You can find more rescued green diaries below the sustainable squiggle.
"Urgency of climate change" to debut as legal tactic in defense of climate activists—by VL Baker: "John Upton at Climate Central writes about Ken Ward and Jay O'Hara, two Climate Activists who staged a coal delivery blockade in the spring of 2013. Their protests resulted in criminal charges of disturbing the peace, conspiracy, and boating offenses, which could result in hundreds of dollars in fines and up to five years in prison. In defense, their attorneys are preparing a novel and potentially paradigm changing strategy. For the first time ever they will use as defense the 'urgency of climate change'. The trial’s outcome could have far-reaching implications, with fossil fuel blockades growing in popularity around the world as a form of climate-related protest. And the trial could grab national headlines. Former NASA climate scientist Jim Hansen and prolific climate writer Bill McKibben told Climate Central that they plan to testify in Ward’s and O’Hara’s defense."
Sierra Club: Tell world leaders that it's time to get off the fence and into the climate fight!—by boatsie: "With just 22 days before the Ban Ki-moon UN Climate Summit (Twitter @BKM_summit), The Sierra Club today released the following Petition to engage citizens in the campaign to urge world leaders show up in New York for the September 23rd summit. As one of the major organizers of The People's Climate March and events up to and beyond the Summit, The Sierra Club has pledged to deliver the signatures to all world leaders who have not committed to attend. [...] Currently, according to the most recent shared Google document, leaders from 205 nations have received invitations. Of these, 26 have accepted, with several nations sending representatives and not their nation's leader."
Awakening the Climate Dragon—by GoldenDragon: ""The climate dragon is being poked, and eventually the dragon becomes pissed off enough to trash the place... If even a small fraction of Arctic sea floor carbon is released to the atmosphere, we're fucked." says Jason Box, arctic researcher. Long theorized as a climate-feedback mechanism, Arctic carbon has now been observed bubbling up to reach the surface as methane gas. Releasing methane (CH4) accelerates global warming 34 times faster than releasing CO2. As the Arctic continues to warm, methane is released faster, creating a feedback loop that makes the Arctic warm faster and faster, leading to unstoppable, catastrophic warming for all of us. But it doesn't have to end like that."
DeSmog UK bursts GWPF bubble—by ClimateDenierRoundup: "Two climate group spin-offs recently formed in the UK. One is the campaigning arm of Lord Lawson's Global Warming Policy Foundation, the UK's premier climate denial lobbying group. Having received complaints about its status as an educational charity, the GWPF created its new campaigning arm so as not to be bound by the limits of accuracy or its educational mandate when conducting political lobbying. In a well-timed counter-launch, DeSmogUK made its debut with quite a splash by revealing some of the (until now) secret money behind GWPF. In a piece on its new blog, as well as in coverage at the Guardian, DeSmogUK uncovers two of GWPF's main donors. It turns out the two people who have given substantial sums to GWPF are from (brace yourself) the fossil-fuel funded, free-market 'Institute for Economic Affairs.'"
Extreme Weather & Natural Phenomena
Bárðarbunga: A Brief Update (updated x2 - scientists evacuating)—by Rei: "I planned to do a nice detailed report on a lot of fronts but other issues were unfortunately calling my attention this evening; I couldn't manage to get through my source materials, and now I'm dead tired. So this entry will be just a quick update instead. The quick summary on the eruption and all of its connected components? Nothing is better, things are possibly worse, and more experts now agree on one thing: in all likelihood, this thing is just going to keep on pouring out. Time for an Eldfjallavakt."
Barðarbunga - And So Begins The Gas—by Rei: "In Icelandic volcanoes deep in the highlands, lava is rarely a major threat. The serious threats we face from volcanoes in the currently active system, as mentioned previously, are: 1) Jökulhlaup—catastrophic glacial outburst floods which can reach biblical proportions. This is a local catastrophe. 2) Pumice / ash falls—some of the volcanoes in the current system have had tremendous explosive eruptions of a scale that caused widespread abandonment of farms and towns over a hundred miles away. This is a local catastrophe. 3) Ash clouds—eruptions from this system before airplanes were invented have caused orders of magnitude worse ash problems than Eyjafjallajökull. This is both a local and international disaster. 4) Gas emissions—eruptions from the broader system have at times released enough climate-altering, poisonous gases to kill millions of people worldwide. Those who remember my first article in this series will recall the consequences of the last time, a couple hundred years ago, that #4 led to a catastrophe. Well, finally we have meters on site measuring sulfur dioxide emissions from the first sizeable eruption of the current event. And the results are not good."
Trash, Pollution & Hazardous Waste
EPA Bust of WV Natural Gas Extraction Company with $3 Million Civil Penalty—by LakeSuperior: "Just a quick note to again point out that what you see in Gasland and hear from Josh Fox about the oil and gas industry and hydraulic fracturing being exempt from the Clean Water Act is hogwash.......which is again illustrated by today's news release from U.S. EPA [below]. While uncontaminated stormwater discharges from oil/gas extraction sites & from site construction are unpermitted under the Act, all other discharges and activities affecting surface water quality are covered by the Clean Water Act, including surface water discharge of produced water, hydrocarbon liquids, hydraulic fracturing fluid constituents and placement of fill into streams and wetlands."
Energy & Conservation
This is the Future, Dammit, Where Are My Infinite Batteries?—by angryea: "Okay, so this is both interesting and disturbing: Germany, which has come to rely heavily on wind and solar power in recent years, is launching more than 20 demonstration projects that involve storing energy by splitting water into hydrogen gas and oxygen. The projects could help establish whether electrolysis, as the technology is known, could address one of the biggest looming challenges for renewable energy—its intermittency. Interesting because of the obvious technological innovation, but depressing because of the implications for energy storage and dealing with global climate change. Building and operating these kinds of facilities are, obviously, much more complicated than hooking these systems up to batteries and using batteries to store the energy. Obviously, though, battery technology is not at a place where we can use it for mass energy storage. Lead batteries lose energy too rapidly and lithium-ion batteries are expensive and don't have the energy density we would want. There has been some progress, obviously, but nowhere near as much as need. This article claims that cheap car batteries are right around the corner, but it relies almost entirely on comments made by the companies whose continued funding depends upon the existence of said inexpensive car batteries. The veracity of those statements, of course, are subject to debate."
Birds die ...—by A Siegel: "Birds die ... naturally and due to human causes. To provide some context— • 5 billion birds dies in the United States each year. • America's cats kill between 1.4 to 3.4 billion (yes, 1,700,000,000 to 3,400,000,000) birds per year (along with somewhere between 6.9 to 20.7 billion small mammals (chipmunks along with mice ...)) • U.S. windows kill nearly 1 billion (988 million or 988,000,000) birds per year. • Tar Sands production could kill 166 million birds. • Cars kill some 60 million birds per year. • The mining and burning of coal kills nearly 8 million birds per year. • Wind turbines kill 100,000s and solar power kills 10,000s of birds per year. Perhaps it is a bit of 'man bites dog' or the efforts of anti-clean energy interest groups or ..., but buzzing around the world is news that the (relatively) new Ivanpah concentrating solar power (CSP) electricity generation plant is killing birds. While Brightsource's 300,000 mirrors might be killing up to 28,000 birds per year, this extrapolation is based on a number of uncertain assumptions. In any event, as per the above, time to put things in context."
The convergence of solar PV, storage batteries, and electric vehicles to revolutionize industries—by HoundDog: "Peter Diamandis of Forbes calls up his friends Ray Kurzweil and Elon Musk to bring us some astonishing visions of the future of the solar photovoltaic, solar storage, and electric vehicle industries and how they are converging, which he reports in Solar Energy Revolution: A Massive Opportunity. Their view and the remarkable background data he presents overshadow his "Six D's" analysis which seems somewhat trite compared to his blockbuster opening paragraphs. Here are the best parts. My friend Ray Kurzweil projects the U.S. will meet 100 percent of its electrical energy needs from solar in 20 years. Elon Musk is a bit more conservative, pegging it at 50 percent in that timeframe. While the growth of solar may seem slow to some, it’s fair to say it’s in the midst of its “deceptive phase,” on the road to disruption. For example, a 30 percent increase in solar energy production per year, means 1 percent today grows to 1.3 percent in 3 years. It also means that in 20 years (7 doublings), we’ll see a 128-fold increase. Either way, if Ray and Elon are even close, there is a trillion dollars up for grabs (as well as the future of our planet), and the future is bright."
Wind energy could need 2.6 million skilled technicians by 2030 to reach goal of 30% adoption—by HoundDog: "In this article in Wind Power Monthly, the magazine interviews Andy Holt, general manager of wind services at US turbine manufacterer GE Renewable Energy, and corporate recruitment consultants Alan and Yorke, and Earthstream. The article reports what they see as the "biggest challenges in recruitment facing the wind industries. Eddie Halkett, group business development director at EarthStream, sees the biggest challenge to be maintaining a steady pipeline of incoming talent while attracting and training 2.6 million skilled technicians into the industry by 2030 in an industry that has been highly unstable to to inconsistent government support and facing strong steady competition from the oil industry for workers with similar skills."
Agriculture, Food & Gardening
The Food Babe, high fructose corn syrup, and your beer—by SkepticalRaptor: "The arrogantly named food blogger, Food Babe (real name–Vani Hari), who passes along anecdotes like they were real data, and who invents pseudoscience faster than a homeopath, has recently been on a warpath about beer ingredients. She's gone after the breweries for adding GMO grains (who cares, they are safe), coloring, and that evil chemical, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). She never quite explains what she has against HFCS, but based on her amateurish and unscientific review of food ingredients, it's obvious that she thinks that HFCS is an 'evil chemical' and must not be consumed. If someone named it 'extra sweet corn syrup,' it's quite possible she would have ignored it. Give anything a chemical name, and panic ensues. MSG, or monosodium glutamate, is nothing more than the precipitated salt of a simple amino acid, glutamic acid, which is one of the basic building blocks of every single protein in the body. Being sensitive or allergic to MSG is so ridiculous–you'd be allergic or sensitive to every single protein in your body then. It's one of the dumbest food fads on the planet, and there are plenty from which to choose!"
Transportation & Infrastructure
Tesla quietly building another charging network—by VL Baker: "How fast can Tesla meet demand for affordable, convenient alternative to traditional gas guzzlers? We'll soon find out. Tesla is rapidly ramping up its production with financial wizards abuzz with the analysis that we are on the verge of an electric battery breakthrough; a breakthrough that would make electric vehicles cost competitive and affordable. [...] investment pundits think that Tesla Motors is on the verge of achieving something big: A battery cheap enough to make electric vehicles cost-competitive with conventional cars. Daniel Sparks at Motley Fool is reporting that the company is on the right track towards developing a battery that costs only $100 per kilowatt-hour—a cost widely believed to be the threshold where electric vehicles can finally be cost-competitive. There are a few reasons for this, Sparks writes. The central one is that the company plans to build something called the 'Gigafactory,' a giant $5 billion battery manufacturing plant with 6,500 workers. The second is CEO Elon Musk’s own admission that he would be 'disappointed' if it took his company 10 years to make a $100 per kilowatt battery pack, and suggested it might happen before 2020. In conjunction with its manufacturing explosion, Tesla has been building the 'gas stations' of tomorrow; supercharging electrical stations, with no charge for use, all over Europe and the US."
Sunday Train: NEC High Speed Rail for Under $20b (from 15Jul2012)—by BruceMcF: "One of the transit bloggers that I enjoy reading is Alon Levy who blogs his observations on a variety of transit topics at Pedestrian Observations. Following the important California HSR funding vote in the California State Senate and the excitement leading up to it, I thought I'd like to take a look at the proposed Express HSR system for the states of the Northeast Corridor. Of the $53b cost of the proposed San Francisco to Los Angeles Express HSR corridor seems hefty ~ and it seems even heftier when it shows the Year of Expenditure headline value of $68b ~ then the proposed Northeast Corridor states Express HSR will seem massive. However, Alon claims: Northeast Corridor HSR, 90% Cheaper ... In contrast with this extravaganza, it is possible to achieve comparable travel times for about one tenth the cost. The important thing is to build the projects with the most benefit measured in travel time reduced or reliability gained per unit of cost, and also share tracks heavily with commuter rail, using timed overtakes to reduce the required amount of multi-tracking. This sounds like an intriguing possibility ... but is it realistic? Or is it wishful thinking?"
Sustainability & Extinction
Smart! Very Smart. One First Nations Vision for the Future—by Gwennedd : "On the south west tip of Vancouver Island, lies the land owned by the T'Sou-ke First Nations, who are doing some remarkable things. They're growing wasabi. And that's not all they're doing, thanks to some very smart business decisions made by the band and their leader, Chief Gordon Planes. [...] While other First Nations in Canada, and BC in particular, wrestle with whether or not to deal with fossil fuel companies and pipelines, the T'Sou-ke have decided to become one of the frontrunners in setting standards in sustainability, independence and alternative energy. So far, this plan has set in motion solar power, electric vehicles and sustainable food. And Gordon Planes is loving it. In addition to community gardens are greenhouses filled with wasabi plants, gently misted from above with water, nutrients and fertilizers."
Eco-Related Candidacies, DC & State Politics
Susan Collins: the 7th worst Democrat in the House—by RLMiller: "Susan Collins is generally considered to be a moderate Republican, especially on environmental issues. But just how good is she? If she were a Democrat in the House, she'd be the seventh worst Democrat on climate - better than Nick Rahall and a few members of the CoalBlue caucus. Climate Hawks Vote has crunched the numbers, and Collins' leadership score on climate is -13 on a scale of +100 to -100. Yep, minus 13 is what passes for Republican leadership on climate. Briefly, the Climate Hawks Vote scorecard seeks to measure leadership—not just votes—on climate. We look at six factors - public engagement , bills authored, bills cosponsored, press releases, caucuses, and website - to gauge who's leading on climate and who's not. The scorecard covers all House Democrats so far, and it's toughthe average score is +23. While working on one for Senate Democrats, we've decided to include a handful of Senate Republicans who might be considered moderate on climate, including Susan Collins. And her score is shockingly low."
The GOP: Stealth Eco-Warriors—by thefarleftside:
Legal Case: White House Argues Against Considering Climate Change on Energy Projects—by Steve Horn: "Just over a month before the United Nations convenes on September 23 in New York City to discuss climate change and activists gather for a week of action, the Obama White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) argued it does not have to offer guidance to federal agencies it coordinates with to consider climate change impacts for energy decisions. It came just a few weeks before a leaked draft copy of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) latest assessment said climate disruption could cause 'severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.' Initially filed as a February 2008 petition to CEQ by the International Center for Technology Assessment, the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) when George W. Bush still served as President, it had been stalled for years. Six and a half years later and another term into the Obama Administration, however, things have finally moved forward. Or backwards, depending on who you ask."
Eco-Justice & Eco-Activism
Oceans, Water & Drought
Inspector General Finds EPA & States Not Getting Gulf Dead Zone Nutrient Pollution Controlled by LakeSuperior: "EPA's Inspector General has issued a report indicating that EPA's Office of Water & state water pollution control agencies don't have in place sufficient measures to assure that states address and control nutrient pollution from reactive nitrogen and phosphorus that gets into surface waters from agriculture, municipalities and some industry across the Mississippi-Missouri River watershed system. This is an issue with the problem of the Gulf of Mexico Hypoxic Zone off of the coast of Louisiana and portions of Texas as a result of the flow of the Mississippi and Atchafalaya Rivers into the Gulf. In the Gulf Dead Zone, dissolved oxygen in a substantial portion of the the water column is near zero because of the presence of dying masses of algae and phytoplankton nourished by excessive nutrients in the water column, especially from reactive forms of phosphorus and nitrogen. In hypoxic zones desirable fisheries don't exist because of the lack of, or reduced concentration of, dissolved oxygen in the water column."
Water Warriors Rally At Trinity River Fish Hatchery—by Dan Bacher: "On a very hot day, August 27, over 200 Tribal Members and Leaders, river advocates and politicians attended a day of celebration on the Trinity River. It was a day that the Bureau of Reclamation designated as a 'Multicultural Day,' so the Hoopa Valley Tribe organized an event to demonstrate the impacts of water diversion on their culture and the river communities. It was also a day for giving thanks and celebrating culture and tradition. Tribal Officials talked of a sense of relief for having water flowing in decent amounts down the Trinity River, providing cooler water for spawning salmon to make their epic journeys back to the places of their birth. The celebration took place next to the fish hatchery where Chinook and coho salmon and steelhead are spawned and reared by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Not lost on those present was the significance of that choice: a fish hatchery, a place of birth and release, something the Tribes have been doing for centuries."
Critters & The Great Outdoors
Daily Bucket: A Walk Along the Beach—by Lenny Flank: "A Great Blue Heron who found himself some shade while the humans were swimming--and decided to check their stuff for anything interesting."
Martha: The Last Passenger Pigeon—by Lenny Flank: "In the times before the Europeans reached North America, the entire eastern half of what is now the United States was covered with unbroken forest. It was said that a squirrel could run from Maine to Texas without ever touching the ground. And one of the myriad of species that lived in this forest was the Passenger Pigeon. Exactly one hundred years ago today, the last Passenger Pigeon died in a cage. In 1491, the Passenger Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius), may have been the most abundant bird species on Earth. Living in flocks that contained as many as two billion individual birds, it has been estimated that this single species made up some 40% of all the birds in North America. Flocks of Passenger Pigeons could stretch literally from horizon to horizon; some flocks were over 100 miles long. There are contemporary reports of flocks shading out the sun for hours as they flew overhead in an unending stream (leading to the bird's name, from the French passager—'to pass by'). And yet, 100 years ago this very day, on September 1, 1914, the very last existing Passenger Pigeon, a 29-year resident at the Cincinnati Zoo named "Martha", died in her cage, marking the extinction of one of the most abundant animals on Earth."
Forests, Wilderness & Public Lands
Wilderness Act at 50---Much Remains Unprotected—by willyr: "Today is the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, passed to protect public land from development, among other reasons. The Act initially protected 9 million acres, but since then Congress has increased the total to over 100 million. Impressive, but far short of protecting many hundreds of millions of additional acres of wilderness that is threatened. What is wilderness? Why does it need to be protected? The Wilderness Act gives us a definition, and Wallace Stegner gave us his reason in his Wilderness Letter, written as the drive to protect our environment was picking up steam. The Wilderness Act says: 'A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain. An area of wilderness is further defined to mean in this Act an area of undeveloped Federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions and which (1) generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man’s work substantially unnoticeable; (2) has outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation; (3) has at least five thousand acres of land or is of sufficient size as to make practicable its preservation and use in an unimpaired condition; and (4) may also contain ecological, geological, or other features of scientific, educational, scenic, or historical value.'"