Obama’s Climate Squad, Wildfire Paradise, Alligator in Terminal 3

Obama’s Climate Squad, Wildfire Paradise, Alligator in Terminal 3

04 November 2013

published by www.onearth.org

USA — The A Team: Like Arthur and his Knights of the Roundtable, President Obama created a 24-member Adaptation Task Force last week in order to bring state and local governments into the fight against climate change. The squad includes governors from seven states and 18 officials from local and tribal governments (Guam even made the cut!). With the announcement came an executive order for federal agencies to review all practices and policies to learn how we can better prepare for floods, wildfires, and other consequences of global warming. (Strangely, no mention of sharknadoes.) E&E Publishing, New York Times

Pantry raid: According to a leaked report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, globally warming is going to hit food supplies hard all over the world. Rising temperatures make it more difficult for many staple plants to survive, and the panel of scientists projects global crop production will fall 2 percent each decade from here on out. This forecast is a stark tone shift from the panel’s more hopeful 2007 report. The official report isn’t due out until March, so these projections might change, but the outlook is far from good. New York Times

Let them eat camel: As many places in the United States dry out under increasing heat, American farmers are turning to an ancient cereal referred to as “the camel of crops.” Sorghum—known in some places as milo—doesn’t require much water, grows in soil other crops can’t, and can stand-in for many of the roles corn currently plays. To boot, it’s gluten-free and relatively unchanged by modern agriculture, so trendy consumers are starting to jump on the sorghum bandwagon. NPR

Open for business: Tesoro Corp.’s pipeline in North Dakota restarted Friday, minutes after the company accepted the terms of a safety order issued by the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. (You may remember this pipeline as the one that spewed 20,000 barrels of oil into a wheat field just over a month ago. You know, the one Tesoro neglected to tell anyone about for 11 days.) Meanwhile, the company is still in the process of cleaning up the mess and says it has soaked up about 4,500 barrels so far. Reuters, Associated Press

The Tea Party stands alone: According to a new poll by the Pew Research Center, “Tea Party Republicans are now the only group of Americans who think the Earth is not warming.” The poll shows that 88 percent of Democrats, 62 percent of Independents, and 61 percent of non-Tea Party Republicans agree with scientists that climate change is for realz. Overall, that translates to 67 percent of all Americans. Washington Post

After burn: Congress is debating new legislation that would open the scorched hills of Yosemite’s Rim fire to logging, skirting numerous environmental laws to speed the process. According to a growing consortium of scientists, this would be folly, as lands ravaged by wildfire should be viewed as “ecological treasures rather than ecological catastrophes.” That’s because many birds, bats, and other species still hang their hats in this rubble—and logging would disrupt this fragile habitat. The House has already approved the legislation and it now awaits review by the Senate’s Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Associated Press

OnEarth Diet Tips: Looking for a distraction to keep you out of the kids’ candy bags? Read! Try sitting down with last weekend’s still-fresh selection of longreads. Explore the ancient roots of your snake phobia, learn how the Netherlands became a land of water whisperers, and see if you could rough it off the grid in a Colorado commune. OnEarth


Lost and found: Authorities at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport discovered a 2-foot alligator living beneath an escalator on Friday. They have no idea how it got there, how long it’s been living there, or whether it ever saw that Tom Hanks movie, but the creature appeared to be in rather poor condition. For the time being, the Chicago Herpetological Society has adopted the gator, that has been not-so-cleverly nicknamed “Allie,” and will be nursing it back to health. Chicago Tribune

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