The Eco News Roundup brings stories and commentary about issues related to climate change, renewable energy and the environment.
Following the recommendation of the ExxonMobil board of directors, shareholders voted against six resolutions that would have addressed climate change at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in Dallas on Wednesday.
The resolutions included electing a board member with expertise on climate science, enacting policies to limit global warming, paying special dividends rather than investing more in fossil fuel reserves, and publishing an annual report on how climate policies could affect the company financially.
Rejection of the initiatives was expected and continued more than a quarter century of opposition to shareholder resolutions by the company on climate change. While none of the resolutions directly related to climate change passed, one that would let minority shareholders nominate outsiders for seats on the board and could thereby provide a pathway for a climate expert to become a board member, did pass with approximately 60 percent of the vote.
One million solar power installations now dot America’s rooftops and landscape, an achievement being hailed as a milestone by advocates of solar energy. There were just 1,000 such projects at the turn of this century, and only six years ago, going solar cost twice as much.
Still, those one million installations deliver just 1 percent of electricity in the U.S., the world’s second-largest energy consumer after China. Globally, the figure is roughly the same. If the goal of keeping global warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius is to be met, then climate-changing emissions will have to drop by as much as 70 percent by mid-century.
Al Gore got stuck on a scissor lift. Studio execs fell asleep at a screening. And everybody hated the title. The amazing true story of the most improbable — and important — film of our time.
Editor’s Note: This is an entertaining and informative read.
Should We Respond to Climate Change Like We Did to WWII?
On December 7, 1941, Japan’s surprise attack on the American naval base at Pearl Harbor killed more than 2,000 people and drew the country into World War II. President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the War Production Board to oversee the mobilization, as factories that once produced civilian goods began churning out tanks, warplanes, ships, and armaments. Food, gasoline, even shoes were rationed, and the production of cars, vacuum cleaners, radios, and sewing machines was halted (the steel, rubber, and glass were needed for the war industries). Similar mobilizations occurred in England and the Soviet Union.
Today, some environmentalists want to see a similarly massive effort in response to a different type of existential threat: climate change.
Dartmouth College researchers are shedding light on the early chemical reactions in the organic sediments that would ultimately become the Marcellus Shale, a major source of natural gas and petroleum. The findings appear in the journal Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. The research extends an earlier study by the Dartmouth team. Both PDFs are available on request.
Water injected into shale formations in hydraulic fracturing returns with extraordinarily high total-dissolved-solids and high concentrations of the toxic metal barium. The hazardous wastewater is assumed to be partly due to chemicals introduced into injected freshwater when it mixes with highly saline brine naturally present in the rock. But in their earlier study, the researchers found that chemical reactions between injected freshwater and the fractured shale itself caused barium to leach directly from the fractured rock.
For the first time, researchers have found a person in the United States carrying bacteria resistant to antibiotics of last resort, an alarming development that the top U.S. public health official says could mean “the end of the road” for antibiotics.
The antibiotic-resistant strain was found last month in the urine of a 49-year-old Pennsylvania woman. Defense Department researchers determined that she carried a strain of E. coli resistant to the antibiotic colistin, according to a study published Thursday in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a publication of the American Society for Microbiology. The authors wrote that the discovery “heralds the emergence of a truly pan-drug resistant bacteria.”
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