Chicago Plastic Bag Ban Has Enough Support To Become Law, Sponsor Claims


The lead proponent of a proposa南京夜网

l to ban plastic bags in Chicago says he has enough support for his legislation to become law.

Alderman Proco “Joe” Moreno (1st) told the Chicago Sun-Times his plastic bag crackdown has the 26 votes of support lined up that it needs to become law — despite the current proposal being even broader and more strict than the version that stalled last summer.

“I’m very confident we have the votes,” Moreno told the paper. “We’ve been kicking this around for years. I’m not a very patient guy, but I’ve been patient on this. It’s time to move.”

The previous proposal excluded retailer establishments smaller than 5,000 square feet from being required to only offer reusable shopping bags to customers, but the updated proposal now includes those smaller retailers as well, the Associated Press notes.

The Illinois Retail Merchants Association has previously opposed a plastic bag ban in Chicago, describing it in a 2013 letter addressed to the City Council as “tantamount to a tax on grocers” that would ultimately saddle consumers with higher prices.

For his part, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has remained “neutral” on the proposal’s previous incarnations and Chicago isn’t the sort of city where any proposal becomes law without the mayor’s backing.

The mayor’s office sai南京最具人气的夜生活门户网站

d in an emailed statement to the Sun-Times they “have not yet reviewed this proposed ordinance, but share Ald. Moreno’s commitment to ensuring a cleaner Chicago.”

Moreno has previously reported an estimated 3.7 million plastic bags are being used citywide daily and that between 3 and 5 percent of them become litter, getting stuck in drains causing flooding, clogging landfills and jamming recycling machinery.

Meanwhile, in California, where cities including Los Angeles and San Francisco have already banned the bag, a push for a statewide ban is underway. Hawaii already instituted the nation’s first statewide ban of plastic bags available at checkout counters.

Willie Nelson's 'America The Beautiful' Takes Aim At Mountaintop Removal (VIDEO)

Award-winning country singer-songwriter Willie Nelson is joining the fight against mountaintop removal — a surface mining practice that involves clearing, blasting and processing mountaintops or ridge lines for coal.

This rendition of “America the Beautiful” from Nelson and the Natural Resources Defense Council begins like any other patriotic tribute to the American 南京人上南京夜网

landscape, but soon takes a dramatic turn. Images of cleared forests, blasting mountains and creeping coal sludge provide a sharp contrast to the song’s lyrics, and highlight how devastating this practice is to the Appalachian communities and ecosystems.

The new video was released just before the House of Representatives passed the “Preventing Government Waste and Protecting Coal Min南京桑拿按摩会所哪里有

ing Jobs in America Act,” a bill that would codify a 2008 stream buffer zone rule from the Bush administration that allowed mountaintop mining companies to dump debris into streams and other waterways. The Obama administration pledged closer scrutiny of mountaintop removal waste disposal permits shortly after taking office, and last month a federal court struck down the Bush-era rule for violating the Endangered Species Act. The recent bill, which likely won’t pass the Senate, would almost certainly be vetoed by President Obama.

Mountaintop removal mining has serious health and environmental consequences. Over 2,000 miles of streams in Appalachia have been contaminated from this practice, and 240 species of plants and animals are threatened by it, according to the Sierra Club. Additionally, the Center for Health, Environment and Justice reports that rates of cancer, birth defects and chronic cardiovascular mortality are elevated in areas where mountaintop removal occurs.

Cable Networks Largely Ignore Major Climate Change Report

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NEW YORK -– The New York Times led Monday’s paper with an ominous headline potentially affecting everyone on Earth: “Panel’s Warning On Climate Risk: Worst Is To南京夜网


A major new report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change detailed how climate change is already impacting the planet, including rising sea levels, increasingly acidic oceans, melting ice caps and brutal heat waves. The report, according to the Times, “cited the risk of death or injury on a widespread scale, probable damage to public health, displacement of people and potential mass migrations.”

But such dramatic findings weren’t treated with similar urgency Monday morning on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News. The three cable news networks largely ignored the IPCC’s findings between 6:00 a.m. and noon, according to a search using media monitoring service TVEyes.

CNN briefly mentioned the U.N. report during two news roundups, speaking about it for roughly 40 seconds of airtime out of six hours.

However, CNN found plenty of time to devote to missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. The network has been obsessively covering the mystery for several weeks, regardless of whether there’s any new information to report.

CNN led its 6 a.m. morning show, “New Day,” with a roughly 10-minute report and discussion on the plane, featuring analysts. Later that same hour, CNN aired a roughly seven-minute segment on the ongoing search in the Indian Ocean. And just before 7 a.m., co-host Chris Cuomo again jumped back to the missing plane story, with a correspondent in Perth, Australia, and analysts talking for nine more minutes. CNN returned to the story several times throughout the morning.

Meanwhile, MSNBC spent about 20 seconds on the IPCC report during the same six hours, according to TVEyes. (Though host Joy Reid took a deeper dive into it during the 2 p.m. hour.) Fox News, which has long cast doubt on the climate change, despite overwhelming scientific consensus, unsurprisingly ignored the report.

It’s possible that primetime cable news shows will devote more time on Monday evening to the IPCC report. But the lack of attention throughout the morning was notable considering how a relative newcomer to the U.S. cable market handled the story南京人上南京夜网


Al Jazeera America covered the report more comprehensively during the 9 a.m. hour than CNN, MSNBC and Fox News combined in the six hours analyzed. In addition to detailing the report’s findings, AJAM demonstrated the real-world impact in a report about how some Bangladeshis have been forced to leave their homes because of rising sea levels.

It’s not as if AJAM is the only cable news network with the ability to quickly pivot to the climate change report, which was released early Monday in Yokohama, Japan.

CNN Newsroom devoted a few minutes to the climate change report Monday morning, but only during an hour in which either U.S. insomniacs or international viewers were likely tuning in. CNN covered the IPCC report at 3:22 a.m., and then later that hour turned to Exeter University professor Neil Adger, one of the report’s lead authors, to discuss his work for 3 1/2 minutes.

Got Science? This Climate Smear Spurred a Hate Mail Barrage


Lawrence Torcello, a philosophy professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology, never imagined he would become the focus of a vicious barrage of hate mail when, last month, he published an article in a British online journal about the ethics of climate change misinformation.

But, sure enough, in recent weeks, Torcello has been subjected to death threats, racial slurs, anti-gay and anti-Semitic epithets. He’s been called a fascist, a Stalinist, a Nazi, and a communist. One of the many contemptible emails he received, for example, reads simply: “DIE you maggot.” An anonymous phone message ominously threatens that he’ll “be paid a visit.” In all, Torcello estimates that he has been subjected to more than 700 harassing calls, emails and tweets.

What did Torcello do to attract such a response?

He raised the ethical issue — in an academic venue, no less — of how society should contend with those who knowingly disseminate misinformation about climate science.

Sadly Familiar

Before delving into the particulars, it’s important to note that Torcello’s case highlights an increasingly common form of harassment that is all too familiar to scientists and other researchers who have spoken out about climate change. Eminent climate scientists such as Michael Mann and Benjamin Santer have faced similar intimidation and even death threats. Mann was likened in print to a child molester; Santer was subjected to a dead rat on his doorstep, among many other similar incidents.

Torcello’s case is particularly interesting, though, because he appears to have fallen victim to precisely the type of disinformation campaign he decried as he saw his argument distorted beyond recognition by media outlets that thrive on half truths and politically charged controversy, whipping up the ire of an ugly and angry fringe in the process.

A Philosophical Argument

It should be clear to anyone who actually reads Torcello’s article that he is wrestling with the philosophical question of how society should hold to account those who willfully distort climate science and disseminate misinformation. Of course, it’s more than an academic question because it is a well-known fact that fossil fuel interests have long been underwriting a disinformation campaign specifically designed to block climate action and confuse the public about the issue.

Torcello argues from a moral and philosophical standpoint that those who purposefully engage in misinformation campaigns ought to be considered criminally negligent. As he explains, the core idea of criminal negligence as a legal and moral concept is that people can be held responsible when they fail to exercise reasonable care that takes into account the potential harm their actions may cause to others. And, as Torcello rightly contends, climate misinformation campaigns are already causing widespread harm.

While you might reasonably disagree with Torcello’s argument, of course, it’s hard to imagine his views leading to a barrage of hate mail until you see the way certain media outlets chose to distort his views.

Blatant Distortion

The first blatant distortion江苏夜网

of Torcello’s argument appeared on Breitbart, a right-wing website, in an article which inaccurately alleged Torcello was saying that “scientists who don’t believe in catastrophic man-made global warming should be put in prison.” That inflammatory piece of misinformation was soon picked up on sites including The Daily Caller and FoxNation.

The Drudge Report stretched the distortion of Torcello’s article even further, erroneously contending that he had “called for the incarceration of any American who actively disagrees that climate change is solely caused by human activity.” Of course, Torcello had never said anything of the kind.

Nonetheless, a variety of climate misinformers quickly jumped in to further fan the flames. Blogger Anthony Watts branded Torcello “despicable” and urged his readers to contact Torcello and his institution. Britain’s Lord Christopher Monckton, a longtime climate contrarian, wrote to the provost of the Rochester Institute of Technology questioning Torcello’s fitness “to hold any academic post at the Institute.”

Torcello says he is grateful that his university came strongly to his defense, issuing a statement that both defended his academic freedom and underscored the scientific consensus about human-caused global warming. But he still marvels at the phenomenon.

“It still seems incredible to me that so many people would bother to write me or call me without actually having read my article,” he says.

Disinformation: The Real Issue

Fringe groups can whip themselves into a frenzy all they like, but it doesn’t change the fact that Torcello’s academic article raises an issue of real import.

We’ve known for years and even decades that the overwhelming scientific consensus is that human activity is leading the planet to dangerous and potentially catastrophic climate change. The latest report from th夜网知识

e Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issues the most sober warnings yet about the imminent threat we face.

All the while, we’ve known too that some fossil fuel interests, such as ExxonMobil and the Koch brothers, have purposefully and often underhandedly worked to confuse the public about the dangers their actions are causing to the planet. A detailed, peer-reviewed study by Robert Brulle at Drexel University offers a comprehensive analysis of the way these carbon producers and others have bankrolled front groups dispensing climate disinformation.

Meanwhile, recently published research documents that nearly two-thirds of the industrial carbon pollution released into the atmosphere since 1854 can be directly traced to the carbon extracted from the Earth by just 90 entities — 83 producers of coal, oil, and natural gas, and seven cement manufacturers.

So our understanding of who’s actually driving climate change is becoming all the clearer. In that sense, questions like Torcello’s are gaining urgency: how should those who knowingly disseminate disinformation about climate change be held to account? And what kind of responsibility do the major carbon producers have for climate-related damage they continue to cause to people around the globe?

Fighting Back

Regardless of the answers we ultimately find to those questions, it is clear that a reasonable debate does not include hate mail and harassment.

Unfortunately, however, Torcello’s case is common enough that my colleagues at the Union of Concerned Scientists decided to publish a primer offering helpful pointers about how harassed scientists should respond, including:

  • avoid getting pulled into debates with people who only seek to waste your time,
  • respond only through mainstream sources or your own blog,
  • and keep records of harassing messages, contacting authorities if they become threatening.

Torcello says that the response he has received has shown him that “those seeking to distort the findings of climate science are equally willing to distort philosophical and political argument with blatant acts of dishonesty.” It’s a sad reality that those who write about climate change now must prepare for this sort of harassment and that universities and other organizations need to be prepared to support their employees during such assaults as well.

Still, even ugly harassment can’t be permitted to shut down a debate whose time has come.

Seth Shulman, senior staff writer at the Union of Concerned Scientists, is a veteran science journalist and author of six books whose work has appeared in The Atlantic, Discover, Nature, Technology Review, Parade and many other publications. You can sign up to receive his monthly Got Science? column via email at the Union of Concerned Scientists website:

The 10 Most Sustainable Architecture Projects In The U.S.

By Karissa Rosenfield
(Read the original story here)

In honor of Earth Day, we have complied a preview of the top ten most sustainable exemplars of U.S. architecture selected by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and its Committee on the Environment (). Each project featured will be honored with a Top Ten Award for “sustainable design excellence” at the 2014 National Convention in Chicago.

1. Arizona State University Student Health Services: Tempe, Arizona / Lake|Flato Architects + Orcutt|Winslow

The Arizona State University (ASU) Health Services Building is an adaptive reuse project that transformed the existing sterile and inefficient clinic into a clearly organized, efficient, and welcoming facility. The design imbues the new facility with a sense of health and wellness that leverages Tempe’s natural environment and contributes to a more cohesive pedestrian oriented campus. The building’s energy performance is 49% below ASHRAE 90.1-2007, exceeding the current target of the 2030 Challenge. The facility achieved LEED Platinum certification and is one of the best energy performers on campus as evidenced by ASU’s Campus Metabolism interactive web-tool tracking real-time resource use.

2. Bud Clark Commons: Portland, Oregon / Holst Architecture

As a centerpiece of Portland’s 10- Year Plan to End Homelessness, this LEED Platinum project provides a continuum of services to help transition homeless individuals toward stable, permanent living arrangements. The architecture helps achieve this goal with a walk-in day center with public courtyard and access to support services; a 90-bed temporary shelter; and a separate and secure entrance to 130 efficient, furnished studio apartments for homeless individuals seeking permanent housing. The building’s design aims to de-institutionalize services and housing for the most vulnerable in our population. Sustainable features include large-scale graywater recycling, zero stormwater runoff, solar hot water, and a high-performance envelope, resulting in energy savings estimated at $60,000 annually.

3. Bushwick Inlet Park: Brooklyn, New York / Kiss + Cathcart, Architects

This project is the first phase of the transformation of the Greenpoint–Williamsburg waterfront from a decaying industrial strip to a multifaceted public park. The design team integrated a program of playfields, public meeting rooms, classrooms, and park maintenance facilities, into a city-block sized site. The park building becomes a green hill on the west side, making 100% of the site usable to the public, and offering views to Manhattan. Below the green roof is a complex of building systems – ground source heat pump wells, rainwater harvest and storage, and drip irrigation. A solar trellis produces half the total energy used in the building.

4. Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt (EGWW) Federal Building Modernization: Portland, Oregon / SERA Archi南京夜生活

tects with Cutler Anderson Architects

On track to be one of the lowest energy-use buildings in the U.S., EGWW is a model for U.S. General Services Administration nationwide. The project’s goal was to transform the existing building from an aging, energy hog to one of the premiere environmentally-friendly buildings in the nation. With a unique facade of “reeds”, light shelf /sunshades designed by orientation and a roof canopy that supports a 180 kW photovoltaic array while collecting rainwater, EGWW pushes the boundaries for innovative sustainable deign strategies. In addition to the energy improvements, the design reveals the history of the building, exposing the artifacts of the original builders.

5. Gateway Center – SUNY-ESF College of Environmental Science & Forestry: Syracuse, NY / Architerra

The SUNY-ESF College of Environmental Science & Forestry Gateway Center is a striking symbol of environmental stewardship and climate action leadership. This LEED Platinum campus center meets ESF’s goal of reducing the overall carbon footprint of the campus through net positive renewable energy production, while creating a combined heat and power plant and intensive green roof that serve as hands-on teaching and research tools. The double-ended bioclimatic form exemplifies passive solar design. Net positive energy systems integrated with the design serve four adjacent ESF buildings, providing 60% of annual campus heating needs and 20% of annual power needs.

6. John & Frances Angelos Law Center: Baltimore / Behnisch Architekten and Ayers Saint Gross

The John and Frances Angelos Law Center is the first large-scale opportunity for the University of Baltimore to demonstrate its intent to pursue strategies that eliminate global warming emissions and achieve climate neutrality. With this in mind, the Law Center is a highly sustainable and innovative structure that strives to reduce reliance on energy and natural resources, minimizing its dependence on mechanical ventilation and artificial lighting of interiors. This is part o南京夜网休闲娱乐会所信息

f a larger comprehensive effort on the part of the A/E team to approach sustainability from a more holistic vantage point from the outset of the project.

7. Sustainability Treehouse: Glen Jean, West Virginia / Mithun with BNIM

Situated in the forest at the Summit Bechtel Reserve, this interactive, interpretive and gathering facility serves as a unique icon of scouting adventure, environmental stewardship and high performance building design. Visitors ascend indoor and outdoor platforms to experience the forest from multiple vantages and engage with educational exhibits that explore the site and ecosystem at the levels of ground, tree canopy and sky. Innovative green building systems—including a 6,450-watt photovoltaic array output, two 4,000-watt wind turbines, and a 1,000-gallon cistern and water cleansing system—combine to yield a net-zero energy and net-zero water facility that touches its site lightly.

8. The David and Lucile Packard Foundation Headquarters: Los Altos California / EHDD

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation headquarters acts as a catalyst for broad organizational sustainability and brings staff, grantees and partners together to solve the world’s most intractable problems. The Foundation’s connection to the Los Altos community dates back to its inception in 1964. For the last two decades, as its grant making programs expanded locally and worldwide, staff and operations have been scattered in buildings throughout the city. This project enhances proximity and collaboration while renewing the Foundation’s commitment to the local community by investing in a downtown project intended to last through the end of 21st century.

9. U.S. Land Port of Entry: Warroad, Minnesota / Snow Kreilich Architects, Inc.

This LEED Gold certified Land Port of Entry is the first to employ a ground source heat pump system. Sustainably harvested cedar was used on the entire exterior envelope, canopies and some interior walls and 98% of all wood on the project is FSC certified. Additionally 22% of the material content came from recycled materials and 91% of all work areas have access to daylight. Rainwater collection, reconstructed wetlands and native plantings address resource and site-specific responses. The facility proudly supports the mission-driven demands of US Customs and Border Protection while addressing the sustainable challenges of our future.

10. Wayne N. Aspinall Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse: Grand Junction, Colorado / Westlake Reed Leskosky with The Beck Group

The LEED® Platinum renovation preserves an anchor in Grand Junction, and converts the 1918 landmark into one of the most energy efficient, sustainable historic buildings in the country. The design aims to be GSA’s first Site Net-Zero Energy facility on the National Register. Exemplifying sustainable preservation, it restores and showcases historic volumes and finishes, while sensitively incorporating innovative systems and drastically reducing energy consumption. Features include a roof canopy-mounted 123 kW photovoltaic array, variable-refrigerant flow heating and cooling systems, 32-well passive Geo-Exchange system, a thermally upgraded enclosure, energy recovery, wireless controls, fluorescent and LED lighting, and post-occupancy monitoring.

The 2014 Jury: 

Frederick Steiner, School of Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin
Catherine Gavin, Texas Architect
Bill Browning, Hon. AIA, Terrapin Bright Green
Thomas E. Simpson, PE, LEED® AP, US East Integral Group
Jennifer Yoos, FAIA, LEED AP, V J A A

>Project descriptions and images provided by the AIA.

Grandmother Power


People say it takes a village to raise a child. I say it takes a village to raise a mom. Who does the bulk of that work? Grandmothers. Grandmothers guide us along life’s exhilarating and exhausting journeys. They are among the first to set a child’s moral compass. And they can be counted on, by all of us, for infinite resets, too.

After all the terrible news from the world’s most prestigious climate scientists about the impacts of carbon and methane pollution on our atmosphere, it is nice to have a reset of our moods — from a grandmother.

There’s excellent news in the air: First, an important win in the courts, upholding the important Mercury and Air Toxics Standards that will do so much to protect the developing brains, hearts and lungs of our babies and children. Then, stunning news from the Supreme Court, upholding EPA’s right to regulate the pollution coming from coal plants in the Midwest and Appalachia, creating blankets of smog that waft out of states like Ohio and Kentucky — triggering waves of asthma attacks — into states like Maine and Tennessee.

The Supreme Court decisio南京桑拿论坛

n on the “good neighbor” regulation of coal pollution was written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. And yes, she’s a grandmother. Just sayin’.

The Cross-State Air Pollution rule crossed party lines from the beginning. “We don’t want Kentucky’s dirty air,” said Republican Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander. “Nine million tourists [a year] come to see the Great Smoky Mountains, not the Great Smoggy Mountains.” Republican Senator and New Hampshire mom Kelly Ayotte, who bravely crossed party lines to join Senator Jeanne Shaheen in support of the rule during a Congressional attack, welcomed the Supreme Court decision on behalf of her downwind state.

I don’t understand why Kentucky allows itself to stand for dirty coal — at a time when coal companies themselves boast of being able to produce clean coal to their shareholders. My grandmother lived in Kentucky, and some of my most cherished memories are of spending time sitting in her lap, basking in her goodness. She valued honesty, decorum, kindness and thrift. She certainly knew what it meant to be a good neighbor. She loved the outdoors — she loved spending time at the family farm. She never raised her voice. But she always made herself heard.

Moms Clean Air Force boasts a joyful number of grandmothers, judging from the comments we get. Women who care, women who are concerned about what we are leaving behind for the next generations, women who understand that we have a moral obligation to keep the village safe.

Mother’s Day is coming up, but I want to preempt it w同时也是江苏人气生活社区

ith a shout-out to the world’s grandmothers. You are our models: your passion, persistence and power — tempered by years of reality checks — are beacons for us all.

Now, onto the Mother of All Pollution Battles — against the carbon and methane emissions that cause global warming. A grandmother’s work is never done.

Photo: Shutterstock


The White House Steps Up its Fight Against Climate Change

Stepping up its efforts to fight climate change, the White House is now trying to court TV Meteorologists to help communicate the link between America’s recent string of extreme weather, and the science behind global warming. Barack Obama warned NBC’s Today show forecaster, Al Roker on Tuesday:

We want to emphasize that this is not some distant problem of the future. This is a problem that is affecting Americans right now. Whether it means increased flooding, greater vulnerability to drought, more severe wildfires — all these things are having an impact on Americans as we speak.

The news came as the U.S. president prepares to push through his signature climate rescue plan, cutting carbon emissions from existing power plants: they are responsible for most of the country’s noxious greenhouse gases.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will unveil the president’s more stringent set of rules next month.

Obama’s success very much depends on how much support he can garner from the American public who elected him into power, twice. According to a recent Gallop poll, although most people in the U.S. believe that climate change is real, they do not regard it as a pressing issue.

The president’s latest move came as the White House launched its most recent climate report this week. The most definitive account on what climate change means for America in years, the 1,300-page study by over 300 scientists concludes that global warming is no longer some distant threat: it’s a real and present danger. Said John Holdren, the administration’s science advisor:

I think this National Climate Assessment is the loudest and clearest alarm bell to date signaling the need to take urgent action to combat the threats to Americans from climate change.

According to White House official John Podesta, no region, nor economic sector will escape unscathed.

Defending the findings, Obama will square off with Republicans, and the huge oil and gas lobby who continue to deny the science behind climate change. “We’ve got a challenging context on Capitol Hill. Hopefully this information will begin to change some minds up there and climate deniers will recede,” said Podesta.

But, according to recent documents seen by the Guardian, the White House may have quite a fight on its hands.

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a group of state legislators funded by Big Oil and Coal, have allegedly embarked on a new campaign to block the EPA’s upcoming efforts. In a bid to torpedo the new rules before they even see the light of day, ALEC has already launched several lawsuits across the country.

Fighting back, the Obama administration is now asking TV weather forecasters to join them in their fight against the deniers and help spread the truth about climate change.

According to a Pew research report, over 60 percent of the public trust TV weather anchors over climate scientists.

But, the White House may face an uphill battle on that front as less than a fifth of these reporters accept the science behind global warming. According to Mashable’s climate writer Andrew Freedman:

Many TV meteorologists remain climate change sceptics, in part because they are skilled at forecasting weather over short time periods, which can make them doubt long-range projections from climate science computer models.

The news comes a few days after Ban Ki Moon, the head of the United Nations, urged world leaders to fire up their efforts against climate change.

His clarion call for action came two months after the UN released its most sobering account on the state of our climate yet: “Things are worse than we had predicted. We are going to see more i致力打造南京夜生活第一人气论坛

mpacts, faster and sooner than we had anticipated,” said Saleemul Huq from the Independent University in Bangladesh.

That brutal assessment came six months after the Nobel Peace prize-winning body revealed that our planet is warming much faster than expected: temperatures may now breach the upper safe limit of warming within the next 30 years.

Calls for greater climate justice have increased since the UN’s latest trilogy of reports.

Last month, oil giant Royal Dutch Shell together with 70 other major companies, called on world leaders to lay down a timeline, and strategy to achieve zero net carbon emissions before the end of this century.

And just last week, the U.S. and China stepped up their efforts to spearhead a new global treaty to rein in emissions by 2020. With emissions that match nearly the rest of the world’s combined, Washington and Beijing have now started tackling the most contentious part of the problem: laying down their carbon emission targets.

According to the UN’s latest report, emissions must peak within the next few years if the planet is to avoid the worst effects of catastrophic warming.

This September, heads of state will gather in New York to draw up a blueprint for next year’s Paris treaty. A truly global problem, global warming can only be solved if each and every nation commits to the cuts.

Responsible for most of the warming this century, China is still reluctant to make its emission goals binding: millions of its people live on less than $400 a year.

But, as it eclipses America to become the world’s largest superpower later this year, it must show more global leadership on the issue.

In a country of 1.3 billion 南京夜网梧桐客栈

people, the Chinese leadership is naturally concerned about instability. And, although pollution is currently the leading source of social discontent, the government will have a much graver problem on its hands once the ravaging effects of climate change start to ripple across the continent.

According to the head of the World Bank Jim Yong Kim, warming temperatures will usher in conflicts over food and water within the next five to 10 years: “There’s just no question about it.”

As Winston Churchill once said:

One ought to never turn one’s back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will only double the danger. But, if you meet it promptly, without flinching, you will reduce it by half.

With a steep temperature rise sitting on our collective horizon, which will only worsen the longer that we ignore it, those words couldn’t ring more true.

All The Kittens Want To Hug This Amazing Dog

Karen Bean

A lot of tiny kittens pass through one Maryland home. Eventually, they all end up with their arms around Conall the dog.

“Lucas and I have fostered eight kittens so far. Seven bottle babies and another current special needs cat,” says Karen Bean, who volunteers as the foster cat coordinator for the Washington Humane Society. “Yes, Con has gotten hugs from each and every one!”

Lucas is Bean’s husband, and Tommy the kitten is the couple’s latest feline visitor. The latter was found a couple of weeks ago, abandoned in the nation’s capital. He was very small, and not yet able to eat solid food, which turned the Bean household — already home to what can be described as a tangle of cats — into a pretty easy mark.

“When I saw this little guy all by his lonesome I just had to bring him home,” says Bean, who 南京最好的生活

is a freelance hair stylist and quilter when she isn’t looking after the well-being of animals.

kitten hugging dog

Tommy with Conall. Photo credit: Karen Bean

Conall joined the household about five years ago. He was adopted from a North Carolina shelter to be a plain old spoiled house pet, but soon showed he had more to offer when Lucas, a retired Navy intelligence analyst, returned from deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan with post traumatic stress disorder.

“We got Conall originally just to be an addition to our family, but quickly realized he had a knack for sensing when Lucas was having problems,” Bean said.

The family found a good trainer, and Conall transformed into Lucas’ service dog. “Conall has been and continues to be a tremendous help not just to Lucas, but for me as a wife as well. He can proved Lucas with help and support that I just can’t,” Bean said, adding, “I really could go on and on about how wonderful our little boy in a dog suit is.”

service dog

Photo credit: Karen Bean

The Beans’ other animals — and, yes, it’s hard to keep them all straight — are all cats. There’s five-year-old Harlowe, four-year-old Herbie and two “foster failures,” cats who were supposed to be temporary but managed to get themselves adopted, named Prudence and Calvin, who are both about a year old.


Photo credit: Karen Bean

Then there’s two other fosters besides Tommy. One is another bottle-feeding baby named Louis. The other is an 11-month-old special needs cat named Chim, who has to wear looks like a wee helmet to protect his little head, since he has a severe case of cerebellar hypoplasia.

“Basically the portion of his brain that controls balance and stability is under-developed,” says Bean. “He can’t walk and his wobbles a lot. Other than that, Chim i苏州桑拿会夜网

s a perfectly healthy, awesome little guy.”


Photo credit: Karen Bean

He’s an awesome little guy who, just like the others, loves snuggling with the dog.

“Conall has always been patient and snuggled with all our foster kittens. I really feel he recognizes that they are just babies and they need care,” says Bean.

kitten and dog

Conall with Chim. Photo credit: Karen Bean

But however much the Beans and their sweet cuddlebug dog love these cats — and they really, really do — Chim is already listed on the Washington Humane Society website, and Tommy and Louis should be ready for adoption in June.

“The best part about fostering is caring for an animal in need and then sending them on to a loving home.” Bean says. “The last part can be difficult, though.”

cats bird watching

Bean cats birdwatching. Photo credit: Karen Bean

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As Hurricane Season Begins, New Storm Surge Maps Emphasize Importance Of Preparedness

United States flags are displayed on flood-damaged homes in the Breezy Point section of Queens, N.Y., Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

This story originally appeared on Climate Central.

When Hurricane Sandy struck the Northeast, it was not the storm’s winds but the massive pile of water those winds pushed in front of the storm that wreaked the most havoc, inundating coastal areas in 3 to 9 feet of water, causing billions in damages, and leaving dozens dead. In general, this storm surge poses a far greater threat to lives and property than winds when hurricanes and tropical storms hit.

It’s with this in mind that the National Hurricane Center (NHC) has developed an experimental system that maps the projected storm surge in areas under threat from tropical cyclones — just in time for this hurricane season, which began on Sunday, June 1.

Sandy was no different than most other tropical cyclones, the generic term for hurricanes and typhoons, with the major proportion of its damage caused by storm surge. In the 50-year period from 1963 to 2012, storm surge accounted for nearly half of all tropical cyclone deaths in the U.S., according to a recent study in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. That’s far more than the 8 percent the study attributed to the high winds many assume to be the biggest danger in a hurricane. Yet wind speed continues to be the main measure of a cyclone’s strength, determining when a tropical storm becomes a hurricane and what “category” ranking a hurricane receives.

It’s this unappreciated threat from storm surge that prompted the NHC to begin issuing experimental storm surge flooding maps for all tropical cyclones that threaten U.S. coasts starting with the 2014 hurricane season. The maps will show how high a particular storm’s surge is expected to get in different areas and how far inland it could go.

“This is a really desperately needed update,” said Jamie Rhome, a storm surge specialist with the NHC who is heading the mapping effort.

Adding to the need for such a warning mechanism is the fact that the population along coastal areas has been rising, putting more people in harm’s way. And rising sea levels — the result of the ocean warming and ice melting due in part to warming global temperatures — are increasing the storm surge threat. Some research has also suggested that Atlantic basin stor南京夜生活

m could become more intense, if less frequent, which could effect the level of storm surge coastal communities experience.

While Sandy brought threat of storm surge to the public’s attention, it was an earlier storm that jump-started the NHC’s efforts to produce inundation maps: Hurricane Ike, which hit Galveston, Texas, on Sept. 13, 2008, as a Category 2 hurricane and brought storm surge that reached 15-20 feet above normal tides.

An example of a new storm surge mapping tool unveiled by the National Hurricane Center as an experimental product during the 2014 season. This map shows how a hypothetical Hurricane ‘X’ might impact Ft. Myers, Fla., with different levels of storm surge color coded. Credit: NHC/NOAA

Rhome said that the effort began shortly after Ike, when social scientists were brought in to help run focus groups and tell the hurricane researchers what kind of tool would be most useful to the public. Based on that feedback, Rhome and his team spent the last few years refining the maps.

Sandy just “shined a big spotlight on the project” and helped expedite its release, Rhome told Climate Central. Recent advances in computer models and the growing availability of detailed topographical data, both critical for telling how high waters could rise, have also helped bring the project to fruition and the resulting maps will now be tested over the next two hurricane seasons.

Each map will show the area under threat from storm surge, with color-coded ratings showing how high the water could get above the ground in different areas. The scale runs from blue to red and represents water rising anywhere from up to 3 feet to more than 9 feet above ground.

The maps are based on several factors including how big the incoming storm is, its intensity, and the track it is expected to take since winds on the right side of a storm will push water toward shore, while the winds on the left side will push it away. The ratings also take into account astronomical tides and the elevation of the land under threat.

Maps will be issued for a given storm when a hurricane watch or warning is issued, and in some cases for a tropical storm watch or warning, when any place along the U.S. Gulf or East Coast is under threat.

Throughout the two-year experimental run, Rhome and his colleagues will see how the maps perform in showing where the surge actually occurs. And if the season is as uneventful for the U.S. as it was in 2013? Then the team will create “fake” storms to see what the models predict.

“There’ll still be ways to test it,” Rhome said.

Rhome and his team will also be looking for feedback from officials and the public. The NHC has a survey set up on its site where users can leave comments.

So far, the feedback “has bee南京夜网

n incredibly if not overwhelmingly positive,” Rhome said.