A natural gas drilling rig north of Parachute, Colorado. (photo: Jim Urquhart/Reuters/Corbis)
Peter Moskowitz | Guardian UK | Reader Supported News | June 27, 2015
Natural gas drilling only has environmental benefits over other processes like coal and oil production if producers can keep a tight lid on leaks
atural gas has been touted as an environmentally friendly substitute to coal and oil production, but a new report estimates enough gas is leaking to negate most of the climate benefits of process.
The report, commissioned by the Environmental Defense Fund and carried out by environmental consulting group ICF International, estimated the amount of leaks from natural gas and oil production on federal and tribal land in the US. It also looked at venting and flaring, processes in which drilling sites purposefully let gas go into the atmosphere for a variety of reasons – usually for safety.
The claim that natural gas is environmentally friendly hinges on how much methane leaks into the atmosphere during the production process. But the EDF report adds weight to those who say methane leaks at natural gas sites can make the process nearly or as carbon-intensive as coal. I
Tom Rose | Examiner | June 20, 2015
A perfect pyramid has been spotted on Mars peeking out from the surface in a photo taken by NASA‘s Curiosity rover. The small, triangular mound, eerily similar to others found on Earth, may be a capstone, or a grave marker. In either case, it’s unlike any similar object found so far on the Red Planet.
In this video, posted to YouTube on June 20, the pyramid formation is clearly seen rising above the surrounding Martian surface and is estimated to be the size of a small car. The video speculates it could be some kind of marker left by an intelligent life form inhabiting (or visiting) Mars in the past.
The pyramid-shaped, rocky anomaly is nearly perfectly symmetrical on all sides, a naturally occurring geological formation which is rare on both Mars and Earth. And, it appears to have been built by assembling other rocks nearby, in a brick-like pattern, to form a nearly perfect triangle rising above the Martian landscape.
The bowhead whale is listed under the US Endangered Species Act. (photo: Alamy)
Rose Hackman |, Guardian UK | Reader Supported News | June 6, 2015
Exploratory drilling, seismic testing and ice-breaking activities threaten to expose whales to damaging sounds, and ‘a deaf whale is a dead whale’
oyal Dutch Shell’s plans for exploratory drilling in the US Arctic this summer will involve the harassment of whales and seals by the thousands, an application document filed by Shell to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) reveals.
Most notably, Shell estimates its Arctic activities will expose more than 2,500 bowhead whales, more than 2,500 gray whales and more than 50,000 ringed seals to continuous sounds and pulsed sounds, deemed damaging enough to constitute harassment.
The bowhead whale is listed under the US Endangered Species Act. By Shell’s own estimate, 13% of the overall population of bowhead whales still alive are potentially harassed .
The number of gray whales potentially harassed also constitutes 13% of the overall population, while the number of ringed seals potentially harassed amounts to 16%. Under the ESA, the ringed seal is classified as threatened.
Reuters | Raw Story | May 28, 2015
The top U.S. communications regulator on Thursday revealed a plan to expand a government phone subsidy program for low-income Americans to begin covering broadband Internet access.
The Federal Communications Commission is expected to vote on June 18 to begin the process of revamping the $1.7 billion program, called Lifeline, which has helped poorer Americans get access to telecommunications technologies since 1985.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler wants to give those receiving the subsidy a choice of using it for phone services, high-speed Internet, or both. The program helps about 12 million U.S. households afford landline and mobile phones, according to agency estimates.
(Plastic pollution. (photo: European Environment Agency)
EcoWatch | Reader Supported News | May 5, 2015
y now, many people know that the ocean is filled with plastic debris.
A recent study estimates that the amount of plastic waste that washes off land into the ocean each year is approximately 8 million metric tons. Jenna Jambeck, the study’s lead author, helps us visualize the magnitude by comparing it to finding five grocery bags full of plastic on every foot of coastline in the 192 countries included in the study.
(photo: Jambeck et al., Science 2015)
The amount of plastic going into in the ocean.
As someone who lives in a highly urbanized coastal city in California, this estimate didn’t shock me. I grew up watching loads of plastic trash spew from river outlets into our ocean. Our beaches are covered with things like plastic bottles, bags, wrappers and straws—all mostly single-use “disposable” items.
For years, I’ve watched polluted water flow beneath the bridge at the end of the San Gabriel River, a channel that drains a 713 square mile watershed in Southern California. This bridge is special … it’s where my fascination with plastic waste began—it’s where our plastic trash becomes plastic marine debris.