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.
"The editor of the journal Remote Sensing resigned [Friday], saying in an editorial that his journal never should have published a controversial paper in July that challenged the reliability of climate models used to forecast global warming. The paper, by Roy Spencer and William Braswell of the University of Alabama in Huntsville, proposed that climate researchers have likely made a fundamental error by overestimating the sensitivity of the climate to greenhouse-gas pollution."
The bubonic plague or Black Death that scourged Europe in the 1340s seems to have been far more virulent and contagious than the Yersinia pestis microbe that survives today. Now an old plague-era London cemetery is yielding DNA evidence that may begin to answer some of the mysteries.
"U.S. EPA still hasn't implemented 20-year-old recommendations to improve the management of its laboratories, leaving the agency's research and technical activities "fragmented and largely uncoordinated," the Government Accountability Office has found. The problems could impede EPA's ability to handle upcoming budget cuts as Congress looks for ways to reduce spending and pay down the deficit, the watchdog agency says.""
"California’s former top pesticide regulatory official dismissed safety guidelines suggested by her own staff scientists on the grounds that they were 'excessive' and too onerous for the pesticide manufacturer, recently released internal documents show."
"The National Science Foundation has closed its investigation into Pennsylvania State University climatologist Michael Mann after finding no evidence of scientific misconduct related to his research.
It is the latest in a string of investigations to exonerate scientists involved in the so-called "Climategate" email scandal.
"Presidential candidate Jon Huntsman is pounding away at rival Rick Perry's skepticism of manmade global warming and criticism of the nation's central banker, saying those stands hurt the GOP and make the Texas governor come off as a not-so-serious national figure."
"At long last, mainstream media begins to pay attention to the flat denial of basic climate science being pushed by right-wing Republican presidential candidates."
"Plants and animals are responding up to three times faster to climate change than previously estimated, as wildlife shifts to cooler altitudes and latitudes, researchers said on Thursday."
NASA is arguing that it doesn't have to come up with any changes in its scientific integrity policy -- including rules limiting how its scientists can talk to reporters. Most federal agencies are under White House orders to come up with new policies, although not all of them have made their draft policies public. Some of the policies for achieving the Obama administration's pledge of scientific openness are still secret.
"Two Australian retirees invoke the 'father of modern science' in their fight against the hegemony of settled climate science. But their arguments - and the advisors supporting them - draw from a deep history of climate science denial and distortion."
"Atmospheric levels of methane, 20 times more powerful than carbon dioxide (CO2) at trapping heat, stayed steady for two decades to 2006 on wider fertilizer use to grow rice or a surge in natural gas demand, according to two separate studies in the journal Nature.
Climate researcher Fuu Ming Kai from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Singapore research center said in one study that methane output from rice fields in the Northern Hemisphere dropped during the period as fertilizers replaced manure and because of reduced water use.
"Ready or not, the era of big data is coming to ecology. After years of discussion and debate, the United States is moving forward with an environmental monitoring network that promises to help transform a traditionally small-scale, local science into a continental-scale group enterprise."
"Greenpeace and the Center for Biological Diversity have asked the Department of the Interior to look into whether the recent suspension of a biologist violates rules meant to protect scientific research from political interference.
The news of the suspension has prompted widespread debate, with environmental groups alleging a connection to plans to drill oil in the Arctic reserve.
The Interior Department scientist who first warned of climate change as a threat to polar bears in a 5-year-old peer-reviewed paper has been suspended. The Obama administration has been accused of hounding him so it can open up the fragile Arctic to drilling by Shell and other companies.