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Resilience Roundup - Aug 28

 

A roundup of the news, views and ideas from the main stream press and the blogosphere.  Click on the headline link to see the full article.


Greenland And West Antarctic Ice Sheet Loss More Than Doubled In Last Five Years

Joe Romm, Climate Progress


A new study finds that both the Greenland ice sheet and West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) have seen an astonishing increase in ice loss in just the past five years.

This first-ever extensive mapping of the two great ice sheets using the CryoSat-2 satellite confirms the findings of several recent studies that “suggest that the globe’s ice sheets will contribute far more to sea level rise than current projections show,” as NASA glaciologist Eric Rignot said recently...


Irreversible Damage Seen From Climate Change in UN Leak

Alex Morales, Bloomberg
Humans risk causing irreversible and widespread damage to the planet unless there’s faster action to limit the fossil fuel emissions blamed for climate change, according to a leaked draft United Nations report.

Global warming already is affecting “all continents and across the oceans,” and further pollution from heat-trapping gases will raise the likelihood of “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems,” according to the document obtained by Bloomberg...


'Widespread methane leakage' from ocean floor off US coast

Matt McGrath, BBC
Researchers say they have found more than 500 bubbling methane vents on the seafloor off the US east coast.

The unexpected discovery indicates there are large volumes of the gas contained in a type of sludgy ice called methane hydrate.

There are concerns that these new seeps could be making a hitherto unnoticed contribution to global warming.

The scientists say there could be about 30,000 of these hidden methane vents worldwide.

Previous surveys along the Atlantic seaboard have shown only three seep areas beyond the edge of the US continental shelf...


The Climate Swerve

Robert Jay Lifton, New York Times
Americans appear to be undergoing a significant psychological shift in our relation to global warming. I call this shift a climate “swerve,” borrowing the term used recently by the Harvard humanities professor Stephen Greenblatt to describe a major historical change in consciousness that is neither predictable nor orderly. The first thing to say about this swerve is that we are far from clear about just what it is and how it might work. But we can make some beginning observations which suggest, in Bob Dylan’s words, that “something is happening here, but you don’t know what it is.” Experience, economics and ethics are coalescing in new and important ways. Each can be examined as a continuation of my work comparing nuclear and climate threats....


UK public ignorant of climate science consensus – poll

Megan Darby, RTCC
Only one in nine UK citizens is aware of the strength of scientific consensus on climate change, a poll has shown...


US shale: What lies beneath

Ed Crooks, Financial Times
An innovation boom is bringing lower costs and higher productivity, but how long will it last?...


Cost-cutting fever grips oil sands players as economics called into question

Yadullah Hussain, Financial Post
Canadian oil companies are ruthlessly enforcing capital discipline as project costs creep up and shareholders pressure management to focus only on the most profitable ventures...

“Oil sands are economically challenging in terms of returns,” said Jeff Lyons, a partner at Deloitte Canada. “Cost escalation is causing oil sands participants to rethink the economics of projects. That’s why you’re not seeing a lot of new capital flowing into oil sands.”..


Solar, peak oil and net energy

Robyn Williams, Graham Palmer, Ockhams Razor ABC Radio Austrailia
Solar and renewables are being touted as the energy sources of the future, but will they provide enough power relative to the energy that must be invested in them? Engineer Graham Palmer argues there’s no easy solution to the fact that we’re running out of fossil fuels...


Inside North Dakota's latest fracking problem

Morgan Brennan, CNBC
In the Bakken, flaring has become synonymous with drilling.

The prairies—once dotted only with cattle and an occasional lazy oil derrick—are now marked by thousands of flares, open pits or steel pipes burning off excess natural gas, a byproduct of the rapid rise in oil drilling. New wells are coming online so quickly that the pipeline infrastructure for natural gas has not been able to keep pace...

No mention of the emissions impact. - Ed


Iowa farmers wary of proposed crude oil pipeline

William Petroski, The Des Moines Register via USA Today
onstruction of an 1,100-mile crude oil pipeline slicing diagonally through 17 Iowa counties would generate millions of dollars for the state's economy, but it's creating worries among farmers asked to provide easements on their land...


Islamic State Now Resembles the Taliban With Oil Fields

Indira A.R. Lakshmanan, Bloomberg
With its reign of terror over a large population and ability to self-finance on a staggering scale, the extremist group that beheaded American journalist James Foley resembles the Taliban with oil wells...

Unlike other extremist groups’ reliance on foreign donations that can be squeezed by sanctions, diplomacy and law enforcement, the Islamic State’s predominantly local revenue stream poses a unique challenge to governments seeking to halt its advance and undermine its ability to launch terrorist attacks that in time might be aimed at the U.S. and Europe...


Kurds Get Seizure Order Thrown Out for Texas Oil Tanker

Laurel Brubaker Calkins, Bloomberg
The Kurdistan Regional Government can bring $100 million of crude ashore in Texas after a U.S. judge threw out a court order that would have required federal agents to seize and hold the cargo for the Iraqi Oil Ministry until a court there decided which government owns it...


Europe is burning our forests for “renewable” energy. Wait, what?

Ben Adler, Grist
If you’re driving through the South and you see a denuded field filled with stubby new plantings where lush forest once stood, the blame might lie with an unlikely culprit: the European Union and its well- intentioned clean energy rules...


Investors May Find It Hard to Break Up With Oil and Gas

Zain Shauk, Bloomberg
Investors seeking greener energy stocks will find it difficult to reproduce the returns offered by oil and natural gas producers, according to a report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

With a market value of $4.9 trillion, oil and gas investments offers a combination of scale, growth and dividends that can’t be readily found in other industries, the London-based research company said today. Coal, which has already fallen out of favor with institutional investors, can be more easily replaced with bets in other industries....

Link to White Paper


Envisioning Where We Want to Go: An Interview With Evolutionary Reconstructionist Gar Alperovitz

Leslie Thatcher, Truthout
Leslie Thatcher for Truthout: Gar, you've just created a new website that seems both to sum up the principles of your work on democratic ownership and on building a sustainable and equitable political-economic system and to track your personal trajectory as an activist and thinker over the last 50 years: What are your goals in establishing the website?...

Gar Alperovitz: ...The primary goal of the website is to offer some explicit hand-holds (as I see them) for activists and theorists on how we might get serious about what a "next system" might really look like, and why, precisely, it would be better than the traditional models - and better, too, than some of the models that are commonly discussed in rhetorical terms without adequate attention to some of their well-known failings.

Put another way, the goal is to contribute to the discussion that is fast becoming critical: "If you don't like capitalism and you don't like traditional socialism, what do you want, and why - specifically, not rhetorically, would it be better?"...


38 maps that explain the global economy

Vox
Commerce knits the modern world together in a way that nothing else quite does. Almost anything you own these days is the result of a complicated web of global interactions. And there's no better way to depict those interactions and the social and political circumstances that give rise to them than with a map or two. Or in our case, 38. These maps are our favorite way to illustrate the major economic themes facing the world today. Some of them focus on the big picture while others illustrate finer details. The overall portrait that emerges is of a world that's more closely linked than ever before, but still riven by enormous geography-driven differences...


Hack city planning with these DIY street signs

Deirdre Van Dyk, Urbanful
The project, Walk [Your City], a website where anyone can customize and print his color-coded signs to create walking routes through neighborhoods, has now been used in over 100 cities around the world. Tomasulo’s work is part of a larger trend to revitalize downtown areas. Moving away from the post-war standard of ushering cars along as quickly as possible, this new urbanism designs around how humans move through space...




Can Birds Be Protected From Huge Solar Plants?

John Upton, Climate Central
The construction of solar panel farms and concentrated solar power are both booming businesses. In California, industrial-scale facilities like these are helping utilities meet a state mandate that 20 percent of electricity sold by 2017 is renewable. But if the problem of wildlife impacts festers, the growth of concentrated solar, which by one recent estimate could grow to a $9 billion worldwide industry in 2020, up from $1 billion in 2013, could be crimped by lawsuits and opposition from conservationists.

Much of the problem appears to lie in the “lake effect,” in which birds and their insect prey can mistake a reflective solar facility for a water body, or spot water ponds at the site, then hone in on it. Because of the power of the lake effect, the federal investigators described such solar farms as “mega-traps” in their report.

“I strongly believe there’s a way to show the birds that the PV panels are solid surfaces, not water,” said Ileene Anderson, a scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, which is preparing to sue over Yuma clapper rail mortality at solar power plants...


Ruling on Nuclear Waste Storage Could Create a "Catastrophic Risk"

Josh Harkinson, Mother Jones
Strict safety controls sought by environmental groups for the storage of radioactive waste at dozens of nuclear power plants may fall to the wayside under a rule that's expected be approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission next week. According to a congressional source who does not wish to be identified, the NRC is rushing to vote on the rule before the September retirement of Commissioner William Magwood, an ally of the nuclear power industry.

The rule would establish that the environmental risks of storing spent fuel in pools of water at reactor sites for extended periods are negligible and for the most part don't need to be studied as part of the licensing requirements for nuclear power plants. But critics of the rule say that the NRC is blatantly ignoring its own research, which shows that the practice could lead to serious disasters: "You will have all the waste sitting, basically, in a giant swimming pool," the source says, "and the potential of the swimming pool draining or being breached by an accident or an attack or a power loss that causes the water to boil off—all of those things would have impacts that the NRC's own analysis says would equal that of a meltdown of the reactor core."...


Everything You Need to Know About Food Waste... In 11 Short Films

Rob Greenfield, robgreenfield.tv via Films for Action
Before you are eleven short films that can bring you up to speed with our national and global food waste crisis. Maybe they don’t encompass exactly everything you need to know about food waste but they will inform you on every aspect of the issue from the staggering waste statistics and the affect that has on the earth and people to examples of what people just like you are doing to get involved and the many solutions that are already in place but need to expand. The films add up to about 45 minutes and you’ll scroll away from this page highly informed and ready take action to reduce food waste in America!...

Film 1



More...
China has 8 cities with bigger bike share systems than all of America

Joseph Stromberg, Vox
The growth of bike share programs is gaining momentum in the US.

But this growth is absolutely dwarfed by the explosion of bike share programs in China over the last couple of years...

News clippings image via shutterstock. Reproduced at Resilience.org with permission.

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