The Eco News Roundup brings stories and commentary about issues related to climate change, renewable energy and the environment.
Strange sea creatures that resemble large pink thimbles are showing up on the coast of southeast Alaska for the first time after making their way north along the West Coast for the last few years.
Scientists say the creatures are pyrosomes, which are tropical, filter-feeding spineless creatures usually found along the equator. They appear to be one long pink tube, but in reality, they’re thousands of multi-celled creatures mushed together, generally about 6 inches (15 centimeters) long.
Pyrosomes have been working their way north, Ric Brodeur, a researcher with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told the Associated Press on Monday.
Brodeur, who is based at the agency’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Newport, Oregon, said pyrosomes were first seen on the Oregon coast in 2014 and every year since. More recently, the animals have made their way up farther north on the Washington state coast, Canada’s British Columbia and Alaska.
Jim Murphy, a biologist with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said pyrosomes spotted near Alaska this year marked the first documented presence of the animals that far north, and their appearance is cause for concern.
Researchers now know the difference half a degree can make. They can tell you why 1.5°C warming would be better than a 2°C climb in average global temperatures, because even half a degree Celsius could mean greater extremes of heat, more overwhelming rainfall and longer spells of warm weather.
And they know all this because they’ve seen it happen in the recent past. There is enough evidence, they say, in the observational record for the last half century to underline the importance of even half a degree.
In response to the dire threat posed by climate change, New Orleans released a climate action strategy on Friday that includes more than two dozen actions aimed at cutting the city’s greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030.
Cities must take the lead on climate programs in the wake of the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in his state of the city address on Thursday.
“There is no other city in the world that has more at stake than the city of New Orleans,” he said.
Melt season has begun in earnest in the Arctic. Scientists will spend the next few months watching sea ice turn into open water until the ice pack hits its nadir in early fall.
The vagaries of the weather and ocean currents will play a major role in determining where this year’s Arctic sea ice minimum ranks. But the steady drumbeat of climate change ensures that it will likely be among the lowest on record.
It’s stressful being an iceberg hanging on by a thread. If you want proof, look no further than the Larsen C ice shelf.
Just three miles stand between the crack that’s been cutting across the ice shelf since 2010 and open water. When it breaks through, it will cleave a trillion-ton iceberg. The stress of having a huge iceberg-to-be nearing its inevitable conclusion has caused that crack to crack up.
New satellite imagery shows a host of new cracks branching off the end of the main rift. According to scientists working on Project MIDAS, an effort that’s closely monitoring the ice shelf, that means there will likely be a swarm of smaller icebergs that break off with or shortly after the main iceberg does.
As President Trump mulled pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement on climate change earlier this year, supporters of bold policies to address global warming around the world feared that the U.S. withdrawal would hinder action on the issue.
But on Saturday, with the exception of Trump, the leaders of the world’s largest economies gathered at the G20 reaffirmed their commitment to fostering clean energy development and implementing the Paris Agreement on climate change. Instead of attracting other laggards, Trump’s decision freed the rest of the world to issue a strong Climate and Energy Action Plan for Growth Saturday that aims to address global warming — and measures aimed at appeasing Trump were mostly absent.
“In the end, the negotiations on climate reflect dissent — all against the United States of America,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters following the summit, according to a Reuters report.
California’s hard-charging green governor is shaking things up once again on the world stage.
As President Donald Trump and other world leaders gathered in Hamburg, Germany, for the G20 summit, Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday made waves by telling the world that Trump — who has decided to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Paris climate accord — does not speak for most Americans when it comes to dealing with environmental concerns.
Then Brown announced that California would host a global summit on climate change in San Francisco in September.
Conservation groups Wednesday expanded a lawsuit challenging a U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management plan to permit fracking in Ohio’s only national forest.
The groups are challenging a new 1,147-acre March 2017 lease sale in Wayne National Forest and adding claims that the federal fracking plans violate the Endangered Species Act, threatening animals in the forest and downstream.
“Federal officials should not be putting corporate profits ahead of endangered species, safe drinking water and public health,” Taylor McKinnon with the Center for Biological Diversity, said. “The government is violating its own laws to pave the way for this dangerous fracking plan, and we can’t let that happen.”
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