BP PLC continues to stockpile and deploy oil-dispersing chemicals manufactured by a company with which it shares close ties, even though other U.S. EPA-approved alternatives have been shown to be far less toxic and, in some cases, nearly twice as effective.
The combined global land and ocean surface temperature was the warmest on record for both April and for the period from January-April, according to NOAA. Additionally, last month’s average ocean surface temperature was the warmest on record for any April, and the global land surface temperature was the third warmest on record.
The monthly analysis from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, which is based on records going back to 1880, is part of the suite of climate services that NOAA provides government, business and community leaders so they can make informed decisions.
In a study to be published Friday in the journal Science, an international team of biologists reports that in more than one-tenth of the places in Mexico where lizards flourished in 1975 the reptiles now cannot be found. The researchers predict that by 2080 about 40 percent of local lizard populations worldwide will have died off, and 20 percent of lizard species will be extinct.
Oil industry chiefs say it is too early to conclude what caused the disaster.
The UN warned on Monday that "massive" loss in life-sustaining natural environments was likely to deepen to the point of being irreversible after global targets to cut the decline by this year were missed.
As a result of the degradation, the world is moving closer to several "tipping points" beyond which some ecosystems that play a part in natural processes such as climate or the food chain may be permanently damaged, a United Nations report said.
In a letter published in the journal Science, more than 250 members of the US National Academy of Sciences, including 11 Nobel Prize laureates, condemned the increase in "political assaults" on scientists who argue greenhouse gas emissions are warming the planet.
The 'climategate' scandal and mistakes by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have led to a surge in attacks on climate scientists around the world.
The decision on whether to use chemical dispersants deep below the sea's surface to break up the Gulf of Mexico oil spill boils down to two central questions:
Is it worth taking this unprecedented step to protect the region's sensitive and ecologically valuable wetlands, even at the potential expense of its marine life? And should federal officials conduct extensive new research before making the leap, since the scientific literature on this question is so sparse?
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