September 25, 2013 |
SEATTLE - Six months after federal officials chastised Shell Oil for its faulty offshore drilling operations in the Arctic, the company has yet to explain what safeguards it has put in place or when it plans to resume exploring for oil in the vulnerable region. Shell's 2012 return to offshore Arctic exploration after a generation away was marred by high-profile problems, including hefty fines for polluting the air and a drilling rig that ran aground. The company canceled its 2013 drilling season, and its 2014 operations are in question.
September 24, 2013 |
MOSCOW - Russia opened a criminal case Tuesday against Greenpeace activists, accusing them of piracy for attempting to stage a protest on an Arctic oil rig. A Greenpeace spokeswoman called the accusation "absurd. " Russian border troops seized the Greenpeace icebreaker Arctic Sunrise, along with its multinational crew of 30 activists and sailors, in a commando operation Thursday in the Barents Sea. The day before, the group had been foiled while attempting to raise a protest banner on a Russian oil drilling platform.
September 21, 2013 |
Alex Turner knows how it looks: A young British rock band, widely admired for its unflinching depictions of a pub-crawl demimonde, finds huge success at home, then packs up and moves to sunny Los Angeles just as it's on the verge of becoming a kind of national institution. But if longtime fans of England's Arctic Monkeys are worried that the group has abandoned its unsavory roots, Turner has words of reassurance. "We used to have a little space on this scuzzy street in Sheffield," the singer-guitarist said recently.
September 20, 2013 |
MOSCOW - Russian commandos armed with assault rifles and handguns seized a Greenpeace ship and detained 30 activists who were protesting oil drilling in the Arctic, Greenpeace and Russian officials said Friday. Activists aboard the the Arctic Sunrise icebreaker ship told Greenpeace officials that about 15 troops rappelled down ropes from a combat helicopter in a surprise raid Thursday night in international waters, said Maria Favorskaya, a spokeswoman for the environmental group. “At gunpoint, they rounded up all the people on board and also broke the door of the radio room, where some activists tried to barricade themselves in, ” Favorskaya said.
August 16, 2013 |
Climate change presents two distinct problems. The first is linear: A little more warming causes a little more damage. The second is nonlinear: A little more warming pushes some part of the climate system past a tipping point and the damage becomes catastrophic. We need smart climate policies that address both problems, so we can slow incremental damage while also taking out an insurance policy against the growing risk of catastrophic damage. The Arctic is a prime example of a potential tipping point.
August 6, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Last year was one of the 10 hottest since global average temperatures have been recorded, according to an assessment of worldwide climate trends by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "The State of the Climate in 2012," released Tuesday, paints a sobering portrait of vast swaths of the planet transformed by rising temperatures. Arctic sea ice reached record lows during the summer thaw. In Greenland, about 97% of its ice sheet melted in the summer, far greater than in years past.
July 2, 2013 |
You just can't out-gloom an environmentalist. The Atlantic invited some luminaries to answer the question "How and when will the world end?" Some contributions were funny. Others simply plausible - a volcanic eruption from underneath Yellowstone National Park is frightfully overdue. But only an environmentalist like Bill McKibben could be a killjoy about the apocalypse itself. The environmental activist and writer declares the question moot. "In a sense, the world as we knew it is already over.
May 20, 2013 |
For decades, war has been waged over the holy grail of America's Arctic frontier, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The wide coastal plain on the edge of the Beaufort Sea contains stunning populations of caribou, grizzly, musk oxen and other wildlife -- and also an abundant pool of oil and gas. While Congress has periodically taken steps to consider opening up oil and gas development in the refuge, President Obama and many congressional Democrats...
April 10, 2013 |
SEATTLE - A third major oil company has announced it is backing off from offshore drilling in the U.S. Arctic, with ConocoPhillips saying it will put its planned 2014 operations in the Chukchi Sea on hold because of “regulatory uncertainty.” In a statement Wednesday, the company said that “evolving” federal regulations and permitting standards, put into play in the wake of Shell's troubled Arctic drilling debut last year, made...
March 26, 2013 |
Anyone forced to shovel their car out of a snowbank this winter might wonder just how it is a blizzard can occur in a warming climate. The answer, climate scientists say, may have to do with record sea ice losses in the Arctic. At a Tuesday news conference, several researchers said that warming conditions in the Arctic may be weakening jet stream currents and causing extreme weather systems to linger in northern mid-latitudes. "Ironically ... as the ice pack retreats and the Arctic heats up, there's a counteracting tendency in middle latitudes for colder winters, as well as hotter summers," said Stephen Vavrus, senior scientist at the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin.