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Wednesday, May 04th

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EARTHQUAKES: 'Remarkable' spate of man-made quakes linked to drilling, USGS team says

drilling anc earthquakesA rash of earthquakes in the middle of the country appears to be related to oil and gas drilling, according to a group of researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey.

"A remarkable increase in the rate of [magnitude-3.0] and greater earthquakes is currently in progress," the scientists state in the abstract for their study. "A naturally-occurring rate change of this magnitude is unprecedented outside of volcanic settings or in the absence of a main shock."

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Reports link heat waves, deluges to climate change

Heat waves linked to climate changeScientists are increasingly confident that the uptick in heat waves and heavier rainfall is linked to human-caused greenhouse-gas emissions, posing a heightened risk to the world’s population, according to two reports issued in the past week.

On Wednesday, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a 594-page study suggesting that when it comes to weather observations since 1950, there has been a “change in some extremes,” which stem in part from global warming.

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Fukushima reactor shows radiation levels much higher than thought

Damage from disaster so severe that clean-up expected to take decades, according to latest examination of nuclear plant.

The data shows the damage from the disaster is so severe the plant operator will have to develop special equipment and technology to tolerate the harsh environment, and decommission the plant. The process is expected to last decades.

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Oil spill linked to dolphin illnesses

DolphinDolphins in a Louisiana bay that saw heavy, prolonged exposure to oil in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill are showing signs of severe ill health, officials say.

Many bottlenose dolphins in Barataria Bay are underweight, anemic, have low blood sugar and/or some symptoms of liver and lung disease, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration reported Monday.

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Gas Industry Spin Can’t Cover Up Air Problems Associated with Fracking

air pollution spin by gas industryIt’s like the gas industry and their apologists are living in a different universe from the rest of us, when it comes to the risks from shale gas extraction via fracking.  Call it the “Spin Zone.”

At a Wall Street Journal conference last week, Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon told attendees: “I don’t know of any problem with air pollution from fracking in Fort Worth” Texas.  McClendon peevishly referred to air pollution concerns raised by Riverkeeper President Paul Gallay [whom McClendon refused to share the stage with] as “environmental nonsense.”  Since then, industry-sponsored posts like this and this argue against links between fracking and air pollution.

Well, read on.  Then decide who’s spouting “nonsense”:

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Temperatures could rise by 3C by 2050, models suggest

Temperatures to rise 3 degrees C by 2050Global temperatures could rise by 1.4-3.0C (2.5-5.4F) above levels for late last century by 2050, a computer simulation has suggested.
Almost 10,000 climate simulations were run on volunteers' home computers.

The projections, published in Nature Geoscience, are somewhat higher than those from other models. The researchers aimed to explore a wider range of possible futures, which they say helps "get a handle" on the uncertainties of the climate system.

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Fracking: Corruption a Part of Pennsylvania’s Heritage

FrackingThe history of energy exploration, mining, and delivery is best understood in a range from benevolent exploitation to worker and public oppression. A company comes into an area, leases land in rural and agricultural areas for mineral rights, increases employment, usually in a depressed economy, strips the land of its resources, creates health problems for its workers and those in the immediate area, and then leaves.

It makes no difference if it’s timber, oil, or coal. In the 1970s and 1980s, the nuclear energy industry promised well-paying jobs, clean energy, and a safe health and work environment. Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, Fukushima Daiichi, and thousands of violations issued by the Nuclear Regulatory Agency, have shown that even with strict operating guidelines, nuclear energy isn’t as clean and safe as claimed. Like all other energy industries, nuclear power isn’t infinite. Most plants have a 40–50 year life cycle. After that, the plant becomes so radioactive hot that it must be sealed.

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