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yet another filthy fossil fuel disaster - ‘clean’ coal strikes again


2:13 mins

The first report claims that this is forty-eight times the volume of the Exxon spill.

“Millions of yards of ashy sludge broke through a dike at TVA's Kingston coal-fired plant Monday, covering hundreds of acres, knocking one home off its foundation and putting environmentalists on edge about toxic chemicals that may be seeping into the ground and flowing downriver

“One neighboring family said the disaster was no surprise because they have watched the 1960s-era ash pond's mini-blowouts off and on for years.

“About 2.6 million cubic yards of slurry - enough to fill 798 Olympic-size swimming pools - rolled out of the pond Monday, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Cleanup will take at least several weeks, or, in a worst-case scenario, years.

“The ash slide, which began just before 1 a.m., covered as many as 400 acres as deep as 6 feet. The wave of ash and mud toppled power lines, covered Swan Pond Road and ruptured a gas line. It damaged 12 homes, and one person had to be rescued, though no one was seriously hurt.”

“Workers sampled river water Monday, with results expected back today, but didn't sample the dunelike drifts of muddy ash.

“That could begin today, officials said, and the potential magnitude of the problem could make this a federally declared Superfund site. That would mean close monitoring and a deep, costly cleanup requiring years of work.”

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even fox news are getting fed up with looking ridiculous!

Fox News starts a green section where the top stories admit that world leaders acknowlege global warming. (Note that this site is still having birth pangs.)

  • “Sea levels will rise much faster than previously forecast because of the rate that glaciers and ice sheets are melting, a study has found. Research commissioned by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program concludes that the rises will substantially exceed forecasts that do not take into account the latest data and observations. The adjusted outlook, announced at ...”

  • “ Diplomats say European leaders have agreed on how they will carry out an ambitious plan to fight global warming. The plan lays out how the 27 member countries will cut carbon emissions by 20 percent by 2020 and is meant to set an example for world efforts to tackle climate change. The plan includes various burden-sharing measures ...”

  • “U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday warned the world against backsliding in the fight against climate change as it battles financial crisis, calling for a renewed sense of urgency in facing "the defining challenge of our era." Ban spoke as some 145 environment ministers and other top officials gathered to help push forward ...”

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global warming at 63 light-years

Seek and ye shall find ...

“We concluded there was no water a couple of years ago, the theoreticians were upset, they'd predicted it would be there. We didn't understand it. We looked much harder we watched it for over 120 hours, and sure enough there was...”

“Scientists say they have found evidence for water vapour [and CO2] in the atmosphere of a planet 63 light-years from Earth.”

“The "hot Jupiter" planet's surface temperatures exceed 900C.”

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on arctic sea ice

“The annual maximum sea ice extent typically occurs in March. In March 2008, the maximum ice extent was 15.2 million km2. This marked a second year of slight recovery in winter ice extent from the record minimum of 14.4 million km2 for the period 1979 - 2008, which was observed in 2006. For comparison, the mean monthly ice extent for March and September, for the period 1979 - 2008, is 15.6 and 6.7 million km2, respectively.

Annual Arctic Sea Ice Minimum from 1979 to 2008. Image: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio
Annual Arctic Sea Ice Minimum from 1979 to 2008.
Image:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

“The Arctic sea ice cover is composed of perennial ice (the ice that survives year-round) and seasonal ice (the ice that melts during the summer). Consistent with the diminishing trends in the extent and thickness of the cover is a significant loss of the older, thicker perennial ice in the Arctic. Data from the NASA QuikSCAT launched in 1999 (Nghiem et al., 2007) and a buoy-based Drift-Age Model (Rigor and Wallace, 2004) indicate that the amount of perennial ice in the March ice cover has decreased from approximately 5.5 to 3.0 million km2 over the period 1958 - 2007. While there is considerable interannual variability, an overall downward trend in the amount of perennial ice began in the early 1970s. This trend appears to coincide with a general increase in the Arctic-wide, annually averaged surface air temperature, which also begins around 1970. In recent years, the rate of reduction in the amount of older, thicker perennial ice has been increasing, and now very little ice older than 5 yr remains ...”

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methane release in tundra

More methane is being released from tundra than previously assumed.

“…As the researchers noted in previous years, summertime emissions of methane roughly tracked soil temperatures at the site, peaking in early July and then dropping off gradually into early September. The team estimates that over the course of the summer, each 1-meter-square patch of wetland studied emitted about 4.5 grams of methane.

“Then, unexpectedly, methane emissions from the wetland patches began to rise in mid-September, and remained high for several weeks. During two of those weeks, emissions outpaced those tallied at the height of the summer, says Christensen. At their peak in early October, methane outputs measured on average about 112 milligrams per hour from each 1-meter-square patch of wetland. Although one study has identified a higher rate of methane emission from small spots in some Siberian lakes (SN: 9/9/06, p. 165), no land-based studies have identified rates this high, the researchers note.

“Christensen and his colleagues speculate that as winter approaches, the freezing of the soil overlying permafrost - a physical process, not a biological one - is what boosts the autumn methane emissions. "Most of the methane is produced during the warm summer months, but not all of it is emitted then," says Christensen”"

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iraq moves to desalinate millions of acres of ruined land

“Iraq started flushing excess salinity out of millions of acres of land on Monday in a project aimed at cleansing rivers, breathing new life into dying soils and reviving what was once part of "the fertile crescent".

“Though Iraq is wetter and more arable than many of its desert-covered neighbours, centuries of irrigation and over-use have left swathes of farmland fallow because of salinity.

“Salt collects in soil when farmers irrigate it with salty water or do not drain it properly. The soil gradually becomes useless.”

“Farming in Iraq has been hit hard by decades of war, instability and poor environmental management. Iraq imports almost all of its food, using receipts from oil to pay for it. Much of the government's budget is spent on food rations.

“Harmful salinity can be reversed by pumping out the groundwater beneath the soil over several years. Such projects, though costly, have helped farmers reclaim salt-deadened land in Australia.”

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