Bay Area Ecosystems Climate Change Consortium

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04/16/2014 07:01 AM
U.S. Energy Dept offers $4 billion loan aid plan for renewable energy
Reuters: The U.S. Energy Department on Wednesday unveiled a plan to offer up to $4 billion in loan aid to renewable energy projects, opening up another round of funding for a program that faced harsh political attacks over past government-backed failures. The draft plan would provide loan guarantees for innovative projects that limit or avoid greenhouse gas emissions. It will specifically focus on advanced electric grid technology and storage, biofuels that can be used in conventional vehicles, energy...


04/16/2014 06:56 AM
4 years after Gulf oil spill, wildlife still dying
Mother Nature Network: Four years after the largest oil spill in U.S. history, wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico is still struggling to recover, according to a recent National Wildlife Federation report. The report focused on 14 species affected by the spill and used data from independent scientists and the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration. It found that many species, particularly bottlenose dolphins and sea turtles, are dying in record numbers, and the NWF says the animals' deaths are connected to the Gulf...


04/16/2014 06:58 AM
Northern California County Produces 152 Percent More Solar Energy Than It Uses
EcoWatch: California is known for being a leader in solar energy, but a small county in Northern California has taken things a step further. It has become the first county government in the state to not only zero-out its electric bill with renewable energy, but also to become grid positive. Yolo County (population 200,000), just west of Sacramento County, now produces 152 percent more energy from solar panels than it uses. Terry Vernon, deputy director of Yolo County General Services, is behind much...


04/16/2014 07:00 AM
Keystone XL cops incompetent at all levels
Guardian: Recently, the US State Department released yet another report on the environmental impacts of building the Keystone pipeline. The report is shocking in its ironic juxtaposition of real greenhouse gas emissions and the potential impact on the Earth's climate. It is also shocking because the State Department tells us the pipeline will be made to withstand climate change, but won't be responsible for those changes. The report reflects an incompetence of the authors of the report and a divorce of the...


04/16/2014 06:44 AM
Bombshell: Study Ties Epic California Drought, ‘Frigid East’ To Manmade Climate Change
ThinkProgress: Natural variability alone cannot explain the extreme weather pattern that has driven both the record-setting California drought and the cooler weather seen in the Midwest and East this winter, a major new study finds. We`ve reported before that climate scientists had predicted a decade ago that warming-driven Arctic ice loss would lead to worsening drought in California. In particular, they predicted it would lead to a "blocking pattern" that would shift the jet stream (and the rain it could bring)...


04/16/2014 02:00 AM
A boycott to save the planet (by Desmond Tutu)
Hindu: Twenty-five years ago people could be excused for not knowing much, or doing much, about climate change. Today we have no excuse. No more can it be dismissed as science fiction; we are already feeling the effects. This week in Berlin, scientists and public representatives have been weighing up radical options for curbing emissions contained in the third report of the UN`s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The bottom line is that we have 15 years to take the necessary steps. The horse...


04/16/2014 03:28 AM
One-third of Beijing pollution comes from outside the city, figures show
Reuters: Around one-third of the air pollution in China's smog-hit capital comes from outside the city, official media reported on Wednesday, citing a pollution watchdog. Chen Tian, chief of the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau, said that 28-36% of hazardous airborne particles known as PM2.5 came from surrounding provinces like Hebei, home to seven of China's 10 most polluted cities in 2013, according to official data. The central government has identified the heavily industrialised Beijing-Hebei-Tianjin...


04/16/2014 03:51 AM
Australia's dirty secret: who's breathing toxic air?
Ecologist: Australia's poorer communities, with lower employment and education levels, and those with a high proportion of Indigenous people, are significantly more likely to suffer high levels of toxic air pollution. Children are at particular risk from rising levels of lead. Australia's environmental protection laws do not adequately or equally protect all communities from the health effects of air pollution. These are the key findings from the first Australian study to assess the relationship between...


04/16/2014 01:59 AM
South Africa procure still more renewable energy
SAinfo: South Africa's Department of Energy is to increase the amount of energy it will be procuring under the third window of its renewable energy programme for independent power producers, Energy Minister Ben Martins announced on Tuesday. In November, the department signed agreements with 17 new preferred bidders in the third round of the programme, following the signing off of 47 projects in the first and second rounds, bringing to 64 the total number of renewable energy projects approved by the government...


04/16/2014 01:00 AM
Long-term predictions for Miami sea level rise could be available relatively soon
ScienceDaily: Miami could know as early as 2020 how high sea levels will rise into the next century, according to a team of researchers including Florida International University scientist Rene Price. Price is also affiliated with the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Florida Coastal Everglades Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) site, one of 25 such NSF LTER sites in ecosystems from coral reefs to deserts, mountains to salt marshes around the world. Scientists conclude that sea level rise is one of the...


04/16/2014 01:00 AM
Gut capacity limits bird's ability to adapt to rapid climate change
ScienceDaily: An ornithologist who studies the physiological changes that birds undergo to migrate has found that the capacity of a bird's gut to change with environmental conditions is a primary limiting factor in their ability to adapt to the rapidly changing climate. And he believes that most other animals are also limited in a similar way. Scott McWilliams, URI professor of natural resources science, says that spare capacity -- the extent to which animals can modify their physiology to deal with ecological...


04/16/2014 01:00 AM
Bioarchaeologists link climate instability to human mobility in ancient Sahara
ScienceDaily: Over millennia, the Sahara has gone through cycles of greening and aridity. During times when this region was lush and covered with bodies of water, it supported a wide variety of life, including human. Arizona State University bioarchaeologists Christopher Stojanowski and Kelly Knudson are studying the remains of some of these ancient humans to understand how their changing climate affected their ability and need to move across the landscape. Stojanowski and Knudson's research site is located...


04/16/2014 12:48 AM
Tree species choices critical to effective coastal bioshields
SciDevNet: Injudicious site and species selection while planting 'bioshields' -- plantations that protect coastlines against natural disasters -- could be ecologically damaging in the long term, a study warns. Catastrophic cyclones and a devastating tsunami over the last decade have prompted the planting of bioshields, but whether they actually work to protect the coastline remains unanswered, the study published online in February in Acta Oecologica says. Bioshields range from pristine ecosystems of...


04/16/2014 02:00 AM
Data hub to promote global South’s research nears launch
SciDevNet: Several research institutes are preparing to launch a prototype open-access 'warehouse' of digital data to help increase the online accessibility of development research coming from the global South and boost their decision-making influence. The Global Open Knowledge Hub is being developed by seven research bodies in the developing world, along with the UK-based research charity the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and the US-based International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie), to host...


04/16/2014 02:00 AM
WMO: El Nino could cause ‘dramatic rise’ in temperatures
RTCC: There are growing signs the weather phenomenon known as El Niño could develop this year, causing global temperatures to soar, the UN’s World Meteorological Organisation has warned. In a statement the WMO said: “Temperatures below the surface of the tropical Pacific have warmed to levels that can occur prior to the onset of an El Nino event, while climate models surveyed by WMO experts show a steady warming of the tropical Pacific during the months ahead.” El Niño is one of the most potent weather...


04/16/2014 01:41 AM
As La. Coast Recedes, Battle Rages Over Who Should Pay
National Public Radio: Louisiana's coast is disappearing at the rate of about a football field an hour. Since the 1930s, the Gulf of Mexico has swallowed up an area the size of Delaware. You can see the water encroaching in Delacroix in St. Bernard Parish, less than an hour southeast of New Orleans. Here, a narrow crescent of land known locally as the "end of the world" is where the road abruptly comes to a dead end; in the distance, you see the tops of now-submerged trees. "It's hard to imagine if the coast continues...


04/16/2014 05:19 AM
Is clean tech recovery under way? Global clean energy 1st quarter investment climbs 10%
BusinessGreen: Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) has become the latest analyst firm to confirm an uptick in clean energy investment since the turn of the year, with new figures showing global investment rose 10 per cent year-on-year to $47.7bn. The report said the increase in investment activity was driven by a 42 per cent jump in funding for small-scale solar projects to $21.2bn, as the plummeting cost of solar PV systems continued to drive strong demand from businesses and households in key markets such...


04/16/2014 02:10 AM
Fracking methane leaks at least 100 times larger than EPA estimated, say researchers
BusinessGreen: Gas methane emissions from some shale gas wells in the eastern US could be orders of magnitude larger than the EPA has estimated, according to a report released this week. In a paper entitled Toward a better understanding and quantification of methane emissions from shale gas development, scientists suggest that gas pads in southwestern Pennsylvania were releasing methane at a rate between 100 and 1,000 times greater than the EPA had suggested. "Large emissions averaging 34 g CH4/s per well...


04/16/2014 01:10 AM
Slogging forward on climate-change
Boston Globe: THE WORLD now has a rough deadline for action on climate change. Nations need to take aggressive action in the next 15 years to cut carbon emissions, in order to forestall the worst effects of global warming, says the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Expect a certain part of our political class to insist that man-made climate change is not consensus science, and that until it is, nothing should be done. The problem there is obvious: By the time all the skeptics are persuaded, it will...


04/16/2014 12:39 AM
Alberta Considers Emissions Rules to Win Support for Oil Sector
Bloomberg: Alberta will likely implement energy efficiency measures and public transit when it revamps its climate-change policy to win support for its oil sector, the fastest-growing source of global warming in the country. The Canadian province plans to have new regulations on emissions “in the near future” and may include a higher carbon price and strategies for cities and consumers to increase energy efficiency and deploy more renewable energy, Robin Campbell, Alberta’s environment minister, said in...