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.
Science is at the heart of some key policy issues dividing Republicans and Democrats. Presidential candidates Obama and Romney may never square off in person on TV over scientific issues like climate. But through "Science Debate 2012," they are addressing them in writing online. Is that good enough?
"Temperatures in the Antarctic Peninsula started rising naturally 600 years ago, long before man-made climate changes further increased them, scientists said in a study on Wednesday that helps explain the recent collapses of vast ice shelves."
"A retired aerospace executive - appointed to review a study on hydraulic fracturing after it was disclosed the study's author has strong industry ties - has such ties himself."
"While Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the fate of Enbridge’s proposed pipeline from the Alberta oil sands to tankers on the British Columbia coast will be based on science and not politics, documents show some of that science isn’t forthcoming. And critics say there is no time for the science to be completed before a federal deadline for the environmental assessment currently underway."
"The source of an enormous floating mass of pumice spotted this week in the South Pacific Ocean off the coast of New Zealand has been discovered: NASA satellite images and other sleuthing science have pinpointed an erupting undersea volcano called the Havre Seamount as the culprit."
"Noting the occasion of the 15th annual Lake Tahoe Summit, a conference examining the environmental and developmental issues affecting the iconic alpine region straddling the California and Nevada borders, California Governor Jerry Brown announced the launch of a website dedicated to combating skeptics of climate change.
"A federal investigation into two researchers who wrote a famous report on drowned polar bears is finally over, according to their lawyer. But the scientists still haven't been allowed to see a copy of the investigation report or its conclusions, says attorney Jeff Ruch of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility."
"The United States will suffer a series of severe droughts in the next two decades, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change. Moreover, global warming will play an increasingly important role in their abundance and severity, claims Aiguo Dai, the study’s author."
"The earth is performing an enormous disposal service for the human race. About half of the carbon we are dumping into the atmosphere does not stay there and is instead taken up by the oceans and land. Were this not the case, scientists say, the earth would probably be warming far more rapidly. One of the biggest questions in climate science is: How long will that disposal service last?"
"Richard Muller, a cantankerous but creative physicist at the University of California, Berkeley, who once derided climate change research, then dove in with his own reconstruction of terrestrial temperature changes and confirmed substantial warming, has now concluded that recent warming is 'almost entirely' human caused."
"Last week the University of Texas provost announced he would re-examine a report by a UT professor that said fracking was safe for groundwater after the revelation that the professor pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars from a Texas natural gas developer. It's the latest fusillade in the ongoing battle over the basic facts of fracking in America."
The University of Texas says it will commission and independent review of a fracking impact study.
For years, controversy has been raging over what little 'science' there is on questions related to the environmental and health impacts of the hydraulic fracturing boom. The scientific controversies may be a proxy for the conflict over the gas-extraction method itself. Billions of dollars are at stake, the debate is getting ever more intense, and its intensity challenges the objectivity of scientists, government regulators, and journalists.