Environment

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fruchtzwerg's world/Flickr 

A new analysis of sea surface temperatures from an independent source corroborates updated global warming data released in 2015 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The results contradict allegations from some Republicans on Capitol Hill that NOAA manipulated its 2015 data to show continuous global warming, since earlier NOAA research had suggested the Earth was experiencing a warming "pause" or hiatus.

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Rachel Ignotofsky via Facebook 

For writer and illustrator Rachel Ignotofsky, the idea to profile 50 pioneering female scientists in her recent book, “Women in Science,” was spurred by conversations with educator friends. As they talked about the gender gap in science, technology, engineering and math fields, Ignotofsky realized women aren’t just underrepresented in STEM, itself — the stories about their contributions don't get much play, either.

When heavy rains hit Toronto, it’s common for flooding to hit the Port Lands district east of downtown, especially along the Don Valley Parkway. And that can carry untreated waste into Lake Ontario.


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is planning to go ahead with cleaning up Eighteen Mile Creek in Lockport, but it will not be soon. It also is not clear the money to pay for the cleanup will be there.


NEW YORK POWER AUTHORITY PHOTO /Ice boom installation 2015.

The New York Power Authority is looking to use drones instead of helicopters or boats to inspect the ice boom between Lake Erie and the Niagara River.

Coal country is pinning its hopes on Trump

Jan 28, 2017

One of the promises President Donald Trump made on the campaign trail was to reopen coal mines and put miners back to work. The message resonated in Pennsylvania’s coal country and helped Trump win the state last November. Now, people here are watching to see if he’ll keep his promise.

Many of these voters don't expect miracles, but they do want Trump to put coal first, according to some residents in the southwest area of the state.

Cracking the code of influenza

Jan 22, 2017

January’s cold, dry weather in many areas of the United States seems to usher in the perfect conditions for seasonal influenza — in humans. But for birds in Europe and Asia, flu season is already in full swing: An epidemic of the H5N8 flu has broken out among European poultry. In Asia, the H5N6 strain is widespread, and another strain, H7N9, has infected birds and even killed three people.

With nearly 9 million hogs on farms across the state, North Carolina is the country’s second-largest producer, behind Iowa.

International Joint Commission / International Joint Commission

The International Joint Commission will hold a public hearing at the WNED|WBFO studios on March 28, as part of an effort to gather comments on its draft progress report for the Great Lakes region.

epa.gov

Since late 2009, she has led Region 2 of the Environmental Protection Agency, which includes New York State. Judith Enck, who was appointed to her post as Administrator is in her final week on the job and is reflecting on accomplishments, both locally and at the national level.


For activists Trisha Shrum and Jill Kubit, climate change isn't just an abstract concept. Rather, it has faces and names: Eleanor and Gabriel, their children. And through their time capsule project DearTomorrow, Shrum and Kubit are hoping you’ll connect the planet’s future to your loved ones, too.

The 'Madhouse Effect' of climate denial in America

Jan 15, 2017
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<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/davidstanleytravel/16298322411/">David Stanley</a>/<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">CC BY 2.0</a>. Image cropped.

2016 is a wrap — and with it, likely the hottest year ever recorded. Temperatures weren’t the only anomaly: Louisiana, for instance, saw floods so severe they should only happen every 1,000 years.

New York's $18.8 million Riverway project will be completed this summer after the discovery of contaminants in soil nearby delayed work for several months.

Millennials are the new 'fossil fuel freedom fighters'

Jan 7, 2017
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John Silvercloud/Flickr

A new generation of nature writers is coming of age in America. They are beginning to understand how much of the pristine landscape their parents and grandparents enjoyed is now gone.

High levels of "fine particulate matter" (PM2.5) in the air — such as in haze or smog — can lower the stock market, a research team at Columbia University has found.

When particle pollution rises, the market goes down by small but measurable amounts, says team leader Matthew Neidell, an associate professor at Columbia University.

At the end of November, hundreds of firefighters from all over the country battled the Rock Mountain Fire in North Georgia. Fighting the huge blaze in the tinder dry hills was a tough battle, but when it came time to rest, the firefighters, well-accustomed to makeshift lodgings, were offered an unusual, yet comfortable upgrade: a local Conservative Jewish camp.

With unsustainable fishing affecting about 30 percent of the ocean’s wild fish populations and most of the rest already fished to the limit, aquaculture is playing an ever bigger role in putting fish on the dinner table. 

Today, fish farms are the fastest-growing source of animal protein — on the rise, globally, at about 5 percent a year. 

Some advice for starting your own backyard 'carbon farm'

Dec 27, 2016

For visitors to Eric Toensmeier’s home in Holyoke, Massachusetts, the lush, 8-foot banana plant in the front yard is the first indication that something is unusual about his landscaping.

A walk around his stucco-covered house confirms it. In the back garden, about 300 species of perennials are thriving on just one-tenth of an acre: Raspberries, mountain mint, bamboo and bush clover all jostle for space alongside persimmon, chestnut and mulberry trees.

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dconvertini/Flickr CC

Thomas Friedman's latest book, "Thank You For Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving In the Age Of Accelerations," is a manifesto for how to cope with our changing planet.

Right now, three powerful forces — technology, globalization and climate change — are accelerating exponentially — and “one of the hardest things for the human mind to grasp is the power of an exponential,” says the columnist for the New York Times. 

The holiday season can be a happy time for many. But it may cause trouble for the environment.


Overfishing, plastic pollution, warming temperatures and other impacts of human activities are changing the oceans — resulting in decreasing populations of everything from tuna to whales to dolphins. But humans are also causing one class of sea life to thrive: jellyfish. 

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Penn State/Flickr

A planned industrial facility near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is expected to create thousands of construction jobs and up to 600 permanent ones. It is also forecast to increase air pollution in a region already falling short of federal clean air standards.

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&nbsp;tdlucas5000/Flickr&nbsp;

To keep promises made at the Paris climate summit, Canada is rolling out a master plan to deal with climate change — including a phaseout of coal by 2030 and a phase in of carbon pricing by 2019.

At a meeting Dec. 9 in Ottawa, all of Canada’s provinces, save Saskatchewan and Manitoba, agreed to participate in a national carbon pricing program.

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<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/departmentofenergy/7795441040/">Energy.gov</a>. Image cropped.

The Bureau of Land Management announced a new regulation in November, changing how public lands are leased for solar and wind energy development. The rule incentivizes leases on lands that aren’t needed for conservation, and is intended to make financing easier for renewable energy development.

Joel Ulrich / National Public Radio

Two years ago, the state banned hydrofracking of natural gas within the state’s borders. However, a group of Cornell scientists who study the effects of climate change say New Yorkers are using more natural gas than ever.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

It has been more than 70 years since the end of World War II, but that does not mean debris of the war's industrial production has gone away.

As the Standing Rock Sioux celebrate halting, for now at least, the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, another Native American nation is also seeing a victory regarding its holy lands.

The federal government has now canceled 15 oil and gas leases on land revered by the Blackfeet Nation. The Badger-Two Medicine area includes 168,000 acres in Montana, southwest of the Blackfeet reservation and to the south of Glacier National Park. 

WBFO File Photo

With the dramatic drop in pollution coming out of the Tonawanda Coke plant because of repairs and renovations, the expectation was fewer contaminants in the neighborhood. However, state air monitors are finding that is not quite true.

Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have risen sharply since the start of the Industrial Age — from 270 parts per million (ppm) in the late 1700s to some 400 ppm in January 2015 — and scientists say that's warming the Earth at a dangerous rate. 

While discussions about climate change usually center on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Eric Toensmeier is focused on the other side of the equation: how to capture the carbon dioxide that's already in the atmosphere. 

And he thinks the answer might be in his backyard garden.

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