The Ridenhour Courage Prize was awarded this year to climate scientist James Hansen, recently retired as head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. The Ridenhour Truth-Telling Prize was awarded to Jose Antonio Vargas -- journalist, filmmaker, and founder of Define American. The Tenth Annual Ridenhour Prizes, fostering the spirit of courage and truth, were awarded at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, on April 24. Continue reading →
Al Jazeera English's Inside Story Americas aired a very good discussion of the findings and implications of the Government Accountability Project's report on the devastating effects of BP's use of Corexit to "clean up" its oil blowout in the Gulf of Mexico.
Guests included Marylee Orr, executive director of the Louisiana Environmental Action Network, which worked closely with GAP on their report; Daniel Becnel, an attorney representing plaintiffs against the manufacturer of Corexit; Mark Hertsgaard, an independent journalist who wrote the first in-depth piece on GAP's findings; and Malcom Coco, a former cleanup worker who is taking part in a lawsuit against BP.
The Environmental Protection Agency has given a rating of EO-2 ("Environmental Objections - Insufficient Information") to the State Department's Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) on the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. EPA's critical review raises multiple issues, including questioning the Draft SEIS's discussion of the implications of the pipeline for emissions of greenhouse gases, and its economic analysis of rail as an alternative to the pipeline. If the State Department addresses the EPA concerns fully, there is much still to be done before the impact statement can be finalized. Continue reading →
Climate Science Watch submitted the following comments to the State Department on the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the proposed Keystone XL Canadian tar sands pipeline. A 45-day pubic comment period ended today. Continue reading →
Media Matters for America has a good discussion of how InsideClimate’s award-winning report on the million-gallon tar sands pipeline oil spill in Michigan’s Kalamazoo River highlights shortcomings in the major mainstream media and challenges facing environmental reporting. Andy Revkin at New York Times Dot Earth notes that this is the third online news outlet to win a Pulitzer (one prize for Huffington Post and two for Pro Publica) and says “there’ll surely be more.” In meeting the need for investigative journalism, to what extent can the multiplying sources of decentralized alternative media offset a decline in traditional mainstream media?
On April 19, the Government Accountability Project released Deadly Dispersants in the Gulf: Are Public Health and Environmental Tragedies the New Norm for Oil Spill Cleanups? The report details the devastating long-term effects on human health and the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem stemming from BP and the federal government's widespread use of the dispersant Corexit, in response to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Evidence suggests that the cleanup effort has been more destructive to human health and the environment than the spill itself.
A C-130 Hercules sprays Corexit dispersant onto the Gulf of Mexico. (Photo: US Air Force)
U.S. Department of Justice (photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Within the Obama administration, the U.S. national security apparatus is winning a calculated, sustained, expanding war on whistleblowers, says Tom Devine in a must-read op-ed in today’s Guardian. And “the stakes have just been raised exponentially, [with] the administration seeking to rebrand virtually all federal employees as national security workers at the mercy of a McCarthy-era executive order, outside the civil service rule of law.”
A new report by Martin Hoerling and his team of NOAA researchers investigated the underlying causes of the devastating (and still ongoing) drought of 2012 using computer modeling. The report provides a valuable contribution to understanding the immediate factors driving the occurrence of droughts but misses the underlying ways in which global warming makes drought conditions more likely and more severe. It also ignores two new key science developments. The NOAA report "is quite incomplete in many respects, and it asks the wrong questions. Then it does not provide very useful answers to the questions that are asked," says Kevin Trenberth at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.
Sustainability Media Lab shot this video interview on April 10 with James Hansen on why he left NASA, his next steps, how the energy industry is impeding urgent climate action, and his wish for his grandchildren:
On the recently published Marcott et al. study of global temperatures over the Holocene period, or past 11,300 years: It is safe and justifiable to say that our current rate of warming is probably unprecedented and certainly extreme when compared to Holocene temperature trends. Based on every plausible IPCC emissions scenario, temperatures by the end of the century are projected to be higher than any recorded in the entire Holocene. Continue reading →