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Fracking Disaster: Kansas Went From 1 Earthquake Per Year To 42 A Week

fracking disasterThe revolutionary method of natural-gas extraction known as hydraulic fracturing – or “fracking” – has left in its wake a trail of contaminated water supplies, polluted air, health problems, and environmental degradation. But what is potentially the most damaging aspect of the process is just coming to light in the form of a tremendous spate of earthquakes in the heart of the United States.

In the past week, northern Oklahoma and southern Kansas have suffered forty two earthquakes of magnitude 2.5 on the Richter scale – 17% of all earthquakes in the world. This brings the year-to-date count up to 680 such tremors – and this in area that until recently was almost completely seismically dormant. Up until 2009, the area experienced an average of 1.5 of these quakes each year. What has changed since then is the massive influx of fracking operations seeking to take advantage of the Woodford Shale that straddles the two states’ border.


Interior Department curbs future Arctic offshore drilling

Arctic drilling to be curbedThe U.S. Interior Department announced Friday it is canceling future lease sales and will not extended current leases in Arctic waters off Alaska's northern coast, a decision that significantly reduces the chances for future Arctic offshore drilling.

The news follows a Sept. 28 announcement by Royal Dutch Shell that it would cease exploration in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas after spending upward of $7 billion on Arctic exploration. The company cited disappointing results from a well drilled in the Chukchi and the unpredictable federal regulatory environment.


Study: Bubble plumes of methane escaping warming ocean

methane bubble fumesThe most infamous and abundant greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide. But though less prolific, methane actually packs a meaner climate-warming punch.

To the dismay of climate scientists (and anyone concerned by global warming), there appears to a new and growing source of methane -- the deep sea.

In analyzing instances of bubble plumes, columns of rising methane gas bubbles, researchers found a growing number have been measured at a transition zone. The transition zone, beginning a third of a mile below the surface, is significant to stability of methane hydrates -- an area where warming water temperatures could encourage sublimation.


Flooding the system: Climate change could knock the Internet offline

Climate change and the InternetFor two or three days, J. Patrick Brown wasn’t sure if his whole family had made it out of New Orleans safely. They had decided to stay behind when Hurricane Katrina hit, to care for an ailing relative. Stuck inside without television or Internet access, they relied on him to call them from his college in Maine with updates on what was happening in the city.

When the city’s levees broke, he finally persuaded them to get out as quickly as they could. Not long after, the cell towers went down, and they lost contact.


What Exxon knew about the Earth's melting Arctic

Exxon knew about climate changteBack in 1990, as the debate over climate change was heating up, a dissident shareholder petitioned the board of Exxon, one of the world’s largest oil companies, imploring it to develop a plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from its production plants and facilities.

The board’s response: Exxon had studied the science of global warming and concluded it was too murky to warrant action. The company’s “examination of the issue supports the conclusions that the facts today and the projection of future effects are very unclear.”


South Carolina floods: climate change intensified conditions, scientists say

South carolina floodsScientists say climate change has exacerbated the effects of a storm blamed for at least nine deaths in the south-eastern US.

On Monday, after weekend downpours, flooding continued to overwhelm large parts of South Carolina and North Carolina in what was described as a “once-in-a-millennium” storm.

Individual weather events cannot be attributed to climate change, but climatologists say atmospheric conditions tied to climate change intensified this downpour.


U.S. settles claims with BP over 2010 spill

BP settlementThe U.S. Justice Department announced Monday it reached a settlement with British energy company BP over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch in July said both parties reached an agreement in principle to settle civil claims for the spill. If agreed to, the estimated $18.7 billion would be the largest settlement of its kind in U.S. history.


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