Jun 30, 2015
Jun 29, 2015
A court in The Hague has ordered the Dutch government to cut its emissions by at least 25% within five years, in a landmark ruling expected to cause ripples around the world.
To cheers and hoots from climate campaigners in court, three judges ruled that government plans to cut emissions by just 14-17% compared to 1990 levels by 2020 were unlawful, given the scale of the threat posed by climate change.
Jubilant campaigners said that governments preparing for the Paris climate summit later this year would now need to look over their shoulders for civil rights era-style legal challenges where emissions-cutting pledges are inadequate.
"Before this judgement, the only legal obligations on states were those they agreed among themselves in international treaties," said Dennis van Berkel, legal counsel for Urgenda, the group that brought the suit.
"This is the first a time a court has determined that states have an independent legal obligation towards their citizens. That must inform the reduction commitments in Paris because if it doesn't, they can expect pressure from courts in their own jurisdictions."
In what was the first climate liability suit brought under human rights and tort law, Judge Hans Hofhuis told the court that the threat posed by global warming was severe and acknowledged by the Dutch government in international pacts.
"The state should not hide behind the argument that the solution to the global climate problem does not depend solely on Dutch efforts," the judges' ruling said. "Any reduction of emissions contributes to the prevention of dangerous climate change and as a developed country the Netherlands should take the lead in this."
After a legal campaign that took two and a half years to get to its first hearing in April, normally dispassionate lawyers were visibly moved by the judge's words. "As the verdict was being read out, I actually had tears in my eyes," Roger Cox, Urgenda's lead advocate, told the Guardian. "It was an emotional moment."
Young activists in court said that the ruling had gone some way to restoring Dutch national pride, which has been dented as Denmark, Germany and even the UK overtook the Netherlands, once seen as a European climate leader, in the green economy race.
The Dutch Socialist party MP Eric Smaling cautioned though that "some people will feel proud but others are more unhappy about the influx of refugees. So far climate action has too much been the last baby of a relatively leftist elite." He called for a wide coalition to spread the climate action message before elections in early 2017.
The Dutch government has not decided whether to appeal the court's decision yet, but opposition politicians are steeling themselves for the prospect.
Stientje Van Veldhoven, an MP and spokesperson for the D66 Liberal opposition in parliament noted that the government had yielded to a comparable, if more limited, ruling ending gas extraction in part of the giant Groningen gas fields earlier this year.
"The government has never ignored a court ruling like this one before, but there has never been a ruling like this before either," she said. "Everybody has a right to appeal." Veldhoven has requested a parliamentary debate on Wednesday's court ruling.
In a statement on behalf of prime minister Mark Rutte's cabinet, the Dutch environment minister Wilma Mansfeld said that the government's strategy was to implement EU-wide and international agreements.
"We and Urgenda share the same goal," Mansfeld said. "We just hold different opinions regarding the manner in which to attain this goal. We will now examine what this ruling means for the Dutch state."
Some 886 plaintiffs organised by Urgenda had accused the Dutch government of negligence for "knowingly contributing" to a breach of the 2C maximum target for global warming.
Their legal arguments rested on axioms forbidding states from polluting to the extent that they damage other states, and the EU's 'precautionary principle' which prohibits actions that carry unknown but potentially severe risks.
A UN climate secretariat article obliging states to do whatever is necessary to prevent dangerous climate change was also cited. So was the UN climate science panel's 2007 assessment of the reductions in carbon dioxide needed to have a 50% chance of containing global warming to 2C.
Several legal sources said that ideas outlined in the Oslo principles for climate change obligations, launched in the Guardian in March, appeared to have been influential in the judge's reasoning.
James Thornton, the chief executive of the environmental law group ClientEarth, hailed what he said had been a "courageous and visionary" ruling, that would shape the playing field for future suits.
"There are moments in history when only courts can address overwhelming problems. In the past it has been issues like discrimination. Climate change is our overwhelming problem and this court has addressed it. The Dutch court's ruling should encourage courts around the world to tackle climate change now."
Serge de Gheldere, the president of Klimaat Zaak, which is pursuing an almost identical case to Urgenda's in Belgium said: "This gives us a lot of hope as it sets an incredible precedent. The government in Belgium will take a lot of notice of whats happened here today. This could be the first stone that sets an avalanche in motion."
Professor Pier Vellinga, Urgenda's chairman and the originator of the 2C target in 1989 said that the breakthrough judgement would have a massive impact. "The ruling is of enormous significance, and beyond our expectations," he said.
The court also ordered the government to pay all of Urgenda's costs.
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The announcement came just after 2:10 p.m. at Toronto's St. Michael's Hospital.
Outside, the weekday was mundane, but the announcement was anything but ordinary: "Pan Am venue. There's been an explosion. Suspected gas release."
With the subsequent call of "Code Orange CBRNe Stage 3," a group of doctors, nurses and clerical and support workers from across the hospital converged and suited up, comic hero quick, to attend the coming wounded.
And the wounded came — by foot and car and gurney. With broken limbs, dizziness and concussions, many coughing and sputtering from their exposure to the toxic cloud, they straggled in.
They came to a hospital immediately locked down by the code orange CBRNe call, a top-order emergency declaration alerting staff that patients exposed to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or explosive contaminants were on their way.
And the St. Mike's team, now sheathed head to toe in protective haz-mat suits, stood in front of a decontamination tent — unfolded and inflated within 10 minutes in the hospital's ambulance bay — to meet them.
Of course, on this mid-June day, the patients and their injuries were fake. Indeed, there was a festive spirit among the dozen or so hospital workers, clad mainly in T-shirts and shorts, who'd volunteered to be soaped up and hosed down by their colleagues.
But with the Pan Am Games set to begin on July 10, the exercise had a decidedly serious side in light of the security concerns such international events bring.
The timing of the exercise was a fortunate coincidence, says Dr. Sara Gray, chair of the hospital's emergency preparedness committee.
The $25,000 "decon tent," which received funding three years ago, had recently been delivered and her team needed to train in the new facility.
But, Gray adds, the Queen St. E. hospital's proximity to the athletes village and several other Pan Am venues would make it the city's primary medical response centre in the event of a real terrorist attack.
"The timing for us was just lucky," she says. "We had a previous tent that we did so much training on that it developed holes."
The purpose of the CBRNe decontamination response team and its tent is twofold, Gray explains. "The goal of this is always to make sure that you don't have the contaminated people (and whatever is on them) inside your hospital. It's also saving the patients, because usually whatever the chemical is, it's toxic enough that it's going to be dangerous to them if it stays on too long."
The tent and team can be deployed for a single patient or handle a maximum of 100, Gray says.
And the size of the response would be proportional to the number of incoming injured, with dozens of hospital staff being trained in classrooms and in haz-mat suit exercises to prepare for disasters large and small.
The suits themselves dictate that staff by the dozens be familiar with them and the decontamination protocols and duties for which they're worn.
Sealed and waterproof, they lock in body heat and on hot days can incapacitate anyone wearing one within 15 minutes.
"We would have to be able to swap people in and out very rapidly in the event of a real incident," says Lee Barratt, a nurse educator in the hospital's emergency department and a key team co-ordinator.
That means workers of all stripes are trained for haz-mat duties.
"We have to prepare people for our team who have no clinical experience at all," Barratt continues.
"One day they're working in the print shop, the next they're part of our decon team. So these exercises are critically important."
Meanwhile, in a true contamination incident, physicians and nurses would be called en masse to the emergency department, which would be culled of all but the most critically ill or injured patients as the decon team worked just outside.
Reports from attack or accident sites, paramedics, physicians and suited nurses in the ambulance bay would also be pointing doctors in the ER to likely antidotes they'd need. St. Mike's has medications to treat dozens of radiological, biological or chemical agents available on site.
The hospital would also co-ordinate with police to seal off streets and sidewalks near the hospital, and haz-mat-suited security staff would steer any errant pedestrians away from the tent.
Please read more By Joseph Hall from source:
Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates has said he plans to double his investment in wild-eyed yet potentially game-changing renewable energy projects - and has urged governments to do the same.
When it comes to tackling climate change, Bill Gates' visions for the future are quite literally sky-high.
Predicting that his personal investments into novel green technologies could double to $2 billion (1.78 billion euros) over the next five years, Gates said that one of the companies he is betting on is a pioneer of high-altitude wind power.
To get a sense of what that means, picture flying wind turbines, kites or kite balloons that tap the energy of the jet stream at 20,000 feet.
"I wish governments would help those guys out because there's a 10-percent change it's the magic solution," Gates told the Financial Times in an interview published on Friday.
But floating power stations were just one of the potentially revolutionary innovations Gates touted as he applauded governments, the United Nations and environmental protection advocates for raisingawareness of climate change.
He said he has poured about $1 billion into dozens of nascent companies developing futuristic solutions for battery storage, artificial photosynthesis and nuclear reactors that run on depleted - as opposed to enriched - uranium.
That last one could be especially relevant as countries struggle to find suitable locations for disposing of spent nuclear fuel.
Gates also said he had already invested hundreds of millions of dollars in companies pursuing "nuclear recycling," the lion's share of which has gone to a company called TerraPower that develops reactors capable of going decades without refueling because they run on their own waste.
Power plants from plant power
Another area of interest included "solar chemical" power, which is based on the process plants use to make food. In this case, artificial devices would absorb sunlight and use it to extract hydrogen from water and then convert it into fuel.
But as far as the world's richest man is concerned, the best way to promote such innovation - and ultimately find the silver bullet for climate change - is for governments to spend more on research and development and less on subsidies in the renewables sector.
"Because there's so much uncertainty and there are so many different paths, it should be like the Manhattan Project and the Apollo Project in the sense that the government should put in a serious amount of R&D," Gates said.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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Jun 25, 2015
The Toxic Substances Control Act law was originally enacted in 1976, Marcos writes. Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.), the bill's author, said, "The time is now to update this outdated law." Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) "warned that toxic chemicals needed to be reined in to protect public health," Marcos writes. Pallone said, "Toxic chemicals can be found in the products we use every day and are steadily building up in our bodies and the environment. Consumers are worried about chemicals like BPA and triclosan, but they don't know how to avoid them. Something needs to change." (Read more)
On average, someone in the Bakken oil fields dies every six weeks – at least 74 people have died on the job there since 2006. But the major oil companies that have profited most from the boom often evade accountability when accidents happen.
Across North Dakota, deeply entrenched corporate practices and weak federal oversight inoculate energy producers against responsibility when workers are killed or injured, while shifting the blame to others. Oil companies also offer financial incentives to workers for speeding up production – potentially jeopardizing their safety – and shield themselves through a web of companies to avoid paying the full cost of settlements to workers and their families when something goes wrong.
Reporter Jennifer Gollan investigates the death of Brendan Wegner and why the Bakken oil fields are so dangerous.
Kevin Wegner, Brendan's Father: I was happy for him. I didn't know oil rigs were dangerous.
Jennifer Gollan: Brendan was hired to work for a small oil service company.
Kevin Wegner: The guy told him, you put your time in here and in a year, year-and-a-half, you'll be up over a hundred thousand dollars a year. For a 21-year-old kid, that's pretty exciting.
Jennifer Gollan: Brendan got the job because he worked as an electrical lineman and was good with heights.
Kevin Wegner: If you've ever seen a workover rig, there's stacks of pipes in there. His job would be to stand up there and uncouple them or couple them together. And the day of the accident was actually his first day working on the rig.
Jennifer Gollan: A blowout. Oil shot 50 feet in the air. Brendan was trapped. The well's operator had injected salt water to make the well safe to work on. Even so, the well exploded.
Jebadiah Stanfill, Former Oil Field Worker: Yeah, that looks like the rig site to me.
Jennifer Gollan: Jebadiah Stanfill was working on a nearby rig and rushed over.
Jebadiah Stanfill: I go out there and asked him where everybody's at and how many are there. He just says, "Derrick man's dead. The derrick man's dead."
That's when I looked up and saw what I later find out is Brendan burning in the derrick.
Please continue reading from: Reveal
Letting the little guy create: Democratizing manufacturing
Small teams using fewer materials: Democratizing meets dematerializing
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Paul Ehrlich says we are entering the sixth great mass extinction.
Accelerated modern human–induced species losses: Entering the sixth mass extinction
There have been papers which show that species and area relationships always overestimate extinctions.
Ehrlich became well known for his controversial 1968 book The Population Bomb, which asserted that the world's human population would soon increase to the point where mass starvation ensued Among the measures he suggested in that book was population control, to be used in his opinion if voluntary methods were to fail.
Julian Lincoln Simon, a Cornucopian economist has argued that overpopulation is not a problem in itself, and that humanity will adapt to changing conditions. Simon argued that in the long run, human creativity would constantly improve living standards, and that the Earth's resources were, in effect, infinite. Ehrlich called Simon the leader of a "space-age cargo cult" of economists convinced that new resources would miraculously appear and reasserted the idea that population growth was outstripping the earth's supplies of food, fresh water and minerals. This exchange led to the Simon-Ehrlich wager, a bet about the trend of prices for certain metals that he made in 1980 with, and lost to, Julian Simon
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Jun 24, 2015
The problem with recylcing is that a storm of falling oil prices, a strong dollar and a weakened economy in China have sent prices for American recyclables plummeting worldwide. Trying to encourage conservation, progressive lawmakers and environmentalists have made matters worse. By pushing to increase recycling rates with bigger and bigger bins — while demanding almost no sorting by consumers — the recycling stream has become increasingly polluted and less valuable, imperiling the economics of the whole system. "We kind of got everyone thinking that recycling was free," says Bill Moore. "It's never really been free, and in fact, it's getting more expensive."
One big problem is that China doesn't want to buy our garbage anymore. In the past China had sent so many consumer goods to the United States that all the shipping containers were coming back empty. So US companies began stuffing the return-trip containers with recycled cardboard boxes, waste paper and other scrap. China could, in turn, harvest the raw materials. Everyone won. But China has launched "Operation Green Fence" — a policy to prohibit the import of unwashed post-consumer plastics and other "contaminated" waste shipments. In China, containerboard, a common packaging product from recycled American paper, is trading at just over $400 a metric ton, down from nearly $1,000 in 2010. China also needs less recycled newsprint; the last paper mill in Shanghai closed this year. "If the materials we are exporting are so contaminated that they are being rejected by those we sell to," says Valerie Androutsopoulos, "maybe it's time to take another look at dual stream recycling."Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Based on limited evidence from laboratory animal studies and inadequate evidence in humans, 2,4-D is "possibly carcinogenic to humans," the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a Lyon, France-based arm of the WHO, said Tuesday in a statement.
This year's academic partners are the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and Mercyhurst University
The post EPA picks academic partners for toxic data updates appeared first on HazMat Management.
"The department is also facing a nearly $3 billion budget shortfall, which could affect care for many veterans," and "is considering furloughs, hiring freezes and other significant moves to reduce the gap," Oppel writes.
VA clinics have made moves to see more patients, seeing 2.7 million more patients in the past year than the year before, while also referring 900,000 patient to outside physicians, Oppel writes. "But what was not foreseen, department leaders say, was just how much physician workloads and demand from veterans would continue to soar—by one-fifth, in fact, at some major veterans hospitals over just the past year."
"Physician workloads—as measured by an internal metric known as 'relative value units'—grew by 21 percent at hospitals and clinics in the region that includes Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina; by 20 percent in the Southern California and southern Nevada regions; and by 18 percent in North Carolina and Virginia," Oppel writes. "And by the same measure, physician care purchased for patients treated outside the department grew by 50 percent in the region encompassing Pennsylvania and by 36 percent in the region that includes Michigan and Indiana."
"Those data include multiple appointments by individual patients and reflect the fact that patients typically now schedule more appointments than they did in the past."Oppel writes. "But even measured by the number of individuals being treated, the figures are soaring in many places: From 2012 to 2014, for example, the number of patients receiving treatment grew by 18 percent at the Las Vegas medical center; by 16 percent in Hampton, Va.; and by 13 percent in Fayetteville, N.C., and Portland, Ore." (Read more)
India's capital may have the worst air quality in the world on some days, but a new report shows that nationally, the air in the world's second-most-populous country is far less polluted than in China.
In fact, China's air is more than twice as dirty as India's, according to recently released estimates by the World Bank.
The bank's "Little Green Data Book" of environmental indicators, unveiled last week, included a new gauge of air pollution. To the standard measures of environmental health–including forest cover and carbon emissions–it added PM 2.5 levels, which measure airborne particles smaller than 2.5 microns.
These tiny pollutants are microscopic and can enter the lungs and even pollute a person's blood stream. They are linked to severe health problems including lung cancer.
"These data show that in many parts of the world exposure to air pollution is increasing at an alarming rate and has become the main environmental threat to health," the forward of the World Bank book said. "Exposure to ambient PM 2.5 pollution in 2010 resulted in more than 3.2 million premature deaths globally."
Michael Dittmar wrote a series of posts about nuclear energy that was published on The Oil Drum in 2009. In the first post of the series, he said that uranium "civilian uranium stocks are expected to be exhausted during the next few years" and "the current uranium supply situation is unsustainable". Basically lack of uranium production from uranium mines would cause lack of nuclear fuel which would result in steadily dropping nuclear power generation. I made a series of three bets with Dittmar.
1. World Uranium production (I won in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013. Lost in 2014)
2. World Nuclear power generation bets going to 2018 (I won in 2010, lost 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
3. Uranium production in Kazakhstan (I won 2010, 2011)
So out of 13 bets, I have won 7 bets and lost 6.
For 2015, Canada Cameco has started production at Cigar Lake. The igar Lake operation is expected to produce 6 million to 8 million pounds of uranium oxide (2308 to 3077 tU) in 2015, ramping up to full annual production rate of 18 million pounds per year (6920 tU) by 2018.
Japan should begin nuclear restarts in August for 2 reactors.
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The Town That Banned Wi-Fi to get away from radio waves and Wi-Fi signals and other types of electromagnetic radiation
... from The Guardian about Green Bank, West Virginia, a small town housing the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. There are other telescopes nearby, too. Because the telescopes are so sensitive, stray electromagnetic signals are strictly regulated in the surrounding area, which is called the National Radio Quiet Zone. But the town is running into a problem: its population was around 120 when this began, and by now about 40 people have moved there because they want to get away from radio waves and Wi-Fi signals and other types of electromagnetic radiation.There have been reports of tensions in the town: tales of threats and abuse unfitting to a sleepy mountain village. And it is all the stranger when you consider that no serious scientific study has been able to establish that electrosensitivity exists. ... Where the locals might have been happy to tolerate one or two of the sensitives, the mass migration was beyond the pale. ... People would walk towards [one woman] with concealed electronics, in an effort to provoke a reaction. A meeting she and her husband organised to help educate the others about electrosensitivity descended into a slanging match.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Jun 23, 2015
.. Continue Reading Solar-powered hydrogen generation using two of the most abundant elements on Earth
- Urban Algae Canopy will generate a 4-hectare forest's worth of oxygen
- World's first photosynthetic living matter-infused 3D-printed wearable
- New York's proposed subterranean garden
- Researchers generate liquid fuel using electricity
- Spinach protein boosts efficiency of "biohybrid" solar cells
- Hybrid energy system mimics processes in photosynthesis
Jun 22, 2015
Gizmag: While there is still much conjecture about the causes of some mass extinctions, it is generally believed that they can occur when a biosphere under long-term stress is subjected to a short-term shock. In 1982, Jack Sepkoski and David M. Raup published a paper identifying five mass extinction events throughout Earth's history. Now a team of researchers claims that we are entering a sixth mass extinction event, which threatens our very existence... Continue Reading Researchers say Earth is entering a sixth mass extinction event
- Stanford researchers develop earthquake-resistant house prototype
- Researchers turn gray matter transparent to shed light on the brain's secrets
- Study shows how the US could achieve 100 percent renewable energy by 2050
- Stanford scientists build first carbon nanotube computer
- Telomere-lengthening procedure turns clock back years in human cells
- Tin-based stanene could conduct electricity with 100 percent efficiency
Please continue reading from: Global Cost Of War Was $14 Trillion Last Year
Jun 20, 2015
That absence of standardized metrics feeds an ongoing accountability problem when it comes to corporate chemical management.
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Jun 19, 2015
A team of students at the REALM Charter High School in Berkeley, CA built a solar-powered tiny house as a school project. The home doesn't have a name and measures only 100 square feet (9.2 sq m). It also represents an excellent example of the type of project more schools should be engaging in. Sustainable living needs to be made a priority and the best place to start educating the public is in primary and secondary school.
The solar powered tiny house was constructed by the students themselves, though the entire process was overseen by experienced architects and builders. The project was conceived by the non-profit organization Studio H, which works with kids to teach design, engineering, and architecture skills, as part of a youth program.
The tiny home rests on a 7 x 16 foot (2 x 4.87 m) trailer and weighs 6,000 lbs (2,721 kg). It can easily be towed by a car. Though called a home, it only features the most basic of features and utilities, so it's more of a retreat than an actual permanent home, though with a few upgrades it could easily become that too.
The interior of the home is basically just one space, which is clad in plywood painted white. It is furnished with a bed that has storage space underneath it, and a cabinet. The home has no electrical or water hookup, but it is fitted with four 250 W solar panels and an inverter for low-power devices. There is no toilet, shower or kitchen. The flooring is made of OSBs that had been stained black, while the home is insulated by Thermafiber, which had been donated. The home's siding is made of painted palette wood.
The students actually built two of these homes. They donated the second one to a Eugene, Oregon-based community that offers temporary housing for the homeless.
Doctors and scientists want drug regulators and research funding agencies to consider medicines that delay ageing-related disease as legitimate drugs. Such treatments have a physiological basis, researchers say, and could extend a person's healthy years by slowing down the processes that underlie common diseases of ageing — making them worthy of government approval. On 24 June, researchers will meet with regulators from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to make the case for a clinical trial designed to show the validity of the approach.
Current treatments for diseases related to ageing "just exchange one disease for another", says physician Nir Barzilai of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. That is because people treated for one age-related disease often go on to die from another relatively soon thereafter. "What we want to show is that if we delay ageing, that's the best way to delay disease."
Jun 18, 2015
The nine cities with the worst drought conditions in the country are all located in California, which is now entering its fourth consecutive year of drought as demand for water is at an all-time high. The long-term drought has already had dire consequences for the state's agriculture sector, municipal water systems, the environment, and all other water consumers.
Based on data provided by the U.S. Drought Monitor, a collaboration between academic and government organizations, 24/7 Wall St. identified nine large U.S. urban areas that have been under persistent, serious drought conditions over the first six months of this year. The Drought Monitor classifies drought by five levels of intensity: from D0, described as abnormally dry, to D4, described as exceptional drought. Last year, 100% of California was under at least severe drought conditions, or D2, for the first time since Drought Monitor began collecting data. It was also the first time that exceptional drought — the highest level — had been recorded in the state. This year, 100% of three urban areas in the state are in a state of exceptional drought. And 100% of all nine areas reviewed are in at least extreme drought, or D3.
According to Brad Rippey, a meteorologist with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), California has a Mediterranean climate in which the vast majority of precipitation falls during the six month period from October through March. In fact, more than 80% of California's rainfall is during the cold months. As a result, "it's very difficult to get significant changes in the drought picture during the warm season," Rippey said. He added that even when it rains during the summer, evaporation due to high temperatures largely offsets any accumulation.
A considerable portion of California's environmental, agricultural, and municipal water needs depends on 161 reservoirs, which are typically replenished during the winter months. As of May 31, the state's reservoirs added less than 6.5 million acre-feet of water over the winter, 78% of the typical recharge of about 8.2 million acre-feet. A single acre-foot contains more than 325,000 gallons of water. This was the fourth consecutive year that reservoir recharge failed to breach the historical average.
Normally, current reservoir levels are high enough to buffer against drought. However, "after four years of drought, reservoir holdings are perilously low," said Rippey. Current total storage levels are at about 17.2 million acre-feet. The typical annual withdrawal is around 8 million acre-feet, which means total storage may fall below 10 million acre-feet by the end of the summer. This also means there is little room for error if the state enters a fifth year of drought.
In addition to surface water, groundwater is a major water source for the state, particularly during periods of drought. According to a recent U.C. Davis analysis of the California drought from 2012 through 2014, groundwater may replace as much as 75% of surface water lost to dry conditions this year. As Rippey explained, however, the problem is that the amount of groundwater is unknown. "The monitoring system for groundwater is not nearly as robust as the surface water monitoring system," Rippey said.
City and state officials have reacted to the long-term drought by imposing various water restrictions. According to the California Department of Water Resources, California declared a statewide emergency during the 2007-2009 California drought — the first in U.S. history. California declared another such emergency during the 2012-2014 drought, and statewide precipitation was the driest three-year period on record. In an attempt to curb water use, statewide regulations impose penalties for exceeding water consumption budgets. Using water on lawns, for car washes, or to clean driveways is banned or restricted in each of the nine cities.
There are also economic consequences. The U.C. Davis study estimated a loss of at least 410,000 acres of farmland due to water shortages in California's Central Valley, one of the nation's most important agricultural zones and the location of most of the cities running out of water. An estimated $800 million was lost in farm revenue last year. That total does not include $447 million in extra pumping costs sustained by the Central Valley. Researchers at U.C. Davis estimated a total statewide revenue loss of $2.2 billion, and more than 17,000 jobs lost in 2014 due to drought.
U.S. cities running out of water
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.. Continue Reading Miniature car runs only on the power of evaporating water
Drug overdose deaths have doubled in the past 14 years, states the report, which says prescription overdoses are responsible for half of all drug overdose deaths. "Overdose deaths now exceed motor vehicle-related deaths in 36 states and Washington, D.C. And, in the past four years, drug overdose death rates have significantly increased in 26 states and Washington, D.C., and decreased in six."
The report also includes "a report card of 10 key indicators of leading evidence-based strategies that help reduce injuries and violence." Overall, 29 states and Washington, D.C., scoring a five or lower. Florida, Iowa, Missouri and Montana each scored a two, while New York led the way with a nine. (Read more)
Freedom Industries agrees to $2.5 million deal to clean up site of 2014 West Virginia chemical spill
"Under the proposal, Chemstream Holdings—the company that bought Freedom about a month before the Elk River spill—would contribute an additional $1.1 million that would be specifically earmarked for the site cleanup," Ward writes. That money, along with another $1.4 million from Freedom, will be put "into an 'ERT Remediation Fund' to accomplish a cleanup under the state Department of Environmental Protection's 'voluntary' remediation program."
"In April, Freedom had proposed putting just $150,000 in funding toward remaining cleanup work at the site, a move that drew harsh criticism from DEP officials and was rejected by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Ronald Pearson," Ward writes. "The new settlement, signed by DEP General Counsel Kristin Boggs, says that the agency agreed that Freedom would have no obligation to perform additional remediation beyond the payments into the fund as spelled out by the settlement. DEP also agrees under the plan not to sue Chemstream for anything related to the spill or the site cleanup." (Read more)