Environment

Feds document seabird loss in North Pacific waters

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The number of seabirds, including gulls, puffins and auklets, has dropped significantly in the Gulf of Alaska and northeast Bering Sea, a possible consequence of warmer waters, according to a preliminary federal analysis of nearly 40 years of surveys.

U.S. Geological Survey experts found the seabird population density declined 2 percent annually from 1975 to 2012 in the northeast North Pacific, said John Piatt, research wildlife biologist at the USGS Alaska Science Center.

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

With federal emissions order, White House aims to lead private sector

President Obama on Thursday signed an executive order for the federal government to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent from 2008 levels over the next decade, a move the White House touted as an effort to lead the private sector in an effort to increase efficiency and combat climate change.

“The federal government is the single largest energy user in the United States economy,” Christy Goldfuss, managing director of the Council on Environmental Quality, told reporters on a conference call. “We can serve as a model for businesses and organizations across the economy as they work to cut emissions and increase efficiency.”

Shrinking Arctic ice hits record

Source: 
National Journal

The peak of Arctic ice cover extended 5.61 million square miles at the end of February, the smallest total since the National Snow and Ice Data Center started keeping records in 1979, National Journal reports.

California governor proposes $1 billion in drought spending

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders on Thursday proposed legislation to accelerate more than $1 billion in drought-relief bond spending for California as it copes with a fourth dry year.

"We need to get the money out the door now for shovel-ready projects and existing water programs that only need funding to get started," Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon said. "No delay. No red tape."

Obama signs order to cut federal greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent

President Obama on Thursday signed an executive order to slash, in the next 10 years, the federal government's greenhouse gas emissions to levels 40 percent below 2008 levels.

The executive order also sets 2025 as the year in which the federal government will get 30 percent of its electricity from clean energy sources.

Also in the next decade, the order requires an increase in the proportion of clean energy vehicles in the federal fleet, so GHG emissions per mile are cut by 30 percent from 2014 levels.

The White House said the order would result in up to $18 billion in taxpayer savings from lower energy costs.

Conference on green careers

Washington, March 20, 2015, 8:30 am

MobilizeGreen hosts conference for college students seeking careers in environmental and clean energy fields.

Winter sets global heat record despite US East's big chill

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal records show that this winter and the first two months of 2015 were the hottest on record globally, with a chilly U.S. East sticking out like a cold thumb in a toastier world.

At nearly 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit above 20th century average, last month was the second warmest February on record globally, slightly behind 1998.

Major solar storm hits Earth, may pull northern lights south

WASHINGTON (AP) — A severe solar storm smacked Earth with a surprisingly big geomagnetic jolt Tuesday, potentially affecting power grids and GPS tracking while pushing the colorful northern lights farther south, federal forecasters said.

So far no damage has been reported. Two blasts of magnetic plasma left the sun on Sunday, combined and arrived on Earth about 15 hours earlier and much stronger than expected, said Thomas Berger, director of the Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado.

Another year of water restrictions likely in dry California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Californians won't be able to water their lawns more than twice a week under tougher drought regulations that are expected to be approved Tuesday as the state heads into a fourth particularly dry year.

The State Water Resources Control Board will consider extending current restrictions on outdoor water use, such as a prohibition on washing down driveways, and weigh new ones.

2,000 snow geese die from illness in Idaho wildlife areas

MUD LAKE, Idaho (AP) — Some 2,000 migrating snow geese have died recently in eastern Idaho, likely from a disease that comes on quickly and can kill birds in midflight, wildlife officials say.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game says staff and volunteers collected the dead birds over the past several days at wildlife management areas near the towns of Terreton and Roberts.

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