Archive for January 16th, 2016

Soil frost affects greenhouse gas emissions in the Arctic

ScienceDaily: Soil frost is a nearly universal process in the Arctic. In a recent dissertation by doctoral student Marina Becher at Umeå University, it is shown that the frequency and extent of soil frost is important for the release of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from arctic soil. Soil in the Arctic has for thousands of years gathered large quantities of decomposed organic matter due to the decomposition being slow at the low temperatures in the region. As temperatures in the Arctic are increasing, there...

Obama declares emergency in Michigan over bad water – White House

Reuters: U.S. President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency in Michigan on Saturday and ordered federal aid for state and local response efforts in the county where the city of Flint has been contending with lead-contaminated drinking water. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder had asked the president to declare both an emergency and an expedited major disaster in Genesee County to protect the safety of Flint residents. Obama is authorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster...

How Melting Giant Icebergs May Help Slow Climate Change (Just A Little)

Huffington Post: Melting icebergs may be fighting against the very forces that cause them to melt, a new study suggests. Water dripping off icebergs and into the Antarctic Ocean, also known as the Southern Ocean, contains iron and other nutrients, according to research published Monday in the journal Nature Geoscience. These nutrients fertilize phytoplankton, the microscopic marine life that plays a key role in oceanic ecosystems, and help the tiny plants absorb carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as they grow into...

Damming the Mekong – the myth of ’sustainable hydropower’

Ecologist: Dam builders have a new mantra, writes Tom Fawthrop: 'sustainable hydropower'. Repeated at every opportunity, it is based on the unproven idea that large dams can be made 'sustainable' by promising future 'mitigation'. And so it is at the Don Sahong dam in Laos which is about to devastate the mighty Mekong and the 60 million people who depend on it for food and livelihood. The evidence is conclusive: Large dams in a vast majority of cases are not economically viable. Instead of obtaining hoped-for...

Sanders calls for resignation of Michigan governor amid Flint water crisis

Guardian: Barack Obama signed an emergency declaration for Flint, Michigan, where a lead-poisoning crisis in the city’s water supply has left residents without safe water for nearly two years. On Saturday the White House authorized the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) to provide water, filters, cartridges and other supplies for 90 days. Republican governor Ricky Snyder asked Obama for help on Friday, saying emergency measures could cost $41m. Democratic candidate for president Bernie Sanders called...

The Porter Ranch gas leak update

Environmental News Network: Senators Kevin de León and Fran Pavley announced a package of new legislation that builds on Gov. Brown’s state of emergency declaration to ensure protections for Californians impacted by the natural gas leak in Porter Ranch. The new legislation will require: a moratorium on new injections into the Aliso Canyon storage facility until experts determine it is safe to resume and a study to see whether it makes sense to continue using the facility. (SB 875) that response costs – such as...

3 Reasons Big Coal Had a Bad Week

EcoWatch: Here are three reasons Big Coal had a bad week: 1. Sec. of the Interior Sally Jewell announced Friday that the Obama Administration will be putting an immediate suspension on all future and modified coal leases in order to create time and space to fully review the program for its consequences for taxpayers, our environment and the climate. The announcement followed President Obama’s groundbreaking statement in the State of the Union that he would “push to change the way we manage our oil and coal...

U.S. Announces Moratorium On New Coal Leases On Federal Lands

Bonham Journal: While environmentalists cheered, state government and central Utah county leaders expressed dismay about the Obama administration's decision to halt new coal leases on federal lands. There's enough coal in reserve under existing leases to continue production at its current rate for another 20 years, she said. "The coal industry is shrinking, and it will continue to shrink for the foreseeable future". "It is abundantly clear that times are different than they were 30 years ago, and the time...

Flint’s water crisis: what went wrong

Guardian: Lee and Ernie Perez knew something was amiss when their three cats started throwing up after drinking water. In 2014, the longtime residents of Flint, Michigan, were dealing with the same circumstances that had consumed most of the town. The problems began in April that year, after the city switched its water source and started pulling water from a local river as a cost-saving measure. Almost immediately, residents levied complaints about the smelly, discolored and disgusting fluid that was now...

More Bad News For Coal Mine-Reliant States

National Public Radio: On Friday, the Obama administration announced a halt to new coal leases on federal land. In Wyoming, most of the federally-owned coal mines and revenue from coal leases pays for school construction. SCOTT SIMON, HOST: In President Obama's State of the Union address, there was a line you might have missed, but it caught the ear of people in the energy industry. (SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH) BARACK OBAMA: I'm going to push to change the way we manage our oil and coal resources so that they better...