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Weekly Environmental News Wrap: July 20-27: Oceans and Arctic Ice Melt, Deforestation, Obama’s Environmental Record, and more…

GlobalWarmingisReal contributor Anders Hellum-Alexander wraps-up the climate and environmental news headlines for the past week:

  • Canada’s CBC news covers the melting of the arctic ice cap. Some scientists originally thought that the melting of the ice cap would create vast areas of water that would absorb CO2, slowing atmospheric global warming. Now, some scientists think that the new open water will only absorb CO2 in surface level water. This would be good for the ocean as it will acidify less, but bad for the atmosphere as it will heat more. The solution? Stop emitting so much CO2.
  • The Brazilian government has made efforts to better monitor its forested lands to slow deforestation. The government claims its efforts have decreased deforestation, yet the global recession could be reducing demand for cattle and lumber which would reduce deforestation as well.
  • Shale natural gas extraction could bring a lot of money to some eastern states, but politicians are looking at these opportunities with more scrutiny now. While, upfront, the government and industry could make a lot of money, the project could cost society greatly through the massive use and contamination of fresh water, the overuse of roads, air pollution and surges in local demand for goods that quickly drop away after the bulk of the natural gas deposit is gone in five years. The Christian Science Monitor reports.
  • Harpers magazine provides a short article explaining that dirty energy lobbyists have the highest rate of turnover from being employed by the federal government; 75%.
  • India unveils a $35 computer. Out of necessity a country is bringing technology to the world’s poor. Without a globally educated and connected poor population, our world will never overcome the challenges of creating a society harmonious with nature.
  • Some environmentalists are not happy with Obama’s environmental record thus far. Neither am I.
    But, do you really think anyone can do better in a political climate dominated by dirty corporations? Obama is doing great, if only politicians that are elected off of oil money would get voted out of office by us, the people.
  • Obama releases a new plan to protect US oceans that would create a structure for collaborative resource management. This would force local resource decisions to be based off of negotiations between many local stakeholders and would force that process to be science and fact based. This process is what many environmental academics have been fighting for in the last two decades.
  • A Californian company has found a way to make carbon capture (grabbing CO2 out of the air) cheaper than current technologies. Current technology increases the cost of operating a coal plant by 80%, while this new technology would only increase the cost by 35%. This is good because now more carbon capture will happen. But, the new technology makes the dirty energy industry cheaper for the consumer which will prolong public support for coal, natural gas and petroleum. Making the use of these energy sources cleaner does not erase the damage done from extraction and refining.
  • Technology Review covers another advance in the designing of solar panels.
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