Friday, February 14, 2020

Loose Feathers #736

Great Horned Owl / Photo by Bill Moses/USFWS
Birds and birding news
Science and nature blogging
Biodiversity and conservation
Climate change and environmental politics
  • Oil released in the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010 covered a much larger area than estimated at the time because some of the oil was not visible on satellite imagery. Safety regulations intended to prevent a similar disaster have since been removed by the Trump administration.
  • The Trump administration's changes to enforcement of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act would eliminate the fines that BP received for killing birds with the Deepwater Horizon spill.
  • Last month was the hottest January on record worldwide, and this month looks likely to continue that trend.
  • Officials in Alberta have no idea how to clean up the toxic tailings ponds that result from tar sands mining. Meanwhile, the ponds are a death trap for waterbirds and contribute to air and groundwater pollution.
  • A climate change plan for South Florida involves building miles of massive sea walls and tidal barriers.
  • The person running the Bureau of Land Management has devoted his life to privatizing public land, even if that means collaborating with dangerous conspiracy theorists.
  • Border wall construction is blasting through Native American burial grounds and other sites of historical and ecological importance.

Friday, February 07, 2020

Loose Feathers #735

Northern Pintail / Photo by K. Chelius/USFWS
Birds and birding news
Science and nature blogging
Biodiversity and conservation
Climate change and environmental politics
  • The Trump administration announced plans to open contested parts of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments to mining and drilling.
  • A second environmentalist who worked to protect Monarchs at the El Rosario sanctuary in the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve has been murdered. Habitat for the butterflies is threatened by illegal logging.
  • Early models of how carbon emissions might affect the climate are surprisingly accurate.
  • London police want to expand the public nuisance law to restrict Extinction Rebellion protests. This is part of a trend of governments clamping down and spying on environmental activists rather than taking action on climate change.
  • Contractors for the border wall are blasting through Monument Hill in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, part of a trail of destruction left by wall construction. 
  • In many places, the border wall will need floodgates to be left open for months to prevent flood damage during monsoon season. 
  • While a lot of campaign reporting has focused on whether platforms have a realistic chance of getting passed, a climate reporter argues that only the plans put forward by Sanders and Warren have a realistic chance of dealing with climate change.
  • A road through grizzly bear habitat along the Canadian border is being reopened for the benefit of the border patrol. 
  • The rate of sea level rise is increasing at 25 of the 32 measuring stations along the U.S. coastline. The highest rate is in Louisiana, where sea level rise is exacerbated by land subsidence.
  • The Antarctic Peninsula set a new temperature record for continental Antarctica.
  • Spain ended its subsidies for coal mining last year and eliminated most of its use of coal for electricity generation. The reforms were meant to comply with EU regulations.
  • Japan, on the other, plans to build more coal-fired power plants, a result of the reaction against nuclear energy following the Fukushima disaster.
  • Biodiversity hotspots that were considered refuges from climate change are going to be stressed by global heating.
  • New Jersey had record warmth this January.