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The Environment / Global Warming

  • Massive Methane ‘Hotspot’ Confirmed in Southwest U.S.

    From 2002 to 2012, European satellite data consistently showed a “hotspot” of methane being emitted in the U.S. Southwest, but the amount was so large that scientists thought it was a phantom discovery and didn’t rush to explore the area.“We didn’t focus on it because we weren’t sure if it was a true signal or an instrument error,” Christian Frankenberg from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said.The European Space Agency’s Scanning Imaging Absorption Spectrometer for Atmospheric Chartography consistently showed a bright red patch in the Four Corners region of the country, where Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah meet.Related: How An…

  • Climate Change Deniers Are Having A Very Bad Year

    The last few months have not exactly been kind to climate change deniers. In May, a U.S. television show with one of the fastest growing audiences around took aim at news programs that invite a climate change expert and a climate change denier to appear on air together, and call the ensuing discussion “a debate.” The segment on John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight comically skewered attempts by news outlets to present a “balanced” view of climate change. But the issue is actually getting serious attention.In July, the BBC announced it would significantly cut back the air time it gives to…

  • Despite Rising Voice of Climate Movement, Global Leaders Dither

    The largest ever gathering for climate action took place in New York on Sept. 21, just two days ahead of a major negotiations on a climate treaty between global leaders at the United Nations. The “People’s Climate March” attracted an estimated 400,000 people and the message to the political class was clear: stop dithering – it’s time for meaningful action to reduce global carbon emissions. Despite the impassioned plea, most protestors are placing little faith in the UN process, as each summit seemingly ends in vague commitments and empty promises to slow the burning of fossil fuels. The 2014 meeting…

  • Standard Oil Heirs Join Movement To Divest In Fossil Fuels

    The movement against investing in fossil fuels has reached a critical mass, with more than 800 individuals and institutions promising to rid their portfolios of $50 billion worth of investments in non-renewable fuels.On Sept. 22, the Rockefeller family -- whose scion, John D. Rockefeller, built an immense fortune as co-founder of Standard Oil – announced that its $860 million philanthropic foundation, The Rockefeller Brothers Fund, would be the latest to join the movement.Fund president and Rockefeller heir Stephen Heintz said in a statement that the elder Rockefeller would have agreed with the decision. “[I]f he were alive today, as an…

  • Watch John Oliver's Spot-On Takedown Of Climate Change Debate

    Some 97 out of 100 actively publishing climate scientists agree with the overwhelming evidence that humans are causing global warming.The challenge for the media is how to accurately reflect that consensus. One way NOT to do it is to give equal time to climate science deniers. Unsurprisingly (yet tragically), that is the preferred strategy of most of the MSM. False balance lives at CNN, Reuters, Bloomberg, and even PBS.Only one cable news show has been brave enough to take on false balance with a “statistically representative climate change debate.” Unfortunately, it’s a fake news show, John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight,”…

  • Are We Falling Off the Climate Precipice?

    I grew up planning for my future, wondering which college I would attend, what to study, and later on, where to work, which articles to write, what my next book might be, how to pay a mortgage, and which mountaineering trip I might like to take next.Now, I wonder about the future of our planet. During a recent visit with my eight-year-old niece and 10- and 12-year-old nephews, I stopped myself from asking them what they wanted to do when they grew up, or any of the future-oriented questions I used to ask myself. I did so because the reality…

  • Is China an Environmental Steward, Demon or Magician?

    China’s growing role as the world’s largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions is undisputed. China is the epicenter of building out environmental markets as it struggles to balance the need for economic growth and climate protection.  But is China’s leadership sincere and capable to stem the tide of environmental doom? On the world stage, China's Reaction to the New IPCC Climate Change Report is loud but feeble. Their “710-page Second National Assessment Report on Climate Change, warns that China itself faces extremely grim ecological and environmental consequences from global warming. Even at the recent Conference of Parties (COP), China announced…

  • Harvard Study Challenges EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Figures

    A new study by Harvard University researchers on greenhouse gas emissions in the US claims that the level of methane leaks into the atmosphere may be 50% higher than suggested by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).The study claims that methane emissions from human activities such as natural gas production or livestock raising were twice as high, or higher, than EPA estimates, while in some south-central regions, emissions from fossil fuel extraction and refining may be up to five times higher than estimated. Related article: How to Stop the Inexorable Progress of Climate Change"Our numbers for the entire US are about…

  • How to Stop the Inexorable Progress of Climate Change

    Apocalyptic climate change is upon us.  For shorthand, let’s call it a slow-motion apocalypse to distinguish it from an intergalactic attack out of the blue or a suddenly surging Genesis-style flood.Slow-motion, however, is not no-motion. In fits and starts, speeding up and slowing down, turning risks into clumps of extreme fact, one catastrophe after another -- even if there can be no 100% certitude about the origin of each one -- the planetary future careens toward the unliveable. That future is, it seems, arriving ahead of schedule, though erratically enough that most people -- in the lucky, prosperous countries at…

  • The Battle Against Climate Change: Does the World Need Saving?

    Hardly a day goes by without someone writing or saying that we need to save the Earth. My geologist friends scoff at such language for semantic reasons. The coolish, rocky planet that we call Earth will be fine when humans are long gone, they say.Yes, climate change and human depredations of the biosphere have already brought many species to extinction and will likely extinguish many more. And, the radioactive wastes we leave behind might very well get spread about the Earth in ways that are destructive to life. But give the Earth a few hundred million years, and all of…