World’s Major Deltas Threatened By Climate Change – And Also By How We Develop Hydropower

World’s Major Deltas Threatened By Climate Change – And Also By How We Develop Hydropower

SOURCE: Forbes DATE: September 27, 2019 SNIP: River deltas—like those at the mouth of the Mississippi, Nile, or Ganges—barely rise above sea level. Among the regions most imperiled by climate change, they barely rise to the level of public attention. That’s unfortunate, because deltas—which form where large rivers deposit sediment as they flow into the ocean—are home to half a billion people. They also support some of the planet’s most productive agricultural regions and fish harvests. Our warming planet poses an existential threat to deltas, a reality made clear in the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, released this week from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC report states with “high confidence” that deltas will face “high to very high risks” in the future from rising sea levels, even under scenarios where the world rapidly reduces emissions of greenhouse gases and minimizes the rise in global temperatures and the subsequent melting of ice sheets and glaciers. But the report also identifies other threats to deltas, including the loss of the sediment needed to replenish them and keep them above the rising seas. And while climate change requires a global solution, sediment loss has solutions that are far more local and arguably more tractable in the short term. A river is brown because it is more than just a flow of water moving downstream, it is also a flow of sediment. These sediments, including silt and sand, are the products of erosion across a river’s basin (all the land that eventually drains into the river). When a river reaches the ocean, it...
EPA’s New Water Rule will Gut the Clean Water Act

EPA’s New Water Rule will Gut the Clean Water Act

SOURCE: The Intercept DATE: December 7, 2018 SNIP: A new water rule will greatly reduce federal water protections, imperiling drinking water, endangered species, and ecosystems across the country. According to the rule that the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to release next week — some details of which were leaked Thursday — streams that are dependent on rainfall and wetlands not physically connected to year-round waterways will no longer be covered by the Clean Water Act. As a result of the change, an estimated 60-90 percent of U.S. waterways could lose federal protections that currently shield them from pollution and development, according to Kyla Bennett, director of science policy at Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. Alaska and the arid west will be hit particularly hard by the new rule, which will be subject to a comment period before it is finalized. Environmentalists are bracing for what they predict will be disastrous consequences for our nation’s waterways. “For some parts of the country, it’s a complete wiping away of the Clean Water Act,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity. By removing water quality standards and permitting requirements, the rule will open these streams, rivers, and wetlands to being paved over, filled in, or polluted. The result, environmentalists say, may take us back to the days of river fires. “You’ll be able to dump as much crap into them as you want,” Hartl said of our nation’s waterways. “Anyone will be free to destroy them as they see fit.” Even before the new rule goes into effect, more than half of the waterways in the...