Glacier National Park has lost two more of its namesake moving icefields to climate change, which is shrinking the rivers of ice until they grind to a halt, a government researcher said Wednesday.
Warmer temperatures have reduced the number of named glaciers in the northwestern Montana park to 25, said Dan Fagre said, an ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. He warned many of the rest of the glaciers may be gone by the end of the decade.
"It's continual," Fagre said. "When we're measuring glacier margins, by the time we go home the glacier is already smaller than what we've measured." The meltoff shows the climate is changing, but does not show exactly what is causing temperatures to go up, Fagre said.
The federal government issued final rules establishing the first greenhouse gas emissions standards for automobiles and light trucks on Thursday, ending a 30-year battle between regulators and automakers.
The new rules, jointly written by the Transportation Department and the Environmental Protection Agency, set emissions and mileage standards that will translate to a fleet average of 35.5 miles a gallon by 2016, nearly a 40 percent improvement over today’s fuel economy.
Officials said the program would save the owner of an average 2016 car $3,000 in fuel costs over the life of the vehicle and eliminate emissions of nearly a billion tons of climate-altering gases over the lives of the regulated vehicles. Reaching the new efficiency level will add about $1,000 to the cost of the average new car by 2016, according to industry and government estimates.
The first of several British investigations into the e-mails leaked from one of the world's leading climate research centers has largely vindicated the scientists involved.
The House of Commons' Science and Technology Committee said they had seen no evidence to support charges that the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit or its director, Phil Jones, had tampered with data or perverted the peer review process to exaggerate the threat of global warming — two of the most serious criticisms levied against the climatologist and his colleagues.
In their report released Wednesday, the committee said that, as far as it was able to ascertain, "the scientific reputation of Professor Jones and CRU remains intact," adding that nothing in the more than 1,000 stolen e-mails, or the controversy kicked up by their publication, challenged scientific consensus that "global warming is happening and that it is induced by human activity."
Koch Industries, which is owned and run by two Kansas-based brothers and has substantial oil and chemicals interests, spent the sum between 2005 and 2008 to finance "organisations of the 'climate denial machine'", claims the environmental campaign group Greenpeace.
Despite the relatively small size of the conglomerate, the sum is three times that spent by ExxonMobil, the western world's biggest oil company, in the same period. A Greenpeace investigation also claimed that between 2006 and 2009, the company and its owners - Charles and David Koch - spent £25.3 million ($37.9 million) on direct lobbying on oil and energy issues.
Coral reefs are dying, and scientists and governments around the world are contemplating what will happen if they disappear altogether. The idea positively scares them.
Coral reefs are part of the foundation of the ocean food chain. Nearly half the fish the world eats make their homes around them. Hundreds of millions of people worldwide - by some estimates, 1 billion across Asia alone - depend on them for their food and their livelihoods.
If the reefs vanished, experts say, hunger, poverty and political instability could ensue. "Whole nations will be threatened in terms of their existence," said Carl Gustaf Lundin of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
The moratorium on commercial whaling, one of the environmental movement's greatest achievements, looks likely to be swept away this summer by a new international deal being negotiated behind closed doors.
The new arrangement would legitimise the whaling activities of the three countries which have continued to hunt whales in defiance of the ban – Japan, Norway and Iceland – and would allow commercial whaling in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary set up by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in 1994.
Conservationists regard it as catastrophic, but fear there is a very real chance of its being accepted at the next IWC meeting in Morocco in June, not least because it is being strongly supported by the US – previously one of whaling's most determined opponents.
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