The other item was more sobering -- an article in London's Independent newspaper headlined, "Society will collapse by 2040 due to catastrophic food shortages, says study." The study, based on a model created at Anglia Ruskin University's Global Sustainability Institute, forecasts that if global emissions continue unabated, plausible climate trends will lead to catastrophic crop failures and food riots around the globe. "In this scenario, global society essentially collapses as food production falls permanently short of consumption," Aled Jones, director of the Institute, told reporters. The study echoes a similar, peer-reviewed report from Lloyds of London, which found the probability of a major food crisis "significantly higher" than the insurance industry's benchmark return period of 1:200 years.
Higher temperatures are melting Greenland ice directly, but also indirectly via increased rainfall Greenland, one of the largest ice sheets in the world, is melting. In fact, it is melting ahead of schedule as the world warms.
Booming Asian economies fuel huge poaching and wildlife trafficking issues Staff Report FRISCO —Federal wildlife managers hope that a near-total ban on the U.S. ivory trade will help slow the slaughter of elephants poached for their tusks. By some estimates, as many as 100,000 elephants were killed for their ivory between 2010 and 2012 — about one every 15 minutes. Elephants are threatened in formerly safe areas, and some of Africa’s most famous wildlife parks are littered with carcasses. Last week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed new regulations that would prohibit most interstate commerce in African elephant ivory and further restrict commercial exports. The proposed rule builds upon restrictions put in place last year following President Obama’s Executive Order on combating wildlife trafficking.
New study shows food shortages will catch up to the Arctic predators Staff Report FRISCO — When it comes to finding food as Arctic sea ice melts, polar bears don’t exactly have a lot of options. That’s one of the main reasons the Arctic predators are under the global warming gun, and a new study of how the bears respond metabolically during lean times underscores the existing science. Researchers with the University of Wyoming set out to learn as much as they could by using satellite collars and surgically implanted monitors to track polar bear’s summertime movements and core body temperatures on ice and shore. They found the animals are able to reduce their energy expenditure a little, but not enough to make up for the associated food shortages. Their findings suggest that increasing sea ice loss represents a significant threat to these carnivorous bears.
indings suggest human health risks from inhaling pollen laced with neonicotinoids Staff Report FRISCO — Scientists with Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health say their new study examining pollen and honey shows there’s a need to develop public policies that aims to reduce neonicotinoid exposure. After working 62 Massachusetts beekeepers who volunteered to collect monthly samples of pollen and honey from foraging bees, the researchers found more that 70 percent of the samples contained at least one neonicotinoid, a class of pesticide that has been implicated the steep decline of honeybee populations, specifically colony collapse disorder, when adult bees abandon their hives during winter.
Five years ago, in the middle of the night, an oil pipeline operated by Enbridge ruptured outside of Marshall, Michigan. It took more than 17 hours before the Canadian company finally cut off the flow, but by then, more than a million gallons of tar sands crude had oozed into Talmadge Creek. The oil quickly flowed into the Kalamazoo River, forcing dozens of families to evacuate their homes. Oil spills of that magnitude are always disastrous, but the Kalamazoo event was historically damaging.
The first challenge was the composition of the oil. Fresh tar sands crude looks more like dirt than conventional crude—it’s far too thick to travel through a pipeline.
It was late evening. The skies were dark and dogs were howling. Into the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Rescue Center on the island of Borneo rushed a rescue worker cradling a tiny bundle in his arms.
He handed over the precious package to the manager on duty. Inside, with a face as small as a mouse’s, was a 3-month-old orangutan.
Those who were there that day say there are two things they remember most about their first meeting with the baby ape: her intelligent eyes, big and bright; and her fragile left arm -- half of which was conspicuously missing.
Algae could replace corn as feed for cattle and other livestock, according to findings published in the Journal of Animal Science. Algae — hardy microorganisms that can grow in a variety of environments and laboratory settings — require less fertilizer, water, land, and herbicides than corn, and thus could prove to be an environmentally friendly alternative for livestock feed, researchers say. The materials used in the new study were remnants of algae grown and processed for other applications, such as cosmetics, cooking oil, and biofuels, and would otherwise have been burned as waste. The researchers found that even these pre-processed leftovers were able to provide the same amount of protein as corn, along with slightly more fat. Cattle in the study readily ate the algae at a variety of concentrations and maintained their body weight as well as corn-fed cattle. Researchers say the algal meal could be priced to compete with corn and could be on the market by 2016.
Ancient, highly valuable forests are being lost at an "unprecedented" rate from protected lands in Cambodia, according to a new report. The analysis, from campaign group Forest Trends, says that large corporations are using legitimate development permits to illegally clear land. Around 2,000 sq km of forests are being lost every year, they say. Effective governance of the forests in Cambodia has broken down, they argue.
An oil field boom in North Dakota has turned a quiet agricultural region into an industrial zone, where farmers and ranchers report over 100 oil spills per month.
In a July 23 webinar, members of North Dakota’s environmental community spoke about the impacts of the second-largest fracking oil field in the United States, the Bakken Shale.
Earthworks, a non-profit American environmental agency, presented the webinar entitled "Inside the Bakken: National Impacts and How You Can Help."
One of the largest oil developments in the U.S. in the last 40 years, the Bakken Shale extends over eastern Montana, western North Dakota and into parts of Saskatchewan and Manitoba. While the oil was initially discovered in 1951, hydraulic fracking made it economical to put the field into production.
“Bakken oil is transported by oil and the vast majority of oil trains travel from North Dakota,” said Deborah Thomas, a board member with the non-profit group ShaleTest Environmental Testing, while introducing the speakers.
“These trains with their payloads of extremely explosive, fracked crude travel through communities across North America, putting millions of Americans and Canadians at risk.”
Just over two years ago, the air and hand brakes failed on one such train filled with Bakken crude. It careened at 104 kilometres per hour into the small Quebec town of Lac-Megantic, derailing near the town’s centre at 1:15 a.m. and spilling six million litres of crude oil.
The extremely volatile oil burst into flames and, with the subsequent explosions, killed 47 people, forced another 2,000 from their homes, and destroyed much of the downtown core.
In 2005, I argued that ice sheets may be more vulnerable than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimated, mainly because of effects of a warming ocean in speeding ice melt. In 2007, I wrote "Scientific Reticence and Sea Level Rise," describing and documenting a phenomenon that pressures scientists to minimize the danger of imminent sea level rise.
About then I became acquainted with remarkable studies of geologist Paul Hearty. Hearty found strong evidence for sea level rise late in the Eemian to +6-9 m (20-30 feet) relative to today. The Eemian is the prior interglacial period (~120,000 years ago), which was slightly warmer than the present interglacial period (the Holocene) in which civilization developed. Hearty also found evidence for powerful storms in the North Atlantic near the end of the Eemian period.
It seemed that an understanding of the late Eemian climate events might be helpful in assessing the climate effects of human-made global warming, as Earth is now approaching the warmth that existed then. Thus several colleagues and I initiated global climate simulations aimed at trying to understand what happened at the end of the Eemian and its relevance to climate change today.
Manufacturing and wastewater treatment sites are releasing bisphenol A into the air, exposing people to high levels of the chemical, according to a study Researchers have long known people can be exposed to bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical commonly...
Vue du ciel, l'Amazonie ressemble à une immense table de billard, d'un vert intense mité de taches couleur café: ce sont des sites miniers illégaux, reflet d'une ruée vers l'or qui menace le poumon de la planète. «La perte pour nos ressources naturelles est incalculable», explique à l'AFP le haut commissaire du Pérou contre les mines illégales, Antonio Fernandez Jeri. «Chaque hectare perdu représente des espèces uniques de flore et de faune», déplore-t-il.
"Mercury levels in bluefish caught off the U.S. Atlantic coast dropped more than 40 percent over the past four decades thanks to federal restrictions on coal emissions, according to a new study.
This is good news not only for bluefish but for the entire predator fish population in the Mid-Atlantic. And it's better news for people fond of eating the tasty fish, often served broiled or baked, as it suggests that mercury reductions due to coal-fired plant emissions crackdowns in North America have quickly led to less contamination in marine life.
“This is an important study … this is the type of work that we need to encourage policy makers to support clean-coal technology,” said Katlin Bowman, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California’s Department of Ocean Sciences who was not involved in the study.
Coal-fired plants are big mercury contributors to the atmosphere – where most emission pollution gets dumped – and the ocean, where those pollutants eventually settle."
FRISCO — The coyote hunter who shot a protected gray wolf in Utah last year won’t face any criminal charges for killing an endangered species. Investigators with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and the U.S. Department of Justice found that the Utah resident was legally hunting coyotes near Beaver in late December when he mistook the collared female gray wolf for a coyote. The female wolf had gained some notoriety after wandering from the northern Rocky Mountains all the way down to the Grand Canyon, where wildlife advocates one day hope to see a restored wolf population. Another wandering wolf was similarly killed near Kremmling, Colorado in late April, in an incident that’s also being investigated by various agencies. Wolves from the Yellowstone area have been dispersing quite widely around the West in search of good habitat and conservation advocates say they should be allowed to re-establish populations in suitable areas, including western Colorado and northern Arizona.
Larry Skinner finished planting corn and soybeans by Memorial Day. In midsummer, the pace slows down on his farm near the town of Newman in Central Illinois. He walks his fields monitoring moisture levels, watching for insects and looking for sprout growth.
In a profession facing constant uncertainty from the weather, Skinner has one more variable to consider: how to repair uneven farmland sunken by coal mining more than 20 years ago.
The coal mine near his farm closed in the 1980s, but he and his neighbors are still cleaning up the mess. Mining caused land to subside – or sink – unevenly, resulting in marshy areas that can reduce crop yields.
“This shows what greed does to the American farmland,” said Skinner, shaking his head as he pointed to a subsided area, an extensive brown spot in a field of green.
Some of the best farmland in the world can be found on the Illinois prairie. Rich soil mixed with plenty of precipitation produces high yields of corn and soybeans year after year. Underneath much of this same land are coal reserves deposited roughly 300 million years ago. That has created friction between two of the state’s biggest industries.
The recent offer by Norwegian salmon-farming corporation Grieg to pay off B.C. shrimp fishermen—as part of an industry-wide intention to massively expand salmon aquaculture production in B.C. in the next five years— is only the latest imbroglio in the long and bitter controversy over net-pen salmon farming.
The debate has raged for over 25 years in British Columbia. Along the way it has embroiled conservationists, fishermen, scientists, federal and provincial governments and the aquaculture industry itself— sparking multiple lawsuits and protest marches in Vancouver, Victoria and coastal communities.
But there’s a new X factor at play in the long-running controversy.
The ’Namgis First Nation, with advice and support from a large number of groups, including Tides Canada, conservation groups, and funding agencies, has launched Kuterra, a land-based, “closed-containment” aquaculture project that keeps their Atlantic salmon out of contact with the larger marine ecosystem.
The company launched in the summer of 2014. Initially sold only in Safeway Sobey’s stores in BC and Alberta, their fish are now available as far east as Manitoba.
“Individual 'Namgis members and the Nation as a whole have long been concerned about the effects of open net-pen aquaculture on the marine environment and the life in and around it, especially wild salmon,” says ‘Namgis Chief Debra Hanuse.
“Our primary motive for pursuing land-based closed containment aquaculture and founding Kuterra is environmental. We feel the most effective way to act on those concerns is to propose an alternative that we see as being more sustainable.”
Illegal international wildlife trade presents a related threat By Bob Berwyn FRISCO — Conservation advocates say some Mexican fishermen are ignoring a ban on gillnets in the northern Gulf of California, driving a porpoise species even closer to extinction. Biologists say there are less than 100 vaquitas left in the area, and perhaps as few as 50, and despite Mexico’s stated intention to enforce the gillnet ban, Greenpeace observers reported this week that the now-illegal nets are still being widely used.
ExxonMobil gave more than $2.3m to members of Congress and a corporate lobbying group that deny climate change and block efforts to fight climate change – eight years after pledging to stop its funding of climate denial, the Guardian has learned.
Climate denial – from Republicans in Congress and lobby groups operating at the state level – is seen as a major obstacle to US and global efforts to fight climate change, closing off the possibility of federal and state regulations cutting greenhouse gas emissions and the ability to plan for a future of sea-level rise and extreme weather.
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