Climate Change Threatens World Peace

October 25, 2007

Climate change is a growing threat to world peace and has led to rival territorial claims in the Arctic that could turn into a Cold War, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Tuesday.

Political solutions are needed now to problems posed by climate change that threaten peace in areas ranging from Africa to the Middle East and even the Arctic, Steinmeier told a conference on climate change.

“There’s a ‘Cold War’ at the North Pole that we have to prevent,” he said. “Climate change is a threat to worldwide peace and security.

“Policies to fight climate change can, and will, become an important part of peace policies. We have to be aware of it and look for solutions…” he added.

“Climate change is not a far-away problem,” Steinmeier said. “It’s dramatic and our window to act is even smaller than we thought just a few years ago. We need more courage and more creativity, not just in technology but also politically.”


He noted with concern that a Russian submarine had planted a Russian flag on the seabed at the North Pole in August, staking a claim to the potentially energy-rich area. Denmark also claims part of the Arctic through its Greenland province.

“Not only Russia but other neighboring nations have also staked claims for fossil fuels in this region,” Steinmeier said. “The eternal ice is melting before our eyes. Climate change has made exploitation possible where it was thought not possible.”

Global warming has been melting the polar icecaps and governments now believe it is only a matter of time before they will be able to start exploiting the previously inaccessible seabed below the Arctic ice.

International law states that the five nations which control a coastline in the Arctic — Canada, Russia, the United States, Norway and Denmark via Greenland — have a 320 km (200 mile) economic zone north of their shore.

But Russia, which has grown rich in the last decade from oil and gas revenues, claims a far larger slice because it says the Arctic and Siberia are linked via the Lomonosov Ridge.

“We have to make sure that Arctic treaties are respected and upheld, according to international law,” said Steinmeier, who visited the Arctic region in August.

The U.N. University’s Institute for Environment and Human Security in Bonn has warned that droughts, floods and rising seas linked to global warming could spur future conflicts.

It said the poor in tropical regions of Africa and Asia are likely to suffer most, perhaps creating tension with rich nations in the temperate north which are likely to escape the worst effects of warming, widely blamed on use of fossil fuels.

Desertification and land degradation could force hundreds of millions from their homes. Rising seas caused by melting ice and glaciers could swamp large tracts of land, forcing migration and raising the chance of conflict over shrinking land.


Source:  <;

beth’s current event oct 24

October 24, 2007

Winds wane as 18 wildfires burn in California

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SAN DIEGO (Reuters) – Dying winds gave California firefighters their first big break on Wednesday after four days battling wildfires, but San Diego faced more calamity as blazes there burned out of control and kept more than half a million evacuees from returning home.
The skies over much of the region were filled with thick, acrid smoke, forcing residents to stay indoors or wear masks.
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said 18 fires burned on Wednesday and threatened 25,000 structures. Nearly 1,500 homes had already been lost. San Diego bore the brunt of the damage and officials there put losses in excess of $1 billion.
More than 500,000 people have been forced to leave their homes in the biggest mass evacuation in California’s modern history.
Six deaths have been reported, while 40 people suffered injuries, many of them firefighters.
Two big fires merged in San Diego County, scorching more than 200,000 acres, almost half of the total burned area in California.
“We have several tremendous fires still going on,” San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders said.
Los Angeles County canceled its wind warnings four days after hot Santa Ana winds blew in from the desert and sparked the first fire in the seaside celebrity enclave of Malibu, where life had begun returning to normal by Wednesday.
Mountain blazes east of Los Angeles were the worst, but firefighters said calmer wind conditions would make a big difference. Top wind speeds fell to below 50 mph (80 kph) after gale force gusts hit 80 mph (130 kph).
Schwarzenegger said 8,900 firefighters remained on the fire lines.
“A lot of them have worked 36 hours and 48 hours without stopping,” Schwarzenegger said.
President George W. Bush on Wednesday declared a “major disaster” in seven Southern California counties, triggering extra federal help. He will travel to the region on Thursday to get a close-up look at the devastation.
San Diego, state and federal authorities set up food, shelter and medical services for the displaced, amid sharp memories of the debacle following Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.
At San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium, where the National Football League’s San Diego Chargers play, 14,000 evacuees spent a second night.
But evacuees said they were pleased with the official response to their needs, the clean conditions, abundant food and water and even yoga, acupuncture and massage.
Even animals were being accommodated, with evacuated horses put up at the county fairgrounds.
Some residents were allowed to go back to their homes, but officials kept many waiting while they dealt with hot spots.
“I have a place to go home to. I know because my answering machine is still working, which means it’s not melted,” said Helle Powell, 61, a resident of Rancho Bernardo, one of the worst-hit areas.
San Diego County officials said that even when the fires were out they would face a major cleanup and huge costs.
“Based on initial estimates, just the homes damaged will be over $1 billion,” Ron Lane, San Diego County emergency services director, told a news conference.
San Diego told residents to conserve water and electricity, as the fires sliced power supply to 60 percent of normal and threatened to cut off the area from the state’s power grid.
Sanders implored residents to cut power use, telling them: “You’ve got to conserve today. You have no choice.”
A nuclear power plant in San Onofre was not in immediate danger, officials said, despite fires burning at the nearby Marine base of Camp Pendleton, one of the largest military bases in the United States.

amandas oct 24 current event

October 24, 2007

California evacuees unwind with yoga, Kosher food

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) – As emergency shelters go, the Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego might get a five-star rating, with yoga and acupuncture for stressed-out adults, clowns and candy for bored kids and even Kosher meals.
The stadium, best known as home to the National Football League’s San Diego Chargers, was converted this week into an emergency evacuation center accommodating 10,000 people forced from their homes by wildfires scorching the county.
City and state officials and legions of volunteers running the center did their best to provide not only for evacuees’ basic needs but also lifestyle perks designed to make the Golden State’s displaced denizens feel more at home.
Food and water were in ample supply, with tables lining the stadium’s main concourse laden with cold cuts, breads, condiments, cookies, fruit and coffee. Dinner included roast beef, fresh vegetables, salad and rice.
Jewish evacuees were able to abide by their dietary restrictions by following a sign advertising Kosher food.
“You hear all the horror stories from Hurricane Katrina, but it’s nothing like that here,” said Linda Leonik, 22, who was evacuated with her husband and their 6-month-old twins from the upscale community of Rancho Bernardo.

“We have all the resources we need. I’m so surprised how well people pulled together for this.”
The almost festive mood was a far cry from the overcrowded, squalid conditions, despair and fear of violence inside the New Orleans Superdome following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, where evacuees spent several days without adequate food, water or sanitation.
While some of New Orleans’ poorest residents sought shelter at the Superdome, many of the evacuees taking up residence at Qualcomm came from affluent suburbs of San Diego.
Clowns made balloon animals for youngsters, people dressed as “Star Wars” troopers gave out candy, a ventriloquist performed with puppets and volunteers painted children’s faces. Other children spent time in a play area stocked with toys crayons and coloring books.
Acupuncturists set up a makeshift clinic, and signs guided stressed evacuees to yoga and meditation sessions offered elsewhere in the stadium. Crisis counseling and massage therapy also were made available.
Organizers did their best to keep evacuees plugged in electronically, with TV monitors put up throughout the facility and a cell-phone charging station on the concourse.
The stadium was so well stocked by nightfall on Tuesday that San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders issued a statement saying individual donations were no longer necessary.
“There’s been such an overwhelming response from the community. There are people here in immediate need and there are people here to give. I’m proud of my city,” said Tony Greco, a San Diego native and sergeant in the U.S military.

Oceans may be losing ability to absorb CO2

October 24, 2007

PARIS (AFP) – The world’s oceans may be losing their ability to soak up extra carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, with the risk that this will help stoke global warming, two new studies say.

 British researchers say in a paper published in the November issue of the Journal of Geophysical Research.


The data comes from sensors lowered by a container ship carrying bananas, which makes a round trip from the West Indies to Britain every month. It has generated more than 90,000 measurements of ocean CO2.

The finding touches on a key aspect of the global warming question, because for decades the ocean has been absorbing much of the CO2 released into the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels.

If the sea performs less well as a carbon sponge, or “sink” according to the technical jargon, more CO2 will remain in the atmosphere, thus accelerating the greenhouse effect.

Ute Schuster, who led the research with Professor Andrew Watson of the University of East Anglia’s School of Environmental Sciences, admitted she was astonished by the data.

“Such large changes are a tremendous surprise. We expected that the uptake would change only slowly because of the ocean’s great mass,” Schuster was quoted by the university in a press release Monday as saying.

Research last year pointed to rising acidification of the oceans as a result of CO2 uptake, highlighting the risk of carbon saturation as well as a looming peril for biodiversity.

Schuster was cautious about drawing too swift a conclusion from the new research.

“Perhaps this is partly a natural oscillation or perhaps it is a response to the recent rapid climate warming,” she said.

“In either case, we now know that the sink can change quickly and we need to continue to monitor the ocean uptake.”;_ylt=ApbJmLU5qu8GKzatTyI1Wudpl88F


California’s Wildfires Rage Into Fourth Day

October 24, 2007

SAN DIEGO – Relentless wildfires forcing the largest evacuations in California’s modern history raged into a fourth day on Wednesday as 10,000 exhausted firefighters hoped for a break in the hot winds whipping the flames.

With half a million people driven from their homes, 1,000 houses already lost and some 470 square miles scorched across the southern half of the state, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s government has put economic losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

“If the weather cooperates maybe we can turn the tide,” U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said as he toured San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium, where 10,000 people have taken refuge. “We’re still facing some very serious fires.”

Weather forecasters say fierce Santa Ana winds blowing in from the desert should begin to subside by Wednesday afternoon.

A drop in the winds, which can howl at gale forces through Southern California’s mountain passes and canyons, would also allow for lower temperatures and higher humidity, which could prove crucial in fighting more than a dozen wildfires still burning out of control.

-Julia F.

Coal to Liquids: The future of alternative energy, or the future of enviromental complications?

October 24, 2007

Coal to Liquids as an alternative liquid energy source.

Oil Prices have been at a premium for the past few years and have gone up significantly in the past 15 years. In turn, there has been an increased demand for other sources of liquid fuel to power our cars, boats, and planes. For years, scientists and engineers have been working hand in hand to develop new sources. There is an interesting process that is converting coal into liquid energy, which could solve the above problem. In the past thirty years there has been much research associated with converting coal into liquid energy. Using a patented Fischer-Tropsch method of liquefying coal, this fuel is totally interchangeable with other petroleum fuels. It has been estimated that the U.S. has 250 years of coal reserves. With that said, one still must be skeptical in how cost efficient, practical and safe this process is. There are a few questions that I plan on addressing in my project. Is this process practical in a cost-benefit type analysis? Could this potentially be one of our solutions to our shortage on oil? How efficient and is this going to be significantly cheaper than other fuels? How clean does coal-to-liquid fuel burn? Are there greenhouse gases that are emitted in the process, and how can they be managed to minimize the impact? If anyone has any further scepticisms about Coal-to-Liquids, let me know and I will do my best to research it and include it in my project.


I Introduction to CTL and history of Fischer Tropsch process

II The CTL process.

III The cost and feasabiliy of CTL production

IV Current Plants and the development of future plants

V The positives of CTL

VI The Negatives of CTL

VII The Government and their involvement with CTL as an alternative energy source.

VIII Conclusions on the CTL Process


1) This is about the first CTL plant coming to the United States. It involves renntech, one of my other sources, and the CTL plant in East Dubuque, Iowa.

2)This source talks about CTL and the company Syntroleum. They are trying to make a merger with a Chinese company, that will have a CTL plant in China.

3)A basic summary of coal and the coal-to-liquids process. It is from the World Coal Institute.

4)CTL Current event news log. Green Car Congress. It explains a lot of the happenings in Washington D.C. in support of CTL development and production.

5)Talks overall about a CTL plant that is going to be put in Adams County Mississippi. Good article, it’s local to Adams County. This is from The Natchez Democrat.

6)Fairly unbiased and very informative. The Nieman Foundation at Harvard University presents an article about CTL, politics behind it, and the role it will play in the 2008 election.

Coal to liquids—silver bullet or coal-state pork?

7) Grassroots Coalition in support of CTL. Talks about positives of the product, and what we need to do in congress to get CTL in production.

8)This is a large list of documents dating back from the 1920’s that have to do with the Fischer Tropsch process. This is the process that makes CTL possible.

9)This company is doing research and development to put CTL plants in the U.S. and beyond. They already have on plant. This gives a good description of the current plants, and the potential areas for plants. 10) Talks about the company Syntroleum and their plans for a plant in Australia. Government Issued and Accredited Associations list.

Department of Energy-Strategic to Unconventional Fuels: Coal to Liquids fact sheet. Saved on adobe acrobat.

Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition makes the case that CTL is bad for the environment and the economy.

Very good report by the National Mining Association. Complete with graphs, charts, and diagrams that help explain CTL and the current and future plants.

“Why Liquid Coal is Not a Viable Option to Move America Beyond Oil”

This article talks about the negatives of CTL. Pollution, coal mine injury, and Global Warming problems. Presented by Natural Resources Defense Council

U.S. Department of Energy: Energy Effeciency and Renewable Energy

This article talks about the process, distribution, benefits, and research development having to do with CTL.


1)A New Route To Liquid Fuels With Coal

By: S.L. Meisel

Talks about the process of CTL and what the pros and cons of the process are. Article is a bit outdated, but still very useful

2)Coal Research (III): Liquefaction Has Far to Go

By: Allen L. Hammond

This article makes the argument, that actually using CTL is far away, but this article was written in the 1980’s. Still a good source.

3)Liquid Fuels from Coal: From R&D to Industry.

By: L.E. Swabb Jr.

Good Source that talks about businesses developing ways to use CTL and the industry that surrounds it.

4)Recent Progress in the Direct Liquefaction of Coal
Robert E. Lumpkin

Reports of a test done on Coal Liquefaction.

5)Coal Hydrogenation and Environmental Health

R.A. Wadden

Talks about the negatives of liquefying coal and its detrimental affect on the earth.

Other Sources

1)Power Point in Support for CTL courtesy of West Virginia University.

2)Video on CTL Mountain Top Removal Mining. Talks about conferences with Senators Rayhall and Senator Rockefeller. Shows Mountain Top Removal Mining and protestors of CTL.

Coal-to-Liquids conference, protest in West Virginia

3) Interview with my Dad or one of his co-workers who work in the alternative fuel industry. I have yet to interview-plan on doing it next week.

4)Image Fischer Tropsch CTL pilot plant

5)Image that has history and projection of Fuel use.

Manhattan uses Ladybugs as natural pesticide.

October 24, 2007

720,000 hungry ladybugs land in Manhattan
Huge apartment complex is using them as natural pesticide

The 80-acre grounds inside New York City’s Stuyvesant Town apartment complex has new tenants: 720,000 ladybugs.
Mary Altaffer / AP

Updated: 4:51 p.m. ET Oct 22, 2007
NEW YORK – It sounds like a horror movie: 720,000 ladybugs on the attack in Manhattan.

In this real life story, however, the red-and-black bugs have been unleashed on the 80-acre grounds of one of New York’s biggest apartment complexes with a mission: eat pests infesting the neatly landscaped property.

The ladybugs from Bozeman, Mont., arrived at the Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village complex on Manhattan’s East Side on Thursday afternoon, packed in boxes shipped by a natural gardening company.

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From mesh bags filled with wood shavings, groundskeepers scattered them in clusters of 72,000 per box. The ladybugs quickly took to the skies of the 80-acre rental complex.

In the next days and weeks, they will crawl into plants, flowers and shrubs in search of insects whose smell attracts them — soft-bodied, leaf-sucking aphids and mites.

No chemicals needed
Buying the bugs means the complex’s owner, Tishman Speyer, can avoid using chemical insecticides.

“In most cases, we reach for a can of pesticide — and we kill not only the ‘bad guys,’ but the ‘good guys,'” said Eric Vinje, owner of Planet Natural, which supplied the pest-killers for Manhattan.

“All we’re doing here is putting more of the ‘good guys’ to tip the scale,” he said.

On its Web site, the company offers “Live Ladybugs _ Free Shipping!” at $16.50 for 2,000.

This species of ladybug — Hippodamia convergens — converges in the wilderness, where they are harvested.

Vinje buys them from ladybug collectors working the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains in Oregon, California and Montana.

In Bozeman, he keeps them alive in large refrigerators where the temperature is kept to about 35 degrees.

They go “dormant” at that temperature, using up their fat stores without eating anything, and staying alive for about five months, Vinje said.

Each bug covers 19-by-19 inches of land
In the shipping boxes, they slowly awaken while flying to a buyer’s destination. By the time they reached Manhattan, “they were lively and ready to eat anything that was not too quick for them,” Vinje said.

Vinje said 720,000 ladybugs are about the right number to clean up the New York complex.

Each insect can take care of a piece of land measuring about 19-by-19-inches. A ladybug can eat up to 50 pests a day, plus insect eggs. The huge colony will consume billions of pests before moving on.

Apartment residents need not worry about confronting swarms of ladybugs, since this is not the Asian ladybug typically spotted in urban areas. “This one is not prone to entering homes,” Vinje said.

Plus, if one buys into a common superstition, the 720,000 ladybugs should bring a torrent of good luck.

Max Penning