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DocWatch
bad policy
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News stories about "bad policy," with punchlines: http://apocadocs.com/d.pl?bad+policy
Related Scary Tags:
governmental idiocy  ~ economic myopia  ~ governmental corruption  ~ stupid humans  ~ capitalist greed  ~ corporate malfeasance  ~ airborne pollutants  ~ coal issues  ~ contamination  ~ climate impacts  ~ carbon emissions  



Sat, Nov 12, 2016
from Climate Central:
Trump Wins US Presidency
The election of Donald Trump as the nation's next president spurred celebration in some quarters and dismay in others, including among those concerned about the steady warming of the planet.... Trump's comments on climate change have included calling it a hoax and warning that Environmental Protection Agency policies are costing the country jobs, though he has talked about the importance of maintaining clean air and water. He has suggested he will pull out of the landmark Paris agreement and scuttle the Clean Power Plan, as well as boost the domestic coal and oil industries. While the U.S. is only one country, it is a linchpin to the viability of international agreements and to moving the needle on limiting warming. ...


"Sticking it to the Man," in this case, results in "F***ing Humankind."

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Sep 27, 2014
from Slate:
How Australia became the dirtiest polluter in the developed world.
The climate-conscious Labor Party is out, felled by infighting and a bloodthirsty, Rupert Murdoch-dominated press that sows conspiracy theories about climate science. In its place, Australians elected the conservative Liberal Party, led by a prime minister who once declared that "the climate argument is absolute crap." In the year since they took office, Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his Liberal-led coalition have already dismantled the country's key environmental policies. Now they've begun systematically ransacking its natural resources. In the process, they've transformed Australia from an international innovator on environmental issues into quite possibly the dirtiest country in the developed world. And in a masterful whirl of the spin machine, they've managed to upend public debate by painting climate science as superstition and superstition as climate science.... ...


The climate issue is, after all, just an opinion, right, um, I mean, after all, it's just about interpretation. And jobs.

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Sep 27, 2014
from Yale360:
Aral Sea Basin Dry for the First Time in Modern History, NASA images show
For the first time in modern history, the eastern basin of the South Aral Sea has gone completely dry, as this NASA satellite image captured in late August shows. The Aral Sea is an inland body of water lying between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in central Asia. It was once one of the four largest lakes in the world, but it has been shrinking markedly and dividing into smaller lobes since the 1960s, after the government of the former Soviet Union diverted the region's two major rivers to irrigate farmland. One Aral Sea researcher suggested that it has likely been at least 600 years since the eastern basin entirely disappeared. Decreasing precipitation and snowpack in its watershed led to the drying this year, and huge withdrawals for irrigation exacerbated the problem. ...


The early superstardom went to Aral's head, and now look at him.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Aug 28, 2014
from Daily Kos :
Fire retardant chems, cancer, health problems
In a reckless, "hope-for-the-best" approach that puts us all at risk, U.S. policy allows the release of synthetic chemicals into the environment--before their potentially devastating impacts have been adequately evaluated. Multiple Senate bills to fix this toxic system over the past decade have been snuffed out. On July 24, 2014, U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced a bill, the "Protecting American Families from Toxic Chemicals Act" (S. 2656), which would ban a number of "persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic" synthetic chemicals such as brominated fire (or flame) retardants (BFRs).... BFRs enter our bodies mainly when we inhale or swallow dust. Various BFRs have been linked to cancer, thyroid disruption, memory and learning problems, delayed mental and physical development, lower IQ, early puberty, and reduced fertility. Ironically, BFRs start "fires" in our bodies by causing inflammation. ...


BFRs: Big Effing Retardant!

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Jun 15, 2014
from InsideClimate News:
EPA Too Fixated on the 'Global' in Global Warming, Says U.S. Chamber
Business groups opposed to the Environmental Protection Agency's crackdown on carbon pollution want the Obama administration to stop paying so much attention to the "global" part of global warming... But the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the fossil fuel industry are taking the position that when considering whether regulations make economic sense, the government should consider only benefits that accrue directly to Americans--since they'll bear the cost of regulations. ...


What could wrong with that attitude?

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jan 14, 2014
from The Independent:
Government accused of 'bribing local councils' on controversial fracking projects
MPs accused the government of seeking to bribe local councils to grant planning permission for controversial fracking projects today, just as new figures showed Britain's shale gas regulator has only six staff dedicated to fracking full time. They fear that the shale gas industry could be allowed to balloon without proper scrutiny and are especially concerned because, in only a fortnight, the regulator will be required to issue new fracking permits within two weeks, compared to the current 13-week wait. David Cameron declared that his government is "going all out for shale" as he announced that councils will be allowed to keep all of the business rates raised from fracking sites in a deal that is expected to generate millions of pounds for local authorities. His announcement came as the French energy giant Total became the first of the world's major oil companies to buy into Britain's shale gas industry, acquiring a stake in a project in Lincolnshire.... The change in business rates comes as Environment Agency – which regulates fracking as part of a much broader remit – prepares to cut about 15 per cent of its staff. An agency spokesman declined to comment on whether any of its fracking staff would be made redundant in the cuts. ...


It's so easy to make the future pay for today's convenience!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Dec 17, 2013
from Washington Post:
White House delayed enacting rules ahead of 2012 election to avoid controversy
The White House systematically delayed enacting a series of rules on the environment, worker safety and health care to prevent them from becoming points of contention before the 2012 election, according to documents and interviews with current and former administration officials... The Obama administration has repeatedly said that any delays until after the election were coincidental and that such decisions were made without regard to politics. But seven current and former administration officials told The Washington Post that the motives behind many of the delays were clearly political, as Obama's top aides focused on avoiding controversy before his reelection. ...


ObamaNoCare after all.

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Sep 8, 2013
from VTT, via DesdemonaDespair:
Finnish study on climate change shows procrastination over mitigation measures could prove costly
According to Ekholm's calculations, curbing climate change to two degrees would require worldwide emissions trading and a price of approximately EUR 20 per one tonne of CO2 in 2020. Current emissions trading systems are regional, and the price in the EU system, for example, has at times been as low as EUR 2-3 per tonne. "By the end of the century, we should be looking at prices well in excess of EUR 100", Ekholm says. Ekholm portrays the setting as a question of risk management: Mitigation measures are likely to end up costing less if they are instigated straight away. If the sensitivity of climate change turns out to be lower than the consensus forecast, the intensity of measures can be pulled back. If, however, the sensitivity proves to be higher than anticipated, the cost of the then inevitable cuts to emissions may rise to intolerable levels in the short term. "In the worst case scenario, the price of one tonne of CO2 could rise to levels as high as EUR 1,000. The probability of this scenario is in the region of a few per cent. The risk is not huge but not marginal either." ...


I take a "wait and see" attitude about the perils of procrastination.

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Sep 1, 2013
from Kunstler.com:
Kunstler on impending worldwide financial collapse
The world is swiftly moving to the dangerous place where nations won't be able to do business with each other because they don't trust the institutions that control wealth, which includes central banks, commercial banks, and governments. It will happen when the purveyors of international commodities, oil especially, refuse to accept the letters of credit issued by untrustworthy intermediaries. And when that dark moment arrives, nations will throw tantrums. The USA may be the loudest baby in the playpen.... When it does blow, at least the NSA will have its prepared "to-do" list, and then perhaps all the unemployed can be enlisted at $8 an hour to harass the rest of the people trying to go about their daily lives. The roar you hear in the distance this September will be the sound of banks crashing, followed by the silence of business-as-usual grinding to a halt. After that, the crackle of gunfire. ...


It's as if he's predicting a long emergency or something.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jul 30, 2013
from Grantham Research Institute/Carbon Tracker:
Investing in vapor: financial risks of stranded fossil fuel investments (PDF)
... The modelling used in previous analyses by Carbon Tracker and the IEA showed that the carbon budget for a 2 degree C scenario would be around 565 - 886 billion tonnes (Gt) of carbon dioxide (CO2) to 2050.... This budget, however, is only a fraction of the carbon embedded in the world's indicated fossil fuel reserves, which amount to 2,860Gt CO2. A precautionary approach means only 20 percent of total fossil fuel reserves can be burnt to 2050. As a result the global economy already faces the prospect of assets becoming stranded, with the problem only likely to get worse if current investment trends continue - in effect, a carbon bubble. ...


I'm banking on the bubble keeping the balloon afloat!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, May 9, 2013
from Maclean's:
When Science Goes Silent
... It's just one of many such stories of muzzled federal scientists and suppressed research that are being brought to the union's attention, he says. All against the backdrop of sweeping cuts to water, air and wildlife monitoring programs, a total restructuring of federal environmental reviews, and the downloading of responsibility for lakes and rivers to the provinces. "It's almost like this government doesn't want any of this stuff to be open to public discussion," says the union leader. "What we're seeing is a total lockdown." Since taking power in 2006, Stephen Harper's government has rarely been caught on the wrong foot. Disciplined on the hustings, in the House, and above all with the media, Tory ministers and MPs have largely avoided the gaffes and unvarnished opinions that used to plague the conservative movement. But to many of its critics, Ottawa's obsession with controlling the message has become so all-encompassing that it now threatens both the health of Canada's democracy and the country's reputation abroad.... Current policy doesn't just seek to dampen the odd controversial story, it passes every bit of information through a political filter from which almost nothing emerges. "All the government scientists I know tell me that it's never been worse," says Hutchings. "It's like an Iron Curtain has been drawn across the communication of science in this country. And I think there's reason for all of us to be worried about that." ...


Can we create glasnost fast enough for a kinder, gentler perestroika?

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Apr 23, 2013
from Sydney Morning Herald:
Indonesian forest open for mining, logging
A mining company has boasted of an Indonesian government decision to free up 1.2 million hectares of virgin forest in Aceh for commercial exploitation. The announcement to the Canadian stock exchange late on Tuesday was met with disbelief by environmental groups worried about endangered orang-utans, Sumatran tigers, rhinos and elephants across the heavily forested region. But Ed Rochette, chief executive of Canadian mining company East Asia Minerals, celebrated the ''good progress and positive news for mineral extraction in the area''. The company's announcement quotes Anwar, chairman of the Aceh government's spatial planning committee, as saying the Indonesian forestry ministry had accepted ''almost 100 per cent of the province's new spatial plan'' that would ''zone large blocks of previously protected forest for mineral extraction, timber concessions and oil palm plantations''. ...


"Orangs and Tigers and 'phants, oh my!"

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Apr 5, 2013
from Midwest Energy News:
Midwest Generation gets more time to clean up Illinois coal plants
The Illinois Pollution Control Board on Thursday granted Midwest Generation two extra years to meet a state multi-pollutant standard that would require they install emissions controls on their four Illinois plants by 2015 and 2016. ...


What's the hurry?

ApocaDoc
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Want more context?
Try reading our book FREE online:
Humoring the Horror of the Converging Emergencies!
More fun than a barrel of jellyfish!
Mon, Oct 8, 2012
from Washington Post:
U.S. runs out of funds to battle wildfires
In the worst wildfire season on record, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service ran out of money to pay for firefighters, fire trucks and aircraft that dump retardant on monstrous flames. So officials did about the only thing they could: take money from other forest management programs. But many of the programs were aimed at preventing giant fires in the first place, and raiding their budgets meant putting off the removal of dried brush and dead wood over vast stretches of land -- the things that fuel eye-popping blazes, threatening property and lives. ...


I fear this will fuel a fiery feedback loop!

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Aug 22, 2012
from Guardian:
US court overturns coal pollution ruling
A US appeals court overturned a key Obama administration rule to reduce harmful emissions from coal-fired power plants on Tuesday. The Columbia district circuit appeals court said in a 2-1 decision that the Environmental Protection Agency had exceeded its mandate with the rule, which was to limit sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from power plants in 28 mostly eastern states and Texas.... The decision was cheered by Republicans who have made the EPA and President Barack Obama's environmental policies a major campaign issue ahead of November elections. The agency is risking a fragile economic recovery by saddling US industries with costly new rules, Republicans say. "The Obama-EPA continues to demonstrate that it will stop at nothing in its determination to kill coal," said Republican senator James Inhofe, one of the most vocal EPA opponents in the US Senate. ...


Mandate exceeded. Do not pass "Go." Do not collect environmental protection.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Mar 23, 2012
from Guardian:
Las Vegas plan to pump water across 300 miles of desert approved
Contentious plans to pump water across 300 miles of desert to Las Vegas were given the green light on Thursday. The ruling, from the state water engineer, Jason King, will allow the city to go ahead with a plan to draw water from four thinly populated valleys of eastern Nevada. King did not give Las Vegas all of the water it was seeking. But the award of nearly 84,000 acre-feet of water, from the Spring, Cave, Dry Lake and Delamar valleys should help Las Vegas escape a worst-case scenario where it would run out of drinking water by the middle of the next decade.... Environmental groups, and a coalition of cattle ranchers and native Americans from eastern Nevada who have been fighting the project, said they would fight the decision in the courts. ...


What gets pumped to Vegas, stays in Vegas.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Mar 14, 2012
from New York Times:
An Inconvenient Statement, Retracted
Energy Secretary Steven Chu on Tuesday walked away from his oft-quoted pre-Cabinet statement that the United States should deliberately raise gasoline prices to discourage consumption. In a 2008 interview with The Wall Street Journal before he was appointed President Obama's energy secretary, Dr. Chu, then the director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, said, "Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels of Europe." Dr. Chu, a winner of the Nobel Prize in physics, has spent much of his career seeking alternative forms of energy to try to mitigate the global warming effects of the burning of fossil fuels.... So in a hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday, Dr. Chu walked away from his earlier comment. "I no longer share that view," he said. "Of course we don't want the price of gasoline to go up. We want it to go down." ...


These are not the droids Chu is looking for.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Mar 5, 2012
from Los Angeles Times:
Shell oil rig set for landmark Alaska journey
Amid the tangle of towering steel, heavy cranes and overcast skies of Seattle's busy commercial shipyards, Shell Oil's massive Kulluk drilling rig is preparing to push off for the Arctic Ocean. When it does, America's balance between energy needs and environmental fears will enter a new era. Barring unexpected court or regulatory action, by July the Kulluk will begin drilling exploratory oil wells in the frigid waters off Alaska's northern coast. ...


Apo-Kullukse!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Feb 28, 2012
from CBC News:
U.S. Supreme Court rejects Asian carp measures
The U.S. Supreme Court refused Monday to order emergency measures that might prevent Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes, despite a warning that the exotic fish pose a "dire threat" to the region's environment and economy. Michigan and four neighboring states wanted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to install nets in two Chicago-area rivers and to expedite a study of permanent steps to head off an invasion by bighead and silver carp, which have advanced up the Mississippi River and its tributaries to within 88.5 kilometres of Lake Michigan. Scientists say if the large, prolific carp spread widely in the lakes, they could starve out native species and devastate the $7 billion US fishing industry. ...


Sometimes justice is shortsighted.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Feb 13, 2012
from LA Times, through DesdemonaDespair:
Canada responds to tar-sands-based caribou decline with plan to kill wolves
Woodland caribou herds in Canada are declining, and tar sands development is a big part of the reason why. But Canada's national and provincial governments know what do about that: Kill the wolves. That's the crux of new posts by both Grist and the National Wildlife Federation, which are following this issue. Both are revisiting the environmental costs of tar sands development in Alberta. The federation cites numerous studies released in 2011 that found that oil and gas development in Canada is contributing to the decline of woodland caribou herds. Both the national government and the province of Alberta acknowledge that tar sands development adversely affects the herds. Environment Canada, the country's national environmental agency, announced in fall 2011 that a draft of a nationwide caribou recovery plan - which is not yet in effect - would include plans to cull the wolf population near the three herds that are directly affected by the tar sands development. Environment minister Peter Kent was quoted in numerous stories acknowledging that "thousands" of wolves might need to be killed. Many stories have focused on the use of strychnine poisoning and aerial hunting to kill the wolves. Officials in Alberta, however, want to emphasize that this program has not yet begun and, while wolves are currently controlled in the province, that images of a wholesale wolf slaughter are overblown.... ...


Somehting is bakcwadr with this ygetarts.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jan 31, 2012
from Associated Press:
Natural resources chief wants mission statement change
The commissioner of the state's Department of Natural Resources wants to change the agency's mission statement, and the proposed changed is not sitting well with at least one lawmaker and conservation groups who are worried about a pro-development bent. The current statement says the department's mission is to "develop, conserve and enhance natural resources for present and future Alaskans," KSKA reported. The new statement removes "conserve" and "enhance," leaving only "develop" in the statement. It also removes the reference to "future Alaskans." ...


In the crazy world of doublespeak this level of honesty is downright admirable!

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Sep 21, 2011
from CBS News:
EPA grants air permit to Shell for Arctic drilling
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. ...


Way to go, EPA! That'll get the GOP on your side.

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Sep 3, 2011
from Bloomberg:
London Olympics Drops Carbon-Offset Plan
Organizers of the London 2012 Olympic Games dropped a plan to cut carbon emissions during the sporting showcase, abandoning a pledge made when it defeated eight other cities to host the event. Games administrators will "no longer pursue formal offsetting procedures" to mitigate Olympics-related emissions, documents posted on the London Olympics website said. ... Scrapping the plan, which would have involved offsetting the emissions generated by the Games by investing in clean- energy projects in poor countries, underlines how carbon-saving measures are being overlooked to save money as the U.K. cuts spending and increases taxes amid an economic slowdown. By ditching the program, LOCOG may avoid spending as much as 2.7 million pounds ($4.4 million), according to prices quoted by brokers MF Global. ...


They win the charcoal medal.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Sep 2, 2011
from Bloomberg BusinessWeek:
Obama Cancels Ozone Rules After Lobbying Push From Business
President Barack Obama quashed proposed rules on ozone from the Environmental Protection Agency, agreeing with Republicans and industry to withdraw the costliest regulation being considered by the administration. Obama said he is seeking to reduce regulatory burdens as the economy recovers, and said the EPA would weigh tighter standards on ozone, which causes smog, in two years.... "The Obama administration is caving to big polluters at the expense of protecting the air we breathe," Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters, an environmental group, said today in an e-mailed statement. "This is a huge win for corporate polluters and a huge loss for public health."... Ozone is created when hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides combine in the presence of sunlight. Fuel exhaust and vapors are major sources of the chemicals. The resulting pollution can contribute to breathing difficulties, lung damage and reduced cardiovascular function, according to the EPA's website. ...


If only McCain hadn't won the election.

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Aug 20, 2011
from Guardian:
China to cap energy use in national low-carbon plan
A cap on energy consumption is expected to be at the heart of a Chinese low-carbon plan to be issued this year, experts believe, amid reports that officials have now agreed its level. China is the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, making up a quarter of the global total. Experts say setting an energy limit would add certainty to the country's attempts to rein in emissions and should make it easier for emissions trading schemes to get off the ground. The cap has been anticipated for some time but is now thought likely to emerge in the low-carbon plan understood to have been broadly approved by a panel set up by the state council, China's cabinet, and chaired by the premier, Wen Jiabao. It should be formally passed later this year. Reuters reported that officials have settled on a total energy cap of 4.1bn tonnes of coal equivalent (TCE) by 2015 - a level more than 25 percent higher than last year. Analysts warn that the plan has yet to be nailed down and that a cap could still be delayed by disagreements, to re-emerge in a later policy document. ...


My cap is saying "Andale!"

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Aug 16, 2011
from Bloomberg:
EPA's Outdated Tests Leave American Cars Guzzling Gas: View
At issue is how federal regulators calculate each automaker's Corporate Average Fuel Economy. Obscure as these CAFE ratings may be, their public policy impact is vast. Whenever the U.S. government tells automakers to boost their CAFE scores -- as it did this summer -- it transforms the next generation of cars Americans drive. The trouble is, the tests used to gauge fuel efficiency don't reflect the way we actually drive, especially on the highway. The government's highway test involves a top speed of 60 mph, an average speed of 48.3 mph, no use of heaters or air conditioners and an achingly slow initial acceleration in which it takes more than a minute to go from zero to 50 mph.... It would be one thing if this exercise in pokey driving produced equally distorted scores for all models. But the outmoded CAFE process risks short-changing cars with smart fuel- saving features in favor of others that are engineered for the test.... Under the current tests, the stated goal of 54.5 mpg by 2025 is a number that will be achieved only on paper, car experts say. In practical terms, hitting the CAFE target is likely to produce a more modest 40 mpg to 42 mpg in real-life driving, analysts say. ...


These are the consequences of the No Automobile Left Behind Act.

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You're still reading! Good for you!
You really should read our short, funny, frightening book FREE online (or buy a print copy):
Humoring the Horror of the Converging Emergencies!
We've been quipping this stuff for more than 30 months! Every day!
Which might explain why we don't get invited to parties anymore.
Wed, Jul 20, 2011
from Reuters:
USDA chief economist: Factoring in climate effects too 'cumbersome' to be considered
"They are very elaborate models," said USDA's chief economist Joseph Glauber, referring to climate-crop forecasting in an interview on Tuesday on the sidelines of a farm lending conference at the Kansas City Federal Reserve. "Take into account all the fundamentals on crops and yields. You also have to build in all this climate variability and predictions about climate variability. The range of potential outcomes is pretty large," Glauber said. "We just don't consider that in our 10-year baseline. We assume some trend growth, we really don't even look at variabilities. That's probably proper for a 10-year forecast horizon." The USDA's crop reports, such as the monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) and its 10-year baseline crop outlooks, are key benchmarks for the world food and farming industries, given the vast domestic and world data gathering the agency employs. "To take our crop forecasting models -- they are what they are -- and try to marry in a lot of climate stuff, it's pretty cumbersome," Glauber said.... "Climate doesn't make a difference much over 10 years. There is a lot more variability now relative to say 10, 15 years ago. But the real changes we are talking about here start manifesting themselves over 30, 40, 50 years," Glauber said. "World food needs will increase by 70 percent by 2050. By 2050, you can have climate issues," he added. ...


Said the grasshopper to the ant: why work so hard? Winter is months away.

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Wed, Jul 20, 2011
from Washington Post, via DesdemonaDespair:
Whitebark pine tree faces extinction threat, agency says
The Fish and Wildlife Service determined Monday that whitebark pine, a tree found atop mountains across the American West, faces an "imminent" risk of extinction because of factors including climate change. The decision is significant because it marks the first time the federal government has identified climate change as one of the driving factors for why a broad-ranging tree species could disappear. The Canadian government has already declared whitebark pine to be endangered throughout its entire range; a recent study found that 80 percent of whitebark pine forests in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem are dead or dying.... In its determination, the agency said that it found a listing was "warranted but precluded," meaning the pine deserved federal protection but the government could not afford it.... However, she added, "we've got definitely a limited amount of budget and a limited amount of staff to address all these species. There are other species that are worse off than whitebark pine." ...


I think we call that priority determination "treeage."

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Mon, Jul 18, 2011
from Paul Gilding:
Like a Grenade in a Glasshouse: The Great Disruption
It's going to hit hard and it's going to hurt - made worse because most aren't expecting it. They think the world is slowly returning to our modern "normal" - steadily increasing growth, with occasional annoying but manageable interruptions. After all, the global recession wasn't so bad was it? Sure there was pain and things got shaky but Governments responded, bailed out companies, stimulated economies, got things back on track.... But if the limits are solid, as is the case with our economic system hitting the limits of the planet - defined by unchangeable physical capacity and the laws of physics, chemistry and biology - then it can't find its way through. So eventually, when the pain of hitting the wall gets too much, it stops.... Then it will hit. Like a grenade in a glasshouse, shattering denial and delusion and leaving it like a pile of broken glass on the floor of the old economic model. Then we'll be ready for change. ...


We're busy making money here. You expect us to pay attention to the future?

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Tue, Jun 28, 2011
from Huffington Post:
Mountaintop Removal Mining Birth Defects: New Study Suggests Controversial Coal Operations Linked To Adverse Health Effects
Researchers found "significantly higher" rates of birth defects in babies born near mountaintop removal mining sites than those in non-mining areas, according to a new study released last week. Mountaintop removal mining is a particularly environmentally destructive type of resource extraction that involves using explosives to blow the tops off of mountains to expose coal underneath the soil and rock. The unusable dirt and gravel are then disposed of in adjacent valleys and streams. MTR is used prominently in the Appalachian region of the eastern United States.... It found that rates for six out of seven types of birth defects -- circulatory/respiratory, central nervous system, musculoskeletal, gastrointestinal, urogenital and "other" -- were increased near MTR sites. The research suggests that contaminants are released into nearby environments from MTR, and that many of the contaminants are known to impair fetal development. "Rates for any anomaly were approximately 235 per 100,000 live births in the mountaintop mining area versus 144 per 100,000 live births in the non-mining area," the study says. Although not as high as near MTR sites, it also found increased incidences of birth defects in communities near underground mines.... "For those who actually pay attention to science, it's irrefutable," Kincaid said. "Would it be more obvious if the coal industry were using machine guns or gas chambers?"... Vice President of the West Virginia Coal Association Jason Bostic ... contends that there is "no connection" between coal mining and birth defects, and brushes off the study as "a fairy tale." "If anything, the involvement of the coal industry helps offset what would otherwise be worse health defects from poverty, isolation and lack of access to preventative medicine," Bostic said. "We're the ones providing health benefits and wellness plans to our employees and their dependents. Take us away and see how well it goes." ...


You can't make an omelet without flattening mountains and causing birth defects!

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Tue, May 3, 2011
from Reuters:
Major polluters say 2011 climate deal 'not doable'
The world's biggest greenhouse gas emitters do not expect a legally-binding deal to tackle climate change at talks in South Africa in December, two leading climate envoys said on Wednesday. U.S. climate negotiator Todd Stern and European climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard played down the chance of a breakthrough after a meeting of the Major Economies Forum (MEF), an informal group of 17 countries including the world's top polluters, China and the United States. "From what I've heard in these last two days, the conclusion must be that it is highly unlikely that the world will see a legally binding deal done in Durban," Hedegaard told reporters. "Not that they do not think it's important -- but there is just this feeling that it's simply not doable for Durban." ...


Sorry, guys -- it's just a little too inconvenient.

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Thu, Mar 24, 2011
from Edmonton Journal:
U.S. energy giant sets up shop in Alberta
An American energy conglomerate owned by two powerful billionaire brothers who help fund the Tea Party and climate-change denial movements in the U.S. has registered to lobby the Alberta government. Alberta's lobbyist registry shows that on March 15, Koch Industries signed up to lobby the province on energy and resource development policy issues, as well as taxation and economic development. The company is run by Charles and David Koch, two of the richest men in the world. Koch Industries spokeswoman Melissa Cohlmia did not respond to interview requests Wednesday, but released a one-sentence statement. "Koch companies want to add value by providing quality services and products our customers desire and value in a way that is compliant with all laws and regulations," she wrote. ...


If it was my province, I'd show these Kochs the door.

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Tue, Mar 22, 2011
from GOOD:
Chart: Why Four-Dollar-Per-Gallon Gas Is Damn Cheap
Inspired by Cord's thought-provoking post on the per gallon prices of various liquids, and by Sarah Palin's ill-informed Facebook rant on the "$4-Per-Gallon President," I decided to take a closer look at gasoline prices around the world. Mrs. Palin might be interested to learn, that the world already has quite a few $4-Per-Gallon Presidents. In fact, the world already has $6-Per-Gallon Parliaments, $7-Per-Gallon Prime Ministers, and $8-Per-Gallon Presidents!... An odd trend seems to be that the most of countries that have gas prices under our own, are those same countries that so many politicians routinely cite as "evil" or "undemocratic." Does Sarah Palin want our oil economy to be more like Iran and Venezuela? From this recent chart in the Economist, you can see that the bulk of the premium costs in most European nations is due to higher taxes and duties on crude and gasoline. Many nations recognize oil as a finite resource, and are utilizing gasoline taxes to reduce oil imports, create a more efficient transportation system, and better prepare for longer-term oil price volatility. ...


Yeah, but the quality of life in the Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany sucks. I heard that somewhere.

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Sun, Feb 27, 2011
from Topeka Capital-Journal:
House seeks to choke EPA regs
Nearly every member of the Kansas House is convinced air-quality regulators at the federal Environmental Protection Agency are spewing toxic rules. Rep. Forrest Knox, R-Altoona, took the lead on pushing through a resolution declaring convergence of EPA carbon-limiting edicts, tied to anxiety about greenhouse gases and global warming, should be likened to a runaway railroad engine screaming down the tracks toward certain disaster... 116 members of the House voted for a resolution urging Congress to prohibit EPA by any means necessary -- such as stripping funding from the federal agency -- to block regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. ...


Kansans have a proud history of undermining their own existence.

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Sun, Feb 13, 2011
from slashdot:
Science Programs Hit Hard By Proposed Budget
"The House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations has released a list of proposed spending cuts for the US Federal Government. The proposed cuts include reductions in spending on many science organizations and funds such as NASA, NOAA, nuclear energy research, fossil fuel energy research, clean coal research, the CDC, the NIH, and numerous EPA programs. There are also quite a few cuts proposed on domestic services, such as Americorps and high speed rail research. The House Appropriations Chairman, Hal Rogers, acknowledges that the cuts go deep, and would hurt every district across the country. But they are still deemed necessary to rein in Congressional spending. Notoriously absent from the proposed budget cuts are two of the largest spending sinks in the federal budget: the Department of Defense and Social Security." ...


I'm not feelin' that cut in "clean coal research."

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Mon, Jan 17, 2011
from Huffington Post:
Let the Buffalo Roam! America's Last Wild Herds Under Attack by US Government and Cattle Industry
As a result, today's modest population of Yellowstone buffalo, numbering close to 4,000, is the only herd with direct genetic lineage to the original 23 that prevailed out of the estimate 30-60 million that once roamed freely across the Great Plains.... The reality is that year after year taxpayer dollars are sponsoring the scapegoating of an animal that should be revered as national and cultural icon so that a handful of ranchers can graze cattle on public and private land adjacent to Yellowstone National Park. It is this legacy of greed and deceit that is responsible for more than 3,000 buffalo slain since 2000, when the Interagency Bison Management Plan took effect.... "The Buffalo are being persecuted by the same interest groups that wiped them off the continent in the first place. There is a huge benefit to the cattle ranchers who want to see public lands used for grazing cattle. Cows are an invasive species and we now control our wildlife in this country on their behalf including targeted hunting campaigns against wolves, grizzly bears and buffalo." ...


Dastardly cows! Quietly invading without us even realizing it!

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Mon, Dec 13, 2010
from Fast Company:
Wik-Bee Leaks: EPA Document Shows It Knowingly Allowed Pesticide That Kills Honey Bees
Now a leaked EPA document reveals that the agency allowed the widespread use of a bee-toxic pesticide, despite warnings from EPA scientists. The document, which was leaked to a Colorado beekeeper, shows that the EPA has ignored warnings about the use of clothianidin, a pesticide produced by Bayer that mainly is used to pre-treat corn seeds. The pesticide scooped up $262 million in sales in 2009 by farmers, who also use the substance on canola, soy, sugar beets, sunflowers, and wheat, according to Grist.... The document invalidates a prior Bayer study that justified the registration of clothianidin on the basis of its safety to honeybees: "Clothianidin's major risk concern is to nontarget insects (that is, honey bees). Clothianidin is a neonicotinoid insecticide that is both persistent and systemic. Acute toxicity studies to honey bees show that clothianidin is highly toxic on both a contact and an oral basis. Although EFED does not conduct RQ based risk assessments on non-target insects, information from standard tests and field studies, as well as incident reports involving other neonicotinoids insecticides (e.g., imidacloprid) suggest the potential for long-term toxic risk to honey bees and other beneficial insects." The entire 101-page memo is damning (and worth a read). But the opinion of EPA scientists apparently isn't enough for the agency, which is allowing clothianidin to keep its registration. ...


I wonder which part of the name got changed: "Environmental" to "Economic", or "Protection" to "Pretension"?

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Wed, Dec 8, 2010
from Bloomberg:
BP, Contractors at Gulf Well 'Breathtakingly Inept' -- but should self-regulate
BP Plc, Transocean Ltd. and Halliburton Co. were "breathtakingly inept" and made mistakes that were "largely preventable" at the doomed Macondo well, a leader of a panel investigating the disaster said. The U.S. shares blame for the April blowout and spill because it lacks the ability to maintain adequate oversight of the oil industry, William K. Reilly said today in remarks prepared for an industry conference in New Orleans. Oil companies should set up a self-regulating body to work with the U.S. on increasing deep-water drilling safety, he said.... "There is virtual consensus among all the sophisticated observers of this debacle that three of the leading players in the industry made a series of missteps, miscalculations and miscommunications that were breathtakingly inept and largely preventable," Reilly said in his remarks. ...


Please, BP, Halliburton, Exxon, Chevron -- self-regulate yourself. Gosh, we'd appreciate it ever so much.

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Mon, Dec 6, 2010
from Ohio State, via EurekAlert:
Researchers: Include data about societal values in endangered species decisions
In the case of the gray wolf in the northern Rocky Mountains, public opinion about wolves varies considerably among livestock owners, hunters and wildlife conservationists. But social science research about those opinions was essentially disregarded when the Fish and Wildlife Service removed wolves in the northern Rockies from Endangered Species Act protections in 2009, the scientists assert. "The Fish and Wildlife Service didn't use the data as required by law and they need to start doing this, especially when a species is so clearly subject to human-caused threats," said Bruskotter, an assistant professor in Ohio State's School of Environment and Natural Resources. "There is a lot of theory and data in the social science literature that could assist the Fish and Wildlife Service in evaluating human threats. What is holding them back is the agency's myopic focus on biological data." That delisting decision was recently reversed by a federal court for reasons unrelated to the data used in the agency's ruling.... In the few studies that have evaluated attitudes about wolves over time, Bruskotter and colleagues noted that findings are mixed on the subject. And the only study cited by the Fish and Wildlife Service in its ruling concluded that attitudes about wolves had been "stable over the last 30 years," which contradicts the agency's own contention that attitudes had improved over this time period. ...


Or just visualize the ratio of quality guns per wolf, over those thirty years.

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Mon, Nov 29, 2010
from Center for Public Integrity:
Big Polluters Freed from Environmental Oversight by Stimulus
In the name of job creation and clean energy, the Obama administration has doled out billions of dollars in stimulus money to some of the nation's biggest polluters and granted them sweeping exemptions from the most basic form of environmental oversight, a Center for Public Integrity investigation has found. The administration has awarded more than 179,000 "categorical exclusions" to stimulus projects funded by federal agencies, freeing those projects from review under the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA. Coal-burning utilities like Westar Energy and Duke Energy, chemical manufacturer DuPont, and ethanol maker Didion Milling are among the firms with histories of serious environmental violations that have won blanket NEPA exemptions...Agency officials who granted the exemptions told the Center that they do not have time in most cases to review the environmental compliance records of stimulus recipients, and do not believe past violations should affect polluters' chances of winning stimulus money or the NEPA exclusions. ...


Unfortunately, we DO have time to breathe... drink... eat...

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Sun, Nov 28, 2010
from BBC:
Fishing nations criticised over deal on bluefin tuna
Fishing nations have agreed a small cut in Atlantic bluefin tuna quotas, after meeting in Paris. The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) set the 2011 quota at 12,900 tonnes, down from 13,500 tonnes. Conservationists say the bluefin tuna is threatened by overfishing, and much deeper cuts are needed. They have criticised ICCAT in the past for failing to ensure that the species and others are fished sustainably. Correspondents say the 48 countries represented at the talks were divided over what action to take, with some calling for a lower quota or even a temporary suspension of bluefin fishing to allow stocks to recover. But industry representatives and the governments that back them said the limits agreed at the meeting were sufficient. "The actual catch level will be around 11,000, which is a large reduction from current levels," the head of the Japanese delegation, Masanori Miyahara, said, adding that some members had promised not to use up their quotas. ...


That five percent reduction took tough negotiating skillz.

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Fri, Nov 26, 2010
from London Guardian:
Copenhagen climate activists found guilty
Two Danish activists who took part in the Copenhagen climate demonstrations last December have been found guilty of organising and instigating violence and vandalism, and have both been given four-month suspended sentences. One of the three judges in the case disagreed with the verdict. Tannie Nyboe and Stine Gry Jonassen were both spokespeople for the Climate Justice Action group, part of the network involved in some of the demonstrations in Copenhagen during the UN's COP15 climate summit. They have been convicted of four charges, including inciting violence against the police, serious disturbance of the police, interfering with police in the course of their work and destruction of property. The case against them was based, controversially, on evidence gathered by tapping their phones before the conference, and also on video footage taken during the "Reclaim Power" demonstration on 16 December. ...


Too bad the chilling effect this might have on protest doesn't also chill the warming earth.

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Fri, Nov 26, 2010
from Louisville Courier-Journal:
City pollution reports eyed
All but the largest sources of Louisville air pollution would get a break on reporting their emissions under a rewrite of the city's toxic air reduction program. And that sounds good to Charlie Miller, owner of Miller Oil, a petroleum distribution company. He said he'd welcome any red-tape relief officials can offer. With its variety of regulations, the Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District has "made it difficult for the small-business person," Miller said....District officials say they want to make life easier on businesses, as well as their staff, while retaining the core requirements of the 2005 program that was adopted after studies confirmed excessive levels of certain chemicals in the city's air. ...


To hell with those of us who breathe.

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Fri, Nov 19, 2010
from BBC:
Farms to harvest rare animal parts 'are not the answer'
Farming rare animal species will not halt the illegal trade in animal parts, a conservation group has warned. Care for the Wild says the fact that the animals are worth more dead than alive is hampering efforts to save species such as tigers and rhinos. They add that selling parts from captive-bred creatures would not result in a halt of illegally traded animal parts and would instead fuel demand. A kilo of powdered rhino horn can fetch 22,000 pounds on the black market. Mark Jones, programmes director of Care for the Wild International, said recent media reports suggested that the South African government was considering "a feasibility study on some kind of farming or ranching of rhinos for their horns". "This flagged up that these sort of farming initiatives are still being considered at quite high levels," he explained. ...


Won't nature just increase the supply, if demand soars?

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Sat, Nov 13, 2010
from London Guardian:
McDonald's and PepsiCo to help write UK health policy
The Department of Health is putting the fast food companies McDonald's and KFC and processed food and drink manufacturers such as PepsiCo, Kellogg's, Unilever, Mars and Diageo at the heart of writing government policy on obesity, alcohol and diet-related disease, the Guardian has learned. In an overhaul of public health, said by campaign groups to be the equivalent of handing smoking policy over to the tobacco industry, health secretary Andrew Lansley has set up five "responsibility deal" networks with business, co-chaired by ministers, to come up with policies. Some of these are expected to be used in the public health white paper due in the next month. ...


I thought this sort of thing only happened in the good ol' USA.

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Wed, Nov 10, 2010
from PhysOrg:
Republicans could scale back US science budgets
Budgets for scientific research in the United States could be scaled back with the return of a Republican-majority in Congress as conservatives aim to slash spending to reduce the ballooning deficit.... "There is a risk that we may have a significant reduction in the science budget," said Patrick Clemins, director of the research and development policy program at the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Even before Republicans made sweeping gains in the House of Representatives in last week's mid-term elections, Republicans and Democrats agreed to scale back federal spending in order to try and get the deficit, which amounts to almost 14 trillion dollars in national debt, under control.... According to an analysis by Clemins which shows what could occur if Republicans are able to make across-the-board cuts, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) could see its budget slashed by 34 percent or 324 million dollars. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) could lose nine percent of its budget or 2.9 billion dollars, and the National Science Foundation (NSF) could see a 19 percent cut, or one billion dollars gone from its coffers. ...


It's a good thing we already know everything!

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Wed, Nov 3, 2010
from Chicago Tribune:
Fragranced 'Green' Consumer Products Emit Hazardous Chemicals
Widely-used scented consumer products that claim to be "green," "organic" or "natural" emit just as many toxic chemicals as other fragranced products, new research shows. The study analyzed 25 scented products; about half carried green health claims. All the products emitted at least one chemical classified as toxic or hazardous. More than a third of the samples gave off one chemical classified as a probable carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, according to the research, published in the journal Environmental Impact Assessment Review. The EPA has set no safe exposure level for possible carcinogens. Overall, the products tested emitted more than 420 chemicals, but virtually none were disclosed to consumers, said the study's lead author, Anne Steinemann, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Washington. "Products with 'organic fragrance,' 'natural fragrance,' and 'essential oils' emitted just as many toxic chemicals," she said. "Basically, if it had any kind of fragrance or scent, it emitted toxic chemicals." A single "fragrance" in a product can be a mixture of up to several hundred ingredients. But since manufacturers are not required to disclose all ingredients in cosmetics, cleaning supplies, air fresheners or laundry products, the majority of the chemicals are not listed on the labels. ...


Don't make us disclose "trade secrets." It might open us up to litigation!

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Mon, Oct 18, 2010
from AP:
Canada-US pipeline on hold amid oil's recent woes
The steel is staged, and crews are waiting to lay the last and most expensive leg of TransCanada Corp.'s multibillion-dollar pipeline network that would carry Canadian oil to refineries along the Gulf Coast. Yet final U.S. government approval for the massive project, once assumed to be on a fast track, is now delayed indefinitely, with little official explanation. The company had hoped to begin laying pipe by the end of the year, but those prospects have dimmed.... The massive pipeline network - about five times the length of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline - is designed to move 1.5 million barrels of Canadian oil daily to U.S. refineries.... Opponents of the Keystone XL project describe the 1,980-mile pipeline as an ecological disaster waiting to happen, and land owners are angry that TransCanada has threatened to use eminent domain to obtain the easements it needs for the project. ...


"Eminent domain"!? That pipeline carries the blood of a tyrant.

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Wed, Oct 13, 2010
from Washington Post:
U.S. lifts ban on deep-water drilling
Under pressure from Gulf Coast lawmakers warning of job losses, the Obama administration Tuesday lifted the moratorium on deep-water drilling for oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico weeks ahead of schedule, pledging closer oversight in the wake of the worst spill in U.S. history. "We are open for business," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told reporters in a phone call Tuesday afternoon, adding, "We have made, and continue to make, significant progress in reducing the risks associated with deep-water drilling." ...


And so another moment of reckoning has passed.

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Tue, Oct 5, 2010
from Associated Press:
Oil industry has yet to adopt lessons of BP spill
Oil industry and government officials could get caught flat-footed again by another deep-water blowout in the coming months because they have yet to incorporate many of the lessons learned during the BP disaster, experts inside and outside the business tell The Associated Press. For one thing, it could be another year before a bigger, better cap-and-siphon containment system is developed to choke off leaks many thousands of feet below the surface. Also, existing skimmers still don't have the capacity to quickly suck up millions of gallons of oil flowing at once.... And despite an overhaul of the federal agency that regulates the industry, there are lingering doubts about whether the government can effectively police Big Oil at the same time it relies on the industry for revenue. ...


Why should they learn their lessons... people are still driving their cars around like there's no tomorrow!

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Sun, Sep 19, 2010
from LA Times:
Obama administration leaves climate change to Congress, not the courts
Environmentalists say they are surprised and disappointed that the Obama administration is urging the Supreme Court to kill a major global warming lawsuit that seeks new limits on carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants.... Though the administration seeks new limits on carbon pollution from Congress or through the Environmental Protection Agency, it says courts should step aside. But some environmentalists call this one-track approach shortsighted and a mistake.... Environmentalists last year won a major victory in the U.S. Court of Appeals in New York in a global warming suit brought on behalf of eight states, including Connecticut and California. It sought new limits on greenhouse gases from power plants throughout the Midwest and South. But late last month, the Obama administration joined the case on the side of the utilities and said the suit should be dismissed. The brief by Acting U.S. Solicitor Gen. Neal Katyal argued that the plaintiffs, including the states, do not have standing to sue and that global warming is suited to "political or regulatory -- not judicial -- resolution." ...


I think I'll try to repair this engine with only a screwdriver in someone else's hands.

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Sun, Aug 29, 2010
from PhysOrg:
Encephalitis kills 215 in India, toll expected to soar
At least 215 people, mostly children, have died in an outbreak of Japanese encephalitis in an impoverished region of northern Indian and the death toll is likely to soar, officials said Saturday. Eastern parts of India's most populous state Uttar Pradesh are ravaged by encephalitis each year as malnourished children succumb to the virus which is transmitted by mosquitoes from pigs to humans but this is one of the worst outbreaks, officials said. The deaths of four more children on Saturday pushed the toll to 215, with hundreds sick, some two to a bed, in hospitals in Gorakhpur, a deeply neglected area of 14 million people, regional health officer U.K. Srivastava told AFP by telephone from Gorakhpur. "A total of 1,324 patients had been admitted in hospitals until Saturday in Gorakhpur," which is the epicentre of the outbreak, and "more encephalitis patients are coming into our hospitals," Srivastava said. ...


Poverty is so expensive.

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Tue, Aug 17, 2010
from Huffington Post:
Biggest US Coal Power Expansion In 2 Decades
Utilities across the country are building dozens of old-style coal plants that will cement the industry's standing as the largest industrial source of climate-changing gases for years to come. An Associated Press examination of U.S. Department of Energy records and information provided by utilities and trade groups shows that more than 30 traditional coal plants have been built since 2008 or are under construction.... The expansion, the industry's largest in two decades, represents an acknowledgment that highly touted "clean coal" technology is still a long ways from becoming a reality and underscores a renewed confidence among utilities that proposals to regulate carbon emissions will fail. The Senate last month scrapped the leading bill to curb carbon emissions following opposition from Republicans and coal-state Democrats. "Building a coal-fired power plant today is betting that we are not going to put a serious financial cost on emitting carbon dioxide," said Severin Borenstein, director of the Energy Institute at the University of California-Berkeley. "That may be true, but unless most of the scientists are way off the mark, that's pretty bad public policy." ...


Why the hell would you want to slow down the economic recovery with burdensome carbon regulations?

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Wed, Aug 4, 2010
from New York Times:
Pessimism Clouds Climate Meeting
This week in Bonn, negotiators are meeting to prepare for this year's annual climate meeting, COP-16 (the 16th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), which opens in late November in Cancun, Mexico. There is little optimism this time around. Even the few areas of agreement that were hailed as great accomplishments in the Copenhagen Accord seem to be back on the negotiating table. The negotiating document for the Bonn session, which ends on Friday, leaves open - once again -- whether the goal of a new treaty should be to limit the temperature rise to 1 degree, 1.5 degrees or 2 degrees Celsius. Delegates will have to decide anew whether developed countries should "commit to a goal of mobilizing" $100 billion to support poorer nations or should be "assessed contributions of 1.5 percent of the G.D.P." Likewise, the negotiating document suggests that delegates will be revisiting emissions reductions goals for richer nations: Should developed countries, as a group, be required to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by "75 to 85 percent," or "at least 80 to 95 percent," or "more than 95 percent" from 1990 levels by 2050? ...


And once more, we'll revisit the question "is humankind fatal to humans?"

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Sat, Jul 31, 2010
from Technology Review:
Fossil Fuel Subsidies Dwarf Support for Renewables
A new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance says altogether governments spent between $43 and $46 billion on renewable energy and biofuels last year, not including indirect support, such as subsidies to corn farmers that help ethanol production. Direct subsidies of fossil fuels came to $557 billion, the report says. This disparity raises the question--if the report is right and fossil fuels require so much backing, can they compete with renewables without government support? After all, some renewables--such as sugarcane based biofuels and some wind farms--can already compete with fossil fuels. Without the huge government subsidies for fossil fuels, wouldn't they be eclipsed by renewables? The answer, for now, is no. So far renewables just can't provide enough fuel and power to displace fossil fuels. ...


Quit subsidizing the most profitable industry on earth? But who knows what chaos might ensue?

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Sat, Jul 31, 2010
from IEEE Spectrum:
Technically Speaking: Hacking the Planet
My goal here, as usual, is to focus on the new language being generated by geoengineers and others in this burgeoning field, and there's plenty of it. The overall goal of solar radiation management (or SRM)--the various schemes to reflect sunlight back into space and thus reduce global warming--is global dimming, which is the gradual reduction in the amount of sunlight reaching Earth's surface. One way to do this is to increase Earth's overall reflectivity, which is also called its albedo, so this form of planet hacking is known as albedo engineering. Examples of proposed projects include cloud brightening, increasing the reflectivity of marine clouds (also called cloud whitening); creating a stratoshield through stratosphere doping.... These two procedures are linked as carbon capture and storage, or CCS. Strategies include adding nutrients to the ocean to increase the number of organisms that can capture carbon, known as ocean nourishment (when the nutrient is iron, this technique is also called iron fertilization); making artificial trees with plastic "leaves" that capture carbon; creating carbon sinks, reservoirs that store carbon; injecting carbon into underground geological structures (geosequestration) or into biological entities (biosequestration), particularly a form of charcoal called biochar; and pumping carbon into the deep ocean, where it dissolves (ocean dissolution). ...


Now that we have a special language for geoengineering, we're ready for groupthink!

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Mon, Jul 26, 2010
from Discover Magazine:
The Best Flavor of Geoengineering Stills Leaves a Bad Taste
In theory, geoengineering seems like the ideal remedy for our climate ills. Some white reflective roofs here, a little ocean fertilization there, a few simulated volcanic eruptions, and voila! you have a potential fix for one of the world's most intractable problems. But there's good reason to believe that many of these proposed schemes would prove much costlier to the planet over both the short- and long-term than more mainstream approaches to addressing climate change--and leave a number of critical problems, like ocean acidification, in the lurch.... The rapidly changing nature of climate models, from which most of these findings are drawn, also makes it inherently difficult to predict with any uncertainty what this scheme's exact outcome will be. What is certain, however, is that it would have a fair number of unintended consequences--almost all of which would be bad. According to a new paper in Nature Geoscience, stratospheric geoengineering, or "solar-radiation management," as the authors refer to it, would affect different parts of the world differentially (go figure), helping to cool down some countries while cooking others. ...


It doesn't just taste bad.

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Wed, Jun 23, 2010
from AP, via PhysOrg:
Nations fail to limit whaling, Japan still hunts
An international effort to truly limit whale hunting collapsed Wednesday, leaving Japan, Norway and Iceland free to keep killing hundreds of mammals a year, even raiding a marine sanctuary in Antarctic waters unchecked. The breakdown put diplomatic efforts on ice for at least a year, raised the possibility that South Korea might join the whaling nations and raised questions about the global drive to prevent the extinction of the most endangered whale species. It also revived doubts about the effectiveness and future of the International Whaling Commission. The agency was created after World War II to oversee the hunting of tens of thousands of whales a year but gradually evolved into a body at least partly dedicated to keeping whales from vanishing from the Earth's oceans. "I think ultimately if we don't make some changes to this organization in the next few years it may be very serious, possibly fatal for the organization - and the whales will be worse off," said former New Zealand Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer. ...


This "international effort" was almost as effective as Copenhagen!

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Mon, Jun 21, 2010
from BBC:
Secrecy of talks on whaling compromise condemned
The opening session was swiftly adjourned so that delegates could begin a day and a half of private talks. Some observers condemned the secrecy, one commenting that recent UN talks on North Korea's nuclear programme were held in public - so why not on whaling? Conservation groups are split on the merits of pursuing a deal. Some argue for maintaining a hard line against all whaling, while others believe agreement could improve the current picture, where Iceland, Japan and Norway set their own quotas and run their hunts without international oversight. ...


Secret agreements have worked out pretty well for the world so far!

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Sat, Jun 12, 2010
from Bloomberg BusinessWeek:
Canada Won't Seek Delay in Greenland 'Iceberg Alley' Drilling
Canada will ask Greenland for information about safety plans for drilling in arctic waters, without seeking a request to delay exploration following the Gulf of Mexico spill, Environment Minister Jim Prentice said.... The drilling program "is a challenging one in that we are speaking about drilling activity in the Baffin Basin; it's known as iceberg alley."... Those waters, including some shared with Canada, may hold 17 billion barrels of oil, 148 trillion cubic feet of gas and 9.3 billion barrels of gas liquids, the U.S. Geological Survey estimates. ...


Iceberg Alley has enormous bowling balls.

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Mon, May 31, 2010
from London Guardian:
Presence of world leaders 'paralysed' climate summit, UN letter claims
A leaked letter from the United Nations' climate chief suggests the Copenhagen climate summit failed because the presence of 130 world leaders paralysed decision-making and the Danish presidency backed the US and other western nations over the interests of the poor. The revelations - made as the UN climate talks resume in Bonn tomorrow - come in Yvo de Boer's candid letter, written to colleagues days after the summit broke up in acrimony in December. More than 130 world leaders had been persuaded by Britain and other countries to go to Denmark, where they were expected to put the finishing touches to a historic global agreement to limit carbon emissions, protect forests and put in place a mechanism to transfer billions of dollars from rich to poor countries each year. Instead, they arrived at a summit seething with mistrust. ...


Egopocalypse

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Mon, May 31, 2010
from Guardian:
Copenhagen climate failure blamed on 'Danish text'
The latest revelations come from the man at the very heart of the debacle, UN climate chief Yvo de Boer. Normally the model of a discreet and guarded international bureaucrat, his confidential letter of explanation to his colleagues, written only days after the meeting ended, displays a mix of bemusement, clarity and exasperation. "How could several years of negotiation and high level diplomacy be allowed to end up this way?", he asks. The letter appears in a new Danish book by journalist Per Meilstrup.... The key event, he suggests, was Rasmussen's draft text. This, known widely as the "Danish text", was due to be wheeled out just when the talks reached a deadlock, as they were bound to do. The trouble was, implies De Boer, the text was clearly advantageous to the US and the west, would have steamrollered the developing countries, and was presented to a few countries a week before the meeting officially started. De Boer, the experienced diplomat, could see the Danish text it would be a disaster and says that the UN tried desperately to stop it but failed. Within days the worst had happened. The text had been leaked to the Guardian, put on the internet and had outraged the 157-odd countries who had not seen it. From then on, the meeting was polarised. ...


Man! That was so easy!!

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Fri, May 14, 2010
from New York Times:
Size of Oil Spill Underestimated, Scientists Say
But scientists and environmental groups are raising sharp questions about that estimate, declaring that the leak must be far larger. They also criticize BP for refusing to use well-known scientific techniques that would give a more precise figure. The criticism escalated on Thursday, a day after the release of a video that showed a huge black plume of oil gushing from the broken well at a seemingly high rate. BP has repeatedly claimed that measuring the plume would be impossible. The figure of 5,000 barrels a day was hastily produced by government scientists in Seattle. It appears to have been calculated using a method that is specifically not recommended for major oil spills.... BP has repeatedly said that its highest priority is stopping the leak, not measuring it. "There's just no way to measure it," Kent Wells, a BP senior vice president, said in a recent briefing.... "If we are systematically underestimating the rate that's being spilled, and we design a response capability based on that underestimate, then the next time we have an event of this magnitude, we are doomed to fail again," said John Amos, the president of SkyTruth. "So it's really important to get this number right." ...


Whyever would BP want to hide their gushing blunder?

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Fri, May 7, 2010
from Associated Press:
Maker of film 'Crude' ordered to turn over footage
A federal judge ordered a documentary filmmaker Thursday to turn over about 600 hours of raw footage from a film about a court fight over whether Chevron Corp. owes billions of dollars in damages for oil contamination in Ecuador. U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan said filmmaker Joseph Berlinger must turn over the outtakes from the film "Crude," which was released last year, to lawyers for Chevron. Kaplan said Berlinger could not use the First Amendment to shield himself from Chevron's effort to get the raw footage because Berlinger had not demonstrated he was entitled to a journalist's privilege of confidentiality... Maura Wogan, a lawyer for Berlinger, said Berlinger will ask Kaplan to delay the effect of his order so he has time to appeal to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan. The ruling threatens "great harm to documentary filmmakers and investigative reporters everywhere," she said. ...


This means Metallica gets to ask for their spare footage!

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Mon, Apr 12, 2010
from BBC:
'Slim' prospects for climate deal this year
Prospects of finalising a new binding agreement on climate change by the end of the year are "slim", according to UN climate convention chief Yvo de Boer. He was speaking at the first UN climate talks since the Copenhagen summit. A negotiating process was agreed, but big divisions remain between nations. The EU vowed to step up efforts to achieve a legally binding treaty. Analyses show pledges in Copenhagen are not likely to keep the global average temperature rise below 2C (3.6F).... Negotiators eventually decided here that there should be three more negotiating meetings between now and the Cancun summit. "It is a very involved process - it is not a sprint, it is a decathlon," noted India's delegate Vijai Sharma. ...


When I feel the hot breath of a predator on my neck, I sprint.

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Tue, Mar 23, 2010
from AP, via PhysOrg.com:
Hammerhead sharks lose fight at UN meeting
A U.S.-backed proposal to protect the heavily fished hammerhead sharks was narrowly rejected Tuesday over concerns by Asia nations that regulating the booming trade in shark fins could hurt poor nations.... [R]egional fisheries bodies have done nothing to regulate the trade in endangered scalloped hammerhead, great hammerhead as well as the threatened smooth hammerhead, and their numbers have dropped by as much as 85 percent. "The greatest threat to the hammerhead is from harvest for the international fin trade and the fin of the species is among highly valued of the trade," Strickland said. Shark fin soup is a much prized delicacy in China.... Hammerheads, more than any other shark species, are killed for their fins and are the most threatened. Fishermen, both industrial and small-scale and many operating illegally, slice off the fins and throw the carcasses back in the ocean and there are as many as 2.7 million hammerheads are caught annually. ...


UN, CITES: WTF?

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Mon, Mar 22, 2010
from BBC:
Internet threatens rare species, conservationists warn
Conservationists say the internet has emerged as one of the biggest threats to endangered species. Campaigners say it is easier than ever before to buy and sell anything from live baby lions to polar bear pelts on online auction sites and chatrooms. The findings were presented at the 175-nation Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), which is meeting in Doha, Qatar. Several proposals to give endangered species more protection were defeated.... A proposal from the US and Sweden to regulate the trade in red and pink coral - which is crafted into expensive jewellery and sold extensively on the web - was defeated. Delegates voted the idea down mostly over concerns the increased regulations might impact poor fishing communities. ...


Internet doesn't kill species, profit kills species.

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Fri, Mar 19, 2010
from Duke, via PhysOrg.com:
High Fructose Corn Syrup Linked to Liver Scarring
"We found that increased consumption of high fructose corn syrup was associated with scarring in the liver, or fibrosis, among patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)," said Manal Abdelmalek, MD, MPH, associate professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology/Hepatology at Duke University Medical Center.... The researchers found only 19 percent of adults with NAFLD reported no intake of fructose-containing beverages, while 52 percent consumed between one and six servings a week and 29 percent consumed fructose-containing beverages on a daily basis.... "Our findings suggest that we may need to go back to healthier diets that are more holistic," Abdelmalek said. "High fructose corn syrup, which is predominately in soft-drinks and processed foods, may not be as benign as we previously thought." ...


You'll pry my Coca-Cola from my cold, dead hands!

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Thu, Mar 4, 2010
from New York Times:
Darwin Foes Add Warming to Targets
Critics of the teaching of evolution in the nation's classrooms are gaining ground in some states by linking the issue to global warming, arguing that dissenting views on both scientific subjects should be taught in public schools.... In Kentucky, a bill recently introduced in the Legislature would encourage teachers to discuss "the advantages and disadvantages of scientific theories," including "evolution, the origins of life, global warming and human cloning."... The linkage of evolution and global warming is partly a legal strategy: courts have found that singling out evolution for criticism in public schools is a violation of the separation of church and state. By insisting that global warming also be debated, deniers of evolution can argue that they are simply championing academic freedom in general. ...


Their evolving legal strategy is generating a lot of hot air.

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Sun, Feb 21, 2010
from EarthJustice:
Proposal Would Let California Salmon Perish At The Pumps
Thousands of jobs linked to the decline of Sacramento River salmon have been lost -- but big agricultural interests in California are stepping up political efforts that may permanently extinguish salmon and the industries they support. Even without this latest assault, the future of California's king salmon is in doubt. Salmon runs are at all time lows, due in large part to water pumps in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River delta that suck baby salmon in and kill them. The water is going to agricultural operators south of San Francisco Bay -- and now they want more.... The ag operators enlisted the support of Sen. Dianne Feinstein who proposed ramping up delta pumping even while the 2012 class of salmon is currently trying to migrate through the delta past those killer pumps. ...


Without that water, we won't have artichokes. The economy can't handle that.

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Thu, Feb 18, 2010
from National Oceanographic Centre, UK:
Ocean geoengineering scheme no easy fix for global warming
Pumping nutrient-rich water up from the deep ocean to boost algal growth in sunlit surface waters and draw carbon dioxide down from the atmosphere has been touted as a way of ameliorating global warming. However, a new study led by Professor Andreas Oschlies of the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences (IFM-GEOMAR) in Kiel, Germany, pours cold water on the idea. "Computer simulations show that climatic benefits of the proposed geo-engineering scheme would be modest, with the potential to exacerbate global warming should it fail," said study co-author Dr Andrew Yool of the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS).... In the new study, the researchers address such questions using a more integrated model of the whole Earth system. The simulations show that, under most optimistic assumptions, three gigatons of carbon dioxide per year could be captured. This is under a tenth of the annual anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions, which currently stand at 36 gigatons per year.... More significantly, when the simulated pumps were turned off, the atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and surface temperatures rose rapidly to levels even higher than in the control simulation without artificial pumps. This finding suggests that there would be extra environmental costs to the scheme should it ever need to be turned off for unanticipated reasons. ...


Who could have expected unexpected consequences?

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Mon, Feb 15, 2010
from Washington Post:
China buying up Australia
Ton by ton, including more than 300 million tons of ore per year and vast quantities of liquid natural gas, China is buying Australia. One of the world's most staggeringly huge transfers of natural resources has both enriched and alarmed Australia, prompted a determined response from Washington and illustrated both China's savvy and ungainliness as it aggressively expands its influence around the world. A surging China has become Australia's No. 1 trading partner. It has pumped $40 billion worth of investments into the Australian economy in the past 18 months alone. China's 70,000 students help bankroll Australia's education system, and a half-million Chinese tourists a year keep Aussies employed as lifeguards, blackjack dealers and real estate brokers. Chinese trade and investment have insulated Australia from the global financial crisis more than any other developed nation. Australia is even speaking Chinese: Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is the first Western leader to speak fluent Mandarin.... Lai Cunliang is the Chairman Mao-quoting chief of operations for a Chinese coal company that acquired an Australian competitor for $3 billion in the midst of the global financial crisis. "We've got capital, we've got talent and now," he said, "we're coming out. We are driving change." ...


I came from the land down under...

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Sat, Feb 13, 2010
from New York Times:
Arizona Quits Western Cap-and-Trade Program
Citing financial worries, the State of Arizona has backed out of a broad regional effort to limit greenhouse gas emissions in the West through a cap-and-trade system. In an executive order issued last week, Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, said a cap-and-trade system -- which would impose mandatory caps on emissions and allow pollution credits to be traded among companies -- would cripple Arizona's economy.... Instead, the state will support initiatives to expand the use of solar power, nuclear power and other renewable energy sources, said Benjamin Grumbles, the head of the state's environmental agency. ...


It's the eco-economy, stupid. You can do both.

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Sat, Jan 9, 2010
from Washington Post:
White House, EPA at Odds Over Coal-Waste Rules
Agency's Move to Designate Ash as Hazardous Is Slowed by Regulatory Czar's Assessment of Impact on Industry... The Obama administration is engaged in an unusual internal spat as the White House and Environmental Protection Agency tussle over how to handle millions of tons of waste from coal-fired power plants. Utility and environmental groups are watching the coal-ash dispute as an indicator of the administration's pliability on the regulatory front.... environmental groups are pointing to a flurry of industry meetings on the coal-ash issue as evidence that utilities and other companies are using a foothold within the White House to fight back against potentially far-reaching new rules. ...


"Pliability" meaning... we bend over & take it from the coal industry!

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Wed, Dec 16, 2009
from New Scientist:
Battle for climate data approaches tipping point
It reached a peak earlier this year, when the UEA's Climatic Research Unit (CRU) turned down freedom of information (FOI) requests for its temperature records. Last week, the UK's Met Office attempted to quell the growing anger at its lack of openness by "releasing" data from 1700 weather stations around the world. The move was a token gesture. The Met Office has admitted to New Scientist that those figures were already publicly available through the World Meteorological Organization.... What they have not yet publicly revealed is that under a confidentiality agreement between the Met Office and the UK's Natural Environment Research Council, a portion of the UK's own temperature measurements is only made available to "bona fide academic researchers working on agreed NERC-endorsed scientific programmes". Why? So that the data can be sold privately. "We have to offset our costs for the benefit of the taxpayer, so we balance that against freedom of access," says David Britton, a spokesman for the Met Office. ...


Thank goodness the idea of conspiracy is far-fetched!

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Tue, Dec 15, 2009
from Yale forum on Climate Change and the Media:
Revkin's Departure from Times Leaves Big Climate Reporting Void
The nation's climate change science desk gets a lot smaller come December 21 with the resignation from The New York Times of science writer Andy Revkin. With its paring of some 100 newsroom and editorial employees, it's not at all clear how the Times itself can fill the substantial void. Even more problematic, given the dire financial conditions facing most metropolitan daily newspapers, are prospects for others to move in.... Like the "hacked e-mails" that could shift the political ground under the politics of climate change, Revkin's confirmation of his resignation could hardly have come at a more challenging time: in the midst of his covering the long-awaited Copenhagen negotiations; in the steamy heat of the hacked e-mails fiasco; and in the months leading up to possible Senate action on "cap and trade" legislation. ...


Another one bites the dust.

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Mon, Nov 23, 2009
from Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
State is asking Barnett Shale drillers to voluntarily cut air pollution
State environmental regulators want natural gas companies to voluntarily emit less air pollution after tests showed high levels of a cancer-causing chemical near wells in the Barnett Shale gas field....Air samples showed significant levels of benzene in several locations. One sample taken downwind from a tank seven miles west of DISH showed a level of 1,000 parts per billion, which is more than five times the commission's short-term exposure limit of 180 parts per billion. That level is the equivalent of a person sniffing a can of gasoline, and it shows the need for more tests, including long-term sampling, Honeycutt said. A sample at another site found benzene at 500 parts per billion. Long-term exposure to benzene -- a year or more -- can lead to health problems including anemia, immune disorders and leukemia. ...


Sounds like a plan!

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Sat, Nov 14, 2009
from COP15:
UN looks at COP15.5 option
Acknowledging that the COP15 conference in Copenhagen this December is not likely to produce a final agreement on climate change, an extra summit in spring 2010 is considered, UN official reveals.... The main reason why a final deal is not expected to be reached at the COP15 conference in Copenhagen is the fact that the US Congress will not have national legislation in place before December. Short of a clear picture on which commitments the world's second largest emitter is likely to take, a number of other key players will most likely hide their cards. This situation may have changed by spring 2010, but then one can't be certain right now, which is why the UN has not decided yet if it will recommend a spring conference. ...


Six more months of dithering is great for the economy!

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Sat, Nov 14, 2009
from Helmhotz, via EurekAlert:
TEEB: on the economics of ecosystems and biodiversity for policy makers
Policy makers who factor the planet's multi-trillion dollar ecosystem services into their national and international investment strategies are likely to see far higher rates of return and stronger economic growth in the 21st century, a new report issued today says.... Subsidized commercial shrimp farms can generate returns of around $1,220 per hectare by clearing mangrove forests. But this does not take into account the losses to local communities totaling over $12,000 a hectare linked with wood and non-wood forest products, fisheries and coastal protection services (Barbier 2007). Nor does the profit to the commercial operators take into account the costs of rehabilitating the abandoned sites after five years of exploitation -- estimated at over $9,000 a hectare.... The economic invisibility of ecosystems and biodiversity is increased by our dominant economic model, which is consumption-led, production-driven, and GDP-measured. This model is in need of significant reform. The multiple crises we are experiencing -- fuel, food, finance, and the economy -- serve as reminders of the need for change. ...


Placing a value on ecosystem services is so... arbitrary.

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Thu, Oct 22, 2009
from SEED Magazine:
The Dead Zone Dilemma
Each year in April and May as farmers in the central US fertilize their crops, nearly 450 thousand metric tons of nitrates and phosphates pour down the Mississippi River. When these chemicals reach the Gulf of Mexico, they cause a feeding frenzy as photosynthetic algae absorb the nutrients. It's a boom-and-bust cycle of epic proportions: The algae populations grow explosively, then die and decompose. This process depletes the water of oxygen on a vast scale, creating a suffocating "dead zone" the size of Massachusetts where few, if any, animals can survive.... The study examined the implications of a 2007 law that requires the US to annually produce 36 billion gallons of biofuels by 2022. Barring major biofuel production breakthroughs from sources like algae or microbes, most of this fuel will come from crops grown in the central US; the fertilizers and other agricultural waste they produce will flow straight down the Mississippi and feed the dead zone. Hite says the study, led by Christine Costello, found that meeting this goal will make it impossible for the EPA to reach its target reduction in the size of the dead zone. Even if fertilizer-intensive corn is replaced with more eco-friendly crops like switchgrass, the vast increase in agricultural production will cause the dead zone to grow unless preventive measures are taken. ...


A new mixed metaphor: Legislating with the left hand while cutting off the right!

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Mon, Oct 12, 2009
from Cleantech Blog:
Energy Efficiency: How NOT To Do It
On October 5, First Energy (NYSE: FE) announced a planned energy efficiency program, involving the delivery of two compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) to each of its residential and small commercial customers in Ohio.... the plan would have had each customer pay $21.60 on bill surcharges over 36 months for this package of two CFLs -- whether they were used or not, or even wanted or not.... The $21.60 in extra charges not only covered the cost to First Energy of acquiring and delivering the two CFLs, but also would reimburse First Energy for the reduction in revenue associated with the use of these more efficient CFLs in lieu of traditional incandescent bulbs. ...


Paying for energy not used! What a great idea!

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Wed, Oct 7, 2009
from BusinessGreen:
Rich nations' carbon targets condemn planet, report warns
The study analysed the carbon targets proposed by the European Union, Japan, Russia, New Zealand, Australia, Norway, Belarus, Ukraine and Canada as well as those set out in the US Waxman-Markey climate bill, which has yet to be passed. It found that the combined pledges equate to cuts of between 10 and 24 per cent on 1990 levels by 2020, depending on various assumptions regarding inclusion or exclusion of land use, land-use change and forestry data and whether countries opt for the lower or upper end of their targets. For example, the EU has said it will upgrade its goal of cutting emissions 20 per cent by 2020 to 30 per cent if other industrialised countries agree to similar targets.... Large emerging economies such as China and India are refusing to adopt their own binding emission targets until rich nations agree to targets that are in line with that recommended by climate scientists. In response, industrialised nations have been reluctant to sign up to more demanding goals, fearing an economic advantage for those emerging economies that face less demanding emission targets. ...


Can we at least compromise to equalized future misery instead of fatal collapse?

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Mon, Oct 5, 2009
from Mother Jones:
Chamber: Global Warming is Good for You
After losing several high-profile members over its climate policy, the US Chamber of Commerce spent much of this week attempting to convince the public that it does believe global warming is a serious concern that Congress should act upon. But in comments recently submitted by the group to the Environmental Protection Agency, the group advanced a very different view. In its submission, the Chamber questioned the science behind the phenomenon of climate change, suggested that humans are now less vulnerable to rising temperatures because of the growing use of air conditioners -- and theorized that even if the planet is getting warmer, that might be a good thing. ...


A Chamber of fools.

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Mon, Oct 5, 2009
from The Sacramento Bee:
Sacramento Nestle Waters bottling plant draws fire
Sacramento banned bottled water from its City Council meetings last year, but over the summer it welcomed a Nestle Waters plant that would churn out millions of those bottles every week. With California in its third year of drought and Sacramentans facing watering restrictions, Councilman Kevin McCarty thinks the plant needs a closer look.... Nestle signed a lease on an industrial building in July. Mayor Kevin Johnson and the Sacramento Area Commerce and Trade Organization both lauded the project, which the company says will employ 40 people....the plant is likely to draw 30 million gallons of water in 2010 from the city water system. That includes water to be filtered, disinfected and remineralized to produce the company's Pure Life brand, as well as other water needed for plant operations. ...


Pure Life... pure profit...

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Wed, Sep 16, 2009
from Paul Gilding, in ClimateProgress:
In its place we are entering a period of consequences
Some days my head hurts, as I shift between what feels like two parallel universes in the climate change debate.... They tell me the science says it is almost certain the impacts will be serious and destabilising for our society and our economy. The science also describes a lower level of risk -- which they find hard to quantify but generally say between 10 percent and 50 percent -- that the impacts of climate change will be catastrophic, perhaps even civilisation threatening. This could include widespread famine, war and economic collapse. Not certain, but a reasonable possibility.... Then I shift into the parallel universe. I spend time in corporate boardrooms and listen to the analysis of business executives who explain how we mustn't damage the economy by "over-reacting."... But they still fall for the easy way out, the path of denial and avoidance. Not because they’re bad people, but because they're not thinking clearly and courageously. My message on this topic is clear and direct. We are at a crucial moment in human history. 2009 is to climate change what 1939 was to WWII. Poland has been invaded -- the Arctic is melting, the bushfires are burning, the droughts are strengthening and the floods are sweeping away communities. There is only one question you have to ask yourself: "what will I tell my children?" ...


I'm resolved to be irresolute. Dithering is so much more pleasant.

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Fri, Sep 11, 2009
from OzarksFirst.com:
Many Can't Afford Sick Days with Flu
Health officials are already bracing for flu season and now doctors worry the tight economy will only make matters worse. "You can't afford to be sick because if you are sick and it doesn't work out to where the company accepts your excuse, you could lose more time off and result in disciplinary action," says Don Marshall of Kansas City, one of the millions of Americans who don't get sick pay. Doctors worry employees who don't get sick pay may go to work despite having the flu. This could mean the virus will spread to more people, faster than expected. ...


No, boss, I'm coming in. Got the kids' school clothes on layaway.

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Wed, Sep 9, 2009
from Reuters:
As hybrid cars gobble rare metals, shortage looms
The Prius hybrid automobile is popular for its fuel efficiency, but its electric motor and battery guzzle rare earth metals, a little-known class of elements found in a wide range of gadgets and consumer goods. That makes Toyota's market-leading gasoline-electric hybrid car and other similar vehicles vulnerable to a supply crunch predicted by experts as China, the world's dominant rare earths producer, limits exports while global demand swells. Worldwide demand for rare earths, covering 15 entries on the periodic table of elements, is expected to exceed supply by some 40,000 tonnes annually in several years unless major new production sources are developed. One promising U.S. source is a rare earths mine slated to reopen in California by 2012. Among the rare earths that would be most affected in a shortage is neodymium, the key component of an alloy used to make the high-power, lightweight magnets for electric motors of hybrid cars, such as the Prius, Honda Insight and Ford Focus, as well as in generators for wind turbines.... Each electric Prius motor requires 1 kilogram (2.2 lb) of neodymium, and each battery uses 10 to 15 kg (22-33 lb) of lanthanum. That number will nearly double under Toyota's plans to boost the car's fuel economy, he said. ...


Are you implying that the world has limits?

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Mon, Sep 7, 2009
from COP15:
G-20 talks on climate 'not satisfactory'
Finance ministers from the Group of Twenty meeting in London on Saturday were unable to find common ground on how to finance climate change. Differences between rich and developing countries were too big, Reuters reports. British Finance Minister Alistair Darling said there had been "very substantial" discussion on the topic, but no specific measures were agreed. "I am also a little disappointed by the lack of positive commitment today," European Union Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said. Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg, representing the European Union, agreed the outcome was "not satisfactory." ...


Maybe that's because the rich countries want to keep what they have, and not pay for it?

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Tue, Aug 25, 2009
from Guardian (UK):
Cree aboriginal group to join London climate camp protest over tar sands
"British companies such as BP and RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland) in partnership with dozens of other companies are driving this project, which is having such devastating effects on our environment and communities. "It is destroying the ancient boreal forest, spreading open-pit mining across our territories, contaminating our food and water with toxins, disrupting local wildlife and threatening our way of life," she said. It showed British companies were complicit in "the biggest environmental crime on the planet" and yet very few people in Britain even knew it was happening, said Deranger. She was speaking ahead of an annual Climate Camp that will be held for one week somewhere in Greater London from this Thursday.... The tar sands are seen by many as a particularly dangerous project providing enough carbon to be released in total to tip the world into unstoppable climate change. ...


This doesn't sound like "Better Petroleum" -- or even "Reasonably Budgeted Survival."

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Tue, Aug 4, 2009
from The Nation:
Unpopular Science
...It's no secret the newspaper industry is hemorrhaging staff writers and slashing coverage as its business model collapses in the face of declining readership and advertising revenues. But less recognized is how this trend is killing off a breed of journalistic specialists that we need now more than ever--science writers ... uniquely trained for the most difficult stories, those with a complex technical component that are nevertheless critical to politics and society...even in places where you'd expect it to hold out the longest, science journalism is declining. ...


Just so we don't start getting rid of tabloid reporters, too!

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Thu, Jul 23, 2009
from BBC (UK):
Scientists 'kept at arm's length'
The government is keeping scientists at "arm's length" and treating science as "a peripheral policy concern," a group of MPs has said. The Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills committee says knowledge from experts is not being properly used to make informed policy decisions. Instead of being sidelined, scientists should be able to communicate directly with the prime minister, it argues. Former chief scientist Sir David King said reform was "critical".... "The state of knowledge developed by people in our institutes and universities on very complex matters is now quite remarkable, but there is a still a big gap between decision-making and the use of that knowledge base," he said. ...


Well of course. Teh sciencetists, they use teh big wurds.

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Wed, Jul 22, 2009
from Guardian (UK):
Mountaintop mining legacy: Destroying Appalachian streams
When mountains are demolished with explosives to harvest their coal seams, the millions of tons of crushed shale, sandstone, and coal detritus have to go somewhere, and the most convenient spots are nearby valleys. Mining operations clear-cut the hillsides and literally "fill" mountain hollows to the brim -- and sometimes higher -- with rocky debris. At the mouth of the hollow, the outer edge of the fill is typically engineered into a towering wall resembling a dam.... Of all the environmental problems caused by mountaintop projects -- decapitated peaks, deforestation, the significant carbon footprint -- scientists have found that valley fills do the most damage because they destroy headwater streams and surrounding forests, which are crucial to the workings of mountain ecosystems. "There used to be pine trees, and it was a very pretty shaded area. There was a nice trail that went up the hollow and I used to take my granddaughter up there and we'd go ginsenging [harvesting ginseng roots, an Appalachian custom] on up the hill," says Miller, whose grandfather built the family homestead in 1920. "She really misses not being able to do that. She said, 'Can't we go someplace else? There's no hills to climb there.'" ...


The Appalachian Trail will soon be a jogging track.

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Jul 19, 2009
from Columbus Dispatch:
House-passed global-warming bill proposes barrage of regulations
...Because the Senate is nowhere near approving its own version of the [1,428-page global-warming bill approved last month by the U.S. House of Representatives], these regulations might never become law. But as details of the House bill emerge, they have provoked intense criticism from conservative Republicans and business organizations. "That bill is so bad, it's really pathetic," said Bill Kovacs, a chamber lobbyist. "I'm not sure what they thought they were accomplishing by focusing the power of the federal government on the tiniest details of life versus creating a clear path for replacing fossil fuels with cleaner technologies." ...


Appears to me letting business and conservatives run amok didn't work out so hot!

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Sun, Jul 19, 2009
from Newsweek:
Toxic Tsunami
...the Tennessee Valley Authority's Kingston Fossil Plant had experienced a catastrophic failure... The largest industrial spill in U.S. history, it has created an environmental and engineering nightmare. The cleanup effort, which the Environmental Protection Agency is overseeing, could cost as much as $1 billion (though estimates continue to climb) and take years to complete. Meanwhile, the released ash -- which is packed with toxins like arsenic, lead, and selenium -- threatens to poison the air and water. Congressional committees are investigating the failure, some lawmakers are calling for greater regulation of utilities, and the EPA is probing about 400 other facilities across the country that store ash in similar ways. Yet the debacle has had another, potentially more far-reaching, impact: it has displayed in the most graphic manner imaginable just how dirty coal is. At a time when seemingly everyone from President Barack Obama on down is talking about "clean coal," the spill showed it's anything but. "Kingston opened people's eyes," says Lisa Evans of Earthjustice, a nonprofit environmental-law firm. "Clean coal is an impossibility." ...


You had me... at "tsunami"...

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Jul 15, 2009
from Dallas Morning News:
Brutal realities in Texas
SOUTHWEST: Isolated thunderstorms graced a few farms and ranches, but for most the hottest, driest summer on record continued unabated. High winds and a series of more than 20 days with record or near-record high temperatures aggravated the drought. The soil profile was very dry. High, dry winds increased the risk of roadside and field fires. The Edwards Aquifer water level, as measured at a test well in San Antonio, dropped within 0.3 feet of the mandatory Stage III declaration requirement by the San Antonio Water System. A mandatory stage III water rationing declaration was expected soon, said AgriLife Extension personnel. Except in deferred pastures, forages were almost nonexistent. Pastures and rangeland made almost no progress. The cantaloupe and watermelon harvests were nearly complete. Harvesting of corn and sorghum began; below-average yields were expected. Cotton, peanuts and pecans were making excellent progress under heavy irrigation. ...


Water rationing with the left hand, excellent cotton through heavy irrigation with the right.

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Fri, Jul 10, 2009
from Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres, via EurekAlert:
Between the devil and the deep blue sea
Many Megacities such as Tokyo (pop. 36.000.000), New York (22.000.000) and London (12.000.000) are found in the coastal zone. Coastal protection measures give a sense of false security and require increasingly expensive infrastructure. The treatment and cure of these coastal syndromes includes renewable energy, recycled water and solid waste, sourcing locally grown foods and attention to social equity issues, especially in education and healthcare.... Up to now, governments at all scales, from local to international, have largely failed to seriously implement integrated management in coastal zones.... These are the conclusions of 40 international experts from wide ranging disciplines including economics, social sciences and natural sciences who met for an intensive, 5 day workshop near Oslo, Norway. ...


Governments have failed to respond to long-term issues? When did this start?

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Wed, Jul 8, 2009
from Oregon State University, via EurekAlert:
US-Mexico border wall could threaten wildlife species
A 700-mile security wall under construction along the United States' border with Mexico could significantly alter the movement and "connectivity" of wildlife, biologists say, and the animals' potential isolation is a threat to populations of some species. However, technology and alterations to the design could dramatically improve the potential for animals to move more freely between the two countries, the scientists added.... "The biggest concern is that this barrier will break small populations of animals into even smaller pieces that will result in fewer animals interacting," said Clinton Epps, a wildlife biologist at Oregon State University and co-author on the study. "A major barrier such as this could lead to significant degradation of connectivity for many different species, ultimately threatening their populations." ...


All we need to do is effectively explain national sovereignty to the wildlife!

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Jul 4, 2009
from CBC (Canada):
Backyard wind turbine rejected by Ontario Municipal Board
An Ottawa resident who has been lobbying to put a wind turbine in his backyard in the city's Westboro neighbourhood has been told that his project is grinding to a halt. Graham Findlay had applied for a variance to install what's known as an "energy ball" on his property near Island Park Drive. Findlay is a commercial wind arm developer with Ottawa-based 3G Energy Corporation and has said that he wants to mount that "energy ball" on a pole in his backyard to make it 10 metres high so he can produce his own energy at home. In October, the city refused to approve his application to mount the turbine in his backyard, so he appealed through the Ontario Municipal Board. His neighbours, however, testified at the OMB hearings that they felt the turbine would be invasive and could be dangerous if the tall pole with a turbine on top fell over. Even though the turbine has been designed specifically for residential areas, the OMB said in its June ruling that it supported Findlay's neighbour's concerns. ...


Not in your backyard.

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Thu, Jul 2, 2009
from Telegraph.co.uk:
ExxonMobil funds climate-change sceptics
Company records for 2008 show that ExxonMobil gave $75,000 to the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) in Dallas, Texas and $50,000 to the Heritage Foundation in Washington. It also gave $245,000 to the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research in Washington.... All three groups have raised questions about global warming. The Heritage Foundation published note last year that said: "Growing scientific evidence casts doubt on whether global warming constitutes a threat, including the fact that 2008 is about to go into the books as a cooler year than 2007". ExxonMobil promised in 2006 to stop funding climate change sceptics after it was criticised by the Royal Society for giving money to researchers who were "misinforming the public about the science of climate change". ...


I've got just one thing to say to you, ExxonMobil.

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Thu, Jul 2, 2009
from BusinessGreen:
Canada and Japan accused of blocking Copenhagen progress
Speaking at the World Conference of Science Journalists, King said that while much of the attention in recent months had focused on the Obama administration's engagement with the so-called Copenhagen negotiations to agree a successor to the Kyoto Treaty, Canada and Japan were quietly undermining the talks. "Copenhagen is faltering at the moment," he said. "The Americans are now fully engaged. But several countries are blocking the process." Both countries are believed to oppose demands for stringent emission reduction targets at the behest of powerful business lobby groups, such as the energy company's push to exploit Canada's oil sands. "These people are very outspoken, aggressive lobbyists," Dr Robert Falkner at the London School of Economics told The Times. "They are gung-ho about rising oil prices and want to exploit that." ...


Hey, Canada and Japan! You can't hide behind our stupid-skirts anymore!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jun 8, 2009
from BusinessGreen:
Texas sets back solar by at least two years
The Texas legislature disappointed environmental groups this week as it failed to pass the bulk of legislation designed to promote solar energy in the state. The state killed a bill that would have provided $500m in rebates for solar panels. The rebates would have been raised with money from increased electricity bills. The bill, which had strong support from both political parties, failed on a procedural point. The legislature also failed to vote on a bill that would have mandated the development of 1,500MW of electricity from renewables by 2020. ...


What "procedural point" would justify stupidity?

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Wed, Jun 3, 2009
from Greenwire:
Low-key governor becomes leading GOP voice on climate
Since their drubbing in last year's election, Republicans have been looking for someone who can go toe-to-toe with President Obama and other top Democrats, with most suggesting that person must come from beyond Washington. On energy and climate, at least, such a Republican has emerged. Indiana's two-term governor, Mitch Daniels, has delivered an energy message that has drawn praise from conservatives and raised the rumored presidential candidate's profile in what is likely to be a crowded Republican field in 2012. ...


What do you expect from a governor who campaigned by driving a gas guzzling RV all over Indiana!

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Thu, May 28, 2009
from The Telegram (Canada):
David Suzuki hunts for the real bottom line
Want to know how to make David Suzuki upset? Talk to him about Stephen Harper's approach to environmental conservation. "We're told over and over that the bottom line is the economy, and our own prime minister says we can't afford to do anything about climate change if it jeopardizes the economy. That's absolutely wrong -- it's a lie. What kind of government puts the economy before a global environmental crisis?" Suzuki asked The Telegram in an interview from his Toronto office Tuesday.... Suzuki is also calling on provincial governments to put the planet before politics, including the government of B.C., his home province. Earlier this month, he, along with a half a dozen local mayors and others, wrote an open letter in the Globe and Mail calling for an organized approach to addressing climate change in that province. Among their suggestions was that the provincial government increase the low-income carbon tax-credit at the same rate as price increases on greenhouse gas emissions, and that a portion of carbon-tax revenues be invested in public transit and renewable energy projects. ...


What kind of government? One that is bought and paid for.

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Tue, May 26, 2009
from BusinessWeek:
The Great Ethanol Scam
First, the primary job of the Environmental Protection Agency is, dare it be said, to protect our environment. Yet using ethanol actually creates more smog than using regular gas, and the EPA's own attorneys had to admit that fact in front of the justices presiding over the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in 1995 (API v. EPA). Second, truly independent studies on ethanol, such as those written by Tad Patzek of Berkeley and David Pimentel of Cornell, show that ethanol is a net energy loser. Other studies suggest there is a small net energy gain from it. Third, all fuels laced with ethanol reduce the vehicle's fuel efficiency, and the E85 blend drops gas mileage between 30 percent and 40 percent, depending on whether you use the EPA's fuel mileage standards (fueleconomy.gov) or those of the Dept. of Energy. ...


I just want to forget ethanol's sorrows.

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Wed, May 20, 2009
from Greenpeace:
The suicidal tendencies of the Turkish tuna fishery
The Turkish government has set its own catch limit for the endangered Mediterranean bluefin tuna -- in total disregard for internationally agreed quotas and scientific advice. The existing management plan for bluefin tuna is bad enough. By pressuring politicians to ignore the warnings of scientists, the Mediterranean tuna industry has created a suicide pact, not a management plan. Now Turkey, by objecting to even those inadequate restrictions, is telling its legal fleet to fish for everything it can before it's all gone. And to add insult to absurdity, there's still the illegal catch to consider -- and Turkey just got caught red-handed with an illegal landing of between 5 and 10 tons of juvenile bluefin tuna in the Turkish port of Karaburun.... Since 2006, scientists have been sounding the alarm on the dire state of the bluefin tuna stock. They have advised not to fish above a maximum of 15,000 tons, and to protect the species’ spawning grounds during the crucial months of May and June. But the spawning grounds are ravaged by industrial fleets every year and the actual haul has been estimated at a shocking 61,100 tons in 2007, twice the legal catch for that year, and more than four times the scientifically recommended level. ...


Gettin' while the gettin' is good is a good way to gettin' gone.

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Wed, May 20, 2009
from BusinessGreen:
Energy industry blocking grid connection for wind projects
The established energy industry is deliberately blocking reforms to the process that would allow more renewable energy to be connected to the National Grid, according to the chief executive of Ofgem.... "What we have to stop going forward is vested interests within the sector blocking reform," said Buchanan.... Wind developers argue the current system, where enough connection requests must be made in a certain area to justify upgrades to the grid, is weighted in favour of large-scale power plants. ...


We can't let the upstarts innovate willy-nilly, now can we?

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Tue, May 12, 2009
from CBC (Canada):
Federal predictions of greenhouse gas reductions are exaggerated: watchdog
The federal government has overstated greenhouse gas reductions expected as a result of its climate change plans and is failing to count the actual reductions to see if they match with predictions, according to a report tabled in Parliament. "Without a system to count real emission reductions that result from its measures, the government will not be able to inform Parliament whether the measures are working," Scott Vaughan, commissioner of the environment and sustainable development, said Tuesday in the text of a prepared statement.... "A recurring flaw ... is the lack of transparency on the part of the government as to how forecast reductions are calculated," the report said. It noted that the potential effect of factors such as energy prices and economic conditions are not included. ...


Did the entire Bush administration just move north?

ApocaDoc
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Mon, May 11, 2009
from BBC (UK):
Whaling peace talks 'fall short'
Moves to make a peace deal between pro and anti-whaling nations have stalled, with no chance of agreement this year. Countries have been talking for nearly a year in an attempt to hammer out an accord by this year's International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting.... A source close to the talks blamed Japan, saying it had not offered big enough cuts in its Antarctic hunt, conducted in the name of research. Earlier meetings had raised the possibility that Japan might countenance annual reductions in its catch over the next five years, perhaps down to zero. However, the source said that at a meeting held last month in San Francisco, Japan had offered to cut the haul to 650 minke whales per year, only 29 fewer than were caught last season. ...


Killing intelligent mammals "in the name of research." Didn't Mengele do that?

ApocaDoc
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Wed, May 6, 2009
from Guardian (UK):
Agenda 21 Sinks Norwegian Whaler
"We came to Henningsvaer. We saw the Skarbakk. We sank the bastard." This was the message left by the anonymous activists who scuttled the Norwegian whaling ship the Skarbakk last month. On April 23 a group identifying themselves only as Agenda 21 — named after the UN programme for sustainable development that was often talked about in the 90s but seems to have been completely forgotten about today — crept on to the boat, anchored in Henningsvaer harbour, and used an adjustable spanner to open the salt water intake and flood the engine room. Before the ship hit bottom fire crews had got to it. However, the ship had already filled with sea water, so damage was extensive and will certainly be expensive. And this is not the first time it's happened.... The Skarbakk is the fourth ship they've sunk in 12 years. Norwegian whalers pay huge insurance premiums as a result of their campaign, but it hasn't had much impact on whaling. The amount of whales caught by Norway has risen from 280 in 1994 to 592 in 2007. ...


Much as I applaud the sentiment, this is not the way to win Norwegian hearts and minds.

ApocaDoc
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Sun, May 3, 2009
from Canada.com:
Arctic research centre scrambles to survive
The Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory in Nunavut gives Canadian researchers a unique window on the polar atmosphere. But the facility known as PEARL, which at 1,500 kilometres above the Arctic Circle is about as far north as you can get and still be on dry land, faces a precarious future despite the stated commitment to Arctic science by Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government. Two key sources of federal money that keep the lab and its science going are drying up, says Drummond, who leads the work at PEARL.... The Harper government also restated it's committed in the budget to building a "world-class, High Arctic research station." The station, expected to take about a decade to construct, is to serve as a "hub" for Arctic science activity. But observers say there is a danger that the know-how and expertise needed to optimize use of the new station will be lost if existing Arctic research programs such as PEARL are neglected or phased out. ...


After all, why should we know about what we fear?

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Apr 22, 2009
from Indianapolis Star:
Indiana ranks near bottom in environmental issues
Environmental comparisons can be difficult because of oceans of complex data generated and evaluated in different ways. But it seems that no matter who is compiling the survey -- or what aspect of the environment is being measured -- Indiana consistently ranks near the bottom. Some examples: Forbes.com ranked Indiana 49th out of 50 states in its 2007 "America's Greenest States" survey. Only West Virginia fared worse. Indianapolis ranked 99th out of 100 metropolitan areas per capita in a 2008 Brookings Institution report on environmentally harmful carbon emissions from transportation and energy. Only Lexington, Ky., was worse. ...


Beloved Hoosier pastimes include: racing, basketball, and death by environmental contamination.

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Apr 11, 2009
from New York Times (US):
Dissenter on Warming Expands His Campaign
As a spokesman for Senator James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma, the ranking Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, Mr. Morano was for years a ceaseless purveyor of the dissenting view on climate change, sending out a blizzard of e-mail to journalists covering the issue. Now, with Congress debating legislation to curb carbon dioxide emissions, Mr. Morano is hoping to have an even greater impact. He has left his job with Mr. Inhofe to start his own Web site, ClimateDepot.com. The site, scheduled to debut this week, will be a "one-stop shop" for anyone following climate change, Mr. Morano says. He will post research he thinks the public should see, as well as reported video segments and ratings of environmental journalists. ...


Didn't see our "one-stop shop" of idiocy leave office in January?

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Thu, Apr 2, 2009
from Reuters:
Water Wars Leave Northern Colorado Farmers Dry
Many farmers in this northern Colorado plains region are struggling to keep their crops irrigated and stay afloat as they find themselves on the wrong side of state water rules dating back to the 19th century. The farmers around Wiggins, population 830, recently lost a lengthy war over access to the nearby South Platte River.... The farmers' plight traces back to the late 1800s, when reservoir and ditch companies bought senior rights to the Platte. Some 30 years later, farmers drilled their first wells in the South Platte River Valley. Water in Colorado is first come, first served. State law requires well users to have a supply of replacement water ready before they start pumping from the river to ensure there's enough for the senior rights holders. ...


Let's hope they don't use waterguns in these wars!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Mar 31, 2009
from Washington Times:
Coal is winner even in 'green' Congress
After two years of campaign rhetoric and months of hearings, Congress is set this week to begin testing whether it can turn the push for renewable energy sought by President Obama into reality. But the result is likely to fall short of Mr. Obama's goals and, ironically, preserve the primacy of the most abundant and dirtiest fossil fuel: coal. Lawmakers this spring plan to keep their distance from the president's most ambitious and controversial proposals, including a mandate for utilities to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and the creation of a system to reduce such emissions called "cap and trade." Yet they appear eager to appropriate billions of dollars for a little-tested technology that would prevent carbon dioxide from polluting the air by burying it underground, a process called "sequestration." Coal - and the many parts of the country that rely on coal for power generation - would be the prime beneficiaries of such funding. ...


Coal... it is still king.

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Tue, Mar 31, 2009
from The Washington Independent:
Tensions High as EPA Reasserts Mining Authority
For environmentalists in the Appalachians, it was a roller-coaster week. Just one day after the Environmental Protection Agency announced plans to reassert its powers to protect mountain streams from the ravages of mountaintop coal mining, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved the broad expansion of such a project without EPA input... The recent saga began last Monday, when the EPA sent letters to the Army Corps of Engineers in Huntington, W.Va., recommending that the Corps either deny or alter proposed projects in West Virginia and Kentucky because agency studies show that the two mountaintop mines would have serious water-quality consequences. A day later, the EPA vowed to review hundreds more backlogged permit requests to assess their effect on streams... On Wednesday, however, the Corps’ Louisville district approved a 1.5-square-mile expansion of a mountaintop mine in Southeast Kentucky with no input from the EPA. ...


In the battle betwixt the two my money's on the Army!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Mar 17, 2009
from Associated Press:
8 Dems oppose quick debate on global warming bill
Eight Senate Democrats are opposing speedy action on President Barack Obama's bill to combat global warming, complicating prospects for the legislation and creating problems for their party's leaders. The eight Democrats disapprove of using the annual budget debate to pass Obama's "cap and trade" bill to fight greenhouse gas emissions, a measure that divides lawmakers, environmentalists and businesses. The lawmakers' opposition makes it more difficult for Democratic leaders to move the bill without a threat of a Republican filibuster. The budget debate is the only way to circumvent Senate rules that allow a unified GOP to stop a bill through filibusters. ...


By all means let's fiddle around while the earth burns!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Mar 10, 2009
from Mobile Press-Register:
EPA: Leave mercury in north Mobile County swamp
Federal scientists were unsparing in their criticism of a new EPA plan to leave high levels of mercury on the bottom of Cold Creek Swamp and hope the Mobile River covers it over with a layer of mud as the years go by. Those scientists said the mercury from the north Mobile County swamp may have been spreading to fish and wildlife in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta and Mobile Bay for decades. In 1993, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved a plan to remove or contain the bulk of the contamination at the Stauffer Chemical Superfund site. The company released mercury into the swamp between 1966 and 1974 as a waste product from chlorine production. But the plan was never implemented. Now the EPA has proposed a much more limited cleanup that calls for leaving most of the mercury in the swamp and monitoring it "long term." ...The latest plan ... calls for covering up the mercury in the most contaminated 25-acre area with a layer of clay and monitoring mercury levels in the rest of the swamp. ...


I know when I ignore MY problems, they go away!

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Feb 20, 2009
from Mongabay:
Indonesia confirms that peatlands will be converted for plantations
Indonesia's Minister for the Environment has approved a decree that will allow the conversion of carbon-rich peatlands for oil palm plantations, reports The Jakarta Post. Rachmat Witoelar said that oil palm plantations will only be established in areas where peat is less than 3 meters (10 feet) deep. Conversion will require an environmental impact analysis (Amdal). "The conversion of peatlands is possible for certain criteria, but should be done very selectively," Rachmat told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday. "The conversion is strictly forbidden in [peatland] more than 3 meters deep." ... "Allowing the destruction of more peatlands is a disaster for the fight against climate change, and will only confirm Indonesia's status as the world's third biggest polluter," Greenpeace Southeast Asia forest campaigner Bustar Maitar told The Jakarta Post. ...


Oh. Only ten feet deep? Guess we didn't measure in that spot. Oh well.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Feb 20, 2009
from New Scientist:
Ban on mountaintop mining overturned
Even as public opinion in the US turns against coal, judges have overturned a ban on blasting away mountaintops to get at seams. In the central Appalachians, including West Virginia, mining companies have lopped up to 300 metres off hundreds of mountains, destroying biologically diverse hardwood forest. The debris is often dumped into valleys, sometimes burying streams in the process. A lawsuit filed by the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition (OVEC) based in Huntington, West Virginia, argued that such valley fills violate the Clean Water Act and the National Environmental Policy Act, and a US district court ruled in their favour in March 2007. But on 13 February, a Court of Appeals panel voted 2:1 to reverse the decision. ...


Mountaintop soccer, anyone?

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Feb 11, 2009
from Vietnam.net:
Urbanisation threatens food security
Since 2001 the area under crops has dropped from more than 4.3 million ha to 4.13 million ha, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. In 2007 alone, the area under rice shrank by 125,000 ha, as authorities tried to restructure crop patterns and develop the services and industrial sectors and urban sprawl overran surrounding areas. Farmlands are forecast to continue shrinking as they are appropriated for non-agricultural purposes. ...


How long can that trend continue? Will farmers become the new dot.commers?

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Feb 8, 2009
from Guardian (UK):
Carbon price falls to new low
The price of carbon has hit new lows as power generators and industrial companies continue to cash in credits under the emissions trading scheme (ETS) to bolster their balance sheets.... Analysts at Barclays Capital warned the price could fall further to €9 while Utilyx, the carbon information provider, said: "There seems to be no bottom to carbon prices at the moment." Market experts blame the decline on profit taking and a collapse in manufacturing, which has reached its lowest levels since 1981 in Britain. Power generators and industrial firms are selling their credits to raise cash during the credit crunch but also because they are confident they will not need as many pollution permits at a time of falling demand for their products. ...


A "new low," indeed, as firms take write-downs on their futures.

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Fri, Feb 6, 2009
from CBC News (Canada):
World's fish at risk as countries flout fishing code, study finds
The time has come for responsible fishing guidelines to be enforced as law internationally because the voluntary code of conduct currently in place has failed to save the world's fish from being depleted, fisheries researchers say. A recent study found "dismayingly poor compliance" among countries around the world with the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 1995, said a commentary published this week in Nature.... "Overall, compliance is poor, with room for improvement at every level in the rankings," the commentary said, adding that even top-ranking countries such as Canada were given "fail" grades for certain practices and none achieved a "good" ranking. Only Norway, the U.S., Canada, Australia, Iceland and Namibia received overall compliance scores of 60 per cent, and 28 countries that haul in 40 per cent of the global catch had "unequivocal fail grades overall," the study said.... It added that while it may have been necessary 13 years ago to make the agreement voluntary, there is more widespread agreement now that continued overfishing is hurting ecosystems and threatening food supplies, and something needs to be done. ...


"Something needs to be done" indeed. Can we just fund Greenpeace to the max and let it be the watchdog?

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Jan 17, 2009
from Chicago Tribune:
U.S. warns of Teflon chemical in water
Less than a week before the Bush administration leaves office, federal environmental regulators are issuing a controversial health advisory on drinking water contaminated with a toxic chemical used to make Teflon and other non-stick coatings. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is advising people to reduce consumption of water containing more than 0.4 parts per billion of perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA -- a level critics say is not strict enough. Studies have shown the chemical, which is linked to cancer, liver damage and birth defects, has built up in human blood throughout the world. It is unclear how many cities might exceed the new limit because the EPA doesn't require water treatment plants to test for PFOA... Critics called the EPA's advisory a last-minute gift from the Bush administration to DuPont and a handful of other companies that make PFOA. Some scientists have proposed limits as low as 0.02 parts per billion. ...


If it doesn't stick, then what's the worry?

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Wed, Jan 7, 2009
from ProPublica:
Agencies Move to Restrict FOIA Access in Last-Minute Regs
As one of the most secretive presidential administrations in history gets ready to close up shop, it's closing a few more things -- records. Over the past few months, some federal agencies have issued rules that would eliminate public disclosure of information -- or, in some cases, make it more difficult for requesters to get information. While the federal Freedom of Information Act regulates what government information may be withheld from the public, internal rules determine how that law is carried out at the agency level. Those rules also may restrict access to information. On Dec. 9, the Department of Energy [2] proposed a rule that would eliminate the agency's "public interest balancing test" in determining whether to release information to the public. ...


What we don't know ... can only poison us!

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Wed, Jan 7, 2009
from New York Times:
Hundreds of Coal Ash Dumps Lack Regulation
The coal ash pond that ruptured and sent a billion gallons of toxic sludge across 300 acres of East Tennessee last month was only one of more than 1,300 similar dumps across the United States — most of them unregulated and unmonitored — that contain billions more gallons of fly ash and other byproducts of burning coal. Like the one in Tennessee, most of these dumps, which reach up to 1,500 acres, contain heavy metals like arsenic, lead, mercury and selenium, which are considered by the Environmental Protection Agency to be a threat to water supplies and human health. Yet they are not subject to any federal regulation, which experts say could have prevented the spill, and there is little monitoring of their effects on the surrounding environment. ...


Maybe Obama better appoint an Ash Czar!

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Tue, Jan 6, 2009
from Inter Press Service:
PERU: Open-Pit Mine Continues to Swallow City
CERRO DE PASCO, Peru, Jan 5 (IPS) - An immense open-pit mine located 4380 metres above sea level is swallowing up the centre of the city of Cerro de Pasco in Peru's central highlands, while the damages, in the form of toxic waste, spread to nearby villages. The government just signed a new law to relocate part of the local population, who for decades have suffered from the lead dust, dynamite explosions and toxic gases generated by the mining of zinc, lead and silver. The open-pit mine now operated by Volcan, a Peruvian company, in this city of 70,000 -- which is the capital of the province of Pasco -- is now 1.8 kilometres long. Neighbourhoods stretch all around its edges. The shabby houses located a few metres from the edge show cracks from the detonations, and children with blood lead levels far above the acceptable limits play next to vast heaps of slag. And in villages near the city, local peasant farmers watch their livestock die because of a lack of water, and contaminated grass. ...


Sounds like a fate ... that awaits ... us all.

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Wed, Dec 31, 2008
from Forbes:
Idaho miners won't have to restore groundwater
Monsanto Co., Agrium Inc., and J.R. Simplot Co. will be able to mine phosphate without being forced to restore groundwater beneath their operations to its natural condition, according to a new rule awaiting approval by the 2009 Legislature.... "We have never asked for the right to mess up someone else's beneficial use of the groundwater," [lobbyist for Idaho Mining Association] Lyman told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "The department came up with a rule they think is workable, without putting our industry into a difficult situation where we'd be unable to comply." The rule is backed by industry but opposed by environmentalists including the Greater Yellowstone Coalition and Idaho Conservation League, who say it gives mining companies near the Idaho-Wyoming border license to pollute forever. ...


"Unable to comply" with a livable future, that is.

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Dec 28, 2008
from Merrillville Post-Tribune:
IDEM stops giving fines, punishments
The Indiana Department of Environmental Management has stopped issuing fines against other state agencies in Indiana that violate their environmental permits. For instance, the Indiana Department of Transportation violated wastewater permits for rest stops across the state more than 550 times over four years. It discharged sludge and ammonia into streams, causing algae blooms and potential damage to aquatic life. But INDOT got no fines. It got off with a legal slap on the wrist. Environmentalists are appalled, calling it a "creeping lack of accountability" and commitment to enforcing the law. ...


Ever had a slap on the wrist? It willy willy hurts!

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Dec 26, 2008
from Scientific American:
Court orders EPA to stick with Bush clean air rules--for now
A federal court this week did an about-face, ruling (pdf) that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must enforce admittedly faulty regulations restricting power plant emissions until they're replaced by new improved ones. "We are convinced that, notwithstanding the relative flaws of [the Clean Air Interstate Rule, CAIR], allowing CAIR to remain in effect until it is replaced by a rule consistent with our opinion would at least temporarily preserve the environmental values [translation: clean air] covered by CAIR," the federal Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., wrote in its decision (pdf) yesterday. ...


Just as we can keep buggering up this earth -- until it's replaced by a new one.

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Dec 21, 2008
from Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
EPA veils hazardous substances
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency routinely allows companies to keep new information about their chemicals secret, including compounds that have been shown to cause cancer and respiratory problems, the Journal Sentinel has found. The newspaper examined more than 2,000 filings in the EPA's registry of dangerous chemicals for the past three years. In more than half the cases, the EPA agreed to keep the chemical name a secret. In hundreds of other cases, it allowed the company filing the report to keep its name and address confidential. This is despite a federal law calling for public notice of any new information through the EPA's program monitoring chemicals that pose substantial risk. The whole idea of the program is to warn the public of newfound dangers. The EPA's rules are supposed to allow confidentiality only "under very limited circumstances." ...


So remind me ... why isn't this a crime? Why aren't these peope in jail? Why don't people rise up?

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Dec 19, 2008
from Boston Phoenix:
20 reasons the Earth will be glad to see Bush go
...We've selected 20 specific environmental transgressions of the Bush administration for scrutiny here, drawn primarily from conversations with and reports issued by the nation's leading environmental-advocacy groups. Were we to have written about all the ecological crimes committed by the Bush team -- the damage already done, the policies that have since been reversed, the individuals who have moved on to do their damage elsewhere -- we'd only be wringing our hands and wasting more paper. Thus, we've limited our Top 20 list to the horrific environmental scenarios still ongoing � these are the assaults on the planet that Bush and his cronies are continuing to this day, and surely would go on doing were their time not coming to a merciful end.... ...


Really? Did I do all this? Well, if Mother Nature doesn't love me, at least my own mom does. Doesn't she?

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Dec 17, 2008
from Cafe Sendito:
Flawed International Farm Seed Rules Establish Permanent Spread of Patented GM Brands
The Canadian courts ruled that the individual farmer had to shoulder the burden of ferreting out any instance of "contamination" of his crop by pollen from nearby genetically-modified (GM) planting, as Monsanto held a patent on the seeds. The farmer, and those who support his claims, argue that there is no means by which anyone can prevent cross-pollination from GM plants.... The group warned that due to the strict rules regarding harvesting, seed storage and repurchase, the system established by the marketing of patented GM seeds could force poor farmers onto "an expensive treadmill of dependence on the firms' seeds and chemicals".... "Because our rapeseed is contaminated with GMOs the economic effect has been disastrous for farmers, as we can no longer sell rapeseed to many countries in the world. The price of rapeseed has dropped almost in half." ...


They'll be suing farmers for accepting the wind off "their" fields before we know it.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Dec 16, 2008
from Guardian (UK):
Report: Politics corroded Bush decisions on endangered species
Politics corroded Bush administration decisions on protecting endangered species in regions nationwide, federal investigators have concluded in a sweeping new report. Former interior department official Julie MacDonald frequently bullied career scientists to reduce species protections, the interior department investigators found. "The results of this investigation paint a picture of something akin to a secret society residing within the interior department that was colluding to undermine the protection of endangered wildlife and covering for one another's misdeeds," Congressman Nick Rahall, a Democrat from West Virginia, said late Monday afternoon. ...


My surprise knows no bounds.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Dec 16, 2008
from Guardian (UK):
Emissions: Where do you draw the line?
Supporters of this system say that a cap-and-trade, market-based solution is the only realistic way a reduction in global emissions will ever be achieved. Carrots are always better than sticks, they say. But in such a world, it will be rare for a distinction to be made between why emissions were created in the first place. There will be a market-determined price to pay for emitting a tonne of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, but no one will be asking why you emitted it as long as you pay the going rate. But is it beyond our collective wit to also judge our energy use against a set of criteria that gives extra weighting to our essential and most worthy needs?... But who is going to draw that line between essential and non-essential use? What, for example, would you place into the "essential" trolley? Two thousand miles' worth of petro-fuelled driving a year? Enough energy to heat your living room to 18C during winter? ...


Maybe... a benign tyrant? A philosopher-king? Do we have the collective wit?

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Dec 14, 2008
from Chicago Tribune:
Mercury-tainted fish on FDA menu
In the waning days of the Bush presidency, the Food and Drug Administration is pushing to scuttle the government's advice about mercury-contaminated seafood, a dramatic policy change that would encourage women and children to eat more fish despite growing concerns about the toxic metal. The FDA's recommendations, sent recently to the White House Office of Management and Budget for approval, prompted a sharp rebuke from scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency who, in memos circulated earlier this month, described them as "scientifically flawed and inadequate." A joint advisory issued by the two agencies in 2004 cautions women of childbearing age, nursing mothers and young children to limit seafood consumption to 12 ounces a week. But in a draft version of the FDA's new report, the agency says its own modeling shows that children can benefit from eating more fish, not less. ...


More mercury will make it easier for mom to take her kid's temperature!

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Dec 12, 2008
from WWF:
Another fisheries commission throws the science overboard
The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) today over-rode the advice of its science committee and rejected the recommendations of its chair in choosing only minor reductions in catch for bigeye and yellowfin tuna and watering down or deferring most measures for achieving reduced catches.... Measures adopted by the WCPFC will see a catch reduction of less than seven per cent for 2009 on WWF estimations, well down on a recommendation of a 30 percent cut which it was conceded would still not have eliminated overfishing. Among the discarded, delayed or reduced measures were high seas fishing closures, restrictions on gear types, and important initiatives to better record and verify catches and crack down on rampant illegal fishing. ...


Why use predictive information when business interests are involved?

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Dec 12, 2008
from New York Times:
Interior Department Rule Eases a Mandate Under a Law on Wildlife
The Interior Department on Thursday announced a rule that has largely freed federal agencies from their obligation to consult independent wildlife biologists before they build dams or highways or permit construction of transmission towers, housing developments or other projects that might harm federally protected wildlife.... In announcing the rule, Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne said his main intention was to ensure that the 1972 law was not used as a "back door" means of regulating the emission of the gases that accelerate climate change.... Pat Parenteau, a professor at the Vermont Law School, disagreed, saying, "For all federal agencies, if this isn't a carte blanche, it's certainly a broad license to decide for yourself that you don't need to consult." ...


If only these guys could be haunted forever by the ghosts of all they have destroyed.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Dec 11, 2008
from Guardian (UK):
The Environmental Protection Agency's 'Most Wanted' list
Importing autos that did not meet standards: 2. Pumping toxic waste secretly into Mississippi: 1. Dumping tonnes of oil-contaminated grain into ocean: 1. Dumping fuel into river: 1. Dumping hazmat and acidic chemwaste into sewer: 1. Importing 105 cylinders of ozone-killing contraband: 1. Illegal disposal of mercury-tainted soil: 1. Illegal discharge into ocean: 1. One count of illegal asbestos removal: 1. ...


THESE are the top ten? And they start off with car importers? (Hmm: is it possible the EPA has been a bit underconceptualized lately?)

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Dec 11, 2008
from BBC:
Failing Zimbabwe: Reporter round-up
A cholera epidemic is sweeping across Zimbabwe, causing further suffering to millions of people already struggling to survive in a country close to systemic collapse as food shortages and hyperinflation continue to take their toll.... It is a recipe for disaster, and a health scandal, according to a local priest. "Even now, there are many sick people inside, they are frail, they can't walk and relatives don't have money to send them to hospital, so they are left to suffer," said Majorie, a middle-aged woman carrying a child on her back. In the streets, piles of uncollected refuse are commonplace with flies feasting on the rubbish. In this chaos, vendors selling tomatoes, mangoes and vegetables rove around. Customers are still available. Some buy the produce and walk leisurely, eating mangoes, alongside streams of raw sewage to their hostels. There is nothing they can do about it. ...


Time for Mugabe to go Mugabye-bye.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Dec 10, 2008
from Philadelphia Inquirer:
Politics choke clean-air efforts
...in June 2005, a panel of scientists appointed by the Environmental Protection Agency determined that the air was still too dirty.... The panel recommended tougher rules to limit long-term exposure, a move that EPA's own scientists said could prevent thousands of premature deaths annually. EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson rejected their advice. His decision took the panel by surprise, but before long, it would fit into a familiar pattern. Over the next three years, leading environmental scientists would denounce Johnson for substituting politics for science on key pollution issues - from not regulating greenhouse gases blamed for global warming to delaying the assessment of toxic chemicals. But it was in a succession of decisions on air quality that Johnson's uneven application of science had perhaps the most severe impacts on human health. ...


Environmental Protection -- my ass!

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Dec 5, 2008
from New York Times:
Mountaintop Mining Rule Approved
The White House on Tuesday approved a final rule that will make it easier for coal companies to dump rock and dirt from mountaintop mining operations into nearby streams and valleys. The rule is one of the most contentious of all the regulations emerging from the White House in President Bush's last weeks in office.... "This is unmistakably a fire sale of epic size for coal and the entire fossil fuel industry, with flagrant disregard for human health, the environment or the rule of law," said Vickie Patton, deputy general counsel of the Environmental Defense Fund. ...


Coming soon: the great West Virginia plateau.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Dec 4, 2008
from Environmental Science and Technology:
EPA perchlorate decision flawed, say advisers
The U.S. EPA’s preliminary decision not to regulate perchlorate in drinking water has elicited an outpouring of critical comments, including a plea from the agency’s own Science Advisory Board (SAB) for more scientific transparency and a stinging critique from the agency’s Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee (CHPAC). The committee faulted EPA for failing to take advantage of the best new science and for using a biological model that has not been peer-reviewed. The furor marks the latest episode in an almost decadelong controversy surrounding the potential health effects of long-term, low-level exposure to perchlorate. The latest round pits many state and federal environmental protection risk assessors, environmental groups, and thyroid patient advocates against U.S. Department of Defense risk assessors, assessment consultants, and many respected thyroid specialists. Perchlorate, a major component of rocket fuel, contaminates groundwater at many Department of Defense and NASA sites and those of their contractors. The chemical has also entered groundwater and the food chain in large quantities, in part through the past use of Chilean nitrate fertilizer. ...


I like perchlorate because it's my personal rocket fuel!

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Nov 28, 2008
from Washington Post (US):
Costs of Food Waste Pile Up
... Food waste has been a chronic problem for restaurants and grocery stores -- with millions of tons lost along the way as crops are hauled hundreds of miles, stored for weeks in refrigerators and prepared on hectic restaurant assembly lines. But the historically high price of commodities is making it an even bigger drag on the bottom line.... Roughly 30 percent of food in the United States goes to waste, costing some $48 billion annually, according to a Stockholm International Water Institute study. A 2004 University of Arizona study estimated that 40 to 50 percent of food in the United States is wasted. ...


This story ... makes me want to vomit!

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Nov 26, 2008
from London Independent:
3,000 dead from cholera in Zimbabwe
Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's President, is trying to hide the real extent of the cholera epidemic sweeping across his nation by silencing health workers and restricting access to the huge number of death certificates that give the same cause of death. A senior official in the health ministry told The Independent yesterday that more than 3,000 people have died from the water-borne disease in the past two weeks, 10 times the widely-reported death toll of just over 300....The way to prevent death is, for the Zimbabwean people, agonisingly simple: antibiotics and rehydration. But this is a country with a broken sewerage system and soap is hard to come by. Harare's Central Hospital officially closed last week, doctors and nurses are scarce and even those clinics offering a semblance of service do not have access to safe, clean drinking water and ask patients to bring their own. ...


Zimbab-we are all connected.

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Nov 23, 2008
from London Times:
Mugabe tries to hide cholera death toll
Doctors struggling to save the victims of a cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe despite a lack of basic drugs and intravenous drips vented their fury last week outside the Parirenyatwa hospital in Harare, the capital.... The response of President Robert Mugabe's failing government has been to cover up the scale of the problem and to send in riot police.... Last week the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs identified eight outbreaks and nine places where the number of cases was increasing. Its report concluded: "It is very likely with the current water and sanitation problems in the country, low capacity of the government to deal with the outbreak, glaring gaps in response, coupled with the rainy season that has started, cholera outbreaks could get catastrophic and claim many more lives." ...


Hate, fear and lies in the time of cholera.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Nov 21, 2008
from Washington Post:
New Rule Would Discount Warming as Risk Factor for Species
The Bush administration is finalizing changes to the Endangered Species Act that would ensure that federal agencies would not have to take global warming into account when assessing risks to imperiled plants and animals.... The main purpose of the new regulations, which were first unveiled in August, is to eliminate a long-standing provision of the Endangered Species Act that requires an independent scientific review by either the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of any federal project that could affect a protected species. Under the administration's proposal, individual agencies could decide on their own whether a project would harm an imperiled species. ...


Nor will gun shot wounds in their heads be considered a risk factor either!

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Nov 21, 2008
from Indianapolis Star:
Indiana lands on group's Top 50 list of mercury emitters
Three Indiana power plants have landed on an environmental group's tally of the 50 facilities in the nation that emit the greatest amount of poisonous mercury into the air and water. Together, the 50 plants last year released about 20 tons of mercury, which can cause permanent damage to brains, kidneys and developing fetuses, according to a report from the Environmental Integrity Project, a nonprofit that advocates for stricter enforcement of environmental regulations.... Indiana has no restrictions specifically addressing mercury emissions from power plants.... Environmental activists would like the state to do more to reduce emissions from power plants. ...


Maybe Hoosiers ought to get some of them restrictions!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Nov 20, 2008
from Financial Times:
Daewoo to cultivate Madagascar land for free
Daewoo Logistics of South Korea said it expected to pay nothing to farm maize and palm oil in an area of Madagascar half the size of Belgium, increasing concerns about the largest farmland investment of this kind. The Indian Ocean island will simply gain employment opportunities from Daewoo's 99-year lease of 1.3m hectares, officials at the company said. They emphasised that the aim of the investment was to boost Seoul's food security.... "It is totally undeveloped land which has been left untouched. And we will provide jobs for them by farming it, which is good for Madagascar," said Mr Hong. The 1.3m hectares of leased land is almost half the African country’s current arable land of 2.5m hectares. ...


Now there's a deal. Something tells me that there will be a few surprises ahead for that ecosystem.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Nov 20, 2008
from London Guardian:
President for 60 more days, Bush tearing apart protection for America's wilderness
George Bush is working at a breakneck pace to dismantle at least 10 major environmental safeguards protecting America's wildlife, national parks and rivers before he leaves office in January. With barely 60 days to go until Bush hands over to Barack Obama, his White House is working methodically to weaken or reverse an array of regulations that protect America's wilderness from logging or mining operations, and compel factory farms to clean up dangerous waste. In the latest such move this week, Bush opened up some 800,000 hectares (2m acres) of land in Rocky Mountain states for the development of oil shale, one of the dirtiest fuels on the planet. The law goes into effect on January 17, three days before Obama takes office. The timing is crucial. Most regulations take effect 60 days after publication, and Bush wants the new rules in place before he leaves the White House on January 20. That will make it more difficult for Obama to undo them. ...


Even if Bush can't read, apparently he can count!

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Nov 19, 2008
from Washington Post:
EPA Moves to Ease Air Rules for Parks
The Environmental Protection Agency is finalizing new air-quality rules that would make it easier to build coal-fired power plants, oil refineries and other major polluters near national parks and wilderness areas, even though half of the EPA's 10 regional administrators formally dissented from the decision and four others criticized the move in writing. Documents obtained by The Washington Post show that the administration's push to weaken Clean Air Act protections for "Class 1 areas" nationwide has sparked fierce resistance from senior agency officials. All but two of the regional administrators objecting to the proposed rule are political appointees. ...


What a crazy idea: fresh air at a park!

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Nov 14, 2008
from Chicago Tribune:
U.S. undercuts clean-air rule
Looking to bolster the fight against childhood lead poisoning, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last month approved a tough new rule aimed at clearing the nation's air of the toxic metal. A key part of the initiative is a new network of monitors that will track lead emissions from factories. But the Bush administration quietly weakened that provision at the last minute by exempting dozens of polluters from scrutiny, federal documents show. ...


Apparently, the Bush administration doesn't have lungs!

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Nov 2, 2008
from Conservation International, via EurekAlert:
Eastern Pacific tuna hang in the balance
Whether this 16-nation Commission will act to protect declining tuna stocks, or once again demonstrate their impotence to do so, remains to be seen. The fate of Pacific tuna stocks hangs in the balance. Tuna populations are showing signs of trouble in the eastern tropical Pacific. Bigeye tuna populations are falling to low levels, the average size of captured yellowfin tuna is in decline and high levels of very small juvenile tuna are being caught accidentally. The Commission's own scientific staff have issued repeated warnings about these signs and urged nations to collectively adopt measures that include establishment of closure periods for overall stock recoveries, special closure areas where fish are most reproductively active and limits on annual catches. Despite five attempts in two years, the Commission has yet to agree on a single measure to address overfishing. ...


If only there was a Viagra for Commissions like this.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Oct 31, 2008
from WTHR-13:
What's Floating in the River
Indianapolis - It's a rainy fall morning and the White River looks particularly murky. There's good reason. The dark, sludgy stuff that's floating down the river is coming straight from someone's toilet. Dirty little secret? No. Indianapolis and more than 100 other Indiana towns openly admit they dump human waste into scenic rivers and streams. ...


We Hoosiers might crap into our rivers, but we don't piss into the wind!

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Oct 26, 2008
from Guardian (UK):
Britain threatens plan for climate spy in space
A major programme to monitor climate change from space could be in jeopardy after it emerged that the British government is poised to slash funding for the project.... [Kopernicus satellite programme] has the specific purpose of providing accurate data for policymakers around the world. The first of the five satellites, packed with scientific instruments, Sentinel 1, is due to be sent into orbit in 2011. 'It's essential that we recognise that the Earth is changing and that we put an Earth-management plan in place. Kopernikus is that global view of a changing environment,' said Monks. ...


Cutting off an arm to save its finger.

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Oct 25, 2008
from Washington Post (US):
Bush Administration Rushes Regulatory Changes Before Time Is Up
The Bush administration is hurrying to push through regulatory changes in politically sensitive areas such as endangered-species protection, dismaying opponents on the left, just as conservatives were irritated by rules rushed out at the end of the Clinton administration. Proposals now in final stages of review at various federal agencies affect mining, endangered-species protection, health-care policy and other areas. In some cases, the administration has set unusually short deadlines for the public to comment -- so short that one agency summoned employees across the country to Washington this week to help agency leaders vet 200,000 comments in the space of four days. ...


To save time, they can just read the comments' headlines!

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Oct 24, 2008
from Sofia Echo (Bulgaria):
Massive ivory auctions to lead to new killing of elephants, conservationists warn
Ivory auctions that will take place in Namibia on October 28, Botswana on October 31, Zimbabwe on November 3, and South Africa on November 6 2008 have raised the concerns of international conservationists ... who said that the ivory auction was approved by members of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), despite an international outcry from scientists and conservationists.... "For some inexplicable reason, some people think that all elephant populations are adequately protected and thriving. Nothing could be further from the truth. For many of the most vulnerable elephant populations across Africa, any increased poaching pressure will almost certainly result in localised extinction in the near future," he said. ...


There's an elephant in the room, and he never forgets.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Oct 24, 2008
from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Critics slam chemical report
Lawmakers, scientists and advocacy groups intensified their criticism Thursday of a government report declaring bisphenol A to be safe....The Journal Sentinel reported Thursday that the draft was done primarily by representatives of the plastics industry and those with an interest in downplaying concerns about the chemical. Bisphenol A, used in baby bottles and other hard plastic, has been detected in the urine of 93 percent of Americans tested. Hundreds of studies have found it to cause health problems in laboratory animals, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, hyperactivity, autism and reproductive failure. ...


That's the fox guarding the henhouse with a bib around its neck!

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Oct 24, 2008
from McClatchy Newspapers:
EPA weakens new lead rule after White House objects
After the White House intervened, the Environmental Protection Agency last week weakened a rule on airborne lead standards at the last minute so that fewer known polluters would have their emissions monitored. The EPA on Oct. 16 announced that it would dramatically reduce the highest acceptable amount of airborne lead from 1.5 micrograms of lead per cubic meter to 0.15 micrograms. It was the first revision of the standard since EPA set it 30 years ago. However, a close look at documents publicly available, including e-mails from the EPA to the White House Office of Management and Budget, reveal that the OMB objected to the way the EPA had determined which lead-emitting battery recycling plants and other facilities would have to be monitored. EPA documents show that until the afternoon of Oct. 15, a court-imposed deadline for issuing the revised standard, the EPA proposed to require a monitor for any facility that emitted half a ton of lead or more a year. The e-mails indicate that the White House objected, and in the early evening of Oct. 15 the EPA set the level at 1 ton a year instead. ...


Even in a lame duck administration, it's business as usual, and more than just ducks are suffering!

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Oct 10, 2008
from U.S. News and World Report:
Global Warming Triggers an International Race for the Arctic
A new epoch is beginning at the top of the Earth, where the historic melting of the vast Arctic ice cap is opening a forbidding, beautiful, and neglected swath of the planet. Already, there is talk that potentially huge oil and natural gas deposits lie under the Arctic waters, rendered more accessible by the shrinking of ice cover. Valuable minerals, too. Sea lanes over the top of the world will dramatically cut shipping times and costs. Fisheries and tourism will shift northward. In short, the frozen, fragile north will never be the same. ...


And all this racing around will just accelerate further climate chaos!

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Sep 27, 2008
from Chicago Tribune:
Citing cost, USDA kills pesticide-testing program
WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration has abruptly halted a government program that tests the levels of pesticides in fruits, vegetables and field crops, arguing that the $8 million-a-year program is too expensive --a decision critics say could make it harder to protect consumers from chemicals in their food. Data from the 18-year-old Agricultural Chemical Usage Program administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture were collected until this year, and the Environmental Protection Agency used the data to set safe levels of pesticides in food. ...


Too bad their isn't a pesticide that's effective against the Bush administration. Oh wait. It's called voting.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Sep 16, 2008
from Scientific American:
Can Offshore Drilling Really Make the U.S. Oil Independent?
No one disputes that a lot of oil lies untapped under the rocky floors of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans off the U.S. coasts... The [Minerals Management Service] has estimated that there are around 18 billion barrels in the underwater areas now off-limits to drilling. That's significantly less than in oil fields open for business in the Gulf of Mexico, coastal Alaska and off the coast of southern California, where there are 10.1 billion barrels of known oil reserves as well as an estimated 85.9 billion more... But here's the catch: There is a chance that the MMS has miscalculated the amount of offshore oil, because its estimates are based on 30- to 40-year-old data. ...


They've been too busy servicing each other to come up with new estimates!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Sep 4, 2008
from Mother Jones:
Climate of Meddling
From Exxon-lobbyist memos to White House-deleted notes on the health impact of global warming, seven key dates in the Bush administration's eight-year scuffle with a green planet. ...


You mean Nero/Bush wasn't just fiddling while the planet burned?

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Aug 26, 2008
from KDRV:
Bush administration cuts spotted owl habitat 23 percent
The Bush administration has decided that the Northern Spotted Owl can get by with less old growth forest habitat as it struggles to get off the threatened species list. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Tuesday it would cut by 23 percent the federal forest land designated as critical habitat for the owl in Washington, Oregon and Northern California. Designating critical habitat for protection is a requirement of the Endangered Species Act. Meanwhile, owl numbers are dropping by 4 percent a year. ...


Hoo-ha! We're whuppin' that spotted owl!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Aug 12, 2008
from Washington Post:
Endangered Species Act Changes Give Agencies More Say
"The Bush administration yesterday proposed a regulatory overhaul of the Endangered Species Act to allow federal agencies to decide whether protected species would be imperiled by agency projects, eliminating the independent scientific reviews that have been required for more than three decades." ...


Scientists... nothing but a bunch of worrywarts!

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Aug 3, 2008
from American Sociological Association, via EurekAlert:
Toxic drugs, toxic system: Sociologist predicts drug disasters
Americans are likely to be exposed to unacceptable side effects of FDA-approved drugs such as Vioxx in the future because of fatal flaws in the way new drugs are tested and marketed, according to research to be presented today at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association (ASA). "Drug disasters are literally built into the current system of drug testing and approvals in the United States," said Donald Light.... "Recent changes in the system have only increased the proportion of new drugs with serious risks." ...


That might be the
Future Disaster Agency.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Jul 31, 2008
from Environmental Science and Technology:
Government pesticide and fertilizer data dropped
"The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has eliminated the only federal program that tracks the use of pesticides and fertilizers on American farms. The move has left scientists, industry groups, and public advocates surprised and confused about how to carry on their work without this free information. The canceled program was the only one to make freely available to the public nationwide data on the amount of pesticides and fertilizers applied to U.S. farms." ...


What we don't know can't hurt us!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Jul 17, 2008
from New York Times:
Interior Dept. Opens 2.6 Million Alaskan Acres for Oil Exploration
"The Interior Department on Wednesday made 2.6 million acres of potentially oil-rich territory in northern Alaska available for energy exploration... The decision will open up for drilling much of the northeast section of the Northeast National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, holding an estimated 3.7 billion barrels of oil, Tom Lonnie, Alaska state director for the Bureau of Land Management, said in a conference call with reporters." ...


This, my friends, is a caribou-boo.

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Jul 12, 2008
from National Research Council:
Restoration of Climate Sensors Needed
To continue the study of long-term climate change, NASA and NOAA need to restore a number of sensors that were previously planned for future Earth-observing satellites but cancelled [by the Bush Administration], according to a new report from the National Research Council. The report provides recommendations for a recovery strategy and stresses the need for a clearer national policy toward acquiring long-term climate records. ...


Without the satellites' information,
we won't have to worry nearly so much.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Jul 11, 2008
from Washington Post:
EPA Won't Act on Emissions This Year
"The Bush administration has decided not to take any new steps to regulate greenhouse gas emissions before the president leaves office, despite pressure from the Supreme Court and broad accord among senior federal officials that new regulation is appropriate now." ...


Oh well. We've gone this long, why not wait some more?

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Jun 29, 2008
from New York Times:
Citing Need for Assessments, U.S. Freezes Solar Energy Project
Faced with a surge in the number of proposed solar power plants, the federal government has placed a moratorium on new solar projects on public land until it studies their environmental impact, which is expected to take about two years.... "It doesn't make any sense," said Holly Gordon, vice president for legislative and regulatory affairs for Ausra, a solar thermal energy company in Palo Alto, Calif. "The Bureau of Land Management land has some of the best solar resources in the world. This could completely stunt the growth of the industry." ...


When all else fails, just delay.

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Jun 14, 2008
from Associated Press:
Companies get OK to annoy polar bears
"Less than a month after declaring polar bears a threatened species because of global warming, the Bush administration is giving oil companies permission to annoy and potentially harm them in the pursuit of oil and natural gas. The Fish and Wildlife Service issued regulations this week providing legal protection to seven oil companies planning to search for oil and gas in the Chukchi Sea off the northwestern coast of Alaska if "small numbers" of polar bears or Pacific walruses are incidentally harmed by their activities over the next five years." ...


They are going to badger these poor polar bears until the cows come home.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jun 3, 2008
from Washington Post (US):
Climate Findings Were Distorted, Probe Finds
An investigation by the NASA inspector general found that political appointees in the space agency's public affairs office worked to control and distort public accounts of its researchers' findings about climate change for at least two years, the inspector general's office said yesterday. The probe came at the request of 14 senators after The Washington Post and other news outlets reported in 2006 that Bush administration officials had monitored and impeded communications between NASA climate scientists and reporters. ...


This administration? Trying to control the message? Distorting the truth? Shocking!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, May 22, 2008
from Associated Press:
USDA axes the sole national survey to chart pesticide use
"Consumers lost a key source of information about what's sprayed on their food on Wednesday, the last day the government published a long-standing national survey that tracks the amount of pesticides used on everything from corn to apples. Despite opposition from prominent scientists, the nation's largest farming organizations and environmental groups, the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed Wednesday it plans to do away the program." ...


What we don't know surely can't hurt us!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Apr 28, 2008
from Globe and Mail (Canada):
Killer Sea Lice
Alarmed, Ms. Morton took out a dip net and pulled up dozens of wild juvenile pink salmon. They were bleeding from the eyeballs and the base of the fins. Most of them were covered with brown flecks -- juvenile sea lice. As they grow, changing their body shape every few days, these parasitic copepods strip mucus, scales and skin from the growing fish. While a full-grown salmon has an armour coating of scales and can survive an infestation, the parasites exhaust the young fish and quickly kill them off. Using hand seine nets to sample local waters, Ms. Morton established that the salmon farmers were raising millions of adult farmed Atlantic salmon along the migration routes of wild Pacific salmon - in exactly those inlets and estuaries where juvenile wild Pacific fattened up before going to sea. Suddenly, the decline of wild salmon populations did not seem like such a mystery: The 27 farms in the Broughton, had, by crowding normally nomadic fish into tightly packed nets, become ranches for sea lice, concentrating and fatally passing on parasites to wild salmon when they were at their most vulnerable. In 2002, government scientists predicted that 3.6 million pink salmon would return to the Broughton. Fewer than 150,000 did - a 97-per cent-population crash. ...


We're killing the species in order to save it.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Apr 24, 2008
from Science, via EurekAlert:
Scientists call for more access to biotech crop data
"Since 1996 more than a billion acres have been planted with biotech crops in the U.S.," said Michelle Marvier of Santa Clara University in Calif. "We don't really know what are the pros and cons of this important new agricultural technology. People on both sides of the debate about genetically engineered crops have been making a lot of claims. One side has been saying that biotech crops reduce insecticide use, reduce tillage and therefore the erosion of top soil. People on the other side say that biotech crops could hurt native species."... The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistical Service annually collects data documenting acreage planted to various crops in all 50 states.... In addition, the NASS annually interviews more than 125,000 farmers about their land use and the acreage planted in various biotech crops. "We're already spending the money to have these data collected. Let's make them available in the right format for researchers to use. It would be a relatively inexpensive additional step with enormous scientific and public benefit." ...


Transparency? Analysis of empirical data? Public benefit? Hmm.
And how do we make money off of that?

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Apr 2, 2008
from Yahoo News (US):
States suing EPA over global warming
Officials of 18 states are taking the EPA back to court to try to force it to comply with a Supreme Court ruling that rebuked the Bush administration for inaction on global warming.... In a petition prepared for filing Wednesday, the plaintiffs said last April's 5-4 ruling required the Environmental Protection Agency to decide whether to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide, from motor vehicles... The EPA has instead done nothing, they said. ...


Who'd have thought the lawyers would ride in to rescue the planet?

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Mar 28, 2008
from Los Angeles Times:
EPA chief bides time on court's decision
"EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson has shelved his agency's findings that greenhouse gases are a danger to the public, and on Thursday told Congress that he will initiate a lengthy public comment period about whether such emissions are a risk before responding to a U.S. Supreme Court order. The move means there is virtually no chance the Bush administration will act to regulate greenhouse gases in response to the high court's decision in the time left in office." ...


That's all we need: more emissions (lies and hot air) from the skeptics.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Mar 24, 2008
from Guardian (UK):
US authority failing to list endangered species
Conservation groups claim that Bush appointees have been deliberately making it harder to designate animals and plants as endangered, and have launched a series of lawsuits. Administration officials admit that there are about 280 species waiting to be added to the list....
  The Washington Post yesterday published internal documents from the interior department showing that officials have frequently overruled recommendations from scientists. The lack of recent designations could be motivated by various interests such as a desire not to see oil exploration or housing development shackled by a need to protect habitats that are home to threatened species. ...


Heckuva job, Dirk.

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Mar 22, 2008
from Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
FDA relied on industry studies to judge safety
"Ignoring hundreds of government and academic studies showing a chemical commonly found in plastic can be harmful to lab animals at low doses, the Food and Drug Administration determined the chemical was safe based on just two industry-funded studies that didn't find harm. In response to a congressional inquiry, Stephen Mason, the FDA's acting assistant commissioner for legislation, wrote in a letter that his agency's claim relied on two pivotal studies sponsored by the Society of the Plastics Industry, a subsidiary of the American Chemistry Council. ...


Those foxes at the FDA are watching the henhouse while scratching each other's backs.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Mar 18, 2008
from Associated Press:
Dioxin cleanup near Dow Chemical plant remains on slow track
"More than a century after Dow Chemical Co. began dumping dioxins into a river flowing past its mid-Michigan plant, the company and regulators are still debating how to cleanse a swath of waters and wetlands that now reaches 50 miles to Lake Huron. Dow acknowledges tainting the Tittabawassee and Saginaw rivers, their floodplains, portions of the city of Midland and Lake Huron's Saginaw Bay with dioxins -- chemical byproducts believed to cause cancer and damage reproductive and immune systems. But the company says it must finish measuring how much pollution exists -- and where -- before devising a cleanup plan. Government officials are pushing Dow to move faster, as some local residents forge ahead with a lawsuit against the chemical giant." ...


So....how about now, Dow?

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Mar 5, 2008
from Associated Press:
Industry trying to block smog cleanup
"WASHINGTON -- Big industries are waging an intense lobbying effort to block new, tougher limits on air pollution that is blamed for hundreds of heart attacks, deaths and cases of asthma, bronchitis and other breathing problems. The Environmental Protection Agency is to decide within weeks whether to reduce the allowable amount of ozone -- commonly referred to as smog -- in the air. A tougher standard would require hundreds of counties across the country to find new ways to reduce smog-causing emissions of nitrogen oxides and chemical compounds from tailpipes and smokestacks. Groups representing manufacturers, automakers, electric utilities, grocers and cement makers met with White House officials recently in a last-ditch effort to keep the health standard unchanged. They argued that tightening it would be costly and harm the economy in areas that will have to find additional air pollution controls." ...


Grocers? Grocers? We can understand the automakers and utilities carin' more for their bottom line than for reg'lar folks like me and you ... but the grocers? Say it ain't so, Joe!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jan 29, 2008
from The Guardian:
Bush opens 3m acres of Alaskan forest to logging
"The US government has announced plans to open more than 3m acres (about 5,000 square miles) of Alaskan wilderness to logging, mining and road building, angering environmental campaigners who say it will devastate the region. Supporters say the plan for the Tongass National Forest, a refuge for grizzly and black bears, wolves, eagles and wild salmon, will revive the state's timber industry. The Bush administration plan for the forest, the largest in the US at nearly 17m acres, would open 3.4m acres to logging, road building and other development, including about 2.4m acres that are currently remote and without roads. About 663,000 acres are in areas considered most valuable for timber production." ...


You'd think someone named "Bush" would have more affinity for the trees.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jan 28, 2008
from The Independent:
Big business says addressing climate change rates very low on the agenda
"Global warming ranks far down the concerns of the world's biggest companies, despite world leaders' hopes that they will pioneer solutions to the impending climate crisis, a startling survey will reveal this week. Nearly nine in 10 of them do not rate it as a priority, says the study, which canvassed more than 500 big businesses in Britain, the US, Germany, Japan, India and China. Nearly twice as many see climate change as imposing costs on their business as those who believe it presents an opportunity to make money. And the report's publishers believe that big business will concentrate even less on climate change as the world economy deteriorates. The survey demolishes George Bush's insistence that global warming is best addressed through voluntary measures undertaken by business ..." ...


So if world leaders can't do it, and big business isn't interested, then we figure it's up to us little people to take care of the planet. Of course, we might have to move the world leaders and big business out of the way...

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Jan 23, 2008
from New York Times:
U.S. Given Poor Marks on the Environment
"WASHINGTON -- A new international ranking of environmental performance puts the United States at the bottom of the Group of 8 industrialized nations and 39th among the 149 countries on the list. European nations dominate the top places in the ranking, which evaluates sanitation, greenhouse gas emissions, agricultural policies, air pollution and 20 other measures to formulate an overall score, with 100 the best possible. The top 10 countries, with scores of 87 or better, were led by Switzerland, Sweden, Norway and Finland. The others at the top were Austria, France, Latvia, Costa Rica, Colombia and New Zealand, the leader in the 2006 version of the analysis, which is conducted by researchers at Yale and Columbia Universities." ...


Our marks might be poor but hey we're popular, athletic and havin' our way with the ladies.

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