The oil sands industry is in the throes of a major expansion, powered by C$20 billion ($19 billion) a year in investments. Companies including Syncrude Canada Ltd., Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Exxon Mobil Corp. affiliate Imperial Oil Ltd. are running out of room to store the contaminated water that is a byproduct of the process used to turn bitumen — a highly viscous form of petroleum — into diesel and other fuels.
By 2022 they will be producing so much of the stuff that a month’s output of wastewater could turn an area the size of New York’s Central Park into a toxic reservoir 11 feet (3.4 meters) deep, according to the Pembina Institute, a nonprofit in Calgary that promotes sustainable energy.
To tackle the problem, energy companies have drawn up plans that would transform northern Alberta into the largest man-made lake district on Earth. Several firms have obtained permission from provincial authorities to flood abandoned tar sand mines with a mix of tailings and fresh water.
One big concern surrounding end-pit lakes is that the contaminated water will spread through the boreal ecosystem, the tract of trees and marshland that stretches around the top of the world from Canada to Russia and Scandinavia. Boreal forests store almost twice as much carbon as tropical forests.
The Arctic sea ice has been surprising scientists for the last six years. It set a new record for melting back during the International Polar Year in 2007.
Last year it beat that record, but at the same time the seasonal ice in the Bering Sea has been increasing – also to a record last winter. Whatever is driving these changes is also beginning to affect the vegetation on land.
Great maps! Check out the study. Also, shout out to Alaska Public Radio! Hi guys!
The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, Rainforest Alliance, and the World Wildlife Fund are pleased to announce the release of three new, self-paced and web-based courses on climate change and REDD+ on www.conservationtraining.org.
The curriculum, Introductory Curriculum on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation and Conserving and Enhancing Forest Carbon Stocks (REDD+), provides an introductory level of understanding on climate change, deforestation, forest degradation, and REDD+. This new version contains up-to-date information on policy and implementation as well as a cool new facelift and improved interactivity. It is divided into three courses:
•Course 1, Introduction to Climate Change and the Role of Forests, the focus is on background information on climate change, the drivers of deforestation, and strategies for reducing deforestation and forest degradation.
•Course 2, REDD+ Policy, we cover the essential aspects of the technical, political, financial, social, and environmental issues related to REDD+.
•Course 3, REDD+ Implementation, the focus is on the basics of implementing REDD+ activities at various scales.
The course is freely available to anyone who is interested.
Basically, methods to conserve forests. www.conservationtraining.org
Finally, some good news about the effects of climate change. It may have triggered a growth spurt in two of California’s iconic tree species: coast redwoods and giant sequoias.
Something isn’t right about this story. The researchers are quoted as saying they don’t really know the source of the sequoia’s growth spurts.
Nice white paper from Vermont Transportation. They’re taking a “no-regrets” approach to climate adaptation - very rare in the US.
An overview of climate related adaptation and resilience oriented efforts underway at the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans).
In recognition of the potentially negative consequences of climate change to well-being of Vermont, VTrans is in process of incorporating adaptive management, policies, and plans into every level of planning, design, operations, and maintenance.
Experts believe that global climate change will fuel increasingly frequent and severe weather events resulting in more frequent flooding in the Northeastern U.S.
Existing flood vulnerability of the transportation system will be exacerbated by the effects of climate change increasing the risk of costly delays, detours, and premature infrastructure replacement. Recent flooding events following tropical storm Irene revealed the need for preemptive actions and planning to minimize the costs of similar events in the future.
Many of the lessons learned during the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene are applicable to this effort. Enhancement of emergency procedures and systems, employee training, public outreach, and rapid hydraulic assessment tools are examples of some of the positive adaptive outcomes. Going forward, the Agency should expand programs and projects focused on gathering and monitoring data, increasing adaptive capacity, and incorporating risk-management into the decision-making process.
The recommendations made in this report have ‘no-regrets’ in that they will increase the effectiveness of long-term decision making under any future climate scenario.