October 18 News: Northeast Sea Levels Rising Faster Than U.S. Average

Sea level is rising all over the world thanks to the heat-trapping effect of greenhouse-gas emissions, but according to a new study published in the Journal of Coastal Research, the northeastern U.S. and eastern Canada have seen the ocean rise at an accelerating rate in recent decades. [Climate Central]

The Obama campaign defended the president’s silence on climate change during Tuesday’s debate after environmentalists and activists criticized him for not directly addressing the issue. [The Hill]

As TransCanada pursues construction of a 1,179-mile-long cross-country pipeline meant to bring Canadian tar sands oil to South Texas refineries, it’s finding opposition in the unlikeliest of places: oil-friendly Texas, a state that has more pipelines snaking through the ground than any other. [Associated Press]

Lake Tahoe is one of hundreds of lakes around the world in the midst of a warming trend. The effects of climate change are starting to complicate efforts to maintain the lake’s relatively pristine state, putting Tahoe’s sapphire blue water and its overall ecological health at risk. [National Geographic]

As controversy mounts over the Guardian’s revelations that an American businessman conducted a massive ocean fertilisation test, dumping around 100 tonnes of iron sulphate off Canada’s coast, it has emerged the Canadian government may have known about the geoengineering scheme and not stopped it. [Guardian]

Thierry Coste, an expert with the European Union farmers’ union, said Wednesday that France’s grape harvest is expected to slump by almost 20 percent compared with last year. Italy’s grape crop showed a 7 percent drop — on top of a decline in 2011. [Washington Post]

No one knows exactly when these algae first swarmed into the Columbia River. But this year they appeared to be more abundant than ever, and they stuck around, showing up in early September and staying through last week. [The Oregonian]

Europe is considering limiting the amount of food-based biofuels that can count toward its renewable fuel targets while a drought in the U.S. has pushed up food prices worldwide and millions around the world go hungry. [Associated Press]

8 Responses to October 18 News: Northeast Sea Levels Rising Faster Than U.S. Average

  1. BBHY says:

    Made me sick to see the candidates argue over who is a bigger promoter of coal. I truly feel Jill Stein is the only candidate I can support.

  2. An additional roundup of energy and climate headlines for 10/18 are available at

  3. Coal is the worst.

    The biggest problem we have in getting off coal (and oil, and finally, natural gas) is the transition. The electric grid in this country is designed with minimal spare capacity in order to save capital investment. Taking a coal plant offline means you have to make another investment to compensate, either through another source or through conservation (the preferred method), or people have less electricity that is also less reliable.

    Coal plants are being displaced by natural gas plants due to favorable pricing for that fuel. Better, but ultimately not the solution. More importantly, it’s happening at a glacially incremental rate, far too slow to do any real good.

    To do it fast enough, which is to say within a year or two, or even ten, would clearly disrupt day-to-day life as we know it. Midwestern states like Ohio depend on coal for well over half their electricity. Setting aside the jobs issue, that’s the main reason it’s not happening, and can’t, unless everyone is convinced that the problem is truly WW2-urgent.

    It’s a national problem. We can’t let coal-dependent states take the brunt of this dislocation. We have to chip in with reinvestment. That means taxes. Specifically, a carbon tax.

    It’s an added tax burden, at least during the transition, unless we’re willing to give up other things that taxes pay for. This can’t be tax-revenue-neutral and still maintain all the other things we expect from government. And investment in a new grid means the money is diverted from other day-to-day things at the personal level. Yes, there will be be many new jobs, but there will still be big dislocations at the local level, at least for a time. And the investment won’t pay off unless it’s complete. That’s a pretty big risk. People have to be really committed to take it.

    How can we convince the rest of America to pony up rebuild the electric grid in Ohio? How will we get the Tea Party to stand for that? Answering these questions is key to getting it done.

    Of course, this sets aside the ideological weirdness of denial that must be overcome.

  4. Spike says:

    The total disarray of the right wing coalition’s energy policy in the UK causes concern:

  5. John McCormick says:

    Change, that is a very strong comment and one we have to understand and willingly accept the costs of transitioning as you so aptly stated.

    Thanks for the wisdom. Keep repeating it.

  6. SK says:

    Change is happening as we speak and the evidence is visible world wide as Stephen points out. The evidence is compelling but still the people in power seem to be ignorant when it comes to climate change. I agree with Change, that for significant steps to be taken significant amounts of money have to be available. The climate is already changing and to combat this will be very expensive, Change’s point on carbon tax seems the likely way to generate cash for change.

  7. Merrelyn Emery says:

    On top of the gathering doom, it appears we won’t even be able to afford to drown our sorrows, ME

  8. Vic says:

    We had a small win in Australia yesterday, as prominent radio shock-jock Alan Jones was held to account for making deceptive on-air comments related to global warming. The Australian Communications and Media Authority has ordered the presenter and associated radio station executives to undergo basic journalism training designed to educate the team about issues such as “factual accuracy and significant veiwpoints”. Other measures forced upon the popular Sydney radio station (2GB) included:

    Pre-broadcast fact-checking by the program’s executive producer of any material provided by non-media sources or third parties which may require additional confirmation and attribution.

    Creation and retention (for at least six weeks) of records of the verification material sourced by the executive producer for the facts contained in the editorial piece.

    Identification by the executive producer of controversial issues of public importance that are not covered by other 2GB current affairs programs.

    Communication of these exceptions to 2GB’s program director who will then be responsible to ensure that another current affairs program presents an alternative, significant viewpoint to that presented in the program hosted by Alan Jones so that 2GB can discharge its obligations under the Commercial Radio Codes of Practice.

    Creation and retention of records by the program director for the above steps.