Sunday, March 10, 2013
The U.S. State Department released a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for Keystone XL (full text available here). The draft finds that the approval or denial of KXL is unlikely to significantly impact the rate of development of the oil sands or the continued demand for heavy crude oil in the United States. Concerned environmentalists fear this is a sign that the White House will approve KXL.
A University of California study predicts that climate change will make commercial shipping possible from North America to Russia or Asia over the North Pole by the middle of the century (the published scientific article is here).
President Obama nominated Gina McCarthy to lead EPA. The nomination was generally well-received by the environmental community. See, for example, this perspective by Frances Beineke of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
A new study published in Science extends the "hockey stick" graph of temperature change back an additional 9,000 years (from the 2,000 years in the original study by Mann.) As the new study's author states, the data show that "temperatures increased in the last hundred years as much as they had cooled in the last six or seven thousand." In short, the rate of warming in the past 100 years is unprecendented in the previous 11,000.