River of News

Skyrocketing coronavirus levels in California sewage point to rapid spread of virus

Los Angeles Times Environment - Thu, 12/23/2021 - 07:53

Sewage data analyzed in Silicon Valley wastewater treatment plants confirms that the latest wave of coronavirus infections is sharply worse than the ones in the spring and summer.

Categories: All/General

Wildfire's Damage Doesn't End When The Smoke Clears. It Can Also Taint Drinking Water

NPR Environment - 36 min 38 sec ago

Wildfires, and the scorched hillsides they leave behind, can threaten drinking water for years after the smoke clears. One Colorado community is trying to get ahead of the problem.

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Pete Buttigieg And Michael Regan Help Decode The Proposed Infrastructure Deal

NPR Environment - 57 min 38 sec ago

The infrastructure bill making its way through Senate is 2,700 pages of proposed spending on roads, trains, broadband and more. The White House is also taking steps to set automobile fuel standards.

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New Fuel Regulations Will Help The Transition To Electric Vehicles

NPR Environment - 57 min 38 sec ago

The White House is announcing new rules for vehicle fuel economy and emissions, a key part of President Biden's climate policy. These regulations will aid in the transition toward electric vehicles.

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Biden Announces Record Amount of Climate Resilience Funding

NY Times Energy/Environment - 4 hours 7 min ago
The Federal Emergency Management Agency will give states $3.5 billion to prepare for disasters, as wildfires and other calamities pummel the country.

Carbon Border Tax Is Proposed by Democrats

NY Times Energy/Environment - 4 hours 42 min ago
Senators introduced a plan on Monday to tax iron, steel and other imports from countries without ambitious climate laws.

Maine Will Make Companies Pay for Recycling. Here’s How It Works.

NY Times Energy/Environment - 4 hours 44 min ago
The law aims to take the cost burden of recycling away from taxpayers. One environmental advocate said the change could be “transformative.”

Democrats Call Infrastructure Bill a Down Payment on Climate

NY Times Energy/Environment - 4 hours 46 min ago
A bipartisan package includes the largest-ever federal spending for electric vehicle charging stations, public transit and clean water.

A Carbon Calculation: How Many Deaths Do Emissions Cause?

NY Times Energy/Environment - 4 hours 47 min ago
A new study looks at “the mortality cost of carbon”: lives lost or gained as emissions change over time.

Solving solar puzzle could help save Earth from planet-wide blackouts

Understanding the Sun's magnetic dynamo could help predict solar weather, such as potentially dangerous geothermal storms, solar flares and sunspots. Mathematicians have proposed a new model of the Sun that matches observed data.
Categories: All/General, Climate

Up to 85 per cent of historical salmon habitat lost in Lower Fraser region

For perhaps the first time ever, researchers have mapped out the true extent of habitat loss for salmon in the Lower Fraser River, one of the most important spawning and rearing grounds for Pacific salmon in B.C. Salmon have lost access to as much as 85 per cent of their historical floodplain habitat -- the biologically rich wetlands next to a river or stream that typically harbor wildlife -- due to dikes and similar infrastructure, say researchers.
Categories: All/General, Climate

Scientists ID enzyme for making key industrial chemical in plants

Scientists studying the biochemistry of plant cell walls have identified an enzyme that could turn woody poplar trees into a source for producing a major industrial chemical. The research could lead to a new sustainable pathway for making "p-hydroxybenzoic acid," a chemical building block currently derived from fossil fuels, in plant biomass.
Categories: All/General, Climate

Crop farmers face new disease pressures as climate changes

Climate change will increase the burden of crop diseases in some parts of the world and reduce it in others, new research suggests.
Categories: All/General, Climate

Achieving equitable access to energy in a changing climate

Access to modern, reliable, and affordable energy services is a must for development and ensuring a decent quality of life. Researchers used a novel bottom-up approach to analyze how access to energy services may evolve over time under different scenarios of socioeconomic growth and policy scenarios that meet climate mitigation goals.
Categories: All/General, Climate

Major Atlantic ocean current system might be approaching critical threshold

A major Atlantic ocean current -- the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, or AMOC -- may have been losing stability in the course of the last century, according to new research. A potential collapse of this ocean current system could have severe consequences.
Categories: All/General, Climate

A critical ocean system may be heading for collapse due to climate change, study finds

"This is a system we don't want to mess with," one scientist said.
Categories: Newspaper Blogs

The Dixie Fire Has Destroyed Most Of A Historic Northern California Town

NPR Environment - 6 hours 43 min ago

The wildfire tore through Greenville, a town dating back to the Gold Rush Era, in the northern Sierra Nevada. The wildfire is currently the largest in California.

(Image credit: Noah Berger/AP)

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Podcast: The mystery of the disappearing gray whales

Los Angeles Times Environment - 9 hours 9 min ago

Gray whales have been dying in record numbers. No one knows exactly why, but there are some clues.

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Louisiana needs sand to rebuild its coast. Old oil and gas pipelines are blocking the way.

Washington Post Energy/Environment - 9 hours 43 min ago
The abandoned pipelines are blocking access to the sand that Louisiana and other gulf states need to rebuild their coastlines in the face of rising seas.
Categories: Newspaper Blogs

Big Oil spent $10 million on Facebook ads last year — to sell what, exactly?

Grist News Links - 10 hours 24 min ago

Online advertisers are always trying to sell you something, and in the case of slip-on sneakers or leather handbags, that something is pretty clear. But other times, the motive behind a sponsored post is less transparent. Why, for instance, are oil companies buying prime space in your social media feed to prattle on about “innovative” climate solutions and visions of a “lower-carbon future”?

A new report makes the case that the oil and gas industry is trying to sell you a story — one that casts these companies as paragons of sustainability and seeks to delay policies that would address climate change. Last year, the oil and gas industry spent at least $9.6 million on ads on Facebook’s U.S. platform, according to an analysis by the think tank InfluenceMap. Just over half of this spending came from one company, ExxonMobil.

“The oil and gas industry is engaging in this really strategic campaign using social media and the tools available, particularly these targeting tools on Facebook, to reach a really broad audience pretty easily,” said Faye Holder, program manager at InfluenceMap.

The report looked at roughly 25,000 of these ads, analyzing their messages and whom they were targeting. The decision to focus on Facebook ads, which represent only a fraction of the oil industry’s wider campaign to influence the discourse on climate change, was made for data reasons. “We just looked at Facebook,” Holder said. “That is because the other social media platforms don’t even offer this transparency.”

Oil companies have long sought the help of public relations whizzes to burnish their reputations, painting themselves as environmental champions, plastering their logos all over science museums and jazz festivals, and even hiring Instagram influencers to tout the merits of gas stoves. In recent years, climate advocates have honed in on ways to counter these tactics — launching a campaign demanding that PR firms drop fossil fuel clients, for instance, or trolling oil companies on social media. Some climate groups have decided to fight fire with fire, recently funneling $1 million directly into anti-oil advertisements.

The oil industry’s more recent ads use subtler messages than outright climate denial to undermine action on global warming, such as portraying natural gas as a green fuel source and arguing that decarbonization would make energy unaffordable. Last year, companies’ Facebook ad spending soared when it looked like the federal government might do something to address rising emissions. For example, spending jumped dramatically last summer when then-presidential candidate Joe Biden released his climate plan, and stayed high until after the November election.

Courtesy of InfluenceMap

Those 2020 spending patterns follow a long-time trend: The scale of the oil and gas industry’s advertising efforts has historically tracked with politicians’ interest in taking action on the climate crisis. The world’s five largest oil companies spent $3.6 billion on promotional ads from 1986 to 2015. Spending shot up around 1997, when countries were considering the Kyoto Protocol, an attempt to set legally binding cuts on greenhouse gas emissions. The peak of oil companies’ ad blitz occurred in 2010, when Congress was mulling over a national cap-and-trade program (that ultimately didn’t pass).

As part of InfluenceMap’s analysis, researchers broke down last year’s Facebook ads based on the location of targeted users. “In terms of the distribution regionally of the ads, we saw that they were focused towards states with really high levels of production of oil and gas but also swing states,” Holder said. “So it sort of plays into that very politically motivated effort.” Interestingly, the advertisements tended to target men more than women.

Looking at oil and gas’ 25 biggest Facebook ad spenders, the analysis found that each segment of the industry was pushing a slightly different message. Individual companies promoted the affordability and reliability of their products (“Ann chose natural gas, and now she can invest the savings back into her business”). The American Petroleum Institute, the industry’s biggest lobbying group, talked more about oil and gas being part of the “solution” to climate change. Finally, pro-fossil fuel advocacy groups argued that the industry was helping communities and the economy (“fracking supports thousands of jobs”) and emphasized philanthropic efforts.

The report has prompted some critics to question Facebook’s commitments to climate action; the company has tried to highlight its small carbon footprint, announcing earlier this year that its operations were already running on 100 percent renewable electricity. “Despite Facebook’s public support for climate action, it continues to allow its platform to be used to spread fossil fuel propaganda,” said Bill Weihl, former sustainability director at Facebook, in a statement.

This story was originally published by Grist with the headline Big Oil spent $10 million on Facebook ads last year — to sell what, exactly? on Aug 5, 2021.

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