Environment Correspondent
Deborah's Feed
Jul 4, 2012

Poof! Dust disk that might have made planets disappears

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – In a cosmic case of “now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t,” a brilliant disk of dust around a Sun-like star has suddenly vanished, and the scientists who observed the disappearance aren’t sure about what happened.

Typically, the kind of dusty haloes that circle stars have the makings of rocky planets like Earth, according to Ben Zuckerman, one of a team of researchers who reported the finding on Wednesday in the journal Nature.

Jul 1, 2012

America’s Generation Y not driven to drive

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – To Shoshana Gurian-Sherman, driving seemed like a huge hassle.

“Part of it was laziness,” the 23-year-old Minneapolis resident recalled. “I didn’t really want to put in the effort to learn how to drive … I knew how to ride the buses, so it was not necessary.

Jun 28, 2012

West’s wildfires a preview of changed climate: scientists

By Deborah Zabarenko and Laura Zuckerman

(Reuters) – Scorching heat, high winds and bone-dry conditions are fueling catastrophic wildfires in the U.S. West that offer a preview of the kind of disasters that human-caused climate change could bring, a trio of scientists said on Thursday.

“What we’re seeing is a window into what global warming really looks like,” Princeton University’s Michael Oppenheimer said during a telephone press briefing. “It looks like heat, it looks like fires, it looks like this kind of environmental disaster … This provides vivid images of what we can expect to see more of in the future.”

Jun 26, 2012

Oil supply surge could risk price collapse: Harvard analysis

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Global oil supplies are growing so fast that they could outstrip demand and lead to a collapse in world prices, a former energy executive who is now a Harvard research fellow said on Tuesday.

“Most analyses today are still marked by this obsession with oil running out,” Leonardo Maugeri, formerly a senior manager at Italy-based oil and gas giant Eni SpA (ENI.MI: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), said at a discussion at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank in Washington.

Jun 26, 2012

U.S. East Coast a “hot spot” for sea level rise: study

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Sea levels from Cape Hatteras to Cape Cod are rising at a faster pace than anywhere on Earth, making coastal cities and wetlands in this densely-populated U.S. corridor possibly more vulnerable to flooding and damage, researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

Climate change is causing higher sea levels around the world, as land-based glaciers like those on Greenland melt and slide into the oceans and as warming ocean water expands.

Jun 22, 2012

Rising sea levels to hit California hard by 2100

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Seas could rise higher along the California coastline this century than in other places in the world, increasing the risk of flooding and storm damage, dune erosion and wetland destruction, the U.S. National Research Council reported Friday.

Rising sea levels have long been seen as a consequence of climate change, because as the world warms, glaciers melt and contribute water to the Earth’s oceans. At the same time, ocean waters tend to expand as they heat, pushing sea levels higher.

Jun 17, 2012

Alaska’s Tongass forest sparks battle over logging

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Environmental advocates readied for battle in Congress this week over what they maintain is an erosion of protections for the biggest, oldest trees in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, often called the crown jewel of the U.S. forest system.

A vast swath of woodland that stretches along the southeast Alaskan coast and inland over more that 17 million acres (70,000 square km), the Tongass is one of the last temperate rainforests on Earth with centuries-old trees critical to wildlife habitat and Alaska’s salmon fishery.

Jun 12, 2012

Climate change will boost number of West’s wildfires

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Climate change will make wildfires in the West, like those now raging in parts of Colorado and New Mexico, more frequent over the next 30 years, researchers reported on Tuesday.

More broadly, almost all of North America and most of Europe will see an increase in wildfires by the year 2100, the scientists wrote in the journal Ecosphere, a publication of the Ecological Society of America.

Jun 12, 2012

As water bills rise, utilities struggle for funds

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – With water bills on the rise even as consumers are being urged to use less, more than 70 percent of water companies either lack the funds to maintain aging infrastructure or have just enough to meet requirements, a new industry survey reports.

Much of the financial pressure on water utilities comes from the price of energy, which accounts for as much as 30 percent of their operating costs, according to the survey released on Tuesday by Black & Veatch, a $2.6 billion global engineering business that designs water systems.

Jun 7, 2012

Warmest U.S. spring on record: NOAA

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – So far, 2012 has been the warmest year the United States has ever seen, with the warmest spring and the second-warmest May since record-keeping began in 1895, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported on Thursday.

Temperatures for the past 12 months and the year-to-date have been the warmest on record for the contiguous United States, NOAA said.

    • 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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