Archive for February, 2011

Environment Negatively Affected by H.R.1 Amendments

Amendments in the H.R. 1 bill have halted numerous regulations that will severely hinder the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to protect the environment, prevent the worsening of climate change, and protect endangered species.

 According to a publication from the Center for Biological Diversity, the provisions in the bill would attack the EPA’s attempts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, remove Endangered Species Act protections for many species, reduce restrictions on toxic mercury pollution, allow public lands to be used for harmful activities, and slow progress that would protect U.S. citizens from unsanitary air and water.

With this bill, industries can take advantage of slipping under the EPA’s radar. They wouldn’t have to comply with regulations set upon them, allowing them to take the easy and most efficient way out when it comes to toxic dumping.

OMB Watch, a non-profit government watchdog organization, believes that those most affected by the bill are consumers. Without restrictions and regulations provided by the EPA, consumers will not be able to report hazardous products or be warned by reports written by other consumers.

According OMB Watch, senate leaders who have criticized the cuts are pushing for an extension of the current bill in an attempt to reach a compromise.

The amendments made in the H.R.1 bill will affect the EPA's ability to restrict the way industries dispose of waste.


Other Key Amendments


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World’s Coral Reefs in Need of Protection

A story on NPR reports on a survey that found coral reefs around the world are suffering in great part due to human interference.  Local threats to corals include overfishing and pollution.  Meanwhile global threats such as greenhouse gases are causing heat stress to corals.

The World of Resources Institute has found that overfishing and the destructive fishing practices are threatening reefs.  Lauretta Burke a senior author of the new report Reefs at Risk Revisited says that currently 75 percent of reefs are threatened by a combination of local and global threats.

By 2030 that percentage will rise to 90 twenty years after that virtually all reefs will be threatened Burke said.  Burke found that poisons to stun and capture fish as well as the use of explosives to kill fish are destructive manners of fishing that hurt reefs.

Among many findings the Reefs at Risk Revisited report released that more than 275 million people worldwide live in direct vicinity of coral reefs.  At least 94 countries benefit from tourism related to reefs.  Certain reefs harbor potential for disease prevention, treatments for cancer, HIV and malaria.

There are potential solutions such as creations of marine protected areas.  Marine protection must occur at all levels, at small ones, local ones in the developing world said Nancy Knowlton of the Smithsonian Institution’s Marine Biology Research Institution.

Knowlton says corals are the most endangered animal on the planet.  She says that due to greenhouse gases pouring into the atmosphere one-third of all coral species are at risk of extinction.

Jane Lubchenco of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says it will take a Herculean effort to reverse the current trajectory and leave healthy ocean ecosystems to our children and our grandchildren.

I found another article from the BBC website on coral reef risk and WRI report.


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Extreme climate change may be caused by global warming

Two studies found that man-made global warming may be behind cases of extreme rainstorms and snowfalls.  The studies provide proof against the claim of the climate change as a “victimless crime.”

Miles Allen of the University of Oxford, co-author of one of the studies said, “Extreme weather is what actually hurts people.”

The World Health Organization found that over the past 60 years flooding has killed more than 2.3 million people.

The studies were done in computer simulations.  For the first time researchers found they were able to pin point the “fingerprints of human-caused climate change.”

Climate scientist Jerry North of Texas A&M University praised the work but is concerned the studies are making a connection between extreme climate change and global warming based on data that is not the best in some locations.

Other climate experts reviewed the studies for the Associated Press said the research was sound and strong.

An interactive map explains the greenhouse effect.


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Food Prices Crisis


Food prices around the world reached a record high in January, making food the most expensive it has ever been. The costs of staple foods, like corn and wheat, rose by approximately 50% in 2010. The repercussions on people throughout the world include poverty and hunger in millions. The rise in costs is attributed to issues around the world: the heat wave in Russia and the Midwest, the use of ethanol as fuel, and the demand for meat which requires grain and water for production. The use of biofuels is credited to the crisis and it is argued whether or not they are really helpful to the environment.

Food Prices: Crisis Deepens as Biofuels Consume More Crops by Bryan Walsh Time Magazine

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El Medio Ambiente

Obama propone nuevas reglas para proteger a los bosques nacionales.  En todo el país se encuentran 193 millones de acres de los bosques, California tiene 20 milliones de ellos.
Bajo estas reglas el gobierno podra vigilar lo que pasa con los bosques.  Según el secretario de agricultura lo que propone Obama “es encontrar un equilibro para promover la diversidad ecológica y proteger la vida silvestre.”
California tiene 18 bosques nacionales, así que pienso que nos podría afectar porque vivimos mejor si el medio ambiente es protegido.
Aqui esta el articulo de Los Angeles Times

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2011: 7 Billion People On Earth

Robert Kunzig of National Geographic has estimated that in 2011, there will be 7 billion people inhabiting the planet. The amount of people is growing because people are living longer and more women are in their child bearing years. Consequentially, the more people there are, the more resources are being depleted. This means more forests will be cleared, more coal and oil will be burned, and more fertilizers and pesticides will be used freely. Over the past 200 years, the world population has increased, jumping to the next billion in just a decade. According to Kunzig, this also means that the amount of “megacities” has dramatically increased as well from three in 1975, to 21 today.

Read the article by Robert Kunzig from National Geographic.

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