"July 26 News: Melting Arctic Sea Ice Makes Life Hard For Baby Harp Seals"
According to new research, as ice in the Arctic melts, baby harp seals are pushed off their breeding grounds and often end up stranded, injured, or dead. [Christian Science Monitor]
Researchers have delivered more bad news for the harp seal — this time for male babies.
Harp seals, with their wide, amused-looking black eyes and earless, white faces, are often poster children for the toll that climate change is taking on the world. As the Arctic ice melts, the little animals are pushed off their ice breeding grounds, often becoming stranded and turning up dead or injured along the American East Coast. Now, new research shows that infant male harp seals are particularly vulnerable to those strandings.
“Changes in percent ice cover are impacting the number of strandings we are seeing,” said Brianne Soulen, a biologist at the University of North Texas and co-author on the paper, published in PLOS ONE. “The inclusion of sex information allowed us to discover that males are stranding more than females.”
A Canadian oil company is still unable to stop a series of leaks at a tar sands operation in Alberta. The leaks have contaminated a vast area of boreal forest and killed birds, mammals and amphibians. [Wall Street Journal]
Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) called for more natural gas pipelines that reduced methane leakage to 1 percent, and said he and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) would be working to draft bipartisan national legislation natural gas. Wyden also described a proposal that would allow states to regulate fracking underground, while the federal government would handle reporting and disclosure requirements. [National Journal, The Hill]
The House passed a bill yesterday that would give states more jurisdiction over the management of coal ash, a coal combustion byproduct that can be environmentally damaging when put in landfills. [AP]
Halliburton, the oil services company that yesterday agreed to plead guilty of destroying evidence related to the 2010 BP spill, has also been contacted about antitrust concerns surrounding the company’s dominant position in the pressure pumping market central to the practice of fracking. [Reuters]
UPS says that if it runs its long-haul trucking fleet on natural gas, it could save 40 percent in fuel costs and cut emissions. [Bloomberg]
The North Carolina House failed to pass a bill that would encourage fracking. [News & Observer]
Peak snowpack in Oregon’s McKenzie River could drop by has much as 56 percent due to climate change, according to a new study. [The Oregonian ]
A team of chemists and biologists from NOAA are setting out on a month-long voyage to research how marine ecosystems along the U.S. West Coast are responding to ocean acidification. [LA Times]
The White House and climate advocates in and out of Congress will use the August recess to talk about the threats posed by climate change, and to call out Republicans who doubt climate science. [Politico]
A bipartisan energy efficiency bill that might get floor debate next week depends more on amendments that would gut proposed carbon pollution rules and approve the Keystone pipeline than the bill itself. [The Hill]
Research shows Asian-Americans, a fast-growing ethnic group in the U.S., are more likely to consider themselves environmentalists than the rest of the U.S. population. [Grist]
Scientists have discovered a palm oil plant gene that would enable farmers to recognize and plant only the most productive seeds, reducing the need to expand their plantations into the rainforest. [Guardian]
Weeks of sunny weather and an increase in solar photovoltaic panel installations has led to a record level of power generation from solar in Britain this summer. [Guardian]