Archive for January, 2012

 

Winter’s been in hibernation in most places (LA Times), including Yosemite Park.

Chinese air pollution is getting more attention (NY Times).

Microplastics threaten shorelines (BBC). Meanwhile, ocean debris wreaks havoc on an exquisite Mexican beach (LA Times).

The White House proposes more energy tax breaks (NY Times).

More and more parts of the oceans are being fished (BBC).

California strengthens auto emission rules (LA Times). Meanwhile, more retailers are installing electric vehicle charging stations.

 

BP will have to cover many of the spill claims made against the rig’s owner (Washington Post).

The word “fracking” is ungood, says the energy industry (Washington Post).

The UK releases a comprehensive climate change assessment (BBC).

The search for a nuclear waste storage site continues (NY Times).

The search for a UN climate accord shows signs of life (NY Times).

The guitar industry is splintered over a wood protection law (LA Times). Meanwhile, the administration finalizes new rules for national forests (Washington Post).

An electric car battery maker goes under, despite Obama administration backing (Washington Post).

The tropics may be reaching “peak timber” (BBC).

Just one mention of climate change during President Obama’s state of the union speech this week? Well, I suppose that’s one more than last year from a president who was elected with a promise to change our country’s stance on climate change.

There is no such audacity leading up to this year’s election and that was made clear during the speech. The president knows there is no chance of striking an agreement and he all but admitted defeat on the topic.

“The differences in this chamber may be too deep right now to pass a comprehensive plan to fight climate change,” Obama said, according to prepared remarks. “But there’s no reason why Congress shouldn’t at least set a clean energy standard that creates a market for innovation. So far, you haven’t acted.”

Heck, some say the president does less than President Bush on the topic.

On average, Obama has mentioned the words environment, climate change and global warming only once in his state of the union speeches. Clinton had an average of six mentions, while the former oil man Bush –who famously used his 2006 speech to lament America’s addiction to oil– mentioned climate change and environment on average twice.

It’s clear where he personally stands on the topic – a stance he made sure to cement by denying the Keystone XL pipeline last week. But aside from using his executive powers to make such decrees or direct the EPA, he’s been unable to act in cooperation with Congress.

 

 

 

The EU will ban purchases of Iranian oil (BBC). Its impact is questionable (BBC).

Gen Y car buyers like hybrids with lots of technology (LA Times).

Heating oil prices are crippling the Northeast (NY Times).

Environmentalists say the UK’s nuclear power subsidies are unlawful (BBC).

ConEd begins a $2.6 billion smart grid (NY Times).

An investigation finds that the Chevy Volt is safe (Washington Post).

Space junk is a growing problem (LA Times).

The Keystone XL pipeline is dead for now (Washington Post). Still, totally stopping the pipeline is unlikely (LA Times), as the fight is sure to heat up (Washington Post, BBC).

A judge blocks Vermont from shutting down the Vermont Yankee plant (NY Times).

The proposed new fuel economy standards have drawn widespread support (NY Times).

Climate change skepticism enters classrooms (LA Times).

A team of researchers proposed more practical and immediate climate solutions (NY Times).

Save water – keep a pitcher of tap water in your refrigerator.

There is no core religious belief behind the latest attack on science as there was with evolution; it is simply a political ideology that has spread into the classrooms and forced science teachers to become wary of teaching climate change.

Luckily, a group of science educators is stepping in to help fight this disturbing trend. One school textbook author has seen it firsthand:

“The reason I started talking to Genie and others about this issue several years ago, is that, during my frequent opportunities to address teachers about climate science, I have repeatedly run into fear, denial, even focused political accusations.”

The Republican agenda of the past few years has been to do everything possible to deny climate change as a manmade problem. Whether it was through the “Climategate” emails, which were later proven to be much ado about nothing, or plans to scrap the EPA, the science behind the theory that humans cause climate change has been drowned out not by conflicting science but rather a rapidly growing chorus of people who say “no.” They have few hard facts to back up their theory, but they yell “no” as loud as possible and disguise that as a hypothesis.

They yell “no” to the scientific facts. They yell “no” to cutting pollution. They yell “no” to fighting for cleaner air or cleaner water. They yell “no” to funding companies that could create energy that doesn’t produce as many greenhouse gases. They yell “no” to science itself.

And that “no” seems to be seeping into the classroom, into what students are taught.

If the climate change deniers had to write a paper or create a science project on what’s behind their theory, they would fail. When all the evidence on both sides of the climate change debate is gathered together, the only sane hypothesis to come up with is that humans have caused it and are making it worse. If someone reached a different hypothesis off that data, they would flunk the project. So, let’s flunk the climate change deniers – and kick them out of schools.

 

Lobbying on the Keystone XL pipeline steps up (Washington Post).

Worry rises over Iran and oil prices (Washington Post).

California attempts to slay vampire charging systems (LA Times).

Texans will soon learn what goes into hydrofracking (NY Times).

Deforestation reveals a lost world in the Amazon (NY Times).

 

High CO2 emissions are enough to defer an ice age (BBC).

Louisiana announces a $50 billion plan to save the coast (Washington Post).

A map of the biggest greenhouse gas emitters is now available (NY Times).

Recycled wastewater should be used more often, a report says (LA Times)

Renewable energy projects in California go unused (LA Times).

In case you needed someone actually moving a doomsday clock forward on the urgency of climate change – it’s happened. We’re now “Five minutes till midnight” on Doomsday. It’s a message that forces us to consider action to halt climate change now. But if a clock wasn’t enough, a simple look around the news should force your hand.

The Northeast is scared that this snowless Northeast winter (except for the weekend before Halloween?!?) could cause a drought for the region, exposing the area to the same struggles much of the South deals with on an annual basis.

Elsewhere, more evidence of ecological change occurs when you look at how elk are using the warmer temperatures to ravage the plant and animal system around them.

They showed that over the last 22 years in the mountains of Arizona the abundance of deciduous trees and their associated songbirds have declined as the winter snowpack has declined. However, they also experimentally showed that declining snowfall indirectly affects plants and birds by allowing more winter browsing by the elk.

Somebody has noticed – as investors are managing trillions of dollars with the climate change report in mind. If only the people in power to halt climate change moved as quickly.