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Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 21, 2017, 08:05:39 pm »

Oil Tanker Grounds on Scheldt River After Run-In with Bulk Carrier

MT Seatrout aground on Scheldt river. Photo: Port of Antwerp Authority

September 20, 2017 by Mike Schuler

A 188-meter oil tanker ran aground on the Western Scheldt while departing the Port of Antwerp on Wednesday following a close encounter with a bulk carrier, according to reports.

The Port of Antwerp posted pictures showing the German-flagged MT Seatrout aground at low tide near Bath, Netherlands. After closing the port to vessels less than 200m, tugs helped refloat the tanker at high tide and the ship was brought to Vlissingen for inspection.

The MT Seatrout after refloating.

According to some media reports, the Seatrout may have had a close encounter or even a minor collision with a bulk carrier which led to the grounding.

A look at AIS shows the Seatrout was outbound on the Scheldt when it ran aground at the Bath corner at about 03:43 UTC:

The second vessel in the incident has been identified as the 225-meter MV Usolie, a Liberian-flagged bulk carrier.

AIS data from the Usolie shows it was also outbound on the river and in the vicinity of the grounding at the same time as the incident (03:43 UTC):

Both vessels were in ballast the time of the incident, AIS showed.

As of 19:00 UTC showed that the MV Usolie had already left the Scheldt for its next destination.

So far no damage has been reported to either vessel.

Coincidentally, MT Seatrout ran aground in nearly the exact same location where the large containership CSCL Jupiter ran aground in August.

CSCL Jupiter hard aground on river Scheldt near Bath, Netherlands, August 14, 2017. Photo: Anton v/d Aarssen

AIS screenshot shows the CSCL Jupiter’s track before the grounding. Credit: MarineTraffic.com


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 21, 2017, 07:23:19 pm »


UN Environment Chief:  Make Polluters, Not Taxpayers, Pay For Destroying Nature

Erik Solheim, the head of the United Nations' Environment Program, made an interesting point during a recent speech in New York: Companies, not taxpayers, should pay the costs of damaging the planet.

"The profit of destroying nature or polluting the planet is nearly always privatized, while the costs of polluting the planet or the cost of destroying ecosystems is nearly always socialized," Solheim said Monday, per Reuters, at the annual International Conference on Sustainable Development at Columbia University.

"That cannot continue," Solheim added. "Anyone who pollutes, anyone who destroys nature must pay the cost for that destruction or that pollution. "

In a recent article, climate experts Peter C. Frumhoff and Myles R. Allen argue that companies like Exxon and other Big Oil and Gas giants—which purportedly knew about the link between fossil fuels and climate change for decades—should shoulder the billions of dollars in damages caused by extreme weather events such as hurricanes that are exacerbated by Earth's rising's temperatures.

Frumhoff and Allen write:

Using a simple, well-established climate model, our study for the first time quantifies the amount of sea level rise and increase in global surface temperatures that can be traced to the emissions from specific fossil fuel companies.

Strikingly, nearly 30% of the rise in global sea level between 1880 and 2010 resulted from emissions traced to the 90 largest carbon producers. Emissions traced to the 20 companies named in California communities' lawsuits contributed 10% of global sea level rise over the same period. More than 6% of the rise in global sea level resulted from emissions traced to ExxonMobil, Chevron and BP, the three largest contributors.

The scientists point out: "It may take tens to hundreds of billions of dollars to support disaster relief and recovery among Gulf coast communities affected by Hurricane Harvey. ExxonMobil, Chevron and BP have collectively pledged only $2.75m." 

During his comments in New York, Solheim noted that economic growth and environmental preservation are not mutually exclusive. In India, for example, the promotion of renewable energy is bringing human health and environmental benefits as well as spurring the economy.

"Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi realized he can electrify the villages and provide any number of green jobs—he can provide high economic growth, he can take care of his people, and take care of the planet by the same policies," said Solheim.

Solheim said that a "pollution-free planet" is achievable but the world must take immediate action to meet that goal.

"Change is happening," he said. "Economic-wise, we are on the right track, but we need to speed up because the challenge is so big."


Kae Bender  · Editor at EverydayEditing.com

Interesting point? No, it's a logical and long overdue point that companies should clean up their messes. It's a cost of doing business that these corporations have too long ignored with the tacit understanding that if they make a big enough disaster, taxpayers will step in. Really, there's NO logic or rationale to that except they have the politicians in their pockets. It's time to change that dynamic and put the people back in charge.

Agelbert NOTE: Fossil Fuel Industry reaction to above irrefutable scientific evidence that they are dangerously, and delberately, degrading our biosphere for short term profit (see below):

The Fossil Fuelers DID THE Clean Energy  Inventions suppressing, Climate Trashing, human health depleting CRIME,   but since they have ALWAYS BEEN liars and conscience free crooks, they are trying to AVOID   DOING THE TIME or     PAYING THE FINE!     Don't let them get away with it! Pass it on!   
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 20, 2017, 05:15:43 pm »

Profit Over People and Planet Pollution Sources next to Houston Ship Channel 

Analyzing the 5.5 Million Pounds of Air Pollutants Released in Texas After Harvey
Wednesday, September 20, 2017

By Janine Jackson, FAIR | Interview


Janine Jackson: The story of devastating weather events like hurricanes is many stories, really. There's no need to compete; they're all critical. But there is something about the oil industry spurring climate disruption, lobbying against preventative or preparatory measures, and then adding to its harmful impact with their methods of operation. As Texas continues to reel under the effects of Harvey, it's been noted that besides massive flooding, some communities were also faced with dangerous chemicals released into the air by refineries and petrochemical plants.

How did that happen, and what can prevent it from happening again? Our next guest has been investigating that. Shaye Wolf is climate science director for the Center for Biological Diversity. She joins us now by phone from Oakland. Welcome to CounterSpin, Shaye Wolf.

Shaye Wolf: Thank you for having me.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 18, 2017, 11:12:18 pm »

Harvey Spilled 22,000 Barrels of Oil and Chemicals , Says Coast Guard

September 16, 2017 by Reuters


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 14, 2017, 03:34:47 pm »

Large Oil Spill Washes Ashore in Greece After Tanker Sinks
September 13, 2017 by gCaptain


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 14, 2017, 02:55:46 pm »


Follow the last 30 years of humanity shaping the planet through the eyes of Google’s Timelapse


Timelapse of Miami, Florida. You can see some of the islands disappearing in the lower right.

The drying of the Aral sea, which is regarded as one of the worst environmental disasters in modern history. Originally one of the largest inland seas/lakes in the world, with an area of 68,000 sq km (26,300 sq miles,) by 2014 it had largely dried up. Its eastern basin is now known as the Aralkum Desert.

Colombia Glacier, in Alaska, becoming Colombia Water as average temperatures increase.

It’s an awesome testament to how far we’ve come as a species — but also a terrible sight of how much damage we can unintentionally wreak upon the world around us.    

Full article with graphics referred to above:

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 13, 2017, 01:54:45 pm »

EcoWatch September 13, 2017

Hurricanes Irma and Harvey Cast Spotlight on Toxic Sites In Our Midst
By Diane Carman


Our country has just witnessed two of the worst hurricanes in our history and the work of rebuilding shattered lives in Texas, Florida, and elsewhere has barely begun. Toxic cleanup will be a part of the work ahead.

This is an area dotted with oil refineries, chemical plants, Superfund sites and coal-fired power plants. All of these structures represent toxic waste and contamination threats during the best of weather times; with storms, these issues become even more dire.

Full article:


U.S. Air Force Is Spraying 6 Million Acres With Chemicals in Response to Harvey
By Whitney Webb


Naled's Toxicity Not Confined to Mosquitoes

While the Pentagon has framed its efforts to "assist" as seeking to eliminate a potential human health risk, the particular chemical it is using to control insect populations is likely to do more harm than good. According to the Air Force, the mosquito control protocol involves spraying the "Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved and regulated material, Naled," which the Air Force insists will not be used in amounts large enough to "cause any concern for human health."

However, the insecticide Naled, manufactured and sold by a strategic partner of Monsanto, is currently banned in the European Union due to the "unacceptable risk" it presents to human health.

Naled is a known neurotoxin in animals and humans, as it inhibits acetylcholinesterase—an enzyme essential to nerve function and communication—and has even been known to have caused paralysis. Mounting scientific evidence, including a recent Harvard study, has also pointed to Naled's responsibility for the mass die-off of North American bees. Just one day of Naled spraying in South Carolina killed more than 2.5 million bees last year.

Full article:


EPA Grants Florida Utilities Blanket Pollution Waiver After Irma

by Lorraine Chow


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granted all Florida power plants a "no action assurance" on Monday as the state tries to turn the lights back on post-Hurricane Irma.

The waiver, given at the request of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and effective through Sept. 26, allows the utilities "to operate without meeting all pollution controls in order to maintain the supply of electricity to customers and critical facilities across the state as a result of Hurricane Irma," EPA said.

But as the Associated Press noted in a report, the waiver basically means that electric companies can get away with violating clean air and water standards without penalty for the next two weeks.

Full article:


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 12, 2017, 04:36:19 pm »

This Is Why More Companies Aren’t Disclosing Their Environmental Strategies

September 12, 2017

By Jennifer Delony Associate Editor

HSBC today said that 53 percent of companies now have an environmental strategy in place, but only 43 percent actively disclose it. Why is that number so low?   


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 12, 2017, 03:01:37 pm »


Death of a dynasty: west North America lost over 95% of its monarch butterflies in 35 years



“In the 1980s, 10 million monarchs spent the winter in coastal California,” says lead researcher Cheryl Schultz from Washington State University Vancouver. “Today there are barely 300,000.”

“This study doesn’t just show that there are fewer monarchs now than 35 years ago. It also tells us that, if things stay the same, western monarchs probably won’t be around as we know them in another 35 years,” says Schultz.

Full article:


Agelbert NOTE: Big Agriculture in general, and Monsanto in particuar, are DIRECTLY responsible for this wanton destruction of a precious life form. As usual with these scientific articles that do not want to offend the bought and paid for corporate scientists, they claim that "more research is needed to determine the cause".

Monsanto is GUILTY of  directly causing Monarch butterfly habitat loss. HOW? By wreaking herbicide havoc on the Monarch Butterfly life cycle through a decline of the summer milkweed which Monarchs use to reproduce, along with producing the pesticides that kill them outright.
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 09, 2017, 01:31:38 pm »

Study: Ship Emissions Make Thunderstorms More Intense

September 8, 2017 by gCaptain
Photo: Nexus J / Shutterstock

Thunderstorms directly above two of the world’s busiest shipping lanes are significantly more powerful than storms in areas of the ocean where ships don’t travel, according to new University of Washington research.

A new study mapping lightning around the globe finds lightning strokes occur nearly twice as often directly above heavily-trafficked shipping lanes in the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea than they do in areas of the ocean adjacent to shipping lanes that have similar climates.

The difference in lightning activity can’t be explained by changes in the weather, according to the study’s authors, who conclude that aerosol particles emitted in ship exhaust are changing how storm clouds form over the ocean.

The study published Sept. 7 in Geophysical Research Letters is the first to show ship exhaust can alter thunderstorm intensity. The researchers conclude that particles from ship exhaust make cloud droplets smaller, lifting them higher in the atmosphere. This creates more ice particles and leads to more lightning.

The results provide some of the first evidence that humans are changing cloud formation on a nearly continual basis, rather than after a specific incident like a wildfire, according to the authors. Cloud formation can affect rainfall patterns and alter climate by changing how much sunlight clouds reflect to space.

“It’s one of the clearest examples of how humans are actually changing the intensity of storm processes on Earth through the emission of particulates from combustion,” said lead author Joel Thornton, a UW professor of atmospheric sciences.

All combustion engines emit exhaust, which contains microscopic particles of soot and compounds of nitrogen and sulfur. These particles, known as aerosols, form the smog and haze typical of large cities. They also act as cloud condensation nuclei – the seeds on which clouds form. Water vapor condenses around aerosols in the atmosphere, creating droplets that make up clouds.

Cargo ships crossing oceans emit exhaust continuously and scientists can use ship exhaust to better understand how aerosols affect cloud formation.

Co-author Katrina Virts, a former UW postdoctoral researcher who is now an atmospheric scientist at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, was analyzing data from the World Wide Lightning Location Network, a UW-based network of sensors that locates lightning strokes all over the globe, when she noticed a nearly straight line of lightning strokes across the Indian Ocean.

Virts and her colleagues compared the lightning location data to maps of ships’ exhaust plumes from a global database of ship emissions. Looking at the locations of 1.5 billion lightning strokes from 2005 to 2016, the team found nearly twice as many lightning strokes on average over major routes ships take across the northern Indian Ocean, through the Strait of Malacca and into the South China Sea, compared to adjacent areas of the ocean that have similar climates.

“All we had to do was make a map of where the lightning was enhanced and a map of where the ships are traveling and it was pretty obvious just from the co-location of both of those that the ships were somehow involved in enhancing lightning,” Thornton said.

Water molecules need aerosols to condense into clouds. Where the atmosphere has few aerosol particles – over the ocean, for instance – water molecules have fewer particles to condense around, so cloud droplets are large.

When more aerosols are added to the air, like from ship exhaust, water molecules have more particles to collect around. More cloud droplets form, but they are smaller. Being lighter, these smaller droplets travel higher into the atmosphere and more of them reach the freezing line, creating more ice, which creates more lightning. Storm clouds become electrified when ice particles collide with each other and with unfrozen droplets in the cloud. Lightning is the atmosphere’s way of neutralizing that built-up electric charge.

Ships burn dirtier fuels in the open ocean away from port, spewing more aerosols and creating even more lightning, Thornton said.

“It is the first time we have, literally, a smoking gun, showing over pristine ocean areas that the lightning amount is more than doubling,” said Daniel Rosenfeld, an atmospheric scientist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem who was not connected to the study. “The study shows, highly unambiguously, the relationship between anthropogenic emissions – in this case, from diesel engines on deep convective clouds.” 

Other co-authors are Robert Holzworth, a UW professor of Earth and space sciences who directs lightning network, and Todd Mitchell, a research meteorologist at the UW’s Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean.

This was originally posted as a press release by the American Geophysical Union.


STOP subsidizing POLLUTION!

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 08, 2017, 06:41:05 pm »


Harvey: Refineries Spewed 1 Million Lbs. of Seven Air Toxics

Amid Harvey's devastation the Center for Biological Diversity analyzed industry data. We found that south Texas refineries and petrochemical plants released nearly 1 million pounds of seven dangerous air pollutants through flaring and spills during storm flooding.

A staggering 951,000 pounds of pollutants known to seriously harm people — including by causing cancer — were emitted by Aug. 31 from oil and gas facilities. The pollutants are benzene, 1,3-butadiene, hexane, hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide, toluene and xylene.

"Oil-industry facilities spewed tons of truly dangerous chemicals into defenseless communities, despite ample warnings about hurricane risk," said Shaye Wolf, the Center scientist who compiled the analysis. "The petroleum industry seems unwilling to take responsibility for operating safely, even as climate change makes storms like Harvey more destructive."

Full article:

Agelbert NOTE: Please remember that there is NO ZONING in Houston. So when you look at the following pictures, do not be lulled into thinking that the waters and the air and the ground in those fancy neighborhoods is not being subject to toxic chemicals after the flood, even if the polltion went mostly to the poor and middle class before.

"We've seen the future and it looks a lot like Houston."  Rhea Suh President, NRDC

The irony for the fossil fuel and chemical industry polluters that set up this toxic profit over people and planet "business friendly" MESS in Houston is that after this storm, all those privileged zip codes (that had a much higher life expentancy than the poorer neighborhoods near the refineries and chemical plants) will NOW be visited with silent, but deadly, attacks on the immune system of the people living there.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 08, 2017, 03:06:29 pm »

First Responders Sue Over “Chaos” at Houston-Area Chemical Plant

A group of Texas first responders filed suit against chemical company Arkema Thursday, alleging the company did not adequately warn them of the risks of chemical exposure while they attended to a plant fire outside of Houston last week.

In the suit, the seven plaintiffs say they were "overwhelmed" by vomiting after coming in contact with fumes at the plant, describing a scene "nothing less than chaos." The suit also accuses the company of failing to properly secure chemical facilities after Hurricane Harvey.

The EPA separately ordered Arkema to provide details of the explosion last week, which was caused by flood-related power outages that cut off refrigeration for the plant's chemical stores.


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 07, 2017, 09:06:04 pm »

Agelbert NOTE: NOAA Accurately predicted the massive bleaching of 2016 (see video and explanation below).

NOAA declares third-ever global coral bleaching event]

Oct 08, 2015

As record ocean temperatures cause widespread coral bleaching across Hawaii, NOAA scientists confirm the same stressful conditions are expanding to the Caribbean and may last into the new year, prompting the declaration of the third global coral bleaching event ever on record. This animation shows how warmer than normal sea surface temperatures are creating heat stress along with large areas of bleaching events, using satellite data from the NOAA Coral Reef Watch Program. Data includes sea surface temperature anomaly data from October 2015, year-to-date Degree Heating Week data for 2015, and maximum bleaching area alert data for 2015.

Waters are warming in the Caribbean, threatening coral in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, NOAA scientists said. Coral bleaching began in the Florida Keys and South Florida in August, but now scientists expect bleaching conditions there to diminish. This bleaching event, which began in the north Pacific in summer 2014 and expanded to the south Pacific and Indian oceans in 2015, is hitting U.S. coral reefs disproportionately hard. NOAA estimates that by the end of 2015, almost 95 percent of U.S. coral reefs will have been exposed to ocean conditions that can cause corals to bleach.

The biggest risk right now is to the Hawaiian Islands, where bleaching is intensifying and is expected to continue for at least another month. Areas at risk in the Caribbean in coming weeks include Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, and from the U.S. Virgin Islands south into the Leeward and Windward islands. The next concern is the further impact of the strong El Niño, which climate models indicate will cause bleaching in the Indian and southeastern Pacific Oceans after the new year. This may cause bleaching to spread globally again in 2016.''

Continue to monitor real-time global bleaching conditions in NOAA View.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 05, 2017, 03:29:12 pm »

Before Hurricane Harvey                                         After  :P


Houston Awash in Chemicals & Toxic Waste   

Toxic waste and pollution are emerging as a top concern as cleanup continued in Houston over the long weekend. Owners of the Arkema chemical plant in Crosby, which suffered multiple explosions and fires last week, announced Sunday it would conduct controlled burns of the rest of the chemicals stored at the damaged facility as a "proactive measure."

According to the EPA, at least 13 Superfund sites in the Houston area have been damaged by flooding.

Runoff from chemical plants and oil and gas facilities has also mixed with the city's overflowing sewage system to create a toxic soup in the remaining floodwaters, causing concerns around drinking water systems.

And filings accumulated by the Center for Biological Diversity estimate that over 1 million pounds of toxic pollutants from damaged oil and gas and chemical facilities, including several types of carcinogens, have been released into the air since the hurricane made landfall.


Agelbert NOTE: Fossil Fuel and Chemical Industry reaction to the above irrefutable news (see below):

The Fossil Fuelers DID THE Clean Energy  Inventions suppressing, Climate Trashing, human health depleting CRIME,   but since they have ALWAYS BEEN liars and conscience free crooks, they are trying to AVOID   DOING THE TIME or     PAYING THE FINE!     Don't let them get away with it! Pass it on!   
Democracy Now!

George Monbiot: We Can't Be Silent on Climate Change or the Unsustainability of Capitalist System

Published on Aug 31, 2017

https://democracynow.org - While Houston continues to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, we look at the media silence on the human contribution to the record-breaking storm. British journalist and author George Monbiot wrote that despite 2016 being the hottest year on record, the combined coverage during the evening and Sunday news programs on the main television networks amounted to a total of 50 minutes in all of last year. "Our greatest predicament, the issue that will define our lives, has been blotted from the public’s mind," he wrote. The silence has been even more resounding on climate-related disasters in areas of the world where populations are more vulnerable—most recently, on the devastating floods across the globe, from Niger to South Asia. Over the past month, more than 1,200 people have died amid flooding in Bangladesh, Nepal and India. This year’s monsoon season has brought torrential downpours that have submerged wide swaths of South Asia, destroying tens of thousands of homes, schools and hospitals. Meanwhile, in Niger, West Africa, thousands of people have been ordered to leave their homes in the capital Niamey after several days of heavy downpours. We speak with Monbiot, columnist at The Guardian. His book, "Out of the Wreckage: A New Politics for an Age of Crisis," will be out this week.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 03, 2017, 01:45:10 pm »

Texans Face Soaring Levels of Toxic Pollution After Harvey

By Emma Niles —  Oil refineries and petrochemical plants in Houston report the release of more than 2,700 tons of additional pollution—a result of Hurricane Harvey's damage.


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 02, 2017, 01:55:57 pm »

Agelbert NOTE: Left out of this otherwise very informative article is the massive chemical pollution all this damage is now causing, and will continue to cause even more in the immediate future, to the ocean, to the land and to the aquifers.

As usual, tears are shed for the fossil fuel industry, that created this polluting infrastructure in the first place, and no tears or shouts of outrage at the fact that we-the-people will have to pay for the clean up while we CONTINUE to subsidize these polluters MORE THAN EVER.   

Why do I say, "more than ever"? ??? Because ALL the damages you are about to see are TAX DEDUCTIBLE!

And, BY THE WAY, the Federal Government is going to PAY for the repair of a lot of the direct damages (never mind all the indirect costs we-the people PAY for having the Coast Guard and the military provide monitoring and towing services FREE) to all the polluter infrastructure, even while those clever bastards deduct the "estimated" damages from their tax return. Now you know that, despite the corporate happy talk front of being "highly profitable",  the Fossil fuel Industry is actually the champion WELFARE QUEEN in the USA.

Enjoy the pictures and try to add up how much money we-the-people will be fleeced for by these polluter crooks (most of that money is NOT going to come from from the pittance the fossil fuel industry bought and paid for crooks in Congress have approved for "Houston relief".). 

Texas Ports Update – Houston-Galveston, Corpus Christi, Port Arthur – Damage Photos and Video

By Mike Schuler on Sep 01, 2017 11:40 am

The U.S. Coast Guard conducted several overflights Thursday to assess the damage to ports along the Texas Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey as many of the affected ports began opening.

Hurricane Harvey has significantly impacted the entire Texas coast, home to petroleum refining centers in Corpus Christi, Houston, Port Arthur, Beaumont, and Lake Charles Louisiana. The storm forced many to either completely shutdown or significantly scale back operations.

As of Friday, the Port of Houston resumed partial operations after being closed for nearly a week due the storm. The Port of Houston Authority said both the Barbours Cut and Bayport container terminals resumed operations on Friday, with three vessels waiting to come into Barbours Cut and one for Bayport as of early Friday morning.

Below is Friday’s update from the Port of Houston Authority:

Port Houston Barbours Cut and Bayport terminals have resumed operations.
Gates are open Friday, 0700 – 1700, in-gate closing at 1600. Vessels will be worked as they are cleared for transit.
Port Houston Turning Basing Facilities: Both Upper level and Lower level road are open for operations.
Jacintoport: Open for business

Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 4th: Vessels will be worked at Port Houston Container Terminals. Gate operations TBA.

Over the last week, several vessels have ended up skipping Houston altogether. A FAQ said seven containerships omitted Bayport while five containerships omitted Barbours Cut. As for damage to Port Houston container terminals, the port authority said there is no evidence of flooding at the terminals and no visible damage to containers, cranes, or other terminal equipment.

In a news conference late Thursday, Janiece M. Longoria, chairwoman of the Port of Houston Authority, said heavy current into the Houston Ship Channel at the Port of Houston was making it unsafe to bring in vessels.

Check the Port Houston website for the most up-to-date information on port operations.

As Friday Coast Guard Port Conditions at Houston-Galveston were set to “OPEN WITH RESTRICTIONS”. All vessels transits are being limited to daylight hours and the following draft restrictions are currently in place:

Freeport: Draft restricted to 33 feet or less.
Galveston: Draft restricted to 33 feet or less.
Houston: Draft restricted to 37 feet or less.
Texas City: Draft restricted to 33 feet or less.

Agelbert NOTE: Draft restrictions put a severe crimp on channel navigability. The dredging costs to make the channel navigable for the fossil fuel industy's ships and barges will be astronomical and WE-THE-PEOPLE are going to FOOT THE BILL!

In the Port Arthur and Lake Charles area, which includes the port of Beaumont, the ports remained closed as of Friday.

Coast Guard port conditions can be found on the Coast Guard’s Homeport website.

Some aerial photos of the damage to other facilities located on the Houston Ship Channel are below (keep scrolling for update on Corpus Christi and Brownsville):

The Port of Corpus Christi has been open since 2:15 PM, August 31, 2017, but restricted to vessels with a draft no greater 43 feet. In addition, all foreign registered vessels 100 gross registered tons or larger, all domestic tank vessels 10,000 gross registered tons or larger, and all domestic non-tank vessels 1,600 gross registered tons or larger must conduct one way transits only; have a minimum of 2 pilots for each transit; and transit during daylight hours only.

As of Thursday’s update, the Port of Brownsville was open with no restrictions.

“Mariners are advised that although some channel surveys have been conducted, the Coast Guard has not completed channel surveys of all inlets, harbors and channels to confirm safe transit,” the Port of Christi said in an update. “Mariners are to proceed with caution as navigational aids may be missing or off station and debris, shoaling and hazardous substances may be present. All other waterways of the COTP zone remain closed.”

Mariners are reminded that the Corpus Christi Inner Harbor Security Zone (33 CFR 165.809) remains in effect during severe weather and therefore recreational, commercial fishing and passenger vessels are not permitted to enter the security zone without permission of the U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port. Vessels must have a prearranged agreement with the COTP to enter the Inner Harbor.

Agelbert NOTE: Check out where three barges like the ones above ended up in the video below:  :o

Below is a video of Thursday’s flyover of the port of Corpus Christi area.

The Paragon Offshore drillship (the former Noble Phoenix  ::)) which at the entrance to the ship channel in Port Aransas, leading to Corpus Christi, is still aground as of Friday.The Coast Guard assessed damage and offered search and rescue assistance during an overflight from Port Aransas to Port O’Connor, Texas, Aug. 26, 2017.. U.S. Coast Guard Photo

The above picture appears to show Southwest Shipyard’s facility on Brady Island, located on the Buffalo Bayou which flows into the Houston Ship Channel and Galveston Bay.


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: August 31, 2017, 07:25:14 pm »

Harvey triggered the release of more than a million pounds of toxic pollutants

By Emily Atkin on Aug 30, 2017


Everything is bigger in Texas, including the number of chemical plants, refineries, and other industrial facilities. So when one of the worst storms in American history hit the heart of Texas’ petrochemical industry, it also triggered one of the biggest mass shutdowns the area has even seen. At least 25 plants have either shut down or experienced production issues due to Hurricane Harvey’s unprecedented severe weather and flooding, according to industry publication ICIS. But those closures are not only disrupting markets; they’re also causing enormous releases of toxic pollutants that pose a threat to human health.

Take Chevron Phillips Chemical plant in Sweeny, Texas. When it shut down due to Hurricane Harvey, it released into the atmosphere more than 100,000 pounds of carbon monoxide; 22,000 pounds of nitrogen oxide, 32,000 pounds of ethylene, and 11,000 pounds of propane, according to a report the company submitted to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). A couple thousand pounds of 1,3-butadiene, benzene, and butane were released as well. All of these releases were far more than what was legally allowed.

Read more


FILE PHOTO: An oil tank damaged by Hurricane Harvey is seen near Seadrift, Texas, U.S. August 26, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking/File Photo

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: August 31, 2017, 01:11:14 pm »


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: August 30, 2017, 02:52:00 pm »

FILE PHOTO: An oil tank damaged by Hurricane Harvey is seen near Seadrift, Texas, U.S. August 26, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking/File Photo

More U.S. Gulf Refineries dama ged by Harvey as Others Remain Underwater

August 29, 2017 by Reuters

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: August 28, 2017, 10:29:11 pm »

August 28, 2017

Nation's 2nd-largest refinery is flooded

Exxon's Baytown refinery, the nation's 2nd-largest facility, has been shut down due to flooding. According to CNN Money, Exxon filed a report to Texas environmental regulators, saying air emissions related to flood damage will last until Friday.   Exxon shut down the refining and chemical plant as floodwaters rose over the weekend.

According to the CNN story, Exxon was fined $20 million for violating the Clean Air Act at that plant more than 16,000 times between October 2005 and 2013.

The New Republic is reporting that noxious chemical smells have been reported in neighborhoods surrounding that plant and other chemical facilities and refineries that have been affected by flooding.


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: August 27, 2017, 06:26:52 pm »

What You Can’t See in Your Indoor Air May Be One of the Biggest Threats to Your Health

You breathe more than you eat or drink, but most likely you don’t give nearly as much thought to what you may be inhaling. With the possibility of over 1,500 invisible and potentially toxic substances contaminating your air space right now, isn’t it time you took control over what you’re breathing?

Whether you’re relaxing at home, working in your office, driving in your car or riding on public transportation, you’re exposed to a wide variety of airborne particles and contaminants.

While many people focus on outdoor air when they hear ‘air pollution’, you may be surprised to learn that the EPA has discovered indoor air contains 2 to 5 times and potentially as much as 100 times more contaminants than the air outdoors!

Indoor air pollution has truly become one of the most serious environmental threats to your health. Yet, no government agency monitors or controls it and studies on its health effects are limited.

So I ask you… Are you paying as much attention to what you’re breathing into your lungs as you are to what you’re eating and drinking? It may be just as important.

Over the next few minutes, I hope to increase your awareness of what you may be inhaling. And I’d like to share with you options I’ve discovered to help you protect yourself and your loved ones from these contaminants lurking out-of-sight in indoor air, wherever you go.

How Can You Tell If Your Indoor Air Is Polluted?

Full detailed article:

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: August 27, 2017, 02:32:57 pm »

... they believe gas prices will increase 5 cents to 25 cents per gallon.

Hurricane Harvey closes key oil, gas operations in Texas

DAVID KOENIG, AP Business Writer 17 hrs ago

DALLAS (AP) — Key oil and gas facilities along the Texas Gulf Coast have temporarily shut down as Harvey pounds the region with torrential rain and high winds, virtually assuring gasoline prices will rise in the storm's aftermath.

Even before the Harvey made landfall late Friday, dozens of oil and gas platforms had been evacuated, at least three refineries had closed and at least two petrochemical plants had suspended operations.

How soon they reopen depends on the severity of flooding and the resumption of power to the areas. Experts say it's still too early to say, with the storm still moving through the region Saturday evening. But they believe gas prices will increase 5 cents to 25 cents per gallon.

Harvey also continued to take a toll on U.S. air travel Saturday, with more than 1,000 flight cancellations as of the early evening, according to FlightAware. Nearly 850 of the canceled flights were scheduled to either depart from or land at Houston's two airports.

The shipping industry also is expected to be disrupted by the worst hurricane to hit the refinery-rich Texas coast in more than 50 years.

Here's how Harvey is likely to affect business and pocketbooks:

— REFINERIES: Nearly one-third of the nation's refining capacity sits in low-lying areas along the coast from Corpus Christi, Texas, to Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Several refineries at greatest risk of suffering a direct strike from high winds have already shut down, but it is the potential for flooding in the Houston and Beaumont areas that could really pinch gasoline supplies.

Flooding and power outages caused by a storm surge are considered the biggest risk.

"The biggest driver of how much this will increase gas prices is how much rain falls in Houston during the next three days," Andy Lipow, president of consultant Lipow Oil Associates, said Saturday. "We are in a wait-and-watch mode."

For now, Lipow is predicting gasoline prices will rise 10 cents per gallon east of the Rockies.

Tom Kloza, an analyst for the Oil Price Information Service, predicts that prices could rise by up to 25 cents a gallon, but that an increase of 5 cents to 15 cents is more likely, assuming that the hurricane doesn't cause lasting damage to refineries.

Flint Hills Resources announced that it would shutter a refinery before Harvey hit and Valero Energy Corp. said it was closing two facilities in Corpus Christi.

The prospect of supply interruptions sent gasoline futures to $1.74 a gallon, their highest level since April, before they retreated to around $1.67 by Friday afternoon.

In addition to the refinery closures, Formosa Plastics shut its petrochemical plant in Point Comfort, Texas, and OxyChem suspended operations at its petrochemical plant in Ingleside, Texas, according to Platts, an S&P Global division that tracks the commodities and energy industry.

— OIL AND GAS: Companies have been evacuating workers from oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, and that is crimping the flow of oil and gas.

As of Friday, the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said workers had been removed from 86 of the 737 manned platforms used to pump oil and gas from beneath the Gulf.

The agency estimated that platforms accounting for about 22 percent of oil production and 23 percent of natural gas output in the Gulf had been shut down.

"We could see more production be taken offline in the Gulf of Mexico" if the path of the storm wanders farther east, said Jenna Delaney, an oil analyst for PIRA Energy. But, she noted, oil companies announced fewer platform shutdowns on Friday than they had on Thursday, which is an encouraging sign.

Exxon Mobil closed two of its platforms and was evacuating all personnel in the expected path of the storm, said spokeswoman Suann Guthrie. Shell halted operations on a big floating oil-production platform, and Anadarko evacuated workers and shut down four facilities in the western Gulf while continuing to operate those east of the storm's predicted path.

On shore, ConcoPhillips stopped all operations in the Eagle Ford shale formation, which lies across a swath of South Texas inland from the Gulf. A company spokeswoman cited safety and potential disruptions in getting oil and gas from the wells to market during the storm.

— SHIPPING: Shipping terminals along the Texas coast shut down as the storm approached. Port operations in Corpus Christi and Galveston closed, and the port of Houston said container terminals and general cargo facilities closed around midday Friday.

Rates for carrying freight between the Gulf of Mexico and the U.S. East Coast rose.

— TRAVEL: After more than 1,200 flight cancellations Friday and Saturday, airlines already had canceled an additional 823 flights scheduled for Sunday, according to FlightAware's calculations on Saturday evening.

Airlines were offering customers the chance to reschedule trips that would take them to Houston, San Antonio or Austin from Friday through the weekend.

— UTILITIES: Researchers at Texas A&M University estimated that the storm would knock out power for at least 1.25 million people in Texas. They said the hardest-hit areas will include Corpus Christi, which is on the coast, and San Antonio, which is about 140 miles inland.

— INSURANCE: A firm that does forecasts for insurance companies said wind-damage claims could top $6 billion, although it said losses in the low billions are more likely.

Risk Management Solutions Inc. said losses from storm surges and inland flooding could be a bigger source of losses. If the firm is correct, that would put homeowners and the government-backed National Flood Insurance Program at risk.

The flood program is run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which owes the Treasury about $23 billion in funds borrowed to cover the cost of past disasters, according to a recent report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

Homeowner policies with insurance companies don't typically cover flood damage, yet a relatively small percentage of homeowners have flood insurance through the federal program.


AP Business Writer Michael Liedtke in San Francisco contributed to this story.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: August 27, 2017, 02:05:52 pm »

Exxon's PITTANCE offering $500,000 to victims won't even begin to dent the MASSIVE cost to insurance corporations taking the BRUNT of Climate Change costs Big Oil SHOULD BE PAYING, while biosphere polluting, democracy destroying, people poisoning corporations like Exxon keep getting welfare queened with direct AND INDIRECT MASSIVE subsidies. 

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: August 26, 2017, 03:27:00 pm »

We Can't Stop Our Exposure to Toxic Chemicals Until We Rein In the Corporations Releasing Them

Saturday, August 26, 2017

By Lauren Orlando, Rural America In These Times | News Analysis


The tobacco industry's playbook gets bounced from one industry to the next, with the highly remunerative process of seeding doubt enough to perpetuate another generation of exposures and another decade or two of profits.

The issue is not whether or not we own up to the real role that lifestyle factors play in causing cancer.

It is that we understand how the lifestyle excuse is
used to diminish or deny the role played by industry, by social prejudice and by economic disadvantage in perpetuating the circumstances that lead to many cancers and that influence cancer survival rates.

Yet when we raise these issues we are shouted down and we are financially out-gunned by the same corporate interests that benefit from the cancer status quo.  
Full article with video:

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: August 22, 2017, 08:44:58 pm »

Scott Pruitt’s EPA Is Crazyland

August 22nd, 2017 by Guest Contributor


Until now, Ronald Reagan-appointed Anne Gorsuch Burford [mother of nepotistic stolen-seat Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch] was the worst administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency in its nearly half-century of existence. She cut its budget by a fifth and worked diligently to please polluting industries that she claimed were over-regulated. She was just one appointee during Reagan’s terms chosen to run agencies or departments they didn’t even think should exist. But in six months, Scott Pruitt, the EPA-hating head of the EPA, has stolen the worst-ever title from her.

By Meteor Blades Trump budget attacks science, clean energy

Coral Davenport and Eric Lipton at The New York Times report that Pruitt has injected a sense of paranoia at the agency, making career employees feel as if they are the enemy. Those staffers say floors at EPA HQ are frequently locked, and if they wish to see Pruitt, they must have an escort. They are often told to leave their cellphones behind and not to take notes in meetings with him:

“Mr. Pruitt, according to the employees, who requested anonymity out of fear of losing their jobs, often makes important phone calls from other offices rather than use the phone in his office, and he is accompanied, even at E.P.A. headquarters, by armed guards, the first head of the agency to ever request round-the-clock security.

Full article:


Agelbert NOTE: If I were busy degrading the biosphere on behalf of the polluters, I would want 24/7 security too. People have a tendency to take offense to being poisoned for polluter profit...

But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it. -- Proverbs 2:22 KJV
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: August 21, 2017, 01:20:29 pm »

Trump Disbands Climate Advisory Panel

By Andy Rowell

August 21, 2017

As Trump's presidency spirals like a toxic vortex from one crisis to another, and with the global news media reacting to one venomous tweet after another, it is easy to miss the slow assault against science and the environment that continues below the radar.

The crisis for Trump could get a whole lot worse, with his ex-Chief of Staff, Steve Bannon, who was sacked last week, promising that he was "prepared to go to war with his adversaries in the White House."

Such is the downward spiral of the presidency that many commentators believe it is no longer a matter of "if" but "when" Trump leaves the White House. In the meantime, the president will try to drag as many people down with him and continue his assault against tens of millions of Americans.

What few friends he had have vanished after last week's outrageous defense of white supremacy and neo-Nazis in the wake of the Charlottesville atrocity. As Frank Bruni so eloquently put it in the New York Times, "He abdicated his responsibilities so thoroughly and recklessly that it amounted to a letter of resignation."

Earlier the Times' Mark Landler said that Trump had "relinquished what presidents from Roosevelt to Reagan have regarded as a cardinal duty of their job: set a moral course to unify the nation."

The president, who has no moral or ethical compass, also continues his disingenuous assault on science. Earlier this month, I blogged how in their fight back against Trump, a major report on climate change had been leaked by scientists, fearful that the president would try and suppress it.

The executive summary of the report, written by scientists from 13 agencies, said, "The last few years have seen record-breaking, climate-related, weather extremes, as well as the warmest years on record for the globe.

"Evidence for a changing climate abounds, from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans," the report continued. "Thousands of studies conducted by tens of thousands of scientists around the world have documented changes in surface, atmospheric, and oceanic temperatures; melting glaciers; disappearing snow cover; shrinking sea ice; rising sea level; and an increase in atmospheric water vapor".

The Washington Post reported Sunday that Trump wreaked revenge on the scientists by disbanding the federal advisory panel—the National Climate Assessment—that had drafted the report.

According to the Post, "On Friday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's acting administrator, Ben Friedman, informed the committee's chair that the agency would not renew the panel."

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray (D) told the Post that Trump's actions represent "an example of the president not leading, and the president stepping away from reality."

This is not an isolated incident, though.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) boss, Scott "Polluting Pruitt," has also "purged" dozens of scientists from advisory positions, "leaving a key EPA office without important scientific guidance."

As Trump gets rid of real scientists with expert credentials, in their place come his cronies without any scientific knowledge.

The person nominated by Trump to be the top scientist at the Department of Agriculture, Sam Clovis  , used to run a rightwing blog where he called progressives "race traders and race 'traitors'" and likened Barack Obama to a "dictator." He is also a climate denier and conspiracy theorist.

Sam Clovis  : Bought and paid for Pollution Pushing Pig of the Fossil Fuel Fascists
Clovis, who is perfect for the Trump Administration but totally unfit to hold a top scientific post, joins the downward vortex into the abyss.


Agelbert NOTE: The downward vortex will take all of us with it if we do not stop the Polluter Subsidizing Insanity VERY SOON!

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: August 19, 2017, 04:54:59 pm »


Pakistan just planted one billion trees to tackle deforestation and climate change


While the US president complains that his country is being treated unfairly and others aren’t pulling their weight, others are in fact pulling their weight. In less than two years, a province in Pakistan just planted 1 billion trees.

Pakistani provincial leader Imran Khan started the Billion Tree Tsunami Afforestation Project in 2015 and it now reached fruition. In less than two years, 1,000,000,000 trees were planted, even faster than anticipated (by the end of 2017). This is just one province in one country.

You don’t even need to care for the environment to understand why this is a good idea — it’s not just that they store CO2, trees provide a whopping number of environmental services. They regulate water regimes by intercepting rainfall and regulating its flow through the hydrological system.  They maintain and ensure soil quality, preventing erosion, and they’re key components in a wide array of ecosystems. 

“If you plant trees, we have discovered, by the river banks it sustains the rivers. But most importantly, the glaciers that are melting in the mountains, and one of the biggest reasons is because there has been a massive deforestation. So, this billion tree is very significant for our future,” Khan, leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, told Voice of America.

We’re also dealing with a deforestation planetary crisis. According to the World Bank data, the planet has lost 1.3 million square kilometers of forests since 1990. This is why the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) set up the Bonn Challenge in 2011. The Bonn Challenge calls for the global restoration of 150 million hectares of deforested and degraded lands by 2020, and 350 million hectares by 2030. So far, less than 30 countries have signed up to the challenge, but even so, there are reasons for optimism. This milestone achieved in Pakistan is one of them, one which will inspire others, Inger Anderson, director general of the IUCN says.

“IUCN congratulates the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa [where the trees were planted] on reaching this momentous milestone,” Anderson said. “The Billion Tree Tsunami initiative is a true conservation success story, one that further demonstrates Pakistan’s leadership role in the international restoration effort and continued commitment to the Bonn Challenge.”

Punjab, Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces, Pakistan. Image via VOA.

Pakistan is one of the countries experiencing the most deforestation, and also one of the most at risk of global warming. Decades and decades of deforestation have cleared the country to the point where only 3% of it is covered by forests. Nowadays, the government in the north-western region has banned the cutting and felling of most trees in the area, but the so-called “timber mafia” still operates around the region, illegally destroying trees and forests. While enforcing the law is still problematic, projects such as this one could determine the local communities to play a more active role. Up until now, this is exactly what they’ve been doing.

“But we could not have done it if the local communities were not involved,” Khan said. “The local communities first grew the nurseries and then amongst them people who then protected the trees, the saplings when they were planted. It is one of the most successful experiments ever, and we have 85 percent survival rate.”

In order to ensure the success of this story, over 13,000 small-scale nurseries, producing up to 25,000 saplings each, have been involved in the project. The provincial government offered a cash advanced and a guaranteed purchase after the trees mature. Several species were planted, including pines, walnuts, and eucalyptus, officials say. The estimated cost of this project was $123 million, but it’s not just the trees — the project also generated green jobs, and empowered unemployed youth and women in the province. Given its success, it’s been decided that an additional $100 million will be allocated to maintain the project through June 2020. This will ensure even more environmental services and benefits for the locals, the entire country, and the entire world.

“If the trend continues, there will be more birds , there will be more microbes, there will be more insects  , so there will be more animals  , so more habitats. The ecosystem will kind of literally revive in certain places. There will be more rains because we do need rains,” Hamaad Khan Naqi, WWF-Pakistan’s director general, told VOA.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: August 16, 2017, 07:13:50 pm »

Dieselgate: Green group grumbles over 'Mickey Mouse' summit


The recent diesel summit agreement to upgrade software     in five million vehicles, set up a mobility fund, and offer buyer’s bonuses can be described as “Mickey Mouse policies” that may cut harmful emissions by five percent at best, Jens Thurau quoted Environmental Action Germany (DUH) head Jürgen Resch as saying, in an article for Deutsche Welle.


Many diesel car owners have realised “that the placebo software updates    won’t prevent their cars from being affected by driving bans”, said Resch in a press release. DUH has called on all political parties to make clear before the September general elections if they were willing to push for the measures necessary to enable cities to comply with air quality limits, including “dirty diesel vehicle” driving bans.


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: August 13, 2017, 04:52:41 pm »

Climate Change & Anthropocene Extinction 10: Biodiversity loss accelerates under warming, metastudy shows

Climate change leads to species extinctions and exponentially so: the loss of biodiversity is set to accelerate under continuation of global average temperature rise.

This graph illustrates two important things: (1) the pattern of exponential decline of biodiversity for a linear increase in global temperatures (which means that for the preservation of Earth’s biodiversity a business as usual emissions scenario is much worse than ambitious global climate policy) – and (2) that there is large variation among individual published biodiversity projections (illustrating high complexity/uncertainty).

We learn this from a very interesting metastudy performed by ecologist Mark Urban of the University of Connecticut that was published in Science in 2015. In this study Urban assessed 131 existing studies in scientific literature investigating extinction risk under anthropogenic climate change.

Models are simplifications, real world ecological responses are very complex – and for instance differ geographically…

All assessed studies contain extinction predictions and focus on multiple species – and most of the climate-biodiversity models used define extinction as species habitat falling below a critical limit, yet, as the author notes, often ignore further complexities as species interactions (both ecosystem interdependance and competition), dispersal differences and evolution.

Main conclusions from the meta-analysis are that extinction risk varies geographically and that overall biodiversity loss increases exponentially with climatic warming.

The latter may be unsurprising if you give it a thought (for instance due to the cascading nature of extinctions), but it’s also a very important realisation. It means that if we want to prevent biodiversity loss – we do, of course – then raising the global climate policy ambition can be very rewarding:

For instance the average values from Urban’s assessment show that the RCP8.5 scenario that (under conservative climate sensitivity assumption) is linked to a global average warming of slightly more than 4 degrees would lead to more than three times as much biodiversity loss as a 2 degrees warming scenario. Meanwhile the difference in biodiversity decline comparing the 2 degrees and the more ambitious 1.5 degrees scenario could also be significant.

What can we learn from variation in climate-biodiversity studies?

Another thing Urban’s meta-analysis clearly shows, is that there is a large variation in studies assessing extinction risk under anthropogenic climate change, ‘depending on the specific assumptions and geographic and taxonomic focus of each study’. However when he synthesised these studies it showed that extinction risk did not vary by taxonomic group – in other words, the damaging effect of climate change on biodiversity is universal. Variation was however strongly correlated with geography, with significant differences per continent:

Extinction risk under climate change per continent, reflecting higher vulnerability for hot regions (tropics) and smaller land masses/islands. [Speculation from our side: used biodiversity-climate models may ignore full extent of regional climate warming feedbacks, that lead to dramatic increase of relative warming at high latitudes, aggravating local ecological effects – thereby possibly evening out above geographical pattern.]

This shows two overlapping phenomena: the immediate biodiversity decline in hot, tropical regions (where species do not migrate to) plus the relatively high sensitivity of relatively small and geographically isolated habitats, most notably islands – which goes for Australia and New Zealand, and to some extent also South America – as the Panama Isthmus is still an ecological bottleneck for northward climate migration. (Rule of thumb: having many islands and complicated coastlines is good for biodiversity.)

Within the larger pool of biodiversity-climate research, the more pessimistic publications seem to deserve special attention, as Urban writes that those studies that used ‘realistic assumptions about extinction debt and dispersal capacity’ showed ‘substantially increased extinction risks’.

Hmm… that does not sound like good news. We’ll try to find out more.


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: August 13, 2017, 04:43:40 pm »

The 'dead-zone' in the northern Gulf of Mexico is one of the world's biggest 'biological deserts' NOAA

The ocean is slowly being suffocated with levels of oxygen falling at a similar rate to 94 million years ago when there was a mass extinction of marine life, scientists have warned.

While that event was caused naturally, humans are responsible for several different factors driving the increase in “dead zones” in our seas.

One is that sewage and fertilisers running off farmers fields are causing massive blooms of algae that die and then decompose in a process that consumes oxygen. This kills most marine life or forces mobile animals such as fish to flee.

One of the world’s biggest “biological deserts” is in the northern Gulf of Mexico, centred on the mouth of the Mississippi River. The Baltic Sea is also severely affected.

Another factor driving the process is that global warming is gradually increasing the amount of erosion of the land, adding extra nutrients to the sea. However this process is expected to take tens of thousands of years.

The loss of oxygen from the ocean is yet another problem facing marine life along with rising temperatures and ocean acidification, caused by absorption of increasing amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Writing in the journal Science Advances, the researchers said that current rates of deoxygenation were similar to those 94 million years ago during what is known as Oceanic Anoxic Event-2 (OAE-2).

“Increased ocean deoxygenation is already apparent in the modern ocean, because marine dioxygen has decreased by two per cent over roughly the last half century, and recent models predict a continued loss of 0.5 to 3.5 per cent over the next half century, which would result in huge expansions of ocean anoxia within the next few thousand years,” they said.

“Should anthropogenically induced oxygen loss occur at similar rates as in the period leading up to OAE-2, then the current area of seafloor hypoxia would double in about the next 102 to 344 years.

“Localised oxygen loss is already apparent in the modern ocean, and the ability to observe more widespread perturbation seems realistic under currently projected carbon emissions.


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