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Glacier National Park, Two Medicine and Running Eagle Falls.
Many environmentally related posts appearing at Daily Kos each week don't attract the attention they deserve. To help get more eyeballs, Spotlight on Green News & Views  (previously known as the Green Diary Rescue) appears twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The most recent Saturday Spotlight can be seen here. [Please note that the lack of a Wednesday Spotlight this week was a one-time schedule change.] So far, more than 19,170 environmentally oriented diaries have been rescued for inclusion in this weekly collection since 2006. Inclusion of a diary in the Spotlight does not necessarily indicate my agreement with or endorsement of it.
The Urban Metabolism: Understanding Your City by Understanding its Flow—by citisven: "As part of my work with the Ecocitizen World Map project (EWM) I'm currently learning about Urban Metabolism Information Systems (UMIS), a whole systems analysis that measures everything flowing into and out of a city over time and space. Created by the Consensus Institute's Executive Director and EWM team member Sebastian Moffatt, UMIS provides an open-source, easy-to-access visualization tool for the mapping of energy, water and resource flows through cities, neighborhoods, and buildings, from source to sink. [...] In fact, with the help of intrepid citizen activists and students in our pilot cities of Cairo and Casablanca we are taking it even further: turning the tool from the inside out and from the bottom up, we are testing out Participatory Urban Metabolism Information Systems, a method designed to empower people on the ground to map out their own neighborhoods and become participants in transforming their communities into more resilient, equitable, and ecologically healthy settlements. Why is this important? Well, like a human body a city is a living, ever-evolving organism, and in order to have it operate at a healthy level and in sync with its environment you have to know exactly what flows into it, how those things are used, and where they go after the body no longer needs them. Another familiar analogy to think of is a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA), the well established method to assess environmental impacts associated with all the stages of a product's life, from cradle to grave. But LCAs only work for products, and cities and neighborhoods aren't products — they are situated in one place, they are complex, ever-changing physical and cultural ecosystems, and they have no lifetime. Cities are eternal."
Community activists and students at Mundiapolis University in Casablanca getting ready to map out the neighborhood of Roches Noires.
Community activists and students at Mundiapolis University in Casablanca
getting ready to map out the neighborhood of Roches Noires.
green dots
UN Draft Climate Report Leaked: Greenhouse Emissions Getting Worse, Not Better—by Dartagnan: "Those hoping for good news about the effects of climate change are not going to find it here. Runaway growth in the emission of greenhouse gases is swamping all political efforts to deal with the problem, raising the risk of “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts” over the coming decades, according to a draft of a major new United Nations report. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a UN panel of over 800 scientists and climate experts that periodically assesses and updates the state of climate research, will release its summary "synthesis" report in October. A draft version of the report, still subject to final editing, was provided to member governments this week and a copy was obtained by the New York Times. While much of the research underlying the synthesis document can be found in the IPCC's three Working Group Reports released during the past year, the summary and conclusions carry particular weight and are presented in starker language designed to motivate lawmakers from those countries that choose to pay attention."
green dots
Fire Retardant Chemicals - Fanning the Flames—by Ellen Moyer: "In a reckless, 'hope-for-the-best' approach that puts us all at risk, U.S. policy allows the release of synthetic chemicals into the environment—before their potentially devastating impacts have been adequately evaluated. Multiple Senate bills to fix this toxic system over the past decade have been snuffed out. On July 24, 2014, U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced a bill, the 'Protecting American Families from Toxic Chemicals Act' (S. 2656), which would ban a number of 'persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic' synthetic chemicals such as brominated fire (or flame) retardants (BFRs). BFRs are chemicals used to reduce the flammability of consumer products. In the early 1970s, the increasing use of flammable materials such as plastics, synthetic fibers, and polyurethane foam led to the widespread use of BFRs. BFRs are added to couches and upholstered chairs; mattresses, pads, and futons; carpet padding; fabrics; electronics; building materials; and children’s products such as booster seats, changing table pads, and crib mattresses. BFRs enter our bodies mainly when we inhale or swallow dust. Various BFRs have been linked to cancer, thyroid disruption, memory and learning problems, delayed mental and physical development, lower IQ, early puberty, and reduced fertility. Ironically, BFRs start 'fires' in our bodies by causing inflammation."

You can find more rescued green diaries below the sustainable squiggle.

Intro

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Climate Chaos

Leaked UN Report warns of "very high risk of severe, widespread, and IRREVERSIBLE impacts globally"—by Lefty Coaster: "What's being described as 'the most important document produced by the UN about global warming' has an urgent warning meant for the eyes of world leaders (so as not to panic the rest of us) that the damage our carbon fueled industrial economies are making to our planet's atmosphere and oceans will soon be irreversible creating their own momentum for even more drastic change as a number of feedback loops become the dominant drivers of Global Warming accelerating the destructive changes to the environment. Humans risk causing irreversible and widespread damage to the planet unless there’s faster action to limit the fossil fuel emissions that cause climate change, according to a leaked draft United Nations report. Global warming already is impacting 'all continents and across the oceans,' and further pollution from heat-trapping gases will raise the likelihood of 'severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems,' according to the document obtained by Bloomberg. 'Without additional mitigation, and even with adaptation, warming by the end of the 21st century will lead to high to very high risk of severe, widespread, and irreversible impacts globally,' the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said in the draft."

Global warming is here now, caused by humans, dangerous, and probably irreversible says IPCC report—by HoundDog: "NBC News reports that the latest draft of the International Panel on Climate Change raises an alarm on global warming in even starker language than previous drafts. IPCC Sharpens Warnings in Draft of New Climate Change Report - Economy in Peril from Global Warming. Global warming is here, human-caused and probably already dangerous—and it's increasingly likely that the heating trend could be irreversible, a draft of a new international science report says. The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on Monday sent governments a final draft of its synthesis report, which combines three earlier documents. There is little in the report that wasn't in the other more-detailed versions, but the language is more stark and the report attempts to connect the different scientific disciplines studying problems caused by the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and gas ... 'Continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems,' the report says ..."

Nobody is Safe—by Pakalolo: "The most frightening thing about Climate Change is that we continue to ignore it. Even on this site, and that scares the hell out of me. I will let the Scientists tell their story. If anyone becomes scared as well, you can go to this site. Scientists are focused on research and climate change solutions—not publicity. VOTE for change. Nearly every scientist interviewed for this project said voting for greener policies and supporting green initiatives  is even more important than recycling. If we’re to drastically decrease emissions and create a sustainable and safe future, change must come from the top and it must come now. It's our job to put pressure on governments and on big business. Always, consider businesses and parties with greener solutions."

Stark language of new climate report doesn't include 'we're screwed,' but without action now, we are—by Meteor Blades: "Of course, the authors were cautious not to say 'we're f#%@&cked' unless the deniers and delayers and fossil fuel fools are shoved out of the way. More's the pity. When you have a five-alarm fire underway, it's not alarmism to say so. Still, the report uses the word 'risk' more than 350 times and ''irreversible' 48 times. Included in the report is a by-now familiar litany of expected impacts, many of which are already happening. Among them: rising sea levels from melting polar icecaps, Greenland and glaciers; ever more acidic oceans that make life difficult for many marine species; torrential rains; floods; droughts; heat waves; crop failures; extinctions; and violent conflict. The report also stated that global warming would 'slow down economic growth, make poverty reduction more difficult, further erode food security, and prolong existing poverty traps and create new ones, the latter particularly in urban areas and emerging hot spots of hunger.'"

Solving the Climate Crisis: A Revenue-Neutral Carbon Fee & Dividend—by wild thang: "As long as fossil fuels remain artificially cheap  and profitable, their rising use threatens civilization and human survival. Correcting this massive market failure from driving us beyond all tipping points requires that the price of carbon pollution account for its true social costs. Carbon pricing is regarded by economists, investors and politicians around the world as the most sensible and effective systemic measure to address climate change. A national carbon pricing measure, properly designed, will do four things: internalize the social cost of carbon, rapidly achieve large emission reductions, minimize economic disruption and recruit global participation. An escalating revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend (CFD) with border tax adjustments will achieve these outcomes. Its success derives from five distinct features: 1. Full dividend return: This feature will inject as much as $200 billion into the economy within 3 years. It protects family budgets from increasing energy costs by returning the revenue in the form of monthly checks to all households. It does not impose any rules on recipients making independent decisions about their energy usage. It will mobilize the power of aggregate demand for low-carbon products. It's an engine that builds a broad consumer financial stake at the retail level in lowering overall emissions."

Paranoid Delusions Down Under—by ClimateDenierRoundup : "In an article featured in the Australian (and available for free from the GWPF), skeptical biologist and former conservative "think tank" member, Jennifer Marohasy, accused the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) of adjusting past temperature records to make the present seem hotter. Her accusation seems to mirror Tony Heller's recent claim — which politifact gave its 'pants on fire' rating—that scientists fudged the NOAA/NASA temperature record. Brietbart and the Daily Caller dutifully parrot Marohasy's story and her completely baseless accusations that updating temperature records is in fact 'a propaganda technique.' In grandiose fashion, Marohasy directly references Orwell's classic Nineteen Eighty-Four and accuses the BoM of deleting data, exaggerating and using half-truths. The BoM explains the homogenization process is necessary to address issues like "thermometers housed in a beer crate on an outback veranda" and is well supported by the scientific literature. But this isn't good enough for Marohasy, who insists on calling routine scientific process 'data corruption.'"

Merchants of Doubt: The Movie—by ClimateDenierRoundup: "With his trademark bravado, Marc Morano of Climate Depot is proud to announce his "starring role as villain" in the documentary  film based on Merchants of Doubt, the seminal book by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway. Documentarian Robert Kenner (creator of Food, Inc.) directed the film, which is set to premier at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 9th. Like the book, the film 'investigates the shadowy world of professional skeptics, whose services are bought and paid for by corporations, think tanks and other special interests to cast doubt and delay public and governmental action on climate change.' According to IMDb, the U.S. release is scheduled for October 8th at the New York Film Festival."

Deniers dismiss Atlantic heat sink study—by ClimateDenierRoundup: "New research on the slowdown in global warming has sent ripples across both the scientific and denier communities. Current theories suggest that much of the heat trapped by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere gets stored in the Pacific Ocean. Using new technology, researchers Chen and Tung find that much of the heat is sinking deep in the Atlantic and Southern Oceans. The more scientists come to understand about the slowdown in surface temperatures, however, the more deniers try to sow the seeds of confusion. The Hockey Schtick has an 'updated list of 29 excuses for the 18 year "pause" in global warming' that is making the rounds in the deniersphere. WUWT and others attempt to discredit the emerging research by making blanket statements like, 'more than a dozen theories have now been proposed for the so-called global warming hiatus, ranging from air pollution to volcanoes to sunspots.'"

New study suggests Southern Oceans are burying Heat causing 'Hiatus' in rising surface temps—by Lefty Coaster: "The vast Southern Ocean along with the southern Atlantic make up an unbroken ring of ocean that rings the global south. That is the enormous area of ocean that swallowed up Flight 370 without trace in its little traveled expanse. It is also probably swallowing up vast amount of heat according to a new study published in the journal Science. Amounts of heat potentially large enough to affect terrestrial surface temperatures masking the amount of heat the earth is trapping leading to claims of a 'Hiatus' in Global Warming. The key to the slowdown in global warming in recent years could lie in the depths of the Atlantic and Southern Oceans where excess heat is being stored—not the Pacific Ocean as has previously been suggested, according to new research. But the finding suggests that a naturally occurring ocean cycle burying the heat will flip in around 15 years’ time, causing global temperature rises to accelerate again."

Sea level by 2050—by TJ: "[C]urrently thought plausible amounts of rise in sea level are for 2040 and 2050 TJ? People have been asking me a lot lately. But the last estimate I can recall is from way long ago and I'm remembering 18 inches which has probably changed by now. [...] So, if the new 2100 upper is 7 feet, and the response curve is the same shape: 2050—Upper = 2.2 ft; Lower = .40 ft. I ran 2 foot rise using the link below and it looks grim for the eastern seaboard."

The whole Climate change picture just got a whole lot worse!—by Flint: "August started with the melting permafrost in Siberia releasing massive methane gas explosions and as one climatologist put it, 'it is a climate time bomb waiting to go off.' Methane is one of the worst gases for climate change ... and now the other shoe appears to be dropping as under sea methane deposits surrounding all the continents are bubbling up as well. [...] In an unexpected discovery, hundreds of gas plumes bubbling up from the seafloor were spotted during a sweeping survey of the U.S. Atlantic Coast. Even though ocean explorers have yet to test the gas, the bubbles are almost certainly methane, researchers report today (Aug. 24) in the journal Nature Geoscience. 'We don't know of any explanation that fits as well as methane,' said lead study author Adam Skarke, a geologist at Mississippi State University in Mississippi State. Between North Carolina's Cape Hatteras and Massachusetts' Georges Bank, 570 methane seeps cluster in about eight regions, according to sonar and video gathered by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration ship Okeanos Explorer between 2011 and 2013.

Melt ponds are Accelerating the Rapid Melting Process of the Ice Sheets—by Pakalolo: "Robert Simmon explains for NASA's Earth Observatory: 'As the ice sheet melts, water collects in large pools on the ice surface. Streams drain the pools, sometimes carrying water into other pools, but sometimes disappearing into crevasses or cracks in the ice. The crevasses take the water deep into the ice sheet, sometimes even to the underlying rock, where it lubricates the lowest layers of the ice. The lubricated ice flows more quickly toward the ocean, which in turn accelerates the rate at which icebergs break into the sea. The overall result is a greater loss in ice mass than would happen without the influence of melt water streams.'"

Extreme Weather & Other Natural Phenomena

Bárðarbunga: Tremors in Akureyri—by Rei: "Between 1950 and 1990, counting aftershocks as distinct events, Iceland received 26 quakes of magnitude 5.1 or greater, meaning one every 1,6 years. 11 of these were 5.3 or greater (one every 3.6 years), and only two of them were magnitude 5.7 or greater (one every 20 years). I mention this because I want you to understand the significance of the fact that Bárðarbunga has caused, in a 50 hour period, two 5.1 quakes, two 5.3 quakes, and a 5.7. It's also worth noting that in Iceland, earthquakes aren't generally felt long from the source, which is typical for volcanic quakes. So the fact that people in Akureyri and the Eastfjörds are feeling them is a testament to their power."

Bárðarbunga: "It Depends On Whether The Conduit Breaks Into Askja's Caldera"—by Rei: "It's time to continue our ongoing series Eldfjallavakt, where we've been covering the serious situation going on under Iceland's largest volcano, Bárðarbunga. Except that increasingly, 'under Bárðarbunga' is a poor description. Because now the magma intrusion that she's sent forth at an average rate of hundreds of cubic meters per second (similar to the flow rate of the Hudson River at New York City, straight through solid rock) has gone over 30 kilometers from Bárðarbunga's magma chamber, its end is no longer under the glacier Dyngjujökull, and it's now heading straight toward the magma chamber of Askja, another large, dangerous volcano in the highlands. [...] Today, Askja (whose name now means caldera, and is similar to the word for ash, "aska") is a popular tourist spot, where people come to see the massive caldera (easily visible from space) looking like a bullethole in Iceland, and to swim in the warm waters of a side section called Víti ('Hell'). But she's still highly dangerous, even when not erupting. [...] Why the heck are we talking about Askja?
Because Bárðarbunga's magma intrusion is well on its way to linking the two magma chambers together."

Víti crater in Askja volcano with Öskjuvatn lake.
Víti crater in Askja volcano with Öskjuvatn lake.
Bárðarbunga: "It Depends On Whether The Conduit Breaks Into Askja's Caldera" (updated 1x)—by Rei: "Except that increasingly, 'under Bárðarbunga' is a poor description. Because now the magma intrusion that she's sent forth at an average rate of hundreds of cubic meters per second (similar to the flow rate of the Hudson River at New York City, straight through solid rock) has gone over 30 kilometers from Bárðarbunga's magma chamber, its end is no longer under the glacier Dyngjujökull, and it's now heading straight toward the magma chamber of Askja, another large, dangerous volcano in the highlands."

40km Long Fissure Is Ripping into Violent Askja, Linking Iceland's 3 Largest Volcanoes—by FishOutofWater: "Code red has been downgraded to Code orange by Iceland's Met Office because eruption is not imminent, but experienced vulcanologists have been stunned by the growing 35-40km long dyke which now connects the fissure systems of Iceland's three largest volcanoes. As a general rule, eruptions stay on the fissure systems of one volcano because magma will follow a fissure system's existing planes of weakness. The forces controlling the movement of magma now are acting on a larger scale than the scale of one volcano. While Iceland's Met office is speaking calmly of a possible small eruption other vulcanologists are discussing the possibility of a large rifting eruption that could have major impacts on Iceland and possibly Europe. [...] This thickened crust has pushed down basalt to depth and the basalt has partially melted to produce granitic intrusions at depth. And that makes for trouble at Askja. The world's most violent volcanoes are located at continental hotspots where basaltic magma interacts with granitic rocks. Yellowstone, Wyoming; Valles Caldera, New Mexico; and Long Valley California are 3 explosive volcanic systems that produced catastrophic eruptions when injections of mantle basalt melted granitic rock. There are 2 things about injecting basalt from the mantle into granitic rock that make for large dangerous eruptions. Granite is higher in silica than basalt so it is more viscous. Instead of flowing smoothly it is sticky so it tends to erupt violently. The second aspect is more subtle. Granite melts at a lower temperature than basalt so the injection of basalt into granitic rock can produce a larger amount of melt than was initially present. Both of these factors contribute to producing large highly explosive eruptions."

Energy & Conservation

Port of Metro Vancouver BC approves terminal for US Coal exports to Asia—by Lefty Coaster: "Port Metro Vancouver has granted a permit for the Fraser Surrey dock to be expanded to export four million tonnes of coal per year, saying it will not harm the environment or local residents. That would make Vancouver the biggest coal port in North America with most of the coal being shipped through the notoriously dirty Westshore Terminal. This terminal expansion on the lower Frazier River is about 80 miles southeast of Texada Island. This means that the coal coming through this new terminal could affect salmon runs on the Fraser River. The Westshore Terminal has created a dead zone in what had once been a part of the biologically rich Fraser delta. The Fraser River is one of North America's great rivers. Upriver is an island formed by one of the river's meanders named after my great-great-grandfather so it has a special place in my heart. This will also increase the coal train traffic through the populous Puget Sound area and the Columbia River Gorge."

Renewables

How low can the cost of wind electrical generation go? DOE reports 2.5¢ per kilowatt-hour in 2013—by HoundDog: "Tina Casey teases us with a game of electricity generation cost limbo in her encouraging article, How Low Can Wind Energy Go? 2.5¢ Per Kilowatt-Hour Is Just The Beginning. The tubes have been buzzing over a new Department of Energy report on the US wind energy market, which came up with the low-low average cost for wind energy of $25 per megawatt-hour for a certain type of electricity purchase agreement (more on that later). According to some of our friends on the Internets that works out to 2.5¢ per kilowatt-hour, which certainly seems to spell doom for the long term prospects of coal, nuclear, oil, and even that 'other' low cost fuel, natural gas. Tina Casey does call our attention to some caveats such as the 2013 Wind Technologies Market Report was based on a smaller sample size than previous reports. It included only 11 projects with a total of 650 MW."

Fracking

Fracking Industry Uses Tobacco Playbook to Defend Birth Defects—by Willinois: "Bloomberg News reviews studies on the link between birth defects and living near fracking sites. It's compelling. Multiple studies show increased rates of congenital heart defects, low birth weight, and stillbirths. A spokesperson for the fracking industry propaganda outfit, Energy in Depth, responded. 'The body of scientific knowledge has to advance gradually and you have to look at all of these things and the full spectrum. You can’t just look at this one individual or this group of studies.' How many studies do we need? How long will it take? 'We also believe that until scientific research can establish what actually causes the diseases with which smoking has been statistically associated, it would be unfair to advocate any law prohibiting the sale of cigarettes.' That's what the tobacco industry was still arguing in 1987, many years after the link between cigarettes and multiple deadly health problems was clear."

Breaking News: New Hazards with Fracking—by StewartAcuff: "NBC is reporting this morning on their website that government safety officials and others have discovered another major safety issue in fracking, the process of drilling deep into the earth to blow up rock formations to release natural gas. The new major safety gap is unregulated gathering lines in rural areas. The gathering lines are pipelines that carry the gas to longer transmission lines or to production facilities. In populated areas gathering lines are regulated. In rural areas there is absolutely no regulation. Rural residents are asked to sign permission for the gathering lines to cross their property, in at least one case for $25,000. Once the form is signed, the company is free to lay the line wherever they want–including very close to homes of the landowners."

Keystone XL & Other Fossil Fuel Transportation

Oil Or Food? Getting Railroaded (Or Not) in the Midwest—by xaxnar: "The furious pace of energy exploration in North Dakota is creating a crisis for farmers whose grain shipments have been held up by a vast new movement of oil by rail, leading to millions of dollars in agricultural losses and slower production for breakfast cereal giants like General Mills. The backlog is only going to get worse, farmers said, as they prepared this week for what is expected to be a record crop of wheat and soybeans. This food fight (no pun intended) is the collision of a number of trends. Loss of railroad freight capacity due to mergers and line removals over the last few decades is one of the historical issues, as is belated investment in rail infrastructure. Combine that with a surging demand for oil shipments which are far more lucrative for the railroads, and it's pitting the needs of farmers against priorities set by market forces. Our old friend the Keystone XL pipeline is also in the mix ... "

Food, Agriculture & Gardening

Ostrander at the Nation in favor of GMOs—by doomvox: "I feel like the millennium is at hand: The Nation is taking on the anti-GMO activists, with an article by Madeline Ostrander that asks the question Can GMOs Help Feed a Hot and Hungry World?, with the answer provided in the subtitle: 'Not if activists succeed in making the genetic modification of food politically unsustainable.' This is a blow for rationality I would not at all have expected from The Nation (their idea of balanced coverage of the nuclear issue, for example, is a debate between an anti-nuclear person and a fanatically anti-nuclear one). Maybe the left really is on it's way to being 'the reality based community' ... Here Ostrander writes the piece that I've been meaning to get to sometime (but it's just as well she got their first, she's done a better job): the central message here is yes, Monsanto is evil, no their GMO products aren't perfect, but even so we may really need those products, or something like them."

Pollution, Trash & Hazardous Waste

To the litterbug tossing liter in front of my house- Thank you—by Intheknow: "Thank you for helping to explain to my kids there are jerks in this world who think nothing of others. Thank you for helping me to instill the value of cleaning up the neighborhood while we don gloves, and garbage bags cleaning up after you. Even though we wear protective gear, I just hope you don't suffer from some disease like herpes, or hepatitis. Every week, you are out there, leaving your mark on the neighborhood. Every week, I will be out cleaning up after you. You are welcome to continue to use our front yard as your garbage dump. I see from walking around the neighborhood that you cheat on us occasionally and dump on the next street over. The people of the over street are not as careful to pick up after you, so your handiwork is more noticeable."

Transportation & Infrastructure

Sunday Train: Yet Another Airport Terminal Station Opens on Dallas's Orange Line—by BruceMcF: "YAATS (Yet Another Airport Terminal Station) has opened in Dallas for the "orange line" in the Dallas Area Regional Transit light rail system. This is not at the regional airport Love Field, even though the Orange Line runs directly past Love Field, but at the Dallas / Fort Worth International airport, following completion of a five-mile extension to the western end of the Orange line. The Dallas Morning News reports: 'Strategically, this is a major accomplishment,” said Mayor Mike Rawlings. It is undoubtedly DART’s biggest accomplishment in its 31-year history. The way officials and regional leaders see it, the airport-rail link brims with promise. They say it will dramatically bolster North Texas transit options, attract more conventions and provide a smooth welcome to international visitors.'"

Eco-Related Candidacies, DC & State Politics

Overseeing Koch Profits: The Roots of David Vitter’s Green Billionaires Club Report—by Steve Horn: "A DeSmogBlog investigation reveals that Kristina Moore, the Senate staffer listed as the author of U.S. Sen. David Vitter’s (R-La.) “green billionaire’s club” report published by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) on July 30, has career roots tracing back to the Koch Brothers’ right-wing machine. Metadata from Vitter’s green billionaire’s club report shows Moore’s name as the author, though it remains unclear whether or not she authored it alone. Moore did not respond to a question about her authorship sent via email."

Obama changes tactic in hopes of curbing climate change—by HoundDog: "Coral Davenport of the New York Times has just published an article reporting that Obama [is] Pursuing Climate Accord in Lieu of Treaty, because he and other nations realize he can not obtain the 67 votes necessary for Senate ratification of a major new International Climate. In a move that we can predict will cause Republican heads to explode, Obama and international leaders are using a great deal of 'flexibility' or what the GOP will probably describe as dirty tricks, and unconstitutional gimmickry."

Shifty Scott Brown reverses his 2012 stance on whether climate change is real—by Meteor Blades: "Former Sen. Scott Brown has two opinions about whether scientists are right or wrong about anthropogenic global warming. In Brown's take on the subject, they're right or they're wrong—depending on where and when Brown is campaigning. [...] If he just couldn't make up his mind, that would be bad enough. The truth is that whatever Brown actually believes about global warming, he doesn't care enough about it to treat it as a serious subject. For him and his campaign consultants, it's just one more fuzzy bullet point to be 'adjusted' depending on the audience."

NH-Sen: Scott Brown (R) Flip Flops On Climate Change, Claims "It's Not Scientifically Proven"—by poopdogcomedy: "Another short one but a sweet one: Brown and the other candidates in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire were asked on Saturday 'do you believe that the theory of man-made climate change has been scientifically proven?' Former Sen. Bob Smith, another former senator running to replace Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), was first asked if he believed 'that the theory of man-made climate change has been scientifically proven?' Smith responded "no." Then the same question was posed to Brown. Brown said 'no' too. The question and answer were flagged by the opposition research organization American Bridge 21st Century. Brown's comments strongly conflict with an answer he gave on climate change when he was running against now-Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) in 2012. Brown was asked if he believed climate change is real, and if so what would should the federal government be doing about it?"

Eco-Justice & Eco-Activism

Helping communities respond to climate change, together—by danieljkessler : "Climate change can't be stopped, but its effects can be limited and we can help the people it hurts the most. Since I joined the call for action I've watched the climate movement build its power. It's become more inclusive, more open to new ideas, and more politically savvy. The diversity of the movement will be on display in New York on Sept. 21 in a show of force and solidarity never before seen on climate. Thank goodness for the event's hundreds of organizers. While we continue to build power, we must remember and aid those that are being impacted by climate change now. The stories of affected communities spill out of the headlines as politicians dither. As I write, 775 villages in India are submerged under biblical floodwaters. The American West is girding for more wildfires, made stronger by dry soil and longer summers."

Oceans, Water & Drought

Westlands Bullies file TRO to block Klamath salmon releases—by Dan Bacher: "As many had expected, corporate agribusiness interests on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley have filed litigation to block increased flows from Lewiston Dam to save salmon from a devastating fish kill on the lower Klamath River. The San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority and the Westlands Water District filed a motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against the Bureau of Reclamation's release of water from Trinity Reservoir that began on Saturday, August 23. The legal memorandum spells out the details of their districts' case. 'All spring and summer, San Joaquin Valley farmers have pleaded with Reclamation for water and have been told that there is no water to spare,' the memorandum states. 'They have been told that it cannot be helped, that their trees and crops, their livelihoods, their communities, cannot be spared from the consequences of a terrible drought, that sending them even 10,000 acre-feet would be 'irresponsible.'"

Reclamation releases additional flows to stop Klamath River fish kill!—by Dan Bacher: "After a big protest by the Yurok, Karuk and Hoopa Valley Tribes and their supporters at the Bureau of Reclamation offices in Sacramento on Tuesday, Reclamation announced this morning that it will release additional water from Trinity Reservoir to supplement flows in the lower Klamath River to help protect the returning run of adult Chinook salmon. 'We have determined that unprecedented conditions over the past few weeks in the lower Klamath River require us to take emergency measures to help reduce the potential for a large-scale fish die-off,' said Mid-Pacific Regional Director David Murillo in a news release and at a conference call this morning with reporters from throughout the state. 'This decision was made based on science and after consultation with Tribes, water and power users, federal and state fish regulatory agencies, and others.'"

Rehydrating the Aquifer—by hannah: "Rehydrating the Floridan aquifer, whence both South Georgia and much of the state of Florida draw their drinking water supplies, is definitely in order. Decades of draining surface waters into the ocean hasn't just dewatered millions of acres but depleted the underground supply. However, injecting industrial waste waters is not an appropriate response. Industrial wastes need to be removed, not just neutralized by adding even more chemicals. A storm water DRIP, on the other hand should work because, although the initial surge of storm water is laden with contaminants from our roads, it has been amply demonstrated that, given enough time, natural biological communities can provide a thorough cleaning. Time is of the essence. That's why we want a DRIP, rather than a flow: D = detain; R = retrain; I = infuse; P = percolate. And the upshot is that no-one will have reason to complain."

Drought in California - Not Enough Drops to Drink, Unless You're Rich, of course—by Steven D: "Towns and municipalities in California are starting to reach the hair on fire stage, if they haven't already, regarding water shortages.  Some examples: Portersville, San Joaquin Valley. The streets of East Porterville were busy Friday as trucks, cars, flatbeds and Red Cross disaster relief trucks traversed the area delivering bottled drinking water to residents of East Porterville without water. Plenty of activity was going on at the Doyle Colony Fire Station which was set up as a command and organizing center for the deliveries. [...] What happens after three weeks is up is anyone's guess.  Who gets the water under the program and who gets to fend for themselves?  It isn't clear to me, but it doesn't take a genius to figure out some people will make out just fine while others will have to be satisfied with less.  And many of the latter will be the least able to buy their own."

The Great Outdoors & Critters

Barnacle goose
Barnacle goose
Dawn Chorus: Sweden—by ivorybill: "I was in Stockholm for work, and had a chance to spend a few days in this beautiful city. We absorb images of Scandinavia from stories and books in childhood; Stockholm reinforces all of them. A bunch of fleshy, gross cygnets swim by? It's impossible not to immediately think of 'The Ugly Duckling.' Even in the city, one can see a range of birds not found in North America, some small avian dramas and occasionally something new or surprising. This diary describes some common birds of northern Europe, with a little history thrown in. Sweden has become something of a refuge for both birds and people, so indulge me in a short digression about refugees at the end of this diary. [...] If you have only a few hours in Stockholm, Djurgården is a great place to go birding. This wooded isle in the middle of the city served a dual role as royal hunting preserve and retirement community for disabled sailors. These days, the Swedish government has preserved Djurgården as a nature reserve and park, in much the same way Central Park is an oasis of nature in the middle of NYC. [...] And now for a bird I wasn't expecting ... the barnacle goose, Branta leucopsis. These seem to occupy the same niche in Stockholm that Canada geese do in Chicago, converting grass to feces which they liberally deposit on sidewalks and football fields. Barnacle geese nest in arctic Greenland, Novaya Zemlya and Svalbard, and migrate south to winter in Scotland, Ireland and Netherlands."

Daily Bucket: Wild Florida--Little Blue Heron—by Lenny Flank: "The Little Blue Heron isn't as big or showy as some of its cousins, but it is an attractive shorebird that can be commonly seen throughout Florida. The Little Blue Heron, Egretta caerulea, at about two feet tall, is one of the smaller members of the Ciconiiformes, the group that includes herons, egrets and storks. Like all of the herons, it is a wading shorebird, which spends most of its time patiently stalking prey in shallow water along freshwater ponds or seashores. Little Blues are unusual among herons in having two distinct color phases—the fledglings are white with gray wingtips  for their first year, before acquiring the slate-blue color of the adults. In breeding season, the adult heads turn a reddish-purple color. This bird ranges from the southeastern United States down to the northern portions of South America. In Florida it is a year-round resident, but other populations migrate for the breeding season."

Little Blue Heron
The Daily Bucket-Manic Squirrel Run—by 6412093: "We have 200 feet of fence line, and used to have groups of arborvitae, a small evergreen cypress, every ten or twenty feet along the fence.  The squirrels used the fence as a combination freeway and buffet line.  They would eat some (or all) of the grapes, stroll farther down the fence, and decimate the berries.  Then on to the tomatoes,  If we saw them and dashed, yelling, from the house, they would vanish into the bushy arborvitae. Below the arborvitae root, you can read how things have changed. [...] We replaced the fence and cut down all the arborvitae.  Now the squirrels cannot make a leisurely stroll and decimate our crops at will, with hiding places just a leap away.  Instead, they must line up at the starting blocks and make a mad dash the full length of the fence to find good cover. 'Scree, scree,' Is that a young eagle circling overhead? I hope so."
hummingbird
The Daily Bucket - Finally Humming Along?—by kishik: "As August has progressed, I've been worried I would never see any hummingbirds at the feeders I've been diligently filling with fresh sugar water since May. Last year was the first time I had hummers land, and this was during September when they were starting their migration southward. I was able to identify about six different hummers who regularly visited the feeder through September and with a last straggler spotted in early October. After ONE was spotted at the feeder this early August ... the rest of the time I would only see them zipping past my yard to another neighbor's ... likely where they also were being fed! So today, lo and behold, as I did my normal routine of peeking out the back window to see if there were any hummingbirds at the feeders—poof!"

Glacier Park: Two Medicine and Running Eagle Falls (Photo Diary)—by Ojibwa: "Today, the Going-to-the-Sun Road is the primary attraction at Glacier National Park and most of the park’s visitors simply drive (or take the free shuttle) from one side of the park to the other, gawking at the mountains and valleys which were carved out by the ancient glaciers, admiring the many waterfalls, photographing the mountain goats that seem to be posing by the side of the road, and, for flatlanders, gripping the armrests in terror with the narrow switchbacks and sheer drops. The Two Medicine area today is a relatively quiet backwater off the beaten path for many tourists. According to a Park Service sign: 'Before Going-to-the-Sun Road was constructed, Two Medicine was a primary destination for travelers arriving by train. After spending a night at Glacier Park Lodge, visitors climbed on horseback to travel to Two Medicine for a night in one of several rustic chalets or canvas tipis built by the Great Northern Railway. From Two Medicine, a system of backcountry tent camps and chalets within the park allowed those adventurous visitors to live in Glacier’s wild interior.'"

Rescue Me - Tucson Reptile Rescue - Tucson, AZ—by Pam LaPier: "Tucson Reptile Rescue is Southern Arizona's only 501c3 non-profit, no kill animal shelter for sick, injured, found, abandoned and surrendered exotic reptiles. We take in these animals with no surrender fee, house them, feed them, get them veterinary care when needed and work diligently to find them caring, permanent homes. We are ran 100% by volunteers and receive no funding or grants. All adoption fees and donations collected go directly to care for animals. To avoid overcrowding and to stay no-kill we occasionally have to turn away an animal but we will do what we can to help."

Rescue Me - Marine Animal Rescue -—by Pam LaPier: "For over 20 years, Marine Animal Rescue (formerly Whale Rescue Team) have come to the aid of entangled or beached whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions and sea birds along the California coast. Marine Animal Rescue’s team have rescued thousands of marine animals. The mission of the Marine Animal Rescue project is to replace an inadequate system of marine animal rescue with an effective, efficient and compassionate system providing every animal the best possible chance for survival. Marine Animal Rescue’s authorized territory is a very diverse coastline including, Marina del Rey, the largest human-made marina in the world, the rocky cliffs of Palos Verdes the crowded beaches of Venice and Santa Monica and the busy port of San Pedro. We also respond to Will Rogers Beach, Torrance, Royal Palms, Dockweiler, Redondo, White Point, Cabrillo, El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach and west to Catalina."

Wilderness, Forests & Public Lands

Speaking for Peru's Trees—by jencke: "How do you measure the impact of forests on global climate? In Peru, the Amazon rainforest and other forest lands provide crucial habitat for a diverse bunch of creatures, including monkeys, sloths and a multitude of birds. But forests also help fashion our atmosphere: Every other breath we take is fueled by the oxygen that plants crank out during photosynthesis. In the process, plants suck up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store that carbon in their trunks, roots and branches. This keeps atmospheric CO2 levels much lower than they would be otherwise as we continue to add the greenhouse gas to the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels. Trees are, forgive me, one of our biggest hedges against climate change. Each year some of the stores of carbon bound up in vegetation are lost through deforestation, wildfires and other forest degradation, which accounts for about 15% of anthropogenic CO2 emissions to the atmosphere each year. All these things have taken their toll in Peru. And although forests help slow down the progress of climate change, they are also vulnerable to it. Hotter, drier conditions attributed to climate change are threatening the longevity of California’s Sequoias and other ancient trees around the world, and climate models have predicted that droughts could also threaten the Amazon rainforest in the future. Protecting Peru’s rich forestland would be more economically viable if its carbon could be considered as an asset in global markets, such as the one proposed by the United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries, or UN-REDD. But to be in a position to do this, it’s important to be able to quantify this carbon with high accuracy and spatial resolution."

Miscellany

NASA discovers much carbon tetrachloride CCL4 continues to be released after global ban—by HoundDog: "New measurements have revealed that despite the Montreal Protocol, which limits the use of a variety of ozone-depleting chemicals, releases of carbon tetrachloride 4  continue. There should be zero emissions of the compound under the international agreement, but NASA measurements show an average of 39 kilotons are still emitted every year. That's about 30 percent of what peak emissions were before the substance was regulated. The Montreal Protocol, adopted in 1987, phased out the use of ozone-depleting chemicals, including CCl4, over time. After 2007, its more than 200 signatories reported no new emissions of CCl4. While I do no generally favor using assassination drone, especially without permission in violation of sovereign borders in the spirit of making "cheap" and provocative rhetorical points what does it say about us a species that our government has invested billions of dollars and enormous resources through out the globe to track down individual terrorist but has apparently done nothing about wide scale assaults on our ecosystem?"

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