Oil Spill Threatens Bird Sanctuary Off Staten Island - NYTimes.com (via jenn2d2)
Oil from a barge spilled into the waters off Staten Island, spreading to a bird sanctuary on an island in Newark Bay, the Coast Guard said on Saturday.
The spill was detected shortly after 11 p.m. Friday at May Ship Repair, said Petty Officer Erik Swanson, a Coast Guard spokesman. Petty Officer Swanson said that fuel oil was being transferred from a barge called Boston 30 to another barge, DBL 25, when workers noticed that it was also darkening the water between the vessels.
Workers placed a boom on the surface of the water to contain the oil, added absorbent materials and notified the authorities, Petty Officer Swanson said.
The oil was coming from one of the Boston 30’s tanks, which was carrying 112,000 gallons. The barge is owned by Boston Marine Transport of Massachusetts.
The Coast Guard has not yet determined how much oil had leaked from the tank or what caused the leak. Petty Officer Swanson added that Coast Guard helicopters surveyed the area and saw that an oily sheen had spread to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, about six miles to the east.
Petty Officer Swanson said that the oil had also reached the Shooters Island Bird Sanctuary and the Richmond Terrace wetlands, both of which are controlled by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and are within several hundred yards of where the leak took place.
Shooters Island, which is closed to the public and is only visited by scientists and government employees, is a breeding ground for several species of wading birds. Birds that frequent the 35-acre island include the glossy ibis, black-crowned night heron, and species like the snowy egret and great egret, which were nearly extinct before legislation protecting them and their breeding grounds was signed into law.
Forests Worldwide near Tipping Point From Drought
by Monga Bay staff
Forests worldwide are at “equally high risk” to die-off from drought conditions, warns a new study published this week in the journal Nature.
The study, conducted by an international team of scientists, assessed the specific physiological effects of drought on 226 tree species at 81 sites in different biomes around the world. It found that 70 percent of the species sampled are particularly vulnerable to reduction in water availability. With drought conditions increasing around the globe due to climate change and deforestation, the research suggests large swathes of the world’s forests — and the services they afford — may be approaching a tipping point.
Water is critical to trees, transporting nutrients, providing stabilizing, and serving as a medium for the metabolic processes that generate the energy needed for a tree to survive.(read more: MongaBay) (photos: Rhett Butler)
It is finally starting to freeze at night on a regular basis - but I have been watering my yard and trees all week - because what we have not had is rain or snow. My house is surrounded by trees and I don’t want them dying or falling on my house. It may be winter, but our drought continues.
From the UN Climate Change Summit in Doha, Qatar.
A shocking new report commissioned by the World Bank is warning temperatures could rise by 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century, causing devastating food shortages, rising sea levels, cyclones and drought — even if countries meet their current pledges to reduce emissions. If these promises are not met, the increase could happen even sooner. Meanwhile, scientists say it is still not too late to minimize the devastating impact of climate change. A separate report by the Climate Action Tracker says global warming could be kept below 2 degrees. “This is an imminent risk that will affect every living person on the planet if we push the ecosystems of the world into a major extinction crisis,” says Bill Hare, a leading physicist and environmental scientist who helped produce both of these latest reports. Hare is CEO and managing director of Climate Analytics and the lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2007 reports, “Mitigation of Climate Change” and “The Synthesis Report.” Hare calls for a carbon tax — putting a small price on emissions — to reduce the benefit of burning fossil fuels and enable funding of new technologies to reduce the disastrous release of greenhouse gases.
Shell Oil in the Arctic
Problems with Shell’s Arctic Drilling Give Administration a Chance to Demand Better (read more: http://bit.ly/Puhr8k). We must not let Shell plunge into a wild and irreplaceable region using faulty emergency vessels and inadequate emergency response plans. This is the world’s last wild ocean!
(Photo: Gerard Van der Leun) (via: NRDC)
A grim report of how the drought is affecting the corn belt which in turn will affect the whole country.
(Photos top: Scott Olson / Getty Images; Photos bottom: Nati Harnik / AP; Jim Lo Scalzo / EPA)
Federal forecasters are predicting record prices for corn and soybeans, raising fears of a new world food crisis as the worst U.S. drought in half a century continues to punish key farm states.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday said production of U.S. corn and soybeans is expected to be down 17 percent from its forecast last month of nearly 13 billion bushels, and 13 percent lower than last year. It was the second month in a row when the USDA has cut its production estimate.
Bayer’s neonicotinoid pesticides, which now coat upwards of 90 percent of US corn seeds and seeds of increasing portions of other major crops like soy, have emerged as a likely trigger for colony collapse disorder.