The drought that has settled over more than half of the continental United States this summer is the most widespread in more than half a century. And it is likely to grow worse. [New York Times]
The latest outlook released by the National Weather Service on Thursday forecasts increasingly dry conditions over much of the nation’s breadbasket, a development that could lead to higher food prices and shipping costs as well as reduced revenues in areas that count on summer tourism. About the only relief in sight was tropical activity in the Gulf of Mexico and the Southeast that could bring rain to parts of the South.
The unsettling prospects come at a time of growing uncertainty for the country’s economy. With evidence mounting of a slowdown in the economic recovery, this new blow from the weather is particularly ill-timed.
A team of researchers has published a new study in Nature showing that, under the right conditions, it’s possible to lace the ocean with iron in order to stimulate the growth of phytoplankton. The tiny algae absorb carbon from the air during the course of photosynthesis, and when they die, the carbon gets buried deep down on the ocean floor. [Wonk Blog]
Native American and Alaska Native leaders told of their villages being under water because of coastal erosion, droughts and more on Thursday during a Senate hearing intended to draw attention to how climate change is affecting tribal communities. [Associated Press]
The plan to use a 50-50 blend of alternative and petroleum-based fuel in the Navy has hit a snag — Congressional lawmakers who bristle at spending time and money chasing alternative energy at a time when defense spending is being cut and traditional oil is cheaper. [Washington Post]
The vessel designated to act as a crucial oil spill containment system in Arctic waters has obtained Coast Guard approval to meet less rigorous weather standards than originally proposed. But, less than two weeks before drilling off Alaska’s northern coast is due to begin, a series of troubling construction delays have left the Arctic Challenger without federal certification. [Los Angeles Times]
On Thursday, Koch Industries escalated what began as a quick jab by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) into a heated back-and-forth. The company lashed out at Lautenberg, who spoke on the Senate floor earlier this week about legislation he had cosponsored to increase transparency in campaign finance. [Huffington Post]
The “greenest Olympics ever” could have been a great deal greener than they will be, according to a critical new report that finds fault with the handling of the Games’ environmental impact. [Guardian]
China’s national government, working closely in partnership with large industrial companies, still has as its official policy that “new energy vehicles” will become a major part of the country’s output–and domestic sales. [Green Car Reports]