- US water stress may drive shift to renewable power By Gerard Wynn
Global Climate Change News & Analysis
Updated on 21 June 2014, 5:43 amClimate change may drive a shift to more wind and solar power generation, to conserve water, a U.S. Department of Energy report said this week. The report found a risky mutual dependence between water and energy. Energy was needed to pump, treat and transport water, while water was needed to cool electricity generating equipment in thermal power plants such as gas, coal, nuclear and concentrated solar power. Such thermoelectric power accounts for 40% of all U.S. freshwater use.
Climate change including more storms and droughts would intensify those mutual risks, the report said. READ MORE
- Eight ways climate change is making the world more dangerous
By Suzanne Goldberg, The Guardian
Disasters including storms, floods and heatwaves have increased fivefold since the 1970s, UN finds.
Forget the future. The world already is nearly five times as dangerous and disaster prone as it was in the 1970s, because of the increasing risks brought by climate change, according to a new report from the World Meteorological Organisation.
The first decade of the 21st century saw 3,496 natural disasters from floods, storms, droughts and heat waves. That was nearly five times as many disasters as the 743 catastrophes reported during the 1970s – and all of those weather events are influenced by climate change.
The bottom line: natural disasters are occurring nearly five times as often as they were in the 1970s. But some disasters – such as floods and storms – pose a bigger threat than others. Flooding and storms are also taking a bigger bite out of the economy. But heat waves are an emerging killer. READ MORE
- The Warming State of the Climate in 2013 By ANDREW C. REVKIN, The New York Times
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has released State of the Climate, 2013 — a useful compendium of trends and climate events last year. Visit climate.gov to click for the data on Arctic conditions, sea level change, severe storms and more. The report is also being published as a supplement to the July issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. READ MORE
- Study: Sea-level rise threatens 1,400 U.S. cities
USA Today, May 12, 2013
By Wendy Koch
How bad is the sea-level rise? Though scientists debate the severity, a new study says at least 316 U.S. cities and towns will be mostly submerged unless pollution can be pulled from the sky.
A rise in sea levels threatens the viability of more than 1,400 cities and towns, including Miami, Virginia Beach and Jacksonville, unless there are deep cuts in heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions, says an analysis out Monday.
Prior emissions have already locked in 4 feet of future sea-level rise that will submerge parts of 316 municipalities, but the timing is unclear and could take hundreds of years, according to the paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. If global warming continues at its current rate through the year 2100, at least an additional 1,100 cities and towns will be mostly under water at high tide in the distant future. READ MORE
- Climate change on pace to occur 10 times faster than any change recorded in past 65 million years
Stanford Report, August 1, 2013
The planet is undergoing one of the largest changes in climate since the dinosaurs went extinct. But what might be even more troubling for humans, plants and animals is the speed of the change. Stanford climate scientists warn that the likely rate of change over the next century will be at least 10 times quicker than any climate shift in the past 65 million years.
If the trend continues at its current rapid pace, it will place significant stress on terrestrial ecosystems around the world, and many species will need to make behavioral, evolutionary or geographic adaptations to survive. READ MORE
- Drill next door: Here’s what it looks like when fracking moves in
August 28, 2013
When my wife and I pulled into a relative’s subdivision in Frederick, Colo., after a wedding on a recent weekend, it was a surprise to suddenly find a 142-foot-tall drill rig in the backyard, parked in the narrow strip of land between there and the next subdivision to the east. It had appeared in the two days we’d been gone.
This couple hundred grassy acres, thick with meadowlarks and bisected by a creek crowded with cattail, bulrush, willow, and raccoon tracks, sits atop the DJ Basin shale deposit. Our folks hadn’t known that when they bought the property last year, nor did they recall any useful notice that this new industrial neighbor was moving in. READ MORE
- Study raises new concern about earthquakes and fracking fluids
By Sharon Begley, Reuters
July 11, 2013
Powerful earthquakes thousands of miles (km) away can trigger swarms of minor quakes near wastewater-injection wells like those used in oil and gas recovery, scientists reported on Thursday, sometimes followed months later by quakes big enough to destroy buildings.
The discovery, published in the journal Science by one of the world’s leading seismology labs, threatens to make hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” which involves injecting fluid deep underground, even more controversial.
It comes as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency conducts a study of the effects of fracking, particularly the disposal of wastewater, which could form the basis of new regulations on oil and gas drilling.
Geologists have known for 50 years that injecting fluid underground can increase pressure on seismic faults and make them more likely to slip. The result is an “induced” quake. READ MORE
- Light Pollution is Growing at the Rate of 4%- Far Faster Than the Population
By International Dark-Sky Association
June 5, 2013
Once a source of wonder–and one half of the entire planet’s natural environment—the star-filled nights of just a few years ago are vanishing in a yellow haze. Human-produced light pollution not only mars our view of the stars; poor lighting threatens astronomy, disrupts ecosystems, affects human circadian rhythms, and wastes energy to the tune of $2.2 billion per year in the U.S. alone.
- Monterey Shale Shakes Up California’s Energy Future
By National Geographic
May 27, 2013
It’s easy to tick off the ways in which California is a leader in clean energy: It harvests more solar energy than any other state, has a program to curb greenhouse gas emissions from the vehicles on its famously long highways, and launched its own cap-and-trade system this year.
And yet, a move is afoot for a quite different type of new energy development in the Golden State, beneath the same valley that beckoned gold seekers and migrant farmers generations ago. That ever alluring land happens to lie atop the Monterey shale formation, a vast rock formation that is believed to hold one of the world’s largest onshore reserves of shale oil. READ MORE
- Green Spaces Boosts Well-Being of Urban Dwellers, Study Finds
Parks, gardens and green space in urban areas can improve the wellbeing and quality of life of people living there, says a University of Exeter study. Using data from 5,000 UK households over 17 years, researchers found that living in a greener area had a significant positive effect. The findings could help to inform urban planners and have an impact on society at large, they said.
The study is published in the journal Psychological Science. READ MORE
- New Lawsuit Aims to Protect More California Public Lands From Fracking
Press Release – Sierra Club & the Center for Biological Diversity
April 18, 2013
In the wake of a landmark legal victory against fracking on public lands last week, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club filed a new lawsuit today challenging the Obama administration’s auction of an additional 17,000 acres in Monterey, San Benito and Fresno counties for drilling and fracking. READ MORE
- Vast Oil Reserve May Now Be Within Reach (in Southern California), and Battle Heats Up
By The New York Times
February 3, 2013
The Monterey Shale’s geological formation will require companies to engage in more intensive fracking and deeper, horizontal drilling, a dangerous prospect in a seismically active region like California, environmental groups say.
Environmental groups, including the Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity, are suing the Bureau of Land Management and the Department of Conservation to prevent the opening up of further land to oil exploration and to enforce stricter environmental practices.
“If and when the oil companies figure out how to exploit that shale oil, California could be transformed almost overnight,” said Kassie Siegel, a lawyer at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Fracking poisons the air we breathe and the water we drink. It is one of the most, if not the most, important environmental issue in California.” READ MORE
- A Good Use of Heartbeats: An Interview With First Nations Activist Caleb Behn
By Rebecca Carter, Truthout
February 1, 2013
First Nations activist, attorney and writer Caleb Behn talks about the continuing colonial incursions into his Dene homeland in Northeastern British Columbia, his family and nation’s fight against the extractive industries and bringing Idle No More to a minus-35-degrees-Celsius-environment.
“In my own work, I’d like to see indigenous values, concepts and traditions become incorporated into the law of the country, provincial and federal – and my hope is to take that global. I’d like to spend my life on trying to bring indigenous laws made around natural resource development to be as strong, as recognized, as received and as compelling as the western colonial law, because I believe that within indigenous law are very different perspectives on how we as human beings interact with the natural world and I think that there are very pragmatic principles that deal with the destructive potential that we have now as a species that was never in existence before. My goal is to empower that vision through scholarship and through legal activism and through my own personal life.” READ MORE
- A Hotter, Drier, and More Disaster Prone America
By Suzanne Goldenberg, guardian.co.uk
January 11, 2013
Future generations of Americans can expect to spend 25 days a year sweltering in temperatures above 100ºF (38ºC), with climate change on course to turn the country into a hotter, drier, and more disaster-prone place.
The National Climate Assessment, released in draft form on Friday, provided the fullest picture to date of the real-time effects of climate change on US life, and the most likely consequences for the future. READ MORE
- Watching Sandy, Ignoring Climate Change
By Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker
October 29, 2012
It is, at this point, impossible to say what it will take for American politics to catch up to the reality of North American climate change. More super-storms, more heat waves, more multi-billion-dollar “weather-related loss events”? The one thing that can be said is that, whether or not our elected officials choose to acknowledge the obvious, we can expect, “with a high degree of confidence,” that all of these are coming. READ MORE
- Fracking-Linked Earthquakes Spurring State Regulations
By Jim Efstathiou Jr., Bloomberg
April 20, 2012
With scientific evidence emerging that wastewater from oil and gas drilling is the possible cause of earthquakes, states are adding new requirements for disposal wells. Researchers think an increase in wastewater injected into the ground by drilling operators may be the cause of a sixfold increase in the number of earthquakes that have shaken the central part of the U.S. from 2000 to 2011, according to a U.S. Geological Survey study. The demand for underground disposal wells has increased with the proliferation of shale-gas drilling, a technique that produces millions of gallons of wastewater a well. READ MORE