Validated News Stories on the Environment (Part 1): GMOs, Fracking, Global Warming, Pollution, and More
Food Riots, the New Normal? Reduced land productivity, combined with elevated oil costs and population growth, threaten a systemic, global food crisis. Citing findings from a study by Paul and Anne Ehrlich, published by The Royal Society, Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed identifies the links between intensifying economic inequality, debt, climate change, and fossil fuel dependency to conclude that a global food crisis is now “undeniable.”
Public Awareness of Toxic Pollutants In August 2012, researchers at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute released their fourth Toxic 100 Air Polluters (toxic100.org), an updated list of the top corporate air polluters in the U.S. The Index is based on air releases of hundreds of chemicals from tens of thousands of industrial facilities across the US. The rankings take into account not only the quantity of releases, but also the toxicity of chemicals, factors such as prevailing winds and height of smokestacks, and the number of people exposed. Among large corporations, the top five air polluters are: the German-owned Bayer Group, Textron Inc., General Electric, Precision Castparts, and Koch Industries.
Sandy Linked to Global Warming In November 2012, Daily Censored reported the link between super storm Sandy and global warming. Contrary to popular belief, Sandy can actually be linked to human causation – global warming. With the rising temperature of the Atlantic Ocean and changing of tides, this devastating hurricane could in fact be partly due to human destruction of the environment. Sandy is consistent with climate scientists’ predictions of more extreme weather events as global climate disruption gathers strength.
Double Renewable Energy? — Obama Overstates America’s Use of Renewables
President Barack Obama exaggerated his administration’s track record on renewable energy during the 2012 campaign season. Obama claimed that the United States has doubled their use of renewable energy since he took office. He referred to the errant energy statistic in a rally at St. Petersburg College in Florida on September 9, 2012. Researchers have subsequently challenged the President’s use of the word ‘doubled’. In fact, statistics show that renewable energy consumption has only gone up by 25% from 2008-2011.
Peak Oil Matters Fossil fuel—oil, natural gas, and coal—production should peak within the next half century. The term “peak oil” refers to the point at which crude oil reserves reach maximum production rate, and then starts to decline. In “When Will Oil, Natural Gas, and Coal Peak?,” researchers G. Maggio and G. Cacciola explain two alternative mathematical models for predicting peak oil. Using historical data gathered from multiple sources, Maggio and Cacciola apply three models to global crude oil production, and conclude that oil production will peak within one decade, between 2015 and 2021. Following peak oil, the economy will suffer from increased cost of petroleum-based products to petroleum-dependent products, such as food. The US public will undergo a drastic lifestyle change. Petroleum costs will spike and cause an economic tidal wave of cost of living increases for the average American.
Laboratory Study of Rats Supports Dangers of GM Corn A study published in September issue of The Food & Chemical Toxicology Journal found that rats fed Monsanto’s genetically modified corn over several months showed significant health problems including premature death and tumors. The study found that over half of the male rats and 70 percent of the females who were fed a lifetime of Monsanto’s corn died prematurely with significant liver and kidney damage. Scientists also found the rats to contain cancerous tumors so large they blocked organ function. While numerous studies have examined their short-term impact, this is the first ever study to examine the long-term effects of GMO consumptions.
Widespread GMO Contamination: Did Monsanto Plant GMOs Before USDA Approval? Evidence shows that Monsanto’s genetically altered alfalfa may have been set free in 2003, two years or more before it was deregulated in 2005. A letter, obtained by Natural Society with permission to post for public viewing, makes clear that the USDA may have turned a blind eye to the entire situation, allowing widespread GMO contamination of GMO-free crops.
Has the Media Failed in Covering Climate Change? Wen Stephenson, a former editor at The Atlantic and Boston Globe, quit his job as a journalist to become a full time activist on behalf of raising awareness about the climate crisis. According to Stephenson, “The climate crisis is the biggest story of this, or any, generation,” but it is not getting the coverage it deserves.
Whole Foods Engages in GMO Deception Whole Foods Markets (“Nothing Artificial, Ever”) present themselves as distinctive, trustworthy sources to customers seeking local, healthy and pure foods. Nonetheless, as Mike Adams of Natural News reports, “Whole Foods deceives consumers into unknowingly buying GMOs while financially supporting a GMO supply chain that ultimately enriches Monsanto.”
Fracking Our Food Supply The effects of fracking on food supply and the environment are slowly emerging. A peer-reviewed study links fracking to illness in animals. The researchers believe that chemicals leaked from fracking sites could start appearing in the food supply due to lack of regulation and testing. Two major agricultural insurance companies now refuse to cover damages from fracking.
Hydraulic Fracturing- United States vs. United Kingdom Hydraulic fracturing is the controversial practice of injecting water, sand, and chemicals under extreme pressure into wells, which fractures shale so that previously inaccessible natural gas can flow to the surface. In the past six decades, this method has delivered 600 trillion cubic feet of natural gas to American consumers, but at a high cost. Professor Robert Mair, a founder of Geotechnical Consulting Group based in London, is optimistic about fracturing in the United Kingdom. Nevertheless he has serious concerns about operations in the United States. Practices in the United Kingdom call for mandatory risk assessment across the entire life cycle of gas extraction to prevent tremors and water contamination. Companies in the United Kingdom are required to disclose chemical mixtures put into the ground, whereas companies in the United States claim this information is proprietary.
Can Fracking and Carbon Sequestration Coexist? Natural gas production and carbon sequestration may be headed for an underground collision course. That is the message from a new study finding that many of the same shale rock formations where companies want to extract gas also happen to sit above optimal sites envisioned for storing carbon dioxide underground that is captured from power plants and industrial facilities. The problem with this overlap, the researchers found, is that shale-gas extraction involves fracturing rock that could be needed as an impenetrable cover to hold CO2 underground permanently and prevent it from leaking back into the atmosphere. “There is an obvious conflict between the two uses,” the study says.
Northern Gateway: Canada’s Other Tar Sands Pipeline Project Enbridge, the Canadian pipeline company, seeks to build a 730-mile pipeline, spanning approximately 800 waterways across the Rockies and Coast mountain ranges and through British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest, in order to transport a form of oil known as bitumen from Alberta’s tar sands to the port of Kitimat. First Nations communities along the British Columbian coast, conservation organizations, and environmentalists oppose Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline on grounds that it poses catastrophic environmental risks and overruns First Nations communities’ control of their own lands.
Brazil, Host to Rio+20 Conference, has Environmental Problems of Its Own The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development,“Rio+20,” was held in June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. As heads of state, non-governmental organizations, and leaders from the private sector from around the world gathered to address possibilities for “a safer, more equitable, cleaner, greener and more prosperous world for all,” the host country Brazil faces significant struggles of its own.
Unconstitutional Dam Construction in Brazil’s Amazon In January 2012, the Brazilian Amazon rainforest was sentenced to death. The Brazilian government stepped over human rights, the rights of the indigenous people, and its own Constitution in the name of “progress” to begin construction on Belo Monte Dam on the Xingu River and the Madeira Dam on the Madeira River.
Tropical Countries Struggle to Monitor Deforestation In 2010 the United Nations agreed on revisions to its Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) policy. REDD+ added the promotion of conservation, sustainable forest management, and enhancing forest carbon stocks to the existing REDD framework. However, implementation of REDD+ has been problematic. One study ranked the progress of tropical developing countries between 2005 and 2010 and finds that many countries lacked the resources to accurately monitor deforestation.