The Eco News Roundup brings stories and commentary about issues related to climate change, renewable energy and the environment.
Frigid weather was largely to blame for making 2011 the second-deadliest year on record for Florida’s endangered manatees.
Killer whales in Puget Sound aren’t doing very well. They were placed on the endangered species list in 2005, and there are several hypotheses for why they’re not recovering.
In Puget Sound, a team of researchers is relying on a secret weapon with a killer nose to figure out what’s wrong with the orcas in Northwestern waters.
There is another reason to welcome the Environmental Protection Agency’s new air toxics rules imposing limits on the pollutants for coal-fired power plants. Air toxic chemicals rose 16 percent in 2010, according to a report released yesterday by the Environmental Protection Agency, with metal mining was largely responsible for the increase. Both dioxins, which can cause cancer, and landfill disposal saw a considerable uptick — 10 percent and 18 percent respectively
Two of the Obama administration’s clean energy initiatives are poised to create more than 68,000 jobs, and even more temporary jobs, over the next few years. Both initiatives — which include the Environmental Protection Agency’s toxic pollution rule and the Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program for renewables — are under attack from the right, labeled as job-killing programs. However, the data shows the programs are poised to create far more jobs than the much-touted Keystone XL pipeline numbers. Although pipeline proponents claim it will create “tens of thousands of jobs,” upon closer examination, the pipeline would only lead to an approximate 6,000 temporary jobs:
Fueled by billions of tons of greenhouse pollution, a surge of record warmth has flooded the United States, shattering records from southern California to North Dakota. “Temperatures have reached up to 40 degrees above early January averages in North Dakota,” the Weather Channel reports. Cities are seeing late-April temperatures at the start of January — Minot, ND hit 61 degrees, Aberdeen, SD hit 63 degrees, and Williston, ND hit 58 degrees, all-time record highs for the month of January.
Ohio ended 2011 with a magnitude 4.0 earthquake on New Year’s Eve, the second quake to strike the area within a week and the 11th of the year. That earthquake, the most recent and the strongest, was traced back to the fluid injection wells at a fracking site in Youngstown, Ohio. Indeed, all 11 earthquakes occurred “within two miles of the injection wells.”
Now, state officials are shutting down the injection wells and letting the waste fluids that were injected to “bubble back to the surface in an effort to relieve underground pressure.”
Canada faced fresh calls to shut down its commercial seal hunt on Thursday, following new evidence that death rates among seal pups had dramatically increased due to thinning winter sea ice.
Recent data from the federal Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) shows that toxic chemical releases rose in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. The 2010 TRI reports how over 600 chemicals on the TRI list were managed, where they ended up, and how 2010 releases compare to 2009.
The 2010 TRI National Analysis shows that TRI releases rose 16 percent across the nation between 2009 and 2010, reversing a downward trend from recent years. Similarly, toxic chemicals releases rose in all four EPA Region 10 states (Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington) compared to 2009
Coral reefs are among the most diverse and valuable ecosystems on the planet. They cover less than 0.2 percent of the ocean floor but harbor almost a quarter of all marine species. They’re also a key source of food, income and coastal protection for around 500 million people worldwide.
But the reefs are increasingly at risk. A 2008 study by the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network said that a fifth of the world’s coral reefs have died or been destroyed.
If the tiny archipelago of the Maldives disappears below rising sea levels caused by global warming, the nation’s president is warning Australia to prepare for a wave of climate refugees. President Mohamed Nasheed said his government is considering Australia, as well as Sri Lanka and India, as possible new homes if sea levels rise so high that the nation’s islands are no longer inhabitable. The country has a sovereign wealth fund to buy land overseas and finance the relocation of 350,000 people living in the Maldives. ”It is increasingly becoming difficult to sustain the islands, in the natural manner that these islands have been,” Nasheed told the Sydney Morning Herald.
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.
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