WSU scientists say manmade reservoirs are a contributor to global warming

NewImageIsn’t everything we do a contributor to “manmade global warming”? Ranchers cannot even raise beef without being accused of cow farts causing global warming. Sheesh! 

Reservoirs behind dams release significant amounts of greenhouse gases, and their output should be counted in future emissions reporting, says a new study from Washington State University.

More than 1 million reservoirs worldwide produce about 1.3 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions generated by human-caused activity, according to the study. The volume is roughly equivalent to 1 gigaton of carbon dioxide annually, which is more than Canada’s yearly production.

“While reservoirs are often thought of as ‘green’ or carbon-neutral sources of energy, a growing body of work has documented their role as greenhouse gas sources,” researchers wrote in the study that will be published next week in the journal BioScience.

The WSU study noted that reservoirs flood large areas, submerging organic material that produces greenhouse gases as it decomposes. Methane, for instance, is produced when microorganisms breakdown organic matter in parts of the reservoir where oxygen isn’t present.

Reservoirs are generally warmer than free-flowing rivers and they collect nutrients that wash downstream. Reservoirs with high levels of algae and plant growth also had the highest levels of greenhouse gas emissions, the WSU study said.

Reservoirs produce about 25 percent more methane per acre than previously thought, said Bridget Deemer, a research associate at WSU-Vancouver and the study’s lead author. That’s significant, because methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, 34 times more potent than carbon dioxide over the course of a century.

Congress overrides Obama’s 911 veto

Now things get interesting. 

Congress voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to allow families of Sept. 11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia for its alleged backing of the attackers, handing Barack Obama the first veto override of his presidency.

Both the House and Senate voted decisively to reverse Obama’s decision to scuttle the legislation. Democrats in both chambers abandoned the president in large numbers despite warnings from Obama and top national security officials that flaws in the bill could put U.S. interests, troops, and intelligence personnel at risk.

The Senate vote was 97-1. The House vote a few hours later was 348-77.

Lawmakers said their priority was the 9/11 victims and their families, not Saudi Arabia.

Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada casting the only no vote in the Senate. 

The two no-shows for the vote: Bernie Sanders and Tim Kaine. 

Tim Kaine managed to avoid making matters worse for Obama by skipping the vote altogether, and also avoiding a potentially damaging spot for Hillary Clinton. She would have had to choose between protecting Obama’s flank or coming onto the side of the 9/11 victims, and with the election looking close, Hillary needs Obama more than he needs her. This way the campaign can take a pass on this question.

Inconvenient: Record Arctic Sea Ice Growth In September

Recall: we were told that the Arctic would be ice-free by 2016. Think again. 

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Source data: ftp://sidads.colorado.edu/DATASETS/NOAA/G02135/north/daily/data/

Since hitting its earliest minimum extent since 1997, Arctic sea ice has been expanding at a phenomenal rate. Already it is greater than at the same date in 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015. Put another way, it is the fourth highest extent in the last ten years. Even more remarkably, ice growth since the start of the month is actually the greatest on record, since daily figures started to be kept in 1987. –Paul Homewood, Not A Lot Of People Know That, 25 September 2016

wadhams-collapse

One of the world’s leading ice experts has predicted the final collapse of Arctic sea ice in summer months within four years. In what he calls a “global disaster” now unfolding in northern latitudes as the sea area that freezes and melts each year shrinks to its lowest extent ever recorded, Prof Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University calls for “urgent” consideration of new ideas to reduce global temperatures. –John Vidal, The Guardian, 17 September 2012

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Government Creates a Fake Expert, Won’t Release Files on Him Because Privacy

NewImageThe craziness here is too much! 

“Guy Sims Fitch” was a persona created by the U.S. Information Agency in the early Cold War era. Various journalists and others on the agency’s payroll would write articles on economics under Fitch’s name, and those pieces then appeared in news outlets around the world. It would be nice to know who exactly was writing those articles, and it would be nice to know if those pseudonymous scribes were writing under any other names as well. But when a reporter filed a Freedom of Information Act request for more info on the Fitch program, the government told him he’d first have to get permission from the writers involved—that is, from the very people whose identities he was trying to uncover. Alternately, he could prove that they’re dead.

“Under the Freedom of Information Act,” Gizmodo‘s Matt Novak explains, “federal agencies are required to take into consideration the privacy rights of living individuals. Dead people don’t have privacy rights under US law…[b]ut Guy Sims Fitch can never die, because he was never born.” So when Novak asked the Central Intelligence Agency for its Fitch files, this happened:

They’ve asked that I submit verification of identify for the editors and journalists who wrote under the name Guy Sims Fitch in the 1950s and 60s, along with documents showing that those people consent to having their information made public. And in the case of any editors who wrote under Guy Sims Fitch who might be dead, I’m supposed to submit proof of death. Unfortunately, I don’t have a list of government agents from the 1950s that wrote under the name Guy Sims Fitch. I was kind of hoping that the CIA would fill me in on that. Or, at the very least, tell me a bit more about why they were using fake people to support causes that presumably real people could have written about.

Remember: The federal government has no trouble redacting information that it doesn’t want to reveal. It would not be terribly difficult for it to release these documents with the names of any still-living figures blacked out. That could still provide plenty of useful data about where the articles were placed, what other people were involved, and perhaps even whether any parallel programs were underway. This is a program that began more than half a century ago; the agency that spearheaded it doesn’t even exist anymore. There should be tons of information whose release would not violate even the most absurdly stringent conceptions of privacy rights or national security.

But then, we aren’t exactly living in an age of maximum federal transparency. This isn’t even an age of moderate federal transparency. This is an age when “FOIA Denial Officer” is a job title. Novak is appealing the decision, but there’s no guarantee that common sense will prevail. Could someone please send the Guy Fitch files to WikiLeaks?

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