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FEATURE

Sharks Gather at Oily Shore To Escape Oxygen Dead Zone in Gulf (Video)





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Ben Raines of the Press-Register in Alabama has captured a remarkable and disturbing sight on video near the shore; sharks and other sea life crowding the oiled waters in need of oxygen no longer available to them in the polluted Gulf.

"Video footage shot on June 18 by Ben Raines of the Press-Register and uploaded the following day captured both oil in the water and a Gulf water teeming with sharks. The video closes with a view of a discarded American flag in the water, clotted with oil like the crab in front of it."

FEATURE

Historic Aerial Footage Reveals the Scope of the BP Gulf Oil Disaster (VIDEO)





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On June 21, 2010, Photographer John L. Wathen of Hurricane Creek Keepers went on an extended flight over the Gulf with South Wings pilot, Tom Hutchins and author, David Helbar, to give us the clearest view yet of the BP Gulf Oil Disaster.

The video is heartbreaking but vital for the understanding of the scope and enormity of the disaster.  It shows the sea and the operations underway at the site of the blown well and compares the mitigation efforts to the true size of the disaster and its impact on wildlife:


John Wathen: "This was the most emotionally disturbing video I have ever done. A flight over the BP Slick Source where I saw at least 100 Dolphins in the oil, some dying. I also photographed a Sperm Whale covered in oil all around it's blow hole."
Mr. Wathen asks that concerned parties visit two Gulf funds listed on the video, which is available at this link

FEATURE

Home: the Movie





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In 2009, the French PPR Group, originally known as Pinault-Printemps-Redoute, which represents brands such as Gucci, Yves St. Laurent, Sergio Rossi, Boucheron, Bottega Veneta, Alexander McQueen (50%), Stella McCartney (50%), Puma (60%), and more, backed the release of a stunning film entitled "Home," which tells the story of humanity's rise and impact upon Earth.

The film, produced by Luc Besson, was made by French photojournalist, Yann Arthus-Bertrand, the founder of Altitude Agency, known for its aerial photography, and the international environmental organization: GoodPlanet. Mr. Arthus-Bertrand has given up his rights to the film to enable its free streaming over the Internet.   To date, over eight million have viewed it.


We are living in exceptional times. Scientists tell us that we have 10 years to change the way we live, avert the depletion of natural resources and the catastrophic evolution of the Earth's climate.

The stakes are high for us and our children. Everyone should take part in the effort, and HOME has been conceived to take a message of mobilization out to every human being.

For this purpose, HOME needs to be free. A patron, the PPR Group, made this possible. EuropaCorp, the distributor, also pledged not to make any profit because Home is a non-profit film.

HOME has been made for you : share it! And act for the planet.

Yann Arthus-Bertrand
Embedding is dsiabled; it must be viewed on YouTube. 

 The link: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqxENMKaeCU

Please share.

FEATURE

NASA's Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Disaster Satellite Timelapse Video





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NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center has tracked the disaster in the Gulf with two or their satellites, Terra and Aqua. They've put together this timelapse video from earth's orbit:



FEATURE

Oil Gushes Unchecked After Problem With Cap On BP Well





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BP has removed the cap that was partially capturing the oil on the broken well head this morning after an underwater robot bumped into the venting system. According to Adm. Thad Allen of the US Coast Guard, the oil and gas flowing through the broken blowout preventer is gushing into the Gulf without the the cap until they are able to put it back.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- The Coast Guard says BP has been forced to remove a cap that was containing some of the oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico.

Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen says an underwater robot bumped into the venting system. That sent gas rising through vent that carries warm water down to prevent ice-like crystals from forming in the cap. Allen says the cap has been removed and crews are checking to see if crystals have formed before putting it back on.
A live video feed of twelve cameras on the damaged well is available at this link:

http://climate.the-environmentalist.org/2010/06/live-video-feeds-of-gulf-oil-disaster.html

FEATURE

Does the $1 Trillion Key to Winning the Afghan War Lie Under the Sand?





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The Obama Administration has lately been hungry for some good news from Afghanistan. President Obama's base who strongly supported his stated plan during the campaign to renew U.S. efforts in Afghanistan has abandoned him, significantly shortening the amount of time he has to succeed. Meanwhile, the Taliban seem to continue to be fighting aggressively in many areas, especially the South East, despite the fact that they have lost half of their entire top leadership since the beginning of the current U.S. Administration. President Obama not only may have gotten a break, but he may have found the biggest single solution to permanently transforming Afghanistan's economy and winning the struggle against Taliban.

A small group of Pentagon and USAID officials and American geologists have discovered vast deposits of untapped mineral substances in Afghanistan, consisting of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and industrial metals such as lithium. The value of these previously unknown deposits is estimated at $1 trillion dollars. 
 Continued...



FEATURE

International Findings from EPA Analysis of the American Power Act





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The Obama Administration has just released the US EPA analysis of the American Power Act and it shows that US action coupled with reasonable actions by other countries will put us on a path to preventing the worst impacts of global warming.  It also shows that a lengthy delay in the deployment of international offsets will have a very minimal impact on the cost of the program.  Both findings address issues that opponents to comprehensive climate and energy legislation use to argue that we shouldn’t take action or that it won’t really be as cheap as everyone says (my colleague summarizes how EPA’s analysis shows the draft bill is affordable, equitable, and effective).

So let’s take each of these points in turn.   

1.  US Action Spurs/Solidifies Action of Other Countries. 
 One of the chief talking points of opponents of US clean energy and climate legislation is the claim that the US taking action would have little impact on global warming.  Taking US action in isolation, they claim that reducing US emissions won't make much of a dent in world emissions and future temperature increases. 
But those critics miss two important points:
  1. Other countries besides the US are taking action and have committed to emissions cuts (as I’ve discussed here); and
  2.  US action spurs/solidifies those actions (as I’ve discussed here).
This new EPA analysis shows the impact of these two realities in a tangible way.    Continued...



FEATURE

The Pelican and Me





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I know I should call this piece The Pelican and Us because I don’t own the rights to the feelings of horror, anger, outrage and repulsion at the sight of the great bird covered in oily slime, doomed to suffocation and death, pictures that have come to symbolize the horrors of the BP oil spill. I know that eleven men have died as a result of that tragic event, but men who do dangerous work know the risks they undertake, although some might argue that they are forced to do so given the limited opportunities to make a decent living in hard times. But these birds are the innocent victims of this “spill” and stand forever as the symbol of a culture which placed greed above nature, and the death of those birds seems to be the direct result of that greed. The child in me feels as if Big Bird had been killed, and all Sesame Street is in mourning.

These real birds, and the many species that inhabit the gulf area; turtles, dolphins, and the fish they live on, are in military terms collateral damage like the armless child who is mutilated or destroyed by the missile meant for the terrorist. BP – no – not the British people, is a multi-national company driven by greed and ruled by dividends; for them the endangered pelicans are not amazing creatures with which we share our finite world, but really bad PR, a public relations nightmare making viewers of the birds destruction cringe in horror and dismay.  Continued...






FEATURE

Building Trust in Online Communities





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by Barbara Bray, Learning Strategist

There usually is one manager of an online community. The manager can be called a community manager, a team manager, or an eCoach. The members of your community will need to trust you to feel safe in your community. Here are seven tips to ensure a trusting relationship with the members of your community.

1. Personalize your Community

Ask your community members to fill out their profile, add a picture, and share information about themselves. Encourage members to introduce themselves right away in the discussion forum. Personalize all communications you have with each member. If you send out automated emails, use a program that includes their first name at the beginning of the message.

Feature different members or projects weekly. If your community is still small, try to keep track of a few of the people a week and promote what they are doing. If your community is large, it is difficult for one manager to select and feature members. Encourage different members manage a welcoming committee so the community builds on its own. Continued...

Where is Dick Cheney During the Gulf Oil Spill?





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Former Vice President (and former Halliburton CEO) Dick Cheney, so vocal during the first year of President Obama's administration in his attempt to scare us to death on national security, has been remarkably silent since the Gulf oil spill began its slow motion march into the nation's consciousness. 

There was not a decision on war or energy the current president made that was not questioned, even ridiculed, by the former Bush Administration number one two. However, since the Deepwater Horizon began its slow motion process of turning the Gulf into a dead zone, Mr. Cheney has been remarkably silent.
Why Is Dick Cheney Silent on the Oil Spill?

NEWSWEEK - 6/10/10: The former vice president is usually a vociferous defender of his time in government. But not on the disaster in the gulf. When the Obama administration, or the media, or just about anybody contradicts Dick Cheney's views on national security, he is far from shy about responding. But facing a firestorm of criticism over the oil spill, he's been notably silent. More than national security, energy policy and the oil industry might be considered Cheney's real areas of expertise. He was chairman and CEO of oil-services company Halliburton between 1995 and 2000. And, of course, he worked prominently on energy.

Halliburton was working on the Deepwater Horizon rig just before it blew up, opening the well and sending oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico. Some experts have speculated that the company may have been to blame for the explosion. The pro-oil atmosphere (and Cheney's continued links to Halliburton) during his vice presidency, have also come to the fore since the April 20 accident.
What is a more important to our national security than our dependence on fossil fuels during an unprecedented catastrophe involving oil? Is this not the former VP's expertise?  Continued...


FEATURE

Flow rate from BP oil spill many times higher than previously estimated





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Update 6/15/10:  The estimate has been raised to 35,000-60,000 barrels (1.5 million to 2.5 million gallons) a day. 

The federal government has doubled the official estimate of the oil spewing from BP's damaged well head on the Gulf floor to 20,000 to 40,000 barrels per day.  That is many times the estimate a few weeks ago and exponentially more than the initial estimate calculated by the pictures of the disaster provided via government satellite.

A government panel on Thursday essentially doubled its estimate of how much oil has been spewing from the out-of-control BP well, with the new calculation suggesting that an amount equivalent to the Exxon Valdez disaster could be flowing into the Gulf of Mexico every 8 to 10 days.

A barrel is 42 gallons, so 30,000 barrels would equate to nearly 1.3 million gallons a day. The Exxon Valdez disaster in 1989 is estimated to have spilled 10.8 million gallons of oil into Prince William Sound in Alaska.

Ira Leifer, a researcher at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a member of the flow-rate group, said the new figures confirmed a suspicion he had developed, based on looking at satellite data, that the rate of flow for the well was increasing even before BP cut the riser pipe.

"The situation is growing worse," Dr. Leifer said.
This dramatic change in estimate came about after it was discovered that BP had high resolution video of the Gulf floor they had chosen neither to release or to inform Congress or the Flow Rate Group of its existence.  It is expected, as the newly revealed high resolution video is studied by the Flow Rate Group scientist who've been brought together by the USGS, the estimates will continue to rise.  Continued...


FEATURE

White House Releases Graphic of Oil Spill Effort





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The White House released this graphic of the efforts in the Gulf.  It shows the different resources deployed and the stats (some of them grim and sure to rise, as with wildlife deaths) collected thus far.  Click on the picture to see a larger version.

In a related story, an uproar has begun over the White House's announcement that they may allow shallow water drilling in the Gulf after the moratorium to look at permitting and regulation.  Continued...





Related:  A live feed from all cameras on the ocean floor is available at this link:  http://climate.the-environmentalist.org/2010/06/live-video-feeds-of-gulf-oil-disaster.html

FEATURE

Silver Linings in the Muck





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It seems insensitive to talk about silver linings in the middle of the life-killing oil spill in the Gulf. But in fact, there are a couple we should recognize and act upon now.

There’s hope, for example, that the spill is proving the folly of trying to extract every last drop of a finite resource by invading ever more difficult and sensitive places. The past safety record of offshore drilling, cited by President Obama when he announced he was opening up more ocean to oil companies, means nothing when those companies are moving into uncharted waters, technically speaking.

As BP has tried each new trick to stop the hemorrhage on the ocean floor, it has made clear these techniques have never been attempted at that depth – a public admission that one of the world’s largest oil companies, using the industry’s most advanced extraction technologies, doesn’t have the experience or tools to drill safely in these new places. Continued...


FEATURE

Global Surface Temperature Change





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James Hansen, R. Ruedy, M. Sato, and K. Lo


NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, New York, USA


"Record high global temperature during the period with instrumental data was reached in 2010"

We update the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) analysis of global surface temperature change, compare alternative analyses, and address questions about perception and reality of global warming. Satellite-observed nightlights are used to identify measurement stations located in extreme darkness and adjust temperature trends of urban and peri-urban stations for non-climatic factors, verifying that urban effects on analyzed global change are small. Because the GISS analysis combines available sea surface temperature records with meteorological station measurements, we test alternative choices for the ocean data, showing that global temperature change is sensitive to estimated temperature change in polar regions where observations are limited. We suggest use of 12-month (and n×12) running mean temperature to fully remove the annual cycle and improve information content in temperature graphs. We conclude that global temperature continued to rise rapidly in the past decade, despite large year-to-year fluctuations associated with the El Nino-La Nina cycle of tropical ocean temperature. Record high global temperature during the period with instrumental data was reached in 2010.

Summary:

Human-made climate change has become an issue of surpassing importance to humanity, and global warming is the first order manifestation of increasing greenhouse gases that are predicted to drive climate change. Thus it is understandable that analyses of ongoing global temperature change are now subject to increasing scrutiny and criticisms that are different than 
would occur for a purely scientific problem.  Continued...

When Corporations Rule





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The fatal disasters at the Upper Big Branch Mine and Deepwater Horizon are fresh evidence the Bush-Cheney corporate culture continues in some federal agencies charged with overseeing industry. President Obama needs to change that culture fast.

Formal investigations are underway, but it appears that lax federal oversight and enforcement, combined with corporate corner-cutting and greed, are implicated in both of the energy industry tragedies -- the worst coal mine disaster in 40 years and the worst oil spill in U.S. history. Massey Energy’s mine and British Petroleum’s drilling ship in the Gulf were subject to federal oversight. In both cases, oversight failed.

Some barriers to federal oversight are systemic. 
Congressional hearings after the Massey disaster, for example, found that mining companies often abuse the appeals process when federal inspectors find safety violations. About 16,000 violations currently are being appealed, representing $195 million in unpaid fines. It takes more than a year to resolve an appeal these days.

Other barriers are cultural, the result of an Administration’s philosophy about overseeing powerful industries. During the eight years of the Bush Administration, corporate lobbyists for the fossil energy industry were appointed to key government policy and regulatory jobs. The most infamous was Philip Cooney, the former lobbyist for the American Petroleum Institute who used his position in the White House to censor and water down the conclusions of research by federal climate scientists. After a whistleblower revealed Cooney’s misdeeds to the New York Times, Cooney resigned and went to work for ExxonMobil.

To illustrate how much the Bush Administration was in bed with oil companies, however, nothing topped the scandal in the Interior Department’s Minerals Management Service, the same agency accused now of insufficient oversight in the Gulf oil spill.  Continued...


FEATURE

Indonesia Takes Concrete Steps to Address Deforestation as a Part of Agreement with Norway





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Indonesia and Norway inked a deal last week to take concrete actions to reduce Indonesia’s deforestation emissions.  Indonesia is the world’s 3rd largest emitter of global warming pollution (when deforestation emissions are included) so this is a very important effort.  The deal between Indonesia and Norway was reached in the lead-in to the Oslo forest conference where over 50 countries agreed to a new Partnership to address deforestation (as I discussed 
here).  The deal with Indonesia is a critical agreement as it requires action from the Indonesian government and assistance from the Norwegian government to make a serious dent in the loss of Indonesia’s forests. 
“Indonesia stands by its commitment to reduce our emissions by 26 per cent relative to business as usual levels by 2020. This we will do out of our own funds through a set of measures I will be announcing in the near future.” With the help of international partners, we could reduce our emissions by as much as 41 per cent”
This is a commitment made by Indonesia as a part of the Copenhagen Accord (as we’ve tracked here).  Its efforts to reduce deforestation will be critical to meeting that commitment as deforestation accounts for the majority of Indonesia’s emissions.  So the actions of Indonesia and Norway are an important component of ongoing efforts to implement specific actions to meet the commitments of these countries to reduce global warming pollution.  Continued...

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