Climate Central: Extreme events related to climate change threaten three US nuclear facilities.
Guardian: UK oil and gas rigs creating spills at least once a week in 2009 and 2010. Remember, the UK claims to have some of the world's highest standards in regulation of off-shore drilling safety. Now take these operations into freezing Arctic waters, where microbes won't be so quick to deal with spills as there were in the tropical waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and where extreme conditions prevent the kind of response available there. Arctic drilling is doubly suicidal: It brings new risks to relatively untouched ecosystems and ensures more greenhouse gases in our atmosphere for thousands of years. And the only reason these waters are opening up to this exploitation is the decline of the sea ice caused by the combustion of fossil fuels in the first place.
Grist: In the worst drought in Texas history, 13.5 billion gallons of water used for fracking. Fracking is the controversial process used to exploit reserves of shale gas, a fossil fuel touted in some circles as a cleaner alternative and as a silver bullet solution to US energy security, but which is worse than coal or conventional oil when gas leaks are included (since natural gas is a very potent greenhouse gas and degrades over time into more carbon dioxide), has been associated with the poisoning of groundwater, and which may well prove commercially unviable much faster than expected according to a recent NYT report (while Stoneleigh offers an even bleaker outlook).
Independent: The plight of the big cats. According to Dereck and Beverly Joubert, leading big cat conservationists, "There were 450,000 lions when we were born and now there are only 20,000 worldwide. [...] Leopards have declined from 700,000 to 50,000, cheetahs from 45,000 to 12,000 and tigers are down from 50,000 to just 3,000."
CP: Food prices hover at historic highs.
IPS: Rising temperatures melting away food security. The impacts of climate change on food production are not limited to heat stress on crops (which may suppress global yields by 5-10% per degree of warming), but also include disruptions to precipitation patterns (i.e. floods and droughts), inundation (or salination) by rising sea levels, loss of glacial melt water (a critical factor, according to this article), increased erosion and shifting distribution of pests and invasive species.
Yale360: Wasting phosphate. "It takes one ton of phosphate to produce every 130 tons of grain, which is why the world mines about 170 million tons of phosphate rock every year to ship around the world and keep soils fertile. [...] We could hit “peak phosphorus” production by around 2030. [...] Presently, there simply are no substitutes for phosphorus."
Reuters: As CO2 levels rise, land becomes less able to curb warming, claims new study in Nature.
Mongabay: The unexpected effects of removing top predators. Another new Nature paper claims that "The loss of these animals may be humankind’s most pervasive influence on nature".
Energy Bulletin: Dilithium crystals and tomorrow's energy needs.
Image by CAC.