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.
"Peter Kareiva had come to answer for his truths. Settling at the head of a long table ringed by young researchers new to the policy world, Kareiva, chief scientist of the Nature Conservancy, the world's largest environmental organization, cracked open a beer. After a long day mentoring at the group's headquarters, an eight-story box nestled in the Washington, D.C., suburbs, he was ready for some sparring."
The Food and Drug Administration is supposed to make its regulatory decisions on the basis of science and for the health and well-being of the public. But the White House often intervenes, trying to influence FDA decisions to achieve political goals. Often the White House pressure comes in response to fear of demagogic attacks from the GOP. So it was with movie popcorn.
"Why did the atmosphere contain so little carbon dioxide (CO2) during the last Ice Age 20,000 years ago? Why did it rise when the Earth's climate became warmer? Processes in the ocean are responsible for this, says a new study based on newly developed isotope measurements. This study has now been published in the scientific journal 'Science' by scientists from the Universities of Bern and Grenoble and the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association."
"Citing its corporate stance that climate change is real, General Motors announced Wednesday that its General Motors Foundation would no longer be funding the Heartland Institute, a free-market think tank that has attacked human-caused global warming as 'junk science.'"
"The Obama administration has announced a new policy to handle the risks posed by legitimate biological research that could, in the wrong hands, threaten the public."
"As the Republican presidential race has shown, the conservatives who dominate the primaries are deeply skeptical of science — making Newt Gingrich, for one, regret he ever settled onto a couch with Nancy Pelosi to chat about global warming."
"State legislature gives legal protection to teachers who do not believe in the science and want to debate alternate explanations."
"F. Sherwood Rowland, the Nobel prize-winning chemist who sounded the alarm on the thinning of the Earth's ozone layer, has died at 84."
"A solar storm shook the Earth’s magnetic field early Friday, but scientists said they had no reports of any problems with electrical systems. After reports Thursday of the storm fizzling out, a surge of activity prompted space weather forecasters to issue alerts about changes in the magnetic field."
"An environmental scientist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, has resigned from the expert advisory committee intended to guide the US National Children’s Study (NCS), charging that the goals of the massive study, which aims to track factors affecting the health of 100,000 children from before birth to age 21, have been 'significantly abrogated' by its managers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH)."
"HAGERSTOWN, Md. -- A 2009 federal study that concluded groundwater contamination from Fort Detrick was unlikely to have harmful health effects was flawed, a national scientific panel said Monday, prompting two U.S. senators to demand a faster cleanup of the Superfund site in Frederick [MD]."
"RICHMOND -- After two years and more than half a million dollars in legal fees, the Virginia Supreme Court on Friday rejected Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II's assertion that the state's flagship university had to turn over documents related to global warming. The decision was a defeat for Cuccinelli (R), a global-warming skeptic who has garnered national attention for a string of high-profile lawsuits, just as he kicks off his campaign for governor next year. ..."
Budget pressures -- at least politically perceived ones -- are threatening basic science about the nation's water resources. In recent years the US Geologican Survey has cut back its programs for measuring streamflow and water quality -- which help protect people from flood disasters and drinking unhealthful water.
Tornado warnings mean life or death -- as recent storms in the Midwest showed. Minutes count, and better staffing and technology can help the National Weather Service save lives with earlier tornado warnings. But the political drive to cut federal agency budgets are hurting the NWS's ability to improve forcasts, a federal employee union says.
"MONTREAL -- The Canadian asbestos sector wants Ottawa's help to challenge a death-toll estimate from the World Health Organization that says asbestos-related diseases kill more than 100,000 people every year."