Thursday, June 28, 2007

Putin's Arctic invasion: Russia lays claim to the North Pole - and all its gas, oil, and diamonds

Sergei Priamikov, of Russia's Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, said the notion was "strange" and warned other countries could make counter claims.

Canada "could say that the Lomonosov ridge is part of the Canadian shelf, which means Russia should in fact belong to Canada, together with the whole of Eurasia", he observed drily.

A diplomatic source said that Russia was "seeking to secure its grip on oil and gas supplies for decades to come. Putin wants a strong Russia, and Western dependence for oil and gas supplies is a key part of his strategy. He no longer cares if his strategy upsets the West".
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Russian leader Vladimir Putin has made an astonishing bid to grab a vast chunk of the Arctic, giving himself claim to its vast potential oil, gas and mineral wealth.

His audacious argument that an underwater Russian ridge is linked to the North Pole is likely to lead to an international outcry.

Under current international law, the countries ringing the Arctic - Russia, Canada, the US, Norway, Denmark (Greenland) - are limited to a 200 mile economic zone around their coastlines.

Currently, a UN convention stipulates that none of these countries can claim jurisdiction of the Arctic seabed because the geological structure does not match that of the surrounding continental shelves.

A previous attempt to claim the oil and gas resources beyond its 200 miles zone five years ago was rejected - but this time Moscow intends to make a far more serious submission to the U.N. Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.

north pole
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Starbucks stores to promote film about climate change

Coffee drinkers will get foretaste of 'Arctic Tale'

It's a movie documentary that focuses on the issue of global warming.

"Our role is really to do as good a job as we can to raise awareness about climate change and tell our customers this is not only an important issue, but also a great film they can go see," Ken Lombard, president of Starbucks Entertainment, said Wednesday.

The film, narrated by Queen Latifah and directed by Adam Ravetch and Sarah Robertson, tells the story of a polar bear and a walrus throughout their life journeys. As global warming causes the ice to melt, they must adapt to their changing environment.

It's these lessons about climate change the producers hope the audience will take away from the film.

"What everybody hopes is that people enjoy the story and when they walk out -- in a perfect world, over to a Starbucks -- ... talk about it," Clein said.

The documentary, which played at the Seattle International Film Festival, will open theatrically in Seattle on Aug. 3.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Canadian Senate passes Kyoto bill forcing PM Harper's hand

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In exchange for passing the Canadian Conservative government's budget, the Senate passed a bill that will effectively force Canada to meet it's emission targets under the Kyoto Accord.

Pablo Rodriguez, the Liberal member of parliament who introduced the bill last March, stated earlier this year that: "It means that the government has no choice but to act and meet our Kyoto obligations."

The Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act stipulates that the government now has two months to come up with a blueprint for how it will meet its commitments under Kyoto and within 180 days, the government must bring in regulations to "ensure that Canada fully meets its obligations" under the protocol.

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The CIA's torture teachers

Psychologists helped the CIA exploit a secret military program to develop brutal interrogation tactics -- likely with the approval of the Bush White House.
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June 21, 2007 | WASHINGTON -- There is growing evidence of high-level coordination between the Central Intelligence Agency and the U.S. military in developing abusive interrogation techniques used on terrorist suspects. After the Sept. 11 attacks, both turned to a small cadre of psychologists linked to the military's secretive Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape program to "reverse-engineer" techniques originally designed to train U.S. soldiers to resist torture if captured, by exposing them to brutal treatment. The military's use of SERE training for interrogations in the war on terror was revealed in detail in a recently declassified report. But the CIA's use of such tactics -- working in close coordination with the military -- until now has remained largely unknown.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Fishing CEO shares net wealth

$11-million donation to University of Victoria intended to discover the truth about environmental change

Dismissing religion, politics and business as channels for environmental truth, Mr. Wright decided to give some of his "extra dollars in a jam jar" to the University of Victoria, which has produced many graduates that work at his company.

Of the donation, which is the largest cash gift the university has ever received, $10-million will go toward the new Oceans, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences building, with the remaining $1-million for student scholarships.

VANCOUVER -- Most people who remain confused about climate change might drop five bucks to rent An Inconvenient Truth. But Bob Wright has just spent $11-million in an attempt to get to the bottom of what's happening to the Earth's climate.

Mr. Wright, a high-school dropout who is president and CEO of one of Canada's largest sport-fishing ventures, decided to donate the cash to the University of Victoria's school of earth and ocean sciences in the hope of getting some answers on global warming. The money, announced today, ensures the completion of the new Oceans, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences building on the campus, which will allow all members of the university's marine and climate faculty to convene under the same roof for the first time.

Wright left school after Grade 10 because he was more interested in fishing than math. He moved to Victoria in 1951, and in 1962 started the Oak Bay Marine group, which 40 years later is one of the biggest sport-fishing companies in North America.
Section S Front
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Earth could 'flip' into environmental disaster

The study looked back over more than 400,000 years of climate records from deep ice cores and found evidence to suggest that rapid climate change over a period of centuries, or even decades, have in the past occurred once the world began to heat up and ice sheets started melting.
"The unnatural "forcing" of the climate as a result of man-made emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases threatens to generate a "flip" in the climate that could "spark a cataclysm" in the ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland.

Dramatic climatic flips have occurred in the past but none has happened since the development of complex human societies, which are unlikely to survive the same sort of environmental changes if they occurred now."
It has already flipped, contrails, shiptrails, and other trails have , so far, saved the earth. jc
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Earth is in imminent peril and nothing short of a planetary rescue will save it from the environmental cataclysm of dangerous climate change, six leading scientists say .

They also implicitly criticise the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for under-estimating the scale of sea-level rises this century as a result of melting glaciers and polar ice sheets.

"Civilisation developed, and constructed extensive infrastructure, during a period of unusual climate stability, the Holocene, now almost 12,000 years in duration. That period is about to end," the scientists say.

Humanity cannot afford to burn
Earth's remaining underground reserves of fossil fuel. "To do so would guarantee dramatic climate change, yielding a different planet from the one on which civilisation developed
for which extensive physical infrastructure has been built

the and," they say.

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The albedo flip property of ice/water provides a trigger mechanism
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Re-engineering America's Beaches, 1 Tax Dollar at a Time

Pumping sediment onto the nation's beaches is an expensive fix for the erosion caused by coastal development — and often a bad fix at that. Click here for a podcast on taming the coast.
A $9 million beach nourishment project meant to stave off erosion in Surf City, N.J., pumped offshore sediment — and old ordnance — near people’s homes. (Photograph by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

On a chilly day in late January, Darren Buscemi took his 10-year-old daughter, Ali, and 8-year-old son, David, to the beach at Surf City, N.J., to try out a new metal detector. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had just begun to pump 33,000 dumptruck loads' worth of sediment onto the shore, and Buscemi, a real estate developer, suspected he might find something interesting. When telltale beeping led him to a rusty cylinder 412 in. long, Buscemi thought it was a pin from the wooden beam of an old sailing ship. "I was jumping for joy," he says, "like, 'Look what I found.'"

The cylinder was a World War II-era bomb fuse.
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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Warshak v. USA

"Court Protects Email from Secret Government Searches
The government must have a search warrant before it can secretly seize and search emails stored by email service providers, according to a landmark ruling Monday in the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The court found that email users have the same reasonable expectation of privacy in their stored email as they do in their telephone calls -- the first circuit court ever to make that finding."
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Sixth Circuit issues opinion upholding district court's injunction against secret warrantless seizures of email

In Warshak v. USA, EFF is fighting to make sure that your email is as
safe against government intrusion as your phone calls, postal mail, or
the private papers you keep in your home.

This case was brought by Steven Warshak to stop the government's
repeated secret searches and seizures of his stored email using the
federal Stored Communications Act (SCA). In a landmark ruling, the
district court held that the SCA violates the Fourth Amendment by
allowing secret, warrantless searches and seizures of email stored
with a third party.

The government, which has routinely used the SCA over the past 20
years to secretly obtain stored email without a warrant, appealed the
decision to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. That court is now
primed to be the first circuit court ever to decide whether email
users have a "reasonable expectation of privacy" in their stored

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Spring Arriving Weeks Early in Arctic

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June 18, 2007 — Plants and animals in upper Greenland have adapted their lifecycles to the arrival of the Arctic spring several weeks earlier than a decade ago, according to a study released Monday.

In a study that underscored the impact of global warming on the northern polar region, researchers discovered that plant, insect and bird life native to the High Arctic had made dramatic seasonal cycle adjustments to the region's earlier snowmelt in the space of just 10 years.

In some cases, flowers are emerging from buds and chicks are hatching a full 30 days sooner than they did in the mid-1990s in response to sharply increased temperatures burning off the winter's snow layer.

Birds such as the Sanderling and the Ruddy Turnstone had moved their springtime rituals forward by an average of two weeks by 2005, compared to 1996.

Early Blooming
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Monday, June 18, 2007

Brazil Indians, Google to fight logging

Eventually, Chief Almir Narayamoga Surui envisions many of the 1,200 members of his Surui tribe using computers with satellite Internet connections and high-resolution images from Google Earth to police all corners of their 618,000-acre reservation.

They could then offer proof to authorities that the destruction is occurring and demand action, or possibly spook the loggers and miners away because they would know they are being monitored, said Surui, who uses his tribes' name as his last, like many Brazilian Indians.

SAO PAULO, Brazil -- A Brazilian Indian tribe is linking up with Google Earth to try to capture vivid images that could help stop loggers and miners from deforesting the jungle and digging for gold on its vast Amazon reservation.


Though the project is still in the planning stages for a remote area that doesn't even have Internet access yet, the tribe's chief and Google Inc. hope their unusual alliance will reduce illegal rainforest destruction where government enforcement is spotty at best.

Google Earth, which enables anyone who downloads its free software to see satellite images and maps of most of the world, is increasingly being called upon for humanitarian purposes by groups who see the technology's potential.

"At Google, we feel an obligation to help groups like this when it is so clear that our tools can make an important positive impact," spokeswoman Megan Quinn said.

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Thoof: Digg Meets Wikipedia Community News Site Coming

Thoof uses "collaborative filters" to make predictions about a user’s interests. Thoof adds to it, enabling a personalized approach on your first visit, said Clarke. Clarke also adds that Thoof is considered a mix between edited newspapers and a Digg and Reddit approach.

thoof.jpgAnother Attempt to Match Readers and Relevant News from the New York Times reports on a new social Digg-like site with an element of Wikipedia to it named Thoof.

The main attraction with Thoof, which is beta invite only now, is that it will tailor the news based on your interests and not just based on the community interest. In addition, it adds a Wikipedia element, allowing users to submit stories and then other users to edit those stories with better sources. Then users can vote on the best source for the story.

Ian Clarke created Thoof so that members active in the community can Thoof "alter the contributions of other users, changing headlines and even substituting a link to a better article on the same subject. The community will then vote on the changes," said the New York Times article.

Thoof is currently accepting beta testers via a sign up form at

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Arctic ice no barrier for plants

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Arctic ice no barrier for plants

Mountain avens (Image: Bjorn Erik Sandbakk)
Arctic plant species can travel vast distances, researchers suggest

Arctic plants are able to migrate the distances needed to survive changes to the climate, scientists have suggested.
Habitats are expected to shift further north as the planet warms, and plants' inability to move quickly enough has been a cause for concern.
But researchers, writing in the journal Science, suggest seeds can be carried vast distances by the wind and sea ice.
The biggest challenge, they added, was likely to be their ability to establish themselves in the new habitat.
Researchers from Norway and France analysed more than 4,000 samples of nine flowering plant species found on the remote Svalbard islands inside the Arctic Circle.
By analysing the genetic fingerprints of the plants, the team reconstructed past plant colonization and decline in the area.
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Arctic Spring a Month Earlier than a Decade Ago

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In yet another indication of the abrupt and serious warming occurring in the Arctic, researchers have found that Arctic spring has moved a month earlier in only a decade [more]. "Rising temperatures are causing snow to melt sooner than before, extending the summer period and dramatically disrupting the fragile ecosystem... They recorded a clear shift in the time of year plants came into flower, birds laid their first eggs and insects and other creatures emerged to forage for food." Such patterns in the timing of annual biological and ecological events are called phenology [search], and these dramatic changes in phenology in an extremely short period of time reinforces the fact that something dramatic, awry and scary is happening with the Arctic's climate [search]
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Meteorologists Add Climate Change to Their Forecasts

In addition to the weekly newsletter, Earth Gauge collaborates with the Cooperative Program for Operational Meteorology, Education and Training (COMET) to provide online environmental science courses for meteorologists and the general public. The groups are working at an institutional level to modify meteorologists’ jobs to include more environmental perspective and coverage.

This story was produced by Eye on Earth, a joint project of the Worldwatch Institute and the blue moon fund. View the complete archive of Eye on Earth stories, or contact Staff Writer Alana Herro at aherro [AT] worldwatch [DOT] org with your questions, comments, and story ideas.
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As the U.S. wakes up to the realities of climate change, global warming has made that most ordinary of conversation topics—the weather—a hot topic. And increasingly, meteorologists across the country are incorporating tips on how to tackle climate change and other environmental challenges into their local forecasts, thanks to a new program from the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF), a Washington, D.C-based group that works to provide objective environmental information to the American public.

What's the forecast? Some meteorologists now include environmental tips along with weather predictions.
Photo by Peter Aloisio
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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Native American tribes speak out about climate change

At a United Nations meeting last month, several Native American leaders spoke at a session called "Indigenous Perspectives on Climate Change. "Also in May, tribal representatives from Alaska and northern Canada _ where pack ice has vanished earlier and earlier each spring _ traveled to Washington to press their case.
MT. MOOSILAUKE, N.H. - Native American leaders are speaking out more forcefully about the danger of climate change.

    Members of six tribes recently gathered near the Baker River in New Hampshire’s White Mountains for a sacred ceremony honoring "Earth Mother." Talking Hawk, a Mohawk Indian who asked to be identified by his Indian name, pointed to the river’s tea-colored water as proof that the overwhelming amount of pollution humans have produced has caused changes around the globe.

    "It’s August color. It’s not normal," he said.

    "Earth Mother is fighting back _ not only from the four winds but also from underneath," he said. "Scientists call it global warming. We call it Earth Mother getting angry."
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Contrail Art.

Contrail art.

Kennedy Space Center, Florida, June 8, 2007

Approximately one hour after the launch of NASA's space shuttle Atlantis, smoke plumes created by the ship's solid rocket boosters linger over the
Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center.

Air patterns high above the launch site twisted the contrails into this unusual knotted shape, lighted by the setting sun.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

From Hiroshima to Iraq, 61 years of uranium wars

A suicidal, genocidal, omnicidal course

The conduct of secret nuclear wars since 1991, through the use of depleted uranium weaponry by the United States and Great Britain with their allies, has taken place in the Middle East, the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan2 and Lebanon.3 It has been carried out for the express purpose of destroying the public health and mutilating the genetic future of vast populations in oil rich and/or pipeline regions.

Carpet and grid bombing with depleted uranium weaponry in Iraq, Yugoslavia and Afghanistan has guaranteed permanent radioactive terrain contamination. The recent discovery that U.S. depleted uranium bombs dropped by Israel on Lebanon in 2006 contained enriched uranium4,5 suggests covert testing of fourth generation nuclear weapons.

The United States and its allies are fully aware that this weaponry violates the Geneva and Hague Conventions and the 1925 Geneva Poison Gas Protocol.6
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Monday, June 11, 2007

Impure as the Driven Snow

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Smut is a bigger problem than greenhouse gases in polar meltdown

Belching from smokestacks, tailpipes and even forest fires, soot—or black carbon—can quickly sully any snow on which it happens to land. In the atmosphere, such aerosols can significantly cool the planet by scattering incoming radiation or helping form clouds that deflect incoming light. But on snow—even at concentrations below five parts per billion—such dark carbon triggers melting, and may be responsible for as much as 94 percent of Arctic warming.

"Impurities cause the snow to darken and absorb more sunlight," says Charlie Zender, a climate physicist at the University of California, Irvine. "A surprisingly large temperature response is caused by a surprisingly small amount of impurities in snow in polar regions."

Space and Physics Image: dirty-ice
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