Sunday, December 31, 2006

Does an Ancient Climate Change Predict Our Future?

Work by a group of scientists led by Mark Pagani of Yale University suggests that climate is more sensitive than hoped to a sustained increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide. Their research, published in the December 8, 2006, issue of Science magazine, suggests that a global warming event 55 million years ago called the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM)was caused by a massive release of carbon.

The geologic record shows that the ensuing greenhouse effect heated the planet by about 9° F (5° C), on average, in less than 10,000 years. The temperature increase lasted 170,000 years and caused profound changes to the world’s rainfall patterns, made the oceans acidic, and affected oceanic and terrestrial plant and animal life, including spawning the rise of our modern primate ancestors. But understanding just how much carbon was responsible for the temperature increase and where it came from remains elusive.

Read the rest of the article in HuliQ.
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2006: Beginning of the Big Heat Wave?

We will likely remember 2006 as the year scientists discovered that the earth's climate is heating up faster than expected. Check out this excerpt from an article in The Scotsman:

ITS collapse was so violent that it was picked up by earthquake monitors 150 miles away - a thundering warning to the world that the Arctic was heating up faster than scientists had imagined.
A giant ice shelf, covering 41 square miles, had broken off from the Canadian mainland and floated off into the sea.
Yet for 16 months, experts were unaware that the Ayles ice shelf - just one of six remaining in the Canadian Arctic - had drifted off until a scientist began examining old satellite images.
Yesterday, scientists said the dramatic discovery capped a year of new studies, which have revealed that the world is heating up faster than had been thought.
From the slowing Gulf Stream, to the warmest British summer on record, to unusually warm water in the Caribbean, researchers have mapped our rapidly changing climate.
Scientists were yesterday still coming to terms with the im-portance of the Ayles ice shelf collapse.
"This is a dramatic and disturbing event," said Dr Warwick Vincent, an Arctic ice expert at Laval University in Quebec.

Cash for Climate Research

Goldman Sachs has provided $2.3 million for 3 research grants to find market-based solutions to climate change. Read about it at Earth and Sky.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Australia's Big Dry

Australia is in the midst of one of its worst droughts ever, and environmentalists are trying to convince the general public that it is a result of climate change. The drought has lasted for over five years, and some worry that it could continue for decades.
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Climate Change Throwdown

Climate Change Skeptics, you've been served! According to the UK publication The Guardian,

"Britain's leading climate scientist has challenged those who question the impact of the human population on global warming to defend their claims that car and factory emissions of carbon dioxide are not heating up the planet.

Alan Thorpe, chief executive of the Natural Environment Research Council, said yesterday he planned to defeat so-called 'deniers', first on-line and later at a public debate."

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Saturday, December 23, 2006

Jurassic Revenge

Last year, New Republic Editor Michael Crowley blasted novelist Michael Crichton for popularizing junk science among policymakers through State of Fear, his novel that takes a skeptical view of climate change. Crichton's apparent response? To name a child-molesting character in his new novel "Mick Crowley." Read about it on Media Channel.

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Friday, December 22, 2006

How to Talk to a Climate Change Skeptic

You may have seen a list like this before, but lost track of it. Here is a chance to bookmark this collection of articles by Coby Beck in the blog Gristmill.

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Climate Change Doubles Russian Natural Disasters

The rate of natural disasters in Russia has doubled in the past decade due to global warming, according to Russia's Minister of Emergency Situtations. Most alarmingly, in Russia's northern regions the permafrost is melting.
"Over the last 30 years the average depth of melting in the permafrost zone increased by 20 centimeters and keeps progressing. If the melting continues, the foundations of homes, communication lines and gas pipelines could begin sinking," the minister said.
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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Do bears sleep in the woods?

Not in Spain, not this winter, anyway, in what scientists there are calling one of the strongest signs of how climate change affects the natural world. Read about it in The Independent.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Eating the Planet like a Bag of Doritos?

"Expanding Markets and Dying Oceans: Eating the Planet Like a Bag of Doritos for Jesus" is the title of an anti-corporate editorial (rant is such an ugly word) in the Baltimore Chronicle and Sentinel.

Phill Rockstroh says, "We're devouring the life-sustaining resources of the earth as if it were a bag of Doritos. Our empty appetites, engendered by global corporatism and its reliance on fossil fuels, is leveling an effect upon our world tantamount to a slow-motion collision with a comet. "

Rockstroh may be contacted at:

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UN Foundation-Club of Madrid Tackle Climate Change

The UN Foundation and the Club of Madrid are joining forces to tackle Climate Change through the formation of an independent high-level task force, according to a post on excerpted here. The Club of Madrid is composed of 66 democratic former Heads of State and Government from 50 countries around the world. It offers a neutral advice on major global issues affecting sustainable democratic development.

The Task Force will offer recommendations to the Dialogue on Climate Change, Clean Energy and Sustainable Development, launched at the G8 summit in Gleneagles in July 2005. The Dialogue involves 20 countries -- the G8 plus Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, Poland, Spain, South Africa, and South Korea, as well as the European Commission. The Dialogue will report back to the G8 in 2008.

The Task Force will be chaired by Ricardo Lagos, President of the Club of Madrid, and Timothy E. Wirth, President of the UN Foundation. "We are fast approaching a tipping point on global warming, and it is time for more concerted action to avoid dangerous impacts on our economic and environmental systems," said Wirth, who led the U.S. climate team as Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs under President Clinton. "The basic building blocks of an international agreement are readily identifiable -- but political will and consensus have been elusive. Together with the Club of Madrid, we are creating this task force to harness the wisdom of former world leaders and demonstrate that a political consensus is possible -- before it is too late."
"We know that a sustainable energy future is possible and the costs are not out of reach, but increased political will and greater collaboration between developed and developing countries are missing," said Lagos, who served as President of Chile from 2000 to 2006. "We hope that by using this forum of high-level dialogues, we'll be able to make clear, concise recommendations on the next steps to mitigate climate change and empower our leaders to move quickly and forcefully on this important issue."

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New Zealand's DIY Climate Change Fix

According to Stuff, New Zealand's United Future party has released its policy on climate change, which focuses on what individuals should do. They are encouraging homeowners to insulate their homes, taking out loans of around $5K if necessary. It also encourages people to purchase more fuel-efficient cars. United Future leader Peter Dunne said that"we are at a point in the life of our planet where significant change needs to be made if we are to survive". That change could not be made cheaply or easily, he said.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Australian Scientists Use Butterflies to Gauge Climate Change

In an Article in Australia's The Age, Australia's Monash University lead researcher Paul Sunnucks said studying butterflies is a good way to measure climate change. "They are cold-blooded, so that makes them very responsive to temperatures," he said. "A couple of degrees can make the difference between life and death."

Starting next month, researchers from Monash, Melbourne and La Trobe universities will visit 28 areas to study the brown butterfly, which is common along the eastern seaboard.
Dr Sunnucks said international research had found that butterflies were dying out in
warmer places. "They are moving away from the equator … trying to get to where it's cooler."

Britain's Stern report on climate change, published in October, predicted that up to one quarter of Australia's butterflies would be threatened by a 2 degree global temperature rise.

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US Ratification of Kyoto Unlikely

So said Stuart Eizenstat, lead negotiator for former U.S. President Bill Clinton on the Kyoto Protocol for curbing greenhouse gas emissions. While concern about Climate Change is increasing in the US Government, President Bush refuses to back the Kyoto Protocol and even though the balance of power has changed in Congress, the numbers simply do not add up because a two-thirds majority is required to override a presidential veto-- and that looks unlikely given most Republicans' ideological hatred of Kyoto.
"With the changeover in Congress we really do have the potential for greater interest but not really legislation. It hasn't changed the dynamic," Eizenstat said.

Read the full article in Reuters.
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Monday, December 18, 2006

Evangelical Science-Faith Think Tank Calls Solving Climate Change "Complex"

"To suggest that we can stop global warming by simply cutting back on fossil fuel combustion and altering our industrial processes is na├»ve at best. If we ignore one or more of certain mechanisms that contribute to either global warming or cooling, our attempted solutions could actually make matters worse. Scientifically speaking this intricate balance, designed specifically for humanity’s benefit, is no accident. The amazing fine tuning observed in all these complex processes gives us a clear picture of a Creator who exquisitely prepared a place for humans to live in and to launch—at least for awhile—a global high-tech civilization.” So says astronomer Hugh Ross, founder and president of the Evangelical Christian-oriented science-faith think tank Reasons To Believe (

Read more about Ross's take on Climate change at Standard News Wire.

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Gore Urges People to Act on Climate Change

Here is an excerpt from the article on All Headline News:

More than 20,000 people in close to 2,000 living rooms throughout the country watched Gore's documentary on global warming Saturday night.
The event, hosted by Gore and Move On, a Political Action Committee with more than 3.3 million members, featured the film "Inconvenient Truth."
Gore, from his Nashville, Tenn. home, spent 30 minutes on a conference call and answered questions from those who were tuned in via computers and telephones.

"All we are missing (to stop this) is political will, and that is a renewable resource," Gore said.

Gore asked the more than 20,000 to help him and organize a mass movement around global warming.
"The American political system is seemingly paralyzed by this issue," Gore said. "And when that becomes the case, then this is when the grassroots movement has to get mobilized."
Gore said the U.S. is responsible for contributing to more than 30 percent of the climate crisis.
"It's not a political issue as much as a moral one," Gore said. "And to allow this to happen is unethical."

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Alpine Ski Resorts Wake Up and Smell the Climate Change

As reported previously in this very blog, the European Alps are experiencing their warmest winter in hundreds of years. In layperson's terms, that means the skiing, what little of it there is, stinks. Snow machines churn out fake white stuff every morning, but by midmorning, rising temps require resorts to turn off the equipment because the psuedo-snow will no longer stick.
According to a story in the New York Times, Climatologists...say the warming trend will become dramatic by 2020. The new studies are alarming, suggesting that the Alps are warming twice as fast as the average in the rest of the world. In 1980, 75 percent of Alpine glaciers were advancing; now, 90 percent are retreating.

China's River Dolphins Missing, Presumed Extinct

A story in Sunday's New York Times marks the sad passing of China's baiji, a white, nearly blind dolphin whose only habitat was the Yangtze River in China. The baiji, a species said to be around 20 million years old, met its demise as economic expansion devastated its natural environment. The baiji are not known to survive in captivity. A recent 6-week-long survey found no baiji, though it could take decades for the species to be declared officially extinct.
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150,000 Homemade Smog Producers

According to estimates by scientists, the number of outdoor home wood boilers has doubled in the US. A total of 150,000 US homes now utilize the boilers to cut their energy bills.

Here is an excerpt from an article in the New York Times,

A report last year by the New York attorney general’s office found that they produce as much particle pollution in an hour as 45 cars or 2 heavy-duty diesel trucks.

While boilers can save money for owners with access to cheap wood, they are far more expensive to operate in suburban areas like Long Island, where a cord of wood can cost $170. A boiler can require more than a dozen cords for the winter. That cost, says Jack Eddington, a Suffolk County legislator who introduced the law restricting the boilers, leads people to resort to burning garbage, old furniture and even Christmas trees — resulting in larger, smellier and potentially more toxic smoke.

Mr. Eddington said he knew of people who collected trash solely for their boilers. “Sometimes that would make the smell worse than the smoke,” he said. “It’s not a cost-saving measure if you follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use only seasoned wood — meaning no sap or anything that could give out a bad toxic emission. The only way you can save money with these things is if you burn anything and everything.”
Use of the boilers is strictly regulated in Connecticut and a few other states and municipalities.
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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Fuel Tax on Airlines to Fight Climate Change?

The European Commission is considering a fuel tax on airlines to prevent emissions from skyrocketing. Unless something is done, aviation emission levels will rise 150% about 1990 levels by 2012. Read the story and watch the news report at EUX.TV.
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Science and Religion--Will they Get Together and Save the Environment?

In this Charleston, West Virginia Gazette-Mail editorial, John Timpane argues that if Scientists and religious leaders join forces to address climate change and other environmental problems, politicians will "turn green" instantly.

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Twilght of the Polar Bear?

Here is an excerpt from an article in

THE world's polar bear population is continuing to decline, with only 19 population groups left in the world, wildlife campaigners said today.
This fall represents more than a quarter of the species' populations, according to new findings by the charity WWF.
The main cause is global warming and its negative impact on the animals' sea ice habitat. Contaminants, oil exploration and failure to curb hunting are also adding to the problem.
There are now up to 25,000 polar bears in the world living in 19 groups, of which five - located in Canada, Greenland and the US - are in decline.

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Global Warming improves seals love lives

Climate change has improved the love lives of some male seals, at least for the time being, according to Dr. Sean Twiss of Durham University, who studied a gray seal colony on the Scottish Island North Rona for nine years. Rising temps and less rainfall requires female seals to travel further to find fresh water. Away from controlling dominant males, the females accept the amorous advances of weaker males far more often than in pre-climate change days.

Over nine years, Dr Twiss and his colleagues recorded a 61% increase in the number of males contributing to the genetic pool. Dr Twiss said: "These findings show that climate change, whilst endangering many species, could also help to increase the genetic diversity of some species, giving a leg up, or over, to males who normally wouldn't be so successful." Read the full article in the BBC News.

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Friday, December 15, 2006

Save Energy and slash taxes

A story on NPR's morning edition mentioned that one way to take a tax deduction before the year ends is to make energy-saving improvements in your home. The tax breaks continue through 2007, so if you don't have time this year, you can still take advantage of it next year. She also points out that deductions for buying hybrid vehicles are shrinking, so if you are contemplating such a purchase, hurry up and get yours now to take advantage of tax savings. Listen to the story here.
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It's Getting Hot in Here

US Scientists at NASA disagree with British weather officials and the World Meteorological Organization. NASA says 2006 is the fifth hottest year on record, while the other agencies put it at #6. With El Nino starting, 2007 is likely to be even hotter. The contiguous United States had its third warmest year since records began in 1880, as well as the worst fire season on record, with more than 9.5 million acres burned through early December. NASA said the five warmest years since the late 1880s were, in decreasing order, 2005, 1998, 2002, 2003, and 2006, assuming no major fluctuations take place in the next two weeks. Read about it in The New York Times.
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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Shilling to Save the Earth

A new ad campaign for Tide Coldwater, a laundry detergent that claims to be specially formulated to clean clothes well in cold water, puts forward the idea that if we all switched to their product we could save enough energy to light up a thousand towns. Since their calculation is based on water heaters set at 140 degrees Farenheit, the energy savings may be a bit overblown, but it is interesting to see energy conservation going mainstream. To see the TV ad and enter to win a hybrid car, go to
Learn about how Energy Star washers and other appliances conserve energy, with or without using Tide.

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Pope Touts "Ecology of Peace"

Here is an excerpt from the New York Times article:

In an annual message for peace, Benedict strongly emphasized a theme rarely taken up in his nearly two years as pope: what he called the “ecology of peace,” the idea that protecting the environment and finding alternative energy sources could reduce conflict.
“In recent years, new nations have entered enthusiastically into industrial production, thereby increasing their energy needs,” the pope wrote in a 14-page address. “Meanwhile, some parts of the planet remain backward and development is effectively blocked, partly because of the rise in energy prices.
“What will happen to these peoples?” he asked. “What injustices and conflicts will be provoked by the race for energy sources?”
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Ultra-Orthodox Integrate Bible and the Environment

For the third year in a row, the Israeli Ministry of Environmental Protection co-sponsored a Torah essay competition on "The Environment in Jewish Law and Thought." Hundreds of submissions were received, and 26 will be published and available for download. The Ministry encourages the competion as a way to introduce environmental concerns to the ultra-religious community.

Shomera, one of the main sponsors of the competition, was founded in 1988 and runs a number of environmental projects in Jerusalem and its environs with the ultra-Orthodox community, as well as projects for special needs groups such as the disabled and youth at risk. The organization, which integrates Jewish and conventional sources while seeking solutions to environmental challenges, has won national acclaim for many of its projects, including its efforts to defend the Jerusalem Forest from urban encroachment.

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Coal Rush is On

150 coal-fired power plants are under construction in the US. With carbon emission caps looming, utilities may hope that when mandatory emissions caps come the coal plants will be allowed to operate under a grandfather cause.

Meanwhile, China continues to rely on coal, leading to air pollution and environmental damage that could cost billions. At the current rate of increase, China could soon surpass the US in Carbon emissions. Currently, the US is responsible for 32% of the world's carbon emissions.

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Methane ice could spell trouble for climate

Here's an excerpt from a BBC news report:

Scientists drilling ocean sediments off Canada have discovered methane ices at much shallower depths than expected.
"The rate of increase in the Earth's atmosphere for methane is much faster than that for carbon dioxide," said Timothy Collett, the co-chief scientist of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP).
"Methane is 20 times more effective as a greenhouse gas than CO2. The source of this methane is uncertain, but there are a number of scientists who have looked at gas hydrates as contributing to this recent change."

Read the rest of the story at the BBC News.
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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Hanukkah, Festival of (Compact Fluorescent) Lights

Oh Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah, come light the--compact fluorescents? Today Salon has a short article about a campaign by our old friends The Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life. Check out this link on our website under Worship/Devotional Aids for devotional guides put out by Georgia Interfaith Power and Light for both Advent and Hanukkah that utilize changing conventional incandescant bulbs to more energy-efficient compact fluorescents. These devotional guides include the obligatory light bulb jokes. If you are in the New Haven, Connecticut, area, consider participating in their environmental Hanukkah program A Light Among the Nations a/k/a How Many Jews Does It Take to Change a Light Bulb?

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I left my food scraps in San Francisco

That bottle of California Merlot you quaff at a San Francisco eatery may very well have been fertilized by food waste from a meal you ate at the same restaurant a few years ago. Since 1997, over 2000 San Francisco restaurants have joined a composting program that provides them with a discount on their trash hauling bill. These restaurants are getting a head start on complying with a legislative deadline. The city has mandated that 75 percent of its garbage must be recycled or composted by 2010. Read and listen to the story on NPR's Day to Day.

Open Waters in the Arctic by 2040

New projections show that by 2040 there could be open water during summers in the arctic region, according to an article in a continuing series on climate change in the New York Times. This would be several decades earlier than previously expected.

Native Americans Discuss Global Warming

Representatives from 50 Native American Tribes met last week in Arizona to discuss challenges they face due to global warming, according to a story on

Tribal representatives described the natural environment as the foundation of their culture and religion. Armed with centuries of knowledge about their lands, they've noticed incremental environmental changes in recent years.And they're worried. In a bid for energy independence and economic opportunity, many tribes are now investing in renewable energy.

I'm Pro-Environment and I Vote

Political parties around the world are courting the green vote, according to an article in Reuters UK. Here's an excerpt:

Just as Bill Clinton used the battle cry "It's the economy, stupid!" to keep his 1992 presidential campaign focussed, political leaders worldwide are chanting a new mantra based on growing alarm about global warming.

Mainstream parties in Germany, Britain, France, Canada, the United States and Austria believe tackling climate change is a vote winner while established Green parties in Germany and Austria are experiencing a renaissance.

Kill a tree, save the earth?

The traditional earth-friendly practice of planting trees may actually contribute to climate change in certain cases. Trees planted in tropical rainforests can help to slow global warming, but forests in temperate zones absorb more sunlight than unforested areas, canceling out the positive effects from the trees taking in carbon. By the year 2100, forests in mid-latitudes and high latitudes will make some places up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than if the forests weren't there.
"Although it was previously known that trees could have an overall warming effect in the boreal forests north of 50 degrees, this is the first study to show that temperate forests could lead to net global warming," said Livermore’s Seran Gibbard, lead author of the study. Read more at the Environmental News Service.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Earth-Friendly Giving

A number of religious traditions celebrate holidays that involve gift giving around this time of year. For those of you still stumped about what to give/what to request as a gift, here are some earth-friendly gift links.
If you haven't already, stop by the Center for a New American Dream. There you can find suggestions on avoiding conspicuous holiday consumption.

For those who have everything (and maybe even a little too much), the gift of Carbon Offsets can be appropriate and even welcome.
Some of us still can't resist the allure of receiving cool stuff, and what's cooler to environmentalists than recycling? Eco-Artware features gifts crafted from recycled materials like a wreath from repurposed street signs.

For my fellow organic food snobs, there is Ideal Bite and Eco-express, which features both food and personal care items. If you are lucky enough to live near a Whole Foods, you can pick up a food gift on your way to holiday gatherings. If you have a sweet tooth, check out their Tiny Trapeze line. (Disclaimer: Tiny Trapeze is the brainchild of a friend of a friend.) At my house we're packaging do-it-yourself gift baskets in recycled clementine orange crates. We've decorated them with children's art, but they look nice just as they are.

For the right person, Reusable Bags are a thoughtful gift.

Lovers of the exotic might appreciate World of Good fairly traded gifts.
What are you hoping to find in your organically grown, unbleached hemp stocking this year?

Post your ideas in the comment field.

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The worms turn

Plain old composting is so 20th century. Today's organic gardeners are increasingly turning to worm farms to recycle their food waste into black gold. Makes a unique gift. Check them out at

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Will turtles crawl off into the sunset?

Turtles, an ancient and virtually ageless species, are facing the potential for extinction.

According to a fascinating article in the New York Times,

Turtle habitats are fast disappearing, or are being fragmented and transected by roads on which millions of turtles are crushed each year. “There’s no defense against that predator known as the automobile,” Dr. Gibbons said.

Researchers estimate that at least half of all turtle species are in serious trouble, and that some of them, like the Galapagos tortoise, the North American bog turtle, the Pacific leatherback sea turtle and more than a dozen species in China and Southeast Asia, may effectively go extinct in the next decade if extreme measures are not taken. “People love turtles, people find them endearing, but people take turtles for granted,” Mr. Cover said. “They have no idea how important turtles are to the ecosystems in which they, and we, live.”

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The High Cost of Global Warming

Check out this excerpt from a New York Times article:

James E. Rogers, chief executive of Duke Energy, a coal-burning utility in the Midwest and the Southeast, has emerged as an unexpected advocate of federal regulation that would for the first time impose a cost for emitting carbon dioxide. But he has his reasons.

“Climate change is real, and we clearly believe we are on a route to mandatory controls on carbon dioxide,” Mr. Rogers said. “And we need to start now because the longer we wait, the more difficult and expensive this is going to be.”

"God's Eye View" of California Coast Goal of New Project

The National Science Foundation has funded the Coast to Mountain Environmental Transect, or COMET, project with a $2.1 million, three-year grant.

Based on existing networks funded by the National Science Foundation, COMET will integrate data data ranging from climate to chemistry to animal counts, over distances from hundreds of miles to a few feet, spanning timescales from minutes to decades, and put it into a "virtual library" for geosciences.

"How is climate change going to change precipitation patterns, summer droughts or snowfall? Will there be more wildfires, and how will that affect climate change? If we're going to understand what's happening with the environment, we need better networks of sensors," said Susan Ustin, professor and director of the Center for Spatial Technologies and Remote Sensing at UC Davis, and of the Western Regional Center of the National Institute for Global Environmental Change.

Read the rest of the story on

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One word: PVC

(Okay, so it's actually two words, polyvinyl chloride.) According to an article in the trade publication Plastics 2456, the race is on to find a more environmentally-friendly, health-conscious alternative to PVC shrink wraps on food, which can contaminate the environment with dangerous chemicals. Many countries have launched regulations to ban or limit the use of PVC films. Europe has prohibited the use of PVC films in food packaging since 1992, and Japan, Singapore, Korea and Taiwan have followed suit.
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Pollution in China has devastating Environmental and Economic Consequences

A hard-hitting editorial in the Shanghai Daily alleges that realistic estimates put the environmental damage of industrial growth there at 8-13 percent of China's GDP growth each year, "which means that China has lost almost everything it has gained since the late 1970s due to pollution." The author, Pan Yue, vice-minister of China's State Environmental Protection Administration, says the environmental degradation came about from an misreading of Marxist theory that led most regions in the nation to cast aside traditional Chinese culture, with its emphasis on harmony between human beings and nature, in the mistaken belief that economic development would solve all their problems.
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Emissions controls still face obstacles in Congress

Proposals to enact stricter controls on U.S. auto emissions is expected to lead to a tough fight, even in the new, more climate-change conscious, Democratically-controlled Congress. Obstacles include "industry resistance, budget constraints, disagreements among party leaders and the problem's daunting complexity and global scope," according to an article in the Contra Costa Times.

One Little Nuclear War Can Ruin Your Whole Century

Or at least a good portion of it, according Alan Robock, associate director of the Center for Environmental Prediction at Rutgers' Cook College. Robock and colleagues generated a series of computer simulations of potential climate anomalies caused by a small-scale nuclear war. Even a small scale, regional nuclear war (like, say, between India and Pakistan) could have far-reaching effects on large areas--even areas far removed from the conflict (like, say, the United States). Read the full story in the LA Times.
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Monday, December 11, 2006

Cows Contribution to Climate Change

Yep, it's what you think. Read about reclaiming methane gas for fuel and other great enviro-topics on Sustainablog.

Green Building on WNPR

Listen to a Faith Middletown radio show from Dec. 7 featuring Green Building tips. The show covers new construction and retrofits, and focuses on how energy conservation is the #1 thing you can do to reduce your home's environmental impact over time.
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Faithful work for Climate Protection in New Mexico

Read a story about New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light, our sister organization.
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E.O. Wilson Interview

Read a recent Philadelphia Inquirer interview with E.O. Wilson, eminent Biologist and author of the recent book The Creation, which proposes that secularist scientists and religious evangelicals unite behind the cause of saving the Earth and preserving biodiversity. Topics covered in the interview: religion, science, the biosphere, and his differences with other scientists in dealing with religious belief.
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US Cities and Towns Back Kyoto Agreement

Tiny Milan, Minnesota, pop. 350, has become the latest municipality to sign on to the U.S. Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement. The little community joins 53.5 million Americans in 333 cities whose governments have voluntarily agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the spirit of the Kyoto Protocol, according to a release issued by the city. Read the story in the West Central Tribune.
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Climate Change is about Human Rights

That's the idea former Irish President Mary Robinson is pushing policy makers to adopt. "We can no longer think of climate change as an issue where we the rich give charity to the poor to help them cope," she is expected to say in an upcoming speech. Read about it in the BBC News.

A Climate Change Skeptic's parting shot

The departing chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Sen. James M. Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma, held a hearing to denounce the "real villain" in the Climate Change debate: the media. Read all about it in Washington Post and Baltimore Sun editorials.
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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Biologists fish for climate change clues

Biologists are studying fish that live beneath the ice in the Antarctic to determine if changes in Ocean temps and pH will hurt species whose environment has not changed much in the past 11 million years. Read the full story in Reuters UK.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

UN: Climate tipping point after 2030?

According to a UN report coming out next year, the oceans have been absorbing excess CO2, masking the warming effect. The Ocean is expect to reach its CO2 trapping capacity between 2030-2050, leading to a tipping point, unless drastic measures are taken to prevent it. Read the full article in the Telegraph.

Friday, December 8, 2006

Got Snow?

Not this year, not so much--even in the Alps. European winter temps are the highest in 500 years, and the alps are the warmest they've been in 1300 years, according to this alarming story.

Climate change reduces Ocean food supply

Oceanic warming has reduced the amount of plankton, which has a negative effect on other ocean species, according to NASA. Read about it here.

December Daffodils?

The bright yellow blooms have appeared in Wales, leading to concern for the seasonal cycle. Read about it at BBC news.

Cradle-to-Grave Environmentalism

A new green burial movement is gaining momentum. Burial without metal caskets, vaults, or embalming has been practiced in Britain for a decade. Will this novel method of recycling catch on in the US? Listen to the NPR story here.

NRG puts Kibosh on Coal Plant

One of the Connecticut's largest electricity producers has dropped plans for a power plant in Montville using new "clean coal" technology and instead is moving forward with plans to build a conventional gas-fired plant there.New Jersey-based NRG is proposing a natural gas-fired plant that could be retrofitted to one day use the coal technology, said Ray Long, Northeast region director for the company. "Clean Coal" does not reduce emissions of gasses that cause global warming. Read the Courant story.

Carbon-negative bio-fuels

Diverse grassland species constitute a carbon-negative source of energy that could alleviate 19 percent of global electricity consumption and 13 percent of the world's petroleum consumption. Read all about it.

Is that your auto exhaust, or are you cooking fries?

Philly-based "Fry-O-Diesel" plans on recycling restaurant grease and turning it into useable fuel. They have perfected the technique and are now gearing up to produce a whole lot more fuel. Listen to the NPR story.

Shop for a better World In Collinsville, CT

A storefront selling compact florescent bulbs and energy-saving lamps has opened in Collinsville, CT. Check out this link to the website.

Lots of News!

It has been a busy couple of days for the environmental community. Al Gore appeared on Oprah on Tuesday to present Global Warming 101 and to promote house party showings of "An Inconvenient Truth" on Saturday, December 16. The U.S. Department of Energy announced a scientific breakthrough: new, super-efficient solar panels. Wired Magazine has a short articles about possible technological solutions to climate change. NPR reported on a story in the journal Science about predicting global warming from CO2 leve.s

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Breadbasket moves to Canada

At its annual general meeting in Washington yesterday, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, the world’s leading network of agricultural research centers, said the steady march of global warming was driving the need to develop new crop strains that can withstand rising temperatures, drier climates and increased soil salt content, as well as “boosting agriculture’s role in removing greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere.” Read about it in the New York Time's blog The Lede.

Climate Change Sufferers: The Future is Now

Suffering from Climate Change is not something in the far-off future for many of the world's destitute. Climate change has already altered the lives of millions. Read about it in the British publication The Independent.

Youth on Climate Change

In a recent poll conducted in various locations around the globe, 51% of young people age 15-17 have heard of Climate change, 34% say they have altered their behavior because of this knowlege, and 52% say they are not willing to lower their standard of living to protect the earth from climate change. Read about the other topics of the survey at

CDC: Climate Change Threatens Health

Climate change is perhaps the largest looming public health challenge we face, certainly in the environmental health field," Dr. Howard Frumkin, director of the CDC's National Center for Environmental Health, told United Press International in an interview. Read about it at UPI.

Hudson Valley Ponders Climate Change

"Continued warming could strip the snow from the Catskills to Maine in the winter and the red blush of maple trees in the fall. It could make the Hudson Valley's summers resemble South Carolina's." Read about it here.

CT Haz-Mat firm fired

The state has cut tied with Earth Technology Two, a firm paid millions to clean up hazardous wastes. The firm pled guilty to fraud in federal court earlier this month. Listen to the story on WNPR radion.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Aussie Evangelicals Back Climate Change Action

A story in the Sydney Morning Herald about how the Austrialian Evangelicals are jumping on the Climate Change action bandwagon along with U.S. and U.K. evangelicals. The story includes an editorial cartoon about faith and climate change.

Climate Change Meeting In India

An international meeting on Climate Change will be held in India this week, to discuss the impact of Climate Change on India and similar countries. Read the full story here.

Gas Plant on the Long Island Sound

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved building a liquified natural gas power plant that would float on the Long Island Sound, over the objection of Environmental groups, who believe a combination of conservation and clean energy sources could meet growing power demands in Connecticut and nearby New York areas. Read the story in the Hartford Courant.

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Climate Change and Insurance

This is an analysis of something you hear little about: the fact that the Insurance industry is banking on serious climate change in order to protect the bottom line. It originally appeared in The Washington Post. Read about it in the "Free Internet Press."

Analysis of Climate Change Politics on TOTN

Talk of the nation featured discussions of the recent Supreme Court case on climate change and the impact the new congress will have on climate change action. Listen here.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

New Crops needed to combat climate change

"A group of leading agricultural research institutes will on Monday launch a major drive to prepare the most vulnerable people in the world for the devastating effects of global warming.
With large parts of the world facing dramatic crop losses from rising temperatures and changed rainfall patterns, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) says action is needed immediately and at all levels."

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Eco-friendly gifts

Check out Greenfeet, an online source for eco-friendly products and gifts.

Suprene Court Hears Climate Change Case

The U.S. Supreme Court heard a case on climate change today. The court heard arguments in a case to determine whether the Environmental Protection Agency should regulate emissions of carbon dioxide as a pollutant. Rulings aren't expected until next summer. The suit is being brought by 12 states, some cities, and other groups. Read an account of the oral arguments here. Read an analysis in the New York Times here.

Europe to cut CO2 Emissions

The European Union is considering a stringent CO2 emissions trading plan to take effect 2008-2012 to combat global climate change. Read about it here.

Poll: Faith groups should push Climate protection

"A majority of Americans, 57%, agree that religious and faith groups should take a stand on global warming, compared to 41% who disagree and 2% who don't know. But less than half (45%) say their own convictions -- moral, ethical or religious -- compel them to solve global warming by changing their own personal habits. Of those who would, most have already purchased energy efficient products and services, reduced their auto emissions and voted for candidates who actively address global warming." Read the full article at Earthtimes.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Clouds and Climate Change

"Scientists are peering into the clouds near the top of the world, trying to solve a mystery and learn something new about global warming. The mystery is the droplets of water in the cluds. With the North Pole just 685 miles away, they should be frozen, yet more of them are liquid than anyone expected. So the scientists working out of a converted blue cargo container are trying to determine whether the clouds are one of the causes — or effects — of Earth’s warming atmosphere. " Read the rest of this story here.

National Climate Change Service?

Prominent climate researchers are advocating a national climate change service. Unlike the National Weather Service, which forecasts weather a week or two in advance, a climate change service would make weather predictions 6 months to a year in advance. It would also project 100-year climate change scenarios for some regions. Read more about this proposal here.

Monday, November 27, 2006

An Inconvenient Truth DVD

An Inconvenient Truth is now out on DVD. Read what Al Gore has to say about the DVD release. Buy the book and DVD at Amazon.

Kenya provides Climate Change Clues

Past changes in Kenya's climate yields important information about the changes global warming will bring, according to a new study. Read about it here.

The Katrina Cottage

Designed as an alternative to FEMA trailers, the Katrina Cottage is 308 square feet, the same size as a FEMA trailer. See and read about it at Inhabitat, a blog that features green building.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Louise Feldman, Jewish Environmentalist

This is a Courant story about Louse Feldman, a longtime supporter of the Interreligious Eco-Justice Network, who died November 5. She will be missed.

"Ecobabes" fight climate change with calendar

A controversial new calendar is designed to raise funds for a Sonoma County California Climate Protection Campaign. Self-proclaimed "ecobabes" posed for the calendar, and though it shows little skin, it is causing controversy. The idea behind the calendar, said Ann Hancock, the executive director of the campaign, is "to inspire and compel" people to take action. See the "ecobabes" and read about the ambitious Sonoma Climate Protection Plan here.

Enviroman Says Blog

This is just a plug for another Environmental blog, Enviroman Says. Very cool and filled with practical tips. Check it out here.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Voices of Faith at UN Conference

BRITAIN and other rich countries must reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions drastically as the world’s climate rapidly approaches a man-made tipping point, a representative of the World Council of Churches told the UN Climate Conference in Nairobi, in Kenya, last Friday. Read the story in the Church of England's Church Times.

Solar Brightening and Climate Change

How much global warming is attributable to the sun's rays becoming brighter? It could be a factor in climate change, even though the primary cause is most likely greenhouse gasses. Read about it in Grist

Progress at UN Climate Change Conference?

Was there progress at the UN Climate Change Conference in Kenya that wrapped Nov. 17? It depends who you ask. An article in the Epoch Times International cites an agreement that greenhouse gasses need to be cut 50% as a breakthrough. Forbes sees the glass as half-full at best. Read both stories to get a fuller picture.

Bride of Frankencorn?

The USDA has approved for human consumption a type of genetically engineered rice that had contaminated domestic rice supplies last summer.

The USDA said Friday that its Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service decided to deregulate the experimental long-grain rice after a review of scientific evidence indicated it was as safe as its traditionally bred counterparts. Read about it in the Washington Post.

Nevada Nuke Dump Proposal in Trouble

Residents of Nevada are poised to kill a proposal to put a Nuclear waste dump there. Read about it in the Washington Post.

Energy Companies Deal with Climate Change

The times, they are a changin'. Major energy firms are seeking federal caps on greenhouse emissions, believing that it will be easier for them that way than dealing with a patchwork of state and regional regularions. Exxon Mobil Corp., the highest-profile corporate skeptic about global warming, said in September that it was considering ending its funding of a think tank that has sought to cast doubts on climate change. Read about it in the Washington Post.

This story mentions regional regulations passed by several Northeastern States, Including Connecticut, and the new Boulder Colorado "green tax" mentioned an a post earlier this month on Eco-Justice Blog.

Friday, November 24, 2006

'Locavores' Take Eating Locally Seriously

Eating food produced within a 100-mile radius is the focus of this story. Folks are hosting eat local dinner parties/potulucks. Find some helpful how-tos and links in Wired. Listen to a story about how eating locally may be better for your health from NPR's Talk of the Nation.

Christian Coalition Pro-Environment Leader Resigns

The Rev. Joel Hunter said he quit as president-elect of the group founded by evangelist Pat Robertson because he realized he would be unable to broaden the organization's agenda beyond opposing abortion and same-sex marriage.
He hoped to include issues such as easing poverty and saving the environment.
"These are issues that Jesus would want us to care about," Hunter said.
The resignation took place Tuesday during an organization board meeting. Hunter said he was not asked to leave. Read the full story here.

Europe Confronts Sprawl

Urban sprawl – which is "when the rate of land-use conversion exceeds the rate of population growth" - is on the rise in Europe just as it is in the United States. If the trend continues, Europe's urban area will double in just over a century, warns the European Environment Agency. Europe is already one of the most urbanized continents. 75 percent of its population lives in urban areas.By 2020, that percentage will increase to 80 or even 90 percent in some member states. Read the full story here.

UK Debates Green Taxes

A story about the pros and cons of instituting so-called green taxes in the UK. Read about it here.

Future Trade Agreements linked to Climate?

The need to link climate change rules with global trade agreements has been highlighted at a meeting of academics and diplomats in Sydney.

The European Union is hosting a forum on strengthening international environmental governance. Read the full story here.

Drive Beyond Oil

Read the blog about a cross-country National Resources Defense Council tour to promote energy alternatives at Drive Beyond Oil.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Brother combines Science and Faith

Brother James Lockman, new director of the Mission Saint Luis Rey, says his new mission home, where he arrived in May, is a great place to live out his passion for botany and the teachings of St. Francis, founder of the Roman Catholic religious order that runs the mission.

"I found I had a natural affinity with the Franciscans because I have the same relationship with nature," he said, adding that St. Francis is the patron saint of ecology as well as of animals. "Evolution has never been an issue for Catholics. There is no fundamental contradiction. The problem comes when the words of Scripture are taken literally, and that wasn't the genre in which they were written." Read the full story in the San Diego area North County Times.

Are there Nukes in Our Future?

Seven partners representing half the world's population have agreed to build an experimental fusion reactor in southern France that could revolutionize global energy use for future generations.

The European Union, China, India, Russia, Japan and South Korea will attempt to combat global warming by offering an alternative to fossil fuels. Read the full story in the Chicago Tribune.

Decline of worm spells trouble

The decline in population of the tiny Antarctic nematode spells potential trouble for the atmosphere. The worms are responsible for preventing the release of significant amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Read the full story in the New York Times.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Have an Eco-Friendly, Alternative Holiday

Alternatives to traditional holiday gifts and celebrations at the Center for a New American Dream's holiday survival page.

New Global Pact not expected until 2010

A new global pact to curb greenhouse gas emissions is not likely until 2010, the UN now says. Environmental groups are pushing for it to happen in 2008 or 2009. Read the story here.

Oil Spill in Lebanon

An oil spill that occurred during the Lebonese-Israeli conflict earlier this year has yet to be cleaned up. Read the full story here.

God is an Environmentalist

There is a thread about Evagelicals and global climate change on the popular website Daily Kos. Much of it centers on the film "The Great Warming" opening in 36 cities. Here is the link.

Science vs. Religion Grudge Match

Some scientists are saying it is time to take the gloves off and challenge religion as the greatest stories ever told. This isn't a story about environmental issues, but about the gulf between science and religion. Read about it in today's New York Times.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Green Gridlock? Environmental Legislation in the New Congress

Will the new Congress be good for the environment? Or will they clash with the president and create partisan gridlock? Analysis by Amanda Griscom Little, a columnist for Grist Magazine. Her articles on energy, technology and the environment have appeared in publications ranging from Rolling Stone to the New York Times Magazine. Her essay appears in Salon (note: you have to watch a brief ad to see the full article.)

Canadian Religious Communities fight Climate Change

Religious communities in Canada join the movement to stop global climate change. The relgious environmental movement in Canada is similar to that in the US. Read about it in the Toronto Star.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

When Turkeys go Berzerkey

Just in time for Thanksgiving--an envoronmental success story with a twist. Listen to the NPR segment here.

Climate Change in Africa

Weather patterns in Kenya are far different than they were a generation ago. There's less snow on the mountaintops, lakes are much lower, and the rainy season has been arriving late. And when the rain finally comes, it falls too hard and fast and sweeps away the precious topsoil that farmers need to plant their harvests

Listen to the NPR story here.

Punk Rockers push clean energy

Now that they've fully mastered three chords, punk/pop stars Green Day have teamed up with the Natural Resources Defense Council to promote clean energy. The band has posted video messages about environmental issues on a new website, where visitors can send messages directly to political leaders.

Middle Eastern Environmental Symposium

A 2-day symposium held in Dubai for Middle Easter communities focused mainly on hazardous waste management. Read about it here.

Underground CO2 Use

This is a story about the use of CO2 to retrieve oil from oil wells. Environmentalists and the oil industry have clashed on this in the past but now may find common ground. It is full of insider jargon but if you have been following the debate about sequestering greenhouse gasses underground, you may find this of interest. Read the full story here.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Boulder Colorado Passes Carbon Emissions Tax

Boulder Colorado has passed what may be the nation's first a carbon emissions tax based on the number of kilowatt hours used. The tax is designed to encourage energy efficiency. Read the entire story here.

Renewable Energy on Talk of the Nation

A new report from the Rand Corp. suggests the United States can get 25 percent of it energy from renewables such as wind and ethanol by the year 2025. The guest, Senior Rand Corp. Economist Mike Toman, used to sing in the church choir at Bethesda United Church of Christ with me. This segment aired Friday, November 17. Listen to the segment here.

Pollution increases as China modernizes

The Yellow River is threatened by polution. Read the full story in the New York Times.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Pollution as a drastic solution to global warming

At the UN Conference on Climate Change in Nairobi, Kenya, a group of scientists discussed their drastic short-term fix for climate change--spewing enough pollution to draw a "shade" over the sun temporarily. The Nobel Prize-winning scientist who first made the proposal is himself ''not enthusiastic about it.''
''It was meant to startle the policy makers,'' said Paul J. Crutzen, of Germany's Max Planck Institute for Chemistry. ''If they don't take action much more strongly than they have in the past, then in the end we have to do experiments like this.''

Read the full story here.

A Scientist Appeals to Pastors

In his latest book, ''The Creation, An Appeal to Save Life on Earth,'' scientist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author E. O. Wilson appeals to Christian believers in hopes of saving the Earth from where he sees it heading--toward the biggest mass extinction since the dinosaurs.

''Pastor, we need your help. The Creation -- living Nature -- is in deep trouble,'' Wilson writes in this letter to an imaginary Southern Baptist pastor. ''You might well ask at this point, Why me? Because religion and science are the two most powerful forces in the world today.''

Read the whole article at