EJToday: Top Headlines
EJToday is SEJ's selection of new and outstanding stories on environmental topics in print and on the air, updated every weekday. SEJ also offers a free e-mailed digest of the day's EJToday postings, called SEJ-beat. SEJ members are subscribed automatically, but may opt out here. Non-members may subscribe here. EJToday is also available via RSS feed. Please see Editorial Guidelines for EJToday content.
Ten years after the anthrax attacks that followed 9/11, the nation has spent some $60 billion trying to put together a biodefense program. One reason Americans do not know the scale of the government's failure is the extreme secrecy with which the programs are conducted. Profits, politics, and the manipulation of public fears may be making the nation's vulnerability to the worst public health threats even worse.
"ISLAMABAD -- Environmentalists are blaming climate change for the unprecedented massive monsoon rains in Pakistan, which so far this year have affected eight million people, claiming 350 lives and damaging 1.3 million homes."
"A sudden collapse of the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could mean a breakdown in controls over the country’s weapons, U.S. officials and weapons experts said in interviews. But while Libya’s chemical arsenal consists of unwieldy canisters filled mostly with mustard gas, the World War I-era blistering agent, Syria possesses some of the deadliest chemicals ever to be weaponized, dispersed in thousands of artillery shells and warheads that are easy to transport."
"Top military brass, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the UN Secretary General have all warned that climate change will create conflicts in the future. But environmental shifts are already causing wars, argues a team of experts in a new paper in Nature published this month."
"The famine in the Horn of Africa is manmade - the result of artificially high prices for food and civil conflict, the World Bank's lead economist for Kenya Wolfgang Fengler told Reuters Tuesday."
"The Navy has obtained authority to blast and sink as many as two real ships a year in the Gulf of Alaska over the next five years to give pilots and gunners authentic targets for their sights."
"For aid donors and humanitarian agencies, it is a Faustian bargain: reach and save tens of thousands of people on the verge of starving to death. The price: come to an 'understanding' with one of the most active affiliates of al Qaeda, and perhaps help it retain control of large swathes of Somalia."
"A bloody outbreak of fighting that has ended a 17-year ceasefire between Burmese government forces and a tribal militia was partly caused by the expansion of Chinese hydropower along the Irrawaddy river, conservationists claim."
CIA intelligence analysts have focused more intensely in the past year on a threat to national security they find highly worrisome: geopolitical chaos caused by climate change. Speaking on background, they say the U.S. is frighteningly unprepared. The CIA analysts must stay anonymous, because the public is not supposed to know.
"Rare minerals. Food and water. Arable soil. Air-cleansing forests. In the intellectual heart of the American military and policy-making world, these are emerging not just as environmental issues, but as the potential stuff of conflict in the 21st century."
"President Obama’s hopes of ratifying a new arms control treaty with Russia by the end of the year appeared to come undone on Tuesday as the chief Senate Republican negotiator moved to block a vote on the pact, one of the White House’s top foreign policy goals, in the lame-duck session of Congress."
"As President Obama pushes for ratification of his signature nuclear treaty with Russia in coming days, all eyes are on one Republican."
"In a long-running legal battle between a Hawaiian community and the U.S. Army, a federal judge today ruled that the community has a right to know how live-fire military training in a nearby valley could damage cultural sites and marine resources."