The Eco News Roundup brings stories and commentary about issues related to climate change, renewable energy and the environment.
Everyone should indeed be scared by what we are doing to the Arctic because it will accelerate global warming, speed up sea level rise, and make deadly superstorms like Sandy more frequent and more destructive (see “NOAA Bombshell: Warming-Driven Arctic Ice Loss Is Boosting Chance of Extreme U.S. Weather“).
One of the world’s biggest mining firms says that extreme weather caused by climate change is already impacting some of its assets, thus forcing the company to re-evaluate its investments in the coal sector.
Progressive leaders across the country are beginning to take action and look for ways to fight climate change. President Barack Obama is using provisions of the Clean Air Act to reduce pollution from new power plants. California and some Northeastern states—Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont—have regional programs that put a price on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas pollutants in the hope of reducing their usage. These are powerful steps in the right direction, but they alone cannot solve the challenge of climate change. Avoiding the most catastrophic consequences of global warming will require much broader action.
Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), the lead Republican on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, held a climate-denial press conference at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change on Thursday. Accompanying Inhofe were two rather questionable characters: an activist who believes the UN is starting the apocalypse and a British Lord who was banned from all UN climate conferences for impersonating the representative from Myanmar.
Life on Earth began at least 2.7 billion years ago, though maybe as much as 3.5 billion years ago, when simple microscopic organisms arose from the ooze. And, roughly 250 million years ago, the Earth came as close as it has ever been since to turning into a burning, lifeless world. Known as the Permian-Triassic boundary extinction, or, more dramatically, the Great Dying, 90 percent of all marine life, and 70 percent of all land animals were wiped out when the temperature soared and the oceans acidified.
The Nzema project, based in Ghana, will be able to provide electricity to more than 100,000 homes.
Construction work on the $400m (£248m) plant is due to start within 12 months.
The developers say that they are optimistic that finance for the project will be confirmed within six months.
Despite the overwhelming consensus among climate experts that human activity is contributing to rising global temperatures, 66 percent of Americans incorrectly believe there is “a lot of disagreement among scientists about whether or not global warming is happening.” The conservative media has fueled this confusion by distorting scientific research, hyping faux-scandals, and giving voice to groups funded by industries that have a financial interest in blocking action on climate change. Meanwhile, mainstream media outlets have shied away from the “controversy” over climate change and have failed to press U.S. policymakers on how they will address this global threat. When climate change is discussed, mainstream outlets sometimes strive for a false balance that elevates marginal voices and enables them to sow doubt about the science even in the face of mounting evidence.
“The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says a second round of testing indicates migrating pelicans picked up oil spill contaminants in the Gulf of Mexico.
An invasive grass species may be one reason fires are bigger and more frequent in certain regions of the western United States, according to a team of researchers. Researchers used satellite imagery to identify cheatgrass, a plant species accidentally introduced by settlers in the West during the 1800s, in a disproportionately high number of fires in the Great Basin, a 600,000 square-kilometer arid area in the West that includes large sections of Nevada, as well as parts of Utah, Colorado, Idaho, California and Oregon.
The ice sheet in West Antarctica is melting faster than expected. New observations published by oceanographers from the University of Gothenburg and the US may improve our ability to predict future changes in ice sheet mass. The study was recently published in the journal Nature Geoscience. A reduction of the ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland will affect the water levels of the world’s oceans
Satellite observations have revealed the first direct evidence of smoke from Arctic wildfires drifting over the Greenland ice sheet, tarnishing the ice with soot and making it more likely to melt under the sun. At the American Geophysical Union meeting this week, an Ohio State University researcher presented images from NASA’s Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO) satellite, which captured smoke from Arctic fires billowing out over Greenland during the summer of 2012.
Here are some other links you may find worthwhile:
• Climate Change News Digest
• Climate Progress from Center for American Progress
• Rocky Mountain Institute “an independent, entrepreneurial nonprofit think-and-do tank™ that drives the efficient and restorative use of resources.”
At BPI Campus our Progressive Agenda is:
1. People matter more than profits.
2. The earth is our home, not our trash can.
3. We need good government for both #1 and #2.
Reader Comments Welcome. Share Eco News stories you have seen here…please be sure to attribute them. Comments with violations of Fair Use guidelines may be edited.