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Wik-Bee Leaks: EPA Document Shows It Knowingly Allowed Pesticide That Kills Honey Bees

The world honey bee population has plunged in recent years, worrying beekeepers and farmers who know how critical bee pollination is for many crops. A number of theories have popped up as to why the North American honey bee population has declined--electromagnetic radiation, malnutrition, and climate change have all been pinpointed. Now a leaked EPA document reveals that the agency allowed the widespread use of a bee-toxic pesticide, despite warnings from EPA scientists. The document, which was leaked to a Colorado beekeeper, shows that the EPA has ignored warnings about the use of clothianidin, a pesticide produced by Bayer that mainly is used to pre-treat corn seeds. The pesticide scooped up $262 million in sales in 2009 by farmers, who also use the substance on canola, soy, sugar beets, sunflowers, and wheat, according to Grist. The leaked document (PDF) was put out in response to Bayer's request to approve use of the pesticide on cotton and mustard. Related: Related:  Environment

Drinking Water From Air Humidity Not a plant to be seen, the desert ground is too dry. But the air contains water, and research scientists have found a way of obtaining drinking water from air humidity. The system is based completely on renewable energy and is therefore autonomous. Cracks permeate the dried-out desert ground, the landscape bears testimony to the lack of water. Research scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB in Stuttgart working in conjunction with their colleagues from the company Logos Innovationen have found a way of converting this air humidity autonomously and decentrally into drinkable water. Because of the vacuum, the boiling point of the liquid is lower than it would be under normal atmospheric pressure. “The concept is suitable for various sizes of installation.

Climate Change Debate Unfolded I intend to come back to this strip and rewrite some of the first half, in order to make the science clearer. I'm sure there will be a few spelling errors and suchlike. Feel free to point them out, but keep in mind that I've been staring at many of these pages for weeks, to the point where even the word 'and' looks funny to me. I shall be adding on references to this strip over the coming few days. Thanks to Albert the Knowledge Penguin for his help. Note: added Jan 2012. A few references. Superb New Yorker piece about the Koch Brothers and their involvement with the far right. That Proceedings of the National Academy of Science paper, which I mention in the strip, on the numbers of climate researchers who believe that science points to the truth of man made climate change, compared to those researchers who don't. Excellent book that does what it says on the tin. NASA's climate change evidence page. Scott Mandia's research into the media's deplorable Climategate coverage.

Voters Overwhelmingly Support EPA Air Pollution Rules A new, nationwide poll shows that by a wide margin, voters of both political parties and in all regions of the U.S. disagree with Congress’ anti-Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) agenda and support the EPA’s new rules to limit air pollution from coal-fired power plants. A new, nationwide poll shows that by a wide margin, voters of both political parties and in all regions of the U.S. disagree with Congress’ anti-Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) agenda and support the EPA’s new rules to limit air pollution from coal-fired power plants. Two-thirds of the respondents – 67 percent – oppose Congress delaying implementation of the air pollution rules, according to the national survey of 1,400 voters conducted by Hart Research Associates and GS Strategy Group and sponsored by Ceres. “American voters, both Democrats and Republicans, are unified in backing prompt EPA action on the clean air rules,” said Ceres president Mindy Lubber. Among the poll’s key findings: Key Regional Findings

Anatomy of a Smear: WikiLeaks' Assange Wanted for "Sex by Surprise," Not Rape WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is facing arrest for violating a Swedish law about sex without condoms, rather than a mainstream interpretation of "rape." Yet that's the charge reports often levy against him. Behold the smear campaign. The New York Times wrote about the case on Thursday, noting that Swedish authorities were hunting Assange on charges of "rape, sexual molestation, and unlawful coercion." The Swedish charges aren't exactly new, though. Assange has questioned the "veracity" of the two women's statements, as the Times report notes. Then came the Interpol warrant, and with it, a new life for the previous rape accusations. But few outlets are as concerned as the Times with nuance. A Google search for "Julian Assange rape" returns over 445,000 responses. We're absolutely not condoning non-consensual sex acts in any way, but arguably this story isn't about subtleties of semantics and centers on the labyrinthine--and seemingly nation-specific--laws Assange has violated.

Arctic environment during an ancient bout of natural global warming Scientists are unravelling the environmental changes that took place around the Arctic during an exceptional episode of ancient global warming. Newly published results from a high-resolution study of sediments collected on Spitsbergen represent a significant contribution to this endeavour. The study was led by Dr Ian Harding and Prof John Marshall of the University of Southampton’s School of Ocean and Earth Science (SOES), based at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton. Around 56 million years ago there was a period of global warming called the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), during which global sea surface temperatures increased by approximately 5°C. The warming of the oceans led to profound ecological changes, including the widespread extinction of many types of foraminifera, tiny single-celled organisms with distinctive shells. Plankton that had previously only prospered in tropical and subtropical waters migrated to higher latitudes.

Leaked document shows EPA allowed bee-toxic pesticide despite own scientists’ red flags Follow the honey: Smoking bees makes them less mad when you move them, but leaked EPA documents might have the opposite effect. It’s not just the State and Defense departments that are reeling this month from leaked documents. The Environmental Protection Agency now has some explaining to do, too. In place of dodgy dealings with foreign leaders, this case involves the German agrichemical giant Bayer; a pesticide with an unpronounceable name, clothianidin; and an insect species crucial to food production (as well as a food producer itself), the honeybee. And in lieu of a memo leaked to a globetrotting Australian, this one features a document delivered to a long-time Colorado beekeeper. All of that, plus my favorite crop to fixate on: industrial corn, which blankets 88 million acres of farmland nationwide and produces a bounty of protein-rich pollen on which honeybees love to feast. It’s The Agency Who Kicked the Beehive, as written by Jonathan Franzen! Hive talking Wimpy watchdogging

Climate Change: Study Says Dire Warnings Fuel Skepticism While researching a feature for TIME.com recently, I had the chance to sift through TIME's decades of environment coverage. I came to two conclusions: First, we were writing stories about virtually the same subjects 40 years ago as we do now. (Air pollution, endangered species, the polluted oceans, dwindling natural resources.) Second, our coverage of climate change has been really scary — by which I mean, we've emphasized the catastrophic threats of global warming in dire language. That reached a height in 2006, when we titled our cover story on climate change, crowned with a photo of a lonely polar bear on an ice floe, "Be Worried. I was part of the team that put that issue together, and I know why we used the language we did. But if a new study is to be believed, we might have been making the situation worse, not better. Here's how the study worked. Now a climate scientist armed with data might argue that worldviews should be trumped by facts.

House Passes Bill to Delay EPA Clean Air Rules - Coral Davenport The House on Friday passed the first in a planned series of Republican bills to effectively block the Environmental Protection Agency from reining in toxic pollution under the Clean Air Act. The measure, which passed 233-180, largely along party lines, would delay the EPA from moving forward on a new rule scheduled to be rolled out in November requiring coal plants to slash 90 percent of their mercury emissions. That rule is required under the terms of the 1990 Clean Air Act, and has been delayed for more than 20 years. The bill also would keep the EPA from moving forward with a rule known as the cross-state air rule, which would require coal plants to limit toxic emissions that cross state lines and contribute to health and environmental damage. The “Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation”—which Republicans call the “TRAIN” act— has no chance of passing the Democrat-controlled Senate. But enacting legislation isn’t the point. Rep.

Watch: Julian Assange's Fascinating Post-Bail Interviews Julian Assange is notoriously press-shy, but after being released on bail yesterday he lifted his personal embargo with a flurry of video interviews. In a fascinating exchange for the Today Show, where Lauer actually lobs a couple of hardballs, Lauer keeps his cool and very levelly addresses issues ranging from Bradley Manning to the Swedish rape charges -- which Assange characterizes as “very successful smear campaign.” In a presser outside the mansion where he's confined to until his trial, he expresses concern for the mental health of Bradley Manning and emphasizes that he's alleged to be Wikileaks' source, but that they do not and cannot know for sure. And for the BBC, dressed for the chilly weather and armed with a tea mug, Assange emphasizes that no evidence in English has been provided to him or his lawyers regarding his rape allegations.

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