Climate

A High-Risk Energy Boom Sweeps Across North America
October 11, 2010 12:19 PM - Keith Schneider, Yale Environment 360

Energy companies are rushing to develop unconventional sources of oil and gas trapped in carbon-rich shales and sands throughout the western United States and Canada. So far, government officials have shown little concern for the environmental consequences of this new fossil-fuel development boom. The most direct path to America's newest big oil and gas fields is U.S. Highway 12, two lanes of blacktop that unfold from Grays Harbor in Washington State and head east across the top of the country to Detroit. The 2,500-mile route has quickly become an essential supply line for the energy industry. With astonishing speed, U.S. oil companies, Canadian pipeline builders, and investors from all over the globe are spending huge sums in an economically promising and ecologically risky race to open the next era of hydrocarbon development. As domestic U.S. pools of conventional oil and gas dwindle, energy companies are increasingly turning to “unconventional” fossil fuel reserves contained in the carbon rich-sands and deep shales of Canada, the Great Plains, and the Rocky Mountain West.

Ring of Fire Cause
October 8, 2010 03:19 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

The Pacific Ring of Fire is an area where large numbers of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur in the basin of the Pacific Ocean. In a 25,000 mile horseshoe shape, it is associated with a nearly continuous series of oceanic trenches, volcanic arcs, and volcanic belts and/or plate movements. The Ring of Fire has 452 volcanoes and is home to over 75% of the world's active and dormant volcanoes. Oxford University scientists have potentially discovered the explanation for why the world’s explosive volcanoes are confined to bands only a few tens of miles wide. Most of the molten rock that comes out of these volcanoes is rich in water, but the Oxford team has shown that the volcanoes are aligned above narrow regions in the mantle where water-free melting can take place.

Study Finds More Fresh Water Entering the Earth's Oceans
October 8, 2010 09:41 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

A recent study from researchers at the University of California (UC) Irvine has found that since 1994, the overall amount of fresh water flowing into the world's oceans has increased significantly. They found that 18 percent more fresh water has reached the oceans between 1994 and 2006, an average annual rise of 1.5 percent.

Folklore Confirmed: The Moon's Phase Affects Rainfall
October 7, 2010 08:49 AM - Kristen Minogue, Science AAAS

The Zuni Indians thought a red moon brought water. Seventeenth-century English farmers believed in a "dripping moon," which supplied rain depending on whether its crescent was tilted up or down. Now scientists have found evidence for another adage: Rain follows the full and new phases of the moon.

Climate talks failing to make headway
October 6, 2010 06:28 AM - Chris Buckley, Reuters, TIANJIN, China

The United States said on Wednesday U.N. climate talks were making less progress than hoped because of a rift over poorer nations' emission goals, and that other avenues might be needed to tackle climate change. Negotiators from 177 governments are meeting this week in the north Chinese city of Tianjin trying to agree on the shape of the successor to the current phase of the Kyoto Protocol, the key U.N. treaty on fighting global warming, which expires in 2012.

Scientists warn of livestock greenhouse gas boom
October 5, 2010 03:47 PM - Benjamin Kolb, SciDevNet

Soaring international production of livestock could release enough carbon into the atmosphere by 2050 to single-handedly exceed 'safe' levels of climate change, says a study. Scientists combined figures for livestock production in 2000 with Food and Agriculture Organization projections for population growth and meat consumption by 2050. They found that the livestock sector's emissions alone could send temperatures above the 2 degrees Celsius rise commonly said to be the threshold above which climate change could be destabilising.

Obama science advisor wields evidence to undercut climate change deniers
October 5, 2010 09:47 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM

US President Barack Obama's science advisor, John Holdren, took on climate change deniers in a comprehensive, data-heavy speech last month at the Kavli Science Forum in Oslo, Norway. Proclaiming that "the earth is getting hotter", Holden went on to enumerate on the causes of climate change (human impacts) and its overall effect (not good), discussing at length the science that underpins the theory of climate change.

The Future of Aviation: Confusion or Sanity
October 4, 2010 12:58 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

All industries across the world face the same regulatory maze and misdirection. In some cases it has led to industry leaving and going to China where laws are more permissive, That is not an option for the aviation industry which flies everywhere. All aviation stakeholders, including manufacturers, airlines, airports and navigation service providers, have issued a joint call for governments to agree a global plan to address aviation emissions at December's United Nations climate summit in Cancun.

Ancient Colorado River
October 4, 2010 12:29 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Geologists have found evidence that some 55 million years ago a river as big as the modern Colorado River flowed through Arizona into Utah in the opposite direction from the present-day river. Writing in the October issue of the journal Geology, they have named this ancient northeastward-flowing river the California River, after its inferred source in the Mojave region of southern California.

Indonesia’s Climate Experiment
October 1, 2010 06:51 AM - Stephen Minas, The Diplomat

There's an easy charm to Banda Aceh that belies its tumultuous history—and a ground-breaking climate change experiment.Apart from the large ship washed kilometres inland that still towers over single-story homes, little evidence remains in the north Sumatran city of Banda Aceh of the devastation wrought by the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004, which claimed more than 230,000 lives. It's also hard to find traces of the bitter 30-year conflict between the separatist Free Aceh Movement and the Indonesian state that ended the following year there. Except, maybe, for one thing—an uptick in deforestation.

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