Recent News

‘This is the future’: solar-powered family car hailed by experts

The Nuna 9 solar car won the solar race. Photograph: David Mariuz/AAP

As the annual solar race across Australia wraps up, a Dutch entry averaged 69kmh from Darwin to Adelaide and resupplied the grid

A futuristic family car that not only uses the sun as power but supplies energy back to the grid has been hailed as “the future” as the annual World Solar Challenge wrapped up in Australia.

The innovative bi-annual contest, first run in 1987, began in Darwin a week ago with 41 vehicles setting off on a 3,000km (1,860-mile) trip through the heart of Australia to Adelaide.

A Dutch car, Nuna 9, won the race for the third-straight time, crossing the finish line on Thursday after travelling at an average speed of 81.2kmh (55.5 mph).

It was competing in the challenger class, which featured slick, single seat aerodynamic vehicles built for sustained endurance and total energy efficiency.

But there was also a cruiser class, introduced to bridge the gap between high-end technology and everyday driving practicality.

German team HS Bochum was the first to arrive Friday with its stylish four-seater classic coupe, featuring sustainable materials such as vegan pineapple leather seats.

But another Dutch team, Eindhoven, was set to be crowned overall champion based on a system taking into account design, practicality, energy efficiency, and innovation, organisers said.

Read more at The Guardian

New Mexico’s Largest Utility Will Stop Burning Coal, Despite Trump’s Clean Power Plan Rollback

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt announced Monday that the Trump administration is rolling back the Clean Power Plan to end the previous administration’s “war on coal” but there’s a big problem: Obama didn’t kill the coal industry—the market for cheap natural gas and increasingly affordable renewable energy did.

Case in point, The Santa Fe New Mexican reported that New Mexico‘s largest utility still plans to phase out coal as a power source in 2031. The Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) currently uses coal for 56 percent of its energy generation but wants drop use to 12 percent by 2025.

“The actions we have planned represent the most cost-effective ways to serve our customers with reliable, affordable and environmentally responsible energy,” Ray Sandoval, a company spokesman, explained to the publication.

In April, Pat Vincent-Collawn, CEO of PNM Resources, said moving toward renewables and natural gas is “the best, most economical path to a strong energy future for New Mexico.”

PNM intends to stick with the Obama-era regulation even though it specifically targeted emissions from the nation’s coal-burning power plants.

Pruitt argues that the 2015 climate policy overstepped federal law by setting emissions standards that power plants could not reasonably meet. 10-11-17

Read more at EcoWatch

Complaints surge about weed killer dicamba’s damage to oak trees

Oak trees with cupped leaves, a sign of damage from drifting pesticides like dicamba. Darrell Hoemann/Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting

As soybean and cotton farmers across the Midwest and South continue to see their crops ravaged from the weed killer dicamba, new complaints have pointed to the herbicide as a factor in widespread damage to oak trees.

Monsanto and BASF, two of agriculture’s largest seed and pesticide providers, released versions of the dicamba this growing season. The new versions came several months after Monsanto released its latest cotton and soybean seeds genetically engineered to resist dicamba in 2016.

Since then, farmers across the Midwest and South have blamed drift from dicamba for ruining millions of acres of soybeans and cotton produced by older versions of seeds.

Now, complaints have emerged that the misuse of dicamba may be responsible for damage to oak trees in Iowa, Illinois and Tennessee.

  • In Iowa, the Department of Natural Resources has received more than 1,000 complaints about oak tree damage from unknown pesticides, some of which cited dicamba as a cause.
  • In Illinois, retired biologist Lou Nelms who was a researcher at the University of Illinois, has documented damage to oak trees across the state from dicamba and filed numerous complaints with Illinois Department of Agriculture.
  • In Tennessee, the Department of Agriculture investigated and confirmed complaints that dicamba had damaged oak trees at the state’s largest natural lake.

“I’ve seen (pre-planting damage) year after year after year,” Nelms said of dicamba’s effect. “I’ve been seeing these signs for 40 years. To me, it’s just obvious.” 10-9-17

Read more at Investigate Midwest

Wood Pellet Demand, Opposition Growing

The Dogwood Alliance and other groups say forests across the Southeast are being clear-cut for wood pellets as biofuel in Europe. Photo: Dogwood Alliance

Wood pellets are often marketed as an energy source that’s a better alternative to fossil fuels, but environmental groups worry about ties between the industry and loss of biodiversity, deforestation, faulty trade policies and climate change.

At a forum last week in the Warwick Center on the University of North Carolina Wilmington campus, speakers focused on the effects of the wood pellet industry in North Carolina. They said that wetlands and mature forests are at risk here, industry logging is hurting water quality and wildlife and increasing heat-trapping emissions in the atmosphere.

“Forests aren’t a big part of the conversation about climate change, but they need to be,” said Danna Smith, founder of the Dogwood Alliance, one of the forum sponsors, along with the Cape Fear Sierra Club and Clean Air Carolina.

Demand for wood pellets has increased rapidly in recent years, said Robert Abt, a resource economist at North Carolina State University. Abt noted the decline in traditional timber markets and pine plantations, and how, thanks to an increasing demand from Europe, the wood pellet industry has grown here in the Southeast with the construction of 19 facilities across the region and more on the way. 10-6-17

Read more at Coastal Review

These Suburbanites May Have No Fracking Choice

North of Denver, suburbia meets an oil and gas field. Photographer: Christopher Wurzbach for Bloomberg Businessweek

In Colorado, it’s hard to keep drillers out of the neighborhood.

When Bill Young peers out the window of his $700,000 home in Broomfield, Colo., he drinks in a panoramic view of the Rocky Mountains. Starting next year, he may also glimpse one of the 99 drilling rigs that Extraction Oil & Gas Inc. wants to use to get at the oil beneath his home.

There’s little that Young and his neighbors can do about the horizontal drilling. Residents of the Wildgrass neighborhood own their patches of paradise, but they don’t control what’s under them. An obscure Colorado law allows whole neighborhoods to be forced into leasing the minerals beneath their properties as long as one person in the area consents. The practice, called forced pooling, has been instrumental in developing oil and gas resources in Denver’s rapidly growing suburbs. It’s law in other states, too, but Colorado’s is the most favorable to drilling.

Now fracking is coming to an upscale suburb, and the prospect of the Wildgrass homeowners being made by state law to do something they don’t want to do has turned many of them into lawyered-up resisters. “It floors me that a private entity could take my property,” says Young, an information security director. 10-3-17

Read more at Bloomberg Business Week

Coca-Cola increased its production of plastic bottles by a billion last year, says Greenpeace

Increase puts Coke’s production at more than 110bn single-use plastic bottles a year, according to analysis by the green group

Greenpeace Canada Oceans campaigner Sarah King with a collection of Coca-Cola bottles and caps found on Freedom Island, Philippines. Photograph: Daniel Müller/Greenpeace

Coca-Cola increased its production of throwaway plastic bottles last year by well over a billion, according to analysis by Greenpeace.

The world’s biggest soft drinks company does not disclose how much plastic packaging it puts into the market. But analysis by the campaign group Greenpeace reveals what they say is an increase in production of single-use PET bottles from 2015-2016.

The increase puts Coke’s production at more than 110bn bottles each year, according to Greenpeace.

Coca-Cola has confirmed that single-use plastic bottles made up 59% of its global packaging in 2016 compared to 58% in the 12 months before.

The scale of production contributes to a plastic mountain which is growing vastly year on year. Figures obtained by the Guardian reveal that by 2021 the number of plastic drinks bottles produced globally will reach more than half a trillion.

But only a tiny fraction of these bottles are recycled. Fewer than half of the bottles bought in 2016 were collected for recycling and just 7% of those collected were turned into new bottles. Instead, most plastic bottles produced end up in landfill or in the ocean.

Read more at The Guardian

Puerto Ricans are living climate change right now. Here’s how they describe it

Joe Raedle / Staff / Getty Images

Millions of people in the Caribbean are getting a glimpse of a future that more and more people around the world will soon experience. This month’s hurricanes are the storms scientists have warned us about for decades. They have arrived — causing heartbreak and agony, wrecking homes and destroying lives.

For the millions more friends and family members watching and waiting on the U.S. mainland and elsewhere, word from their loved ones can’t come soon enough. One week after Hurricane Maria made landfall, Puerto Rico remains in a state of disarray, and communication is still largely cut off to most of the island.

Food and clean drinking water have been slow to arrive. And until recently, what had arrived was stuck in port — hampered by a combination of infrastructure failures and distracted leadership in Washington. It has all the makings of what could easily turn out to be a disaster nearly without parallel in modern American history.

Over the past 36 hours, I’ve communicated with more than a dozen people inside Puerto Rico, as well as those who have family there. The conversations have taken place via phone, email, and social media.

Here is what they told me about what life is like on the island right now for themselves or for their loved ones. These are the words of people on the front lines of climate change. (These interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.) 09-28-17

Read more at Grist

This Bipartisan Senate Bill Could Enable US Offshore Wind to Take Off

Recently introduced legislation would create a 30% investment tax credit for the first 3 GW of offshore wind projects deployed in the U.S.

When the U.S. was ready to ramp up its solar industry, developers benefited from investments made in Germany, Spain and elsewhere in Europe that had funded gigawatt-scale annual deployments and pushed down costs. The same could happen with offshore wind.

By the end of 2016, 14.4 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity had been installed globally, with nearly 90 percent of the total deployed in European waters. Prices for projects coming on-line from 2020 have fallen to $50 per megawatt-hour in Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany. The United States, meanwhile, has so far managed to bring on-line just one modest commercial project, the 30-megawatt Block Island Wind Farm off of Rhode Island.

A bill introduced this summer by a bipartisan group of senators aims to help the U.S. catch up with Europe. On August 1, 2017, Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) introduced the Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power Act with 10 co-sponsors.

In a clever twist, the legislation trades a calendar deadline — typical for federal clean energy tax incentives — for a deployment target. The bill would create a 30 percent Investment Tax Credit (ITC) redeemable for the first 3 gigawatts of offshore wind projects placed into service in both coastal waters and inland navigable waters like the Great Lakes. 09-25-17

Read more at Green Tech Media

Deaths of farmworkers in cow manure ponds put oversight of dairy farms into question

Cows wait to be milked in the carousel milking parlor of a farm in Caldwell, Idaho. (Kyle Green/For The Washington Post)

Alberto Navarro Munoz had been working on the farm for only two weeks when he encountered one of the most gruesome hazards that a dairy worker can face. His tractor tipped over into a pit of cow manure, submerging the Mexican native under several feet of a “loose thick somewhat liquid-like substance,” according to the police report documenting his death in southern Idaho.

Another immigrant laborer jumped in to try to save Munoz, but told authorities “there was nothing he could do.” Munoz, whose body was later retrieved by the fire department, died of traumatic asphyxiation.

Munoz’s death, which occurred in the nearby town of Shelley last September, was one of two fatal accidents last year involving dairymen who either choked or drowned in pits of cow manure. Another laborer from Mexico died last month after he was crushed by a skid loader, used to move feed and manure.

The deaths have rattled Idaho’s dairy industry as well as local immigrant communities that do the bulk of the work producing nearly 15 billion pounds of milk annually on the industrial-sized farms in the state’s southern prairie. As farms have transitioned from family operations into big businesses involving thousands of cows and massive machinery, new safety concerns have emerged. 09-24-17

Read more at The Washington Post

Trump increasingly isolated as Nicaragua to sign Paris Agreement

Oservers say Daniel Ortega may have been weary of being lumped together with Trump against the Paris Agreement

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has announced that his country will sign the Paris Agreement, leaving only two countries out of the global effort to tackle climate change – the United States and Syria.

“When the only country left in the world that hasn’t signed the Paris Agreement is Syria, President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the accord stands out like a sore thumb,” said David Waskow, international climate director at the World Resources Institute (WRI). “The Trump Administration’s reputation as a climate loner deepens even farther.”

Unlike the US, Nicaragua had refused to sign the agreement on grounds that it didn’t go far enough to tackle climate change. The small Central American country wanted to see bigger emissions cuts from the wealthy, industrialized nations responsible for the bulk of the carbon in our atmosphere.

But earlier this week, Ortega told Nicaraguan state media that his country would soon sign the Paris Agreement, in solidarity with vulnerable countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean that had already done so.

“We have to be in solidarity with this large number of countries that are the first victims, who are already the victims, and are the ones who will continue to suffer the impact of these disasters,” Ortega said, according to Nicaraguan media. 9-21-17

Read more at Deutsche Welle

Chemical Industry Ally Faces Critics in Bid for Top E.P.A. Post

The scientist nominated to head the federal government’s chemical regulatory program has spent much of his career helping businesses fight restrictions on the use of potentially toxic compounds in consumer goods.

That record is expected to figure prominently in a Senate confirmation hearing for the scientist, Michael L. Dourson, who critics say is too closely tied to the chemical industry to be its chief regulator.

The source of the concern is a consulting group that Mr. Dourson founded in 1995, which has been paid by chemical companies for research and reports that frequently downplayed the health risks posed by their compounds.

Four chemicals that are nearly ubiquitous in everyday products — 1,4-dioxane, 1-bromopropane, trichloroethylene and chlorpyrifos — are now under review by agency regulators to determine whether they pose a threat to public health. If confirmed, Mr. Dourson would oversee the review of some chemicals produced by companies that his firm used to represent.

Mr. Dourson, 65, worked for the Environmental Protection Agency from 1980 to 1994, according to his résumé, starting as a staff toxicologist, preparing health assessments of various substances. He worked his way up over time, becoming chief of the pesticides and toxics team in 1989, supervising scientists who support the E.P.A.’s regulatory work. Mr. Dourson ultimately oversaw a team of scientists conducting risk assessments for the agency’s offices of water, solid wastes and air quality. 9-19-17

Read more at The Washington Post

California rewrites the GOP’s climate playbook

For the past decade, Democrats hoping to pass a big climate law have played Charlie Brown to the Republicans’ Lucy. Despite the GOP making it clear it has no intention of holding the ball for a global warming kick, the left routinely convinces itself that their counterparts will kneel into position once it gets a running start.

In 2010, Senate Democrats appealed to Republicans to pass federal climate legislation, only to see almost every conservative bail on them. Since then we’ve seen the old pattern repeat in statehouses and ballot boxes around the country: Democrats ask the GOP to hold the ball then go flying head-over-heels.

But then in July, a cadre of eight California Republicans crossed the aisle to vote with Democrats and pass that state’s cap-and-trade law.

The partisan space-time continuum shuddered — and this was before back-to-back superstorms, Harvey and Irma, buffeted the United States. Had the well-worn GOP force field stymieing progress on climate change begun to crack at the far-western edge?

While an enraged right planned the ouster of its leader, Chad Mayes, California Governor Jerry Brown praised him and the others who’d broken ranks. As did former Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who wrote: “I hope Republicans around the country can learn from the example.”

Read more at Grist

Religious communities are taking on climate change

Churches that have long played a role in social justice are stepping up.

Pope Francis stands in front of a statue of St. Francis of Assisi. The pope, who takes his name from St. Francis, the patron saint of animals and ecosystems, has led a call to action on climate change for the Catholic community.

Before Pastor Jim Therrien, 49, moved to New Mexico, he rarely thought about environmental issues. Back in Kansas, where he was born and raised, the grass outside his home was always green, and though the state had an active oil industry, companies fenced off well sites properly and promptly cleaned up spills. But then he and his family saw the impacts of energy development on the Southwestern landscape and their new church community. Therrien began to think about the connection between the local environment and the broader issue of climate change.

Every day, Therrien, a blond, ruddy and tattooed man of Irish descent, looked out his window and saw a dry land getting drier. Residents told him that winters used to be much colder and snowier. The hotter temperatures thickened the methane haze, and oil and gas traffic tore up the dirt roads. Therrien started to see these problems as injustices that conflicted with Christian values. So he decided to take a stand. Churches have long played a crucial role in social movements, from the civil rights era to immigration reform. Why not environmental activism?

“I don’t ever consider myself an environmentalist,” he told me one afternoon at the Lybrook Community Ministries, on a remote stretch of Highway 550, between the Navajo Nation and the Jicarilla Apache Reservation. “I’m more of a people person.”

Therrien’s congregation, mostly Navajo, had spent years living with the San Juan Basin’s drilling boom, and the last thing they needed was a sermon about climate change. So instead of lecturing, he created a garden to reduce the church’s use of fossil fuels to transport food. Then he began fundraising for solar installations on homes around the mission and urging lawmakers to tighten regulations on methane, a powerful greenhouse gas released by oil and gas drilling.

Last year, he joined the Interfaith Power & Light campaign, “a religious response to global warming” composed of churches and faith communities across the U.S. Since 2001, the network had expanded its membership from 14 congregations in California to some 20,000 in over 40 states. The group provides resources to churches and other faith communities for cutting carbon emissions — helping install solar panels, for instance, and sharing sermons on the importance of addressing climate change.

Therrien says he is merely “following the Scripture.” In the process, however, he has joined a growing environmental movement that brings a religious dimension to the problem of climate change.

Read more at High Country News

North Carolina delays decision on Atlantic Coast Pipeline

At public hearings and through written comments, a significant number of North Carolinians urged state regulators to deny the Atlantic Coast Pipeline a clean water permit this summer.

Faced with a Monday deadline and a lopsided number of public comments opposing the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration has delayed until mid-December its decision on whether to permit the controversial project.

Without fanfare or press release late yesterday, the state issued a four-page “request for additional information,” part of its duty under the federal Clean Water Act to ensure the natural gas pipeline won’t harm the over 320 rivers and streams and hundreds of acres of wetlands in its path.

Pipeline foes hailed the action, which appeared to vindicate a critique they’ve been leveling for months against the project, slated to hug the state’s I-95 corridor and pass through eight eastern North Carolina counties.

“The current application leaves out critical information,” said Geoff Gisler, an attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center. “There are literally hundreds of streams and wetlands that the company has asked to dig through with hardly any analysis.”

The delay followed a series of rowdy hearings and meetings last month that were packed with pipeline opponents, and the receipt of over 9,000 written public comments – 85 percent urging rejection. 09-15-17

Read more at Southeast Energy News

Want to help hurricane victims? Donate to abortion funds

REUTERS / Mark Makela

The clearest link between abortion and climate change is that most people flee, screaming, from conversations about both of them. But if you’re at a loss for ways to help those recovering from Hurricane Irma or Harvey, please don’t.

Strong reproductive rights, as we’ve argued before, are one type of climate resilience. Women need easy access to abortion and contraception to better handle all the challenges that climate change will deal them. But now, as the Gulf Coast states reckon with the damage of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma — and the impending threat of their friends Jose and Katia — we’re seeing exactly how extreme weather exacerbates the need for abortion access.

Kenya, a patient counselor at a Houston abortion clinic who requested we not include her last name, describes Harvey’s aftermath: “The calls start coming through: ‘I need to do this, but I don’t have the means.’ Some women lost everything. They don’t have flood insurance. They don’t have the family support.” The financial need that drives the decision to terminate a pregnancy, she says, becomes even greater in the wake of such a natural disaster. 9-13-17

Read more at Grist

Organic Industry Sues USDA To Push For Animal Welfare Rules

Charlie Neibergall/AP

The organic eggs in your grocery store are supposed to come from chickens that have year-round access to the outdoors. That’s according to long-standing organic regulations.

But a huge battle has erupted over what “access to the outdoors” actually means. And it’s now led to a lawsuit: The Organic Trade Association, which represents most organic food companies, is suing the government, demanding that it implement new rules that require organic egg producers to give their chickens more room to roam.

On one side of this battle, there are a few large-scale organic egg producers, such as Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch in Saranac, Mich. They believe that “access to the outdoors” means that the chickens get to live in houses with screened-in porches.

“It’s kind of like your screened porch on your house,” says Greg Herbruck, president of the business. “When you go out there, you’re outside. You’re protected from the rain. In this case, we protect [the chickens] from disease and from predators.” 09-13-17

Read more at NPR

Harvey and Irma aren’t natural disasters. They’re climate change disasters

If you’re like me, you can’t stop yourself from watching the weather these days. And if you’re like me, you can’t help but think: Holy shit, it’s here.

Back-to-back hurricane catastrophes have plunged the United States into a state of national crisis. We’ve already seen one worst-case scenario in Texas: For the moment, Hurricane Harvey stands as the most costly natural disaster in U.S. history. And now there’s Irma, which has wreaked havoc across the entirety of Florida, America’s most vulnerable state. In just two weeks, the U.S. could rack up hundreds of billions of dollars in losses.

Make no mistake: These storms weren’t natural. A warmer, more violent atmosphere — heated up by our collective desire to ignore the fact that we live on a planet where such devastation is possible — juiced Harvey and Irma’s destruction. 09-11-17

Read more at Grist

Why Environmentalists Can’t Afford to Wait Until 2018

2017 has been a devastating year for the millions of Americans who care about the environment.

Since Donald Trump took office in January, his administration has made fracking easier on public lands, paused regulations that keep power plants from pouring arsenic and mercury into waterways, proposed cutting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency by 31 percent, started planning to strip protections from national monuments, and pulled the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord.

As a result, many despondent environmentalists are turning their focus to the 2018 midterms as their only chance to get a seat at the policy-making table.

That is a big mistake. By focusing on 2018, we’re ignoring elections that will have an enormous impact on climate change and the environment—the 2017 mayoral elections.

We are an urban nation—71 percent of Americans live in cities of more than 50,000 people—and this fall, 390 cities will hold mayoral elections, from New York and Boston, to Cleveland and Atlanta. With the powers at their disposal, environmentally-friendly mayors can quite literally save the planet. And in contrast to the federal government, mayors can act quickly and decisively.

So what can mayors do to save the planet? For starters, green buildings. The buildings we live and work in account for almost 40 percent of national CO2 emissions. Many cities are already taking action by adopting green building codes, which require sustainable building materials and strict energy-efficiency standards. San Francisco is even requiring new buildings to incorporate solar or living roofs, which could reduce as much carbon emissions as taking 5,400 cars off the city’s streets. 09-10-17

Read more at EcoWatch

The unprecedented drought that’s crippling Montana and North Dakota

It came without warning, and without equivalent. Now a flash drought is fueling fires and hurting the lives of those who work the land

When Rick Kirn planted his 1,000 acres of spring wheat in May, there were no signs of a weather calamity on the horizon. Three months later, when he should have been harvesting and getting ready to sell his wheat, Kirn was staring out across vast cracked, gray, empty fields dotted with weeds and little patches of stunted wheat.

“It’s a total loss for me,” said Kirn, who operates a small family wheat farm on the Fort Peck Reservation, an area of north-eastern Montana that lies right in the heart of the extreme climatic episode. “There’s nothing to harvest.”

Kirn’s story is typical across the high plains in Montana and the Dakotas this summer, where one of the country’s most important wheat growing regions is in the grips of a crippling drought that came on with hardly any warning and, experts say, is without precedent.

While much of the country’s attention in recent weeks has been on the hurricanes striking southern Texas and the Caribbean, a so-called “flash drought”, an unpredictable, sudden event brought on by sustained high temperatures and little rain, has seized a swathe of the country and left farmers with little remedy. Across Montana’s northern border and east into North Dakota, farms are turning out less wheat than last year, much of it poorer quality than normal. 09-07-17

Read more at The Guardian

Squam Lake’s loons are suffering, and unexpected pollution part of the problem

The lone loon chick on Squam Lake gets fed a minnow by its parent last week on the northern end of the big lake.

Somewhere in the woods of Holderness or Sandwich, at the northern end of the lovely lake that inspired On Golden Pond, it’s likely that an abandoned barrel of unintended consequences is slowly killing loons.

And on the western side of the lake, along a dirt road named after a quaint local farm, a different set of unintended consequences is adding to the toll.

Between them, these oozing products of decades-old decisions help explain why Squam Lake is proving fatal to New Hampshire’s most iconic waterfowl.

“Loons are the canaries in the coal mine. It’s not just the loons, it’s everything. Everything might be affected,” said Tiffany Grade, a biologist with the Loon Preservation Committee.

The committee, which has been monitoring and trying to help New Hampshire’s loon population since 1975, is sounding the alarm on Squam Lake because just one loon egg hatched on the entire lake this year, a “new and very depressing low” for the population. It’s puzzling because the statewide population of the birds is fairly stable.

The search for what’s different about Squam Lake dates back to 2005, when the lake lost 44 percent of its adult loons, “the largest single-year decline seen in history,” Grade said.

Puzzled, the Loon Preservation Committee started doing detective work. They took some eggs that never hatched from loon nests and tested them for a whole suite of contaminants. Eventually, they found two of real concern: PCBs and DDT. 09-04-17

Read more at Concord Monitor

Investment Giant Votes to Require Exxon to Detail Climate Risk Disclosure

Vanguard / Facebook

Investing giant Vanguard voted to require ExxonMobil to include more detailed assessments of how climate policies impact its bottom line, according to proxy voting records released Thursday.

Vanguard’s vote at the shareholder meeting and its vote in favor of a similar resolution for Occidental Petroleum mark the first time the firm has voted for shareholder resolutions opposed by company management.

“Climate risk is an example of a slowly developing and highly uncertain risk—the kind that tests the strength of a board’s oversight and risk governance,” CEO Bill McNabb wrote in a public letter released with the voting records. “Our evolving position on climate risk (much like our stance on gender diversity) is based on the economic bottom line for Vanguard investors. As significant long-term owners of many companies in industries vulnerable to climate risk, Vanguard investors have substantial value at stake.”

The overall Exxon vote passed in early June with nearly 63 percent of shares in favor. 9-1-17

Read more at EcoWatch