Huntington Beach oil spill destroys wildlife habitat

October 5, 2021 by  
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A wildlife habitat has been destroyed after 127,000 gallons of oil spilled along the Huntington Beach coast in Orange County, California. Officials are working round the clock to clean up the shores. The leak started on Saturday, about 5 miles off the coast, and continued for several hours. Currently, divers are inspecting the 17-mile pipeline to determine the cause of the spill. The pipeline is owned and managed by Amplify Energy. Company CEO Martyn Willsher told reporters the spill was first noticed on Saturday morning and immediately reported to the Coast Guard. The small oil company has just over 200 employees, and some of its facilities date back to the 1970s. Related: Los Angeles County to begin phasing out oil and gas drilling According to Willsher, the pipe has been “suctioned at both ends to keep additional crude out,” and stop further spill until the real cause was determined and corrected. The spill poses a threat to wildlife and human health. So far, wildlife experts have reported recovering four live birds covered in oil. One of the birds had to be euthanized due to its poor health condition. However, they also say that the extent of ecological damage cannot be estimated at the moment.  According to Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley, dead birds and fish have been spotted washing up on the shores. Foley says habitats that took years to build have been destroyed in a single day, all thanks to the spill. “These are wetlands that we’ve been working with the Army Corps of Engineers, with (a local) land trust, with all the community wildlife partners to make sure to create this beautiful, natural habitat for decades. And now in just a day, it’s completely destroyed,” Foley said. Due to the potential health risks to human life, residents have been urged to avoid all recreational activities in the area. All people who may have encountered the oil are encouraged to  visit local facilities  for medical checkups. Via CNN Lead image via Pete Markham

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Huntington Beach oil spill destroys wildlife habitat

Hurricane Ida brings floods to Northeast U.S.

September 7, 2021 by  
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New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut residents have faced flooding due to Hurricane Ida. Although miles away from Louisiana, where the hurricane first landed, the Northeast received heavy storms as the hurricane moved inland. At least 44 people were confirmed dead by Thursday following heavy flooding from record-breaking storms. In New York, the hurricane unleashed torrential rainfall that caused flash floods . Streets turned into rivers, sweeping away cars and other items along the way. Many flights were also grounded, including 370 canceled flights at New Jersey’s Newark Liberty Airport. Related: Louisiana dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Ida As New York City mayor Bill de Blasio told CNN on Friday, “This is a new world” that requires “entirely different responses.” Many residents in the Northeast were left in the dark after the floods interrupted power supplies. In New York City, at least 13 people were confirmed dead from the floods; this is in addition to three more confirmed deaths in Westchester County. In New Jersey , Governor Phil Murphy confirmed the death of at least 23 people. The situation was so dire that President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency for New York and New Jersey, ordering federal assistance to reinforce local efforts. Hurricane Ida first landed in Louisiana , where it claimed lives and destroyed property. The storms resulting from Ida led to an hourly rainfall record of 3.15 inches in Manhattan, breaking the previous record set two weeks earlier. According to weather officials in New York, the heavy floods are not a result of total daily rainfall but high-volume rainfall in a short span. While commenting on the matter, Kathy Hochul, New York’s newly inaugurated governor, said that climate change is a situation that we will have to deal with for a while. “Because of climate change , unfortunately, this is something we’re going to have to deal with great regularity,” said Hochul. Via CNN and Reuters Images via Pixabay

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Hurricane Ida brings floods to Northeast U.S.

Louisiana dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Ida

August 31, 2021 by  
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Residents of Louisiana are stuck in the dark following destructive Hurricane Ida on Sunday. Officials are still counting losses and have said that it may take weeks before power is restored in some areas. The hurricane hit Louisiana with winds at speeds of 150 mph (240 km/h). Ida is now the fifth strongest hurricane to hit the U.S. mainland. Officials have confirmed the death of one person. Further, about 1 million residents of Louisiana are in the dark following destroyed power supply systems. Related: Climate change doubles natural disaster costs in the US According to CNN, about 25,000 workers from across the country are currently fighting to restore power . The workers are expected to bring back normalcy in phases, but some areas may wait longer than others before power returns. New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said that although the hurricane was one of the strongest in history, protection measures helped reduce casualties and losses. “The systems we depended on to save lives and protect our city did just that and we are grateful, but there is so much more work to be done,” said Cantrell Hurricane Ida was initially predicted to be life-threatening, with some scientists even comparing it to Hurricane Katrina of 2005. Ida had a path similar to Katrina but did not cause as much destruction. Katrina claimed over 1,800 lives and properties worth billions. Some of the defense systems put in place after Katrina were effective in mitigating Ida’s effects. Governor John Bel Edwards said the systems “performed magnificently” in reducing the hurricane’s effect. Hurricane Ida gathered strength over the Gulf of Mexico , stopping up to 90% of the region’s oil production. Ida landed in New Orleans as a category four hurricane. A hurricane of this strength can destroy trees and buildings if there are no protection measures. As Hurricane Ida moved further inland, its winds speed dropped to 95 mph (153km/h), making it a category one hurricane. Even though the hurricane has downgraded to a tropical storm as it moves further inland, the National Hurricane Center has warned of potential flooding due to heavy rains. Residents of Mississippi , Alabama, and Florida have been asked to remain watchful. Mayor Cantrell has urged New Orleans residents who already evacuated to stay away from their homes until power returns. Via BBC and CNN Lead image via The National Guard

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Louisiana dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Ida

Will Lagos be submerged by 2100?

August 4, 2021 by  
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In  Lagos , the rainy season signifies more than the inconvenience of getting your feet wet and trying to remember your umbrella. Instead, annual flooding means getting wet to at least your knees if you venture out. But even if you stay in, water might flood in and destroy your house. And it’s getting worse. Experts predict the city might be submerged by 2100. Peak flooding usually comes in September. But already in July this year, Lagos was suffering from flooding that endangered lives and property and impaired commerce. Typically,  flooding  costs Lagos 4 billion dollars per year. As Nigerian actress Kate Henshaw tweeted, “Every year!!!! Same same in Lagos!! Nothing is ever done about flooding but to tell citizens to move.” Lagos is partially on the mainland and partially on islands. The low-lying city suffers from a rising  ocean  coupled with poorly maintained drainage systems and rocketing population growth. More than 24 million people live in this city on the Atlantic coast. But scientific projections point to Lagos’ being uninhabitable by the end of the century. A 2012 study by the University of Plymouth in the U.K. predicted that a sea-level rise of three to nine feet “will have a catastrophic effect on the human activities” in Lagos and other Nigerian coastal settlements. Affluent Victoria Island is already in trouble. “There’s this problem of the river bank being washed away,” said Manzo Ezekiel, spokesperson for NEMA,  Nigeria’s  emergency management agency. “The increase in water level is eating into the land.” A new city called  Eko Atlantic  is being built on reclaimed land on Victoria Island.  Developers  plan to protect Eko Atlantic with an eight-kilometer-long wall made from concrete blocks. It will sort of be like a stationary ark built to withstand the coming floods. But instead of animals coming on two-by-two, some of Lagos’ richest people will likely take refuge behind what is being called the Great Wall of Lagos. The wall “has passed vigorous tests by the world-renowned Danish Hydraulic Research Centre,” according to Eko Atlantic’s website, and will allegedly endure “the most severe tidal surges forecast over the next 1,000 years.” Ezekiel worries that “reclaiming land from the sea will put pressure on other coastal areas.” The Eko Atlantic website says it expects a population of 300,000 residents plus 200,000 daily commuters — likely to include many service workers. Subtract 300,000 from Lagos’ total population, and you still have about 23.7 million people unprotected by the Great Wall and vulnerable to  tidal surges. Via CNN Lead image via Pixabay

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Will Lagos be submerged by 2100?

London floods spark worry over climate change preparedness

July 28, 2021 by  
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On Sunday, the residents of London were caught up in flash floods following a heavy downpour, reigniting conversations about climate change preparedness. Experts have previously warned that the world’s largest cities are at the risk of facing devastating climate change consequences, which they are not prepared to handle. Images from Sunday’s floods show Londoners wandering through floodwater, not knowing what to do or where to go. Some drivers even attempted to drive through the water against expert warnings. According to the London Fire Brigade, over 1,000 emergency calls relating to floods were made on Sunday, indicating that most people were caught unprepared. Related: Moon wobble could lead to massive flooding The situation caused two London hospitals to scale down operations, a reminder that even the world’s richest cities can be affected by climate change . London is one of the world’s largest cities, designed without considerations for severe flooding events. Parts of the city are built on flood plains and use a Victorian drainage system unable to withstand intense flash floods. “It’s deeply concerning that we’re seeing hospital emergency departments having to close because they flooded, something certainly needs to be done to make sure that critical infrastructure is not at risk,” said Liz Stephens, associate professor at the University of Reading’s department of geography and environmental science. The Greater London Authority data shows that about 17% of the city is at high or medium risk of flooding. With more than 1 million Londoners living within flood plains, the city may find it difficult to cope with climate change-related flooding events. Recently, the city has developed a flood defense strategy along the River Thames, but such barriers have been unable to deal with flash floods. According to Stephens, even weather forecasting warnings are not enough to help the residents stay protected from flooding events. “I think there was an amber warning which tells you that that there could well be severe impacts, but the amber warning covered a very large area of southeast England,” said Stephens. “So really as an individual, what would you do with that kind of information. If you don’t know that your property is at risk of flooding, and you’ve got some very broad scale flood warning or not even a flood warning.” Via CNN Lead image via Pixabay

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London floods spark worry over climate change preparedness

Oregon’s Bootleg Fire is creating its own weather

July 23, 2021 by  
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Usually, weather conditions influence how wildfires behave. But southern Oregon’s massive Bootleg Fire is so powerful that it’s changing the  weather . Fire officials have reported about the Bootleg Fire’s “aggressive surface spread with pyrocumulus development.” This cloud form results from the flames of a  wildfire  producing such extreme heat that it causes air to rise rapidly, cooling and condensing smoke particles. Pyrocumulus clouds are like self-contained thunderstorms carrying wind and lightning. Related: California teenager invents AI-powered tool for early wildfire detection Drought in Oregon and other western states has upped the potential for such massive fires. According to Doug Grafe, chief of fire protection for the Oregon Department of Forestry, 90% of the state is in exceptional, extreme or severe  drought  conditions. “The future for us for the remainder of the season continues to look above normal dry and above normal temperatures,” said Grafe, as reported by CNN. “So this is not going to return to normal anytime soon, so we’re facing a long, difficult fire season.” He predicted Bootleg might burn another 50,000 to 100,000 acres before firefighters contain it. The Bootleg Fire started on July 6. At press time, it’s burned an area bigger than Los Angeles, more than 606 square miles, and is 30% contained. At least 83 wildfires are burning in 13 states, with eight of them in  Oregon . The fire is already one of the largest in Oregon history — and growing — with more than 2,000 firefighters trying to contain it.  “There’s absolutely no question that  climate change  is playing out before our eyes,” Governor Kate Brown said at a news conference, as reported by CNN. “We saw the heat dome event a few weeks ago. We unfortunately lost a lot of Oregonians through that event. In February we saw devastating ice storms. Over a half a million people lost power last fall, as you are well aware. We had unprecedented wildfires.” Via CNN Lead image via Pixabay

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Oregon’s Bootleg Fire is creating its own weather

CO2 levels in Earths atmosphere hit a record high in 2016

October 30, 2017 by  
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2016 was a year for breaking records — and not all of them were good. Each of the first six months of 2016 set a record as the warmest month in the modern temperature record – and a new report shows that CO2 levels in the Earth’s atmosphere hit their highest point in 800,000 years. “The abrupt changes in the atmosphere witnessed in the past 70 years are without precedent,” said the report published by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Every year, the Geneva-based organization compiles data for its annual greenhouse gas report. While reviewing 2016’s data, it cited a combination of “human activities” and “a strong El Niño event” as the reasons why CO2 levels increased so abruptly. CNN reports that the last time Earth experienced similar levels of concentrated CO2 in the atmosphere was 3-5 million years ago, when the temperature was 2-3 degrees Celsius warmer and the sea level was 10-20 meters higher than it is now. “Without rapid cuts in CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions , we will be heading for dangerous temperature increases by the end of this century, well above the target set by the Paris climate change agreement,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas. “Future generations will inherit a much more inhospitable planet.” In 2015, 195 countries signed the Paris Climate Agreement , which outlines specific emissions targets each nation must meet to prevent climate change from worsening. The United States, under President Donald Trump’s leadership, is the only developed nation that hasn’t agreed to join the Paris accord. As a result, some US states have joined together and set their own emissions goals that are in line with the Paris treaty. Related: The world will run out of breathable air unless carbon emissions are cut In October, the UN Environment Programme will release a separate Emissions Gap Report. This report keeps track of the policy commitments each country has made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It also analyzes how present policies will meet 2030 goals. “The numbers don’t lie. We are still emitting far too much and this needs to be reversed,” said Erik Solheim, head of the UN Environment Programme. “The last few years have seen enormous uptake of renewable energy , but we must now redouble our efforts to ensure these new low-carbon technologies are able to thrive. We have many of the solutions already to address this challenge. What we need now is global political will and a new sense of urgency.” + World Meteorological Organization Via CNN Images via Pexels, Pixabay

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CO2 levels in Earths atmosphere hit a record high in 2016

Beyond the Messy Truth with Van Jones

October 3, 2017 by  
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The CNN political commentator and founder of Dream Corps discusses how to communicate with people with different political and personal world views.

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Beyond the Messy Truth with Van Jones

Getting from Here to the Utility of the Future — An Industry View

October 3, 2017 by  
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Senior executives from three very different U.S. utilities discuss their respective visions for the future of utilities — specifically, the energy transition issues they are dealing with locally and nationally, and what it will take for corporations and local governments to work collaboratively with utilities to advance a clean energy economy. The conversation will also include a focus on how innovations within the power sector — including technologies and business models — are spurring significant opportunities for all industry stakeholders.

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Getting from Here to the Utility of the Future — An Industry View

Rapidly strengthening Hurricane Maria bears down on Puerto Rico and the Caribbean

September 18, 2017 by  
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Hurricane Maria , which is forecasted to slam into Puerto Rico and neighboring islands within hours, has officially strengthened into a Category 3 storm. This means that within the past 24 hours, it has doubled in strength and sustained winds of 120 mph. In preparation for the storm, Puerto Rico’s government has declared a “state of emergency” and is calling for citizens and to evacuate to safer locations. The hurricane is only expected to strengthen up to 150 mph until it makes landfall. CNN reports that as of 11 a.m. ET, the hurricane was approximately 60 miles east of Martinique. Maria is expected to make landfall at about 8 p.m. ET in the northeast Caribbean Leeward Islands — particularly St. Kitts, Nevis, Montserrat, and Martinique. This is the first time in 85 years Puerto Rico is expected to suffer a direct landfall from a Category 4 hurricane . As a result, the country’s government has declared a “state of emergency” and governor Ricardo Rosselló has ordered evacuations. Said Rosselló, “Our call is for people to evacuate areas that are prone to floods and landslides, in addition to vulnerable structures. It is time to seek refuge with a family member, friend, or move to a state shelter because rescuers will not go out and risk their lives once winds reach 50 miles per hour.” The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has warned, “A dangerous storm surge accompanied by large and destructive waves will raise water levels by as much as 5 to 7 feet above normal tide levels near where the center of Maria moves across the Leeward Islands.” Some areas are expected to receive up to 20 inches of rain, others approximately 12 inches. “Rainfall on all of these islands could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides,” said the NHC. Related: New study shows a 1-in-20 chance climate change will cause a complete societal collapse Puerto Rico was the haven thousands fled to in preparation for Hurricane Irma . Now, those evacuees and native Puerto Ricans are preparing to be slammed by another devastating storm. If Maria is as damaging as forecasted, it will be “more dangerous than Hugo and Georges.” Hurricane Hugo took the lives of five people in Puerto Rico in 1989, and Hurricane Georges went down in the textbooks for causing more than $1.7 billion in damage to the island in 1998 . Via CNN Images via Pixabay , National Hurricane Center , NASA

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Rapidly strengthening Hurricane Maria bears down on Puerto Rico and the Caribbean

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