Environment Correspondent
Deborah's Feed
Jul 19, 2011

American West’s whitebark pine risks extinction-US

WASHINGTON, July 19 (Reuters) – An iconic species of the
American West, the whitebark pine, is at risk of extinction
from climate change and disease, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service said on Tuesday, but no immediate action is planned.

There isn’t enough money to list the whitebark pine as
endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act, with
other species taking priority. Such a listing would trigger a
recovery plan, the wildlife service said in a document
published in the Federal Register.

Jul 18, 2011
via Environment Forum

The power of a soccer ball

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Anyone who watched the women’s World Cup final might have wondered if it’s possible to harness that pure human energy. Turns out, it is. There’s enough power in a soccer ball to light the night — or at least a part of it.

It’s done via sOccket, a soccer ball that kids kick around all day, where its movement generates energy. When the sun sets, plug an LED lamp into the ball and it turns into a light for reading or other purposes. Play with the sOccket for 15 minutes and use the light for up to three hours. Sustainable, non-polluting, safe.

Jul 18, 2011

More polar bear cubs die as Arctic ice melts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Polar bear cubs forced to swim long distances with their mothers as their icy Arctic habitat melts appear to have a higher mortality rate than cubs that didn’t have to swim as far, a new study reports.

Polar bears hunt, feed and give birth on ice or on land, and are not naturally aquatic creatures. Previous reports have noted individual animals swimming hundreds of miles (kilometers) to reach ice platforms or land, but this is one of the first to show these swims pose a greater risk to polar bear young.

Jul 18, 2011

More polar bear cubs die as Arctic ice melts-study

WASHINGTON, July 18 (Reuters) – Polar bear cubs forced to
swim long distances with their mothers as their icy Arctic
habitat melts appear to have a higher mortality rate than cubs
that didn’t have to swim as far, a new study reports.

Polar bears hunt, feed and give birth on ice or on land,
and are not naturally aquatic creatures. Previous reports have
noted individual animals swimming hundreds of miles (kilmetres)
to reach ice platforms or land, but this is one of the first to
show these swims pose a greater risk to polar bear young.

Jul 15, 2011
via Environment Forum

Harry Potter, horcruxes and Steven Chu

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Anyone familiar with Harry Potter knows as least two things: 1) this is the U.S. opening weekend for the final movie in the blockbuster series about the boy wizard and 2) ultimate villain Voldemort uses horcruxes to hold bits of his soul and extend his life.

Leave it to U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu to riff on horcruxes to explain energy storage.

Jul 15, 2011
via Environment Forum

As if 2007 never happened?

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If four years is a lifetime in politics, it’s an eternity in climate change politics. Events in Washington this week might make climate policy watchers wonder if 2007 really happened.

At issue is the decision by American Electric Power to put its plans for carbon capture and storage on hold, due to the weak economy and the lack of a U.S. plan to limit emissions of climate-warming carbon dioxide. Read the Reuters story about it here.

Jul 13, 2011
via Environment Forum

How many politicians does it take to NOT change a light bulb?

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Some stories, no matter how serious, are just joke-prone. So it was this week with the proposed U.S. BULB act, which aimed to repeal light bulb efficiency standards that became law in 2007. Sponsored by Joe Barton, a Texas Republican congressman, the BULB bill failed to receive the two-thirds vote of those present in the House of Representatives that would have been needed to suspend House rules and pass the measure.

That was the signal for Washington politicians, interest groups and some headline writers to crank up the pun-producing machinery:

Jul 12, 2011
via Environment Forum

It’s not just fancy. It’s green.

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When munching on a sumptuous spread of white truffles, sampling almonds tucked into syrupy preserved figs or chomping on a cigar-sized chunky chocolate bar, do you ever wonder about these luxury foods’ environmental impact?

Apparently lots of consumers do — enough that organic, sustainable and otherwise “green” foods are proliferating at this year’s Fancy Food Show.

Jul 5, 2011
via Environment Forum

Why is this Great White Shark smiling?

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For this Great White Shark, it’s even better now in the Bahamas.

The long-running tourist slogan has a new meaning for all 40 of the shark species around the Caribbean island chain after the Bahamian government banned all commercial shark fishing in the approximately  243,244 square miles  (630,000 square kilometers) of the country’s waters.

What’s good for sharks is good for the Bahamian economy. These big fish bring in about $78 million each year, or more than $800 million over the last 20 years, according to the Bahamas Diving Association — the Bahamas is one of the world’s premier shark-watching destinations for divers.

Jun 30, 2011

Polar bears’ threatened status upheld in court

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. federal judge upheld the status of polar bears as a species threatened by climate change, denying challenges by a safari club, two cattlemen’s organizations and the state of Alaska.

The ruling on Thursday by District Judge Emmet Sullivan confirmed a 2008 decision that polar bears need protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act because their icy habitat is melting away.

    • About Deborah

      "I started with Reuters in 1986 in New York City, moving to Washington DC two years later. I've covered the Winter Olympics in Calgary and Salt Lake City, a couple wars, the State Department, White House, Pentagon, several long trials and a presidential sex scandal. Since 2006, I've been reporting on the environment and climate change."
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