Will Climate Change Denialism Help the Russian Economy?

Inter Press Service: The recent call from Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev for "tightening belts" has convinced even optimists that something is deeply wrong with the Russian economy. No doubt the planned tax increases (introduction of a sales tax and increases in VAT and income tax) will inflict severe damage on most businesses and their employees, if last year's example of what happened when taxes were raised for individual entrepreneurs is anything to go by - 650,000 of them were forced to close their businesses....

We can’t delay the fight against sea-level rise

Miami Herald: Regardless of its cause, sea-level rise is the inevitable, non-debatable consequence of the warming of the oceans and the melting of the planet's ice sheets. It is a measurable, trackable and relentless reality. Without innovative adaptive capital planning, it will threaten trillions of dollars of the region's built environment, our future water supply, unique natural resources, agricultural soils and basic economy. Without such a plan, we invite escalating insurance rates, at best, and risk our...

Drought leaves up to 2.81 million hungry in Central America

Reuters: A severe drought has ravaged crops in Central America and as many as 2.81 million people are struggling to feed themselves, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said on Friday, though the region's coffee crop has been largely unscathed. The drought, which is also affecting South America, has been particularly hard on the so-called "dry corridor" of Central America, which includes southern Guatemala, northern Honduras and western El Salvador. "The drought has killed us. We lost all...

Chance ‘megadrought’ in US Southwest now 50%, study concludes

LA Times: The chance of a "megadrought" gripping the Southwest for more than 30 years has increased to 50%, scientists say, which means bad news for California's already parched landscape. The odds of a 10-year drought afflicting the southwestern U.S. have increased to 80%, according to a new study by Cornell University, the University of Arizona and the U.S. Geological Survey. Whatever happens, California is likely to see prolonged drought and drier conditions, especially in the southern portion of...

Rising sea levels pose salt threat in Vietnam

Straits Times: Pham Thi Ly buys fresh water every 10 days from a well operator in another commune during the dry season. To ensure her children have clean drinking water, she has to buy the bottled stuff. The dry season typically runs for four months and this buying of water puts a dent into whatever she earns from fishing. But Mrs Ly has no choice - there is no fresh water to be had as the groundwater under the Thua Duc Commune in Vietnam's southern Ben Tre province has become too salty for daily use. Mr Tran...

Colorado fracking ban scorecard: 3 ruled illegal, 2 remain

Business Jurnal: Three out of five Front Range cities' bans on hydraulic fracturing in the last few years have been struck down by district court judges in recent weeks, and two others still stand. Both Boulder and Broomfield still have fracking bans in place. The city of Lafayette’s ban, which was approved by voters in November 2013, was struck down Thursday by Boulder District Court Judge D.D. Mallard. She’s the same judge that in late July who ruled the city of Longmont’s ban on fracking, approved by...

Swirls of Dust and Drama, Punctuating Life in the Southwest

New York Times: The best way to explain a haboob is to say it is a tsunami of sand, in the sense that there is no stopping it or outrunning it. It is a supreme spectacle. The fierce winds that precede it make the leaves on palm trees stand as if they are hands waving an effusive goodbye, the sky darkens and the world takes the color of caramel as the dust swallows everything in its path. Last week, a dense dust storm turned daytime into night in Palm Springs, Calif., “blowing so bad that I could not even see...

Thanks to fracking, there’s something in the water in Pennsylvania

Grist: It’s been a bad, bad summer for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. But arguably, it’s been a much worse summer for the actual citizens of Pennsylvania, because they have been repeatedly and consistently screwed over by an unhappy combination of corporate interests, bureaucratic incompetence, and methane. That’s quite a cocktail of misery - when life gives you a Long Island iced tea, if you will. The latest development: The DEP has released a list of 243 reports of drinking...

Climate Change Ups Odds of a Southwest Megadrought

Climate Central: If you think the drought in California is bad, you ain't seen nothing yet. New research indicates that climate change is giving a boost to the odds of long-term drought across the Southwest. The research, published Thursday in the Journal of Climate, puts the chances of a megadrought lasting 35 years or longer at up to 50 percent in the region. It would be a drought of epic proportions that would wreak havoc on the region's already tenuous water supply for its growing population. "It's been...

New Database Tracks Ecologic Health Impacts of Dams on World’s Rivers

Yale Environment 360: A newly launched online database illustrates the impacts of nearly 6,000 dams on the world's 50 major river basins, ranking their ecological health according to indicators of river fragmentation, water quality, and biodiversity. The "State of the World's Rivers" project was developed by the advocacy organization International Rivers and created using Google Earth. Users can compare the health of individual river basins, see the locations of existing and planned dams, and explore 10 of the most significant...