November 27, 2013. Source: South Durban Community Environmental Alliance
November 27, 2013. Source: South Durban Community Environmental Alliance
By Fiona Harvey, 2 October, 2013. Source: The Guardian
The oceans are more acidic now than they have been for at least 300m years, due to carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels, and a mass extinction of key species may already be almost inevitable as a result, leading marine scientists warned on Thursday.
An international audit of the health of the oceans has found that overfishing and pollution are also contributing to the crisis, in a deadly combination of destructive forces that are imperilling marine life, on which billions of people depend for their nutrition and livelihood.
In the starkest warning yet of the threat to ocean health, theInternational Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) said: “This [acidification] is unprecedented in the Earth’s known history. We are entering an unknown territory of marine ecosystem change, and exposing organisms to intolerable evolutionary pressure. The next mass extinction may have already begun.” It published its findings in the State of the Oceans report, collated every two years from global monitoring and other research studies.
Alex Rogers, professor of biology at Oxford University, said: “The health of the ocean is spiralling downwards far more rapidly than we had thought. We are seeing greater change, happening faster, and the effects are more imminent than previously anticipated. The situation should be of the gravest concern to everyone since everyone will be affected by changes in the ability of the ocean to support life on Earth.” Continue reading
Note: Claiming ‘climate refugee’ status is no easy way to avoid the destruction already being imposed on small island nations like Kiribati. As the oceans rise and the world warms, vulnerable populations across the globe – mostly in the global south and coastal regions – are going to become refugees, paying dearly for the inability of northern countries to curb emissions and reduce consumption of the planet’s resources.
-The GJEP Team
October 2, 2013. Source: The New Zealand Herald
A man from one of the lowest-lying nations on Earth is trying to convince New Zealand judges that he’s a refugee suffering not from persecution, but from climate change.
The 37-year-old and his wife left his remote atoll in the Pacific nation of Kiribati six years ago for higher ground and better prospects in New Zealand, where their three children were born.
Immigration authorities have twice rejected his argument that rising sea levels make it too dangerous for him and his family to return to Kiribati.
So on October 16, the man’s lawyer, Michael Kidd, plans to argue the case before New Zealand’s High Court.
By Miguel Lianos, September 30, 2013. Source: The Daily Climate
A century from now, a totem pole raised Sunday along the Pacific Northwest’s Salish Sea will tell one of two stories:
Either it will tell how plans to turn those waters into export highways for coal and tar sands oil were defeated by tribes and their allies.
Or it will tell how those exports commenced despite feared impacts ranging from degraded salmon habitat to long-term climate damage.
The battles of that war are being fought today at places like Cherry Point, or Xwe’chi’eXen in the language of the Lummi Nation. Located about 100 miles north of Seattle near the Canadian border, the rocky beach is just outside the reservation but still sacred ground for the Lummi.
“They’d be building right on top of an area full of graves” that go back thousands of years, chief pole carver Jewell James said.
By Lynn Berry, 29 September, 2013. Source: Associated Press
MOSCOW — A court in the northern Russian city of Murmansk on Sunday sent all eight remaining Greenpeace activists to jail for two months, showing no leniency toward any of the 30 people detained for a protest at a drilling platform in Arctic waters.
Twenty activists and two journalists were ordered jailed for two months during a marathon court session on Thursday that stretched late into night, but the court had ruled to hold the remaining eight only until new hearings could be held on Sunday.
No charges have been brought against any of the activists, who are citizens of 18 countries, including Russia. Russian prosecutors are considering whether to charge them with piracy, among other offenses, and the activists are being held pending the investigation.
The Russian Coast Guard disrupted an attempt on Sept. 18 by two of the activists to scale an offshore platform owned by Russian state-controlled energy giant Gazprom to call attention to the environmental risks of drilling in Arctic waters. The next day, the Coast Guard seized Greenpeace’s ship, the Arctic Sunrise, and then towed it to Murmansk with the crew and activists aboard. Continue reading
By Steve Horn, 11 September, 2013. Source: DeSmog Blog
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has granted the first ever LNG export permit license to Dominion Resources, Inc. to export gas obtained from the controversial hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) process in the Marcellus Shale basin.
It’s the fourth ever export terminal approved by the DOE, with the three others along the Gulf Coast: Cheniere’s Sabine Pass LNG, Freeport LNG (50-percent owned by ConocoPhillips) and Lake Charles Exports, LLC.
Located in Lusby, Maryland, the Dominion Cove Point LNG terminal will be a key regional hub to take gas fracked from one of the most prolific shale basins in the world – the Marcellus – and ship it to global markets, with shale gas exports a key geopolitical bargaining chip with Russia, the biggest producer of conventional gas in the world.
Dominion owns not only Cove Point, but also the pipeline infrastructure set to feed the terminal. Continue reading
By Alexander Besant, 26 August, 2013. Source: Global Post
Mercury contamination in Pacific Ocean fish is on the rise due to pollution from Asian countries, according to new research.
The mercury seaps into the fish, which are subsequently consumed by humans.
“This study reinforces the links between mercury emitted from Asian countries and the fish that we catch off Hawaii and consume in this country,” said study author Joel Blum, an environmental scientist at the University of Michigan. Continue reading
By Miki Toda and Koji Ueda, August 28, 2013. Source: San Francisco Chronicle
Third-generation fisherman Fumio Suzuki sets out into the Pacific Ocean every seven weeks. Not to catch fish to sell, but to catch fish that can be tested for radiation.
For the last 2 ½ years, fishermen from the port of Yotsukura near the strickenFukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant have been mostly stuck on land with little to do. There is no commercial fishing along most of the Fukushima coast. In a nation highly sensitive to food safety, there is no market for the fish caught near the stricken plant because the meltdowns it suffered contaminated the ocean water and marine life with radiation.
A sliver of hope emerged after recent sampling results showed a decline in radioactivity in some fish species. But a new crisis spawned by fresh leaks of radioactive water from the Fukushima plant last week may have dashed those prospects.
By Martin Fackler, August 6, 2013. Source: NY Times
Tons of contaminated groundwater from the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant have overwhelmed an underground barrier and are emptying daily into the Pacific, creating what a top regulator has called a crisis.
The water contains strontium and cesium, as well as tritium, which is considered less dangerous when released into the ocean. Despite increasing alarm among regulators in recent weeks, the plant’s operator says it does not yet pose a health threat because levels of the contaminants are still very low in the open ocean, beyond the plant’s man-made harbor — a contention even critics support.
But regulators and critics alike are worried because the company, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, or Tepco, has been unable to stop the flow of the contaminated water, which appears to have started between December and May. The company has also not yet conclusively identified the source of the contamination, compounding fears.
“Tepco lacks a sufficient sense of urgency for this crisis,” Shinji Kinjo, a high-level official at the country’s nuclear regulatory watchdog, said Tuesday in an interview.
By Jacob Chamberlain, August 3, 2013. Source: Common Dreams
Hundreds of pages of federal documents released by the U.S. government to theAssociated Press this week show that the controversial and toxic practice of hydraulic fracturing has moved offshore to an extent far greater than previously known.
The documents, obtained by the AP through a Freedom of Information Act request, show that the EPA has permitted fracking in the Pacific Ocean at least 12 times since the late 1990s, and has recently approved a new project in “the vast oil fields in the Santa Barbara Channel,” which is also the site of a major 1969 spill of over 3 million gallons of crude oil into the ocean.
“While debate has raged over fracking on land, prompting efforts to ban or severely restrict it,” AP writes, “offshore fracking has occurred with little attention in sensitive coastal waters where for decades new oil leases have been prohibited.”
Fracking—the process of pumping hundreds of thousands of gallons of salt water, sand and toxic chemicals into shale and sand formations—is most commonly referred to as a process of natural gas extraction and has come under fire from a growing anti-fracking movement for its well documented water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.