By Eriq Gardner
Tar sands project gets reviewed amid protests
The Obama administration is set to make a key decision whether to approve a $7 billion project that carries oil extracted from Canadian tar sands along a 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline to Oklahoma. Obama says he will personally make the decision, relying upon a recommendation from the State Department, which has opened an investigation into undue influence on policy makers and possible conflicts of interest. About 12,000 concerned citizens gathered at the White House on Sunday to protest potential approval, including a NASA scientists who believes that if the pipeline were to be approved, it would be “game over for the climate.”
The world’s water crisis may be solvable, say scientists
According to a report in the journal, Water International, there’s enough water to solve shortages in Africa, Asia, and Latin America and double food production in the coming decades. The problem has been making efficient use of key rivers across Africa, which the head scientist for agricultural research group CGIAR argues is a “political challenge, not a resource concern.”
Oceans are trawled for trash
The European Union has launched an innovative project to solve the problem of waste material thrown in oceans: Fishermen are being paid to fish out trash, haul it back to land, where it can be sold to recycling companies. The project has recently expanded and may do something about the estimated 250 billion tons of dissolved plastic in the Mediterranean. Paying fisherman to do something other than bottom see trawling could also help threatened biological diversity in the oceans, recently the subject of a marine science expedition.
Climate change is costly and politically unpopular
A new study appearing in Health Affairs reveals that climate change-related natural disasters has caused more than $14 billion in additional health care costs in the United States. The report says that the health care system absorbed 760,000 visits to hospitals and doctors, including 1,689 premature deaths. Few politicians have made the health care case in enacting policies that control climate change, but there’s potential. Already, 77 percent of Americans believe the U.S. needs to take the lead in adopting clean energy policies, according to a new study.
Picture of the week: A flying rhino
The World Wildlife Fund has since 2003 been trying to increase the number of critically endangered black rhinos in South Africa. Via the Grist, here’s a photograph of their work showing one rhino being transported by air to a safer habitat.
(Photo by http://www.greenrenaissance.co.za/ for the World Wildlife Fund)