• 3,000 chemical-filled barrels washed into major northeast China river

    Severe floods in China’s Jilin Province carried about 3,000 barrels containing toxic chemicals into the Songhuajiang River in Jilin City; in addition, 4,000 empty barrels containing chemical residues were also washed into the river — a major source of drinking water and fishing; each chemical-filled barrel contains about 170 kilograms of chemicals

  • Senate panels to discuss high-risk chemical facilities

    This is an important week in chemical facilities security legislation, as two Senate panels are set to hold hearings on how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and DHS can most effectively monitor the security measures taken by U.S. chemical facilities:

  • Flawed predictions of coal, CO2 production lead to flawed climate models, says research

    Most current climate change models assume unlimited coal and fossil fuel production for the next 100 years; one expert says this is an unrealistic premise which skews climate change models and proposed solutions; since widely accepted studies predict coal production will peak and decline after 2011, the expert says that climate change predictions should be revised to account for this inevitable peak and decline

  • BP accused of trying to buy the silence of scientists on spill

    BP is accused of trying to buy the silence of leading scientists: the company offering scientists and researchers lucrative contracts to participate in developing restoration plan for the Gulf after the oil spill — but: the scientists are not allowed to publish the research they do for the oil giant; they are also not allowed to speak about the data for at least three years or until the government gives final approval for the company’s restoration plan for the whole of the Gulf; the company would not allow scientists to take total control of the data or the freedom to make those data available to other scientists and subject to peer review; in the case of the University of South Alabama, BP offered to sign up the entire marine sciences department

  • 25,000 new asteroids -- 95 in near Earth orbit -- found by NASA's sky mapping

    NASA’s newest space telescopes has spotted 25,000 never-before-seen asteroids in just six months; 95 of those are considered near Earth objects — which means, in the language of astronomy, that they are within thirty million miles of Earth; the telescope also sighted fifteen new comets and confirmed the existence of twenty brown dwarfs — stellar objects that are bigger than a planet but much smaller than a star; the full celestial catalog of what is out there will not be released to the public until next year after NASA has had time to process the images and flag false alarms

  • Congress to establish a commission to study threat of asteroid impact on Earth

    The annual probability of the Earth being struck by a huge asteroid or comet is small, but the consequences of such a collision are so calamitous that it is prudent to appraise the nature of the threat and prepare to deal with it, experts say; Congress agrees

  • Endangered antelope interferes with Arizona border security

    Environmental concerns and border security clash along the U.S.-Mexico border; the wild Sonoran Pronghorn numbers are down to about 80 in Arizona and they occupy less than 10 percent of their original range — but what is left of their range straddles the border; environmentalists and government stewards of the environment object to the erection of a fence or watch towers, saying they would drive the antelope-like creature to extinction

  • Particle injection into the stratosphere could mitigate effects of climate change

    In what scientists describe as Plan D, or an insurance policy for the situation in which Earth hits a tipping point in climate change quickly, a 20-kilometer pipe — “garden hose to the sky” — would be deployed to spray a shield of sulphate particles into the stratosphere; the idea is to emulate the eruption of volcanoes which spew sulphur-rich gas that spread worldwide, blocking sunlight and lowering temperatures

  • Scientists: Oil spill's "grim reshuffle" of Gulf food web may destroy region's fishing industry

    The initial impact of the BP disaster on the maritime food chain in the Gulf are already apparent; scientists warn that if such impacts continue, they will result in a grim reshuffling of sea life that could over time cascade through the ecosystem and imperil the region’s multibillion-dollar fishing industry

  • Leaking well may be sealed ahead of schedule

    The Deepwater Horizon may be sealed a month or so ahead of schedule — during the second half of July rather than the second half of August — owing to three positive developments: one of two relief wells being drilled will be in a position to engage in “bottom kill” in several days; the containment ship Helix Producer, capable of capturing an additional 53,000 barrels of oil a day, is on station; BP is pressing ahead with plans to swap the current leaky containment cap with a new, no-leak, bolt-down cap

  • U.K. approves well-capping and containment study; new prevention, mitigation solutions sought

    In response to BP’s Gulf disaster, the U.K. offshore oil and gas advisory group charged its technical review group to proceed with developing new solutions for preventing or mitigating similar catastrophes in the future; over the past twenty years nearly 7,000 wells have been successfully drilled in the U.K. continental shelf

  • Louisiana, coastal scientists in bitter dispute over how to limit damage of oil spill

    Louisiana leaders, desperate to prevent oil from the hitting Barataria Bay, a vast estuary in southeast Louisiana that boasts one of the most productive fisheries in the country, want to build a rock dikes across several major tidal inlets between the bay and the Gulf of Mexico to block and then capture the oil; about 100,000 tons of rock began being loaded onto 75 barges on the Mississippi River for transport to the coast; scientists say the dikes would do irreversible damage to existing barrier islands and coastal wetlands, and the Army Corps of Engineers denied a permit for the project

  • U.S., U.K. military leaders address climate change's role as a global threat multiplier

    Conflict brought on by droughts, famine, and unwelcome migration are as old as history itself. Yet, a growing number of military analysts think that climate change will exacerbate these problems worldwide and are encouraging countries to prepare to maintain order even as shrinking resources make their citizens more desperate; Rear Admiral Neil Morisetti: “We see climate change as a threat multiplier, as a catalyst for conflict”

  • Australia could face climate refugees

    Australia could face a wave of climate refugees from neighboring Pacific islands unless rich nations help poorer countries with climate change, scientists warned; the 900 climate scientists gathered at a the conference heard specialists say that Australia is already experiencing the effects of climate change and is likely to be one of the most severely affected among developed countries

  • U.S. Navy blimp to help track oil flow in gulf

    A U.S. Navy blimp arrived in the Gulf of Mexico yesterday to help detect oil, direct skimmers, and search for threatened wildlife; the blimp can carry as many as ten crew members as it flies slowly over the region to track the direction of the oil flow and how it is washing ashore