• The Weather

    We all complain about the weather. It is a great topic of conversation. Weather is the state of the atmosphere, to the degree that it is hot or cold, wet or dry, calm or stormy, clear or cloudy. Most weather phenomena occur in the troposphere, just below the stratosphere. Weather is part of what life is about. However, everything has its price. New research indicates that routine weather events such as rain and cooler-than-average days can add up to an annual economic impact of as much as $485 billion in the United States based on 2011 data. Rain, snow, and hot or cold temperatures can all have economic impacts. The study, led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), found that finance, manufacturing, agriculture, and every other sector of the economy is sensitive to changes in the weather. The impacts can be felt in every state. >> Read the Full Article
  • The incredible tree houses of the Korowai: New from BBC Earth

    When encountering persons of the same sex, you often wonder what natural similarities you may find. And it's no different when you meet members of a remote tribe living in the dense vegetation of the jungle. BBC Earth Researcher Rachael Kinley shares her intimate and humorous tale of what happened when the women of the Korowai Tribe in Papua invited her into their tree house. Before filming begins, it's important to spend time with the contributors without big cameras in their faces. It helps to strike up a friendly rapport and make the future weeks more productive and enjoyable for all. So, our first day in Papua with the Korowai is spent in their home, a tree house. >> Read the Full Article
  • Grand Canyon protected, Uranium mining ban extended

    The Obama administration on Monday extended its ban on mining on 1 million acres of federal lands near the Grand Canyon by six months, as it heads toward a possible long-term moratorium on mining in the area. Concerns that uranium mining near the Grand Canyon could hurt water quality and tourism prompted the decision, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said. "When you think about the millions of jobs that are created across America through our natural wonders, as well as through other aspects of our heritage (and) tourism, that ought to be what carries the day," Salazar said at a press conference. In 2009, the department declared a two-year time-out on new mining claims in the area, which holds substantial uranium deposits, as the agency studied its options. >> Read the Full Article
  • Global Warming Lawsuit

    The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a global warming lawsuit against five big power companies, its most important environmental ruling since 2007 and a victory for the utilities. The utilities – American Electric Power Co Inc, Southern Co, Xcel Energy Inc, and Duke Energy Corp, along with TVA – account for about 10 percent of US carbon dioxide emissions. The justices unanimously overturned a ruling by a U.S. appeals court that the public nuisance lawsuit now involving six states (California, Connecticut, Iowa, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont) can proceed in an effort to force the coal-burning plants to cut emissions of gases that contribute to climate change. In a defeat for environmentalists, the Supreme Court agreed with the companies that regulating greenhouse gases should be left to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the clean air laws. >> Read the Full Article
  • Hopes fading for climate agreement

    "Ask for a camel when you expect to get a goat," runs a Somali saying that sums up the fading of ambitions for United Nations talks on slowing climate change -- aim high, but settle for far less. Developing nations publicly insist the rich must agree far deeper cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, but increasingly believe that only a weaker deal can actually be achieved to keep the existing Kyoto Protocol, or parts of it, alive beyond 2012. "They have to ask for a camel... but will settle for a goat," Mohamed Adow, of Christian Aid, said of poor nations' strategy at a just-ended session of 180 nations in Bonn. Hopes for a treaty have dimmed since U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders failed to agree a binding pact at a summit in Copenhagen in 2009. >> Read the Full Article
  • Incredible Jungle games - Follow the hunter, New from BBC Earth

    "Is it all going to be like this?" Human Planet's Assistant Producer Willow Murton takes us into the thick of the rainforest and shares what it's really like to be confronted by deadly poisoned darts, a broken down boat and fortune in disguise. There are places that you imagine you may return to and people you may meet again and then there are farewells to people and places you assume you will hold as a treasured memories. For me Aurelio village was one of those places; so remote, so distant, one of only two communities where the Matis of Brazil live. Set in the vast indigenous Vale do Javari reserve, it takes several days' boat ride to reach the village, as well as many months of painstaking preparation. I had first come here to make the series "Tribe" and couldn't believe my luck when I was asked to make a return trip for "Human Planet"– a rare privilege. There is good reason to return to this remote corner of the Amazon for Human Planet's Jungles episode. The Matis are true masters of the rainforest. Pete, our endurance fit cameraman, and I are reminded of this on our first filming day. An hour into the hunt we’d come to film, we are up to our knees, even thighs at times in swamp mud, soaked through by the unrelenting rain and all eyes on deadly poisoned darts being fired over our heads! Pete turns to me and asks if it's all going to be like this? >> Read the Full Article
  • In the News: Latest update of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species released

    Released today, the latest update of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species shows that a staggering 19,265 species are currently threatened with extinction. Over 900 new species have been classified as threatened – that is, considered to be Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable – since the last update in 2010, showing that there is no let up in the extinction crisis threatening the world's biodiversity. Although more species are thought to be threatened than ever before, the IUCN are keen to highlight that there have also been major conservation success stories. >> Read the Full Article
  • Verizon Exceeds AT&T’s Energy Efficiency Performace

    Like AT&T, Verizon also recently released their 2010 Corporate Social Responsibility Report. Verizon's greenhouse gas emissions, which were 6.06 million metric tons (down 2.18% from 2009) beats AT&T (8.97 million) in absolute terms, per dollar of revenue and per terabyte of throughput. Their electrical energy consumption was 10.24 billion kWh. That's a carbon-intensity efficiency of 130.27. AT&T's was 415, more than three times as high. I don't have enough information to explain the difference here, but it looks like AT&T has some catching up to do in this area. They also did not provide data on actual energy usage, only their rate per terabyte. >> Read the Full Article
  • New from BBC Earth: The circus comes to town

    Traveling to the farthest corners of the world, it is not just the remarkable environments that can prove a little hard to capture. When Rivers Producer/Director Mark Flowers met the children from the North-East Indian root tree villages, he hadn't bargained on having to make himself the center of attention. But sometimes it's the little extra's that make an experience unforgettable. The most heart-stealing and downright soul- enhancing benefit of working on a Human Planet shoot is the children we encounter while we are filming. It's unbelievably refreshing to step outside of a regulated, fast-paced and impersonal modern, urban society and meet people who live in a more open, communal and for me personally, a far more "Human" way. The children we met during our trip to film living root bridges in one of the most remote areas of North-East India were fantastic – cheeky, smart and funny. To the young people who live in isolated hill villages in the rainforests of Meghalaya, the arrival of a gangly bunch of giant, pale-skinned strangers, brandishing weird black boxes, screens and cables, was the most surprising thing to happen in a long while. The circus had come to town! Within minutes of us stepping out of the cars, there were bright eyes at the windows and small hands waving from the homes we passed. High pitched "hellos" echoed all around while tiny toddlers stood dumb struck for a few seconds in doorways and then exploded into howls. Dogs barked and sulky, caged cuckoos crooned from dark corners. >> Read the Full Article
  • The Energy Debate: Coal Vs. Nuclear

    ScienceDaily (June 13, 2011) — As America struggles down the road toward a coherent energy policy that focuses on a higher degree of self-reliance, policymakers face numerous issues and realities. These include: the finite supply and environmental impact of fossil fuels, the feasibility and costs to implement a widespread switch to renewable energy sources, and the variables that lead to consumers' preferences for particular types of power generation. >> Read the Full Article