UK fracking measures could make exploratory drilling "as easy as building a garden wall"

May 17, 2018 by  
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The United Kingdom ‘s government has come under fire from fracking opponents after releasing measures that could fast-track shale gas projects. Under these measures, explorers could drill test sites without first applying for planning permission, The Guardian reported . Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas said, “Britain’s fracking experiment was on life support and now the government is trying its best to shock it back into life.” Shale gas, a natural gas extracted via hydraulic fracturing or fracking, is a controversial energy source. On one hand, it produces less carbon emissions than oil or coal ; on the other, it’s still a fossil fuel polluting the planet more than renewable  resources like solar or wind. According to Greg Clark, the UK’s Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy, gas has an important role in helping the country meet carbon budgets laid out in its Climate Change Act, as well as international obligations. In a written statement , he said, “Gas still makes up around a third of our current energy usage and every scenario proposed by the Committee on Climate Change setting out how the UK could meet its legally-binding 2050 emissions reduction target includes demand for natural gas” — but “recent decisions on shale exploration planning applications remain disappointingly slow.” Related: New study finds that fracking chemicals could harm the immune system In addition to allowing shale explorers to drill test sites, the measures would allow for the categorization of fracking sites as nationally significant infrastructure , which means approval would come from a national level instead of a local one. Clark also announced a £1.6 million shale support fund that would let planning authorities accelerate fracking applications in the upcoming two years. Fracking opponents were furious. Greenpeace said, “Exploratory drilling will be as easy as building a garden wall or conservatory.” According to MP Rebecca Long-Bailey, “Fracking should be banned, not promoted.” Via The Guardian Images via Wikimedia Commons (1)

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UK fracking measures could make exploratory drilling "as easy as building a garden wall"

NASA study shows water shortages could worsen without action

May 17, 2018 by  
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In a recent “first-of-its-kind”  study led by  NASA , scientists found major changes to freshwater availability — changes that could impact water shortages over the course of the century. For the study, published this week in  Nature , scientists drew on 14 years of satellite observations combined with data on human activity to track freshwater trends in 34 regions worldwide. And, according to hydrologist Jay Famiglietti, “What we are witnessing is major hydrologic change.” Specifically, wet areas around the globe are getting wetter, and dry areas are getting drier. This is bad news for the dry areas, most of them between the tropics and the high latitudes. Several of these hotspots, such as the Middle East, California and Australia, are complicating the issue by depleting their reserves of groundwater. While the study did not find a clear connection between the changing freshwater patterns and climate change, it is unlikely that the situation in these areas will improve without significant government action. Humans playing a huge role in changing freshwater availability via climate change, water management and changing extremes. Freshwater security is more tenuous than we thought. Out now in @Nature https://t.co/KxnC9eQts4 pic.twitter.com/h8Gab3dHrb — Jay Famiglietti (@JayFamiglietti) May 16, 2018 Related: Uravu’s zero-electricity Aqua Panels produce gallons of water from thin air There are multiple factors behind the trends, including climate change , natural cycles and human water management . Lead author Matt Rodell of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center said, “A key goal was to distinguish shifts in terrestrial water storage caused by natural variability — wet periods and dry periods associated with El Niño and La Niña, for example — from trends related to climate change or human impacts, like pumping groundwater out of an aquifer faster than it is replenished.” Famiglietti said, “The pattern of wet-getting-wetter, dry-getting-drier during the rest of the 21st century is predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change models, but we’ll need a much longer data set to be able to definitively say whether climate change is responsible for the emergence of any similar pattern in the GRACE data.” The study states that government policies that encourage water conservation could help avoid increased water shortages. + NASA + Nature Via The Guardian Images via Depositphotos (1, 2)

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NASA study shows water shortages could worsen without action

UK fracking company proposes to dump wastewater into the sea

June 15, 2016 by  
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As public concern continues over the environmental costs of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking , one United Kingdom company said they would toss wastewater from their operations into the sea . Fracking demands huge quantities of water , up to six million gallons per well, but anywhere from 20 to 40 percent comes back to the surface as “flowback” filled with metals, salts, and naturally occurring radioactive materials. While they said the wastewater would be treated, some experts have expressed unease over how effective treatment would be. Chemical company INEOS said in the past they would like to be the largest player in the shale gas industry. They already hold 21 shale licenses . In North Yorkshire, where councillors approved fracking tests, one resident received an email from INEOS in March that described how they plan to deal with flowback. INEOS Upstream Director Tom Pickering said , “We will capture and contain it, treat it back to the standards agreed…with the Environmental Agency and discharge where allowed under permit, most likely the sea.” Related: Is fracking to blame for this crazy river fire? Treated wastewater perhaps sounds slightly less bad than wastewater, except that experts don’t know how safe such treatment would be. The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management told the Environmental Agency (EA) in March , “…we are concerned about the ability to treat flowback fluid at the present time.” The Natural Environmental Research Council released a report last year stating there was a “huge uncertainty” regarding regulatory mechanisms around cleaning the wastewater. They also noted that since fracking is still a relatively young industry, there’s not much information on just how much wastewater fracking will produce. A North Yorkshire council approved fracking tests even though they received 4,375 objections. The Greenpeace Science Unit’s Dr. Paul Johnston said, if the flowback water is dumped into the sea, it would be “a retrograde step” for environmental protection. Via The Guardian Images via INEOS Facebook and DAVID HOLT on Flickr

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UK fracking company proposes to dump wastewater into the sea

Australia smashed a wind energy record last month

June 15, 2016 by  
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Australian wind energy enjoyed a record month in May as wind farms supplied 1,299 gigawatt-hours of renewable electricity to the country’s main power grid, the National Electricity Market (NEM). Wind accounted for 8.5 percent of the country’s electricity demand, according to a report by energy consultants Pitt & Sherry . The record was 22 percent higher than the previous record set in July 2015 and came without any new capacity added in more than a year. The Australian Wind Alliance reports that the record amount of wind energy generated temporarily halted rising carbon emissions from the electricity sector. Four states smashed records last month, led by South Australia where 49 percent of electricity demand was sourced from wind farms. Wind supplied 13 percent of electricity used in Tasmania, 12 percent in Victoria and 4.8 percent in New South Wales. Across the NEM, wind farms have 3.9 GW of capacity. In May, they operated at 49 percent, taking advantage of blustery conditions that more than doubled the efficiency rate compared to March. Related: Australian wave energy project sets a new world record with 14,000 operating hours According to Pitt & Sherry, since former Prime Minister Tony Abbott repealed the country’s carbon tax in July 2014, emissions have increased 5.6 percent from the electricity sector. However, while current Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has a mixed record on climate change action, it was reported that the Turnbull government will not publicly fund Australia’s largest proposed export coal project. South Australia has a goal to be carbon neutral by 2050 and to make Adelaide the world’s first carbon neutral city. The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) also is aiming to become carbon neutral by 2050, with a 100 percent renewable goal by 2020. Victoria just joined South Australia and the ACT in committing to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Via CleanTechnica Images via Flickr

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Australia smashed a wind energy record last month

Abandoned oil and gas wells are leaking methane across the USA

January 29, 2015 by  
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After the State of the Union  Address and the touting of the abundance of our natural resources , you’d probably think that our natural gas game in the U.S. is strong. Meanwhile, the big environmental organizations are going off about the Keystone XL Pipeline , and smaller grassroots non profits are fighting eminent domain (not to mention exploding ) pipelines like the Penn East and the Atlantic Sunrise, along with the air-polluting compressor station infrastructure that accompanies them. While all that’s going on, hundreds of thousands of abandoned oil and gas wells throughout the country are leaking extraordinary amounts of methane and being ignored by political leaders who continue to support “clean-burning” natural gas. Read the rest of Abandoned oil and gas wells are leaking methane across the USA Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: abandoned , air , Air quality , ban fracking , carbon dioxide , Climate Change , dangerous , DEP , department of Environmental Protection , Environment , environmental protection agency , epa , fossil fuels , fracking , gas , gas wells , government , greenhouse gases , health effects , leaking , McKean county , methane , natural gas , no frack , oil and gas , oil wells , PA , pennsylvania , Policy , princeton , regulations , renewable energy , research , shale gas , stanford , studies , united states , university , water issues

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Abandoned oil and gas wells are leaking methane across the USA

New York’s fracking ban is the cue for eco-activists to mobilize

January 14, 2015 by  
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The ban on fracking in New York State is a great catalyst to inspire  grassroots environmental groups to come together. Shortly after Governor Andrew Cuomo’s decision to ban fracking due to health and safety concerns of residents, clean air, and drinking water, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf issued a response that said he was opposed to a ban and would make sure fracking was “ safe .” A big piece of Wolf’s election promise was to slap a severance tax on dirty shale gas and use it to pay for schools, transportation , budget-balancing, etc. That sounds attractive from the sidelines, but it’s actually really scary how much new drilling will occur. Now is the time to reallocate resources from coast to coast, and get mobilized to stop fracking across the USA. Read the rest of New York’s fracking ban is the cue for eco-activists to mobilize Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: action , activism , andrew cuomo , ban fracking , capitalism , climate , Climate Change , climate chaos , Climate Disaster , congress , conservatives , ECO:nomics , economy , Environment , Facebook , fight , Fossil Free , fossil fuels , fracking , frontlines , Future , future generations , gas , governor andrew cuomo , hydraulic fracturing , keystone xl , KXL , money , natural gas , new york city , new york state , New York. , NOKXL , NY , obama , oil , Op Ed , pennsylvania , protests , renewable energy , renewables , republicans , revolution , shale gas , shalefields , social media , Tom Wolf , XL Dissent

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New York’s fracking ban is the cue for eco-activists to mobilize

Chipotle pulls pork from menus after pigs found to be poorly treated

January 14, 2015 by  
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The field of ethical meat consumption is a complicated (and arguably oxymoronic) one, but that hasn’t stopped some retailers from working to ensure that the meat products they serve come from animals who are humanely treated. Chipotle is among these retailers, and after finding that pork for over a third of their 1700 locations came from pigs who are farmed in poor conditions, the restaurant chain has pulled carnitas from the menu. Read the rest of Chipotle pulls pork from menus after pigs found to be poorly treated Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: anibiotics , animal rights , animal welfare , carnitas , Chipotle , hormones , humane farming , pigs , pork , responsibly raised , vegan , veganism , vegetarian , vegetarianism

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Saying “NO” to the Keystone XL pipeline is just the first step in our environmental revolution

December 9, 2014 by  
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If you’ve checked Facebook in the past week or so you probably know that the Keystone XL Pipeline bill  failed in the Senate, despite aggressive attempts by Mary Landrieu (D-LA) to ensure its passing. But what does this mean for the United States? Does it mean we won’t have all those promised  jobs ? Will it lead us to living in caves because of a lack of energy ? Are we more vulnerable to ebola, AIDS, asthma, and heart disease? No. It just means we’ve shown that the environmental movement is actually going somewhat forward now . Read the rest of Saying “NO” to the Keystone XL pipeline is just the first step in our environmental revolution Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: action , acvtivism , ban fracking , capitalism , climate , Climate Change , climate chaos , Climate Disaster , congress , conservatives , creativity , earth , ECO:nomics , economy , Environment , Facebook , fight , Fossil Free , fossil fuels , fracking , frontlines , Future , future generations , gas , green , Grow , hydraulic fracturing , keystone xl , KXL , Love , money , movement , natural gas , NOKXL , obama , oil , Op Ed , peace , politics , protests , renewable energy , renewables , republicans , revolution , shale gas , shalefields , skills , social media , XL Dissent

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Saying “NO” to the Keystone XL pipeline is just the first step in our environmental revolution

Gecko-inspired adhesives could enable humans to climb walls Mission: Impossible style!

December 9, 2014 by  
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If you’ve ever watched with envy as Spider-Man or Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt  scale structures with ease, then this could be your lucky day. According to the MIT Technology Review, a team from Stanford University have created a gecko-inspired human climbing system that allowed a grad student to scale a glass wall just using two hand-sized sticky pads. Read the rest of Gecko-inspired adhesives could enable humans to climb walls Mission: Impossible style! Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: artifical adhesives , Biomimetics and Dextrous Manipulation Lab , Climbing gloves , Elliot Hawkes , gecko-inspired adhesives , Mark Cutkosky , stanford university , sticky pads

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Gecko-inspired adhesives could enable humans to climb walls Mission: Impossible style!

Stunning cross-shaped Norderhov Cabin nestles into the landscape in Norway

December 9, 2014 by  
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Stunning cross-shaped Norderhov Cabin nestles into the landscape in Norway

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