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Amped Status's List: Environment

  • Aug 16, 19

    New research by a scientist at Cornell University warns that the fracking boom in the U.S. and Canada over the past decade is largely to blame for a large rise in methane in the earth's atmosphere — and that reducing emissions of the extremely potent greenhouse gas is crucial to help stem the international climate crisis.

    Professor Robert Howarth examined hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, over the past several decades, noting the fracking boom that has taken place since the first years of the 21st century. Between 2005 and 2015, fracking went from producing 31 billion cubic meters of shale gas per year to producing 435 billion cubic meters.

    Nearly 90 percent of that fracking took place in the U.S., while about 10 percent was done in Canada.

    The fracking method was first used by oil and gas companies in 1949, but Howarth concluded that fracking done in the past decade has particularly contributed to the amount of methane in the atmosphere. As Kashmira Gander wrote in Newsweek:

    While methane released in the late 20th century was enriched with the carbon isotope 13C, Howarth highlights methane released in recent years features lower levels. That's because the methane in shale gas has depleted levels of the isotope when compared with conventional natural gas or fossil fuels such as coal, he explained.
    "The methane in shale gas is somewhat depleted in 13C relative to conventional natural gas," Howarth wrote in the study, published Wednesday in the journal Biogeosciences. "Correcting earlier analyses for this difference, we conclude that shale-gas production in North America over the past decade may have contributed more than half of all of the increased emissions from fossil fuels globally and approximately one-third of the total increased emissions from all sources globally over the past decade."

    "The commercialization of shale gas and oil in the 21st century has dramatically increased global methane emissions," he added.

    Other scientists praised Howarth's study on social media.

  • Aug 08, 19

    "Of particular interest is the smaller planet, TOI 270 b, as it is particularly close to the star and only slightly larger than our Earth. Described as an "oven-hot world" by NASA, TOI 270 b orbits the star every 3.4 days, is roughly 25 percent larger than Earth and is estimated to have a mass around 1.9 times greater than Earth’s.

    “We’ve found very few planets like this in the habitable zone, and many fewer around a quiet star, so this is rare,” said Stephen Kane, a UC Riverside associate professor of planetary astrophysics, in a separate statement. “We don’t have a planet quite like this in our solar system.”"

  • Jul 28, 19

    "Air pollution may have killed more than 30,000 Americans in a single year despite the fact that particulate matter levels in most U.S. counties fell within federal safety standards, CNN reported.

    That number came from a study led by researchers at Imperial College London and the Center for Air, Climate and Energy Solutions (CACES) at Carnegie Mellon University, published in PLOS Medicine Tuesday. Researchers had sought to discover the health impacts of current particulate matter levels in the U.S., and assess the benefits of the reduction in particulate matter between 1999 and 2015.

    "I think the big conclusion is that lowering the limits of air pollution could delay in the U.S., all together, tens of thousands of deaths each year," study lead author and Imperial College London Prof. Majid Ezzati told CNN....

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets the current safe level of particulate matter at 12 microgram per cubic meter of air (μg/m3), but researchers still calculated tens of thousands of deaths for 2015, when particulate matter levels fell between 2.8 ug/m3 and 13.2 ug/m3 and were below 12 ug/m3 in all but four counties. They concluded that 2015 levels were linked to 15,612 heart or lung disease deaths in women and 14,757 in men. Overall, that led to a lower life expectancy of 0.15 years for women and 0.13 years for men.

    CACES Director Allen Robinson said the study had important political implications.

    "These findings are particularly relevant at a time when the EPA is planning to change how it calculates the benefits of cleaner air by dismissing any health benefits below the current standard," Robinson said in a Carnegie Mellon press release. "These benefits are important to consider when evaluating efforts to tackle climate change, such as the Clean Power Plan."

  • Jul 27, 19

    "Deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon has surged above three football fields a minute, according to the latest government data, pushing the world’s biggest rainforest closer to a tipping point beyond which it cannot recover.

    The sharp rise – following year-on-year increases in May and June – confirms fears that president Jair Bolsonaro has given a green light to illegal land invasion, logging and burning.

    Clearance so far in July has hit 1,345 sq km, a third higher than the previous monthly record under the current monitoring system by the Deter B satellite system, which started in 2015.

    With five days remaining, this is on course to be the first month for several years in which Brazil loses an area of forest bigger than Greater London."

  • Jul 21, 19

    "Had last Friday's 7.1 earthquake and other ongoing seismic shocks hit less than 200 miles northwest of Ridgecrest/China Lake, ten million people in Los Angeles would now be under an apocalyptic cloud, their lives and those of the state and nation in radioactive ruin.

    The likely human death toll would be in the millions. The likely property loss would be in the trillions. The forever damage to our species' food supply, ecological support systems, and longterm economy would be very far beyond any meaningful calculation. The threat to the ability of the human race to survive on this planet would be extremely significant.

    The two cracked, embrittled, under-maintained, unregulated, uninsured and un-inspected atomic reactors at Diablo Canyon, near San Luis Obispo, would be a seething radioactive ruin.

    Their cores would be melting into the ground. Hydrogen explosions would be blasting the site to deadly dust. One or both melted cores would have burned into the Earth and hit ground or ocean water, causing massive steam explosions with physical impacts in the range of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The huge clouds would send murderous radioactive isotopes into the atmosphere that would permanently poison the land, the oceans, the air ... and circle the globe again and again, and yet again, filling the lungs of billions of living things with the most potent poisons humans have ever created."

  • Jul 21, 19

    "My organization, the Union of Concerned Scientists, has compiled a list of 80 Trump administration attacks on science since taking office, and Wheeler has been the driving force behind many of them. Below are 10 of the more egregious ways he has undermined the EPA's time-honored role to protect public health and the environment so far.

    1. Sidelined Scientists
    Wheeler, a former coal industry lobbyist, has taken a number of steps to systematically reduce the role of scientists in the agency's policymaking process. Last fall, for example, he eliminated the agency's Office of the Science Advisor, which counseled the EPA administrator on research supporting health and environmental standards, and placed the head of the EPA's Office of Children's Health Protection on administrative leave. He also disbanded a 20-member scientific advisory committee on particulate matter, or soot; failed to convene a similar panel on ozone; and packed a seven-member advisory committee on air quality standards with industry-friendly participants.

    2. Proposed to Restrict the Use of Scientific Data
    Claiming his intent is to increase "transparency," Wheeler is promoting a rule Pruitt proposed that would dramatically limit the scientific studies the agency considers when developing health standards. If adopted, the rule would restrict the use of scientific studies in EPA decisions if the underlying data are not public and reproducible, which would disqualify many epidemiological and other health studies the EPA relies on to set science-based public safeguards. Given that EPA health standards often rely on studies that contain private patient information, as well as confidential business information that cannot be revealed, the rule would significantly hamper the agency's ability to carry out its mission. Wheeler plans to finalize the rule sometime this year.

    3. Gutted the Coal Ash Rule
    The first major rule Wheeler signed as acting administrator refuted his claim that he could fulfill President Trump's directive to "clean up the air, clean up the water, and provide regulatory relief" at the same time. By rolling back the Obama-era coal ash rule, Wheeler provided regulatory relief to his old friend the coal industry by weakening environmental protections established in 2015 to clean up coal ash ponds, which are laced with toxic contaminants that leak into groundwater. The move was a top priority for coal baron Bob Murray, owner of Murray Energy, Wheeler's most lucrative client when he worked for the Faegre Baker Daniels law firm.

    Coal-fired power plants have been dumping this residue from burning coal into giant, unlined pits for decades. According to the EPA, there are more than 1,000 coal ash disposal sites across the country, and a recent analysis by Earthjustice and the Environmental Integrity Project found that 91 percent of the coal plants filing monitoring data required by the 2015 rule are polluting water with unsafe levels of toxic contaminants. Wheeler's EPA says the new rule—which extends the deadline for closing some leaking ash ponds and allows states to suspend groundwater monitoring and set their own standards—will save utilities as much as $31 million. But the agency ignored the enormous costs of cancer and neurological and cardiovascular diseases linked to coal ash ingredients, which include arsenic, chromium, lead and mercury.

    4. Recommended Unsafe Levels of Drinking Water Contaminants
    Poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which are used in firefighting foam and a variety of nonstick, cleaning, packaging and other household products, have been linked to thyroid disease and kidney, liver, pancreatic and testicular cancer. According to a recent study by the Environmental Working Group and Northeastern University, these chemicals threaten the drinking water supplies of an estimated 19 million Americans. A 2018 Union of Concerned Scientists report, meanwhile, found that PFAS water contamination at 130 military bases across the country exceed the 11-parts-per-trillion safety threshold determined by the Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Nearly two-thirds of the sites had contamination that was more than 100 times higher than the safe level.

    In February, Wheeler announced the "first-ever nationwide action plan" to regulate PFAS chemicals in water, saying the agency would develop and set a limit for two of the most prevalent PFAS chemicals, perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid. During the announcement, he told reporters he believes the agency's voluntary 70-part-per-trillion health-advisory level for the chemicals is "a safe level for drinking water," despite the fact that this level is more than six times higher than what the Disease Registry considers safe.

    While Wheeler slow-walks the EPA's response, members of Congress have introduced at least a dozen bills to address PFAS contamination, and the Senate recently passed a defense bill that would require the EPA to set a science-based standard for PFAS in drinking water.

    5. Rolled Back Clean Water Act Protections
    Clearing up a decade-long dispute over the scope of the Clean Water Act, the Obama EPA adopted a broad, science-based definition of the law that included protecting intermittent and ephemeral streams and wetlands that do not have surface water connections to other waterways. A 2015 EPA meta-analysis of more than 1,200 peer-reviewed studies concluded that even infrequently flowing small streams and isolated wetlands can affect "the integrity of downstream waters." Trash them and that pollution could wind up in rivers, lakes, reservoirs and estuaries.

    Regardless, Wheeler announced plans during a December telephone press briefing to reverse the Obama EPA definition of waters protected by the Clean Water Act, a thinly disguised gift to land developers and the agriculture industry. When asked what wetlands would no longer be protected, Wheeler replied, "We have not done … a detailed mapping of all the wetlands in the country." Likewise, EPA Office of Water head David Ross—who represented industry clients against the EPA before joining the Trump administration—told reporters on the call that the agency had no idea how many streams would be dropped from Clean Water Act protection under the proposal.

    In fact, Wheeler and Ross were well aware of the damage their new definition would do. At least 18 percent of streams and 51 percent of wetlands across the country would not be covered under their proposed definition, according to an internal 2017 slideshow prepared by the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers and obtained by E&E News under the Freedom of Information Act.
    6. Suppressed an Inconvenient Formaldehyde Report
    Last August, Wheeler disingenuously told a Senate committee that the EPA was holding up the release of a report on the risk of cancer from formaldehyde to confirm its veracity. "I am sure we will release it," he said, "but I need to make sure that the science in the report is still accurate."

    In fact, the report—which concluded that formaldehyde can cause leukemia and nose and throat cancer—was completed by EPA scientists a year before Wheeler testified, according to a Senate investigation, and their conclusion was hardly a surprise. Both the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Toxicology Program have already classified formaldehyde as a known human carcinogen.

    The EPA's review process normally takes 60 to 90 days. The formaldehyde report has been in limbo for at least a year and a half, a blatant giveaway to the American Chemistry Council, the U.S. chemical industry's premier trade association, which has blocked tighter restrictions on formaldehyde for decades.

    7. Ignored EPA Scientists’ Advice to Ban Asbestos
    Instead of heeding the advice of agency scientists and lawyers to follow the example of 55 other countries and ban asbestos completely, the EPA announced in April that it would tighten restrictions on asbestos—not ban it—despite overwhelming scientific evidence of its dangers. Manufacturers will be able to continue to use the substance if they obtain EPA approval.

    Asbestos has not been produced in the United States since 2002, but is still imported for use in a wide range of commercial and consumer products, including auto brake components, roofing, vinyl floor tile, fire-resistant clothing, and cement pipes, sheets and shingles. One of the deadliest known carcinogens, asbestos kills nearly 40,000 Americans annually, mainly from lung cancer.

    8. Weakened the Mercury Emissions Rule
    In late December, the EPA proposed to significantly weaken a rule restricting mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants by recalculating its costs and benefits. The Obama EPA, which issued the rule in 2011, estimated it would cost utilities $7.4 billion to $9.6 billion annually to install pollution controls and lead to $37 billion to $90 billion in health benefits by reducing not only mercury, a potent neurotoxin, but also sulfur dioxide and soot, thus preventing 130,000 asthma attacks, 4,700 heart attacks, and as many as 11,000 premature deaths. The Wheeler EPA ignored the "co-benefits" of limiting sulfur dioxide and soot, and flagrantly lowballed the health benefits of curbing mercury alone at only $4 million to $6 million annually.

    Most utilities have already complied with the mercury rule at a fraction of the estimated cost, but health advocates fear that this new, industry-friendly accounting method, which makes it appear that the cost to polluters far outweigh the rule's benefits, will set a precedent for the EPA to sabotage an array of other public health protections.

    9. Slammed Vehicle Emission Rules Into Reverse
    Last August, the EPA and the Transportation Department issued a proposal to freeze vehicle tailpipe pollution and fuel efficiency standards, rolling back a 2012 Obama-era rule requiring automakers to boost passenger vehicle fuel economy to a fleetwide average of 54 miles per gallon by 2025. In a Wall Street Journal opinion piece titled "Make Cars Great Again" published a few days before the two agencies announced their proposal, Wheeler and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao charged that the Obama-era standards—the first to limit vehicle carbon emissions—are too burdensome for automakers and "raised the cost and decreased the supply of newer, safer vehicles."

    Parroting the Trump administration's line of reasoning, Wheeler and Chao argued that fuel-efficient cars—which weigh less than gas-guzzlers—are not as safe, a contention that has been widely debunked. In fact, a 2017 study concluded that reducing the average weight of new vehicles could result in fewer traffic fatalities.

    In any case, freezing the standards at 2020 levels would be hard on the planet, not to mention Americans' wallets, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. It would result in an additional 2.2 billion metric tons of global warming emissions by 2040, amounting to 170 million metric tons in 2040 alone—the equivalent of the annual output of 43 average size coal-fired power plants. It also would cost drivers billions of dollars. In 2040 alone, they would have to pay an additional $55 billion to fill their gas tanks. Meanwhile, the design improvements automakers have made so far to meet the standards have already saved drivers more than $86 trillion at the pump since 2012, and off-the-shelf technological fixes, the Union of Concerned Scientists says, would enable automakers to meet the original 2025 target.

    10. Rescinded the Clean Power Plan
    Perhaps Wheeler's most damaging move to date came late last month when he signed a final rule to repeal and replace the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which would have required coal-fired power plants to dramatically cut their carbon emissions. Yet another gift to the coal industry, Wheeler's so-called Affordable Clean Energy rule grants states the authority to determine emissions standards but sets no targets, leaving them the option to do absolutely nothing.

    Before Wheeler released the final rule, an April study in the journal Environmental Research Letters found that his draft version would boost carbon emissions in 18 states and the District of Columbia and increase sulfur dioxide emissions in 19 states. The EPA's own analysis of the draft rule, meanwhile, found that the proposal could have led to as many as 1,400 premature deaths annually by 2030 due to an increase in soot, and as many as 15,000 cases of upper respiratory problems.
    Reversing Decades of Bipartisan Protections
    If Wheeler truly cared about transparency, he would petition the Trump administration to change the name of his agency to "Every Polluter's Ally." In just 12 months, he has killed or weakened dozens of safeguards with the sole intention of bolstering polluting industries' profit margins even after Congress slashed the corporate tax rate. As a result, millions of Americans will be drinking filthier water and breathing dirtier air, and more will suffer from serious diseases, according to his agency's own accounting.

    Wheeler and his predecessor Pruitt have sullied the bipartisan track record of one of the nation's agencies entrusted with protecting public health and safety. So it is little wonder that three former EPA administrators who, notably, served under Republican presidents, recently sounded the alarm on Capitol Hill, urging legislators to step up their oversight of the agency and denouncing its attempts to hamstring science.

    "There is no doubt in my mind that under the current administration the EPA is retreating from its historic mission to protect our environment and the health of the public from environmental hazards," former EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman, who served under President George W. Bush, stated in her written testimony for the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. "This administration, from the beginning, has made no secret of its intention to essentially dismantle the EPA…. Therefore, I urge this committee, in the strongest possible terms, to exercise Congress's oversight responsibilities over the actions and direction of the EPA.""

  • Jul 21, 19

    "California officials ordered Chevron Friday "to take all measures" to stop a release that has spilled around 800,000 gallons of water and crude oil into a dry creek bed in Kern County, KQED reported.

    The order, issued by the new acting head of the state's Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) Jason Marshall, also said the fossil fuel company had not done enough to stop the spills that had begun May 10. The order came a day after California Gov. Gavin Newsom fired former DOGGR head Ken Harris after a significant rise in fracking permits.


    "The Chevron spill clearly shows that California needs stronger climate leadership from the governor," Greenpeace USA Executive Director Annie Leonard said in a statement reported by KQED. "Oil and gas infrastructure will never be free from spills and leaks or from spewing climate pollution. We face a growing public health crisis and climate emergency stoked by rampant oil and gas development."

    DOGGR had initially issued Chevron with an order of violation and ordered it to stop some extraction in the area. Friday's order upped the ante by mandating the company completely stop the releases and take steps to prevent future ones.

    "Chevron takes these matters seriously," the company said in a statement Saturday. "We will review the order and continue working in a collaborative manner with the involved agencies."

    Officials began Friday to clean the spill, The Associated Press reported, which is the largest of California's recent oil spills.

    However, while the spill is larger than both the 2015 spill that dumped 140,000 gallons of crude oil onto Refugio State Beach and the 2007 spill of 54,000 gallons of oil into San Francisco Bay, it has been less devastating since it was not near an active waterway and has not significantly impacted wildlife, both company and state officials said.

    Chevron spokeswoman Veronica Flores-Paniagua told The Associated Press that the flow had stopped since its last release on Tuesday. It occurred in an area where the company uses steam to extract oil from the Cymric Oil Field, which is about 35 miles west of Bakersfield. The steam helps the crude oil flow more readily.

    The company estimated that around 70 percent of the seepage was water, leaving 240,000 gallons of oil. Regulators put that figure slightly higher at around 265,000 gallons of oil, KQED reported.

    The seepage first occurred May 10, stopped, then started again on June 8 and June 23.

    Department of Conservation spokesperson Teresa Schilling confirmed Saturday that the flow was contained."

  • Jul 17, 19

    "I know that this headline is alarming, but it is actually a direct quote from a notice that was recently posted in a Kroger supermarket.  And as you will see below, similar notices are being posted in the canned vegetable sections of Wal-Mart stores nationwide.  I would encourage you to examine the evidence in this article very carefully and to come to your own conclusions about what is happening.  At this moment, social media is buzzing with reports of shortages of canned vegetables all around the country.  But so far, the mainstream media is being eerily quiet about all of this.  Is there a reason why they aren’t saying anything?  For months, I have been reporting on the extremely bizarre weather patterns that are causing crop failures all over the planet.  But I certainly did not expect that we would already begin to see product shortages on the shelves of major U.S. supermarkets this summer.  What I am about to share with you is shocking, but the truth needs to get out.  For those that share my articles on your own websites, I know that all of the images in this article are going to be an inconvenience, but it is imperative that you include them when you republish this article because they tell a story.  All of the images are taken directly from Facebook, and they prove that we are now facing a nationwide shortage of canned vegetables.

    So let’s get started.

    This first image was posted on Facebook by Scott L. Biddle, and it shows a “product shortage” notice that was posted in the canned vegetable section of a Wal-Mart in Tennessee…



    All the way over on the west coast, similar notices were photographed by Gina Helm Taylor in the state of Oregon on July 12th…



    And here are a couple of notices that Daniel Moore was able to photograph during his lunch break at his local Wal-Mart…

    It appears that the exact same notices were sent to Wal-Mart stores all across America.  Here is another one from Carol Guy Hodges…



    And lastly, here is a photo that was shared by Randy Sevy…



    This certainly isn’t the end of the world, and we can definitely survive without canned vegetables for a few weeks.

    But as crop failures around the globe continue to intensify, will shortages such as this start to become increasingly common?

    Earlier today, I received a very detailed email from a reader that had some excellent intel about what was going on at his own local Wal-Mart.  The following is an excerpt from what he sent to me…

    This is alarming in and of itself, however, they are experiencing shortages across most product categories. The only information I could find online was pointing to a driver shortage. I noticed the shortage over the holiday weekend and returned this past weekend to take a closer look. There were problems with paper products, OTC medications, pickles (everyone wanted pickles?), lunch meats and hot dogs, vinegar, produce, alcohol, eggs, cereal, and feminine hygiene products. None of these items had signs like those posted in canned veggies, instead there were small tags placed over the original price tag the say “out of stock” in very small print.

    While a driver shortage could cause issues, it’s a little odd to me that there are 12 packs of toilet paper and 6 packs of coke but no 24 packs of either. One of the items being restocked were more of the 12 packs of toilet paper. Does a driver shortage account for this? Another oddity is that one Walmart may have pickles but no tortillas while the exact opposite will be true for a different Walmart. The employees that would normally be stocking were instead counting products (manually) and pulling product to the front of the shelves. There was a six foot stretch of Cheerios along one shelf that was one box deep, hiding the empty shelves behind them.

    One more item to note is that the first trip I made over the fourth of July weekend was to purchase canned corn. They had 9 cans of what I was looking for so I purchased them all. The following weekend they had restocked the same corn (there were 10 cans) but the price had increased almost 30%! The original purchase was for $1.44 while one week later the price had increased to $1.88.

    Sadly, the economic law of supply and demand is going to continue to push prices higher.

    And the tighter that food supplies become, the higher prices will go.

    Since the mainstream media is being completely silent about this, many people on social media don’t have much information to go on.  Speculation is rampant, and many are fearing the worst.

    One Facebook user named Stephen Dubaniewicz believes that all of the product shortage notices at his local Wal-Mart could mean that a food shortage is on the way…



    Hopefully we have some more time before things start getting really bad, but I would encourage you to use this time to get prepared while you still can.

    For months, I have been documenting the problems that U.S. farmers have been experiencing due to all of the endless rain and flooding in the middle of the country.

    But sometimes a picture is worth a thousands words, and this before and after photo from Nebraska speaks volumes…



    We know that food production in the United States is going to be way below expectations this year.

    And as I just showed you, it appears that a shortage of canned vegetables has already begun.

    A full-blown crisis has not arrived yet, but perhaps one is a lot closer than many of us had anticipated.

    This is a huge story, and I will continue to keep you updated."

  • Jul 07, 19

    "Millions of solar panels clustered together to form an island could convert carbon dioxide in seawater into methanol, which can fuel airplanes and trucks, according to new research from Norway and Switzerland and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, PNAS, as NBC News reported. The floating islands could drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on fossil fuels.

    The paper argues that the technology exists to build the floating methanol islands on a large scale in areas of the ocean free from large waves and extreme weather. Areas of the ocean off the coasts of South America, North Australia, the Arabian Gulf and Southeast Asia are particularly suitable for mooring these islands.

    "A massive reduction in CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning is required to limit the extent of global warming. However, carbon-based liquid fuels will in the foreseeable future continue to be important energy storage media. We propose a combination of largely existing technologies to use solar energy to recycle atmospheric CO2 into a liquid fuel," the study authors wrote in PNAS.

    The paper suggests floating islands are similar to floating fishing farms. The researchers envision clusters that would consist of approximately 70 circular solar panels, or islands, covering an area of roughly a half of a square mile. The solar panels would produce electricity, which would split water molecules and isolate hydrogen. The hydrogen would then react with the carbon dioxide pulled from the seawater to produce usable methanol, according to NBC News.

    The study authors argue that this method will address the hurdles of making renewable energy competitive with fossil fuels on a large scale, as Newsweek reported.

    Andreas Borgshulte, a co-author on the paper, said the idea for the solar islands came to the researchers when they were asked by the Norwegian government to push fish farms out to open sea. Those grids needed their own energy. "Energy 'producing' islands had been proposed some time ago," he said to Newsweek. "What remained was to include energy storage." Borgshulte and his team are currently developing floating island prototypes. They estimate that output from 3.2 million floating islands would exceed the total global emissions from fossil fuels.

    A single floating solar farm could produce more than 15,000 tons of methanol a year — enough to fuel a Boeing 737 airliner on more than 300 round-trip flights between New York City and Phoenix, according to NBC News reported. "We'd mostly want to use the fuel in airplanes, long-haul trucks, ships and non-electrified railroad systems," said Bruce Patterson, a physicist at the University of Zurich and one of the study's co-authors, as NBC News reported.

    Solar floating farms do not address individual actions, which Patterson argues are also necessary to combat the climate crisis. "This is just one of the many things we should be doing to control climate change, along with having better insulation in our homes, having higher efficiency in car engines and driving electric vehicles," he said to NBC News."

  • Jul 07, 19

    "A deluge of hail engulfed the outskirts of Guadalajara on Sunday, half-burying vehicles in ice and damaging nearly 200 homes.

    The freak hail storm in one of Mexico's largest cities came as summer temperatures hovered around 31 degrees Centigrade (88 degrees Fahrenheit) in recent days.

    "

  • Jun 28, 19

    "Earlier this month, a study found that the U.S. had more capacity installed for renewable energy than coal for the first time.

    That potential is now being realized. The U.S. generated more electricity from renewable sources than from coal for the first time ever this April, The Guardian reported Wednesday.

    Data from the Energy Information Administration showed that wind, solar and hydroelectric generated nearly 68.5 million megawatt-hours of power in April, while coal only generated 60 million, Bloomberg News reported. That's 23 percent of total electricity from renewables vs. 20 percent from coal, according to The Guardian.

    "

  • Jun 28, 19

    "It may be a New Year, but there is an old oil spill that keeps on spilling. The trouble is that you will probably have never have heard about the spill.

    But you need to know. Because, for more than 14 years, some 10,000 to 30,000 gallons of oil have leaked daily from a sunken oil rig owned by Taylor Energy into the Gulf of Mexico, about 12 miles south of the mouth of the Mississippi River.

    The disaster began way back in September 2004, when the company's oil platform, known as MC-20 Saratoga, was destroyed by Hurricane Ivan. Although the company contained some of the pollution caused by the loss of the platform, it did not stop all the leaks.

    Unless the oil spill is stopped, the sunken rig could carry on leaking for 100 years, becoming America's worst environmental disaster. Even now, if you take the high end of the leak estimate, the site may have released an estimated 150 million gallons of oil. This is silently creeping towards the estimated 200 million gallons spilled by BP during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.

    Back in November last year, the U.S. Coast Guard directed Taylor Energy to implement a new containment plan which "must eliminate the surface sheen and avoid the deficiencies associated with prior containment systems." In theory the company could be fined $40,000 a day for failing to comply.

    As you would expect, the company responsible for the spill, Taylor Energy not only disputes the figures concerning the leaks, but even whether it is to blame for the leak itself. Over the years it has tried to dismiss the leak as nothing more than a mere "trickle." That is hardly surprising because it could cost an estimated $1 billion to fix.

    The bottom line is that this a slow unseen disaster that could have been stopped years ago. As NOLA reports, some six years ago, Skytruth, an environmental group based in Shepherdstown, measured the oil sheen coming from the platform at over 20 miles long and urged the authorities to act. However, it was not until 2016 that the U.S. authorities began investigating the ongoing pollution.

    Dustin Renaud, communications director for the Gulf Restoration Network told NOLA, "The time to clean this up was 14 years ago. Taylor Energy has shown nothing but negligence all this time."

    He is rightly not the only one concerned about what is going on. Writing in The Guardian at the end of last year, Janis Searles Jones, the CEO of Ocean Conservancy and Philippe Cousteau, from EarthEcho International, said the thought of the spill carrying on for decades is a "nightmare scenario that should terrify anyone who cares about the health of the wildlife and people who live along the Gulf coast."

    Taylor Energy's tricks continue. Just before Christmas, according to NOLA, "The company filed a federal lawsuit in New Orleans asking the court to toss out a recent Coast Guard order to contain the leak." The company said that "containing the leak is unnecessary."

    And the ongoing spill has not stopped the pro-oil Trump administration attempting to open vast amounts of offshore areas for drilling"

  • Jun 28, 19

    "The federal government is looking into the details from the longest running oil spill in U.S. history, and it's looking far worse than the oil rig owner let on, as The New York Times reported.

    The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico received little public attention when it happened in September 2004, but it has been steadily leaking as much as 4,500 gallons a day, not three or four gallons per day as Taylor Energy Company, the rig owner, claimed, according to a new study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). And that's a conservative estimate, the report said.

    Oil and gas have been seeping out of the leak that started 12 miles off the Louisiana coast when an underwater mudslide caused pipes to rupture and a production platform to sink during Hurricane Ivan. Taylor successfully capped nine wells, but said it couldn't cap 16.

    Taylor Energy Company, which sold its assets in 2008, estimated that the leak has been minimal based on oil sheen on the surface of the water. The company argued that between 2.4 to four gallons of oil dribble out per day when it asked a federal court to release it from a cleanup order. The company's executives asserted that oil plumes from the sea floor are from oil-soaked sediment around the sunken platform and that any rising gas is from living organisms, according to The New York Times.

    "The results of this study contradict these conclusions," the report, issued on Monday by NOAA and Florida State University, concluded.

    In fact, the researchers directly refuted the sediment claim, stating that since the oil is only mildly biodegraded it cannot be from built-up sediment, as the AP reported.

    "While it is feasible that the heavily oiled sediments in and around the erosional pit could be contributing to oil in the water column, the chemical nature and volume of oil and gas measured precludes sediments from currently being the major source of oil to the marine environment," the report says.

    Using sonar technology and a newly developed "bubblometer" — a tool for analyzing oil and gas bubbles rising through the water — the researchers determined that the plumes stem from oil and gas from several wells. They also estimated that as many as 108 barrels of oil, or just over 4,500 gallons, have spilled into the Gulf daily since the underwater mudslide, as The New York Times reported.

    Taylor Energy issued a statement that it wants "verifiable scientific data about the leak and a scientifically and environmentally sound solution," according to the AP. The company has also said that since the uncapped pipes are buried under so much oily and treacherous silt, stopping any leaks would do more environmental damage than letting them be.

    The NOAA report comes out just as the Trump administration wants to open the entire U.S. coastline to drilling and plans to rollback safety regulations put in place after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico.

    "This is an unresolved, ongoing leak 14 years later," said Daniel Jacobs, author of BP Blowout: Inside the Gulf Oil Disaster, as The New York Times reported. "This is yet another indication that we are not ready to expand offshore drilling.""

  • Jun 28, 19

    "Money talks. And today it had something to say about the impending global climate crisis.

    Investors managing nearly half the world's capital, more than $34 trillion in assets, demanded governments around the world take action to stop the impending global climate crisis, as Reuters reported in an exclusive.

    In an open letter to the leaders of the G20 countries, groups representing 477 investors stressed urgent action to reach the Paris climate agreement targets of limiting global average temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times. Yet, current policies put the world on track for at least a 3 degrees Celsius rise by the end of the century.

    To limit global temperature rises, the group of investors demanded that nations accelerate their carbon reduction targets, gradually eliminate coal as an energy source, stop subsidizing fossil fuels, and set a global price on carbon by the end of 2020, according to Reuters.

    The statement from the group of investors also asked firms to improve their climate-related financial reporting, which will help them assess which companies are ready for a low-carbon transition and which companies are prepared for the climate crisis.

    They also want to see governments push companies to improve their climate-related financial disclosures, to help investors better assess which firms are well prepared for a low-carbon transition and the impacts of climate change.

    "It is vital for our long-term planning and asset allocation decisions that governments work closely with investors to incorporate Paris-aligned climate scenarios into their policy frameworks and energy transition pathways," the statement said, as Reuters reported.

    The letter comes just before the G20 summit in Japan on Friday and Saturday and as United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urges countries to commit to more ambitious climate goals.

    "There is an ambition gap... This ambition gap is of great concern to investors and needs to be addressed, with urgency," the investors warned in a statement alongside the letter, as Reuters reported.

    That lack of ambition is evident in the host country Japan, which has been criticized for its plans to continue using coal power. In a draft statement ahead of this weekend's summit, Japan has weakened the G20's commitment to the Paris climate agreement in order to keep the US on board, according to Climate Home News.

    Japan is far from the only country that argues for the continued use of fossil fuels to sustain economic growth. A report by researchers which tracks countries' progress toward limiting global warming showed that only five out of 32 nations studied have targets in line with a 2 degrees Celsius limit, according to Reuters.

    Furthermore, the G20 countries have continued to back coal power, boosting their backing for coal-fired power plants, particularly in poorer nations, from $17 billion to $47 billion a year from 2014 to 2017, according to a report by the Overseas Development think tank, as Reuters reported.

    The latest statement by investors comes as large institutional investors have started to move away from fossil fuels, both driven by ethics and by economic — as the price of renewables falls, fossil fuels will be less profitable.

    "The big story in energy economics over the next decade will be the storming of the bastions of fossil fuels by renewable energy sources that are cheaper to build and run, orders of magnitude cleaner and also much easier and quicker to deploy," said Mark Lewis, the head of sustainability research at BNP Paribas, as the Guardian reported.

    This latest statement from some of the world's largest investors comes after Norway's Wealth Fund, the world's largest sovereign wealth fund divested itself earlier this month of all its investments in fossil fuels, including oil exploration and coal-related stocks, according to the Guardian."

  • Jun 25, 19

    "More than 70 leading public health groups, including the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, agree that the climate crisis is also a health emergency.

    "We are here today to declare that climate change is a health emergency. Climate change is already harming the health, safety and wellbeing of every American living today and if it is not addressed, will bring untold harm to all our children and grandchildren," former Acting Surgeon General and Retired U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps Rear Admiral Boris Lushniak said in a transcript of a press call emailed to EcoWatch.

    On the call, medical professionals shared how climate change was already impacting the health of their patients. Pediatrician and incoming Chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Environmental Health Dr. Aparna Bole explained how worsening air quality linked to global warming was increasing the risks faced by her patients in a Cleveland, Ohio community where one in five children has asthma.

    "In my community, burning fossil fuels contribute to not just asthma exacerbations but also poor birth outcomes like low birth weight and prematurity, both risk factors for infant mortality. Even prenatal exposure leads to neurodevelopmental delays that negatively impact school readiness, which is an important foundation for a child's academic success," Bole said.

    Meanwhile, Gundersen Health System CEO Emeritus Jeffrey Thompson shared how extreme weather events like hurricanes and wildfires were making it harder for hospitals to care for their patients.

    "In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, many emergency medicine physicians throughout the U.S. were forced to ration critical IV fluids after the hurricane damaged a major producer of IV bags in Puerto Rico. This shortage persisted for months and into flu season. Imagine having to tell a worried mother that you couldn't give her child fluids that could help him," Thompson said.

    The group outlined six major priorities for policy makers to fight climate change and improve health outcomes.

    Meet and ramp up Paris agreement commitments.
    Transition away from coal, oil and natural gas and towards renewable energy.
    Encourage a shift from driving to biking, walking or public transportation while shifting to zero-carbon transit alternatives.
    Support sustainable agriculture and protect green spaces.
    Make sure all communities have safe and sustainable supplies of drinking water.
    Ensure a "just transition" for workers and communities impacted by climate change.
    The group also encouraged health organizations to take climate action by engaging with calls like this one, integrating climate responses into public health plans and assisting vulnerable communities in responding to climate impacts.

    Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University Director Ed Maibach told the Associated Press that the health organizations' statement could shift some Americans' image of climate change as "primarily as a threat to things in the environment, like polar bears."

    "It's incredibly helpful when health professionals point out the actual reality of the situation, point out that this is also a threat to our health and well-being now ... and it's likely to get worse, much worse, if we don't take action to address it," he said.

    The call also comes as climate change is emerging as a major issue in the 2020 election, something Lushniak alluded to in introducing it.

    "[W]e are well aware that we are initiating this effort at an important moment when our Nation's attention is increasingly focused on the most important issues we face and how we should address them," he said. "Our goal is to influence this national conversation at this critical moment. We are providing our leaders at all levels and with a meaningful path forward."

    The call was released the same week that Democratic candidates will engage in their first debate, the Associated Press pointed out. It shares priorities with the climate policy proposed by candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden, the Associated Press concluded, since it urges a transition away from fossil fuels without endorsing an outright ban on fracking.



    So far 77 organizations representing nurses, doctors, hospitals, volunteers and public health professionals have signed on to The Call to Action on Climate, Health and Equity: A Policy Action Agenda, released Monday. The agenda urges government, business and community leaders to take a series of actions designed to promote health and fight climate change.

    "

  • Jun 25, 19

    "The Trump administration has refused to publicize dozens of government-funded studies that carry warnings about the effects of climate change, defying a longstanding practice of touting such findings by the Agriculture Department’s acclaimed in-house scientists.

    The studies range from a groundbreaking discovery that rice loses vitamins in a carbon-rich environment — a potentially serious health concern for the 600 million people world-wide whose diet consists mostly of rice — to a finding that climate change could exacerbate allergy seasons to a warning to farmers about the reduction in quality of grasses important for raising cattle.

    All of these studies were peer-reviewed by scientists and cleared through the non-partisan Agricultural Research Service, one of the world’s leading sources of scientific information for farmers and consumers.

    None of the studies were focused on the causes of global warming – an often politically charged issue. Rather, the research examined the wide-ranging effects of rising carbon dioxide, increasing temperatures and volatile weather....

    “The intent is to try to suppress a message — in this case, the increasing danger of human-caused climate change,” said Michael Mann, a leading climate scientist at Pennsylvania State University. “Who loses out? The people, who are already suffering the impacts of sea level rise and unprecedented super storms, droughts, wildfires and heat waves.”...

    By contrast, POLITICO found that in the case of the groundbreaking rice study USDA officials not only withheld their own prepared release, but actively sought to prevent dissemination of the findings by the agency’s research partners....

    Researchers at the University of Washington had collaborated with scientists at USDA, as well as others in Japan, China and Australia, for more than two years to study how rising carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could affect rice — humanity’s most important crop. They found that it not only loses protein and minerals, but is also likely to lose key vitamins as plants adapt to a changing environment.

    The study had undergone intensive review, addressing questions from academic peers and within USDA itself. But after having prepared an announcement of the findings, the department abruptly decided not to publicize the study and urged the University of Washington to hold back its own release on the findings, which two of their researchers had co-authored.

    In an email to staffers dated May 7, 2018, an incredulous Jeff Hodson, a UW communications director, advised his colleagues that the USDA communications office was “adamant that there was not enough data to be able to say what the paper is saying, and that others may question the science.”

    "It was so unusual to have an agency basically say: ‘Don't do a press release,’ " Hodson recalled in an interview. "We stand for spreading the word about the science we do, especially when it has a potential impact on millions and millions of people."...

    “Why the hell is the U.S., which is ostensibly the leader in science research, ignoring this?” said one USDA scientist, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid the possibility of retaliation. “It’s not like we’re working on something that’s esoteric … we’re working on something that has dire consequences for the entire planet.”

    “You can only postpone reality for so long,” the researcher added....

    * * *

    With a budget of just over $1 billion, the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service — known as ARS — is often referred to as “one of the best kept secrets” in the sprawling department because of its outsize impact on society. The agency has pioneered a variety of major breakthroughs, from figuring out how to mass produce penicillin so it could be widely used during World War II to coming up with creative ways to keep sliced apples from browning, and has for decades been at the forefront of understanding how a changing climate will affect agriculture.

    The agency has stringent guidelines to prevent political meddling in research projects themselves. The Trump administration, researchers say, is not directly censoring scientific findings or black-balling research on climate change. Instead, they say, officials are essentially choosing to ignore or downplay findings that don’t line up with the administration’s agenda.

    Some scientists see the fact that the administration has targeted another research arm of USDA, the Economic Research Service, as a warning shot. Perdue is moving ERS out of Washington, which some economists see as retribution for issuing reports that countered the administration’s agenda, as POLITICO recently reported.

    “There’s a sense that you should watch what you say,” said Ricardo Salvador, director of the food and environment program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. “It’s going to result in some pretty big gaps in practical knowledge. … it will take years to undo the damage.”...

    Among the ARS studies that did not receive publicity from the Agriculture Department are:

    A 2017 finding that climate change was likely to increase agricultural pollution and nutrient runoff in the Lower Mississippi River Delta, but that certain conservation practices, including not tilling soil and planting cover crops, would help farmers more than compensate and bring down pollutant loads regardless of the impacts of climate change.
    A January 2018 finding that the Southern Plains — the agriculture-rich region that stretches from Kansas to Texas — is increasingly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, from the crops that rely on the waning Ogallala aquifer to the cattle that graze the grasslands.

    An April 2018 finding that elevated CO2 levels lead to “substantial and persistent” declines in the quality of certain prairie grasses that are important for raising cattle. The protein content in the grass drops as photosynthesis kicks into high gear due to more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere — a trend that could pose health problems for the animals and cost ranchers money.

    A July 2018 finding that coffee, which is already being affected by climate change, can potentially help scientists figure out how to evaluate and respond to the complex interactions between plants, pests and a changing environment. Rising CO2 in the atmosphere is projected to alter pest biology, such as by making weeds proliferate or temperatures more hospitable to damaging insects.

    An October 2018 finding, in conjunction with the USDA Forest Service, that climate change would likely lead to more runoff in the Chesapeake Bay watershed during certain seasons.

    A March 2019 finding that increased temperature swings might already be boosting pollen to the point that it’s contributing to longer and more intense allergy seasons across the northern hemisphere. “This study, done across multiple continents, highlights an important link between ongoing global warming and public health—one that could be exacerbated as temperatures continue to increase,” the researchers wrote.

    Those were among at least 45 ARS studies related to climate change since the beginning of the Trump administration that did not receive any promotion, according to POLITICO’s review. The total number of studies that have published on climate-related issues is likely to be larger, because ARS studies appear across a broad range of narrowly focused journals and can be difficult to locate.

  • Jun 25, 19

    "As early as next year, the grounds could be reclassified and absorbed into another superlative: the largest military training area in the United States. The 2.9-million-acre Nevada Test and Training Range is already one of the country’s most vital aerial gunnery and bombing domains, where the Air Force and its allies practice dogfights and launch missiles onto targets positioned in the desert valleys.

    The Air Force is now proposing to expand the range, which was established just before America’s entry into World War II, by about 300,000 acres, closing off a part of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge that is currently open to the public.

    The tension between these competing goals — warfare readiness and wildlife preservation — has stirred impassioned debates in Nevada. In a state increasingly described as politically purple, both Republicans and Democrats have spoken out against the expansion of the Air Force range, and it has become the rare issue that unites voices as diverse as the Sierra Club and the most conservative lawmakers in the state.

    Although the final decision on whether to allow the expansion rests with Congress, which will take up the issue next year, lawmakers in Nevada have sought to influence the process, passing a resolution opposing the expansion by 63-3.

    The Air Force, which invites allies like Singapore, Australia and European countries to train in the desert, says it needs the additional 300,000 acres to test the tools of modern warfare. Weapons used during the Vietnam War were dropped a few miles from their targets, said Col. Cavan Craddock, the installation commander for Nellis Air Force Base and the Nevada Test and Training Range. The weapons used today are released from “much, much, much farther,” he said, declining to give precise numbers to protect military intelligence.

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    “We need the capability to be able to test and train and develop tactics like we are going to execute in war,” Colonel Craddock said....

    Around 84 percent of land in Nevada is owned by the federal government, the highest percentage among the 50 states. In addition to the Air Force’s training area, the Navy has the Fallon Range Training Complex in the northern high desert east of Reno, an area that the Navy is seeking to expand by 600,000 acres. The Energy Department controls an area around Yucca Mountain, which the Trump Administration is seeking to make the nation’s permanent repository for nuclear waste, a long-disputed project in Nevada.

    Colonel Craddock said Nevada gives the Air Force possibilities that no other state can offer.

    “We have a large contiguous piece of land that is very sparsely populated,” he said. And the terrain has the added advantage of resembling those of countries where the United States military often operates.

    About half of the wildlife refuge — more than 800,000 acres — is already used by the Air Force.

    The proximity of war simulations to the vast refuge can make for a jarring contrast. On a recent visit, the screech of a red-tail hawk was followed by the earthshaking sonic boom of a military jet.

    “That’s not thunder,” said Amy Sprunger, an employee of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service who has served as the manager of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge for the past 18 years.

    The sonic booms are so powerful that the Air Force has compensated homeowners in Alamo, Nev., a town on the edge of the refuge, for damage to their homes.

    At least four drones have crashed on the reserve during her tenure, said Ms. Sprunger, who is skeptical of the Air Force’s claims that the expansion would not harm the refuge. Contractors for the Defense Department would have “free rein,” she said. “There’s no oversight,” she said....

    Jose Witt, the Southern Nevada director of Friends of Nevada Wilderness, a conservation group, created a social media slogan, #DontBombTheBighorn, a reference to the sheep that roam the refuge.

    “A lot of people think of the Mojave as a vast wasteland,” Mr. Witt said. “That’s a perception we are trying to change. It’s a hidden gem.”

  • Jun 25, 19

    "The new climate change agenda released by the groups, including the American Medical Association and the American Heart Association, comes amid early jostling among Democratic candidates over whose environmental platform is more progressive. The health organizations’ policy recommendations, while a stark departure from President Donald Trump’s approach, represent a back-to-basics approach for an internal Democratic climate debate that has so far revolved around the liberal precepts of the Green New Deal .

    “The health, safety and well-being of millions of people in the U.S. have already been harmed by human-caused climate change, and health risks in the future are dire without urgent action to fight climate change,” the medical and public health groups wrote in their climate agenda, shared with The Associated Press in advance of its release.

    Among other things, the groups are pressing elected officials and presidential candidates to “meet and strengthen U.S. commitments” under the 2015 United Nations climate agreement from which Trump has vowed to withdraw. They’re also pushing for some form of carbon pricing, although without any reference to potential taxation of emissions, and “a plan and timeline for reduction of fossil fuel extraction in the U.S.”

    Former Vice President Joe Biden’s climate change plan, released earlier this month, tracks broadly with several of the medical and public health groups’ priorities. While the groups call for a reduction in petroleum and natural gas use in transportation, they do not go as far as several of Biden’s rivals in supporting an outright ban on the oil and gas extraction technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which involves injecting high-pressure mixtures of water, sand or gravel and chemicals into rock.

    Other groups signing onto the list of climate policy priorities include the American Lung Association, the American College of Physicians and multiple state-level and academic public health organizations. That the agenda’s endorsing groups do not operate with “a political axe to grind” could help them draw more attention to climate change, said Ed Maibach, director of the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University.

    For voters who view climate change “primarily as a threat to things in the environment, like polar bears,” talking about the issue as a health problem could reframe their thinking, Maibach said.

    “It’s incredibly helpful when health professionals point out the actual reality of the situation, point out that this is also a threat to our health and well-being now ... and it’s likely to get worse, much worse, if we don’t take action to address it,” he said."

  • Jun 24, 19

    "The climate crisis is rapidly warming the Arctic, and the effects are being felt from Alaska to Greenland.

    The northernmost point on the planet is heating up more quickly than any other region in the world. The reason for this warming is ice–albedo feedback: as ice melts it opens up land and sea to the sun, which then absorb more heat that would have been bounced off by the ice, leading to more warming. It's a vicious circle of warmth that's changing the environment at the north pole. 

    In Alaska, the crisis led this year to the warmest spring on record for the state; one city, Akiak, may turn into an island due to swelling riverbanks and erosion exacerbated by thawing permafrost and ice melt. Massachusetts-based Woods Hole Research Center scientist Susan Natali told The Guardian that what's happening in Akiak is just an indicator of the danger posed to Alaska by the climate crisis.

    "The changes are really accelerating in Alaska," said Natali. 

    Thawing will result in people losing their homes—in cities like Akiak, it already has—and, Natali warned, eventually the scope of the problem will be beyond the capabilities of the U.S. government to handle. 

    "It's a real challenge because in the U.S. there isn't the precedence to deal with this and there isn't the political framework to deal with it either," Natali told The Guardian. "The numbers needing relocation will grow, the costs are going up, and people's lives and cultural practices will be impacted."

    "

  • Jun 24, 19

    "In yet the latest shocking image depicting just how fast the world's natural systems are changing due to the global climate emergency, a photograph showing a vast expanse of melted Arctic ice in Greenland — one in which a pair of sled dog teams appear to be walking on water — has gone viral.

    The photo, taken by researcher Steffen Olsen from the Centre for Ocean and Ice at the Danish Meteorological Institute just last week, showed two teams of dogs pulling sleds designed for ice and snow through ankle-deep water atop a melted ice sheet in the country's Inglefield Bredning fjord.

    "This is beautiful the way fiery balls of lava are beautiful: deadly," said freelance writer Robin Hamilton in response to the photograph.

    Olsen was part of an expedition sent to the region to retrieve research equipment, but as the Washington Post reported the team encountered much more melting than anticipated: "Data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center show that the Greenland ice sheet appears to have witnessed its biggest melt event so early in the season on record this week (although a few other years showed similar mid-June melting)."

    As journalist John Iadarola tweeted, the photo — despite having a majestic quality — represents a terrifying symbol of a world that is rapidly warming:

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