Florida wants federal help to combat climate change

News-Observer: Citing South Florida's unique view on climate change, a Broward County commissioner told a Senate panel Tuesday that the issue is one of the most pressing the region now faces _ and that local governments will help usher in necessary changes. Kristin Jacobs, a Democrat, is also a member of President Barack Obama's task force on climate change, which recently offered a range of steps federal officials could take to reduce carbon pollution and mitigate the impacts of climate change. The Obama administration...

Firefighters in California gain ground against Yosemite blaze

Reuters: Firefighters gained ground on Tuesday against a blaze burning on the western edge of Yosemite National Park and an adjacent national forest, where flames have forced the evacuation of several dozen homes and the closure of three campgrounds. The El Portal fire has scorched more than 3,000 acres since it erupted on Saturday, destroying a duplex home and threatening dozens of other dwellings around the western park boundary, a spokesman for the federal fire command said. By Tuesday morning, a...

Climate change, air pollution may increase risk of malnutrition

CBS: The world will need 50 percent more food by 2050 due to both an increasing population and a shift toward a more Westernized diet in developing countries. But as our need for food rises, our ability to produce that food may be lowered by climate and air quality changes, according a to a study just published in Nature Climate Change. Researchers from MIT and Colorado State University found that if everything else stays as it is today, by 2050 global warming may reduce world crop yields by about 10...

Widely Used Insecticides Are Leaching Into Midwest Rivers

National Public Radio: A class of insecticides called neonicotinoids, which are used on a lot of big corn and soybean fields, has been getting a pretty bad rap lately. Researchers have implicated these chemicals, which are similar to nicotine, as a contributor to the alarming decline of bee colonies. That led the European Union to place a moratorium on their use, and environmentalists want the U.S. to do the same. In a study published July 24, researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey found that these chemicals are...

Groundwater depletion & western US water supply

Environmental News Network: A new study by NASA and University of California, Irvine, scientists finds more than 75 percent of the water loss in the drought-stricken Colorado River Basin since late 2004 came from underground resources. The extent of groundwater loss may pose a greater threat to the water supply of the western United States than previously thought. This study is the first to quantify the amount that groundwater contributes to the water needs of western states. According to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the...

Agriculture Affects River Flow Rates

Nature World: Changes in agriculture affect river flow rates in both rainy and dry times, according to two University of Iowa researchers. While it may seem obvious that river flow rates in the Midwest can change depending on how heavy or light rainfall is, what's not so clear is how changes in land use can impact these river flows. "We wanted to know what the relative impacts of precipitation and agricultural practices played in shaping the discharge record that we see today," lead author Gabriele Villarini...

California drought dries up plans for historic gold rush celebration

Reuters: California’s drought has claimed yet another historic casualty in this parched capital city - the annual heritage celebration known as Gold Rush Days. Staged for the past 15 years by tourism groups who turn the city's Old Sacramento district into a dirt-paved scene from the 1850s, the Labor Day weekend tradition was canceled on Monday due to concerns about water use and fire. Steve Hammond, president and chief executive officer of the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau, said that up to...

Netflix about to hijack our evenings with grim environmental films

Grist: Netflix has already burned weeks of our lives with its early ventures into original programming. You know what I`m talking about. Every episode of House of Cards or Orange is the New Black left you tearing out your hair screaming, “I NEED JUST ONE MORE, PLEEEASE!” Now that the good people at Netflix have come to realize their power, they’re going to try to use it to show us something even more unnerving than murderous politicians: real life. As part of their new documentary push, they bought the...

GAO Report: Drinking Water Risk Underground Fracking Waste Injection

EcoWatch: The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) publicly released its report today finding that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is "not consistently conducting two key oversight and enforcement activities for class II programs" for underground fluid injection wells associated with oil and gas production. The report shows that the EPA`s program to protect drinking water sources from underground injection of fracking waste needs improvement. According to the report, "The U.S. EPA...

Study: Climate change increases chance slowdown in yields

Des Moines Register: The odds of a major production slowdown of corn and wheat are as much as 20 times greater with climate change, according to researchers at Stanford University and the National Center for Atmospheric Research. The authors used global climate computer models, along with data about weather and crops, to calculate the chances that climatic trends would slow the growth in yields by 10 percent during the next 20 years. The result, researchers found, would mean yields would grow about half as quickly as...