Today, behind closed doors in Charlotte, North Carolina, legislators from 15 states
will meet with the oil and gas industry to discuss so-called “model
legislation” as part of the American Legislative Exchange Council
(ALEC). The result could be laws that handicap renewable energy targets —
while creating loopholes for fossil fuels, written directly by the oil
and gas industry itself.
ALEC has faced backlash recently for its role in crafting Florida’s
Stand Your Ground laws. Now the organization is taking the same
secretive approach to kill renewable energy development across the country.
Oil and gas corporations have a very strong role in politics through
groups like Americans For Prosperity, American Petroleum Institute, and,
of course, ALEC. Four of the largest oil and gas corporations and two
of the most profitable…
The fragile and rapidly changing Arctic is home to large reservoirs
of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. As Earth’s climate warms, that
methane is vulnerable to possible release into the atmosphere, where it
can add to global warming.
Researchers have known for years that large amounts of methane are
frozen in Arctic tundra soils and in marine sediments (including gas hydrates). But now a multi-institutional study led by Eric Kort of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has uncovered a surprising and potentially important new source of methane: the Arctic Ocean itself.
The photograph above was taken by Kort, and it shows leads and cracks
in the ice cover of the Arctic Ocean north of Alaska. During five
research flights in 2009–10, Kort and…
Rising ocean temperatures are driving major changes in fisheries
throughout western Europe, bringing warm water species typically seen in
the Mediterranean to the coast of the United Kingdom.
A new report card
issued by European marine researchers details the ecological and
economic impact that climate change is having on fisheries in the UK and
Scotland — concluding that there are “clear indications that climate
change is affecting fish stocks” in the region.
The report card features a map of changes currently underway. In
southwest England, there are increases in blue fin tuna, triggerfish,
thresher sharks, stingrays, and ocean sunfish; In the North Sea,
fisherman are catching far more squid, shifting from a traditional focus
The government has published a biomass strategy which it says could create 50,000 jobs as well as protecting the UK from future energy shocks. Although the document has been welcomed by some organisations, such as the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), others including the Combined Heat and Power Association believes that it is not supported by government policies, which need to be strengthened.
Elsewhere, concern about biomass continues to be an issue. Beverley Law of Oregon State University for example says: "The main objective of bioenergy production from forest harvest is to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but the strategy is likely to miss the
Major concerns include shorter tree rotations, younger forests, depleted soil nutrients,
increased risk of erosion, loss of forest biodiversity and function,
higher costs for bioenergy than are now being anticipated, and increased
use of fertilizers – also a source of greenhouse emissions.