The Environmental Protection Agency often justifies its own existence by noting that corporations, who see profit as their goal rather than environmental protection, are ill-equipped (or at least, ill-prioritized) to care for America’s natural resources.
It turns out that, perhaps, the EPA might also be ill-equipped to handle toxic waste when it comes to preventing large-scale pollution of our nation’s waterways. In fact, they may have caused, on its own, one of our nation’s greatest environmental disasters. EPA crews trying to collect and contain waste water in the Gold King mine in Durango, Colorado, loosed 1.1 million gallons of “acidic, yellowish” discharge, causing the pollution – which includes levels of arsenic, lead, cadmium, aluminum and copper – to flow into the Animas River (an early tributary of the Colorado) at a rate of 1200 gallons per minute.
Australia plans to reduce carbon emissions by 26 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced Tuesday, a target critics say falls well short of its fair share globally.
Abbott, however, said his conservative government's target was "fairly in the middle" of those made by other economies which will be taken to an upcoming global climate conference in Paris.
"We have come to the position our 2030 emissions reduction target will be in the range of 26 to 28 percent," Abbott told reporters in Canberra.
The Obama administration has been claiming regulations put forward in its recently released Clean Power Plan will save thousands of lives from reduced levels of particulate matter and ozone.
There’s just one problem with that assertion: it’s not true, according to the chief toxicologist with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
“There’s just a whole host of things that are wrong with that [conclusion],” toxicologist Michael Honeycutt told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “We have no documentation of anyone being killed by ozone.”
The Animas River is the cultural soul of this patch of southwestern Colorado, a sort of moving Main Street that hosts multiple floating parades a year and is typically bustling with rafters and kayakers. Schoolchildren study the river. Sweethearts marry on its banks. Its former name, given by Spaniards, is el Río de las Ánimas, the River of Souls.
But since Wednesday, the Animas has been grievously polluted with toxic water spilled from one of the many abandoned mines that pockmark the region — a spill for which the Environmental Protection Agency has claimed responsibility, saying it accidentally breached a store of chemical-laced water.
Fracking applications will be fast-tracked through the planning system under new rules intended to kick-start the shale gas revolution. The guidance, to be issued this week, will strengthen the power of ministers to step in and wrest decisions from local authorities if planners are perceived to be obstructive. The rules will make it easier for the communities secretary to hear appeals such as Cuadrilla’s. Interventions are rare but may become more common as the government presses the case for shale gas. Ministers are also preparing to award gas and exploration licences within weeks. Rudd has said she will grant licences in the 14th onshore round — which attracted 95 bidders in 295 areas — in two stages to speed things up. --James Lyons, The Sunday Times, 9 August 2015
Here's today's political quiz question: what do these five states — Rhode Island, Vermont, California, Oregon and Maine — have in common. Yes they are blue states ruled by Democrats, but that's not all. These are the states that use the least amount of coal — less than 2 percent — for electric power.
In fact, almost all of the states that are politically liberal and vote unfailingly Democratic are low coal use states. Washington, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are also in the top 10 states least reliant on coal. Only conservative Idaho is a red state with low coal consumption.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s new Clean Power Plan (CPP) requires that states reduce their electric utility sector carbon dioxide emissions an average of 32% below 2005 levels by 2030. EPA twisted 80 words in the Clean Air Act into 1,560 pages of regulations (plus appendices) demanding that utilities return CO2 emissions almost to 1975 levels, while our population grows by 40 million.
Some 30 states will have to slash their power plant CO2 emissions by more than 32% and at least 12 will have to implement 40-48% reductions. That is a tall order, since all those states now get 50-96% of their electricity from coal, and all of them depend on coal plus natural gas for nearly all their electric power. Imposing that transition and a conversion to 20% or more expensive and unreliable wind and solar energy by 2030 will be disastrous. It will bankrupt families, businesses, industries, communities and even states.
As the oceans’ chemistry is altered by rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, the response of sea-dwellers such as fish, shellfish and corals is a huge unknown that has implications for fisheries and conservationists alike. But the researchers attempting to find an answer are often failing to properly design and report their experiments, according to an analysis of two decades of literature. The past decade has seen accelerated attempts to predict what these changes in pH will mean for the oceans’ denizens — in particular, through experiments that place organisms in water tanks that mimic future ocean-chemistry scenarios. Yet according to a survey published last month by marine scientist Christopher Cornwall, who studies ocean acidification at the University of Western Australia in Crawley, and ecologist Catriona Hurd of the University of Tasmania in Hobart, Australia, most reports of such laboratory experiments either used inappropriate methods or did not report their methods properly. --Daniel Cressey, Nature, 5 August 2015
According to overnight Nielsen ratings, 16 percent of homes were tuned into the Fox News prime-time GOP debate between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. last night. That would make it twice as big as the previous record holder, with upward of ten million viewers. Put simply, it was the most-watched debate in history. Even the earlier debate at 5 p.m. saw an upswell of viewers tuning in to see the seven underdogs who didn't fare as well in five national polls. Based on each candidate's performance, they may rise in the polls or drop even further from the limelight.
The questions in both debates ran the gamut from the economy to terrorism to ISIS to even the Donald. The planet's ecosystem didn't fare as well. In the 5 p.m. debate, Sen. Lindsey Graham was asked about climate change, due to his earlier stance on saying it was primarily man-made and then saying it wasn't. His reply: he would debate policy solutions, but not the underlying science. Graham has gained a reputation in his party for saying greenhouse gases are warming the planet and has even worked with Democrats on cap-and-trade legislation. All of which may sound ignoble in light of recent statements that belied his actual record on global warming.
At the very moment President Obama has decided to shutter America's coal industry in favor of much more expensive and less efficient "renewable energy," coal use is surging across the globe.
A new study by the prestigious National Academy of Sciences detects an unmistakable "coal renaissance" under way that shows this mineral of fossilized carbon has again become "the most important source of energy-related emissions on the global scale."
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Sen. Barack Obama said: “...if somebody wants to build a coal power plant, they can. It’s just that it will bankrupt them...” He added that under his now-defeated Cap and Trade bill, “electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.”
In 2010, Cap and Trade died in the Senate, but the president’s goal of bankrupting the coal industry never waned. Monday he announced that the Environmental Protection Agency will impose new regulations throughout the country limiting carbon emissions from power plants powered by fossil fuels. Several states are challenging the EPA rules “that aim to cut carbon emissions in the power sector by 32 percent.” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, testifying before Congress, was asked about claims that the new EPA plan would only impact global warming by a measly .01 degrees Celsius, to which she replied, “...I’m not disagreeing that this action in and of itself will not make all the difference we need to address climate action, but if we don’t take action domestically, we will never get started...”
Fig 1. Smoke from a subglacial eruption rises above the Vatnajokull Ice Cap, IcelandTwo recent studies, one from Harvard and the other from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, both conclude that there has been a very strong correlation between periods of increased worldwide volcanic activity and changes in major glaciations, usually referred to as ice ages*. Stated another way, geological forces definitely influence climate.
This is a major confirmation of Plate Climatology Theory detailed here.
Details of how historical increases in volcanic activity influenced ice ages is still being debated. The debate can be boiled down to one question. What came first, volcanic activity or atmospheric warming? It’s the old “chicken or the egg” conundrum. Harvard and Lamont-Doherty both believe that atmospheric temperature changes occurred first and that these changes led to / caused changes in volcanic activity.