|Every week Daily Kos diarists write dozens of environmentally related posts. Many don't get the readership they deserve. Helping improve the odds is the motivation behind the Green Diary Rescue. In the past seven years, there have been 268 of these spotlighting more than 16,534 eco-diaries. Below are categorized links and excerpts to 69 more that appeared in the past seven days. That makes for lots of good reading during the spare moments of your weekend. [Disclaimer: Inclusion of a diary in the rescue does not necessarily indicate my agreement with or endorsement of it.]|
You can find more rescued green diaries below the sustainable squiggle.
A Climate Change Tsunami Is Building...—by xaxnar: "The release of the next International Panel on Climate Change report is imminent, this Sunday March 30, 2014. (3-31-14 in Japan). Already there have been snippets of information coming out suggesting this one is going to have a change of focus. It's no longer about whether or not it's happening; this one is going to be looking at real events in the near future - if not already. [...] Not to beat around the bush or anything, but there's a serious shift in emphasis in this report. The reason for the urgency is simple—time is running out to avoid major effects—and they may arrive a lot sooner than has been appreciated. HoundDog has a summary of what's leaked from the IPCC so far; FishOutofWater has written up one huge climate bomb about to go off. The New York Times has several articles that highlight the consequences from just one element: rising sea levels. Millions of people live in Bangladesh—and it's not going to take much to submerge large parts of the country."
UN: Extreme weather soars, Australia's record heat was 'virtually impossible' without human impacts—by Meteor Blades: "Killer flooding, killer tornadoes, killer typhoons, killer heat, killer windstorms, killer droughts, killer snowstorms. That was weather in 2013.
Such is the takeaway from the annual report of the World Meteorological Organization, released Monday. Much of the report reads like the weather version of the Guiness Book of World Records. [...] And although 2013 wasn't the warmest year on record, it ranked high on the list, even though last year was not one of those associated with El Niño warming. So far, the WMO reported, 13 of 14 of the world's hottest years since records have been kept occurred in the 21st century. Over the past 30 years, each decade has been hotter than the last, the report said, 'culminating with 2001-2010 as the warmest decade on record.' While scientists and government officials met this week in Japan to put the finishing touches on the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud in Geneva called the extreme weather of last year 'consistent with' what scientists have predicted would be the consequences of human-induced climate change."
Leaked IPCC report says climate change has already had impacts on all continents and all oceans—by HoundDog: "The Guardian has obtained a leaked copy of the much anticipated Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report they describe in IPCC report: climate change felt 'on all continents and across the oceans.' Over 500 Government and Science officials are meeting in Yokohama, Japan this week to finalize the wording of the final summary on Monday. 'In recent decades, changes in climate have caused impacts on natural and human systems on all continents and across the oceans,' the final report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will say. Some parts of the world could soon be at a tipping point. For others, that tipping point has already arrived. 'Both warm water coral reef and Arctic ecosystems are already experiencing irreversible regime shifts,' the approved version of the report will say."
By hiring a climate disinformer, Nate Silver undermines his entire premise of data-driven journalism—by Laurence Lewis: "Nate Silver claims that his new blog is a data journalism organization. Silver is a numbers guy, and because his analyses of political polls proved more accurate than those made by the often inept traditional media competition, he has become celebrated as a genius, if not quite a shaman. How ironic, then, that with over 97 percent of the 11,944 peer-reviewed studies of "global climate change" or "global warming" between 1991-2011 endorsing the consensus on anthropogenic global warming, with almost every scientific society or association long before having concurred on the consensus, and with the U.S. National Academies of Science and the British Royal Society now saying that the consensus is more certain than ever, Silver would hire as one of his science writers the egregious purveyor of disinformation on climate change, Roger Pielke, Jr. And the worst part about it, given Silver's reputation as a statistics guy, is that Pielke often is criticized for butchering statistics and data analysis. [...] Climate scientist Michael Mann is among many who are not impressed: 'Given Nate’s professed obsession with rigorous statistical analysis, it is rather disappointing to see him hire for his new venture an individual who has displayed a pattern of sloppiness when it comes to the analysis of climate data,' said top climate scientist Michael Mann via email. Pointing to a chapter in Silver’s recent book that addresses climate change (for which Mann was interviewed) he adds, “Sadly, this isn’t the first time Nate has been led astray when it comes to dealing with the science of climate change.'"
Nate Silver's Signal and Noise—by docmidwest: "Silver initially concludes that the warming has been below the range of predictions made around 1988. He then backtracks to remember that scenario uncertainty is not a problem with the models, slightly moderating that conclusion, but still concluding the forecasts "might deserve a low but not failing grade". He essentially ignores the non-negligible role of medium-term noise, whose influence is not nearly as unimportant after 20 years as he seems to suggest. Later, he does describe how a Bayesian updating procedure would take such noise into account, and how it's sensitive to realistic noise estimates, but doesn't go back to evaluate the models consistently. It would have been much simpler, at this point in the book, to just apply the Bayesian methods to the climate problem, as most practitioners do, rather than wander down unscientific detours. So what's the bottom line, has the last 25 years of data shown big problems with the old models or not? How much have climate scientists had to change the estimates of the climate sensitivity? Dana Nuccitelli has written an informative blog on this issue. Estimates of one factor, the direct effect of CO2 on the radiation balance, have dropped about 15% and now seem quite definite. The net estimates of climate sensitivity remain significantly uncertain but the plausible range (~1.5°C-4.5°C) has scarcely changed over the last 25 years."
FiveThirtyEight apologizes for Roger Pielke Jr.'s threats to sue critical scientists—by HoundDog: "Micheal Calderone reports that FiveThirtyEight Apologizes On Behalf Of Controversial Climate Science Writer, after several climate scientists said Roger Pielke Jr., of FiveThirtyEight, sent 'emails threatening legal action' due to their criticisms of his work. Pielke says it's 'ridiculous' to characterize the emails as threats against Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, and Dr. Kevin Trenberth, a distinguished senior climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. FiveThirtyEight, however, apologized to both men. 'Roger is a freelance contributor and his private communications do not represent FiveThirtyEight,' Silver said in a statement to HuffPost. 'We had candid conversations with Michael Mann and Kevin Trenberth. We made clear that Roger's conversations with them did not reflect FiveThirtyEight's editorial values.'"
Nate Silver's 538 And A New Phase Of Global Warming Denialism. Update: Michael Mann & NoahsArk—by pollwatcher: "Last night on Jon Stewart's show, Nate Silver said he was sensitive to the criticisms that the Pielke BS column created, and that he would offer a rebuttal to the column. A rebuttal? Really? This is supposed to be the science section of 538, and you're going to offer a rebuttal to the deliberately misleading article you let get published? Are you going to be the "fair and balanced" statistical website that allows rebuttals to bigfoot claims, or perpetual motion machines, or maybe a biblical statistical analysis of when the rapture is coming? 60 minutes suspended Lara Logan for sloppy and questionable reporting, but Pielke has a long history of misinformation. Either you publish about REAL science, or you become just another whacko pseudoscience denialist website. The 3rd wave of Global Warming denialism is going to be the ADAPTATION/GEO-ENGINEERING phase. This is not going to be the bat-shit craziness of denying what a thermometer says, or it's cold outside my door today so the rest of the world must be cold too, or the sun doesn't have the right number of spots ... The Oligarchs and their supporters who don't give a damn about our future and want us to do absolutely nothing about the fast train coming at us, are going to be much more sophisticated with the 3rd wave of denialism."
A call for a comprehensive, worldwide reduction in CO2 emissions—by LouisJMarinelli: "The science of climate change is solid and virtually universally accepted among those educated in the environmental sciences. To doubt this science and oppose its recommendations is to seal the fate of this planet to higher global temperatures which will inevitably lead to higher sea levels. The disruption and chaos higher sea levels will cause to the global economic and political systems, as well as local economic and political systems, ought to be of concern warranting immediate action. To say the economic costs of reducing carbon emissions are too great is extraordinary shortsightedness. Without a comprehensive, large-scale, worldwide reduction in CO2 emissions, our very geographic landscapes will change, international borders will be affected, millions will be displaced, cities will be lost and the world will never be the same. This must be a priority over preserving the economic or political status quo."
Cut the crap, BBC. There is no "Dissent among scientists" over climate report—by OllieGarkey: "Well that sounds ominous, doesn't it. 'DISSENT AMONG SCIENTISTS!' Yes, that's certainly a damning headline. Especially for those of us who want the human race to avoid a mass die-off along with the various species we're driving to extinction. Or it would be, if it were true. The BBC did not quote a single scientist objecting to the current draft of the IPCC Report. They quoted Richard Toll, an economist at the University of Sussex. There are two problems with the BBC's alarmist headline: Problem 1: Toll is not a scientist. Problem 2: Toll is an unhinged loon. He thinks that the impact of climate change will be 'Relatively Small.' He thinks that any proposal to take major steps to deal with it is preposterous."
The reality of Global Climate Change - as seen in Bangladesh—by teacherken: "'There are a lot of places in the world at risk from rising sea levels, but Bangladesh is at the top of everybody’s list,' said Rafael Reuveny, a professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University at Bloomington. 'And the world is not ready to cope with the problems.' The effects of climate change have led to a growing sense of outrage in developing nations, many of which have contributed little to the pollution that is linked to rising temperatures and sea levels but will suffer the most from the consequences. Those two paragraphs are from Borrowed Time on Disappearing Land: Facing Rising Seas, Bangladesh Confronts the Consequences of Climate Change, an article in today's New York Times that I urge everyone here to read."
An Environmental Justice Agenda from Illinois Coal & Fracking Fighters—by Willinois: "Illinois is facing an extraction crisis. Expanded coal mining and the looming threat of fracking will create an unprecedented two-pronged threat to southern and central Illinois. Grassroots groups on the front lines of the extraction crisis raised the alarm in a letter to the Illinois General Assembly. The letter calls for an environmental justice agenda to build a new energy economy in downstate Illinois: 1) Ban fracking because a fundamentally weak fracking law cannot produce rules strong enough to protect the public. 2) Establish a coalfields regeneration fund that will target green job growth to areas that have been historically damaged and impoverished by coal, oil and gas. 3) Overhaul broken state regulatory agencies. 4) End state fossil fuel subsidies and the promotion of new coal exports. There's an old political tradition in Illinois of politicians pandering to environmentalists in Chicago and to the coal industry downstate."
The Nuclear Beast 35 Years Later—by Joieau: "TMI2 was the first public meltdown of a big commercial reactor, occurring at the very height of the good old Cold War when fairly regular meltdowns at SuperSecret government facilities weren't reported on the nightly news. So it's not really surprising that no truthful accounts of what went wrong at TMI2 were ever forthcoming from the paranoid government that spawned and so richly subsidized these scaled-up monstrosities. Of the 100+ commercial reactor plants built, more than 90 remain in operation in the U.S. all these years later. Most have been gifted with 20-year operating license extensions by the NRC to ensure continued profitability to utilities that only recently finished paying off the capital costs originally incurred. It's all gravy from here. Until they break and/or melt down and/or explode, as more than one or two of them inevitably will before those 20 years is up and if the grid doesn't fail (and melt all of 'em at once)."
Energy Supply Abundance - Not—by richturc125: "Gail Tverberg shares some of the most insightful observations about the connection between economic growth and energy. In an article posted at her website several weeks, she raised issues which are too often shunted aside in the primary debate of “not enough” versus “all we need” fossil fuel supplies in the years to come. They’re too important to continuously skip past. I’d like to focus on just a couple of the (as usual) excellent points she raised."
Accelerating Use of Renewable Energy—by bobburnett: "What will it take to get us to move aggressively to sole reliance on renewable energy? First of all, it has to be feasible to move to water, wind, and solar. Fortunately, there’s a lot of evidence that it is. Speaking on “The David Letterman Show,” Stanford University Professor Mark Jacobson touted his plan to move the US off of fossil fuels by 2050. Jacobson’s Solutions Project has developed a detailed plan for each state. The narrative differs depending upon where you live. The Solutions Project has a plan for California, where 95 percent of our electricity would be generated by renewables by 2050. In the most recent California energy estimates renewables generated 17 percent of our electricity (in-state—we import some energy). Today, more than 60 percent is developed using natural gas. Fortunately, California state policy is behind our transition to renewables: by 2020, California plans to generate 33 percent of its electricity from wind, water, and solar. Recently, Pacific Gas & Electric, the second largest California public utility, announced that it has “delivered 22.5 percent of its power from eligible renewable resources in 2013 and is on track to meet the state’s clean energy goals for 2020 and beyond.'"
Wind Turbines Kill Birds—by Senor Unoball: "Renewable energy must be the goal. No right-thinking person can deny that. But wind energy comes with a cost: The deaths of thousands of birds and bats each year. And the Obama administration is "not prosecuting wind energy companies for killing eagles and other protected birds," according to the Associated Press."
Keystone XL Pipeline & Other Fossil Fuel Transportation
3 Pipeline Expansion Projects that would import twice the Tar Sands Oil into US as Keystone XL would—by Lefty Coaster: "There are three pipeline expansion projects in the works that would bring Alberta Tar Sands into the US. Their combined increased capacity of would be more than twice the proposed Keystone XL pipeline's capacity of 800,000 barrels a day. And two of these three projects don't require any additional approvals from the State Department before going ahead."
Eco-Related DC & State Politics
Kobach (R-KS) Asks Kansas to Opt-Out of Federal Environmental Policy—by tmservo433: "Kansas is about to decide whether or not enforcing the endangered species act, and in some bills EPA policy is allowed within Kansas. We'd like to start chosing to 'Opt Out' of federal policy that we don't agree with. Kobach believes this is an important step to take, arguing that this is a fight worth having with the feds. [...] Opting out of the Endangered Species Act is just one of the four pieces of legislation being proposed to alter environmental policy in the state of Kansas."
House Rs and ConservaDems Vote to Block an EPA Rule That Hasn't Even Been Written Yet—by Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees: "The House voted earlier today to prevent the Obama administration from re-writing stream-protection regulations around coal mining and to force it to use a rule developed by the Bush administration in December 2008 (a parting gift) that was thrown earlier this year by a federal court. Pete DeFazio (OR-04), Rush Holt (NJ-12), Matt Cartwright (PA-17), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Katherine Clark (MA-05), Raul Grijalva (AZ-07), Grace Napolitano (CA-38), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), and Madeline Bordallo (Guam)—all from the Natural Resources Committee—wrote the following dissent: This bill is an unwarranted ambush on an ongoing rulemaking process, an uncharacteristic attack by the Majority on the principle of federalism and states' rights, and an unconscionable assault on the health of the residents of Appalachian communities suffering from the devastating impacts of mountaintop removal mining. [...] Unfortunately, the Majority has willfully ignored the negative health and environmental impacts of mountaintop removal mining. Instead, they have trained their fire on the Obama Administration's attempts to write a rule that would actually protect streams, as opposed to the illegal Bush Administration's midnight rule that undermined existing protections put in place by President Reagan, and was recently vacated by a U.S. district court."
Environmental advocates to spend $5 million supporting candidates that the Koch brothers attack—by Meteor Blades: "Five environmental advocacy organizations are buying a total of $4.95 million in ads like the one above for Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina to help candidates in four states. Hagan's opponent won't be picked until the May Republican primary, but whoever it is, Hagan will be in a tight race. Besides her, the ads feature Democratic Reps. Bruce Braley of Iowa, who is seeking to fill the seat of retiring Sen. Tom Harkin, and Gary Peters of Michigan. Ads are also being bought backing Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine. More about her in a moment. The coalition comprises the Sierra Club, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, the Environmental Defense Fund, the American Sustainable Business Council Action Fund and Mom's Clean Air Force."
Greenwashing America- the "Professional Left" strikes again (read em and weep)—by slakn1: "A blow was struck today for the status quo, and the Keystone XL pipeline when in the interest of sustaining their 'bipartisan' contributions two 'environmental' groups (the Environmental Defense Fund and an affiliated group) began running ads for KXL supporter Republican Susan Collins in her bid to overcome the insurgent campaign of Progressive Democrat Shenna Bellows. Bellows turned heads when she out-raised Collins in her first quarter using low dollar grassroots contributions vs the PAC backed incumbent. Now the sh*t comes down. The League of Conservation Voters (PDF) gave Collins a lackluster 69 rating, placing her 34th out of 35 (just ahead of Republican Kelly Ayotte) among New England Congress critters in their 2013 scorecard. She's a supporter of Keystone XL, and despite pressure from the Natural Resources Council of Maine she's declined to take a stand on the controversial possibility of tar sands oil crossing Maine from Alberta to Montreal, Quebec. Bellows views on Climate change, KXL, TPP, would put her more in line with Angus King (I-ME) and the views of most Mainers, and well to the progressive side of the Republican incumbent. Shenna Bellows opposes Keystone XL."
Ed Markey Leads 28 Other Senators in Calling for Renewal of Clean Energy Tax Incentives—by Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees: "Yesterday, Ed Markey (D-MA) led 28 other senators (all members of the Democratic caucus) in a letter to Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT) to renew expiring tax credits for clean energy and energy efficiency. Their renewal was left out of the budget deal from December. The letter has the exact same text as one sent on December 16th of last year. At that time, only 23 additional senators had signed it."
Committing to Big Ideas: The Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act (NREPA)—by Dirk Adams: "Earlier I announced that if I'm elected to represent Montana in the U.S. Senate, I will introduce the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act (NREPA). Read more about my support of NREPA from the Missoulian. Though Congressman Pat Williams and Senators Baucus, Melcher, Burns, and Tester have all tried to pass legislation designating new wilderness areas in Montana, it's been over 30 years since Congress has done so. But while Congress has been debating wilderness in Montana for three decades, the Northern Rockies have not stood still. Lynx and bull trout have been listed as threatened species under the Endangered Species Act and critical habitat has been designated for them. As a result, litigation over timber sales has increased."
EPA, Dow Chemical Propose 2-amino-2-methyl-1-propanol VOC Deregulation—by Lake Superior: "EPA is viewing this as a noncontroversial matter with this manner of publication with both a direct final rule and a proposed rule. What these notices would mean is 2-amino-2-methyl-1-propanol would no longer be considered to be regulated in ozone control programs in state and local air pollution control programs and could be emitted both uncontrolled and without requirements for permitting and emission limitations. EPA is determining with the notices that AMP has negligible photochemical reactivity for ozone formation. These EPA notices and decisions do not consider any direct toxic effects of AMP."
Trade & Foreign Policy
Obama Launches Natural Gas Gold Rush—by Richard Lyon: "President Obama is pulling out the stops in his campaign to enlist the efforts of Europeans in the drive to keep Putin and Russia under control. Rather than a war of tanks and bombs, the weapons he proposes to use are trade and energy. He laid out his challenge in a major speech in Brussels. [...] This seems like a good time to take a closer look at the global situation with natural gas and the complex political agendas that are swirling around it. The very basic question of how much gas is there and who has it turns out to be complicated. Estimates of energy resources are measured in terms of 'proven reserves.' What constitutes proof can get controversial. The Economist offers a useful overview of the situation."
Dennis Blair: “We Sent Troops to Middle East…Because of Oil-Based Importance of Region”—by Steve Horn: "At the just-completed U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing titled, 'The Geopolitical Potential of the U.S. Energy Boom,' Admiral Dennis Blair—former Director of National Intelligence, President and CEO of Institute for Defense Analyses and Commander in Chief of U.S. Pacific Command—admitted what’s still considered conspiratorial to some. Put tersely: the U.S. and allied forces launched the ongoing occupation in Iraq and occupy large swaths of the Middle East to secure the flow of oil to the U.S. and its global allies, explained Blair."
The Great Outdoors
When Tumbleweeds Attack!—by Steven D: "Drought in the Western United States has led to a problem that many did not see coming - until they were buried under piles of the Russian Thistle, a hardy, large spiny weed otherwise known in this country as the tumbleweed. And the drought conditions in Texas and other parts of the west, along with short periods of intense rain, led to a proliferation of these supposedly harmless, if annoying plants. Except that they aren't - harmless that is: Rolling clusters of the tumbleweed have created havoc in the drought-stricken areas of the West. In late January, an invasion of tumbleweeds rolled into Clovis, New Mexico, trapping Wilford Ransom, 80, and his wife, Mary, in their home. 'I looked out the window to see why it got so dark all of a sudden, and they were over 12-feet high, blocking my front and back doors,' the retiree said. 'We couldn't get out.' [...] In Crowley County, Colorado, tumbleweeds have blocked roads, making it difficult for emergency vehicles to reach certain areas, said Cathy Garcia, president of Action 22, an advocacy group made up of government and business leaders in the eastern part of the state. Oh, and by the way, they create a fire hazard, since they make excellent kindling for brush fires, whether caused by lightning strikes, hikers and campers or merely idiot pyromaniacs."
Finding Common Ground Outdoors—by Michael Brune: "Someone once said, "Writing about music is like dancing about architecture." Blogging about getting outdoors feels a bit like that. Part of me thinks that rather than writing 850 words about getting outdoors, I'd much rather be outdoors. And then part of me thinks that, rather than reading those 850 words, you might feel the same way! But since we're here, together, united by this glowing screen, let me share a few thoughts about Sierra Club Outdoors—which, every year, helps more than 250,000 people get their nature fix."
The Daily Bucket - The Salmon Hatchery as aid to Restoring Salmon Runs—by RonK: "As previously described, local and State efforts at habitat restoration appear to have been at least partially effective at luring back spawning salmon. A second line of attack to restore salmon stocks has been to raise fish in hatcheries and then to release them into restored streams. As early as the 1890s salmon stock were noted to be declining. In 1895 Washington State opened the first Fish hatchery in Kalama WA on the Columbia River in hopes that artificial spawning would restore the salmon. However, although fish hatcheries have been operating in WA State for nearly 120 years their effectiveness at restoring wild salmon runs of old is increasingly called into question. Although the efforts are old, it was not until the Endangered Species Act (ESA), 80 years later in 1974, that serious action was taken to preserve and restore this precious cultural and financial resource."
When the hunters shoot the hunters the animals must be laughing—byoldpotsmuggler: "For the unintiated, a 'hunting club' is a place where 'hunters' go to kill without actually having to hunt first. Clearly a fraud, but ;no harm, no foul' because everyone but the animals being killed are in on the scam. And, perhaps not uncoincidentally, by far the majority of the killers, in my experience, are men. Goddamn, a killing place called 'Sportman's Paradise' [...] So, they make it in my newspaper this morning because one of the 'Sportsme'" managed to shoot the dude who was showing them where the pheasants (not quite 'sitting ducks,' but very nearly so) were going to make their public appearance."
Dawn Chorus: Birding the Great Indoors (Part 2)—by Eddie C: "Two weeks ago this story began in the World of Aquatic Birds at the Bronx Zoo. It was sort of a progress in architecture meets nature story, the state of the art of buildings for plants and animals in 1964. It was also a story of public environmental education. In many ways those and these views from the two newer buildings are about sociology, how public understanding of nature was evolving at the times when these buildings were built. Once again I must point out that while the natural dioramas of the Aquatic Bird House seemed like a dramatic departure from the bird cages of the old Astor Court birdhouse, it wasn't that much different. The New York Zoological Society was originally founded as a means of saving the American bison from extinction and has been on the forefront of environmental protection and public education since the nineteenth century. The shiny new environments for birds in the Aquatic Bird House represented the evolution of a mission statement."
Environmental Film Showing and Discussion with Caleen Sisk & Dan Bacher—by Dan Bacher: "Federal and state officials and fishing group representatives yesterday greeted the beginning of a trucking program designed to transport Sacramento River juvenile salmon from a federal fish hatchery in Anderson, California to the Delta in order to improve their chances of survival in drought conditions. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Coleman National Fish Hatchery began transporting fall Chinook salmon smolts (juveniles) from the hatchery to a release site on the Sacramento near Rio Vista on the morning of Tuesday, March 25, carrying out details of a special drought contingency plan announced by federal and state agencies earlier this month."
Water & Drought
Good News for the Colorado River—by Xaxnar: "New Scientist has a report by Hal Hodson on an unprecedented international agreement to release a pulse of water to try to bring the Colorado River delta back to life. When the gates of the Morelos [Dam] open on 23 March, the river will be reunited with its delta. The eight-week-long pulse will release enough water into the dry riverbed to fill an area the size of a Manhattan city block with a column six kilometres high. After that, the agreement stipulates that a small continuous flow, totalling an additional 64 billion litres, will infuse the delta over the next three years. It's a trickle compared with what used to reach the delta, but researchers still expect the water to bring around 950 hectares of the delta to life in the weeks after the pulse. The experiment isn't just remarkable for its scale. It is also the first time water has crossed the US-Mexico border for environmental purposes—the result of years of negotiations between Mexican and US water authorities, as well as a host of NGOs."
Senator Feinstein, Congressmen request more Delta water for corporate agribusiness—by Dan Bacher: "Senator Dianne Feinstein and six San Joaquin Valley Congressmen on March 27 sent a letter to Interior Secretary Jewell and Commerce Secretary Pritzker requesting more Delta water for San Joaquin Valley corporate agribusiness interests, claiming that water exports wouldn’t harm endangered Central Valley Chinook salmon, Delta smelt and other fish species. 'We are writing to urge you to immediately evaluate the operating criteria that govern the Central Valley Project (CVP) and the State Water Project (SWP) so that actions can be taken as soon as possible to capture the maximum amount of water from this week’s storm in California,' said Feinstein and Representatives Ken Calvert, Jim Costa, Jeff Denham, Kevin McCarthy, Devin Nunes and David Valadao. The Senator and Congressmen described the impact of the drought on Valley agribusiness—and the supposedly 'minimal' impact exporting water to state and federal water contractors would have on fish."
Sacramento River Salmon Trucking Program Begins—by Dan Bacher: "On Friday, April 11, Caleen Sisk , Chief and Spiritual Leader of the Winnemem Wintu tribe, will share the film, “Standing on Sacred Ground,” and talk about their connection to water, Native American tribal wisdom and guardianship of Mother Earth. The event will take place from 7:30 pm to 9 pm at Southside Park Cohousing, 434 T Street, Sacramento, CA 95811. Looks for signs pointing to the location of the film showing and discussion. Caleen will explain why we must stop the raising of Shasta dam, stop the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels and work to restore natural water systems at their source."
National Parks, Forests & Other Public Lands
House Republicans prove hatred of America with 'No More Parks' bill—by Joan McCarter: "The House voted today to undo what they can of President Teddy Roosevelt's legacy. They voted to pass the "Ensuring Public Involvement in the Creation of National Monuments Act," their effort to make sure that no more land worth saving from mining, drilling, logging or fracking is indeed saved through executive action. It passed, of course, 222-201, but is unlikely to advance in the Senate, which is reason number infinity why we need the Senate. Back in 1906, Roosevelt signed the Antiquities Act, which gives the president the power to designate significant cultural, historical or ecological sites—which are already public land—as monuments. Since then, 16 presidents (evenly divided by part) have protected sites like the Grand Canyon, Acadia, Muir Woods and Olympic national parks through the monument designation. These places eventually became national parks through congressional action, but were preserved thanks to the Antiquities Act.They didn't do this just because they hate protected public land. They also did it because they hate the fact that President Obama has the power—which every president before him since Teddy Roosevelt has had—to designate protected land without giving them the opportunity to derail his efforts. Of course, why they say they're doing it is because the president can act unilaterally, without public input, and because of the terrible economic impact these protected lands have."
URGENT: The vote is tomorrow! Four-alarm public lands alert!—by Nathan Empsall SierraRise: "The House is moving on a terrible new bill that will effectively say: No new national parks. It's being pushed by a well-known Big Oil-funded congressman, and the vote is Wednesday. If you don't raise your voice today, it could actually pass. This latest attack on our national parks and monuments is part of an even bigger right-wing agenda to sell off our public lands -- but we've stopped threats like this before, and together, we can do it again."
Expanding the National Parks System-#15 Iowa—by MorrellWI1983: "This is the fifteenth diary in my Expanding the National Parks System series. This time I'm in the Hawkeye State, Iowa. Iowa doesn't have much protected land at the federal level, at 0.8%, its tied for 47th with New York, near the bottom of the country. Currently Iowa has 1 national monument, seven wildlife refuges, and one historic site. I will be proposing adding a number of monuments to Iowa's ledger."
Pollution, Hazardous Wastes & Trash
World Health Organization Report: Air Pollution Killed 7 Million People in 2012—by Lefty Coaster: "This is ghastly news about the deteriorating health of our planet's environment. Pollution Killed 7 Million People Worldwide in 2012, Report Finds. From taxi tailpipes in Paris to dung-fired stoves in New Delhi, air pollution claimed seven million lives around the world in 2012, according to figures released Tuesday by the World Health Organization. More than one-third of those deaths, the organization said, occurred in fast-developing nations of Asia, where rates of cardiovascular and pulmonary disease have been soaring. Around the world, one out of every eight deaths was tied to dirty air, the agency determined—twice as many as previously estimated. Its report identified air pollution as the world’s single biggest environmental health risk. 'The big news is that we have a better understanding of how large a role air pollution plays in strokes and coronary heart attacks,' said Dr. Carlos Dora, coordinator of public health and the environment at the organization.'Given the astronomical costs, countries need to find a way to prevent these noncommunicable diseases.'"
25 Years since the Exxon Valdez, no change—by HarpboyAK: "It's been 25 years since a drunken captain and an inept third mate put the Exxon Valdez hard aground on Bligh Reef, a couple of miles away from my favorite spot in Prince William Sound, Snug Corner Cove, first recorded for white folks by Captain Cook's expedition artist, John Webber, in 1778. I'm still afraid to go there. Afraid that my anger and rage would boil over, anger and rage at the oil that's still there buried in the gravel is still killing and causing genetic malformations through the entire food chain, anger at the number of Alaskans that died waiting for Exxon to pay them for their losses, anger at their bullying of Alaskan legislators into lowering their taxes for taking our oil, anger at their former lobbyist, Governor Seanoco Parnell (R-Conoco-Phillips) for appointing former Exxon employees to the state board supposedly overseeing oil and gas companies. 25 years ago today, and Big Oil is still buying Alaskan elections. When will we wake up?"
Dead On A Dead Planet—by thinkingblue: "7,000,000 dead in one year's time! I can hear the GOP Tea Party leaders and their Koch Brother backers, roar with laughter, reading this article, 'Air pollution linked to seven million deaths globally.' 'What a silly and pointless report,' They would bellow. 'Who cares, it’s on the other side of the globe and affects mostly lowlife types whose only reason for living is as cheap labor for the Walton Family and the rest of the world plutocrats.' What the opinionated and gluttonous 1%, for some odd reason, do not seem to understand is… brutally abusing Earth, the only place where life, so far, is found, will eventually render their wealth useless in protecting them against having NO AIR to breathe. (Hey, you can’t make or spend money when you’re dead on a dead planet!)"
Collision and oil spill close Houston Ship Channel on 25th anniversary of Exxon Valdez spill—by Meteor Blades: "On the weekend of the 25th anniversary of the disastrous Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, officials announced that a collision of a barge and a ship in the busy Houston Ship Channel spilled as much as 168,000 of its nearly million-gallon cargo of thick, sticky marine fuel called RMG 380, 'a special bunker fuel oil often used in shipping that doesn’t evaporate easily.' The channel was still closed at the moment this was written, leaving at least 80 ships unable to get in or get out. The U.S. Coast Guard said part of the channel could be reopened soon, but they offered no timeline for that or for containing the spill. Cause of the collision is under investigation."
Inhaling Ozone Is Like Getting a Sunburn On Your Lungs—by Mary Anne Hitt: "I can only imagine the fear that must grip a parent when their child suffers an asthma attack, and I can only imagine how much time and energy they spend doing everything they can to avoid triggers for these potentially deadly attacks. A major trigger is smog pollution—also known as ground-level ozone. When smog is inhaled, the harm it does has been likened to getting a sunburn on your lungs, and these asthma attacks send tens of thousands of kids to the emergency room every year. Kids and seniors are especially at risk from smog pollution. This is why the Sierra Club is so adamant in urging the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, which provides independent advice to the Environmental Protection Agency, to recommend a strong, science-based standard to protect Americans from smog."
North Carolinians Want Coal Ash Safeguards Now—by Mary Anne Hitt: "The controversy continues almost two months after a Duke Energy spill of toxic coal ash into the Dan River. First, the Waterkeeper Alliance discovered Duke Energy dumping some 61 million gallons of coal ash wastewater into yet another waterway - the Cape Fear River. Duke Energy has been cited eight times since the Feb. 2 Dan River spill! Now, state regulators have withdrawn the sweetheart coal ash violation settlements offered in previous years and instead have asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to step in to further investigate coal ash violations. Today the Sierra Club released a poll showing that these inexcusable and shocking continued water violations are taking their toll on North Carolinians."
BP Doubles Initial Size Estimate of Lake Michigan Oil Spill—by Steve Horn: "Three days after spilling crude oil into Lake Michigan, BP has doubled its spill estimate to between 470 and 1228 gallons. The leak happened at its refinery in Whiting, Ind. Although some of the oil has been cleaned up, it’s unclear how much is left in the lake, a drinking water source for about seven million Chicagoans. Located just across the Illinois-Indiana state border, Whiting is home to the sixth largest refinery in the U.S. The refinery just went through a$4 billion 'modernization project,' giving it 'the capability of processing up to about 85 percent heavy crude.' That’s up from its original 20 percent, says BP’s website."
BP Lake Michigan Oil Spill: Did Tar Sands Spill into the Great Lake?—by Steve Horn: "Is it conventional crude or tar sands? That is the question. And it’s one with high stakes, to boot. The BP Whiting refinery in Indiana spilled between 470 and 1228 gallons of oil (or is it tar sands?) into Lake Michigan on March 24 and four days later no one really knows for sure what type of crude it was. Most signs, however, point to tar sands."
Riverkeeper Sues Rayonier—by hannah: "Frankly, I am somewhat abashed that I did not know the Riverkeeper movement had developed all over the south while I was languishing in New Hampshire. In any event, in this case it is the Altamaha Riverkeeper. org that's brought suit, after due notice, against Rayonier for dumping its wastewater into the Altmaha River virtually untreated. You can tell that from the company's plaint that they've reduced the color of their daily discharge by fifty percent. They've been working so hard to get the brown out and still people who actually want to eat the fish they catch aren't satisfied."
Air pollution is causing 7 million deaths a year globally finds World Health Organization—by HoundDog: "The World Health Organization's latest report has found that air pollution 'is single biggest environmental health risk', causing 7 million deaths a year. To put this in perspective, this is approximately one out of every eight deaths. Surprisingly, to me, more people were killed from indoor pollution than outdoor pollution, 4.3 million and 3.7 million, respectively. The explanation is that in poor countries people spend more time indoors 'breathing in smoke and soot from leaky coal and wood cook stoves,' which has been more strongly linked to heart disease and stroke."
Oops. Up to 1,000,000 Gallons of Sticky Crude Spill into Bird Habitat on Galveston Bay.—by jpmassar: "When will they ever learn (—Pete Seeger) I'm still waiting for the first massive solar power spill. If I had anything to say, other than shaking my head and muttering, believe me I would say it. Richard Gibbons, conservation director of the Houston Audubon Society, did have this to say: 'The timing really couldn't be much worse since we're approaching the peak shorebird migration season.'"
7 1/2 miles from Chicago's lips to BP's anus—by freshwater dan: "This past Monday, BP spilled an estimated 39 barrels of tar sands cride into Lake Michigan from their Whiting refinery. [...] The Superintendent of the Hammond Water Works assures that there is nothing to worry about."
Food, Gardening & Agriculture
Saturday Morning Garden Blogging 10.6: Got Spring?—by Merry Light: "We had a fairly epic year for this part of western Colorado. Typical for this area, the snow falls starting in December and sticks around, building layers like a cake over the months of January and February. Then in late February it starts to be a net loss of snow instead of a net gain. It also starts to rain, which helps melt the snow. We are left with the early December snow at the last, big dirty piles which leave behind human detritus in a mini moraine wherever the "glaciers" were. Like most of you, I have spent the winter waiting for the snow to melt and see what survived the winter. Would those snowbanks ever melt?"
I've got Orchids up the Wazoo—by Eddie C.:
Sunday Train: Car Subsidies & Ebbing Vehicles Miles Travelled—by BruceMcF: "There had been a string of articles over the past year on Millennials and their relationship to the automobile. The Atlantic asked on 13 May , 2013, Millennials Lead the Trend to Less Driving, But What Happens As They Get Older? The American Realtor magazine explained to their realtor audience on 2 August, 2013, How Millennials Move: The Car-Less Trends. On 9 August, 2009, Time posed the grossly oversimplified question, The Great Debate: Do Millennials Really Want Cars, or Not?. Forbes blog contributor Michelle Maynard on 24 January, 2014 summarized the results of ZipCar sponsored polling in terms of priorities: Millennials in 2014: Take My Car, Not My Phone. According to the Atlantic: It is unquestionably true that Americans are driving less today than we did just a few years ago. Sometime around 2004, our addiction to driving – expressed on a graph in the decades-long steep expansion of “vehicle miles traveled” – took a turn in the opposite direction. Per capita, we began to drive fewer miles each year than we had the year before. As the U.S. population has continued to grow, our collective miles traveled by car has begun to stagnate. It’s not entirely clear, though, exactly why this has happened or whether the downturn will continue, two questions intimately tied to the behavior of Millennials as they age. Twenty-something Americans drive about 20 percent less today than their parents did in their 20s. But is that because of the recession? High gas prices? A lasting shift in consumer demand? What will happen to today’s 20-year-olds as they enter their 30s, raise families, and consider moving to the suburbs?"
Ohio auto-dealers score victory in Tesla battle—by kos: "As I recently wrote, the auto dealers don't care about Tesla. It's currently a niche high-end product. What they're really worried about is the idea of Tesla's business model—selling direct to consumers. This Ohio deal, if approved by the legislature, confirms that. If Tesla sells direct to consumers? They don't care. If Ford or GM do, then they're history. But why shouldn't manufacturers be allowed to sell to whoever they want? Why does the auto industry have a government-enforced middle-man costing consumers more money and leaving those car brands' images in the hand of sleazy dealers?"
Eco-Philosophy & Eco-Essays
America Must Win The Sun Race!!!—by LaFeminista: "Dear fellow Americans, The United States is lagging behind in the race to secure the suns resources. The communists in Europe have taken a bold lead in capturing the suns energy followed closely by China. Whilst the United States languishes in fifth place. [...] Only by capturing the maximum amount of solar energy can we ensure our rights to the limited solar energy available. Heaven knows at some point the sun may go supernova and where will we be then? Now is the time to harness the suns resources and to keep America great. We are therefore launching the Solar Freedom Project to maintain the availability of solar energy to all American families for an exceptional future."
Science Deniers Beware—by thinkingblue: "I wish I knew what was/is wrong with those who refuse to accept the findings of science. It appears they hate objective reality and cannot stand what their own senses (brains) tell them; instead relying on ancient books written by ancient writers’ who interpreted how we homo-sapiens came into being, (who didn't know at the time that we were dubbed homo-sapiens, -- Humans received the species name, Homo sapiens, meaning "wise man," in 1758. But, given our short-sighted behavior, that name needs to be changed, one writer proposes.) with the use of elaborate human imagination (which had evolved over the eons with natural selection). Good grief, I don’t possess even an ounce worth of the sophisticated knowledge that science has proven with labored scientific study, yet there is no way I could look to an old worn-out, filled with fantasy, doctrine for the answers our potent intelligence, hungers for. The power of fear can be the only reason for the acceptance of hogwash as truth, now if only those science deniers could learn that 'there’s nothing to fear but fear itself' life could become a fascinating journey for them as well."
Offshore Wind - 1000+ Green Jobs on 2 Sites—by Lib Dem FoP: "Promoting renewable energy frequently concentrates on the environmental impact of switching from fossil fuels and the associated affects this has on both the climate and weather.* There is another side—if demand for new equipment is high and predictable, manufacturing companies invest and create real jobs. There's news today of exactly that happening—in England. The German electronics firm Siemens and the UK firm Associated British Ports have announced plans for two sites and a total investment of £316 million (over $500 million) to build and service offshore wind turbines. Siemens already had plans to invest £80m but are to double this to £160m. I should emphasize this cost does not include the actual turbines themselves. This is for the production, assembly and support facilities for wind turbines, likely initially mostly for the North Sea. Siemens produced the turbines for four of the five larges offshore wind farms currently operational."
Guardian's NASA climate story false, flawed & misleading—by Bob Love: "That recent NASA-sponsored study about the collapse of global industrial civilization? Despite getting a lot of uncritical attention, including here (http://www.dailykos.com/.... and http://www.dailykos.com/....), it now seems the Guardian story is so seriously inaccurate, and that the paper it discusses is so seriously flawed, that neither should be taken seriously. [...] Keith Kloor, who writes for Discover and Slate, teaches journalism at NYU, edited Audubon magazine and fellowed at the Center for Environmental Journalism, takes the story and the study apart in considerable detail on his blog; I encourage you to read it for a more granular discussion of how bad the story and study are: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/...
The Daily Bucket - Shearwater Sighting in Atlanta—by foresterbob: "Okay, I can hear the chuckling from here. Foresterbob is exhibiting his questionable birding skills again. The shearwater is an ocean bird, and is not known for paying late night visits to large inland cities. [...] Actually, I'm talking about the rock band named after those pelagic birds from the Puffinus and Calonectris genera, not the birds themselves. It's close enough to April Fools Day that I can get by with a bit of trickery. Thanks to the wonders of satellite radio (and the fact I'm on the road so much), I hear music from groups that are ignored by most commercial radio stations. Shearwater is one such group. But why am I making this a Bucket topic? Shearwater is headed by Jonathan Meiburg, whose interests extend far beyond music."
Eat At Your Own Peril—by glb3: "We have choices in our lives. We don't have to be naive drive through window consumers of the chemically enhanced, and over processed products that are being serve to us by Big Corporate Interests. Know what you are putting in your mouth."
The Saga of the Sea Island Spit Continues—by hannah: "Previous installments featuring Sea Island, Georgia and the threat to develop a wildlife habit by plopping down eight McMansions on a fragile bit of ocean front can be found here and here and here and here, resulting in an excellent example of how community involvement grows with just a bit of prompting from people in the know. Today's post will show what happens when environmental organizations with a bit of legal clout get involved."
Friday's Selected Environmental Items—by LakeSuperior: Including many public comment deadlines.