ApocaDocs
Today is February 8, 2023.
On this day (02/8), we posted 14 stories, over the years 2009-2016.


Converging Emergencies: From 2009 to 2016, 'Doc Jim and 'Doc Michael spent 30 to 90 minutes nearly every day, researching, reading, and joking about more than 8,000 news stories about Climate Chaos, Biology Breach, Resource Depletion, and Recovery. (We also captured stories about Species Collapse and Infectious Disease, but in this "greatest hits of the day" instantiation, we're skipping the last two.)
      We shared those stories and japes daily, at apocadocs.com (see our final homepage, upon the election of Trump).
      The site was our way to learn about what humans were doing to our ecosystem, as well our way to try to help wake up the world.
      You could call this new format the "we knew it all back then, but nobody wanted to know we knew it" version. Enjoy these stories and quips from a more hopeful time, when the two ApocaDocs imagined that humanity would come to its senses in time -- so it was just fine to make fun of the upcoming collapse.

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Biology
Breach


February 8, 2014, from WFYI

EPA: Harding Street Plant Responsible For Most Of County's Pollution

I give Harding Street a B+ in spoiling our environment!
A new report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says one Indianapolis power plant is responsible for most of Marion County's pollution. The Agency finds the Harding Street Power Plant caused 88 percent of toxic industrial pollution in the county in 2012. That ranks as one of the worst 100 polluters among electric utilities nationwide and Jodi Perras of the Sierra Club says it is evidence the facility needs to shut down.


February 8, 2012, from Mother Jones

The Frog of War

Don't knock it if you haven't tried it.
Darnell lives deep in the basement of a life sciences building at the University of California-Berkeley, in a plastic tub on a row of stainless steel shelves. He is an African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis, sometimes called the lab rat of amphibians. Like most of his species, he's hardy and long-lived, an adept swimmer, a poor crawler, and a voracious eater. He's a good breeder, too, having produced both children and grandchildren. There is, however, one unusual thing about Darnell. He's female. Genetically, Darnell is male. But after being raised in water contaminated with the herbicide atrazine at a level of 2.5 parts per billion--slightly less than what's allowed in our drinking water--he developed a female body, inside and out. He is also the mother of his children, having successfully mated with other males and spawned clutches of eggs.


February 8, 2009, from Associated Press

DEP uncertain if coal slurry injection is safe

Something tells me ... I dunno... a "chemical soup" might -- just might -- not be so good for ya...
Two years after it was charged to do so, and 13 months after its original deadline, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection remains unable to answer a question that worries thousands in the southern coalfields: Are water supplies and human health at risk when a chemical soup from the cleaning of coal is pumped into worked-out underground mines? "We have some concerns, to be quite honest with you," DEP Director Randy Huffman told The Associated Press about coal slurry injection. "We have questions we're trying to get some answers to, to make sure it's safe." Yet coal operators are still permitted to inject slurry at 15 locations. The DEP cannot say precisely what's in that waste, how much is injected annually, or whether and where it migrates. Nor is it under any pressure to do so: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency hasn't studied the practice in a decade and said in 2002 its existing rules were adequate to protect groundwater.


February 8, 2009, from London Independent

New nuclear plants will produce far more radiation

No matter how deep you bury it ...
New nuclear reactors planned for Britain will produce many times more radiation than previous reactors that could be rapidly released in an accident, The Independent on Sunday can reveal. The revelations -- based on information buried deep in documents produced by the nuclear industry itself -- calls into doubt repeated assertions that the new European Pressurised Reactors (EPRs) will be safer than the old atomic power stations they replace. Instead they suggest that a reactor or nuclear waste accident, [sic] althouguh less likely to happen, could have even more devastating consequences in future; one study suggests that nearly twice as many people could die.

Climate
Chaos


February 8, 2012, from MSNBC

NASA satellites show how our icy world is melting

And they say we have a fresh-water problem. I'm up to my knees in it!
The melt-off from the world's ice sheets, ice caps and glaciers over eight years of the past decade would have been enough to cover the United States in about 18 inches (46 centimeters) of water, according to new research based on the most-comprehensive analysis of satellite data yet. Data, collected for the years 2003 through 2010, indicates that melting ice raised sea levels worldwide by an average of 1.48 millimeters (0.06 inches) each year. The loss of ice from Greenland and Antarctica has already been measured using satellite data, but the new analysis revealed that melting ice elsewhere accounted for about 0.41 mm (0.016 inches) of the annual rise.... The new data confirmed that most of the melting happened on ice-covered Greenland and Antarctica, where enough ice melted to raise sea levels by 1.06 millimeters (0.042 inches) per year between January 2003 and December 2010, the study period....


February 8, 2012, from Nature

Air sampling reveals high emissions from gas field

This natural gas leak is the Mother of all Flatulence!
When US government scientists began sampling the air from a tower north of Denver, Colorado, they expected urban smog -- but not strong whiffs of what looked like natural gas. They eventually linked the mysterious pollution to a nearby natural-gas field, and their investigation has now produced the first hard evidence that the cleanest-burning fossil fuel might not be much better than coal when it comes to climate change. Led by researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the University of Colorado, Boulder, the study estimates that natural-gas producers in an area known as the Denver-Julesburg Basin are losing about 4 percent of their gas to the atmosphere -- not including additional losses in the pipeline and distribution system. This is more than double the official inventory, but roughly in line with estimates made in 2011 that have been challenged by industry. And because methane is some 25 times more efficient than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere, releases of that magnitude could effectively offset the environmental edge that natural gas is said to enjoy over other fossil fuels.


February 8, 2009, from Guardian (UK)

Carbon price falls to new low

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

Resource
Depletion


February 8, 2012, from MarketWatch

How you can profit from the end of civilization: Doomsday Capitalists' winning strategy commentary

Investment strategy... is destiny.
Doomsday Capitalists know how to get rich by playing the short-term stock market and ignoring long-term warnings of a global economic collapse. How? They have a secret weapon, a Doomsday Capitalists Winning Strategy.... So how can average Main Street investors build a winning portfolio? ... Start by thinking about Mad Max and Swiss Family Robinson. ... Then add a positive spin to Diamond's 12-part analysis of the historical collapse of civilizations. ... Mix in the Doomsday Capitalists short-term strategy. ... Ignore future consequences because you know you won't be around later, and hope new solutions will emerge through new technologies?. Well folks, if Biggs can achieve this goal successfully for Super Rich clients who are preparing their well-stocked farming compounds for the "collapse of the civilization," you can too. Start by picking some blue-chip stocks that fit Diamond's 12-part "Collapse Equation," hoping that while Diamond warns that throughout history politicians inevitably fail to plan or act in time to avoid a collapse, this time, maybe, just maybe, our profit-making capitalist giants will finally wake up to Adam Smith's vision and protect both their own self-interest and the public interest, thus reversing the inevitable historical trend into a collapse....


February 8, 2012, from Bill McKibben, on TomDispatch

The Great Carbon Bubble

That's twenty trillion dollars of economic development!
Still, [the energy companies] could theoretically invest all that cash in new clean technology or research and development for the same. As it happens, though, they've got a deeper problem, one that's become clear only in the last few years. Put briefly: their value is largely based on fossil-fuel reserves that won't be burned if we ever take global warming seriously. When I talked about a carbon bubble at the beginning of this essay, this is what I meant. Here are some of the relevant numbers, courtesy of the Capital Institute: we're already seeing widespread climate disruption, but if we want to avoid utter, civilization-shaking disaster, many scientists have pointed to a two-degree rise in global temperatures as the most we could possibly deal with. If we spew 565 gigatons more carbon into the atmosphere, we'll quite possibly go right past that reddest of red lines. But the oil companies, private and state-owned, have current reserves on the books equivalent to 2,795 gigatons -- five times more than we can ever safely burn. It has to stay in the ground. Put another way, in ecological terms it would be extremely prudent to write off $20 trillion worth of those reserves. In economic terms, of course, it would be a disaster, first and foremost for shareholders and executives of companies like ExxonMobil (and people in places like Venezuela). If you run an oil company, this sort of write-off is the disastrous future staring you in the face as soon as climate change is taken as seriously as it should be, and that's far scarier than drought and flood. It's why you'll do anything -- including fund an endless campaigns of lies -- to avoid coming to terms with its reality.


February 8, 2011, from Reuters

Milwaukee, Chicago Areas May Face Water Shortages: Report

The sad fate / of the not so Great / Lakes
The Great Lakes region, the world's largest freshwater system, could face local water shortages in the Chicago and Milwaukee areas due to increased demand and environmental changes, the U.S. Geological Survey said on Monday. Water levels in Chicago and Milwaukee could drop by an additional 100 feet over the next 30 years due to increased demand from pumping of groundwater that has already reduced groundwater levels as much as 1,000 feet, the report found... The five Great Lakes make up 84 percent of the fresh surface water in North America overall.

Recovery


February 8, 2013, from Smithsonian Magazine

Minnesota's Moose Are Missing, And No One Really Knows Why

It's obvious to me that Boris and Natasha are involved.
More than half of Minnesota's moose population has disappeared in the past two years, says the Minnesota's Department of Natural Resources, a striking drop that only adds to a long trend of the species' decline in the region. According to the DNR, a survey conducted last month suggests that there are just 2,760 moose left in the state, a drop from the 4,230 estimated moose of 2012. And over the past seven years, Minnesota's moose population has shrunk nearly 70 percent. The natural resources department doesn't really know what is causing the population to plummet, says NBC News, but they've put a freeze on moose hunting until they can figure out what's going on.


February 8, 2011, from New York Times

Climate Scientist Sues Skeptic for Libel

He "stands by the story" even in the face of overwhelming evidence. Funny, that.
A prominent Canadian climate scientist is suing a leading climate skeptic for libel, arguing that an article published online in January contained false and malicious claims. Andrew Weaver, a climate modeler at the University of Victoria, filed the suit against Tim Ball, a former professor of climatology at the University of Winnepeg and a vocal critic of the science linking man-made emissions to global warming, over an article published by the Canada Free Press, a conservative Web site. The article described Dr. Weaver, who served as a lead author of the 2007 United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, as lacking a basic understanding of climate science and incorrectly stated that he would not take part in the next I.P.C.C. panel because of concerns about its credibility. Dr. Weaver is already involved in the preparation of the next report from the panel and has never said that he was ending his involvement with it. Dr. Ball's article has been removed from the Canada Free Press site, which published a long retraction and apology to Dr. Weaver after being contacted by the scientist's attorney.... "I stand by the story," said Dr. Ball, who was prominently featured as a climate change expert in the 2007 film "The Great Global Warming Swindle."


February 8, 2009, from Carlisle Sentinel

Anti-idling truck law goes into effect

Idle emissions are the devil's parking lot.
As of Friday, most trucks and buses are no longer allowed to sit with their engines running for more than five minutes out of every hour. The enactment of statewide legislation was sweet and long-awaited news for members of the Clean Air Board of Central Pennsylvania (CAB), which advocated such a bill for two years before it was passed in October 2008. "We had our usual monthly public meeting on Thursday night, and we were celebrating," said CAB board member Rev. Duane Fickeisen of Unitarian Universalists of Cumberland Valley. CAB's emphasis has been on reducing the level of PM 2.5, a fine air particulate that is produced by diesel engines and linked to a variety of heart and lung ailments, and Fickeisen said he thinks the new law will help but not cure the problem.


February 8, 2009, from McClatchy Newspapers

Citizen scientists' notes document affects of climate change

It takes a village ... of nerds...
WASHINGTON -- It has to do with brown-headed cowbirds and clear-cut forests, lilacs and wildfires, vineyards in the Rhine Valley, marmots, dandelions, tadpoles, cherry trees around the Tidal Basin in Washington and musty old records stuffed in shoe boxes in people's closets and stacked on museum shelves. As scientists track global warming, they're using sometimes centuries-old data to assess its impact on plants, animals, insects, fish, reptiles and amphibians. Increasingly, they're discovering that it can take only one seemingly insignificant change to disrupt an entire ecosystem. "People talk about a 1- or 2-degree rise in temperature and it's inconsequential to us. Who cares?" said Greg Jones, an environmental studies professor at Southern Oregon University who's been studying wine grapes. "But in an ecosystem it can have dramatic effects." As the study of phenology, or life cycles, attracts growing attention, researchers are turning more and more to citizen scientists for help.