WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Environmental degradation and waning natural resources threaten U.S. security in the 21st century, in a shift from “kinetic” security threats, defense experts told a Capitol Hill briefing Wednesday.
The loss of renewable natural resources, including forests, fresh water, fish and fertile soils, can drive political instability and conflict in the developing world, according to the briefing.
Zoom! Pan! Swish! Take a look at a new movie of walruses crowding an Alaska beach — as you’ve never seen them before! Shot from 4,000 feet up in the air, the vast herd of walruses looks like a pile of brown gravel from a distance. (A far different view than the extreme close-up in the still photo at left, which was taken at a zoo in Belarus.)
As the camera in Alaska zooms in, you can see there are thousands of walruses scrambling ashore as the ice floes they normally use as hunting platforms melt away. The video was shot this month at Point Lay, Alaska, and distributed this week by the U.S. Geological Survey. It’s impossible to say how many are on this beach in this movie, but an Arctic scientist at World Wildlife Fund estimates between 10,000 and 20,000 of the tusked marine mammals have hauled themselves onto land in Alaska this year as summer Arctic sea ice shrank to its third-smallest recorded size.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – So far, 2010 is tied for the warmest year on record, and Arctic sea ice reached its third-lowest level, prompting thousands of walruses to haul themselves out of ice-starved waters, U.S. scientists said on Wednesday.
The first eight months of the year match the record set for the same period in 1998 for the highest combined land and ocean surface temperatures worldwide, at 58.5 degrees F (14.7 C), 1.21 degrees F (0.67 degrees C) above the 20th century average, the U.S. National Climatic Data Center said in a statement.
Jaws needs help.
Nine shark-attack survivors from five countries headed for the United Nations in New York City to plead the case for shark preservation. U.N. member countries could take this issue up this week as part of an annual resolution on sustainable fisheries. They’ll also be reviewing the Millennium Development Goals — a long-range set of global targets that includes stemming the loss of biodiversity, including sharks.
“I’m very thankful to be alive,” said Krishna Thompson, a Wall Street banker who lost his left leg in a shark attack while visiting the Bahamas in 2001. “I have learned to appreciate all of God’s living creatures. Sharks are an apex predator in the ocean. Whether they continue to live affects how we as people live on this Earth. I feel that one of the reasons why I am alive today is to help the environment and help support shark conservation.”
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – What would happen if cars, trucks, power plants and factories that now give off climate-warming carbon dioxide were allowed to die after their expected lifespans, and no new ones were built?
The answer is that the build up of greenhouse gases would fall short of the level that many climate scientists say would trigger the most devastating effects of global warming, researchers reported on Thursday in the journal Science.
WASHINGTON, Sept 7 (Reuters) – Hungry microbes feasting on
spilled BP oil caused a drop in oxygen levels in the Gulf of
Mexico, but did not create a marine “dead zone” near the
wellhead, U.S. scientists reported on Tuesday.
The amount of oxygen decreased by 20 percent from the
long-term average in areas where oil from the broken BP Macondo
wellhead was detected by government and independent observers,
scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration told reporters.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A new, highly detailed map of part of Peru’s Amazon shows how much climate-warming carbon is stored there, and where cutting down vegetation has sent this greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, scientists said on Monday.
The three-dimensional map could help clear the way for an international agreement to curb deforestation and forest degradation, which account for up to one-fifth of all greenhouse gases released by human activities, according to United Nations estimates.
The reviews are in on President Barack Obama’s newly redecorated Oval Office. And they are, like the earth tones of the custom-made sofas, mostly muted.
The morning after the spiffed-up office was unveiled — during Tuesday night’s presidential address to the nation, with Obama sitting behind the Resolute Desk — the Washington Post splashed its impressions on the front page of the much-read Style section, complete with graphics and commentary. “Very American and very appropriate,” said Margaret Russell of Architectural Digest; “tasteful and … very safe,” was interior designer Celerie Kemble’s assessment, both reported in the Post.
As the special envoy on climate change for the World Bank, Andrew Steer might be thought of as the $6 billion man of environmental finance. He oversees more than that amount for projects to fight the effects of global warming.
“More funds flow through us to help adaptation and mitigation than anyone else,” Steer said in a conversation at the bank’s Washington headquarters. Named to the newly created position in June, Steer said one of his priorities is to marshall more than $6 billion in the organization’s Climate Investment Funds to move from smaller pilot projects to large-scale efforts.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A Manhattan-sized plume of oil spewed deep into the Gulf of Mexico by BP’s broken Macondo well has been consumed by a newly discovered fast-eating species of microbes, scientists reported on Tuesday.
The micro-organisms were apparently stimulated by the massive oil spill that began in April, and they degraded the hydrocarbons so efficiently that the plume is now undetectable, said Terry Hazen of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.