO2 Levels," as climatologist Ken Caldeira put it last year.
September 20, 2012, from New York Times
Instead, they decided, all of the agencies would use the same baseline of $21 per ton as the standard in monetizing the social costs of the seven-plus billion tons of carbon generated by American power plants, vehicles and factories each year.
But a new paper published in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences concludes that the costs of carbon pollution and related climate change are vastly greater -- possibly two to 12 times as much. The problem, the authors argue, is that the federal government is not adequately taking into account the impacts of climate change on future generations.
September 20, 2011, from London Guardian
Leading scientists have accused the world's top cartographers of making a blunder in their representation of the effects of climate change in Greenland, prompting a robust defence by the map-makers' publisher.
Maps in the 13th edition of the Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World, published last week, show large areas of the eastern and southern coasts of Greenland coloured brown and pink, and the permanent ice cap now covering a significantly smaller area than it did in the 1999 12th edition of the atlas. The atlas suggests that 300,000 sq km, or 15 percent, of Greenland's ice cover had been lost in the period...
But seven researchers at Cambridge University's Scott Polar Research Institute backed by glaciologists in the US, Europe and elsewhere, have said that both the maps and the figure of 15 percent are wrong.
September 20, 2011, from New York Times
With his approval rating among American voters at an all-time low, President Obama could use a little support from his peers. But this month nine fellow recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa and the Dalai Lama, sent the president a letter urging him to veto the construction of a huge pipeline that would bring bring crude oil to the United States from Canada.
On Monday, the letter was published as an advertisement in The Washington Post. It reads in part: "The night you were nominated for president, you told the world that under your leadership -- and working together -- the rise of the oceans will begin to slow and the planet will begin to heal. You spoke of creating a clean energy economy. This is a critical moment to make good on that pledge."
September 20, 2011, from CBS News
Shell Oil Co. on Monday took a step closer to tapping vast petroleum reserves off Alaska's Arctic coasts when the federal Environmental Protection Agency approved an air quality permit for one of the company's drilling vessels.
The EPA approved the air permit for the drilling vessel Noble Discover, which Shell hopes to use for exploratory wells in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska's northwest coast, and its support fleet of oil spill response and supply vessels.
Shell Alaska spokesman Curtis Smith said the permit was a hopeful step.
"The delivery of final air permits for our exploration program is another in a series of recent, positive developments and adds to our confidence that we will be drilling our offshore Alaska leases by July of next year," Smith said in an email.
September 20, 2009, from New York Times
Economists point to powerhouse countries like India to illustrate the hurdles facing some 100 world leaders due to gather in New York this Tuesday for the highest level summit meeting on climate change ever convened... While virtually all of the largest developed and developing nations have made domestic commitments toward creating more efficient, renewable sources of energy to cut emissions, none want to take the lead in fighting for significant international emissions reduction targets, lest they be accused at home of selling out future jobs and economic growth... The mood in the negotiations has been that I should do as little as possible as late as possible and let the other person go first, said Kim Carstensen, the director of the Global Climate Initiative of the World Wildlife Fund.
September 20, 2009, from University of Exeter via ScienceDaily
Scientists from the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth are calling for urgent research to understand the impact of renewable energy developments on marine life. The study, now published in the Journal of Applied Ecology, highlights potential environmental benefits and threats resulting from marine renewable energy, such as off-shore wind farms and wave and tidal energy conversion devices. The research highlights the capacity for marine renewable energy devices to boost local biodiversity and benefit the wider marine environment. Man-made structures on the sea bed attract many marine organisms and sometimes become 'artificial reefs', for example, supporting a wide variety of fish. The study also points out that such devices could have negative environmental impacts, resulting from habitat loss, collision risks, noise and electromagnetic fields.
September 20, 2011, from PhysOrg
Humankind will slip next week into ecological debt, having gobbled up in less then nine months more natural resources than the planet can replenish in a year, researchers said Tuesday....
At its current pace of consumption humankind will need, by 2030, a second globe to satisfy its voracious appetites and absorb all its waste, the report calculated.
Earth's seven billion denizens -- nine billion by mid-century -- are using more water, cutting down more forests and eating more fish than Nature can replace, it said.
At the same time, we are disgorging more CO2, pollutants and chemical fertilizers than the atmosphere, soil and oceans can soak up without severely disrupting the ecosystems that have made our planet such a comfortable place for homo sapiens to live.
Counting down from January 1, the date when human activity exceeds its budget -- dubbed "Earth Overshoot Day" -- had receded by about three days each year since 2001.
The tipping point into non-sustainability happened sometime in the 1970s, said the Oakland, California-based Global Footprint Network, which issued the report.