Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Environment in Peril

Library of Congress: Totem Bight Community House, Mud Bight Village, North Tongass Highway, Ketchikan vicinity, Ketchikan Gateway Borough, AK

This will be a light posting day as I am busy, busy: here are the things that jumped out at me on the web today:

Guardian (uk): Bush opens 3m acres of Alaskan forest to logging
· Environmentalists say region will be devastated
· Supporters claim plan will revive timber industry

The US government has announced plans to open more than 3m acres (about 5,000 square miles) of Alaskan wilderness to logging, mining and road building, angering environmental campaigners who say it will devastate the region. Supporters say the plan for the Tongass National Forest, a refuge for grizzly and black bears, wolves, eagles and wild salmon, will revive the state's timber industry.

The Bush administration plan for the forest, the largest in the US at nearly 17m acres, would open 3.4m acres to logging, road building and other development, including about 2.4m acres that are currently remote and without roads. About 663,000 acres are in areas considered most valuable for timber production.

The move, the latest in a long-running saga over the Tongass forest, effectively reverses the "Roadless Rule" protection given to the area by President Clinton.

ClimateProgress: Bush SOTU: Decreasing Energy Security and Fronting for Climate Change

Lets see. After 7 years:

* Record oil imports. Check.
* Record oil prices. Check.
* Record trade deficit in oil. Check.
* Endless war in the Persian Gulf. Check.
* Iraqi oil exports below pre-war levels. Check.

Now that’s what the White House calls “Increasing Energy Security.” I’d hate to imagine what it would take for the White House to say we were Decreasing Energy Security.

And don’t get me started on “Confronting Climate Change.” The thing to always bear in mind:

President George W. Bush doesn’t just fiddle while the planet burns, he actively fans the flames and thwarts the fire-fighters.

Thank goodness this is the last Bush SOTU we’ll have to endure.

AFP: 2005 a deadly year for Caribbean coral

PARIS (AFP) - The Caribbean's fragile coral reefs were devastated in 2005 by a doubly whammy of record-high temperatures and 13 full-on hurricanes, according to a UN-sponsored report released Monday.

During the last 50 years many Caribbean reefs have lost up to 80 percent of their coral cover, damaging or destroying the main source of livelihood for hundreds of thousands of people, said the report, prepared by a team of scientists and experts at the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network.

The study was jointly sponsored by UNESCO and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission.

Coral-based ecosystems are extremely sensitive to temperature increases, which have led over the last 50 years to massive bleaching -- affecting up to 95 percent of the reefs around some islands, including the Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Cuba, and the French West Indies.

2005 was the warmest year since records were first kept in 1880, and global warming is likely to increase in years to come, climate scientists have warned.

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