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Showing posts from February 26, 2016

Carbon budget is only half as big as thought

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[Fossil fuel use will have to fall twice as fast as predicted if global warming is to be kept within the 2°C limit agreed internationally as being the point of no return. *RON*]
By Tim Radford, Climate News Network, 25 February 2016. LONDON, 25 February, 2016 – Climate scientists have bad news for governments, energy companies, motorists, passengers and citizens everywhere in the world: to contain global warming to the limits agreed by 195 nations in Paris last December, they will have to cut fossil fuel combustion at an even faster rate than anybody had predicted.

Joeri Rogelj, research scholar at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria, and European and Canadian colleagues propose in Nature Climate Change that all previous estimates of the quantities of carbon dioxide that can be released into the atmosphere before the thermometer rises to potentially catastrophic levels are too generous.

Instead of a range of permissi…

Drugs found in Puget Sound salmon from tainted wastewater

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[From Prozac to caffeine to cholesterol medicine and cocaine, from ibuprofen to bug spray, researchers found an alphabet soup of drugs and other personal-care products in sewage-treatment wastewater and in the tissue of juvenile chinook in Puget Sound. And, in an interesting side-note: "The study was not concerned with drinking water." *RON*]
By Lynda V. Mapes, Seattle Times, 25 February 2016
Puget Sound salmon are on drugs — Prozac, Advil, Benadryl, Lipitor, even cocaine.

Those drugs and dozens of others are showing up in the tissues of juvenile chinook, researchers have found, thanks to tainted wastewater discharge.

The estuary waters near the outfalls of sewage-treatment plants, and effluent sampled at the plants, were cocktails of 81 drugs and personal-care products, with levels detected among the highest in the nation.

The medicine chest of common drugs also included Flonase, Aleve and Tylenol. Paxil, Valium and Zoloft. Tagamet, OxyC…

Study says climate change pushes fish toward poles, threatening food source for poor

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["Natural resources like fish are being pushed around by climate change, and that changes who gets access to them." Also see: Another rare animal washes up on a cold B.C. beach, and Dolphin from tropical waters found dead on Haida Gwaii beach. *RON*]
By Chris Arsenault, Reuters, 24 February 2016

TORONTO (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Climate change is pushing fish toward the planet's North and South poles, robbing traditionally poorer countries closer to the Equator of crucial natural resources, U.S. biologists said in a study published on Wednesday.

Key species of fish are migrating away from temperate zones and toward the poles as global temperatures rise, according to a research team from Rutgers University, Princeton University, Yale University and Arizona State University.

The migration patterns of fish, a critical food source for millions of people, are likely to exacerbate inequality between the world's poor and rich, they…

EU to Exxon: TTIP Trade Deal Will Help Your Global Fossil Fuel Expansion

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[Adios to sovereignty, democracy and the environment. In a heavily redacted briefing document, the EU assured ExxonMobil that TTIP "would help remove obstacles to expanding fossil fuel development," and "would ease its concerns about restrictive regulations in developing countries." Wouldn't you love to see the unredacted version? See also: Meet the fossil-fuel loving hedge fund billionaire behind Hillary's surge. *RON*]

By Kyla Mandel, DeSmog Blog UK, 25 February 2016

New documents reveal that the European Commission assured ExxonMobil at the very start of negotiations on the major US-EU free trade deal that the deal would help remove obstacles to expanding fossil fuel development in Africa and South America.

The documents, obtained by the Guardian, show that in October 2013 – just three months into negotiations – trade commissioner Karel de Gucht held an hour-long conversation with Exxon in which he told the oil gia…

Farm report: Montana to lose millions to climate change

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[It's estimated that higher temperatures and drier weather related to climate change will cost Montana agriculture more than $700 million per year in lost spring wheat and grazing lands wrecked through drying out and a change of plant cover over time. *RON*]

By Tom Lutey, Billings Gazette, 26 February 2016

Montana agriculture losses to climate change could total $736 million a year, estimates an economic study prepared for Montana Farmers Union.

Warmer temperatures and drier summers are withering the future of Montana spring wheat, a major cash crop for state farmers, according to the report released Wednesday.

Over time, those changing conditions will cost the state $372 million on labor earnings due to 12,167 jobs lost to declined production. Range land losses due to dry conditions and changing plant life, will cut labor earnings related to cattle production by $364 million, and job losses similar to those for grain.

Coral growth already being affected by acidifying oceans, new research finds

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[A study published in Nature shows that the world's coral reefs grew about 7 percent more before climate change kicked in and oceans began to warm and acidify. The Great Barrier Reef is at particular risk of a large-scale bleaching event in the next few weeks. *RON*]

Peter Hannam, The Sydney Morning Herald, 25 February 2016

The world's coral reefs are already being weakened by climate change with new research claiming to identify for the first time in nature effects of more acidic oceans.

Separately, researchers are predicting the possibility of a major coral bleaching event on the Great Barrier Reef because of unusually warm ocean waters - including in the region where the ocean acidification experiment took place.

The coral study, details of which were published on Thursday in Nature, noted that each year about one-quarter of the additional carbon-dioxide released as a result of human activities is absorbed by the world's oceans, alte…

Mercury Poisoning: Causes, Effects & Fish

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["Human activities like coal burning, gold mining and chloralkali manufacturing plants currently contribute the vast majority of the mercury released into our environment... About 80 to 90 percent of organic mercury in a human body comes from eating fish and shellfish... Negative health effects from methylmercury may include neurological and chromosomal problems, miscarriages or death with large exposures." *RON*]
by Alina Bradford, Live Science, 24 February 2016

Mercury is a naturally occurring chemical, but it can become harmful when it contaminates fresh and seawater areas. Fish and other aquatic animals ingest the mercury, and it is then passed along the food chain until it reaches humans. Mercury in humans may cause a wide range of conditions including neurological and chromosomal problems and birth defects. What is mercury?

Mercury is naturally occurring element in the Earth's crust that is released into the environment with n…

Earth is warming 50x faster than when it comes out of an ice age

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[There is so much environmental news that I thought I'd do an 'environmental day' here today. A major new study includes some scary implications about how rapidly humans are changing the Earth’s climate. *RON*]
Dana Nuccitelli, The Guardian, 24 February 2016

Recently, The Guardian reported on a significant new study published in Nature Climate Change, finding that even if we meet our carbon reduction targets and stay below the 2°C global warming threshold, sea level rise will eventually inundate many major coastal cities around the world.

20% of the world’s population will eventually have to migrate away from coasts swamped by rising oceans. Cities including New York, London, Rio de Janeiro, Cairo, Calcutta, Jakarta and Shanghai would all be submerged.

The authors looked at past climate change events and model simulations of the future. They found a clear, strong relationship between the total amount of carbon pollution humans emit, and…