Earth ChangesS

Bizarro Earth

Mexico: Earthquake Magnitude 5.9 - Guadalupe Victoria Felt In Phoenix, AZ

© Unknown
Parts of Arizona were shaken by a moderate earthquake just before the lunch hour Wednesday.

According to the United State Geological Survery, the 5.9 magnitude quake struck at 11:48 a.m. in northwest Mexico, 13 miles away from Guadalupe Victoria.

A group of 15 people at the Imperial Sand Dunes outside Yuma said the quake felt like a big semi-truck passing by.

On Twitter, user duznn wrote, "That earthquake must have been a big one - we just felt it in Phoenix!"

User wmd404 wrote, "Here in downtown Phoenix we just felt the aftershock of another earthquake in Baja ... building swaying back and forth again."

According to the USGS, the first quake was followed by a 4.9 magnitude aftershock at 11:53 a.m.

There was also a 3.4 aftershock at 12:04 p.m. and 4.0 aftershock at 12:07 p.m.


Fidel Castro Blames the US for Copenhagen Collapse

Climate change is already causing enormous damage and hundreds of millions of poor people are enduring the consequences.

The most advanced research centers have claimed that there is little time to avoid an irreversible catastrophe. James Hansen, from the NASA Goddard Institute, has said that a proportion of 350 parts of carbon dioxide by the million is still tolerable; however, the figure today is 390 and growing at a pace of 2 parts by million every year exceeding the levels of 600 thousand years ago...

Each one of the past two decades has been the warmest since the first records were taken while carbon dioxide increased 80 parts by million in the past 150 years.

The meltdown of ice in the Artic Sea and of the huge two-kilometer thick icecap covering Greenland; of the South American glaciers feeding its main fresh water sources and the enormous volume covering the Antarctic; of the remaining icecap on the Kilimanjaro, the ice on the Himalayan and the large frozen area of Siberia are visible. Outstanding scientists fear abrupt quantitative changes in these natural phenomena that bring about the change.


'China is to Blame for Copenhagen Collapse'

© Axel Schmidt/AFPA woman listens to Barack Obama's speech at the Copenhagen climate change conference on 18 December.
As recriminations fly post-Copenhagen, one writer offers a fly-on-the-wall account of how talks failed

Copenhagen was a disaster. That much is agreed. But the truth about what actually happened is in danger of being lost amid the spin and inevitable mutual recriminations. The truth is this: China wrecked the talks, intentionally humiliated Barack Obama, and insisted on an awful "deal" so western leaders would walk away carrying the blame. How do I know this? Because I was in the room and saw it happen.

China's strategy was simple: block the open negotiations for two weeks, and then ensure that the closed-door deal made it look as if the west had failed the world's poor once again. And sure enough, the aid agencies, civil society movements and environmental groups all took the bait. The failure was "the inevitable result of rich countries refusing adequately and fairly to shoulder their overwhelming responsibility", said Christian Aid. "Rich countries have bullied developing nations," fumed Friends of the Earth International.

All very predictable, but the complete opposite of the truth. Even George Monbiot, writing in yesterday's Guardian, made the mistake of singly blaming Obama. But I saw Obama fighting desperately to salvage a deal, and the Chinese delegate saying "no", over and over again. Monbiot even approvingly quoted the Sudanese delegate Lumumba Di-Aping, who denounced the Copenhagen accord as "a suicide pact, an incineration pact, in order to maintain the economic dominance of a few countries".


US: Scientists Keep Eye on Rumbling Alaskan Volcano

The Mount Redoubt volcano across Cook Inlet continued to rumble Tuesday, with the alert code remaining yellow.

"It's pretty steady as she goes," said Tina Neal, a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. "We're still seeing small earthquakes every three or four minutes."

The volcano, which erupted last spring, grumbled back to life Sunday afternoon with a series of small quakes near the summit, prompting The Alaska Volcano Observatory to upgrade the volcano's alert status from green to yellow.

"In the past we've seen this kind of behavior, and it's ended in explosions or a collapse at some point," Neal said. "But we've also seen it quiet down to nothing. At this point it's hard to say which way she'll go. We're watching for some subtle changes in patterns."

Life Preserver

Joy for whale rescuers in Australia after birth of stranded calf

© Alex Simpson/Project Jonah/AFP/Getty ImagesVolunteers try to refloat stranded pilot whales, mainly cows with calves, at Colville Bay
Hundreds of holidaymakers witnessed the birth of a long-finned pilot whale as they struggled to rescue an entire pod stranded on a treacherous beach in New Zealand.

The mother was among 63 whales, mostly cows with calves, that were beached at Colville Bay near Coromandel township early on Sunday. About two thirds of the animals, measuring up to 12ft (3.6m) long, were saved by residents and holidaymakers who kept them wet in the low tide until they could be refloated in the afternoon.

By yesterday a Department of Conservation boat, which had kept close to the pod to ensure that it did not return, reported that the whales were at least 20 miles out to sea, according to Mike Donaghue, a senior adviser at the department.

Ingrid Visser, of the Orca Research Trust charity, watched the calf being born. "It was an amazing sight to see the calf pop like a cork out of the water. We had only just refloated the calf's mother and once the calf was born the cow took it first to the group of whales nearest her, then to the other two. Within 15 minutes she had headed out to sea with the calf and the others had followed her."


Ireland: Severe weather warning as temperatures to hit record lows

© Independent.ieTwo occupants of this car had a lucky escape after it left the road near Dunlewey, Co Donegal
Householders and motorists have been warned to brace themselves for a new spell of severe freezing weather with temperatures set to plummet to record levels over the coming week.

Warnings to exercise extreme care were issued last night with a severe weather alert being given for a 48-hour period tomorrow.

Arctic winds will now keep Ireland firmly in an icy grip until January 3 and fears are mounting that temperatures in some upland northern areas could sink as low as minus 12 C on Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

Met Eireann said that, apart from last year, Irish winters have been relatively mild in recent times -- which is making the current cold snap feel even frostier as arctic air sweeps the country.

Arrow Down

LIRR Passengers Reflect on "Ride From Hell"

Riders Tell CBS 2 HD They Sat Stranded With No Warmth, Food Or Working Toilet For 6 Hours And Were Told Nothing

The Long Island Rail Road has apologized to the riders who were stranded on a train at Wyandanch during the snow storm early Sunday morning.

But as CBS 2 HD found out, some of the passengers are still angry over the inconvenience that lasted six hours.

If only the trains were running normally early Sunday morning. Instead, one train was stranded with no power.

"For me it was the cold that was killing me. My jacket was my blanket," passenger Derek Gumin said.

Gumin and his friend Joe Iannello, both 24, experienced the train ride from hell.

Black Cat

Polluting Pets: The Devastating Impact of Man's Best Friend

© AFPA man walks his dog in the snow in the East Village.
Man's best friend could be one of the environment's worst enemies, according to a new study which says the carbon pawprint of a pet dog is more than double that of a gas-guzzling sports utility vehicle.

But the revelation in the book Time to Eat the Dog: The Real Guide to Sustainable Living by New Zealanders Robert and Brenda Vale has angered pet owners who feel they are being singled out as troublemakers.

The Vales, specialists in sustainable living at Victoria University of Wellington, analysed popular brands of pet food and calculated that a medium-sized dog eats around 164 kilos (360 pounds) of meat and 95 kilos of cereal a year.

Combine the land required to generate its food and a "medium" sized dog has an annual footprint of 0.84 hectares (2.07 acres) -- around twice the 0.41 hectares required by a 4x4 driving 10,000 kilometres (6,200 miles) a year, including energy to build the car.

Arrow Down

Climate Change Alliance Crumbling

© PAUnder water: Cult British street artist Banksy passes judgment on the failure of the Copenhagen summit to reach a legally binding accord
Cracks emerged on Tuesday in the alliance on climate change formed at the Copenhagen conference last week, with leading developing countries criticising the resulting accord.

The so-called Basic countries - Brazil, South Africa, India and China - backed the accord in a meeting with the US on Friday night, and it was also supported by almost all other nations at the talks, including all of the biggest emitters.

But on Tuesday the Brazilian government labelled the accord "disappointing" and complained that the financial assistance it contained from rich to poor countries was insufficient.

South Africa also raised objections: Buyelwa Sonjica, the environment minister, called the failure to produce a legally binding agreement "unacceptable". She said her government had considered leaving the meeting.

Bizarro Earth

2 Feet for Christmas? You Better Watch Out

A storm likely to hit on Wednesday could make this "the snowiest Christmas ... in 30 years" - and be a pain for last-minute travelers.

A large winter storm with the potential to dump a foot or more of snow is grinding its way toward Minnesota, and its arrival is likely to mess up travel plans, complicate last-minute errands and ensure a very white Christmas.

"It's not definite yet, but it has an uncanny resemblance to the East Coast storm last Saturday," meteorologist Paul Douglas posted Monday on his Facebook page. "I want to see one to two more computer runs, but this could be the snowiest Christmas for Minnesota in 30 years."

According to a winter storm warning issued this afternoon for central and southern Minnesota and western Wisconsin, the mess is expected to begin Wednesday afternoon -- and go on and on.