Image: Former Vice President Al Gore. (photo: Mario Anzuoni)
readersupportednews.org - May 11th, 2013 - Al Gore
Yesterday, for the first time in human history, concentrations of carbon dioxide, the primary global warming pollutant, hit 400 parts per million in our planet's atmosphere. This number is a reminder that for the last 150 years -- and especially over the last several decades -- we have been recklessly polluting the protective sheath of atmosphere that surrounds the Earth and protects the conditions that have fostered the flourishing of our civilization. We are altering the composition of our atmosphere at an unprecedented rate.
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Image: A child at a lead-contaminated site. Credit: Blacksmith Institute
ipsnews.net - May 9th, 2013 - Stephen Leahy
Toxic waste sites in 31 countries are damaging the brains of nearly 800,000 children and impairing the health of millions of people in the developing world, two new studies have found.
Toxins and pollutants in the environment are major sources of illness and reduced lifespans globally. The impacts on health in some countries are on par with malaria, said Kevin Chatham-Stephens, a pediatric environmental health fellow at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
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Image: Graph of All-in Module Cost
juancole.com - May 3rd, 2013 - Juan Cole
Rob Wile uses a graph to point out the obvious, the dramatic fall in the cost of solar power generation. In many countries– Italy, Spain, Germany, Portugal — and in parts of the US such as the Southwest, solar is at grid parity. That means it is as inexpensive to build a solar plant as a gas or coal one.
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Honduras' ecosystems are being destroyed at an incredible rate, taking with it the rich natural heritage of biodiversity that has required million of years to evolve. In 20 years, human populations in Honduras will be be threatend from ecosystem collapses that are likely to create abect misery and population collapses at an extraordinatry level. Already population crashes are happening in small scale collapses due to the degradation of social ecology.
There is a need to build a Patuca Reserve Resilience Network to help preserve the remaining 30% of the Patuca Reserve that has not been destroyed by deforestation and gold mining in the rivers. Association Patuca and Dr. Perinjaquet are working on introducing Resilience Capacity Zone Assessments and Mapping in order to identify solution sets local communities would embrace for preserving their environments and livelihoods, considering that they are squating within a national preserve that to date has had no environmental enforcement.
huffingtonpost.com - by Dr. Judith Rodin - May 14, 2013
The Rockefeller Foundation is today launching 100 Resilient Cities, a $100 million commitment to building urban resilience around the world. The Foundation's 100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge will select 100 cities through an application process to begin this summer. We will provide support for the winning cities to analyze the risks that will inform development of a city-wide resilient strategy, hire their first Chief Resilience Officer to drive its implementation and advice to leverage billions of additional dollars in infrastructure financing.
Rockefeller Foundation - 100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge
Reuters - trust.org - May 6, 2013
LONDON, May 6 (Reuters Point Carbon) – The world’s nations must scrap fossil fuel subsidies and put a price on emitting carbon dioxide if the planet is to avoid dangerous climate change, according to the president of the World Bank. The two measures are part of a five-point plan that the bank urged the world’s environment ministers to take, including building low carbon cities, improving agricultural practices and sharing new technology that will save energy.
“We need a global response equal to the scale of the climate problem.
Petersberg Climate Dialogue IV
Federation of American Scientists - fas.org - by Katie Colten
May 13, 2013
The 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was preventable. The Great East Japan earthquake and the tsunami that followed it were unprecedented events in recent history, but they were not altogether unforeseeable. Stronger regulation across the nuclear power industry could have prevented many of the worst outcomes at Fukushima Daiichi and will be needed to prevent future accidents.
In a new FAS issue brief, Dr. Charles Ferguson and Mr. Mark Jansson review some of the major problems leading up to the accident including the lack of regulation of the nuclear power industry and slow updates to safety requirements, such as using probabilistic safety assessment (PSA) methods to improve accident management plans.
The average carbon dioxide reading surpassed 400 parts per million at the research facility atop the Mauna Loa volcano on the island of Hawaii for the 24 hours that ended at 8 p.m. on Thursday. Chris Stewart/Associated Press
nytimes.com - by Justin Gillis - May 10, 2013
The level of the most important heat-trapping gas in the atmosphere, carbon dioxide, has passed a long-feared milestone, scientists reported Friday, reaching a concentration not seen on the earth for millions of years.
Scientific instruments showed that the gas had reached an average daily level above 400 parts per million — just an odometer moment in one sense, but also a sobering reminder that decades of efforts to bring human-produced emissions under control are faltering.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) monitoring program
Chinese researchers have identified the origins of the novel H7N9 influenza virus
asianscientist.com - April 29, 2013
In March 2013, a novel H7N9 influenza virus was identified in China as the source of a flu-like disease in humans. A group of scientists, led by Professor Chen Hualan of the National Avian Influenza Reference Laboratory at the Harbin Veterinary Research Institute, investigated the origins of this novel H7N9 influenza virus.
“We suggest that strong measures, such as continued surveillance of avian and human hosts, control of animal movement, shutdown of live poultry markets, and culling of poultry in affected areas, should be taken during this initial stage of virus prevalence to prevent a possible pandemic. Additionally, it is also imperative to evaluate the pathogenicity and transmissibility of these H7N9 viruses, and to develop effective vaccines and antiviral drugs against so as to reduce their adverse effects upon human health,” say the authors.
world.time.com - by Jeffrey Kluger
Spacecraft and telescopes are not built by people interested in what’s going on at home. Rockets fly in one direction: up. Telescopes point in one direction: out. Of all the cosmic bodies studied in the long history of astronomy and space travel, the one that got the least attention was the one that ought to matter most to us—Earth.
That changed when NASA created the Landsat program, a series of satellites that would perpetually orbit our planet, looking not out but down. Surveillance spacecraft had done that before, of course, but they paid attention only to military or tactical sites. Landsat was a notable exception, built not for spycraft but for public monitoring of how the human species was altering the surface of the planet. Two generations, eight satellites and millions of pictures later, the space agency, along with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), has accumulated a stunning catalog of images that, when riffled through and stitched together, create a high-definition slide show of our rapidly changing Earth. TIME is proud to host the public unveiling of these images from orbit, which for the first time date all the way back to 1984.