Archive for May, 2011


Corps to boost outflow on Missouri dams to compensate for Yellowstone inflows

(May 26, 2011)

The Billings Gazette

“With record-setting rainfall soaking Montana and record snowpack still waiting to melt in the mountains, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials announced Thursday that they have decided to boost releases from Missouri River reservoirs to historic levels.”

Australia releases first rules for CO2 farming scheme

(May 25, 2011)


The Australian government’s Carbon Funding Initiative aims to reward farmers and investors that take steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  This will be the first program of its kind globally; the government is hopeful that lawmakers will approve the plan in the next few months.  Practices eligible to earn credits include curbing emissions from savanna burning, planting plantations for locking carbon, and taking measures to reduce methane from livestock and landfills.  Credits can then be sold to Australian polluters or overseas.  In other climate news from Australia:  Koala numbers drop 80%and climate change will exacerbate the species’ plight  (New Zealand Herald); and Climate jury finds dire need for action to slow warming:  In its first big report the Australian Climate Commission calls the evidence for climate change “exceptionally strong and beyond doubt” and suggests that actions this decade will determine the impact of climate change for the rest of the century (Sydney Morning Herald).

For water researchers, an atmosphere full of questions

(May 24, 2011)

Los Angeles Times

In an attempt to help resolve some of the unknowns about California’s future water supply, researchers are zigzagging through storm clouds in an attempt to try and understand why some clouds give up their moisture and others don’t as they roll across the mountain ranges that provide the state with much of its water.

Getting Wise to the Owl, a Charismatic Sentry in Climate Change

(May 23, 2011)

New York Times

In the arctic, one of the fastest changing places in the world, decades of snowy owl research may provide insight into climate changes even without other indicators.  As a key species in arctic ecosystems, the owls help scientists understand ecological changes that affect many other species.

A link between climate change and Joplin tornadoes? Never!

(May 23, 2011)

Washington Post Opinions

Bill McKibben, the founder of the global climate campaigm 350.org, writes an opinion piece calling into focus the relationship of many of the past year’s unusual natural disasters to systemic climate change.


New Tool to Address Social Vulnerability to Climate

The Nature Conservancy and the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program.

From the authors of this new tool: “The purpose of this document is to provide a minimum set of socioeconomic indicators related to climate change. These can be included in a socioeconomic assessment of any site for which climate change impacts are an important issue. The resulting information can then inform coastal management needs and adaptive management. This document meant to serve as an addendum to regional socioeconomic monitoring guidelines produced by the Global Socioeconomic Monitoring Initiative for Coastal Management (SocMon) and its Pacific counterpart, SEM-Pasifika, which aim to improve site management of coastal and marine areas by providing simple, user-friendly guidelines on how to conduct a socioeconomic assessment.   Such assessments help coastal managers incorporate community views into adaptive management of marine resources.”  Download the full paper (624 kb)

American Climate Attitudes

The Social Capital Project of The Resource Innovation Group

For this report, public opinion research and polling and polling data over the last few years were reviewed and compared with trends since 1997.  It offers an analysis of significant public opinion trends on global warming and offers communication and engagement recommendations based on this data, as well as the author’s experiences.  Download the full report (6.3 mb)


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Shell’s Hopes Raised on Arctic Drill Permits

(May 11, 2011)

Wall Street Journal

Shell has invested 3.5 billion in its Alaska offshore exploration program, but has yet to drill a single well there.  Legal and regulatory challenges have set their plans back, especially in the wake of last year’s BP spill.  However, the White House is becoming increasingly involved in the decision of whether to allow drilling, and Shell’s US President, Marvin Odum, states that he is more confident than ever that Shell will get all of the permits they need to start drilling in Alaska’s arctic seas by next year.  In his Natural Resources Defense Council Blog, On Offshore Drilling, Voices of Reason, Bob Keefe challenges the popular claim that more drilling will decrease oil prices in the US and cites some expressed risks of such drilling in the US.

(May 9, 2011)

San Francisco Chronicle
The powerful March 11th quake that hit Japan was so powerful that it pulled the entire country down and into the sea.  Some coastal communities now face regular flooding, and scientists say that the new conditions are permanent.  Some areas in Ishinomaki moved SE 17 feet and sank 4 feet, and parts of Tokyo- 210 miles away- moved seaward 9 inches.  Many towns near the epicenter now face twice-daily flooding at high tides, and residents worry about the higher autumn tides and the rainy season that will begin in 1 month.

Physicist Group’s Study Raises Doubts on Capturing Carbon Dioxide From Air

(May 9, 2011)

New York Times

The idea of capturing carbon dioxide directly from the air has interested those looking for solutions to fight global warming for some time.  A new study by the American Physical Society finds that pulling carbon from the air is technically possible, but casts doubt on whether such an option will ever be economically viable.  It is 7-8 times less expensive to capture emissions from a coal plant than to reclaim them from the air once released.  


Interior Releases Report Highlighting Impacts of Climate Change to Western Water Resources

(April 25, 2011)

U.S. Department of the Interior

“This report assesses climate change risks and how these risks could impact water operations, hydropower, flood control, and fish and wildlife in the western United States.  The report to Congress represents the first consistent and coordinated assessment of risks to future water supplies across eight major Reclamation river basins, including the Colorado, Rio Grande and Missouri river basins.” Full Report (pdf, 3.54 mb)

The Road To Clean Air:  Public Health and Global Warming Benefits of Advanced Clean Car Standards  (pdf 1.2 mb)

American Lung Association

In a study of how cars and trucks affect air quality in CA, the American Lung Association is presses California regulators to raise fuel economy standards for cars to about 64 miles per gallon by 2025.  The group shows that about half of all the carbon emissions and air pollution in the state, which has some of the worst air pollution pockets in the country, come from transportation.

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