Environment Correspondent
Deborah's Feed
Jun 22, 2011
via Environment Forum

Even everyday weather could pack a $485 billion punch


No question about it: this has been a wild weather year so far in the United States, with record rains, droughts, wildfires and tornadoes. But a new study indicates that even routine weather events like rainstorms and cooler-than-normal days could pack a huge annual economic wallop.

Weather’s effect on all sectors of the U.S. economy may total $485 billion a year, as much as 3.4 percent of U.S. gross domestic product, according to research published in the current Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. It is the first study to apply qualitative economic analysis to estimate the U.S. economy’s weather sensitivity.

Jun 21, 2011
via Tales from the Trail

Mark Kelly says he’ll leave NASA and the Navy to be by Gabrielle Giffords’ side


Three weeks after he landed space shuttle Endeavour at the end of its final voyage, Captain Mark Kelly said he’ll be retiring from NASA and the U.S. Navy to be with his wife, U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, as she recovers from gunshot wounds suffered in January.

“As life takes unexpected turns we frequently come to a crossroads,” Kelly wrote in a post on Facebook. “I am at this point today. Gabrielle is working hard every day on her mission of recovery. I want to be by her side. Stepping aside from my work in the Navy and at NASA will allow me to be with her and with my two daughters.”

Jun 21, 2011

U.S. releases graphic tobacco warning labels

WASHINGTON, June 21 (Reuters) – Dead bodies, diseased lungs
and a man on a ventilator were among the graphic images for
revamped U.S. tobacco labels, unveiled on Tuesday by health
officials who hope the warnings will help smokers quit.

Proposed in November under a law that put the
multibillion-dollar tobacco industry under the control of the
U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the new labels must be on
cigarette packages and in advertisements no later than
September 2012. They represent the first change in cigarette
warnings in 25 years.

Jun 20, 2011

Arctic oil spill would challenge Coast Guard

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A major offshore Arctic oil spill could severely challenge the Coast Guard, with no available infrastructure to base rescue and clean-up operations, the Coast Guard commandant said on Monday.

“There is nothing up there to operate from at present and we’re really starting from ground zero,” said Adm. Robert Papp Jr. “Now’s the time to be not just talking about it, but acting about it.”

Jun 16, 2011

Black hole shreds star, sparking gamma ray flash

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A monster black hole shredded a Sun-like star, producing a strangely long-lasting flash of gamma rays that probably won’t be seen again in a million years, astronomers reported on Thursday.

That is definitely not the norm for gamma ray bursts, energetic blasts that typically flare up and end in a matter of seconds or milliseconds, often the sign of the death throes of a collapsing star.

Jun 15, 2011

Scientists see sunspot “hibernation” but no Ice Age

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Sunspot cycles — those 11-year patterns when dark dots appear on the solar surface — may be delayed or even go into “hibernation” for a while, a U.S. scientist said on Wednesday.

But contrary to some media reports, this does not mean a new Ice Age is coming, Frank Hill of the National Solar Observatory said in a telephone interview.

Jun 14, 2011

Mississippi floods could mean huge Gulf “dead zone”

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – This year’s record Mississippi River floods are forecast to create the biggest Gulf of Mexico “dead zone” since systematic mapping began in 1985, U.S. scientists reported on Tuesday.

Often created by farm chemical run-off carried to the Gulf by the Mississippi, the 2011 low-oxygen “dead zone” could measure 8,500 to 9,421 square miles (22,253 to 26,515 sq km), or an area roughly the size of New Hampshire, the U.S. Geological Survey said in a statement.

Jun 10, 2011
via Environment Forum

Is this the greenest office on Earth?


Every workstation has a view. Much of the lighting comes from reflected sunshine. It’s so naturally quiet that unobtrusive speakers pipe in “white noise” to preserve a level of privacy. The windows open, and they’re shaded in such a way that there’s no glare. Even with the windows closed, fresh air circulates through vents in the floor. Extreme recycling prevails, not just of bottles, cans and kitchen refuse but beetle-blighted wood.

Welcome to the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which contains some of the greenest office space on the planet.

Jun 8, 2011
via Environment Forum

A flying HIPPO, with ICE-T on the side


A HIPPO took off from a windswept airfield in Colorado today, as  ICE-T waited in a nearby hangar, getting ready for a summer trip to the Caribbean.

OK, OK, enough fun with acronyms. HIPPO and ICE-T are flying climate laboratories, one in a Gulfstream V jet, the other in a refurbished C-130 military cargo plane.

Jun 1, 2011

China on track to cut energy intensity by 20 percent

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – China is on track to cut its energy intensity — the amount of power consumed for every dollar of economic output — by 20 percent from 2005 levels, a Chinese environmental policy expert said on Tuesday.

As of 2009, the most recent year considered in the report by the non-governmental Climate Policy Initiative, China is on its way to meeting its own ambitious targets for 2010, according to Qi Ye, the group’s director at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

    • 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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