Oil spills have devastating consequences, both economically and environmentally, and videos of those disasters in action highlight both how much fuel is lost during spills and how much they impact the local environment.
OAK CITY, N.C. — For the sake of a greener Europe, thousands of American trees are falling each month in the forests outside this cotton-country town.
Every morning, logging crews go to work in densely wooded bottomlands along the Roanoke River, clearing out every tree and shrub down to the bare dirt. Each day, dozens of trucks haul freshly cut oaks and poplars to a nearby factory where the wood is converted into small pellets, to be used as fuel in European power plants.
Soaring demand for this woody fuel has led to the construction of more than two dozen pellet factories in the Southeast in the past decade, along with special port facilities in Virginia and Georgia where mountains of pellets are loaded onto Europe-bound freighters. European officials promote the trade as part of the fight against climate change. Burning “biomass” from trees instead of coal, they say, means fewer greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Spare a thought for the folk in Bulga, a village in the Upper Hunter which has twice tried to fend off a proposal by Coal and Allied/Rio Tinto to extend the massive open-cut Warkworth coal mine to within 2.6 kilometres of the town.
In 2013 Bulga Milbrodale Progress Association won an appeal in the Land and Environment court to block the mine, a decision that was later confirmed by the Supreme Court. No sooner had they won than the then Minister for Resources, Chris Hartcher, altered a crucial planning policy to ensure economic issues were given greater priority in the planning process. The mining company promptly reapplied and Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) has recommended it be given approval and the town moved.
FRISCO — U.S. politicians and energy companies may not have warmed to the idea of putting a price tag on carbon pollution, but the chief executives of six major multinational oil companies say it’s the best way to “reduce uncertainty and encourage the most cost effective ways of reducing carbon emissions widely.” The six companies — BG Group, BP, Eni, Royal Dutch Shel, Statoil ASA and Total SA — set out their position in a joint letter from their chief executives to United Nations climate policy leaders, timed to precede the critical COP21 climate meeting in Paris this December. The companies aren’t quite ready to step away from fossil fuels altogether. In a separate letter to the media, they wrote that natural gas still has a critical role to play to meet the demand for energy from a growing world population that wants better living standards.
FAIRVIEW, Ore. (KOIN) — A number of students spent time Monday planting milkweed and lavender at the Salish Pond wetlands to improve the habitat for honeybees and butterflies.
A 25% drop in the honeybee population has been seen in the Pacific Northwest, and experts are concerned with anything above 10%. Oregon State University entomologist Ramesh Sagili said the new plants will help.
“Once bees have a diverse diet, I think they will have a better immune system and be able to take better all these stresses that they are getting,” Sagili said.
This is the first of a 4-year project in Fairview to help bring back the pollinator populations.
Twin Falls, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KSVT-TV ) Earlier this week, the Idaho Water Resource Board approved 10.5 million dollars for Aquifer recharge in 2016.Set during the board’s two–day meeting in Idaho Falls, the 10.
Without continued federal protection, wolves may never return to the southern Rockies By Bob Berwyn FRISCO — Federal biologists have confirmed by DNA analysis that the animal killed by a coyote hunter near Kremmling last month was an endangered gray wolf. The hunter notified state wildlife managers immediately, claiming that he though the animal was a coyote. The incident is being investigated by Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the USFWS. Check out the discussion thread on this the Colorado Mule Deer Association’s Facebook page to get a sense of peoples’ attitudes about wolves in Colorado. According to the CPW, the shooting happened on BLM land near Wolford Mountain Reservoir in Grand County.
FRISCO — A proposed new EPA rule could create temporary safe havens for honeybee colonies. The agency this week said it wants to ban application of pesticides in areas where specific plants are in bloom and commercial honeybees are being trucked in to pollinate large croplands. The rule will apply to nearly all insecticides, including neonicotinoids, which have been identified as a key factor in the decline of honeybee colonies. The EPA said it will monitor the restrictions to determine whether more restrictions would benefit bee populations.
If you've ever wished you could post up on a mountaintop forever, then meet your new home.
Ecocapsule is a tiny, 86 square-foot living capsule that, as soon as next year, will enable owners to live virtually anywhere. Each mobile pod comes with sleeping space for two, a mini kitchen, a fully functional toilet and shower, storage space, a desk and two windows.
The pods, which are currently in pre-production, harvest rainwater and remove bacteria all on their own, while powering themselves with sun and wind. The capsule's battery can also charge electric cars, Gizmodo reports, making the location possibilities breathtakingly endless -- from beaches to jungles to wide-open prairies.
Proposed House measure would threaten decades of progress on restoring fisheries By Bob Berwyn FRISCO — After years of attacking public land protections with little to show for their efforts, anti-environmental Republicans in Congress are now taking aim at the oceans. House Resolution 1335, cooked up in the witch’s kitchen of the House Natural Resources Committee, would slash rules that, for decades, have helped rebuild fisheries and protected ocean species from extinction. Introduced by Alaska’s Don Young, no friend to environmental regulation, the bill has the support of groups like the National Restaurant Association, whose main interest appears to be providing low-cost red snapper to consumers.
Environmental activists want Forest Service to drop expansion plan for West Elk mine Staff Report FRISCO — A U.S. Forest Service coal-mining plan that could result in dozens of miles of new roads in a pristine Colorado forest is drawing fire from conservation groups and citizens around the country.
The modern supermarket produce aisle is full of visual illusions. The strawberries are plump and glistening; the tomatoes smooth-skinned and lustrous; the melons firm and brightly colored—yet all too often devoid of flavor. We have no one to blame for these bland beauties but ourselves. By selectively breeding crops to be as prodigious as possible and to survive weeks of shipping and storage in dark, cool conditions, we have sapped flavor, aroma and nutrition from our food.
Consider the dilemma that cantaloupes presented to plant breeders. To enjoy a cantaloupe's full flavor, you must pick and eat it at peak ripeness, before it goes too soft. Toward the later stages of a cantaloupe's development, a burst of the hormone ethylene causes the fruit to ripen and soften quite quickly. This speedy puberty made transporting cantaloupes across states or from one country to another problematic: even on ice, the melons turned to mush by the voyage's end.
Big loopholes for industry, farms will continue to threaten water quality Staff Report FRISCO — After years of wrangling, the EPA has finalized a new rule intended to define which streams are covered under the Clean Water Act. The debate goes back more than a decade to a pair of court rulings that called into question whether smaller tributaries and seasonal streams are subject to federal regulations.
Given that here in the Midwest it's still planting season, and pollinators still (always!) need good habitat, I hope that anyone reading this will feel inspired to add more native plants to their gardens.
Jim Lovelock, environmentalist, scientist, and celebrated proposer of the Gaia hypothesis, has always taken the long view of Earth's future. So it feels appropriate that he should have retired to a coastguard's cottage perched above Chesil Beach on Dorset's Jurassic Coast – so called because 180 million years of geological history lie exposed along its cliffs and coves.
This shoreline is constantly eroding. In the winter storms of 2013, Lovelock's cottage was cut off for four days when the road leading to it was washed into the sea – not that Lovelock, whose latest book is entitled A Rough Ride to the Future, needed any reminder of the precariousness of our world. A decade ago, he predicted that billions would be wiped out by floods, drought and famine by 2040. He is more circumspect about that date these days, but he has not changed his underlying belief that the consequences of global warming will catch up with us eventually. His conviction that humans are incapable of reversing them – and that it is in any case too late to try – is also unaltered. In the week when the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change reported that the world is still miles off meeting its 2030 carbon emission targets, Lovelock cannot easily be dismissed.
FRISCO — At this point in the debate about global warming, it’s pretty clear that, what happens in the Arctic doesn’t always stay in the Arctic. Scientists are exploring whether the rapid high-latitude warmup affects seasonal weather patterns where it matters most — northern hemisphere continents where much of the world’s population lives. And a new study shows, in a round-about way, that those impacts can extend all the way to the tropics. Based on a detailed new ice core study focusing on atmospheric methane, the researchers concluded that huge influxes of fresh water into the North Atlantic Ocean from icebergs calving off North America during the last ice age increased methane production in tropical wetlands. Usually increases in methane levels are linked to warming in the Northern Hemisphere, but the scientists who published their findings last week in the journal Science have identified rapid increases in methane during particularly cold intervals. These findings are important, researchers say, because they identify a critical piece of evidence for how the Earth responds to changes in climate.
Climate action presents huge economic opportunities Staff Report FRISCO — Cutting U.S. greenhouse gas emissions to the target level announced by the Obama administration won’t require huge policy changes, according to a new report from the World Resources Institute. The goal to reduce heat-trapping pollution by 26 to 28 percent in the next 10 years can be achieved under existing federal laws and state actions, according to the analysis, which outlines specific steps to reach the target The report was released as the next round of global climate talks start in Bonn, Germany, a critical step on the road to a new international climate agreement.
FRISCO — If plans, press releases and political mud-slinging could help greater sage-grouse, the majestic western bird would be well on the way to recovery. But the only thing that will really help the imperiled species is on-the-ground action — protecting and restoring the habitat the birds need to survive. A series of proposed land-use plans released by the federal government this week aims to do just that, by minimizing and avoiding new disturbance to habitat, restoring habitat when possible and reducing threats like wildfires and invasive species. Here’s a fact sheet. The coordinated plans represent what is probably the last best hope for avoiding an endangered species listing and many more years of legal battles. The federal announcement generally garnered support from conservation advocates, but criticism from some states and the energy industry.
Forest Service study helps unravel pollinator decline mystery Staff Report FRISCO — U.S. Forest Service scientists say they’ve solved another part of the biological puzzle surrounding the alarming decline of bee populations. Changes in forest structure from open to closed canopies are likely contributing to the decline, especially of native bees, at least in some regions. “Bees prefer open forests,” said Jim Hanula, a research entomologist at the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station. “We found that total tree basal area was the best predictor for how many bees would be present.”
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