Well blow us over, Mount Rushmore State! Scores of landowners in South Dakota are banding together in an attempt to build a one-gigawatt wind farm, which would be spread over thousands of acres of farmland.
Obviously, diesel should not be pumped into the ground. It is a filthy fossil fuel that can cause cancer. But about 2 percent of frack jobs include the ingredient in their cocktail of drilling poisons -- and that will be allowed to continue, albeit with some weak new oversight from the EPA.
India is going gangbusters for solar. Over the past four years, the country has boosted its grid-connected solar capacity from 18 megawatts to 2,200 MW. The prime minister's pet renewables project, the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, aims to increase that figure to 20,000 MW by 2022. And, as we told you yesterday, India has plans to build the world's biggest solar array.
Such ambitions are helping the country slow the growth of its carbon emissions and are providing reliable electricity supplies to historically electricity-poor communities. And because the national solar program requires developers to use domestically made panels, it's generating green jobs in a country where poverty is rampant.
Which all sounds great -- unless you're the U.S. government.
The Jan. 9 spill of as much as 10,000 gallons from a steel tank next to the Elk River didn't just poison water supplies relied upon by 300,000 West Virginians. It revealed holes in state and federal safety rules big enough to drive hazmat-loaded trucks through.
The tanks that Freedom Industries uses to store chemicals at its facility in Charleston are more than 50 years old, and company officials knew that chemicals were being stored in them in ways that did not meet industry or EPA standards.
Environmental consultants audited storage drums for the company late last year, but never inspected the drum that leaked and contaminated water supplies. Its contents -- a toxic, little-understood coal-cleaning stew of 4-Methylcyclohexane methanol and something the company calls stripped PPH -- were considered nonhazardous under federal law. Still, if anybody had cared to check, they would have discovered that a leak from the aging drum could flow straight through gravel and cinder blocks and into the river.
That's according to congressional testimony by Rafael Moure-Eraso, chair of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board.
But there's a gaping hole in his green cred: He's beholden to his state's poultry industry, which sends huge amounts of phosphorous-rich chicken crap out into the Chesapeake Bay, triggering dead zones. As Tom Laskawy reported in Grist in 2012, O'Malley is particularly cozy with officials from chicken giant Perdue.
That explains his threat last week to veto a recently introduced bill that would impose a new tax of 5 cents per chicken on the state’s poultry producers to help fund efforts to protect and clean up the bay.
“I will tell you this — read my lips — if that chicken tax bill passes I will veto it,” O’Malley said Thursday night at a dinner hosted by the Maryland Agriculture Council.
Global average land temperatures have not increased as quickly as many scientists had expected over the past 10 or 15 years, leading some climate skeptics to latch onto the bogus idea of a "global warming pause." Last year researchersreported that much of the "missing heat" was not in fact missing but rather was being sucked up by the oceans.
Now new research helps explain why excess heat is being absorbed into the sea: big-ass winds.
A paper published in the journal Nature Climate Change suggests that the slowdown in surface warming and the acceleration in ocean warming has been largely driven by a phase in a natural ocean cycle called the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO). That’s a frightfully cumbersome name, but it’s easy to break down: It's a swing (“oscillation”) in Pacific Ocean weather that takes decades (“interdecadal”) to shift from one phase to another. Instead of switching every few years, like El Niño and La Niña, an IPO can last 20 to 30 years before flipping from one extreme to the other.
“Global warming hasn’t stalled at all,” Matthew England, a professor at the University of New South Wales in Australia and lead author of the paper, told Grist. “There’s just more heat going into the oceans at the moment.”
Mainstream American news networks don't care about climate change. When they're not ignoring humanity's greatest crisis, they're inviting pundits onto their programs to spread climate misinformation.
But here comes a Qatari government-owned broadcaster to the rescue. Al Jazeera America launched in August 2013 after purchasing Al Gore's Current TV, and now it has a team of 800 employees with headquarters in New York. Right away it dove into climate coverage, and six months later it's still going strong on the environmental beat.
India has just 2,200 megawatts of grid-connected solar power -- less than a quarter of the capacity in the U.S.But four years ago, the heavily coal-dependent country had only 18 megawatts, so it's been quickly upping its game.
And now it's talking up plans to build the world's biggest solar power plant in the desert-dominated state of Rajasthan, which abuts Pakistan's border.
If built, the $4.4 billion solar array would cover an area larger than Manhattan and be capable of producing 4,000 megawatts of electricity -- an amount that Nature compared with the output of four nuclear power plants. It's proposed for an area near a government salt-mining operation.
A half dozen state-owned companies last month signed a memorandum of understanding related to the project. Financing such a mammoth project, though, will not be easy, so India is preparing to turn to the World Bank for assistance. domain-B, an Indian business magazine, explains:
If you want to know what most of southern England looks like right now, take a peek into your mug of Earl Grey.
The region has taken an almighty soaking during the past week, following the wettest January on record. (And when we say "on record," we're talking about nearly 250 years worth of data.)
The unprecedented drenching shut down rail lines over the weekend. At least 5,000 homes have been flooded in the county of Somerset in the southwest of the country, and the government is warning that thousands more are vulnerable throughout the region as rivers swell. Al Jazeera reports:
Severe flooding and landslips cut off rail links to large parts of southwest England for more than 24 hours at the weekend as the government came under pressure for its handling of storms battering Britain.
Some areas have been underwater for over a month in the wettest January on record, with angry residents criticising the government for not doing enough to prevent flooding or reacting quickly enough to help those affected by the devastation.
The military has been brought in to help build flood defences and evacuate properties.
For years, environmentalists in North Carolina have been pressuring and suing Duke Energy in an attempt to get the company to clean up its coal-ash disposal sites. Duke dismissed the enviros and assured federal officials that its coal-ash ponds were safe.