Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Literary Warrant [22]

The poetry of earth is never dead:
When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,
And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run
From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead;
That is the Grasshopper's—he takes the lead
In summer luxury,—he has never done
With his delights; for when tired out with fun
He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed.
The poetry of earth is ceasing never:
On a lone winter evening, when the frost
Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills
The Cricket's song, in warmth increasing ever,
And seems to one in drowsiness half lost,
The Grasshopper's among some grassy hills.

—John Keats, On the Grasshopper and Cricket (December 30, 1816), in Poems 1817.
  • Anna Lindh Programme on Conflict Prevention, Greg Austin & Marie-Ange Schellekens-Gaiffe, eds., Energy & Conflict Prevention (2007 ed.)

    "Most conflict hotspots around the world today are in areas where energy or other resources are a factor. With the arrival of new actors both governmental and non-governmental, new industrial giants such as China and India, as well as rapidly emerging national oil companies, ‘energy security’ has rapidly become a global environmental, social, and economic issue requiring a rapid and coordinated response from governments, the business community, and global civil society.

    "This edition, the fourth in a series of publications from the Anna Lindh Programme on Conflict Prevention, deals with Energy and Conflict Prevention, an issue already highlighted in the 2003 Security Strategy adopted by the European Union as a global challenge."

  • Basel Action Network BAN & Toxics Link, Proposed Waste Law to Officially Turn India into Global Waste Destination: Draft Promotes Waste Trade Over Health and Environment (Press release) (November 14, 2007)

    "Through a jugglery of words in the draft legislation on waste, the Indian Government may pave the way for officially opening floodgates for the dumping of world's hazardous waste in the name of recycling and unleash unprecedented havoc on India's environment and health of its citizens, environmentalists have warned."

  • California Department of Fish & Game, Spills and Events: Cosco Busan Spill

    Cosco Busan, by Dollar Bin (Tom Purcell)"The out-bound container ship M/V Cosco Busan struck the San Francisco Bay Bridge at approximately 8:30 a.m. on Nov. 7. Sector 11 United States Coast Guard has responded to the incident along with the Dept. of Fish Game—Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR), the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (OES), National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Parks Service, the National Marine Sanctuaries and other State and local agencies."—Incident Description. Includes response updates, photos, maps, and related links.

  • Guardian Unlimited, Special Report: Natural Disasters

    "Collection of news articles about recent natural disasters around the world. Covers topics such as November 2007 floods in Tabasco, Mexico, wildfires in Southern California in fall 2007, and an earthquake in Manchester, England, in August 2007. Also includes links to interactive guides on earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, and Mount Etna. From Guardian Unlimited, the website of the British newspaper, The Guardian."—Librarians' Internet Index.

  • R.W. Healy, T.C. Winter, J.W. LaBaugh, & O.L. Franke, United States Geological Survey (USGS), Water Budgets: Foundations for Effective Water-resources and Environmental Management (USGS Circular 1308) (2007)

    Rushing Out, by JKeagan (Lynda Walldez). Reproduced under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic license."A new USGS Circular illustrates the importance of water budgets as an essential tool in addressing concerns about water availability in the 21st Century.

    "Ensuring sustainable water supplies requires an understanding of the hydrologic cycle. Water budgets enable an accounting of water as it moves through Earth's atmosphere, land surface and subsurface. This tool provides a quantitative basis for assessing how a natural or human-induced change in one part of the hydrologic cycle may affect other aspects of the cycle. The new USGS circular demonstrates how water budgets provide a foundation for effective water-resource and environmental planning and management."—Press release (November 19, 2007)

  • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Summary for Policymakers of the Synthesis Report of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (Draft copy) (November 16, 2007)

    "The Synthesis Report is based on the previously published reports of the three Working Groups of the IPCC. The summary provides an integrated view of climate change; elaboration of the topics covered in the summary can be found in the full Synthesis Report and in the reports of the Working Groups."—UN Pulse (November 19, 2007)

  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Office of Response & Restoration (OR&R), Emergency Response Division (ERD), IndicentNews

    "This site has news, photos, and other information about oil spills (and other incidents) where NOAA's Office of Response and Restoration (OR&R) provided scientific support for the incident response."

  • RAND Corporation, Office of Congressional Relations, How Schools Responded to Student Mental Health Needs Following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita (RAND Health Fact Sheet) (2007)

    "In 2005, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita displaced hundreds of thousands of children in the U.S. Gulf Coast region and exposed many more to stressful events, such as injury, homelessness, and the loss of loved ones. Schools in the region played a role in helping students cope with this trauma by providing mental health services. This study examined how schools in the Gulf region perceived the mental health needs of students after the hurricanes and how schools responded. RAND researchers interviewed school personnel in Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Alabama, Florida, and Arkansas."

  • Dan Smith & Janani Vivekananda, International Alert, A Climate of Conflict: The Links Between Climate Change, Peace and War (November 2007)

    "The impact of climate change will make the poorest communities across the world poorer. Many of them are already affected by conflict and instability and thus face a dual risk. International Alert’s new research finds that the consequences of climate change will fuel violent conflict, which itself hinders the ability of governments and local communities to adapt to the pressures of climate change."—Climate Change and Violent Conflict.

  • United States Climate Change Science Program, The First State of the Carbon Cycle Report (SOCCR): The North American Carbon Budget and Implications for the Global Carbon Cycle (Synthesis and Assessment Product 2.2) (November 2007)

    Carbon Cycle"North America is currently a net source of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, contributing to the global buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and associated changes in the Earth’s climate. In 2003, North America emitted nearly two billion metric tons of carbon to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. North America’s fossil-fuel emissions in 2003 (1856 million metric tons of carbon ± 10% with 95% certainty) were 27% of global emissions. Approximately 85% of those emissions were from the United States, 9% from Canada, and 6% from Mexico. The combustion of fossil fuels for commercial energy (primarily electricity) is the single largest contributor, accounting for approximately 42% of North American fossil emissions in 2003.

    "Transportation is the second largest, accounting for 31% of total emissions. There are also globally important carbon sinks in North America. In 2003, growing vegetation in North America removed approximately 500 million tons of carbon per year (± 50%) from the atmosphere and stored it as plant material and soil organic matter. This land sink is equivalent to approximately 30% of the fossil-fuel emissions from North America. The imbalance between the fossil-fuel source and the sink on land is a net release to the atmosphere of 1350 million metric tons of carbon per year (± 25%).

    "Approximately 50% of North America’s terrestrial sink is due to the regrowth of forests in the United States on former agricultural land that was last cultivated decades ago, and on timberland recovering from harvest. Other sinks are relatively small and not well quantified with uncertainties of 100% or more. The future of the North American terrestrial sink is also highly uncertain. The contribution of forest regrowth is expected to decline as the maturing forests grow more slowly and take up less carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. But, how regrowing forests and other sinks will respond to changes in climate and carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere is highly uncertain.

    "The large difference between current sources and sinks and the expectation that the difference could become larger if the growth of fossil-fuel emissions continues and land sinks decline suggest that addressing imbalances in the North American carbon budget will likely require actions focused on reducing fossil-fuel emissions. Options to enhance sinks (growing forests or sequestering carbon in agricultural soils) can contribute, but enhancing sinks alone is likely insufficient to deal with either the current or future imbalance. Options to reduce emissions include efficiency improvement, fuel switching, and technologies such as carbon capture and geological storage. Implementing these options will likely require an array of policy instruments at local, regional, national, and international levels, ranging from the encouragement of voluntary actions to economic incentives, tradable emissions permits, and regulations. Meeting the demand for information by decision makers will likely require new modes of research characterized by close collaboration between scientists and carbon management stakeholders."—Abstract.

  • United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service (ERS), Amber Waves (November 2007)

    "Feature articles in the November 2007 issue include...Do Food Labels Make a Difference? Sometimes; Integrating Conservation and Commodity Program Payments: A Look at the Tradeoffs; The Future of Biofuels: A Global Perspective; Cropland Concentrating Faster Where Payments Are Higher. Other articles cover such topics as...Chinese exchange rate policy, global wheat production, food product introductions, Americans’ dairy consumption, effect of the Conservation Reserve Program on outdoor recreation, forces affecting nitrogen fertilizer prices, arts employment in rural areas, 'million-dollar' farms, and measuring the distribution of farms and farm sizes. Also includes selected statistics on agriculture and trade, diet and health, natural resources, farm households, and rural America."

  • United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Acid Rain Program 2006 Progress Report (November 2007)

    "For the first time ever, sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions from the power sector fell below 10 million tons as reported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Acid Rain Program and Related Programs 2006 Progress Report. 2006 marks the 12th year of what is widely hailed as one of the most successful environmental programs in U.S. history.

    "In 2006, annual SO2 emissions from acid rain program electric power generation sources fell sharply, with reductions of 830,000 tons from 2005 levels and an overall reduction of 40 percent from 1990 levels. NOx emissions were down by over 3 million tons since 1990 and had decreased to nearly half the level anticipated without the Acid Rain Program. These reductions have led to a significant decrease in acid deposition, resulting in improved water quality in U.S. lakes and streams. Reduced formation of fine particles, improved air quality and human health related benefits are all results from the reduction of these emissions."—Press release (November 16, 2007)

  • United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Air Emission Sources

    "EPA has developed two tools that let computer users 'see' air quality information on a virtual globe. Both tools are available to the public starting today....

    "The first tool is part of the new 'Air Emission Sources' Web site, which is designed to make emissions data for six common pollutants easy to find and understand. Based on the latest National Emissions Inventory, the site uses charts and Google Earth files to answer a user’s questions. Users can look at overall emissions, emissions by type of industry, or emissions by largest polluter."—Press release (November 19, 2007)

  • United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Performance And Accountability Report, Fiscal Year 2007: Environmental and Financial Progress (EPA 190-R-07-001) (November 15, 2007)

    "The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Performance and Accountability Report
    for Fiscal Year 2007 provides performance and financial information that enables Congress, the President, and the public to assess the progress EPA is making in achieving environmental results—improving the quality of air and water and preserving and protecting the land—and using taxpayer dollars efficiently and effectively."—Purpose of the Report.

  • United States Government Accountability Office (GAO), Hurricane Katrina: Ineffective FEMA Oversight of Housing Maintenance Contracts in Mississippi Resulted in Millions of Dollars of Waste and Potential Fraud (Report to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate, GAO-08-106) (November 2007)

    "FEMA’s ineffective oversight resulted in an estimated $30 million in wasteful and improper or potentially fraudulent payments to the MD contractors from June 2006 through January 2007 and likely led to millions more in unnecessary spending beyond this period. For example, FEMA wasted as much as $16 million because it did not issue task orders to the contractors with the lowest prices. In addition, GAO estimates that FEMA paid the contractors almost $16 million because it approved improper or potentially fraudulent invoices. This amount includes about $15 million spent on maintenance inspections even though there was no evidence that inspections occurred and about $600,000 for emergency repairs on housing units that do not exist in FEMA’s inventory."—What GAO Found.


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