December 11, 2013, from San Francisco Chronicle
...About 48 million people a year in the United States come down with food-borne illnesses, and more than half of those illnesses can be traced to food from restaurants, delis, banquet halls and schools, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
December 11, 2009, from Christian Science Monitor
If they were to take out a classified ad, it would read something like this: "Wanted: safe, willing home for 40,000 metric tons of nuclear waste. Must be Canadian. Phone for details."... Canada, like the United States, is seeking a long-term solution for storing spent nuclear fuel, which will remain toxic for more than 10,000 years. But the Canadian approach to finding a central depository site has fundamental differences, most strikingly that potential host communities must volunteer. But, like the stalled US effort, its success or failure will bear on any decision to expand the country's nuclear power sector.
December 11, 2014, from BBC
Catholic bishops from around the world are calling for an end to fossil fuel use and increased efforts to secure a global climate treaty.
Catholics, they say, should engage with the process leading to a proposed new deal to be signed in Paris next year.
The statement is the first time that senior church figures from every continent have issued such a call.
December 11, 2013, from London Guardian
The political temperature in the Arctic rose on Tuesday when Vladimir Putin vowed to step up Russia's military presence in the region in response to a claim by Canada to the north pole.
In typically trenchant style, the Russian president told his defence chiefs to concentrate on building up infrastructure and military units in the Arctic. He said the region was again key to Russia's national and strategic interests, following a retreat in the post-Soviet period.
December 11, 2013, from Politico
In news sure to deflate the hopes of climate activists, green energy advocate John Podesta will recuse himself from issues related to the Keystone XL oil pipeline when he begins working as a special adviser to President Barack Obama, a White House aide confirmed to POLITICO late Tuesday.
Environmentalists had spent Tuesday cheering the White House's selection of Podesta as an adviser on issues including climate and health care. His opposition to the pipeline is well known, fueling speculation that his new role portended a rejection of the project -- much to the dismay of Keystone's supporters.
December 11, 2013, from Huffington Post
U.S. Supreme Court justices offered President Barack Obama's administration some encouragement on Tuesday as they weighed the lawfulness of a federal regulation limiting air pollution that crosses state lines, mostly emissions from coal-fired power plants.
Although it was unclear how the court would rule, a majority of the eight justices hearing the case at points in the 90-minute argument voiced some support for the regulation, which has been challenged by some states and industry groups.
December 11, 2013, from Guardian
A new greenhouse gas that is 7,000 times more powerful than carbon dioxide at warming the Earth has been discovered by researchers in Toronto.
The newly discovered gas, perfluorotributylamine (PFTBA), has been in use by the electrical industry since the mid-20th century....
"This is a warning to us that this gas could have a very very large impact on climate change - if there were a lot of it. Since there is not a lot of it now, we don't have to worry about it at present, but we have to make sure it doesn't grow and become a very large contributor to global warming."....
"PFTBA is just one example of an industrial chemical that is produced but there are no policies that control its production, use or emission," Hong said. "It is not being regulated by any type of climate policy."
December 11, 2012, from University of California - Berkeley
When it comes to climate change, deforestation and toxic waste, the assumption has been that conservative views on these topics are intractable. But new research from the University of California, Berkeley, suggests that such viewpoints can be changed after all, when the messages about the need to be better stewards of the land are couched in terms of fending off threats to the "purity" and "sanctity" of Earth and our bodies.
December 11, 2009, from PhysOrg.com
In 1979, the National Academy of Sciences issued a report estimating that global average temperatures would increase between 2 and 3.5 degrees Celsius by the middle of the 21st century if carbon dioxide concentrations were to double. This report, Carbon Dioxide and Climate: A Scientific Assessment, became known as the "Charney report" after the report committee's chair.... One of the first climate change assessments designed for policymakers, the Charney report found that regional shifts in climate would be significant, particularly in high latitudes where warming would exceed the global average. The report also found that the deep oceans' capacity to absorb heat had been underestimated, and that the rates of circulation between the upper oceans and the cold deeper oceans would slow the rate of warming.
December 11, 2009, from Bloomberg News
Jeremy Brown, a fisherman from the Pacific Northwest, is pulling things from the ocean he says are so disturbing that he came to Washington to warn U.S. lawmakers about it.... the ocean is becoming more acidic because of carbon-dioxide emissions that are damaging coral reefs, decimating populations of tiny animals at the base of the food chain and eating away at the shells of clams, mussels and oysters.
"Every so often we snag a piece of coral on the gear," Brown, of Bellingham, Washington, said in an interview. "It doesn't look healthy, the color has gone out of it. The evidence is that we have instabilities in the system, and this last year was really scary."...Small snails and other tiny animals at the base of the food chain are disappearing at alarming rates, jeopardizing the health of pink salmon and other fish that feed on them...
December 11, 2009, from National Geographic News
A decade ago, global climate change was largely considered a problem for the distant future. But it seems that future has come sooner than predicted. ...In 1997, a study published in the journal Nature tallied the value of 17 services provided by the environment, including water purification through wetlands, pollination, and recreation. The total was estimated at U.S. $33 trillion.
The findings were largely ignored by policy makers, according to Stuart Pimm, a conservation biologist at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, who wrote an accompanying perspective piece on the study.
Here we are just over a decade later and people are talking about tens of billions of dollars in financing to help developing countries do things like reduce carbon emissions from deforestation, he said.
To me, that's the story of the decade, added Pimm...
December 11, 2009, from USGS
The climate may be 30-50 percent more sensitive to atmospheric carbon dioxide in the long term than previously thought, according to a recent study published in Nature Geoscience.
Projections over the next hundreds of years of climate conditions, including global temperatures, may need to be adjusted to reflect this higher sensitivity.... These underestimates occurred because the long-term sensitivity of the Earth system was not accurately taken into account. In these earlier periods, Earth had more time to adjust to some of the slower impacts of climate change. For example, as the climate warms and ice sheets melt, Earth will absorb more sunlight and continue to warm in the future since less ice is present to reflect the sun.
December 11, 2011, from Nature.com
Ocean acidification -- caused by climate change -- looks likely to damage crucial fish stocks. Two studies published today in Nature Climate Change reveal that high carbon dioxide concentrations can cause death and organ damage in very young fish.
The work challenges the belief that fish, unlike organisms with shells or exoskeletons made of calcium carbonate, will be safe as marine CO2 levels rise....
"These two studies are part of a growing trend that realizes that the broader effects of ocean acidification are much more than just calcification," says Donald Potts, a coral-reef biologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
December 11, 2013, from The Hill
More American homes installed solar panels in the third quarter of this year than ever before, with 52 percent more going on line than in the same period last year, according to a new report. The report, from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association, finds that 31,000 American homes installed solar panels in the third quarter.
Overall, the U.S. installed 930 megawatts worth of solar panels, up 35 percent from the same time last year.
The U.S. is expected to install more solar panels than world leader Germany for the first time in 15 years, the report finds.
December 11, 2012, from University of Delaware and Delaware Technical Community College
Renewable energy could fully power a large electric grid 99.9 percent of the time by 2030 at costs comparable to today's electricity expenses, according to new research by the University of Delaware and Delaware Technical Community College. A well-designed combination of wind power, solar power and storage in batteries and fuel cells would nearly always exceed electricity demands while keeping costs low, the scientists found.
December 11, 2011, from Guardian
The loans in euros, dollars and pounds will be called in within days, weeks, and months. But the environmental debt - run up by many decades of dumping carbon dioxide waste in the atmosphere - won't be due for full repayment before 2020, according to the plan from Durban. If this roadmap to agree a global deal to tackle climate change by 2015, which would take force by 2020, is a triumph, it is a pitiful one. It aspires to achieve in four year's time what was deemed essential by the world's governments in 2007, but crashed at the Copenhagen summit in 2009.
That eight-year failure is why the ecological debt will inevitably transform into a new economic debt dwarfing our current woes. Like a loan-shark's debt, the cost of halting global warming - and coping with the impacts already certain - spirals higher and higher the longer you leave repayment. At the moment, as record rises in carbon emissions show, we are paying back nothing.