The Eco News Roundup brings stories and commentary about issues related to climate change, renewable energy and the environment.
The federal government could soon give the final go-ahead for Royal Dutch Shell to begin drilling for oil in the Arctic Ocean. Shell has spent $4 billion since 2007 to prepare for this work, and is hoping to tap into vast new deposits of oil.
But the plan to drill exploratory wells is controversial — opposed by environmental groups and some indigenous people as well.
WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats blocked a Republican-backed move Wednesday to scrap EPA regulations on mercury and toxic chemical emissions from coal power plants, unswayed by the contention that the rules are killing jobs, not saving lives.
MIAMI — Everglades restoration is finally moving forward but the struggling system still needs more water – and fast, according to a progress report on the $13.5 billion project released Thursday.
WASHINGTON — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack plans to announce Wednesday that North Carolina and New York each will receive about $4 million for farmers growing crops used to produce energy.
For most people, Borneo conjures up images of a wild and distant land of rainforests, exotic beasts, and nomadic tribes. But that place increasingly exists only in one’s imagination, for the forests of the world’s third-largest island have been rapidly and relentlessly logged, burned, and bulldozed in recent decades, leaving only a sliver of its once-magnificent forests intact.
With aging coal-fired U.S. power plants shutting down, major American coal companies are exporting ever-larger amounts of coal to China. Now, plans to build two new coal-shipping terminals on the West Coast have set up a battle with environmentalists who want to steer the world away from fossil fuels.
A groundbreaking new study led by UCLA climate expert Alex Hall shows that climate change will cause temperatures in the Los Angeles region to rise by an average of 4 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit by the middle of this century, tripling the number of extremely hot days in the downtown area and quadrupling the number in the valleys and at high elevations.
The ancient reserves of methane gas seeping from the melting Arctic ice cap told Jeff Chanton and fellow researchers what they already knew: As the permafrost thaws, there is a release of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that causes climate warming. The trick was figuring out how much, said Chanton, the John W. Winchester Professor of Oceanography at Florida State University.
Carbon stored in Arctic tundra could be released into the atmosphere by new trees growing in the warmer region, exacerbating climate change, scientists have revealed. The Arctic is getting greener as plant growth increases in response to a warmer climate. This greater plant growth means more carbon is stored in the increasing biomass, so it was previously thought the greening would result in more carbon dioxide being taken up from the atmosphere, thus helping to reduce the rate of global warming.
A portion of the groundwater in the upper Patapsco aquifer underlying Maryland is over a million years old. A new study suggests that this ancient groundwater, a vital source of freshwater supplies for the region east of Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, was recharged over periods of time much greater than human timescales. “Understanding the average age of groundwater allows scientists to estimate at what rate water is re-entering the aquifer to replace the water we are currently extracting for human use,” explained USGS Director Marcia McNutt. “This is the first step in designing sustainable practices of aquifer management that take into account the added challenges of sea level rise and increased human demand for quality water supplies.”
Global warming may cause more extinctions than predicted if scientists fail to account for interactions among species in their models, Yale and UConn researchers argue in Science. “Currently, most models predicting the effects of climate change treat species separately and focus only on climatic and environmental drivers,” said Phoebe Zarnetske, the study’s primary author and a postdoctoral fellow at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. “But we know that species don’t exist in a vacuum. They interact with each other in ways that deeply affect their viability.”
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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