Sequentia, Aquitania: Christmas Music from Aquitanian Monasteries, 12th Century ([Germany]: Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, p1997)
A gem of a recital of early music celebrating Christmas. Happy holidays, all.--DCR
- Kevin A. Borden & Susan L. Cutter, Spatial Patterns of Natural Hazards Mortality in the U.S., International Journal of Health Geographics, 7:64 (doi:10.1186/1476-072X-7-64) (December 17, 2008)
"Studies on natural hazard mortality are most often hazard-specific (e.g. floods, earthquakes, heat), event specific (e.g. Hurricane Katrina), or lack adequate temporal or geographic coverage. This makes it difficult to assess mortality from natural hazards in any systematic way. This paper examines the spatial patterns of natural hazard mortality at the county-level for the U.S. from 1970-2004 using a combination of geographical and epidemiological methods."—Abstract.
- Committee for Review of the Federal Strategy to Address Environmental, Health, and Safety Research Needs for Engineered Nanoscale Materials, Committee on Toxicology, National Research Council of the National Academies, Review of Federal Strategy for Nanotechnology-Related Environmental, Health, and Safety Research (Prepublication copy) (2008)
"The field of nanotechnology relies on the ability to engineer, manipulate, and manufacture materials at the nanoscale1. Nanotechnology is already enabling the development of an industry that produces and uses engineered nanomaterials in a wide variety of industrial and consumer products, such as targeted drugs, video displays, remediation of groundwater contaminants, high performance batteries, dirt-repelling coatings on building surfaces and clothing, high-end sporting goods, and skin-care products. Over the next five to ten years, increasingly widespread use of complex engineered nanomaterials is anticipated in such products as medical treatments, super-strong lightweight materials, food additives, and advanced electronics. The increasing use of engineered nanoscale materials in industrial and consumer products will result in greater exposure of workers and the general public to these materials. Responsible development of nanotechnology implies a commitment to develop and to use these materials to meet human and societal needs while making every reasonable effort to anticipate and mitigate adverse effects and unintended consequences."—Summary.
- Manuel A. Diaz, Mayor of Miami, President & Tom Cochran, CEO and Executive Director, United States Conference of Mayors, "Ready to Go": Jobs and Infrastructure Projects, Mainstreet Economic Recovery (Release no. 2) (December 8, 2008)
"Today we are reporting that in 427 cities of all sizes in all regions of the country, a total of 11,391 infrastructure projects are 'ready to go.' These projects represent an infrastructure investment of $73,163,299,303 that would be capable of producing an estimated 847,641 jobs in 2009 and 2010." Includes approximately 600 pages of tables enumerating projects.
- Miguel Esteban et al., United Nations University, Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS), Innovation in Responding to Climate Change: Nanotechnology, Ocean Energy and Forestry (2008)
"In this report we begin by highlighting specific examples of how technological innovation is being implemented, some of the potential advantages of these innovations and the new challenges they in turn raise. The main conclusion is that solutions to the energy problem already exist. They are the result of decades of research and development, and are already at the first stages of commercialization. Furthermore, these solutions are the result of considerable investment in research and development by the private sector. It is therefore possible that, given adequate government leadership, clear market signals and regulatory frameworks, the private sector will continue to play a significant role in developing innovative responses to climate change."—Executive Summary.
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Declaration of the Ministerial Conference on Water for Agriculture and Energy in Africa: The Challenges of Climate Change (Sirte/08/Declaration) (December 15-17, 2008)
"The Conference, which brought together ministers from 53 African countries, recognized that the challenges faced by the continent concerning food security, achieving the Millennium Development Goals, increased energy demand and combating climate change required all countries to move together."—Press release.
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Natural Resources and Environment Department & FAO Sub-Regional Office for the Pacific Islands (SAP), Climate Change and Food Security in Pacific Island Countries (2008)
"The overall purpose of this paper is to address food security and poverty reduction in the face of climate change and energy security. It attempts to bring to the fore food security threats associated with climate change in the food production and supply environments, as well as the broader livelihood and ecological changes that will occur as a consequence. Recognizing the different geographical regions around the Pacific and how climate change would impact on their food security situations opens up new opportunities for understanding why changes happen. An attempt will also be made to address how Pacific Islanders can be assisted to enhance their capacity to reduce risk and make optimal use of current climate resources in order to capitalize on benefits that may arise due to the changing climate. In doing so, it will attempt to highlight some of the current impacts of climate change reported by Pacific Island Countries in their national communications to the UNFCCC and their National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs), and what attempts have been made to seriously address these issues. It is recognized that climate change is an additional stress that needs to be managed by the agricultural and broader development communities but it should also be emphasized that climate change will further exacerbate current development stresses that are already plaguing the agriculture community and national governments. This paper will try to draw out these links and discuss ways to proactively address the situation now rather then later."—Introduction.
- William O. Jenkins, Jr., Director, Homeland Security and Justice Issues, United States Government Accountability Office (GAO), Actions Taken to Implement the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006 (November 21, 2008)
"This letter describes the actions FEMA and DHS have taken in response to the act’s provisions, areas where FEMA and DHS must still take action, and any challenges to implementation that FEMA and DHS officials identified during our discussions with them. In general, we found that FEMA and DHS have made some progress in their efforts to implement the act since it was enacted in October 2006. For most of the provisions we examined, FEMA and DHS had at least preliminary efforts underway to address them. However, we have identified a number of areas that still require action, and it is clear that FEMA and DHS have work remaining to implement the provisions of the act. This letter provides information, at a high level, on the status of implementation efforts for the entire act. We have not made an assessment of the quality or likely outcomes of any of the actions that have been taken. Additional focused evaluation in selected areas, and, in some cases more time for efforts to mature, will be required in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the actions taken to implement the law on enhancing the nation’s ability to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters."
- Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security, On the Homefront (blog), Climate Change Activity Today (December 11, 2008)
"First, the California Air Resources Board today approved an October 2008 plan to aggressively combat climate change in the state.
"On another note, the U.S. Senate Minority Environment and Public Works Committee released a Minority Staff report which cites a coalition of 650 international scientists skeptical of man-made global warming as further evidence that challenges common notions about climate change."
- Miriam Rotkin-Ellman et al., Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Deepest Cuts: Repairing Health Monitoring Programs Slashed Under the Bush Administration (NRDC Issue Paper) (December 2008)
"During the eight years of the Bush Administration, the federal government has quietly eliminated or crippled more than a dozen essential monitoring programs. Budget cuts, restructuring, program termination, and removal of industry reporting requirements have been steadily undermining or eliminating the information that alerts us to problems in our air, water, food, or communities. Programs that directly track human health have also been slashed, creating gaps in our information about infectious disease outbreaks, chemical exposures in people, and chronic disease."—Executive Summary.
- United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), New Climate Change Publications
Includes links to full text of some publications. See also UNEP and Climate Change for additional new reports on partnerships and UNEP strategy.
- United Nations Environment Programme, World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), Carbon and Biodiversity: A Demonstration Atlas (2008)
"This atlas demonstrates the potential for spatial analyses to identify areas that are high in both carbon and biodiversity. Such areas will be of interest to countries that wish to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from land use change and simultaneously conserve biodiversity."—Introduction.
- United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poznań (December 1-12, 2008)
"At Poznań, the finishing touches were put to the Kyoto Protocol’s Adaptation Fund, with Parties agreeing that the Fund would be a legal entity granting direct access to developing countries. Progress was also made on a number of important ongoing issues that are particularly important for developing countries, including: adaptation; finance; technology; reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD); and disaster management."
- United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Office of Inspector General (OIG), EPA’s California Waiver Decision on Greenhouse Gas Automobile Emissions Met Statutory Procedural Requirements (Office of Counsel Legal Review, Report No. 09-P-0056) (December 9, 2008)
"This is in response to your January 2, 2008, letter requesting that the Office of Inspector General (OIG) investigate whether the decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to deny California's request for a waiver to implement a law to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from automobiles deviated from standard protocols. As I noted in my March 17, 2008, correspondence to you, we have narrowed the focus of our review to address whether the statutory requirements related to the waiver decision were met.... As discussed below, we determined that the statutory requirements were met."—Letter from Bill A. Roderick, Deputy Inspector General, to the Honorable Dianne Feinstein Chairman Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Committee on Appropriations United States Senate.
- United States Government Accountability Office (GAO), Disaster Recovery: FEMA’s Public Assistance Grant Program Experienced Challenges with Gulf Coast Rebuilding (Report to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate, GAO-09-129) (December 2008)
"GAO was asked to examine the amount of PA grants FEMA has provided for rebuilding the Gulf Coast; challenges in the day-to-day operation of the PA program; and human capital challenges; as well as actions taken to address them. Toward this end, GAO reviewed relevant laws, PA regulations and procedures, and analyzed data from FEMA’s National Emergency Management Information System. GAO also interviewed federal officials from FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of the Federal Coordinator for Gulf Coast Rebuilding as well as more than 60 officials from state government and eight localities in Louisiana and Mississippi."—Why GAO Did This Study.
- United States Government Accountability Office (GAO), Federal Efforts to Assist Group Site Residents with Employment, Services for Families with Children, and Transportation (Report to Congressional Requesters, GAO-09-81) (December 2008)
"FEMA located more than 500 group sites, housing over 20,000 households over time, throughout counties in Louisiana and Mississippi. About another 106,000 households received trailers that were placed on their property while repairs were being made to their homes. The majority of group sites had less than 50 households, although some group sites had several hundred households residing in them. Most of the households who were placed in group sites reported that they were renters before the storm. While the majority of individuals who received a FEMA trailer reported being employed, about 65 percent reported less than $20,000 in income. About one-fifth reported no source of income, in some cases, they were unemployed and disabled. While FEMA does not update data on group site residents to reflect current employment status or income levels, some state and FEMA officials we spoke with in early 2008 stated that those who remained in the sites the longest were the hardest to serve people including the elderly, persons with disabilities, and unemployed people."—Results in Brief.
- United States Government Accountability Office (GAO), Flood Insurance: FEMA’s Rate-Setting Process Warrants Attention (Report to the Ranking Member, Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, U.S. Senate, GAO-09-12) (October 2008)
"In response to the questions that have been raised about NFIP’s financial condition, this report evaluates (1) FEMA’s process for setting full-risk premiums to determine whether it produces rates that accurately reflect the risk of flooding and (2) the process that FEMA uses to set subsidized rates and their financial impact on NFIP."—Letter from Orice Williams, Director, Financial Markets and Community Investment, GAO, to the Honorable Richard C. Shelby Ranking Member, Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, United States Senate (October 30, 2008)
- United States Government Accountability Office (GAO), Flood Insurance: Options for Addressing the Financial Impact of Subsidized Premium Rates on the National Flood Insurance Program (Report to the Ranking Member, Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, U.S. Senate, GAO-09-20) (November 2008)
"The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agency that administers the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), estimates that subsidized properties—those that receive discounted premium rates that do not fully reflect the properties’ actual flood risk—experience as much as five times the flood damage as properties that do not qualify for subsidized rates. Almost one in every four residential policies has subsidized rates that are on average 35-40 percent of the full-risk rate. Unprecedented losses from the 2005 hurricane season and NFIP’s periodic need to borrow from the Department of the Treasury to pay flood insurance claims has raised concerns about the impact that subsidized premium rates have on the longterm financial solvency of NFIP. GAO designated NFIP as high-risk in March 2006; as of June 2008, NFIP’s debt stood at $17.4 billion.
"This report (1) provides information on NFIP’s inventory of subsidized properties and (2) examines NFIP’s current approach to subsidized properties and the advantages and disadvantages of options for reducing the costs associated with these properties."—Why GAO Did This Study.
- United States Senate, Environment and Public Works Committee, U. S. Senate Minority Report: More Than 650 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims Scientists Continue to Debunk "Consensus" in 2008 (December 11, 2008)
"Over 650 dissenting scientists from around the globe challenged man-made global warming claims made by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and former Vice President Al Gore. This new 231-page U.S. Senate Minority Report—updated from 2007’s groundbreaking report of over 400 scientists who voiced skepticism about the so-called global warming "consensus"—features the skeptical voices of over 650 prominent international scientists, including many current and former UN IPCC scientists, who have now turned against the UN IPCC. This updated report includes an additional 250 (and growing) scientists and climate researchers since the initial release in December 2007. The over 650 dissenting scientists are more than 12 times the number of UN scientists (52) who authored the media-hyped IPCC 2007 Summary for Policymakers."—Introduction.
- Henry A. Waxman, Chairman, Committee on Government and Oversight Reform & James L. Oberstar, Chairman, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, United States House of Representatives, Letter to President-elect Barack Obama (December 16, 2008)
"We are writing to provide you with the results of an extensive joint investigation by our Committee staffs that finds that the federal government's Clean Water Act enforcement program has been decimated over the past two years, imperiling the health and safety of the nation's waters. We are forwarding a memorandum that summarizes the investigation and provides the results of a review of more than 20,000 pages of documents produced to the Committees by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers."