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Converging Crises and Opportunities


Despite being the most powerful generations ever, we are failing to secure our shared future. “On current paths, we face global average temperatures by the end of this century that have not existed on Earth for tens of millions of years. Decades of growth, development and poverty reduction could be sharply reversed by this warming and hundreds of millions, perhaps billions, would be forced to move, with associated risks of serious conflict. The reasons for this disruption and dislocation could not then be turned off” (Prof. Nicholas Stern, FT 5.10.15).
Our decisions today will have longer-term consequences than ever before yet we still develop solutions in isolation which fail to tackle interlinked challenges. We also seem unable to agree on a hierarchy of threats as every crisis has its own lobby. And we are failing to progress from agreeing goals to deciding how to actually implement these in faced of powerful vested intere[……]

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Tapping the Power of an Explosive Lake

By Don Willmott
It’s strange that big and beautiful Lake Kivu, which sits on the border of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, is largely unknown outside of Africa — because it’s a very special lake indeed. Positioned atop Africa’s longest volcanic rift, its waters are supersaturated with potentially volatile gases that could one day explode violently and kill thousands. But what if there were a way to tap into the lake, extract the explosive gases, and burn them to create energy?
That’s the idea behind a multi-million dollar project owned by the U.S.-based energy company ContourGlobal.上海桑拿网419论坛 爱上海网 This heady mix of geology, alternative energy, geopolitics, and social engineering gives us plenty to be hopeful about…and perhaps a few things to worry about as well.
The story begins deep underwater, where approximately two trillion cubic feet of dissolved biogas, mostly methane and carbon dioxide, exists at a depth of about 1,000 feet. Fifty y[……]

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Encounter With a Climate Change Warrior — A Simple Farmer From Kenya

Co-authored by Leigh Foy
For the past 9 days, we have been privileged to attend the United Nations Climate Change COP 21 in Paris with a group of York College students and professors supported by the American Chemical Society. We have been within an arm’s reach of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as he walked right by us on his way to a press conference down the hall, attended the 2015 Winners of the UN Climate Change Solutions Awards Fete where rapper Sean Paul performed, and participated in several scientific briefings by NASA and NOAA officials at the famed HyperWall at the US Center. But it took a humble farmer from Kenya to move us to tears and make us really understand the human toll of climate change.
Figure 1: Leigh Foy meeting Kisilu after viewing “Kisilu: The Climate Diaries” at COP21
We met Kisilu Musya at the Indigenous People’s pavilion in the Climate Generations area of the COP where an international “fair” type atmosphere prevailed.[……]

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The Next Hollywood Blockbuster on Cities, Technology & the Unexpected Role of Nature

Imagine a Hollywood movie focused on technologies of the future and how they are going to change society. Three parallel stories, set in densely populated urban areas–New York, Sao Paulo, and Bangkok–would flick through a series of ever-smarter, ever-more-efficient technologies that shape how people live. Society would be buzzing with free floating information and ongoing innovation.
Until, someone turns on a faucet for a glass of water and nothing comes out–which then happens throughout the city. And another person leaves their apartment to encounter a smoke and haze-clouded street, where breathing is a challenge–for weeks or months on end. Or flooding has begun to occur regularly, at an unprecedented scale that shuts down the city.
The kicker–the problem encountered early on in the movie, which will need to be resolved prior to the end–is that a growing number of urban residents slowly become aware that the solutions to the issues are avai[……]

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Despite Supreme Court, Clean Energy and Climate Progress Are Full Speed Ahead

Bloomberg via Getty Images

Let’s make one thing perfectly clear – while the Supreme Court’s 爱上海419 爱上海419网recent decision to put a temporary hold on the Clean Power Plan was disappointing, it won’t revive the fortunes of the coal industry, slow the transition to clean energy, or cripple progress toward meeting the climate commitment the US made in Paris last year.
This week’s decision means the Supreme Court is temporarily pausing the Clean Power Plan from going into effect, while the courts consider the merits of the case. As that legal process unfolds, likely into 2017, something else will continue unfolding as well – the steady progress of the Sierra Club and our allies to retire coal plants and replace them with clean energy. As we outlined in a report released late last year, our strategy gives us a pathway to meet our climate targets, even as the Clean Power Plan makes its way through the courts.
Thanks to coal retirements and the rise of[……]

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World's Oldest Wild Bird Hatches Yet Another Chick

HONOLULU — The world’s oldest known wild bird just gave birth, astonishing scientists yet again.
Wisdom, a Laysan Albatross, is at least 65 years old, making her the oldest known bird in the wild, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The fluffy chick emerged from its shell on Feb. 1 on Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, which is part of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. The remote atoll lies about 1,300 miles northwest of Honolulu.
In the video below, Wisdom feeds her newborn chick, named Kūkini, the Hawaiian word for “messenger.” 
(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); = id; js.src = “//”; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’));Wisdom Feeds KūkiniCelebrating the United Nations International Day of Women and Girls in Science! This post[……]

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How A Sexy Thriller Could Get People To Care About Their Water

Jennifer Wilson's novel, <i>Water</i>, was released last month. It takes&nbsp;a titillating approach to the issue&nbsp;of&nbs


Jennifer Wilson’s novel, Water, was released last month. It takes a titillating approach to the issue of water safety.

On the first page of Iowa author Jennifer Wilson’s new novel, Water, reporter Freja Folsom is assigned a story about a man who is illegally pumping his own water from a city aquifer. Freja is incredulous.
“Water is free. Stories about nature are boring. And I fell asleep for a second w南京桑拿网 爱上海网hen you said the word ‘aquifer,’” Folsom says.
Many people, even in our post-Flint world, can probably relate. Water quality isn’t typically the stuff of go-to conversational fare. So that’s why Wilson, a former investigative journalist, has set her depiction of one state’s struggle for safe water against the backdrop of a “sexy romp.” Consider it Erin Brockovich meets Fifty Shades.
Sex scenes aside, the fictionalized struggle has roots that are very real. Last month, the Des Moines water utility announced that it[……]

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Mining Companies Pay Far Less Than They Should For Taxpayer-Owned Coal

Robert Nickelsberg via Getty Images

The U.S. government is running a massive corporate welfare program for coal companies, prioritizing Big Coal’s interests over the environment and taxpayers, according to a Greenpeace report released Thursday based 龙凤网站 龙凤论坛on government documents.
Much of the country’s largest coal deposits west of the Mississippi River sit beneath federal land. That coal is owned by taxpayers and leased to coal companies by the government. Federally owned coal accounts for three-quarters of what’s mined by three of the largest U.S. coal companies — Arch Coal, Peabody Coal, and Cloud Peak Energy — according to documents obtained by Greenpeace recently through a Freedom of Information Act request. The companies have the right to mine that coal for a fraction of its real value.
A problem with charging companies so little to mine government-owned coal is that it doesn’t account for costs to the environment. Coal is one o[……]

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World Ocean Assessment, Part 4

In this fourth and final edition devoted to the recently published UN World Ocean Assessment, I want to focus on one example: the State of Oregon in the US, where many of the myriad issues and recommendations enumerated in the Report are in process in encouraging array. As the ocean is complicated, it can only be that the governmental response be complicated as well, and it is heartening to discuss one place where legislators, administrators, researchers, academics, and the public agree and support a responsible and active approach to ocean knowledge and sustainability.
Oregon describes its stewardship interest in the ocean as follows: “The Oregon coast and Pacific Ocean are of fundamental importance to Oregonians. The ocean shore and near shore ocean waters comprise an important ecological zone with a wide range of habitats on land and at sea for many species of plants and animals that are specifically adapted to this unique environment. Commercial an[……]

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Zero Waste in San Francisco and New York: A Tale of Two Cities

One of the goals of a sustainable city is to effectively manage material flows into and out of the city. Garbage, or what environmental engineers call solid waste, presents some of the most difficult challenges to urban sustainability. San Francisco may well be on the way to achieving their goal of “zero waste,” or to divert all of its garbage away from landfills. Currently, San Francisco diverts 80% of its waste away from landfills. According to New York Times reporter Matt Richtel: “San Francisco also has a world-class reputation for its composting processes, which turns food waste into fine, coffee-like grounds that is sent to farms as fertilizer.” And he observes that San Francisco is the “Silicon Valley of recycling.”
The city and county of San Francisco’s SF Environment department has set a goal of zero waste by 2020. That formerly future-sounding date is just four years away. According to the department, about half of the waste now placed i[……]

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