Environment and Climate Change

The World Eyes Yet Another Unconventional Source of Fossil Fuels

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Vast quantities of methane hydrates — frozen deposits of natural gas on the sea floor — exist worldwide. Nicola Jones YaleEnvironment360 But as experimental drilling moves forward, many experts question the wisdom of exploiting a costly, environmentally risky trove of fossil fuels that will accelerate global warming. In May of this year, China claimed a breakthrough in tapping an obscure fossil fuel resource: Researchers there managed to suck a steady flow of methane gas out of frozen mud on the ... Read More »

Eclipse tests the power grid’s mettle as solar energy goes dark

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The total eclipse of the sun Monday is expected to prompt fossil fuel generators to ramp up quickly to fill in the gaps as solar power goes dark from Oregon to the… John Siciliano Washington Examiner  Grid operators and watchdogs say the biggest effects from the loss of solar-generated electricity will occur in California, which represents 40 percent of the nation’s solar… Other states expected to be especially hit by the loss of solar include North Carolina, Utah, and… For ... Read More »

Arguments heard over marine bill

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DURBAN – Fishermen and local non-profit organisations aired their objections to the draft Marine Spatial Planning Bill yesterday at the Chesterville Hall. Zainul Dawood Daily News The Department of Environmental Affairs recognised the potential of the ocean to create jobs and improve lives. Its current plan to use the ocean’s resources is called Operation Phakisa. Addressing the crowd on Thursday, department representative Radia Razak said they noticed the ocean resources were under a great deal of pressure, particularly in the ... Read More »

Researchers at UNH help National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration map sea floor

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DURHAM – Researchers at the University of New Hampshire are working with employees at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to map the sea floor. So far, between 10 and 11 percent of the sea floor is mapped. Plans are to have the entire floor mapped by 2030. NH1.com Larry Mayer, who is a co-director of the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping and Joint Hydrographic Center at UNH, said the primary reason for sea floor mapping is for safety ... Read More »

Norway’s push for Arctic oil and gas threatens Paris climate goals – study

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Noway’s role as the world’s biggest fossil fuel exporter undermines its efforts to cut emissions at home, says NGO report Jonathan Watts The Guardian Norway’s plan to ramp up oil and gas production in the Arctic threatens global efforts to tackle climate change, according to a new study. The research says 12 gigatonnes of carbon could be added by exploration sites in the Barents Sea and elsewhere over the next 50 years, which is 1.5 times more than the Norwegian ... Read More »

Pruitt climate science challenge splits conservative allies

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There is concern the GOP and its policies will suffer if the EPA chief reopens a losing argument about whether global warming is real. Emily Holden Politico EPA chief Scott Pruitt’s attacks on mainstream climate science are causing discomfort in a surprising corner — among many of the conservative and industry groups that have cheered his efforts to dismantle Barack Obama’s environmental regulations. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, political groups backed by the Koch brothers and the top lobbying organizations ... Read More »

Treaty to enable high seas marine protected areas takes step forward

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The NZ deep sea trawler West Bay does a fast turn after hauling its catch from international waters in the Tasman Sea. Greenpeace  along with more than a thousand scientists are supporting the call for a moratorium  on high seas bottom trawling, because of the vast amount of marine life that is destroyed by this fishing method.
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The United Nations has advanced a step closer to an international treaty to protect marine life on the high seas, with an aim of setting up a mechanism for creating marine protected areas in areas beyond national jurisdictions. Aaron Orlowski SeafoodSource International waters outside countries’ exclusive economic zones make up 60 percent of the ocean and cover almost half of the surface of the earth. The waters are rife with marine life, including many threatened species, but are subject to ... Read More »

Fossil Fuels Are Powering Trump’s Foreign Policy

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The president is remarkably consistent when it comes to pushing coal, oil, and gas on foreign leaders. Michael T. Klare The Nation Who says President Trump doesn’t have a coherent foreign policy? Pundits and critics across the political spectrum have chided him for failing to articulate and implement a clear international agenda. Look closely at his overseas endeavors, though, and one all-too-consistent pattern emerges: Donald Trump will do whatever it takes to prolong the reign of fossil fuels by sabotaging ... Read More »

Extremely Nasty Climate Wake-Up

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Now that the Great Acceleration dictates the biosphere with ever more intensity, sudden changes in the ecosystem are causing climate scientists to stop and ponder what’s happening to our planet, like never before… hmm! Robert Hunziker CounterPunch The Great Acceleration: “Only after 1945 did human actions become genuine driving forces behind crucial Earth systems,” (J.R.McNeill/Peter Engelke, The Great Acceleration, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, London, 2014, pg. 208). Abrupt changes outside the boundaries of natural variability are ... Read More »

Nicholas F. Stump: Should a healthy environment be a human right?

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Do we have a fundamental right to breathe clean air, drink clean water and eat safe food? Nicholas F. Stump Huntington Herald-Dispatch The idea of environmental human rights is receiving growing attention worldwide, driven by our global ecological crisis. But the United States has lagged behind in codifying these rights into laws and in successfully furthering them. While this may seem like an issue for legal scholars, it has very real importance for regions like Appalachia, where I work. Coal ... Read More »

Microbeads ban: Government to outlaw microplastics in cosmetic products

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Any kind of ‘rinse-off’ personal care and cosmetic products are affected, but not ‘leave-on’ make-up or sunscreen after industry complaints about the cost Ian Johnston Environment Correspondent Independent The Government is to go ahead with a ban on “rinse-off” plastic microbeads in cosmetics and personal care products following a public consultation, it has announced. The proposal comes amid increasing evidence that tiny plastic particles are damaging marine life and could even pose a serious risk to human… Microbeads ban: Government… Read More »

Circular economy isn’t a magical fix for our environmental woes

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Solving our ecological crises means diluting the power of global corporations – not propping them up Micha Narberhaus and Joséphine von Mitschke-Collande The Guardian The circular economy’s June jamboree in Finland, attended by around 1,500 experts and policymakers, showed just how much momentum the concept has gained in… Little wonder. The circular economy model – which aims to use closed-loop production to keep resources in play for as long as possible – is presented as a pragmatic, win-win solution; an ... Read More »

Al Gore: Australian government subsidising coal power would be ‘crazy’

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Former US vice president and climate change campaigner says providing funding for infrastructure to support Adani coal mine is ‘just… Calla Wahlquist The Guardian Any move by the Australian government to subsidise coal-fired power would be “crazy” and providing funding for infrastructure to support the Adani coal mine is “just nuts,” former US vice president and… “Globally, the world is moving rapidly away from subsidies to fossil fuels,” he… “It would be odd if Australia went in the opposite direction ... Read More »

Just 100 companies responsible for 71% of global emissions, study says

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A relatively small number of fossil fuel producers and their investors could hold the key to tackling climate change Tess Riley The Guardian Just 100 companies have been the source of more than 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988, according to a new report. The Carbon Majors Report (pdf) “pinpoints how a relatively small set of fossil fuel producers may hold the key to systemic change on carbon emissions,” says Pedro… Just 100 companies… Read More »

Global Meltdown? Nuclear Power’s Annus Horribilis

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This year will go down with 1979 (Three Mile Island), 1986 (Chernobyl) and 2011 (Fukushima) as one of the nuclear industry’s worst ever ‒ and there’s still another six months to go, writes Dr Jim… Jim Green New Matilda Two of the industry’s worst-ever years have been in the past decade and there will be many more bad years ahead as the trickle of closures of ageing reactors becomes a flood ‒ the… The likelihood of reactor start-ups matching closures ... Read More »

FOI documents confirm government holding almost one year’s worth of pollution data

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The federal government has been keeping almost a year’s worth of pollution data secret, despite it being scheduled for release in May, documents obtained under freedom of… Lucy Cormack The Age Independent estimates suggest Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions have risen sharply since the government last released its quarterly data in December – a trend that would make the… Quarterly updates by the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory, described as “up-to… FOI documents confirm… Read More »