Mystery orange goo turns Alaska into a Cheeto

The Alaskan village of Kivalina woke up coated in a shiny, powdery orange substance last week. When that happens to me it usually involves bourbon and Doritos, but presumably the authorities have ruled that out in this case. They've also said that the goo isn't oil-based -- but that's about all they know.


As summer temperatures rise, so does deadly coal pollution

Coal-fired power plants are a huge source of air pollution, which poses an immediate threat to health on hot summer days when smog levels are highest.

Critical List: Canada’s pushing tar-sands oil; cutting methane also helps cut climate change

In 110 meetings over less than two years, the Canadian government tried to convince Europe to delay or derail legislative changes that could affect the imports of tar sands oil. Basically, Canada doesn’t want Europe to know how carbon-heavy the oil is, because that could affect U.S. and European imports. So they’re pushing it as environmentally friendly. Because hey, if you don’t know how dirty something is, maybe it’s clean! We often talk about cutting carbon, but here's a reminder that cutting gases like methane and nitrous oxide can also slow climate change. The EPA found that, left to their own devices, companies don't tell consumers that their processes release or their products contain chemicals harmful to children.


Give me my fish

Tomorrow is the last day for public comment on a long-overdue EPA plan to capture airborne mercury.


Fishing for change

Recycled Fish turns anglers into conservation stewards, in the hopes that future generations will be able to fish in healthy waters.

Here’s how the debt deal could spell doomsday for climate and energy

The debt deal Washington just passed is going to pit defense spending against the budgets of the DOE, EPA and incentives for clean energy production, GOP strategist Mike McKenna tells Politico.

NASA will clean up contaminated soil with salad dressing

There's an upside to the end of the space shuttle program: Now that the shuttle has been grounded, NASA can turn its attention to acres of contaminated soil and groundwater, the result of chemical spills from shuttle launches. And they're doing it in a novel way: with an oil-based emulsion that's made of corn and looks like dressing. The technique was first designed in scribbles on the back of a napkin, perhaps after eating a salad.

The plastics industry will do anything to keep you using plastic bags

Plastic bags are the genital warts of litter -- they're incredibly widespread, nearly impossible to get rid of, and can lead to much worse problems down the line. The only thing that works is prevention -- i.e. not using them in the first place. But the plastics industry doesn't take too kindly to that. Here's a sampling of the tactics the industry has used to keep people from weaning themselves off plastic bags:

Attack of the evil killer algae!

Sickening amounts of green algae, fed by nitrous waste from French farms, have been growing on the Brittany coast, where French and British people go for vacation. When the algae decomposes, it gives off hydrogen sulphide, a poisonous gas. Two years ago, a man died from inhaling the gas. The next victim: a horse. This year more than 30 wild boars have died mysteriously on the beach, and the evil algae is the prime suspect.