Sustainability Blog - The Grid
The Colorado River could lose 10 percent of its volume in the next few decades from rising temperatures and higher demand. Such a change would be enough to throw off the West's precarious balance of water-use agreements that allow Denver, Tucson, Los Angeles and California's Imperial Valley to draw from the same basin.
"It may not sound like a phenomenally large amount except the water and the river is already over-allocated," said Richard Seager, a climate scientist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and lead author of a new study in the journal Nature Climate Change.
The ice sheet covering West Antarctica has warmed twice as fast as expected -- 4.3 degrees Fahrenheit (2.4 degrees Celsius) since 1958, according to a study published this week in the journal Nature Geoscience. That's three times the average rise in global temperatures of about 0.8 degrees Celsius since the early 20th century.
Glaciers and rock outcrops in Marie Byrd Land, West Antarctica during an IceBridge flight on Oct. 17, 2011 from NASA’s DC-8 aircraft.
Sometimes ideas mix together in the email inbox like gin and olives – unrelated items that when brought together just make sense. Today’s example: two messages that, as one, describe what was arguably one of the most important shifts in business in 2012.
The first take comes in the form of the Atlantic Wire’s “Year in Review: An A-to-Z Guide to 2012’s Worst Words.” Among the most detested? “Sustainable.” Their explanation: “Sustainable is the kind of word that ends up being co-opted and used by everyone to the point where it means nothing (See: Organic).”
Every once in a while a politician accidentally tells the truth, and then fails to recognize it.
President Barack Obama committed truth Wednesday at a press conference announcing his assignment of Vice President Joe Biden to an intensive month-long effort to craft a policy response to the Sandy Hook horror. "This is not some Washington commission," Obama said. "This is not something where folks are going to be studying the issue for six months and publishing a report that gets read and then pushed aside."
Every year the United Nations convenes diplomats from more than 190 nations to negotiate a climate change treaty, and in many years negotiators go home with little more than the promise of another annual meeting.
After the failure of the 18th such event earlier this month in Doha, diplomats and organizers should focus less on the UN exercise than on combing history for a more suitable model.
It's time once again to try and summarize the last 12 months in a handy list. But before I dive in, some quick thoughts.It was an odd year for green business, and it began with some mixed signals about how far companies were coming on sustainability. A GreenBiz report indicated that progress had slowed or even regressed, but MIT and BCG also declared that sustainability had reached a "tipping point" with more companies putting sustainability "on the management agenda."
In reality, both views were right. Corporate sustainability lost some of its sexiness from previous years, as it grew more entrenched in day-to-day business. Some parts of the agenda — eco-efficiency and resource conservation for example — are widely accepted now, and it's rare to find a big-company CEO who doesn't have sustainability on his or her radar.
InsideClimateNews.org -- In 1998, activists in Austin, Texas filed a lawsuit to protect their local aquifer from a proposed gasoline pipeline. By the time the project was built, the operator had been forced to add $60 million in safety features, including sensor cables that could detect leaks as small as three gallons a day. Some say the Longhorn pipeline is the safest pipeline in Texas, or perhaps the nation.
Now a much larger pipeline—the Keystone XL—is being proposed across the Ogallala/High Plains aquifer, one of the nation's most important sources of drinking and irrigation water. Yet none of the major features that protect Austin's much smaller aquifer are included in the plan. In fact, they haven't even been discussed.
The U.S. natural gas boom has eased up slightly, a temporary victim of its own success. The trillions of cubic feet of the fuel trapped in shale rock formations is too cheap right now to make more businesses want to drill.
A report today from the Federal Reserve shows production of oil and gas wells fell 1.2 percent in November, the fifth consecutive decline. The monthly measure hasn’t dropped that many times in a row since the recession was wrapping up in 2009.
A British-led team of researchers is racing against time and the elements as they drill through 3.2 kilometers of Antarctic ice to search for new forms of life on Earth.
Lake Ellsworth is a body of liquid water trapped between ice and bedrock 3.2 kilometers (2 miles) beneath the surface of Antarctica. One of more than 350 known sub-glacial Antarctic lakes, it’s been isolated from the terrestrial biosphere for at least several hundred thousand years. The operation, which has an 8 million pound (almost $13 million) budget and is using about 100 tons of equipment, is designed to help scientists better understand the ecological limits that can support life and make discoveries about the frozen continent's past climate.
When 17,600 representatives from 194 nations criss-cross the globe to fight climate change, they make themselves vulnerable to certain charges of hypocrisy: How much fuel did they burn to get there? What about the carbon pollution from all the hotel air conditioners? How big, really, is the anti-global-warming footprint?
There’s one barb that’s lost its edge this year: paper consumption. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon is on a mission to make the global body paperless by 2015. The efforts are saving hundreds of trees at this year’s climate treaty talks in Doha, Qatar, while creating headaches for many of the envoys.