Archive for June 17th, 2015

Europe’s largest illegal toxic dumping site discovered in southern Italy

Independent: The biggest toxic dumping site ever discovered in Europe is being investigated in the area of southern Italy plagued by cancer rates that are up to 80 per cent higher than the national average. Police say over two million cubic metres of dangerous material, including 25kg packets of French industrial waste and containers with solvents, have been dug out up in the Calvi Risorta area north of Naples, where the Camorra crime syndicate makes hundreds of millions a year from illegal dumping. The dump...

On eve of encyclical, pope appeals for ‘our ruined’ planet

Reuters: Pope Francis, on the eve of the most contested papal writing in half a century, said on Wednesday that all should help to save "our ruined" planet and asked critics to read his encyclical with an open spirit. In the highly personal and eloquently written 192-page "Laudato Si (Be Praised), On the Care of Our Common Home", Francis dives head on into the climate change controversy, which has won him the wrath of skeptical conservatives, including two Catholic U.S. Republican presidential candidates....

Are the politics of climate about to change?

Hill: President Obama and other leaders at the G-7 Summit in Germany made headlines last week pledging to cut greenhouse gas emissions 40 to 70 percent by 2050, the first time leading Western nations have committed to such specific long-term targets. But even as the targets were being announced, deep skepticism emerged, at home and abroad, about the U.S. ability to meet such ambitious goals. Republicans in Congress, many states and all but one of the Presidential primary candidates, have thus far fought...

GOP uses spending bills to move against EPA rules

Hill: Republicans in both chambers moved bills Tuesday to cut the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) budget and block several of its new regulations. In the House, the Appropriations Committee approved an Interior and Environment spending bill that would cut the agency's budget by $718 million next year. The bill would block a new EPA rule asserting power over small waterways and its upcoming greenhouse gas regulations for power plants. Members also included a provision blocking a new ground-level...

China bets on ’sponge cities’ to cope with flooding and drought

ClimateWire: The plaza outside Shenzhen's Mass Sports Center looks like any you can find in Chinese cities. But if you look closely, you can still see a critical difference. Unlike most infrastructures in China, the plaza here has no drains. When rain falls lightly, the water either filters down to the underground through permeable pavements or is soaked up by gardens designed to catch rain. Almost no rainwater flows into street gutters around this plaza. During a period when many big cities -- most recently...

Hillary would charge new fees for fossil fuel extraction

High Country News: During her official launch speech last weekend, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton tossed out a big clue about the direction she would take the country’s climate change policy. If elected, she vowed, she would seek to make the United States a “clean energy superpower” and pay for the transition in part with “additional fees and royalties from fossil fuel extraction.” Coming just days before Pope Francis’s leaked appeal to address climate change grabbed headlines around the globe,...

UN chief warns of continuous land degradation

Xinhua: The city of Irvine, California, for example, has extensively studied its aquifer. “They know how low they can let the aquifer go before needing to either stop pumping or to supplement supply,” Richey said. “There's a paper that says basically you can't manage what you don't know and right now we aren't really managing groundwater well, if at all.” Lance Larson, a science center fellow at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said that it’s critical to monitor whatever groundwater is left. “These...