Category Archives: Water

‘Omen of the Future’: Off-The-Charts Hot Oceans Scare Scientists

After 2023 was the hottest year in human history, experts warn that 2024 “has strong potential to be another record-breaking year.”

By Jessica Corbett. Published 2-27-2024 by Common Dreams

Coral bleaching. Photo: blamethepeople/flickr

While global policymakers continue to drag their feet on phasing out planet-heating fossil fuels, scientists around the world “are freaking out” about high ocean temperatures, as they told The New York Times in reporting published Tuesday.

A “super El Niño” has expectedly heated up the Pacific, but Times reporter David Gelles spoke with ocean experts from Miami to Cambridge to Sydney about record heat in the North Atlantic as well as conditions around the poles.

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‘Alarming’: FERC Ignores Climate Impacts and Rubber-Stamps Texas Pipeline

“The world does not need more LNG, and FERC is out of step with the reality of the climate crisis and communities impacted by these projects,” one advocate said.

By Olivia Rosane. Published 2-15-2024 by Common Dreams

Culberson County Hospital (left) and Van Horn Rural Health Clinic (right) are shown in Van Horn, Texas, where residents are concerned about the local health system’s ability to cope with a major pipeline explosion. (Photo: Texas.pics/Wikipedia/CC BY-SA 3.0)

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved a controversial pipeline on Thursday despite opposition from local and Indigenous communities and without considering its climate impacts.

The commission limited its review of the Saguaro Connector Pipeline to a 1,000-foot stretch of the project on the Texas and Mexican border. If built, the pipeline could transport as many as 2.8 billion cubic feet of fracked gas per day to an export facility in Mexico, where it would be shipped to Asia and Latin America. The decision comes weeks after the Biden administration paused Department of Energy (DOE) approvals of new liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports while it updates its assessment criteria.

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‘Cliff-Like’ Collapse of Critical Current System More Likely Than Thought: Study

“The new study adds significantly to the rising concern about an AMOC collapse in the not-too-distant future,” said one scientist. “We will ignore this at our peril.”

By Brett Wilkins. Published 2-10-2024 by Common Dreams

Human-driven planetary warming threatens to collapse a system of currents in the Atlantic Ocean that regulate and impact weather across the globe. Image: Felton Davis/flickr/CC

A study published Friday warned that a systemic collapse of the Atlantic Ocean currents driving warm water from the tropics toward Europe could be more likely than researchers previously estimated—an event that would send temperatures plummeting in much of the continent.

The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), which includes the Gulf Stream, could be headed for a relatively sudden shutdown that René Van Western, who led the Dutch study published in Science Advances, called “cliff-like.”

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Antarctic Tipping Point That Occurred 8,000 Years Ago ‘Could Happen Again’

“We now have direct evidence that this ice sheet suffered rapid ice loss in the past,” said a Cambridge researcher.

By Jessica Corbett. Published 2-9-2024 by Common Dreams

Marguerite Bay is on the west side of the Antarctic Peninsula. (Photo: British Antarctic Survey)

As European Union scientists confirmed that last month continued a worrying trend of historically high temperatures, U.K. researchers released a study Thursday warning how fossil fuel-driven global heating could lead to catastrophic and rapid ice loss in Antarctica not seen for thousands of years.

The study, published by researchers at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and the University of Cambridge in Nature Geoscience, relies on an ice core from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet that is over 2,100 feet long.

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‘Dear Children of Gaza,’ Says Viral Letter, ‘I Am Sorry’

“You may ask the world why there was swift action when trade routes and economic interests were at risk but deafening silence when 10,000 children were killed,” wrote a British lawmaker. “The world might not like your questions, but you deserve your answers.”

By Julia Conley. Published 1=27-2024 by Common Dreams

Photo: Libertinus/CC

In a viral video released Friday, British member of Parliament Naz Shah, who represents the Labour Party, issued an apology to the roughly 1 million children of Gaza on behalf of world leaders who—despite Palestinian journalists’ live-streaming of Israel’s assault on the enclave and an international court’s finding that Israel is plausibly committing genocidal acts—refuse to see the impact the bombardment is having on civilians, including its youngest residents.

The video shows Shah writing a letter addressed to the “children of Gaza,” along with images of children being treated in hospitals, buried under rubble, and living in shelters since Israel began bombarding the enclave in retaliation for Hamas’ attack on October 7. Children are also seen gathered on a playground prior to the air and ground assaults that have so far killed more than 13,000 children.

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Air Pollution From Canadian Tar Sands Up to 6,300% Worse Than Industry Reports

“In quantifying the astonishing and largely unreported levels,” said a Greenpeace campaigner, “these scientists have validated what downwind Indigenous communities have been saying for decades.”

By Jessica Corbett. Published 1-26-2024 by Common Dreams

Tar sands extraction in northern Alberta. Photo: The Co-op Group/flickr/CC

Aircraft measurements of pollutants over the Athabasca tar sands in Alberta, Canada show levels exceeding industry reports by 1,900% to more than 6,300%, scientists revealed Thursday, underscoring the need for humanity to rapidly phase out fossil fuels.

While the Canadian government requires air quality monitoring around oil sands operations, industry figures focus on certain compounds. For this research, published Thursday in the journal Science, experts from Yale University and Environment and Climate Change Canada, a department of the Canadian government, accounted for a wider range of emissions.

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‘Death Sentence’: Reports Call for End to Big Oil’s US Sacrifice Zones

“People’s lives and the environment are being devastated at the hands of big business,” one human rights researcher said.

By Olivia Rosane. Published 1-25-2024 by Common Dreams

Cancer Alley. Photo: Gines A. Sanchez/flickr/CC

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch both published reports on Thursday detailing how the fossil fuel industry has harmed the health and environment of communities in Texas and Louisiana, and how state and federal regulators have failed to protect them.

The Amnesty report, The Cost of Doing Business? The Petrochemical Industry’s Toxic Pollution in the USA, focused on the Houston Ship Channel, which has some of the worst air pollution measurements in the U.S. The HRW report, “We’re Dying Here”: The Fight for Life in a Louisiana Fossil Fuel Sacrifice Zone, looked at the state’s Cancer Alley, an 85-mile zone along the Mississippi that reportedly has the highest concentration of fossil fuel and petrochemical plants in the Western Hemisphere.

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Iconic 100-Year-Old Fishing Shacks Washed Into Sea as Maine High Tide Breaks All-Time Record

“Mother nature isn’t messing around.”

By Jon Queally. Published 1-13-2024 by Common Dreams

Iconic fishing shacks at Willard Beach in South Portland, Maine were washed into the sea Saturday as the high tide broke an all-time record. (Photo: Shyler Lewis)

From New York City to the coast of Maine, record-breaking high tides in part fueled by the climate crisis brought destruction to the U.S. northeast on Saturday with roads flooded, infrastructure destroyed, and historic buildings washed out to sea—a horrifying preview of what scientists say will become all the more frequent if humanity continues its refusal to end the era of fossil fuels.

In downtown Portland, Maine the areas along the harbor and waterfront piers were inundated with unprecedented flooding. The city’s vibrant Old Port was underwater in many places with extensive damage to buildings, businesses, and infrastructure.

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Supreme Court Rejects Bid by API, Exxon, and Koch to Kill Climate Case

“Big Oil companies will continue fighting to escape justice, but for the third time in a year, the U.S. Supreme Court has denied their desperate pleas,” said one campaigner.

By Jessica Corbett. Published 1-8-2024 by Common Dreams

The Pine Bend oil refinery in Rosemount, Minnesota, run by Flint Hills Resources, a subsidiary of Koch Industries. Photo: Tony Webster/Wikimedia Commons/CC

For the third time in less than a year, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday allowed a key case against the fossil fuel industry to proceed in state court, delivering a win for the movement to make polluters pay for driving the climate emergency.

“This decision is another step forward for Minnesota’s efforts to hold fossil fuel giants accountable for their climate lies and the harm they’ve caused,” said Center for Climate Integrity president Richard Wiles, pointing to the previous denials of other cases last April and May.

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‘Hard-Won Movement Victory’: MVP Extension in NC Halved

“Mountain Valley Pipeline and its Southgate extension have been poorly conceived from the beginning, but today some of the communities in harm’s way can breathe easier,” said one campaigner.

By Jessica Corbett Published 12-30-2023 by Common Dreams

Photo: Anne_Way_Bernard/Oil Change International

Frontline critics of the Mountain Valley Pipeline celebrated after Equitrans Midstream revealed Friday in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that the distance of the proposed Southgate extension project has been cut in half.

The partially completed MVP project—long delayed by legal battles until congressional Republicans and President Joe Biden included language to fast-track it in a debt limit deal earlier this year—is set to cross 303 miles of Virginia and West Virginia.

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