Mother Jones on climate change and Thanksgiving It is a holiday loved for its abundance, but MoJo has now delivered a considerable bounty of downer to Thanksgiving, describing in detail just how endangered our favorite foods can be. Turkey, for instance, is in trouble because of what the drought has done to grain supplies. Forget mashing potatoes: higher temperatures in the spring could stifle yields of potatoes, which might also become infested with the potato tuber moth. Other dishes at climate change's mercy? Cranberry sauce, creamed spinach, anything involving corn, and maybe even pumpkin pie.
Grist on the carbon tax David Roberts describes why he doesn't regard the carbon tax "with the same reverence as many economists and climate hawks." Roberts says he has been asked why he doesn't advocate more strongly for the policy, which he says will not be instated as long as the GOP controls the house. So he gives 10 reasons "for a more tempered and realistic attitude toward a carbon tax." These reasons include the fact that the tax is "conservative," that the taxes are regressive, that the tax might come at the sacrifice of EPA regulations, and that "the environmental benefits are uncertain." He concludes that a carbon tax is a part of a "wholesale, society-wide commitment to remaking energy, agricultural, and land-use systems along low-carbon lines," but it's not the whole package.
The New York Times on bluefin tuna Even though there are signs that bluefin stocks are improving, the fishing quota for next year will remain similar to this year's number, rising from 12,900 tons to 13,500 tons. Conservationists were pleased that the body that imposes the regulations, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, were "following the scientific recommendations," however there was frustration that endangered sharks were not included in the protections.
Co.Exist on the toilet of the future On the occasion of World Toilet Day, Ariel Schwartz looks at a project from Caltech that won the Gates Foundation's Reinvent the Toilet Challenge. The winning entry is a "a solar-powered, self-cleaning toilet that converts urine and waste into hydrogen and fertilizer." A solar panel "powers an electrochemical reactor, which in turn breaks down waste into sanitized solids (a useful fertilizer) and hydrogen that can be stored in fuel cells to power the reactor on cloudy days." Meanwhile, treated water, which can be used for other pruproses, is pumped to a "reservoir" on the top of the toilet.
Environmental Health News on cargo ships Though a study shows that slowing cargo ships near coasts can cut down on the air pollution produced by the ships, actually imposing restrictions on the ships has been "an elusive goal for port cities because shipping traffic is regulated internationally." A study from the University of California, Riverside found that if the ships just went 10 to 15 miles per hour slower nitrogen oxides would be cut by 55 percent and soot by nearly 70 percent. Which would improve the health of people living by ports.