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Crimson-breasted Finch
Many environmentally related posts appearing at Daily Kos each week don't attract the attention they deserve. Consequently, more than seven years ago, a new feature was launched to highlight those diaries. Initially called Eco-Diary Rescue, the name was changed to Green Diary Rescue after a couple of years. In April, because of the growing number of eco-diaries being posted at the site, the name was changed again, this time to Spotlight on Green News & Views. It appears twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The most recent Saturday Spotlight can be seen here. So far, more than 17,000 environmentally oriented diaries have been rescued for inclusion in these weekly collections. As has all along been true, inclusion of a diary in the Spotlight does not necessarily indicate my agreement with or endorsement of it.
Dawn Chorus - A Lodge Called Chirije—by AngelaJean: "Tucked away on the Ecuadorian Coast, just south of Bahía de Caráquez, is a small spot of land with a lodge and cabins, trails into the surrounding forest, and miles and miles of empty beach. The place is simply called Chirije, named after the ancient culture that used to live in this gorgeous location. In fact, an existing excavation is today a museum with multiple examples of treasures found on site. That was part of the reason we wanted to visit, so that we could explore the archeaological ruins. If you'd like to see pictures of the stone and pottery discoveries, please visit my blog at NotYourAverageAmerican.com. Currently, you can read about Chirije, The Lodge and later next week there will be two other pieces published, Chirije, The Trails and Chirije, The Beach. I know you came today for the birds! I took the following photos over 4 days in which we had weather ranging from bright and sunny to overcast and gray to outright rain. The pictures are not all great but even the poor ones show birds that I might not ever get to see again so I thought they were worth including."
green dots
Why are Rick Scott and Marco Rubio Telling South Florida to go Flood Themselves?—by Pakalolo: "And what does our Governor, Rick Scott a true Tea Bagger, and our U.S. Senator, Marco Rubio a pretend Tea Bagger, have to say about Climate Change impacts in Florida? If Rick Scott is re-elected, we can expect four more years of inaction on global warming  Under Scott's guidance, the state legislature repealed Crist's Climate Protection Act and dissolved the Energy and Climate Commission. The Department of Environmental Protection ceased all climate change policy and programming. He killed mandates for renewable energy and initiatives to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Scott also appointed several well-known climate skeptics to key positions in state government, including to the Public Service Commission, which regulates electric, natural gas and other utilities. Rick Scott said science does not support global warming. Asked if he believes in climate change, he said 'No.'"

green dots
Oklahoma, Where It's Complicated Deep Beneath The Plains—by terrypinder: "The rate of earthquakes has increased in central Oklahoma since 2009, culminating in the damaging quake of November 5, 2011 near Prague, OK. The US Geological Survey and the Oklahoma Geological Survey are studying the problem, as there's a correlation between the quakes and human activity associated with the petroleum industry. With the large increase in petroleum and gas extraction in the eastern US, there has been an increase of earthquakes larger than M3 since 2010. The vast majority of these quakes have occurred in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Colorado, Texas, and Ohio. A curious question comes to mind: Why these states and not North Dakota, Pennsylvania, or other states where fracking is occurring? The answer may reveal a complex picture."

You can find more rescued green diaries below the sustainable squiggle.

Climate Chaos

Bad News from the Antarctic - The West Antarctic Ice Sheet is Melting—by xaxnar: " This just popped up at the NY Times a couple of hours ago. Justin Gillis and Kenneth Chang have the details: The collapse of large parts of the ice sheet in West Antarctica appears to have begun and is almost certainly unstoppable, with global warming accelerating the pace of the disintegration, two groups of scientists reported Monday. The finding, which had been feared by some scientists for decades, means that a rise in global sea level of at least 10 feet may now be inevitable. The rise may continue to be relatively slow for at least the next century or so, the scientists said, but sometime after that it will probably speed up so sharply as to become a crisis."

NYT: West Antarctic Ice Sheet Collapse has Begun—by ericlewis0. "NYT: The collapse of large parts of the ice sheet in West Antarctica appears to have begun and is almost certainly unstoppable, with global warming accelerating the pace of the disintegration, two groups of scientists reported Monday. Almost certainly unstoppable. Yikes. Can't wait to tell my grand kids about the romantic New York City gondola rides they'll have to look forward to."

Climate 'holy shit' moment is here: Sixty-nine feet of sea level rise setting in—by VL Baker: "The news today that Antarctic ice sheet melt is irreversible is the stomach churning moment we have been dreading. Here is NASA animation of Antarctic melting: Looking at the total picture of the ice melt that has been set in motion globally is spine tingling. Kossack glaciologist Jason Box, who has reported extensively on Greenland melting, predicts a sea rise of about 69 feet."

NASA: Last month was second-warmest April in history of temperature data recording—by Laurence Lewis: "Nothing to see here: We may not have felt it in the United States, but last month was the second-warmest April worldwide since scientists began recording temperature data, according to a preliminary report from NASA. Around the planet, April temperatures averaged 58.5°F, which is 1.3°F above average temperatures. This is only a tad lower than than the warmest April ever recorded, a milestone hit in 2010 when NASA calculated global temperatures of 1.44°F above average, according to the data sheet. The data announcement also marks this April as the 350th month in a row where the globe has experienced above-average temperatures, a phenomenon that scientists agree is largely caused by increases of man-made greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere. Incidentally, April 2014 also marked the first month in human history when average carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere reached above 400 parts per million."

Hahahahahahaha. Sen. Marco Rubio doesn't think global warming is happening the way scientists do—by Meteor Blades: "Politicians who deny global warming is happening aren't the least bit funny. They are a menace. Their reckless views and their actions and inactions on climate change are dangerous. Their policy prescriptions on the matter engender and exacerbate harm both to the economy and the environment. Nonetheless, when they spout remarks like the ones that potential GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio made on ABC's "This Week" Sunday, the response of the interviewer and everybody else in the studio ought henceforth to be howls of ridicule: 'I don't agree with the notion that some are putting out there, including scientists, that somehow there are actions we can take today that would actually have an impact on what's happening in our climate. Our climate is always changing. And what they have chosen to do is take a handful of decades of research and say that this is now evidence of a longer-term trend that's directly and almost solely attributable to manmade activity, I do not agree with that.'"

Marco Rubio can't name one source for his claims climate scientists are wrong about climate science—by Meteor Blades.

Somebody finally gets the 'fair and balanced' part of climate change debate right: John Oliver—by Meteor Blades: "Chris Mooney at Mother Jones zeroed in Monday on what we should hope is the way all climate change debates should be run in the future: For over a decade, people like me have been explaining why so-called "balanced" coverage—in which journalists devote "equal time" to both sides of a "controversy"—is totally inappropriate when it comes to climate change. But many in the mass media,  especially cable shows, have continued to regularly host climate "debates" in which one skeptic debates one climate science defender…or, lately, in which one skeptic debates Bill Nye the Science Guy. That's what made John Oliver's climate segment last night, on his new HBO show Last Week Tonight, so perfect. Not only did Oliver explain why there's no debate at all over global warming; he then demonstrated what an actually appropriate televised debate might look like."

Center for Naval Analyses Military Advisory Board: Climate change is severe national security risk—by Laurence Lewis: "The Center for Naval Analyses Military Advisory Board found that climate change-induced drought in the Middle East and Africa is leading to conflicts over food and water and escalating longstanding regional and ethnic tensions into violent clashes. The report also found that rising sea levels are putting people and food supplies in vulnerable coastal regions like eastern India, Bangladesh and the Mekong Delta in Vietnam at risk and could lead to a new wave of refugees. In addition, the report predicted that an increase in catastrophic weather events around the world will create more demand for American troops, even as flooding and extreme weather events at home could damage naval ports and military bases. No one can say that the world's political and economic leaders haven't been warned. The only question is whether they will do anything about it."

Al Gore: Republican Fear Of Koch Brothers Is Driving Climate Denialism—by Dartagnan: "Just sad, really. But this is what happens when you hitch your career to the interests of billionaire fossil fuel magnates: Former vice president Al Gore says he sees the true motivation behind these remarks: currying favor with Republican megadonors like Charles and David Koch. 'I don't think it's particularly complicated why they have all cowed into abandoning that position,' Gore said. 'They will face primary opponents financed by the Koch Brothers, and others who are part of their group, if they even breathe the slightest breath of sympathy for the truth about climate science. It's not really that complicated.' No, it's not, and Marco Rubio is a case in point."

Four star generals declare climate change a national security risk—by HoundDog: "Bill Briggs of NBC News reports, Four-Star Warning: Generals Dub Climate Change a Security Risk, and calling it 'a catalyst for conflict' for the "increasingly decentralized power structures around the world.' Repeating a similar message to that which we have from the IPCC and the special White House study on climate change, former Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff and former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said this 'latest assessments should serve as a bipartisan call to action, asserting that climate change is no longer a future threat but 'is taking place now.'"

Climate Science is NOT Apocalypticism—by ortheother: "I don't even know quite what is motivating this post at the moment. But I have a family member with a science based Ph.D. who consistently raises his opposition to the findings of climate scientists every time he sees me. He argues that he's 'read the science' and that his work has always been about modeling and that the models they use cannot hope to capture the complexity of the phenomenon of climate change and that ultimately belief in anthropogenic climate change is nothing more than belief, even religious belief. This last point resonates with those who often compare the dire predictions of climate scientists and environmental activists to the apocalyptic speculation that has occurred so frequently across western history. Now, apocalyptic speculation is something I actually know about and have studied from different angles, both professionally and as it intersects with my own cultural practices."

Galling WaPo opinion piece on climate change—by Calvino Partigiani: "Robert J. Samuelson has a very irritating opinion piece about climate change at WaPo online, 'Climate change: We have no solution yet.' It's full of so much misinformation and mangled logic that it would take a long time to sort out all that is wrong with it, so I'll just address a few basic points. He begins the piece with this: It would be healthy—in the sense of promoting honesty—if every report warning of global warming and climate change (the two terms are interchangeable) came with the following disclaimer:Despite our belief that global warming poses catastrophic threats to many of the world’s 7 billion inhabitants, we acknowledge that we now lack the technologies to stop it. The purpose of our analysis and policy proposals is to create the political and economic conditions that foster the needed technologies. But there is no assurance that this will happen, and much time and money may be invested in futile and wasteful efforts. And it only gets worse from there."

Extreme Weather

National Hurricane Centre to add Storm Surge to Forecasts This Year—by terrypinder: "The first of two hurricane seasons that fall under the US’s forecast responsibility begins on May 15th. I could have written the usual: 1. Be prepared. 2. This year will feature this many storms, and here’s the science of why. 3. We’re all doomed! But, I’m not. Instead we have to focus on something specific. Often overlooked, it is the number one cause of death in a tropical cyclone. It has over the last century taken the lives of perhaps a million people worldwide. I’m talking about storm surge. It’s often not the wind that kills, it’s the water."

Eco-Philosophy, Eco-Essays & Eco-Prose/Poetry

Keep Good Companies—by Michael Brune: "My current column in Sierra magazine ('Money Talks, Carbon Walks'), describes how each of us can help build the fossil-free economy by exercising our influence as consumers and investors. Most of us will do that because we believe it's right but, as I wrote in Sierra: 'If environmental concerns aren't reason enough to divest from the dirty energy sector, do it out of selfishness, because companies that depend on their fossil fuel reserves for future earnings are simply a bad investment these days.' That gets to a bigger point. Some companies look at the future and prepare not only to adapt but also to thrive. Others can't shake their ties to the past, whether that's digging up fossil fuels or manufacturing buggy whips. Guess which ones have proven to be better long-term investments?"

Meta Conspiracy Analysis of Global Climate Change—by Sweller3: "In one corner are the 30,000 or so climate scientists around the world conspiring to create a false crisis, a hoax. Their motive is revenge. Tired of low-paying academic jobs, they seek economic chaos, expecting wealth and power in the aftermath due to their superior command of dystopian science-fiction futures. In the other corner are several hundred oil company executives and the politicians, talking-heads and ‘scientists’ they own, doing what they do best: conspiring to steal as much as they can for as long as it takes to turn the United States into a third-world country. It almost goes without saying that a secret conspiracy between 30,000 people is fundamentally impossible, whereas there are known historical and ongoing conspiracies between the oil companies and their minions in the government and media."

The Daily Bucket: This bucket has no pictures,—by PHScott: "this bucket has only windows. I look out one window to the side yard where the old 2 foot satellite dish is reborn as a birdbath. It's early twilight on my east side of the hill and the trees block any sunset vista. Birds stop for their 1 minute bath. Flutter flutter - look around. Splash splash. So far Tufted Titmouse, Cardinal; a Carolina Wren pecking around the outside; a Red-bellied WP swooping down and UP to a tree trunk. Peek-a-boo around the tree. There's some big-winged bird sailing high up above the trees, lost in the green / blue flashes. Come back… come back so I can see you again. I want to know you. I'll continue to look out my windows. Your turn to tell what you see out your window."

"best is a future free of fossil fuels": @DevalPatrick inspires @UMass (and me)—by A Siegel: "Politicians are standard on the commencement rounds, typically providing pablum rather than substance. Sometimes, a politician takes a commencement speech to make a statement of fundamental importance, to move past photo opportunity to political leadership.  Such is the case with Governor Deval Patrick's 9 May speech at the University of Massachusetts. Patrick opened with his perspective that education is about something greater than securing a job and that the graduates would put something central to their desires for the future: 'above all I hope you will choose to be good citizens.' [...] With that in mind, Patrick laid out what is the greatest challenge today for being able to 'build community'—no policy choice before this community, this Commonwealth and this Nation is more emblematic than climate change."

Investing for the Future: An Old Tradition With a New Purpose—by James Wells: "[I]f both people and governments are capable of saving a set of arbitrary chits in a computer account, on the theory that the successor of that computer will be good enough to pay it all back in a few decades to themselves or their descendants, why would they not be willing to invest in, let’s just say, a habitable world? Let's consider the costs of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. Guess what – they’re small compared to the sums that we already save for retirement. According to a McKinsey report (these guys are business consultants, not environmentalists), the U.S could reduce emissions of up to 4.5 gigatons a year of CO2 at a cost of up to $50 per ton of CO2 — that’s 225 billion dollars a year. The report also notes that the cost could be much less considering potential gains from energy efficiency."

Food, Agriculture & Gardening

New Toxins and GMOs Headed Our Way—by jtietz: "A new poison may soon be coming to an ecosystem near you.  This is Dow Chemical’s Enlist Duo, a close relative to Monsanto’s aggressively marketed and wildly popular Roundup.  Dow’s powerful herbicide is on the fast track to approval by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Should Enlist Duo be approved, it will permit the use of yet another powerful plant toxin, and allow the introduction of a new wave of GM food crops. In short: (1) more poisons in ecosystems and food crops, and (2) more Genetically Modified (GM) produce entering the food chain. It is rather remarkable and somewhat troubling that the EPA has allowed only a thirty-day window for public comment on its review of the key compound in Dow’s chemical, a substance called '2,4-D Choline salt Herbicide.' The window closes on May 30, 2014."

Energy

Hundreds killed in Turkish coal mine collapse, 200 still trapped—by HoundDog: "Desmond Butler and Suzan Fraser of The Associated Press report Grief, Sadness and Shock as Hundreds Perish in Turkish Coal Mine. Rescuers desperately raced against time to reach more than 200 miners trapped underground Wednesday after an explosion and fire at a coal mine in western Turkey killed at least 201 workers, authorities said, in one of the worst mining disasters in Turkish history. Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said 787 people were inside the coal mine in Soma, some 250 kilometers (155 miles) south of Istanbul, at the time of the accident and 363 of them had been rescued so far."

Two miners killed in coal mine with history of safety violations—by Laura Clawson: "The deaths occurred at Patriot Coal's Brody Mine No. 1. There are two things to know about that. One is that the Mine Safety and Health Administration had found a pattern of violations at Brody Mine No. 1 last October, a determination "made on the basis of repeated violations of mandatory health or safety standards at the mine that could significantly and substantially (S&S) contribute to the cause and effect of safety or health hazards." Patriot Coal is disputing that designation, which was based on 18 citations for 'conditions and/or practices that contribute to ventilation and/or methane hazards,' 20 citations for 'conditions and/or practices that contribute to emergency preparedness and escapeway hazards,' and many more. Second, Patriot Coal itself basically came into existence to screw workers."

'Patriot Coal' Mine Collapse Kills 2 In WV—by LieparDestin: "Officials from the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration say two workers were trapped and killed in an accident at a West Virginia coal mine. Amy Louviere of the agency told The Associated Press in an email Tuesday morning that a ground failure occurred at the mine around 8:30 p.m. Monday. She says the miners' bodies have been recovered, and personnel from the agency are on the site. Brody Mine No. 1 in Boone County is owned by St. Louis-based Patriot Coal. You may of course remember 'Patriot' Coal as being the assholes who dumped 100,000+ gallons of coal ash into West Virginia waterways."

Cambridge MA: Energy and Environment Test Bed—by gmoke: "Since Cambridge, MA is the home of MIT, the city serves as a test bed for many new technologies, for good or ill.  As Cambridge is also a famously active political and environmental community, the citizens also start their own initiatives.  Here are some of the projects that I know of, an incomplete list I am sure: solar map of every roof in the city, thermal scans of every building [...] energy analysis of many of the city’s buildings by GreenAnalytix."

Oil exploration in Virunga National Park—by rb137: "Virunga National Park is the jewel of the African rainforest. It is perhaps the most biologically and geographically diverse area on the planet. Its borders contain a vast array of species and lakes, as well as tropical forest, savannahs, and volcanoes. A UNESCO World Heritage Center, this park has come to represent the African forest that supports the planet. And it's in trouble. Aside from the continuing African World War that is being fought inside its borders, a corrupt charcoal trade that is toppling its trees, and rampant poaching that's endangered its unique species, Virunga National Park has another rival: SOCO International. This park—that is intended to be some of the most protected land on the planet—sits on top of a store of oil. And yes, SOCO set its sites on drilling there. They are exploring as we speak."

Renewables

Resistance to Solar Power — A Primer—by macguru: "A major threat to that cash cow is a growing movement from centralized power production via the grid to localized dispersed power production via solar panels on the roofs of homes and businesses. A solar panel system, accompanied by a battery storage system and a small generator for emergencies, could eliminate entirely the need for the grid for a home or a business. If you put such a solar panel system on your home you no longer pay that monthly tithe. The grid becomes, for you at least, immaterial and unnecessary. Enough people do that, and the grid loses customers until its grip on profitability is loosened. The Koch brothers lose their major cash cow. This threatens to remove one very powerful monopoly that for over a century has held a solid grip on people's income by forcing them to tithe monthly to the power utility companies."

Can India Go 100% Renewable by 2050?—by chiphmartin: "Around the world, India is supposed to be the hot new solar market, and companies from around the world are rushing to get into this potentially lucrative market. Darshan Goswami posits that not only can solar take off in India, but they can get 100% of their electricity from renewable energy sources (specifically solar and wind) by 2050. What do YOU think? An excerpt: In the coming years, India will face seemingly insurmountable challenges to its economy, environment and energy security. To overcome these challenges India needs to shift to non-polluting sources of energy.... India has a golden opportunity to solve three huge problems—reducing poverty, ensuring energy security and combating climate change—but it must act soon. India can no longer afford to delay renewable energy deployment to meet its future energy needs."

Chart(s) of the Day: 800,000 green jobs added worldwide in 2013, bringing the total to 6.5 million—by Meteor Blades: "Nearly one million new green jobs were created in 2013 to reach 6.5 million overall jobs, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency’s (IRENA) Renewable Energy and Jobs—Annual Review 2014. [...] IRENA estimates 800,000 new green jobs were created in 2013, boosting the overall number of workers employed in the clean energy economy from 5.7 million in 2012 to 6.5 million at the end of 2013."

Green jobs worldwide in 2013.
We Don’t Need to Destroy Our Planet to Have Power—by StewartAcuff: "Now, the MIT Technology Review has done an article on the growth of wind power in Colorado and the support of one of the state’s largest utilities for the mandated use of even more wind power. Xcel Energy has gone from opposing even a 10 percent requirement for a utility to use wind power to supporting a 30 percent requirement for a utility to use wind power. [...] There simply is no reason to poison our water by fracking or worsen climate change by building the Keystone XL pipeline. We must force investment in clean, sustainable energy AND the many more jobs they create."

Following Up On Rhone Resch—by chiphmartin: "Last week, Chet Henry got on to a story about the president of the Solar Energy Industries Association and his....generous compensation package. Now independent media consultant Peter Allen weighs in with the appropriate anger. The money quote: In all seriousness, this is what tends to undermine progressive efforts to improve the quality of life in our country. We love to unite behind a great idea. But when the idea starts to grow legs and the potential for big pay days, well-dressed and well-oiled consultants and mid-level managers swoop in to scoop up big retainers and bloated contracts, and the endgame gets lost in a tsunami of strategy memos and meetings.You owe it to yourself to read the whole thing."

Fracking

CA-Gov: CREDO Action Rally In Los Angeles On Tuesday To Urge Jerry Brown (D) To Ban Fracking—by poopdogcomedy: "Received this e-mail today from CREDO Action for those of you who live in Los Angeles: Governor Brown is touring the state on Tuesday to unveil his latest budget proposal, giving us an important opportunity to publicly confront him and urge him to ban fracking. We know that Governor Brown won't stand up to the oil industry unless we push him to, so we need to seize every opportunity we can to press him on his hypocritical refusal to ban fracking. I hope you'll be there on Tuesday to tell Governor Brown that climate leaders don't frack."

“No Turning Back”: Mexico’s Looming Fracking and Offshore Oil and Gas Bonanza—by Steve Horn: "After generations of state control, Mexico’s vast oil and gas reserves will soon open for business to the international market. In December 2013, Mexico’s Congress voted to break up the longstanding monopoly held by the state-owned oil giant Petroleos Mexicanos—commonly called Pemex—and to open the nation’s oil and gas reserves to foreign companies. The constitutional reforms appear likely to kickstart a historic hydraulic fracturing ('fracking') and deepwater offshore oil and gas drilling bonanza off the Gulf of Mexico."

The Fracking Prostitutes of American Colleges (part 3 of 3)—by brasch: "[Part 1: Lackawanna College, a two-year college in Scranton, Pa., accepted a $2.5 million endowment from Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. to strengthen that college’s programs and ties to the oil and gas industry. Part 2: Problems with academic integrity in other Pennsylvania colleges.] Among the mission statements of the University of North Dakota Department of Geology and Geological Engineering is that it 'strives to develop in its engineering graduates keen insight and abilities to design an environmentally sound and sustainable future for humanity.' Like most college mission statements, it’s a broad and vague goal, one that may not reflect reality. The Department is one of the better ones in the country, especially in training students to work in areas of gas and oil exploration and processing. However, their training—and research by the faculty—may be tainted by an industry bias, fueled by a $14 million gift. The Department is now the Harold Hamm School of Geology and Geological Science. Hamm, CEO of Continental Resources, the ninth largest oil producer in the United States, provided $5 million to the renamed School; his company provided an additional $5. The other $4 million came from the Industrial Commission/Oil and Gas Research Program, a merger of the state of North Dakota and several gas and oil corporations."

Financial Death Cycle of Fracking—by interguru: "Many of us have discussed the environmental costs of fracking, for example The Death-cycle of Fracking. There is a financial death cycle too Shale Drillers Feast on Junk Debt to Stay on Treadmill. 'There’s a lot of Kool-Aid that’s being drunk now by investors,' Tim Gramatovich, who helps manage more than $800 million as chief investment officer of Santa Barbara, California-based Peritus Asset Management LLC. 'People lose their discipline. They stop doing the math. They stop doing the accounting. They’re just dreaming the dream, and that’s what’s happening with the shale boom.'"

Keystone and Other Fossil Fuel Transportation

4 Bakken Crude Oil Tank Cars Derail in Albany NY - Media reporting is damned near crickets—by jbob: "Four Canadian Pacific Rail Tank cars Carrying Bakken Crude oil derailed at the port of Albany in New York State early morning on Monday May 12, 2014. There was very little reporting in the local media and most of it was about Canadian Pacific's failure to notify New York State in a timely fashion. [...] As stated in the comments from Another Diary on this subject about one month ago, 'It is only a  matter of time until there is a catastrophe.' The tracks are very near downtown Albany and the Hudson River."

Eco-Related DC & State Politics

President Obama, EPA Win Another Clean Air Victory at the DC Circuit Court of Appeals—by LakeSuperior: "On Friday, the United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit handed President Barack Obama, U.S. EPA, American Lung Association and Environmental Defense Fund another victory for clean air and public health protection. The DC Circuit turned down all petitions by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) that sought to overturn EPA's 2013 rulemaking decision concerning PM 2.5 (inhalable particulate matter less than 2.5 microns in diameter). EPA had published a final rule in that 2013 action to increase the stringency of the PM-2.5 primary, health-related National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS)."

Terri Lynn Land: Denying climate change the polite way—by Jed Lewison: "When it comes to climate change, debating whether it exists is just a polite way of trying to deny that it's an issue. It's actually a pretty effective stutter step, since it accomplishes what most deniers want to achieve: paralysis. Instead of debating what to do about climate change, they're happy to debate whether or not it's real in the first place."

How Koch used NJ Gov. Chris Christie to Undermine Regional Climate Policy—by cgibosn: "The major SHOWTIME series Years of Living Dangerously has an inside look at how the billionaire Koch brothers used their advocacy group Americans for Prosperity to force New Jersey out of a regional climate change program. [...] This is ironic, since Koch itself profited from the cap-and-trade program called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI. RGGI ('reggie') has helped ten northeastern states reduce climate emissions and raise revenue. That revenue has helped drive investments in jobs in the clean energy and energy efficiency sectors, in addition to reducing electricity bills for families in need of such assistance. Years of Living Dangerously adds depth and detail to the Koch brothers' assault on the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, as included in Greenpeace's 2011 report on Koch Industries and climate change denial. Our case study on the Koch-fueled RGGI attack was written before hurricane Sandy devastated large portions of coastal New Jersey, and before Governor Chris Christie unlawfully pulled NJ out of RGGI. We documented attacks on RGGI from Koch-funded political groups like AFP, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and the Heritage Foundation."

GA-Gov: Sierra Club Endorses Jason Carter (D) For Governor—by poopdogcomedy: "State Senator Jason Carter (D. GA) scored a big endorsement in his bid to unseat Tea Party Governor Nathan Deal (R. GA): I’m honored. Today, the Georgia Chapter of the Sierra Club officially endorsed our campaign. Here’s what Georgia Chapter Director Colleen Kiernan had to say: 'Jason Carter has proven that he is the only candidate in the field willing to protect Georgia’s coast and environment. He has committed to supporting Georgia’s growing clean energy industries, which provide jobs while protecting our air and water. The Sierra Club will proudly mobilize our members to help Jason Carter win in November.' Once our natural resources have been depleted, there is no going back. That’s why I am a proud advocate for our environment, and have fought against proposals that threaten our coast, our rivers, and our water supply. I’ve championed legislation to make it easier for consumers to install solar panels. Making it easier for consumers to access renewable energy isn’t just critical for the environment—it is untapped potential for our state’s economy."

Marco Rubio reminds me of...—by Robs Rant: "The media, even the left wing media gives these so-called deniers far too much credit, saying they don't believe it. James Inhofe, Tom Coburn, Mary Fallin, Rick Perry, Marcia Blackburn, Michele Bachman, Sarah Palin. These people are not deniers these people are liars."

What Will The Next President Do About Climate Change?—by paradox: "Reading Paul Krugman this morning and the comically incoherent Republican ranting denying climate change action or even the phenomenon itself, one can reasonably ask the question: well, when will anything be done at the federal level about climate change? Obviously nothing this term in this Presidency, the President has adamantly displayed he’s no liberal in many ways and offered all kinds of compromise to Republicans, who naturally went berserk anyway, fiercely blocked everything and labeled him a Marxist instead."

The Great Outdoors

Southern magnolia  (Magnolia grandiflora)
The Daily Bucket - Raking Leaves in May—by foresterbob: "The southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) has many fine qualities. During the winter, the large shiny evergreen leaves brighten the landscape. Come springtime, new growth includes showy white flowers whose fragrance carries on the breeze. [...] Simultaneous with that new growth, the tree jettisons its old supply of leaves. If a magnolia graces your yard, you'll find yourself gathering up the leaves in May. For me that means taking them far into the back yard and spreading them on the ground in the woods. In a wet year, the previous year's leaves will be mostly rotten by the time you show up with another batch. In a dry year, you might begin to think the leaves will stick around forever. The leaves currently on the ground are only a fraction of what will fall. This will be a monthlong project. Note the REAL leaf rake against the tree. I don't believe in burning fossil fuels to move leaves from one place to another."

Glacier Park: Apgar in April (Photo Diary)—by Ojibwa.

The Daily Bucket: Dewberries - Yummy!—by PHScott: "May 2014. It's that time of the year again - dewberries are coming on strong and it's a race to get to them first - the birds, bugs or me. Of the 200+ species of Rubus or Blackberry, 4 natives are found in North Florida. I'm guessing this is Southern Dewberry (R. trivialis), the most common in my area. The stems are bristly but tend to run along the ground. Run, root, shoot out another runner, and on it goes. No doubt I could spend more time studying about Rubus and figuring out the differences and maybe even identify those others that do form the heavy brambles. When I see stalks 8-10 feet long arching out, ready to snag and ensnare, well, just stay away, the berries aren't worth it."

Critters

Great Egret
Daily Bucket: Busch-Whackers—by Lenny Flank: "Busch Gardens, in Tampa, Florida, is one of the largest amusement parks in Florida, with a huge exhibit of African animals.  But it also one of the largest open areas in Tampa, and not all of its animal residents were invited there. A number of native Floridians have decided to move in and make themselves at home. Here are a few I've seen: The Plains of Africa area is a favorite place for native wildlife to gather. This is the Flamingo Pond, which attracts a number of shorebirds. [...] Another pond contains Mallard Ducks, Red-Bellied Turtles, and Chicken Turtles. The turtles are native, and probably wandered in on their own. Another popular spot is the Hippo tank, which is filled with cichlid fish from Africa. For the local waterbirds, it's like an all-you-can-eat fish bar. This Great Egret [on the right] was hoping for a catch."

Oregon's Lone Wolf may be Alone No Longer—by jamess: "The Lone Wolf, named OR7, travels alone. And is among a small number of wolves, that calls Oregon 'home.' At least that's what he was ... Remote cameras in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest have captured several images of a black female in the same area as OR-7, who has been on the move since 2011 in search of new territory and a mate to form a new pack."

Water & Drought

The stench of racism permeates Bay Delta Conservation Plan process—by Dan Bacher: "Tribal rights have also been violated in the parallel process to the Bay Delta Conservation Plan pushed by the Brown administration - the corrupt Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative to create alleged "marine protected areas" on the California Coast. As of this date, the Yurok Tribe and other Indian Tribes are illegally barred from practicing their traditional gathering and fishing rights in state marine reserves created under the MLPA Initiative. In addition, the MLPA Science Advisory Team for the North Coast refused to allow Yurok Tribe scientists to present studies that challenged the terminally flawed "science" and false assumptions that drove the MLPA Initiative scam. In one of the biggest scandals on the North Coast in recent years, Ron LeValley, the Co-Chair of the MLPA Science Advisory Team, will be sentenced on May 20 on federal charges of conspiracy to embezzle nearly $1 million from the Yurok Tribe. 'Whether it is their intention or not, what the Marine Life Protection Act does to tribes is it systematically decimates our ability to be who we are,' Frankie Joe Myers, a member of the Yurok Tribe and Coastal Justice, said in July 2010 at a peaceful takeover of an MLPA Initiative meeting by Tribes and their allies in Fort Bragg. 'That is the definition of cultural genocide.'"

Experts to Criticize Flawed BDCP Process, Feinstein Federal Rollbacks—by Dan Bacher: "Sacramento, CA- Restore the Delta (RTD), opponents of Governor Jerry Brown’s rush to build Peripheral Tunnels that would drain the Delta and doom sustainable farms and salmon and other Pacific fisheries, announced today they will hold a teleconference on Wednesday, May 14, to criticize the lack of an Implementing Agreement (IA) and outline harm that would result from Sen. Feinstein’s S 2198."

Eco-Activism & Eco-Justice

Anti-Fracking Activist Forces Pennsylvania Democratic Debate to Focus on Fracking—by StewartAcuff: "I am very proud to say that the young woman in this video using a classic nonviolent direct action to force attention on a huge public policy crisis is my Goddaughter Liz Arnold in Philadelphia, Pa. The Democratic nominees for governor were having their last debate before the primary. Liz has been leading a campaign to get them to commit to put a moratorium on fracking if elected. As you can see she disrupted business as usual to make sure that the voices of the people whose water has been contaminated, whose land has been ruined, who suffer the effects of fracking are heard. Liz’s lesson to the rest of us is that if we are to counter this American oligarchy who are ruining our country and their greed beyond greed and destruction of our planet and our lives, we are gonna have to raise some serious hell–and that is exactly what she did last night."

The Death-cycle of Fracking—by StewartAcuff: "Yesterday I wrote about my Goddaughter Elizabeth Arnold, who bravely interrupted the Pennsylvania Democratic Gubernatorial Primary Debate, and forced the candidates to focus on the issue of fracking as you can see in the video. Elizabeth has been leading a campaign to get them to commit to put a moratorium on fracking if elected. Written by Elizabeth Arnold. I’m not particularly brave, I just feel that there is nothing anyone could do to me worse than what they are doing to our planet and to the families who can no longer live in their homes. When I rushed the stage I held up a list of 1700 families impacted by fracking. The List of the Harmed is compiled by Jenny Lysak and is now up to over 6,000 families. My printer stopped printing at 1700. I actually hate the spotlight, but someone had to do it. I could not sit by and let this critical issue go unaddressed. About half way through the ‘debate’ I realized they were not even going to discuss fracking. I was sitting in the front row, very close to the stage steps. I had heard the candidates use the phrase “haven’t answered the tough questions” repeatedly and suddenly I just bolted on to stage without realizing the notes I had been scribbling were still in my left hand. I blanked on everything I was going to say and just winged it."

National Parks, Forests & Other Public Lands

Illegal Utah ATV ride underscores need for protecting public lands—by Dan Chu: "While the protesters' intent may have been to take a stand against federally managed public lands, the event actually served to underscore the need for protecting our country's cultural and natural treasures on public lands. Our public lands belong to all of us. We all share a responsibility to protect these lands for their great beauty and rich history. Every American is part owner of our national parks, national monuments, and other public lands—including Recapture Canyon. They are managed so that everyone can share use and access in different ways. Yet this weekend, the irresponsible actions of the anti-public lands protesters prevented a group of veterans and Navajo faith leaders from participating in a healing event sponsored by the Sierra Club and the Bureau of Land Management in Recapture Canyon. These illegal protesters infringed on the rights of other Americans who legally own and use our public lands— in this case on the rights of those who have fought to defend places like this."

Tweets from Recapture Canyon—by ban nock: "Despite all the pissing and moaning from the media it seems there's very little real reporting from Recapture Canyon. Jonathan Thomson who writes for HCN and lives in and actually comes from Durango had some hilarious tweets despite lack of cell coverage from much of the canyon. He tweets @jonnypeace. [...] On Gunz he says, 'Media camera-toters far outweigh militia gun-toters.' and 'I've only seen 3 guns here at #recapturecanyon protest so far. Sidearms.' Still later, 'Gun count increased in #recapturecanyon, but fewer firearms still than at many a rural western family picnic.' Jonathan keeps it in perspective anyway. Probably people who swoon at the sight of guns should stay away from family picnics in the west."

Pollution, Hazardous Wastes & Trash

Is Fukushima Making the North Pacific Ocean a "Dead Zone"?—by MarineChemist: "There is some concern among the public that the radioactivity released from Fukushima represents a potentially acute and chronic risk to algae or phytoplankton that represent the base of the marine food web.  A simple internet search will raise stories which speculatively describe the North Pacific Ocean as a "dead-zone" suggesting that activities of radionuclides from Fukushima are killing phytoplankton and leading to biological desert-like conditions in this important ecosystem. Microbes, algae included, are some of the most radiation resistant organisms on the planet that can survive acute and chronic doses of radiation that would kill multi-cellular organisms like ourselves. Satellite measurements of ocean temperature and the abundance of marine algae going back to 1997 suggest that Fukushima has had little if any impact on phytoplankton in the coastal waters of Japan and offshore waters of the North Pacific to this point."

Transportation & Infrastructure

Sunday Train: GOP Transport Bill proposes to Cut That TIGER—by BruceMcF: "I guess Sunday Train did not cover the White House transport proposal, which put forward a $302b 4-year surface transportation authorization, more than $20b per year higher than current levels. With respect to rail funding, it proposed reorganizing intercity passenger rail funding into Current Rail Service and Rail Service Improvement programs, merging the Amtrak funding which was authorized in FY 2013 and 2014 with the Higher Speed / High Performance rail program which was zeroed out in the funding that passed Congress. [...] But the President proposes budgets, the Congress authorizes spending and appropriates the funds within (and sometimes well under) those authorized levels, and with the current Republican House Majority, any White House transportation budget is largely a work of fiction. It is, at most, a set of ambit claims for the complex three-way negotiations over budgeting between the House, the Senate, and the White House."

Miscellany

Politico "Great Energy Debate" Stacked 4:1 in Favor of Fossil Fuels—by lowkell: "There's so much wrong with the corporate media, it's hard to know where to start. But let's take an event like Politico's 'Great Energy Debate' as a 'great' example of how unfair and unbalanced these people are. For starters, note that the speakers include four—count'em, FOUR!—speakers (Joe 'Coal Champion' Manchin, Blanche 'Looking Out for Big Oil' Lincoln, Karen Chamber of Commerce/Bush Administration Fossil Fuel Shill Harbert and John 'Keystone Tar Sands Pipeline' Hoeven) on the strongly pro-fossil-fuel side of things, with just one—count'em, ONE—speaker (Gene Karpinski, President, League of Conservation Voters) on the pro-environment/pro-clean-energy side."

Farley Mowat, 1921-2014—by ejoanna: "We have lost one of the great voices for the natural environment, and for the animals and native peoples who cannot thrive without the wilderness. Farley Mowat, a Canadian, a curmudgeon, a wildlife biologist--and a prolific writer of unforgettable tales from the-way-out-back, died last week a few days shy of his 93rd birthday. We owe him so much. Mr. Mowat had a dim view of the United States, one that did not improve when he was turned away from the border in 1985 under a now-defunct law banning political subversives. In a subsequent book, Mr. Mowat said he had been blacklisted for once telling a newspaper that he had fired his rifle at American bombers carrying nuclear weapons as they flew thousands of feet above Canada. [...] Besides being a best-selling author and 'one of the elder statesmen of Canadian literature,' the Globe and Mail describes Mowat as 'a trickster, a ferocious imp with a silver pen, an ardent environmentalist who opened up the idea of the North to curious southerners, a public clown who hid his shyness behind flamboyant rum-swigging and kilt-flipping, and a passionate polemicist who blurred the lines between fiction and facts to dramatize his cause.'"

It's wildfire season again, and this one already looks nasty—by Horace Boothroyd III: "A batch of brush fires have popped up in Southern California. I expect this to continue. Dry weather over a prolonged period has exacerbated fire season. In what were occurrences that politely waited for the summer season to be over are now happening before we can bring our white slacks out. Brushfires everywhere. First things first. Have a plan: Designate a meetup location for your family in case there is an evacuation. Go to the evacuation center if one is made available. Ensure a means of evacuating pets. Carry in your vehicle a battery powered radio for emergency alerts, believe me if there is an evacuation that thing is going bonkers no matter the station. A shovel, if possible water and emergency food as well. Make sure your important things are together and can be grabbed at a moments notice. Do not go around roadblocks, even if you live there."

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Wed May 14, 2014 at 03:30 PM PDT.

Also republished by Kitchen Table Kibitzing.

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