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Archive for July, 2012

Senator calls for thorough study of Northwest coal export terminals

(July 20)

EE Daily News via Redlodge Clearinghouse

Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley (D) has joined the growing chorus of elected leaders and conservationists concerned about efforts to use the Pacific Northwest as a launching pad for domestic coal exports to Asia.

Widespread Drought Is Likely to Worsen

(July 19, 2012)

New York Times

The current drought is the most widespread in more than a century, and the National Weather Service forecasts increasingly dry conditions over much of the nation’s breadbasket, a development that could lead to higher food prices and shipping costs as well as reduced revenues in areas that count on summer tourism.  The page includes a multimedia map of the footprint of drought on the country over the past 100+ years.

Interactive: Mapping The U.S. Drought

(July 17)

National Public Radio

Texas experienced its worst drought on record last year. Now that the state is seeing some relief, drought conditions have consumed more than half the United States. Use this interactive map and chart to see how conditions have changed over time.

Read more about the effect of the drought on ranching:  Heat Leaves Ranchers a Stark Option: Sell (NY Times, July 15), and corn crops:  Worst drought in 55 years devastates corn crop (Denver Post, July 17).

House panel mulls response to Western wildfires

(July 17)

EE Daily News via Redlodge Clearinghouse

House panel this Friday will consider three bills designed to reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfires, restore forest health and address an insect epidemic that many fear could fuel future blazes. Wildfires this year have burned more than 3.3 million acres nationwide — slightly above the 10-year average — and have been particularly destructive.

Restoration program reduces megafire risks, says report

(July 13)

EE News Daily via Redlodge Clearinghouse

In 2011, A collaborative forest restoration program, the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration (CFLR) program, created about 550 jobs, generated commercial timber and reduced the risk of megafires across 123,000 acres, according to new Forest Service data released this morning by a broad coalition of environmentalists, businesses, local governments, tribes, water suppliers and others.

Northwest electricity demand is gradually increasing; efficiency met most of the new demand in 2010 and 2011

(July 11)

Northwest Power and Conservation Council

Demand for electricity in the Northwest continues to recover from the recession of 2008, growing slowly but steadily by about 1.2 percent per year over last two years, according to an analysis by the Council. The Council analysis also shows that 81 percent of that increased demand — 516 out of 634 average megawatts — was met with improved energy efficiency, reducing the need for power from generating plants.

ACEEE: United Kingdom Tops in Energy Efficiency, U.S. Lags in 9th Place

(July 11)

American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy

The United Kingdom comes in first in a new energy efficiency ranking of the world’s major economies, followed closely by Germany, Italy, and Japan, according to the first-ever International Energy Efficiency Scorecard published today by the nonprofit American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). The report finds that in the last decade the U.S. has made “limited or little progress toward greater efficiency at the national level,” putting it in 9th place out of 12 economies around the globe.

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EPA keeps threshold in place for greenhouse gas emissions

(July 4, 2012)

Greenwire via Redlodge Clearinghouse

U.S. EPA reaffirmed that it would not regulate smaller sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the near future.

Drought hits 56 percent of continental US; ‘significant toll’ on crops

(July 3, 2012)

MSNBC

“The prolonged heat across the Midwest has not only set temperature records, it is also expanding and intensifying drought conditions — and relief isn’t on the horizon for most areas, the National Weather Service reported Thursday.  Drought conditions are present in 56 percent of the continental U.S., according to the weekly Drought Monitor.  That’s the most in the 12 years that the data have been compiled, topping the previous record of 55 percent set on Aug. 26, 2003. It’s also up five percentage points from the previous week.”

Scientists sorting out the beetle-fire relationship

(July 2, 2012)

Associated Press, MSNBC

Scientists across the country continue to mix dozens of variables to gain a better understanding of wildfires, what makes them go, and how bark beetle destruction affects them.  Studies sometimes show opposing results regarding beetles and fire intensity, and new models show that beetles can have an influence, but only under certain, unpredictable, conditions.

Experts say forests need to be thinned to be saved

(June 26, 2012)

Aspen Times

With drought and higher temperatures affecting forests across the globe, experts at the Forests at Risk conference in Aspen said they view thinning trees on large expanses of public lands as the only way to stop the increase of catastrophic wildfires afflicting the West.

Sea-Level Rise for the Coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington: Past, Present, and Future (2012)

(June 25, 2012)

The National Academies, Earth and Life Sciences

“Tide gages show that global sea level has risen about 7 inches during the 20th century, and recent satellite data shows that the rate of sea-level rise is accelerating.”  This report looks in particular at the west coast to estimate sea level rises for the years 2030, 2050, and 2100 for CA, OR, and WA.

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