sierraclub.org - sierra magazine - november/december 2010 - up to speed
UP TO SPEED | Two Months, One Page
Half a billion eggs from two giant facilities in Iowa are recalled for fear of salmonella contamination.
Per capita CO2 emissions in China surpass those of France.
A 60-mile-long traffic jam outside Beijing ties up 10,000 vehicles for 10 days.
An ice island four times the size of Manhattan breaks off of Greenland's Petermann Glacier.
Seventeen nations set or equal all-time-high temperature records, including Russia (111 degrees Fahrenheit) and Pakistan (128 degrees Fahrenheit).
Fires char more than 22,780 square miles in Russia.
Mauritania begins planting 2 million trees in an attempt to halt the advance of the Sahara Desert.
Extreme monsoon rains cause flooding in Pakistan. At one point, 20 percent of the country is underwater.
Global warming is blamed for a 40 percent decline over the last century in phytoplankton, the microscopic plants upon which all oceanic life depends.
After 11 years of drought, Lake Mead is at 40 percent of its capacity and dropping. The lake has a 50 percent chance of running dry by 2021.
The U.S. Senate gives up on bringing climate legislation to a vote, killing any chances for passage in the near future.
A hailstone eight inches in diameter and weighing nearly two pounds lands in Vivian, South Dakota. The stone was originally larger, but power went out in the freezer where it was stored prior to measuring.
British Columbia's Fraser River sees the largest salmon run in a century—25 million fish.
For the first time, the EPA regulates soot and mercury emissions from cement plants.
A federal judge halts further planting of Monsanto's genetically modified sugar beets pending environmental review. Before the ban, GM beets accounted for 95 percent of U.S. production.
The world's largest tidal-power turbine, capable of generating one megawatt of energy, is unveiled in Scotland.
A Scottish biofuel derived from whisky proves 30 percent more powerful than ethanol.
BP stanches the flow from the Deepwater Horizon well, ending the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history at 4.9 million barrels.
A pipeline in Michigan belonging to the Canadian energy company Enbridge bursts and spills 1 million gallons of oil into a tributary of the Kalamazoo River.
An explosion and fire ruptures an oil pipeline in the Chinese port of Dalian, spilling as much as 16 million gallons.
The U.S. birthrate in 2009—13.5 per 1,000 inhabitants—is the lowest in a century.
Middle Eastern environmentalists call for an end to baptisms in the River Jordan because its waters are so polluted.
Auditors find that five of seven Department of Energy sites they visit still use antiquated fluorescent lightbulbs. The DOE spends $76 million a year on lighting.
According to the Highway Loss Data Institute, Priuses are almost never stolen. —Paul Rauber
Left column, from top: iStockphoto/GlobalP, courtesy of NASA, courtesy of NASA; right column, from top: iStockphoto/Kone, iStockphoto/sunemotion
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