Tuesday, December 31, 2019

8th Environmental Documentary Series at Siena Heights University

The Sustainable College Committee proudly announces the 8th Environmental Documentary Series.

Almost all films will start Wednesdays 6:30 PM in the Science Building, Room SCI 131 and are free and open for everybody. This faculty-led program and any related discussion is for educational benefit only. A campus map can be found at: http://sienaheights.edu/About/Campus-Map-Parking
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For the details of every showing, including links to information about the films, please refer to the schedule at: http://sustainability.sienaheights.edu/environmental-documentaries.html
This year we will host a pre-release screening of Nor Any Drop to Drink focusing on the Flint water crisis and how appointed emergency managers violated democracy in the State of Michigan.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Using momentum to build a stronger movement

Mark and Paul Engler's 'This Is an Uprising' proposes a craft that makes the best of both mass protest and community/labor organizing traditions.
George Lakey March 1, 2016
   
We always looked forward to the annual visit of Saul Alinsky when I taught at a small graduate school. Alinsky was the terror of city hall bosses everywhere, and he told us colorful stories from his organizing experience. Ours was the Martin Luther King School of Social Change. The students could earn an M. A. in Social Change, which, when asked, I would explain stood for “Master’s in Agitation.”

ThisIsAnUprising-CoverOnly-wKlein

This was the late 1960s and most of our students were drawn from front-line communities where the struggles were hot. The students were famously direct and critical, and by the time Alinsky turned up they would have read his “Rules for Radicals” and been eager to take him on.

Continue reading at: https://wagingnonviolence.org/2016/03/using-momentum-to-build-a-stronger-movement/

The Albert Einstein Institution

The Albert Einstein Institution is a nonprofit organization founded by Dr. Gene Sharp in 1983 to advance the study and use of strategic nonviolent action in conflicts throughout the world.

We are committed to the defense of freedom, democracy, and the reduction of political violence through the use of nonviolent action.  Our goals are to understand the dynamics of nonviolent action in conflicts, to explore its policy potential, and to communicate this through print and other media, translations, conferences, consultations, and workshops. 

The Institution has been responsible for the translation and dissemination of some of the most influential texts on nonviolent action. Many of these works have been studied among resistance movements worldwide.


Dr. Sharp’s most popular book, From Dictatorship to Democracy, was first published in Burma in 1993. It has since been translated into at least 34 other languages and was used by the campaigns of Serbia’s Otpor, Georgia’s Kmara, Ukraine’s Pora, Kyrgyzstan’s KelKel and Belarus’ Zubr. One of Pora’s leaders, Oleh Kyriyenko said in 2004, “The bible of Pora has been the book of Gene Sharp, also used by Otpor, it’s called: From Dictatorship to Democracy.”

Continue reading at: https://www.aeinstein.org/about/

This Is Not a Drill: 700+ Arrested as Extinction Rebellion Fights Climate Crisis with Direct Action

More than 700 people have been arrested in civil disobedience actions as the group Extinction Rebellion kicked off two weeks of protests in 60 cities worldwide, demanding urgent government action on the climate crisis. Its members have superglued themselves to government buildings, occupied public landmarks, shut down roads and taken to the streets to sound the alarm about the impending catastrophe of global warming. Extinction Rebellion, a nonpolitical movement, launched last year in the U.K. and rose to prominence in April, when it disrupted traffic in Central London for 11 days. For more about the significance of the coordinated global protests, we speak with Extinction Rebellion co-founder Gail Bradbrook.


The study on collapse they thought you should not read – yet

Posted by jembendell on July 26, 2018
A research paper concluding that climate-induced collapse is now inevitable, was recently rejected by anonymous reviewers of an academic journal.
It has been released directly by the Professor who wrote it, to promote discussion of the necessary deep adaptation to climate chaos.
“I am releasing this paper immediately, directly, because I can’t wait any longer in exploring how to learn the implications of the social collapse we now face,” explained the author Dr Bendell, a full Professor of Sustainability Leadership.  deep adaptation paper
In saying the paper was not suitable for publication, one of the comments from the reviewers questioned the emotional impact that the paper might have on readers. “I was left wondering about the social implications of presenting a scenario for the future as inevitable reality, and about the responsibility of research in communicating climate change scenarios and strategies for adaptation.” wrote one of the reviewers. “As the authors pointed out, denial is a common emotional response to situations that are perceived as threatening and inescapable, leading to a sense of helplessness, inadequacy, and hopelessness and ultimately disengagement from the issue…”

Nature Doesn’t Do Deals – why we rise on climate

Posted by jembendell on October 5, 2019

It is easy to pick holes in it. We can question tactics, timing, scope or messaging. But climate activism works. Over the past year, non-violent activism has increased awareness of climate change, so that many politicians now refer to it as the emergency that it is. Yet within a toxic economic system that requires us to borrow and grow forever, and a toxic media system that misleads us about what to blame and whom to hate, it isn’t surprising that rising awareness has not delivered change in our environmental impact. Nor has it triggered inquiry into why we got into this mess and how we might prepare as the climate gets worse for human habitation.

It is why we go again. This month, the non-violent civil disobedience campaign to demand government action on the climate and ecological emergency is calling on #EverybodyNow to take to the streets.

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Some commentators in the UK, where the movement began, are asking whether now is the right time for disruptive tactics. But Extinction Rebellion has become a global movement that is rising again this month. It started in London, and Brits are playing a key role in waking up humanity, so can’t step down because of the current performance of our government. Our climate isn’t waiting for Brexit – or any political squabble. Whether wanting to leave or remain in the EU, all Britons want to eat well. After the rise of climate activism in 2019, British MPs admitted the country faces a food security crisis. Extreme weather has been damaging both domestic and foreign food production and increasing the risks that simultaneous crop failures in key exporting countries could make prices shoot up to unprecedented levels.

Extreme rainfall is another sign of the destabilising climate, with 150 flood alerts issued for the UK for the weekend before the #InternationalRebellion. More scientists are admitting publicly that they have been too cautious, partly because they were seeking to be relevant to mainstream policy makers. Climatologist Dr Wolfgang Knorr explains that such scientists should be the first to admit failure, recognise how scientists norms of communication have been counter-productive – and consider direct action to promote social and political change.

Continue reading at: https://jembendell.com/2019/10/05/nature-doesnt-do-deals-why-we-rise-on-climate/

Thursday, September 26, 2019

(97) A #NatureNow message from Greta Thunberg. - YouTube

#NatureNow, a new short film narrated by Greta Thunberg and political journalist, author and activist George Monbiot, serves as a call to action to protect, restore and fund #NaturalClimateSolutions. Credits: Tom Mustill/ www.grippingfilms.com


(97) A #NatureNow message from Greta Thunberg. - YouTube

(95) WATCH: Greta Thunberg's full speech to world leaders at UN Climate Action Summit - YouTube

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg chastised world leaders Monday, Sep. 23, for failing younger generations by not taking sufficient steps to stop climate change. "You have stolen my childhood and my dreams with your empty words," Thunberg said at the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York. "You're failing us, but young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say we will never forgive you," she added. Thunberg traveled to the U.S. by sailboat last month so she could appear at the summit. She and other youth activists led international climate strikes on Friday in an attempt to garner awareness ahead of the UN's meeting of political and business leaders.

(95) WATCH: Greta Thunberg's full speech to world leaders at UN Climate Action Summit - YouTube

16 Young People File UN Human Rights Complaint on Climate Change | Earthjustice

Youth petitioners take fight for global climate change action to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child
SEPTEMBER 23, 2019
New York, NY — Today, 16 young people from around the world submitted a groundbreaking legal complaint about climate change with the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. Their petition shows how five regional leaders and G20 members — Respondents Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, and Turkey — have known about the risks of climate change for decades. Despite that knowledge, they are failing to curb emissions, while continuing to promote fossil fuels. The climate crisis was caused and is being perpetuated by the actions and inactions of all states, but without the leadership of the respondents, the global effort to solve the climate crisis cannot succeed.
The youth petitioners are between the ages of eight and 17 and hail from Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, India, Palau, Marshall Islands, Nigeria, South Africa, Sweden, Tunisia, and the United States. Among the petitioners is Greta Thunberg, a Swedish student climate activist, who sparked a global youth climate action movement through her Fridays for Future school strikes in 2018. Greta is joined by Alexandria Villaseñor, a fellow American activist who co-founded the U.S. Youth Climate Strike. Alexandria, inspired by Greta, conducted her own Friday climate protests outside of the New York United Nations headquarters. The other petitioners are devoted activists and educators in their own right in their home countries.
Youth petitioners display their signs before marching in the Sept. 20 Global Climate Strike in New York City.
Youth petitioners display their signs before marching in the Sept. 20 Global Climate Strike in New York City.

In making their complaint, the authors narrate the impact climate change has had on their own lives, including brushes with death and loss of neighbors from wildfire or flooding; threats to traditional ways of life such as reindeer herding or fishing; significant health hazards such as dengue fever, malaria, and asthma; hardships from drought, air quality, and poisoned marine life; and mental anxiety or depression about the present and future.
Continue reading at: 16 Young People File UN Human Rights Complaint on Climate Change | Earthjustice

Friday, September 20, 2019

Deeper Insight Into 2019 Fires From Satellite Study of Amazon Rainforest

Throughout August and early September 2019, media around the world have reported on the extensive forest fires ravaging Brazil’s Amazon rainforest. Much of the concern stems from the Amazon’s significance to regulating the world’s climate. According to the Associated Press, the Amazon absorbs 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide every year — about 5% of global emissions. Thus, fires in the region eat away at this carbon-absorbing capacity while at the same time adding carbon to the air through burning.

Map Jaru Biological Reserve Flux Tower

This map shows the study area and location of the flux tower used.


A recent study in the peer-reviewed journal Ecohydrology headed by University of Kansas researcher Gabriel de Oliveira gives important context to the fires burning big swaths of the Amazon today, most of which were set intentionally by farmers and ranchers to convert forest into land suitable for grazing animals or growing crops. The researchers sought to discover how these changes to land cover affect the exchange of water and heat between the surface of the Amazon and the atmosphere overhead.

Continue reading at: Deeper Insight Into 2019 Fires From Satellite Study of Amazon Rainforest

Climate Strike in my Hometown Freiburg, Germany

I am so proud of the young people in my hometown Freiburg, Germany



‏Fridays for Future Freiburg @F4F_Freiburg
30,000 on the streets in a city with a population of 230,000. Freiburg stressed clearly: "We have enough from the climate cabaret (#Klimakabarett der GroKo)! Our future is non-negotiable.



EPA Silent As Dicamba Drift Rages On | Pesticide Action Network

I am reading Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" published in my year of birth 1962 and it sounds like she is writing about what is going on today. "When will they ever learn?".



Each year since Monsanto’s dicamba-resistant Xtend seeds have hit the market, farmers and rural communities have braced for record levels of pesticide drift. Even with this year’s late start to planting season, 2019 may see the highest number of dicamba drift incidents yet.

Long before Xtendimax was approved, dicamba was well-known as a particularly volatile chemical - it simply does not stay where it is put, no matter how it is applied. Early advocates warned of the damage this herbicide can and would do to off-target organisms.

Bayer, however, refuses to accept that its new star pesticide is a problem. Instead, the company is taking a page out of the “deny, deny, deny” corporate playbook, while blaming applicators for applying the product incorrectly.

From its inception, the Xtend crop system was bound to be a divisive disaster for all kinds of farmers. Herbicide resistance is just another instance of Monsanto (now Bayer) promising a short-sighted “solution” to a problem of its own creation. While farmers who don’t use the Xtend system are hit with dicamba drift, crop damage, and yield loss, Bayer is reaping the financial gains of an increase in acreage planted to dicamba-resistant soybeans.

Pesticide drift farm


Continue reading at: EPA Silent As Dicamba Drift Rages On | Pesticide Action Network

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Due to Climate Change the Landscapes We Are Familiar With Are Disappearing

Agnes Anderson, doctoral student of the School of Natural Sciences and Health of Tallinn University, recently defended her doctoral dissertation, in which she explores how the changing climate and human influence change the aeolian coastal dune landscapes. The dissertation concluded that the coastal dune landscapes are losing their distinctive features and diversity due to those influences.
The most dynamic, fragile, and attractive part of the coastal zone is characterized by the aeolian coastal dune landscapes, which extend over a 200 km² area in Estonia. Their formation is mostly determined by climate, sediments, and vegetation, which affect the movement of sand and the formation of dunes.
Lõimastu Beach in Estonia
This is Lõimastu beach in Estonia. Credit: Tallinn University

Due to Climate Change the Landscapes We Are Familiar With Are Disappearing

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The 'no-buy' movement: could you give up buying clothes and beauty products? | Environment | The Guardian

With the fashion industry’s environmental impact under scrutiny, there’s a move to eschew new stuff and wear what you already own

Splashed out in the sales? Cashed in your Christmas gift cards? The average Briton spends more than £1,000 on new clothes and shoes each year, according to the statistics agency Eurostat – and many are shelling out much, much more. But with a focus now on the environmental impact of the fashion industry, some of the bloggers, vloggers and influencers who cut their teeth sharing details of an endless array of new clothes and products, are changing tack – enter the “no-buy” movement.

Will the ‘no-buy’ movement mark the end of ‘so last season’? Photograph: Radius Images/Alamy Stock Photo

The idea is simple: instead of buying new clothes or beauty products, you make a commitment to use the things you already own. Some people, such as the beauty blogger Hannah Louise Poston, sign up to a “no-buy year” – and document their progress in much the same way that they once tracked their purchases. Others pledge not to buy for a few weeks or months or opt for “low-buy” options with a strict spending cap. A subreddit thread named MakeupRehab, offering tips and support for those undertaking not to buy new products, now has more than 50,000 subscribers.
Continue reading at: The 'no-buy' movement: could you give up buying clothes and beauty products? | Environment | The Guardian

Friday, August 30, 2019

An introduction to the state of solar power in the U.S. » Yale Climate Connections

Though still a small contributor to the electricity supply, solar power already is revolutionizing how



U.S. consumers generate and consume electricity.

olar power offers enormous promise as a non-carbon-emitting energy resource. Yet in the U.S. today, less than 1% percent of our total energy supply – roughly 2.3% of our electricity – comes from the sun. Accelerating the shift to an economy substantially fueled by solar and other renewable energy resources will demand major policy changes at all levels of government. The technology, however, is largely at hand.

Arizona State U solar
Photovoltaic array atop a parking garage, Arizona State University-Tempe. Solar power supplies nearly 50% of the peak daytime electric load at ASU’s four campuses and Research Park. (Photo credit: Philip Warburg)

A bit of solar power history

Through most of the 20th century, efforts to tap solar energy focused on the sun’s thermal properties. Commercially introduced in California in 1909, water-heating solar collectors achieved greater status in the wake of the 1973 oil embargo, when President Jimmy Carter installed a much-heralded solar array on the White House, producing hot water for its laundry and cafeteria.



The technology for reliably converting sunlight to electricity emerged from Bell Labs in the 1950s, but the expense of manufacturing photovoltaic, or PV, cells confined them to high-value uses such as remote radio transmission and the space program. It was only with a dramatic drop in the price of silicon PV cells, from $76 per watt in 1977 to a fraction of a dollar in recent years, that PV has come into widespread use.



Continue reading at: An introduction to the state of solar power in the U.S. » Yale Climate Connections

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Climate Change Is Warming Europe Faster Than Expected

Climate change is increasing the number of days of extreme heat and decreasing the number of days of extreme cold in Europe, posing a risk for residents in the coming decades, according to a new study.

Temperatures in Europe have hit record highs this summer, passing 46.0 degrees Celsius (114.8 degrees Fahrenheit) in southern France. New research in the AGU journal Geophysical Research Letters finds the number of summer days with extreme heat has tripled since 1950 and summers have become hotter overall, while the number of winter days with extreme cold decreased in frequency by at least half and winters have become warmer overall.

The new study finds parts of Europe are warming faster than climate models project.

ESA 2019 Heatwaves Satellite Image

This is a satellite image of the heat energy emitted from Europe during 25 July 2019 shows this summer’s highest extremes. Credit: Copernicus Sentinel data (2019) ESA – Copernicus Sentinel data (2019)


“Even at this regional scale over Europe, we can see that these trends are much larger than what we would expect from natural variability. That’s really a signal from climate change,” said Ruth Lorenz, a climate scientist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland, and lead author of the new study.

Continue reading at: Climate Change Is Warming Europe Faster Than Expected

Climate Change Threatens the World’s Food Supply, United Nations Warns

Climate Change Threatens the World’s Food Supply, United Nations Warns

Cattle grazing outside Sokoto, Nigeria, where large-scale farming is in conflict with local communities. CreditCreditLuis Tato/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The world’s land and water resources are being exploited at “unprecedented rates,” a new United Nations report warns, which combined with climate change is putting dire pressure on the ability of humanity to feed itself.
The report, prepared by more than 100 experts from 52 countries and released in summary form in Geneva on Thursday, found that the window to address the threat is closing rapidly. A half-billion people already live in places turning into desert, and soil is being lost between 10 and 100 times faster than it is forming, according to the report.
Climate change will make those threats even worse, as floods, drought, storms and other types of extreme weather threaten to disrupt, and over time shrink, the global food supply. Already, more than 10 percent of the world’s population remains undernourished, and some authors of the report warned in interviews that food shortages could lead to an increase in cross-border migration.
A particular danger is that food crises could develop on several continents at once, said Cynthia Rosenzweig, a senior research scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and one of the lead authors of the report. “The potential risk of multi-breadbasket failure is increasing,” she said. “All of these things are happening at the same time.”
Continue reading at: Climate Change Threatens the World’s Food Supply, United Nations Warns

Monday, August 26, 2019

What Satellite Imagery Tells Us About the Amazon Rain Forest Fires - The New York Times

Scientists studying satellite image data from the fires in the Amazon rain forest said that most of the fires are burning on agricultural land where the forest had already been cleared.



By The New York Times ·Sources: Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research; NASA

Most of the fires were likely set by farmers preparing the land for next year’s planting, a common agricultural practice, said the scientists from the University of Maryland. Satellite images like the one below show smoke plumes from fires emanating from agricultural areas.
The majority of the agricultural land currently in use in Brazil’s Amazon region was created through years of deforestation.
“Most of this is land use that have replaced rain forest,” said Matthew Hansen, who is a co-leader of the Global Land Analysis and Discovery laboratory at the University of Maryland.
“Brazil has turned certain states like Mato Grosso into Iowa,” said Mr. Hanson, referring to the Brazilian state on the southern edge of the Amazon region. “You’ve got rain forest, and then there’s just an ocean of soybean.”
The grid of maps below show the month-by-month pattern of fires across the Amazon rain forest in Brazil each year since 2001. The increase in fires every August to October coincides with the season when farmers begin planting soybean and corn.

Continue reading at: What Satellite Imagery Tells Us About the Amazon Rain Forest Fires - The New York Times

Friday, August 23, 2019

How climate change threatens public health » Yale Climate Connections

From prolonged droughts to dangerous sun exposures, the weather affects human health in numerous ways, and climate change has already ratcheted environmental health threats up a notch. Disease-carrying bugs have expanded their range, hotter heat waves last longer, and storms have gotten more extreme.

“Climate change is impacting our communities, in our backyards, right now,” says Amir Sapkota, a professor at the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health.

Citing health threats posed by climate change, more than 70 major medical groups in the U.S. released a call to action in June 2019 declaring climate change “a true public health emergency.”

Jonathan Patz, M.D., MPH, director of the Global Health Institute at the University of Wisconsin, is an expert on climate change and public health. His view: “It’s so important that people recognize that climate change is about our health. There are so many pathways through which climate impacts our health.”

Airman

A 2013 heatwave caused near-record temperatures at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, forcing those stationed there to hydrate frequently to avoid heat-related injuries such as heat stroke. (Photo credit: U.S. Air Force)


Those pathways include heat, air pollution, extreme weather, vector-borne diseases, and access to safe water and food. The health risks posed by climate change already disproportionately harm marginalized groups including people with disabilities or infirmities, low-income families and individuals – and climate change is likely to deepen those disparities.

Continue reading: How climate change threatens public health » Yale Climate Connections

Iceland holds ceremony for first glacier lost to climate change | News | DW | 18.08.2019

Iceland has been commemorating the loss of Okjokull with the prime minister and guests from international universities and the United Nations. A ceremony at the site highlighted the urgency of climate protection.

Island Luftaufnahme Gletscher Okjökull | 1986 & 2019

These two photos taken in 1986 and 2019 show the loss of ice at the glacier


Iceland has been commemorating the country's first glacier lost to climate change, with a memorial plaque warning of the effects of global warming being installed at the site.

Icelandic officials, activists and others took part in a ceremony on Sunday that included poetry, silence and political speeches on the urgency of taking action to curb rising global temperatures.

The disappearance of Okjokull, a glacier in the west of the sub-Arctic island, is being seen as directly due to the warming of the climate caused by human activity.

The memorial for the Icelandic glacier is the first of its kind. The words are written by Icelandic author and poet Andri Snaer Magnason.

Continue reading: Iceland holds ceremony for first glacier lost to climate change | News | DW | 18.08.2019

Watch: "We are chasing the last of the big fish" – Fisheries scientist on overfishing, whaling and climate change - Unearthed

One of the world's most prominent fisheries scientists talks to Unearthed about overfishing, whaling and climate change




Watch: "We are chasing the last of the big fish" – Fisheries scientist on overfishing, whaling and climate change - Unearthed

US Subsidizes Fossil Fuels To The Tune Of $4.6, $27.4, Or $649 Billion Annually, Depending On Source | CleanTechnica

In 2022 in the USA, wind will get zero subsidies, solar will get very little, and fossil fuels will get $4.6 to $649 billion depending on accounting.


Graph courtesy of US Congressional Research Service



Continue reading at: US Subsidizes Fossil Fuels To The Tune Of $4.6, $27.4, Or $649 Billion Annually, Depending On Source | CleanTechnica

Sanders to unveil $16tn climate plan, far more aggressive than rivals' proposals | US news | The Guardian

Democratic presidential hopeful’s 10-year plan warns of devastating economic consequences if crisis is not addressed

Bernie Sanders has laid out an ambitious 10-year, $16.3tn national mobilization to avert climate catastrophe, warning that the US risks losing $34.5tn in economic productivity by the end of the century if it does not respond with the urgency the threat demands.

The Vermont senator has long spoken of the climate crisis as a existential danger to the US and the world, and he has previously endorsed a Green New Deal, which he put forward with the New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.


 Bernie Sanders’ plan calls for complete decarbonization by 2050. Photograph: Mike Blake/Reuters

Sanders will formally unveil his proposal on Thursday during a campaign visit to Paradise, California, a town that was destroyed in 2018 by one of the deadliest wildfires in US history. After the tour, the senator will hold a climate change town hall in Chico, California.



Continue reading: Sanders to unveil $16tn climate plan, far more aggressive than rivals' proposals | US news | The Guardian

Amazon fires an emergency, say Merkel and Macron

The French and German leaders say the record number of fires in Brazil's Amazon rainforest is an international crisis which must be discussed at this weekend's G7 summit.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the "acute emergency" belonged on the agenda, agreeing with French President Emmanuel Macron's earlier rallying cry.
"Our house is burning," he tweeted.
Environmental groups say the fires are linked to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's policies, which he denies.
Mr Bolsonaro has also accused Mr Macron of meddling for "political gain". He said calls to discuss the fires at the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, which Brazil is not participating in, evoke "a misplaced colonialist mindset".
Satellite image of forest fires burning in the Amazon rainforest, Brazil. 14th August 201
Smoke from fires burning in the Amazon can be seen from space. NASA
The largest rainforest in the world, the Amazon is a vital carbon store that slows down the pace of global warming.
It is also home to about three million species of plants and animals, and one million indigenous people.
Map showing active fires in the Brazilian Amazon

Continue reading at: Amazon fires an emergency, say Merkel and Macron

Rivers in the Sky: How Deforestation Is Affecting Global Water Cycles

A growing body of evidence indicates that the continuing destruction of tropical forests is disrupting the movement of water in the atmosphere, causing major shifts in precipitation that could lead to drought in key agricultural areas in China, India, and the U.S. Midwest.
very tree in the forest is a fountain, sucking water out of the ground through its roots and releasing water vapor into the atmosphere through pores in its foliage. In their billions, they create giant rivers of water in the air – rivers that form clouds and create rainfall hundreds or even thousands of miles away.
But as we shave the planet of trees, we risk drying up these aerial rivers and the lands that depend on them for rain. A growing body of research suggests that this hitherto neglected impact of deforestation could in many continental interiors dwarf the impacts of global climate change. It could dry up the Nile, hobble the Asian monsoon, and desiccate fields from Argentina to the Midwestern United States.
Moisture produced by the world's forests generates rainfall thousands of miles away.
Moisture produced by the world's forests generates rainfall thousands of miles away. RICHARD WHITCOMBE / SHUTTERSTOCK

Until recently, the nuggets of data delivering such warnings were fragmented and often relegated to minor scientific journals. But the growing concerns came to the fore in reports presented at two forest forums held by the United Nations and the Norwegian government in recent weeks.
In Norway, Michael Wolosin of the U.S. think tank Forest Climate Analytics and Nancy Harris of the World Resources Institute published a study that concluded that “tropical forest loss is having a larger impact on the climate than has been commonly understood.” They warned that large-scale deforestation in any of the three major tropical forest zones of the world – Africa’s Congo basin, southeast Asia, and especially the Amazon – could disrupt the water cycle sufficiently to “pose a substantial risk to agriculture in key breadbaskets halfway round the world in parts of the U.S., India, and China.”
Trees pull water from the ground and release water vapor through their leaves, generating atmospheric rivers of moisture.
Trees pull water from the ground and release water vapor through their leaves, generating atmospheric rivers of moisture. WORLD RESOURCES INSTITUTE

Continue reading at: Rivers in the Sky: How Deforestation Is Affecting Global Water Cycles

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

The advisory list for self classification of hazardous substances

The Danish Environmental Protection Agency publishes an advisory list for self classification of chemical substances – with advisory classifications of more than 54,000 substances.

The advisory list for self classification of hazardous substances

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Why The Green New Deal Cuts Consumer Energy Costs & Unemployment

The Green New Deal is a proposal to transition the United States entirely to clean, renewable, zero-emission energy in all energy sectors, to promote removal of carbon from the air through natural reforestation and land preservation, and to create jobs. By focusing on renewable energy that is both clean and zero-emission, the Green New Deal reduces, in one fell swoop, energy insecurity due to the fossil fuel and nuclear industries, 62,000 deaths and millions more illnesses annually from US energy-related air pollution, and the US’ contribution to global warming.

Critics claim, though, that the Green New Deal is unaffordable and uneconomical and will sink the US into more debt. Having led the research team that developed science-based plans to transition each of the 50 states to 100% wind, water, and solar (WWS) in all energy sectors (electricity, transportation, heating and cooling, and industry), we conclude the opposite is true: the benefits of clean energy systems greatly exceed the costs. 10 other independent research groups similarly find that 100% renewable energy systems are low cost without fossil fuels with carbon capture or nuclear power.

However, a 100% transition of all energy sectors by 2030, while technically and economically possible and desirable, may not occur that fast for social and political reasons. As such, we have consistently proposed a goal of 80% transition by 2030 and 100% no later than 2050 and hopefully earlier. The electricity sector, for example, can transition by 2035. If accomplished worldwide, this goal limits global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Continue reading: Why The Green New Deal Cuts Consumer Energy Costs & Unemployment

Across U.S., Toxic Blooms Pollute Lakes

TOLEDO, Ohio – In the middle of a muggy summer night, Keith Jordan got an urgent text: Toledo’s tap water wasn’t safe to drink.

“I thought it was a joke," said Jordan, who works with at-risk youth in Toledo’s inner city. He went back to sleep. When he got up a few hours later, he took a shower and had a cup of coffee, then turned on the news.
“They were saying don't drink the water, don’t take a shower – the water is messed up,” Jordan said. “You couldn’t even touch the water. It was something you could not believe was happening here in Toledo.”

That was Aug. 2, 2014. For the next three days, half a million people in and around this industrial city at the western edge of Lake Erie scrambled to find safe water.
Continue reading at: Across U.S., Toxic Blooms Pollute Lakes

A Quarter of Humanity Faces Looming Water Crises - The New York Times

BANGALORE, India — Countries that are home to one-fourth of Earth’s population face an increasingly urgent risk: The prospect of running out of water.

From India to Iran to Botswana, 17 countries around the world are currently under extremely high water stress, meaning they are using almost all the water they have, according to new World Resources Institute data published Tuesday.
Many are arid countries to begin with; some are squandering what water they have. Several are relying too heavily on groundwater, which instead they should be replenishing and saving for times of drought.
In those countries are several big, thirsty cities that have faced acute shortages recently, including São Paulo, Brazil; Chennai, India; and Cape Town, which in 2018 narrowly beat what it called Day Zero — the day when all its dams would be dry.
Continue reading at: A Quarter of Humanity Faces Looming Water Crises - The New York Times

National Drive Electric Week 2019 - Event Map

National Drive Electric Week™ is September 14-22, 2019.
Join us for a celebration near you.
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If you're thinking of organizing or helping at an event, please join us for a National Drive Electric Week Webinar:
Drive Electric Week: Engaging With Media Tuesday , August 20, 2019 at 9:00 am Pacific/12:00 pm Eastern
Drive Electric Week: Engaging With Attendees Tuesday , August 27, 2019 at 9:00 am Pacific/12:00 pm Eastern

National Drive Electric Week 2019 celebrations will take place across the US and other countries. The map below shows all of the event locations. Click on a pin to get more information about any of the 238 2019 events.
Continue reading at: National Drive Electric Week 2019 - Event Map

A new map is the best view yet of how fast Antarctica is shedding ice | Science News

The research could help improve projections of sea level rise
Decades of satellite observations have now provided the most detailed view yet of how Antarctica continually sheds ice accumulated from snowfall into the ocean.
Antarctica
ICE ICE BABY  Glaciologists used observations from a cohort of satellite missions over decades to create the most detailed map yet of ice flow across Antarctica. ΑΝΑΣΤΑΣΊΑ ΠΟΡΤΝΆ/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS (CC BY-SA 4.0)

The new map is based on an ice-tracking technique that is 10 times as precise as methods used for previous Antarctic surveys, researchers report online July 29 in Geophysical Research Letters. That offered the first comprehensive view of how ice moves across all of Antarctica, including slow-moving ice in the middle of the continent rather than just rapidly melting ice at the coasts. 
Charting Antarctic ice flow so exactly could reveal the topography of the ground underneath, as well as improve forecasts for how much ice Antarctica stands to lose to the ocean in the future. Ice melting off the continent is already known to be a driver of global sea level rise (SN: 7/7/18, p. 6).
Glaciologists at the University of California, Irvine, uncovered subtle movements of Antarctic ice with a kind of measurement called synthetic-aperture radar interferometric phase data. By using a satellite to bounce radar signals off a patch of ice, researchers can determine how quickly that ice is moving toward or away from the satellite. Combining observations of the same spot from different angles reveals the speed and direction of the ice’s motion along the ground.
Continue reading at: A new map is the best view yet of how fast Antarctica is shedding ice | Science News

Friday, August 16, 2019

New UN climate report is bleak, but there's a solution: trees

Humanity must overhaul the global food system to stop the climate breakdown, according to a dire report released today.
The report, issued by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), lays out in stark terms the disastrous environmental impacts of unsustainable agriculture and its potential to exacerbate the effects of climate change.
The world’s food system — from farming to transportation to grocery store packaging — is a top cause of deforestation, contributing approximately 30 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions, the report finds. It also projects that climate change from deforestation will create additional stress on agricultural land systems, adversely impacting crop yields and food security, and causing soil erosion. As countries continue to clear forests and peatlands for agriculture, their commitments under the Paris Agreement to cut climate-warming carbon emissions edge further out of reach.
In response to the report, conservationists called for the widespread restoration of forests, which absorb and store carbon from the atmosphere.
“Restoring forests is the only thing on Earth that can reverse the emissions that drive global warming,” Conservation International CEO M. Sanjayan said, calling the report a “wake-up call.”
A recent study quantified 1.7 billion hectares of treeless land around the world where forests would naturally grow and planting programs could thrive, without encroaching on food production or living area.
Continue reading at: New UN climate report is bleak, but there's a solution: trees

Climate Change: The Science and Global Impact | edX

Free to attend - $49 for certificate
Climate Change: The Science and Global Impact
About this course
Climate change is arguably the greatest challenge of our time. Human activity has already warmed the planet by one degree Celsius relative to pre-industrial times, and we are feeling the effects through record heat waves, droughts, wildfires and flooding. If we continue to burn fossil fuels at the current rate, the planet will reach two degrees of warming by 2050 - the threshold that many scientists have identified as a dangerous tipping point. What is the science behind these projections?
Join climate scientist expert Michael Mann to learn about the basic scientific principles behind climate change and global warming. We need to understand the science in order to solve the broader environmental, societal and economic changes that climate change is bringing.
By the end of this course, you will:

  • Develop a deep scientific understanding of HOW the climate system has been changing;
  • Articulate WHY the climate system is changing;
  • Understand the nature of these changes;
  • Develop a systems thinking approach to analyzing the impacts of climate change on both natural and human systems.

Continue reading and enroll at: Climate Change: The Science and Global Impact | edX

Paris Is Building the World's Largest Organic Rooftop Farm

It will be roughly three football fields in size.
Why Global Citizens Should Care: Urban agriculture can help cities improve food security for their residents, while also combating climate change and air pollution. The United Nations encourages countries to invest in innovative agricultural methods to end hunger by 2030.
A 150,695-square-foot organic rooftop garden will open in the heart of Paris in 2020, according to the Guardian.

Image: Valode & Pistre Architectes

More than 30 different plant species will be grown on the roof and gardeners will be able to harvest a metric ton worth of fruit every day. The fresh produce will be used to feed local communities and supply a restaurant in the building. The project will use state-of-the-art watering technology and doesn’t require soil, making the farming process incredibly resource-efficient.
This verdant feat of engineering will be the largest such farming project in the world and its realization provides a window into a rapidly growing form of agriculture that could significantly improve global food security, combat climate change, and reduce air pollution. 
Continue reading at: Paris Is Building the World's Largest Organic Rooftop Farm

Video: The North Atlantic ocean current, which warms northern Europe, may be slowing » Yale Climate Connections

'We are 50 to 100 years ahead of schedule with the slowdown of this ocean circulation pattern,' says climate scientist Michael Mann.
A stubborn blue spot of cool ocean temperatures stands out like the proverbial sore thumb in a recent NASA image of the warming world – a circle of cool blue on a planet increasingly shaded in hot red.
Globe showing blue spot
Watch the video
A region of the North Atlantic south of Greenland has experienced some of its coldest temperatures on record in recent years, a cooling unprecedented in the past thousand years. What explains that anomaly?
Climatologist Michael Mann of Penn State University, in this month’s “This is Not Cool” video, explains that this phenomenon may be an indication that the North Atlantic current, part of a larger global ocean circulation, is slowing down.
This current played a role in the 2004 science fiction movie The Day After Tomorrow, a film that was “based on science, but greatly overblown” and that therefore “frustrated a lot of climatologists,” Jason Box of the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland points out.
Stefan Rahmstorf of the University of Potsdam, Germany, says this circulation – called the thermohaline circulation, but popularly known to many in the U.S. as “the Gulf Stream” – keeps northern Europe several degrees warmer than it would otherwise be at that latitude.
Continue reading at: Video: The North Atlantic ocean current, which warms northern Europe, may be slowing » Yale Climate Connections

Could traditional architecture offer relief from soaring temperatures in the Gulf?

Temperatures in the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq and Iran could soar to uninhabitable levels during the course of this century, according to a new study.
Already, places such as Al Ain and Kuwait can experience temperatures of up to 52℃. But the study predicts that the effects of global warming and the increase in greenhouse gases could push the average temperature up to the mid 50℃s or lower 60℃s.

Erwin Bolwidt/Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA
Currently, many residents of the gulf can find refuge in air-conditioned homes, shopping centres and cars. But as temperatures increase, so does the need for cheaper, more sustainable, less energy-intensive ways of staying cool. Fortunately, the region’s past offers a rich source of architectural inspiration.
Continue reading at: Could traditional architecture offer relief from soaring temperatures in the Gulf?

Plastic particles falling out of sky with snow in Arctic - BBC News

Even in the Arctic, microscopic particles of plastic are falling out of the sky with snow, a study has found.
The scientists said they were shocked by the sheer number of particles they found: more than 10,000 of them per litre in the Arctic.
It means that even there, people are likely to be breathing in microplastics from the air - though the health implications remain unclear.
Samples of Arctic snow
The researchers collected samples of snow in flasks. ALFRED-WEGENER-INSTITUT / MINE TEKMAN
The region is often seen as one of the world's last pristine environments.
A German-Swiss team of researchers has published the work in the journal Science Advances.
The scientists also found rubber particles and fibres in the snow.

Continue reading at: Plastic particles falling out of sky with snow in Arctic - BBC News

Even with Trump in Office, the Climate Denial Movement Is Quietly Falling Apart - VICE

Behind the scenes, climate deniers are losing funding and succumbing to infighting.
t might seem like the climate denial movement is getting everything it wants.

A TIE ILLUSTRATED BY OIL WELLS WORN BY SENATOR JIM INHOFE. IMAGE BY LIA KANTROWITZ FROM A PHOTO BY AL DRAGO/BLOOMBERG VIA GETTY
The loose network of far-right think tanks and the reclusive billionaires who fund them helped convince Donald Trump to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate treaty. The administration is passing a wish list of policies boosting the fossil fuel industry and escalating its rollback of climate research. Trump's Environmental Protection Agency this June killed one of America's most far-reaching and effective climate laws, the Clean Power Plan, and replaced it with something much weaker.
But those who track and investigate climate deniers told VICE the movement itself appears to be in flux. Veteran deniers are being pushed out, fossil fuel funding is harder to come by and longtime policy goals are for now out of reach. They're suing each other for hundreds of thousands of dollars and attacking companies like Exxon as "alarmist" sell-outs.
Continue reading at: Even with Trump in Office, the Climate Denial Movement Is Quietly Falling Apart - VICE

Amazon emergency: two-thirds of species are under threat from deforestation – dispatch

hen Marco Aurelio Zapata first built his farm named La Flor Del Amazonas (The Amazon Flower) deep in the Colombian rainforest nearly half a century ago, the only sound from his surrounding 288 hectares was that of the wild: howler and capuchin monkeys, macaws, and immeasurable birds, insects and amphibians striking up a cacophony of noise.

The modern era has violently interrupted this natural chorus. During the country’s long civil war which ended with a ceasefire in 2017 low flying crop-dusting planes would roar overhead dousing the forest canopy with herbicide in a bid to stem the guerilla’s cocaine production, much of it centred in Guaviare province where Zapata lives and tends to his smallholding.
Now it is the distant buzz of chainsaws, growing nearer all the time. Machete in hand hacking a path through the rainforest, the 62-year-old Zapata leads us to a clearing the size of several football pitches recently levelled by a neighbour to sell as cattle pasture.
“I feel sad and also angry to see it,” Zapata says. “This is a beautiful place and we want to protect the land but here anybody can do what they want.” 
Concerned landowner and former coca grower Marco Aurelio Zapata
Concerned landowner and former coca grower Marco Aurelio Zapata is under constant pressure to sell his land to commercial cattle ranchers CREDIT: DAVID ROSE /THE TELEGRAPH
This swathe of jungle on the edge of Colombia’s Chiribiquete national park, declared a world heritage site in 2018 and championed by the Prince of Wales as a vital lung of the earth, is part of a rapidly unfolding environmental crisis stretching right across the Amazon basin.
Continue reading at: Amazon emergency: two-thirds of species are under threat from deforestation – dispatch

What do Alaska Wildfires Mean for Global Climate Change? - Union of Concerned Scientists

What do Alaska Wildfires Mean for Global Climate Change? - Union of Concerned Scientists

Arctic wildfires spew soot and smoke cloud bigger than EU | World news | The Guardian

Plume from unprecedented blazes forecast to reach Alaska as fires rage for third month
A cloud of smoke and soot bigger than the European Union is billowing across Siberia as wildfires in the Arctic Circle rage into an unprecedented third month.

An aerial view of a wildfire in Boguchar, Russia. Photograph: Donat Sorokin/Tass
The normally frozen region, which is a crucial part of the planet’s cooling system, is spewing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and worsening the manmade climate disruption that created the tinderbox conditions.
A spate of huge fires in northern Russia, Alaska, Greenland and Canada discharged 50 megatonnes of CO2 in June and 79 megatonnes in July, far exceeding the previous record for the Arctic.
The intensity of the blazes continues with 25 megatonnes in the first 11 days of August – extending the duration beyond even the most persistent fires in the 17-year dataset of Europe’s satellite monitoring system.
Mark Parrington, a scientist in the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, said the previous record was just a few weeks. “We haven’t seen this before,” he said. “The fire intensity is still well above average.”
Continue reading at: Arctic wildfires spew soot and smoke cloud bigger than EU | World news | The Guardian

Russia's devastating wildfires mapped - Unearthed

Groundbreaking analysis of satellite imagery reveals the human activity linked to vast majority of catastrophic Siberian forest fires
Wildfires that ravaged millions of hectares of land and forests in Russia last year may have been caused by so-called “prescribed burning” – a controversial practice intended to prevent the spread of forest fire.

The aftermath of a forest fire near Lake Baikal, Siberia, in September 2018. Photo: Greenpeace
That’s according to a new analysis of 2018’s Siberian wildfires carried out by GIS specialists at Greenpeace’s Global Mapping Hub, who found that the overwhelming majority of those fires started close to places where people travel, work or live, or to sites of deliberate ‘prescribed burnings’.
Across the four regions studied the proportion of fires fitting into this category ranged from 65% in Krasnoyarsk Krai to 99% in Amur Oblast.
Continue reading at: Russia's devastating wildfires mapped - Unearthed
Go to the map: https://maps.greenpeace.org/maps/research/en/

Monday, August 12, 2019

The Kids Are Alright: The Youngster Climate Crusade

Taking a cue from young folk on climate activism
There are many reasons for climate change despair, summarized by scary headlines like “The Devastation of Human Life is In View.” But let’s talk about kids these days. If you have one, two or five—or are grandfather, aunt, friend or mentor to someone under 20—climate change is our greatest legacy to them and their adulthood. One would think that’d wake anyone from the immobilization of complacency or of praying someone else does something first. (In perhaps a sign from the climate change gods, my spellcheck tried to replace ‘immobilization,’ with ‘immolation’— which about says it all.) Yet while adults across the globe dither and delay, a whole bunch of young people have mobilized. And they want you and me to mobilize. (Hey, aren’t you and I the adults in their room?)

Continue reading at: The Kids Are Alright: The Youngster Climate Crusade

Consumers Energy settlement could lead to hundreds of megawatts of solar power

A proposed settlement between Consumers Energy and independent power producers could lead to hundreds of megawatts of solar power being built within the next four years.
On Thursday, the utility filed the proposed settlement with the Michigan Public Service Commission hoping to resolve a more than year-long dispute with solar developers looking to sell power to Consumers.
Multiple developers have challenged the amount Consumers is required to pay them under the federal Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act, or PURPA. Under the 1978 policy, utilities are required to purchase power from independent producers at the “avoided cost,” reflecting the amount it would cost the utility to build itself. Critics have claimed Consumers Energy proposed avoided costs rates that made their projects uneconomic to build.
The settlement is supported by the Solar Energy Industries Association as well as Cypress Creek Renewables, a national solar developer that has been an ongoing critic of Consumers Energy’s PURPA position. The groups had withheld support of Consumers’ proposed Clean Energy Plan calling for 6,000 megawatts of solar to be added to its system by 2040.
Consumers Energy settlement could lead to hundreds of megawatts of solar power
Thursday’s agreement says Consumers will use “commercially reasonable efforts” to interconnect 584 MW of solar by Sept. 1, 2023, which developers are ready to build. The utility aims to connect 150 MW of third-party power a year.
Continue reading at: Consumers Energy settlement could lead to hundreds of megawatts of solar power

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Climate change could raise the risk of deadly fungal infections in humans

Outbreaks of Candida auris have recently erupted around the world
While fungal diseases have devastated many animal and plant species, humans and other mammals have mostly been spared. That’s probably because mammals have body temperatures too warm for most fungi to replicate as well as powerful immune systems. But climate change may be challenging those defenses, bringing new fungal threats to human health, a microbiologist warns.
From 2012 to 2015, pathogenic versions of the fungus Candida auris arose independently in Africa, Asia and South America. The versions are from the same species, yet they are genetically distinct, so the spread across continents couldn’t have been caused by infected travelers, says Arturo Casadevall of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Candida auris fungus
FUNGAL THREAT  An emerging fungus called Candida auris (illustrated) can cause deadly infections in people’s blood and organs. Dr_Microbe/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Continue reading at: Climate change could raise the risk of deadly fungal infections in humans

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Insect 'apocalypse' in U.S. driven by 50x increase in toxic pesticides


Bees, butterflies, and other insects are under attack by the very plants they feed on as U.S. agriculture continues to use chemicals known to kill.
America’s agricultural landscape is now 48 times more toxic to honeybees, and likely other insects, than it was 25 years ago, almost entirely due to widespread use of so-called neonicotinoid pesticides, according to a new study published today in the journal PLOS One.
This enormous rise in toxicity matches the sharp declines in bees, butterflies, and other pollinators as well as birds, says co-author Kendra Klein, senior staff scientist at Friends of the Earth US.
“This is the second Silent Spring. Neonics are like a new DDT, except they are a thousand times more toxic to bees than DDT was,” Klein says in an interview.
Image result for insect apocalypse
Picture credit: The New York Times
Continue reading at: Insect 'apocalypse' in U.S. driven by 50x increase in toxic pesticides

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Share of Fossil Fuel In Indian Power Mix Drops For 14th Consecutive Quarter

Despite the recent slowdown in capacity addition in the renewable energy capacity in India, and doubts related to future investments in the sector, the share of fossil fuel-based capacity in the country’s installed mix continues to contract.
According to CleanTechnica Research, the share of fossil fuel-based capacity in India’s total installed capacity declined for a 14th consecutive quarter at the end of June 2019. At the end of Q2 2019, the share of power generation capacity based on coal, diesel, natural gas, and naphtha had fallen to 63.05%.

CleanTechnica Research analyzed the trends for 17 quarters between Q2 2015 and Q2 2019 and found that the share of fossil fuel-based generation increased only in two quarters, i.e., Q3 2015 and Q4 2015 when it registered the highest share of 69.81%. Since Q4 2015 this share has declined at a compound annual rate of 0.78%. At the end of Q2 2015, the total installed capacity in the fossil fuel sector was 191 gigawatts which increased to 226 gigawatts at the end of Q2 2019.
The declining share is the direct result of the slow rate of new capacity addition in the fossil fuel sector compared to solar, wind, and the overall renewable energy sector over the last few years. Additionally, there have been several retirements as well as in the fossil fuel sector.

Continue reading at: Share of Fossil Fuel In Indian Power Mix Drops For 14th Consecutive Quarter

HAB Bulletin: NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory - Ann Arbor, MI, USA

NOAA provides forecasts of blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria blooms, in Lake Erie from July to October. Some cyanobacteria blooms can grow rapidly and produce toxins that cause harm to animal life and humans so scientists describe them as harmful algal blooms (HABs). Coastal communities can use NOAA's forecasts as a decision making tool.

NOAA bulletins provide analysis of the location of cyanobacteria blooms, as well as 3-day forecasts of transport, mixing, scum formation, and bloom decline. During the Lake Erie HAB season, which typically begins in July, bulletins are emailed to subscribers twice weekly during a bloom.

Below, you will find the latest HAB Bulletin. Please visit the NOAA Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services website at https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/hab/lakeerie.htm for official forecast information or to subscribe to receive the bulletin directly in your inbox.



Continue reading at: HAB Bulletin: NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory - Ann Arbor, MI, USA

Saturday, August 3, 2019

1 dead, 5 injured, 7 missing in Kentucky pipeline explosion

Junction City, Ky. – A regional gas pipeline ruptured early Thursday in Kentucky, causing a massive explosion that killed one person, hospitalized five others, destroyed railroad tracks and forced the evacuation of a nearby mobile home park, authorities said.

Some homes were consumed by the blaze when firefighters extinguished the flames hours later, Lincoln County Emergency Management Director Don Gilliam said.

Image result for 1 dead, 7 missing in Ky. explosion of pipeline owned by Enbridge
A fire burns after an explosion near Junction City, Ky. A regional gas pipeline owned by Enbridge ruptured early Thursday in Kentucky, causing a massive explosion that killed one person, hospitalized five others, destroyed railroad tracks and forced the evacuation of a nearby mobile home park, authorities said. (Photo: Naomi Hayes, AP)

“The part of the area that has been compromised, there’s just nothing left,” Gilliam said when asked whether residents might return to their trailer homes. “The residences that are still standing or damaged will be accessible. There doesn’t really look like there’s any in-between back there. They’re either destroyed or they’re still standing.”

Continue reading at: 1 dead, 5 injured, 7 missing in Kentucky pipeline explosion

Friday, August 2, 2019

Reshaping development pathways in LDCs - Climate CoLab

What are solutions to restore degraded landscapes, helping communities in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) become more climate resilient?

Climate change, population growth, conflicts, and food and nutrition insecurity are linked with ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss. Climate change is projected to exacerbate the process of ecosystem degradation through the intensification of extreme weather events, undermining the resilience and sustainability of agriculture and food systems and further endangering livelihoods of already vulnerable communities.

With the increasing threats that climate shocks and stresses present, there is an urgent need to reshape development pathways into prioritizing proactive disaster risk reduction instead of reactive measures in the devastating aftermath of the event. Particularly the poorest and most vulnerable countries, such as the LDCs, suffer the worst effects of climate change and experience the highest rates of damage and loss to their natural ecosystems. To foster the climate resilience of these countries, incremental measures must give way to concerted efforts fostering transformation if we are to solve the root causes of vulnerabilities.

To reshape development pathways for the overall achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the UN Climate Resilience Initiative (A2R) and the Global Resilience Partnership (GRP)[1], are calling for innovative, scalable solutions and best practices to restore degraded ecosystems, helping vulnerable communities in LDCs become more climate resilient.

Supported by the UK Department for International Development

Read more at: Reshaping development pathways in LDCs - Climate CoLab

Saturday, July 27, 2019

EU Lending Bank To End All Fossil Fuel Financing By 2020

After years of pressure from environmental campaigners, the European Investment Bank, the lending arm of the European Union, has proposed to end financing for all fossil fuels by 2020. It would be the first multilateral financial institution to make such a commitment.

It may have been the tough confirmation battle of the incoming European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen that convinced the EIB to make the policy change. During her meetings with European Parliament political groups ahead of her confirmation vote, Von der Leyen embraced the idea of French President Emmanuel Macron to create a European climate bank, saying she would transform the EIB into such an entity.

Demonstrators display a banner calling for the EU's lending arm to stop all investments in fossil fuels at the One Planet summit organized by Emmanuel Macron (Paco Freire/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Demonstrators display a banner calling for the EU's lending arm to stop all investments in fossil fuels at the One Planet summit organized by Emmanuel Macron (Paco Freire/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images) GETTY

Continue reading at: EU Lending Bank To End All Fossil Fuel Financing By 2020

Friday, July 26, 2019

How Science Got Trampled in the Rush to Drill in the Arctic

Every year, hundreds of petroleum industry executives gather in Anchorage for the annual conference of the Alaska Oil and Gas Association, where they discuss policy and celebrate their achievements with the state’s political establishment. In May 2018, they again filed into the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center, but they had a new reason to celebrate. Under the Trump administration, oil and gas development was poised to dramatically expand into a remote corner of Alaska where it had been prohibited for nearly 40 years.

Tucked into the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, a bill signed by President Donald Trump five months earlier, was a brief two-page section that had little to do with tax reform. Drafted by Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, the provision opened up approximately 1.6 million acres of the vast Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas leasing, a reversal of the federal policy that has long protected one of the most ecologically important landscapes in the Arctic.

The refuge is believed to sit atop one of the last great onshore oil reserves in North America, with a value conservatively estimated at hundreds of billions of dollars. For decades, the refuge has been the subject of a very public tug of war between pro-drilling forces and conservation advocates determined to protect an ecosystem crucial to polar bears, herds of migratory caribou, and native communities that rely on the wildlife for subsistence hunting. The Trump tax law, for the first time since the refuge was established in 1980, handed the advantage decisively to the drillers.

A visitor and a lone caribou watch each other on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge’s coastal plain, an area in the north of the refuge known for its rich biodiversity. | Nathaniel Wilder for Politico Magazine
A visitor and a lone caribou watch each other on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge’s coastal plain, an area in the north of the refuge known for its rich biodiversity. | Nathaniel Wilder for Politico Magazine

One of the keynote speakers at the conference that afternoon was Joe Balash, a top official at the Department of the Interior. Balash, who grew up in a small town outside Fairbanks and describes himself as “a local kid,” referred to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as a “jewel,” and predicted that the entire North Slope region was “about to change in some pretty astounding ways.” The executives were there to hear him talk about what was going to come next: Before development could begin, Interior needed to complete a review of potential environmental impacts, and then get the first leases sold to industry. He recounted for the audience that on his second day on the job—right around when the tax bill was passed—then-Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt sat him down and told him that he would be “personally responsible” for completing the legally complex environmental review process for the wildlife refuge and “having a successful lease sale.”

“No pressure,” Balash said to audience laughter.

The pressure, in fact, couldn’t be greater.

Continue reading at: How Science Got Trampled in the Rush to Drill in the Arctic

Europe Sees 1.9GW Offshore Wind Boost | Offshore Wind

Europe added 1.9GW of new offshore wind capacity in the first half of 2019, up from the 1.1GW installed in the same period last year, according to WindEurope.
Countries that contributed to the new installations are the UK with 931MW, including Ørsted's Hornsea Project One offshore wind farm, Denmark with 374MW, Belgium with 370MW and Germany with 252MW.

The combined installations of new offshore and onshore wind capacity amounted to 4.9MW in H1 2019, which is an increase from the 4.5GW added in the same period last year.
Europe invested EUR 8.8 billion in the construction of future wind farms, with EUR 2.4 billion dedicated to offshore wind. These investments will result in 5.9GW being installed and connected over the next two to three years, WindEurope said.
At the end of last year, Europe set the target to have at least 32% of electricity produced by renewable energy by 2030.
According to WindEurope, Europe is also talking about a net-zero economy by 2050, but the rate of installations so far this year will not bring to the target.
Continue reading at: Europe Sees 1.9GW Offshore Wind Boost | Offshore Wind

UK solar power pioneer Solarcentury profit grows 860% in a year

Profits from subsidy-free solar farms have helped to connect millions in Africa to cheap lighting
A UK solar power pioneer has grown its profits eight-fold by investing in subsidy-free solar farms, a portion of which will help connect homes in Africa to small-scale solar-powered lighting systems.
Solarcentury, one of the UK’s fastest growing renewable energy companies, will report profits of £14.4m for the year ending in March, compared with £1.5m the year before.
A 5% share of the record profits will be channelled into SolarAid, a charity that has helped connect 2m homes in Africa to reliable electricity since it was founded by Solarcentury in 2006.
The rapidly rising profits follow a four-year growth strategy in which the company has invested heavily in building and running subsidy-free solar projects in southern Europe, Latin America and Africa.

A project manager for Solarcentury walks the lines of solar panels at a solar farm near Truro in Cornwall. Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty Images
Continue reading at: UK solar power pioneer Solarcentury profit grows 860% in a year