Obama on KXL: In an interview posted this weekend, President Obama raises concerns with the Keystone XL pipeline project. Chief among them, the president notes the proposed pipeline will create few long-term jobs. He says, “the most realistic estimates are this might create maybe 2,000 jobs during the construction of the pipeline—which might take a year or two—and then after that we’re talking about somewhere between 50 and 100 [chuckles] jobs in a economy of 150 million working people.” (FYI, another report puts that number at just 35 permanent jobs.) Furthermore, the president points out that the pipeline would likely not lower consumer gas prices (and may in fact raise prices at the pump for some in the Midwest). From the environmental aspect, President Obama says there is “no doubt that Canada at the source in those tar sands could potentially be doing more to mitigate carbon release.” (NRDC, which publishes OnEarth, estimates the Keystone XL project has the potential to contribute 1.2 billion metric tons of carbon pollution to the atmosphere in just 50 years.) Of course, a decision on anything is probably still a few months out, but the president’s comments bolster the case against the pipeline. New York Times, Bloomberg, Grist
"They paved paradise to...": Across Idaho, Oregon, and Washington sits 260 million square feet of wasteland. Is it an abandoned strip mine hidden in the woods? Or perhaps, a polluted beach? Nope, the wasteland is the amount of space taken up by superfluous parking spots. New research suggests it might be time to reevaluate our parking quotas (see "Time to Put Another $1 Billion in the Meter"). Grist
The cost of climate change: According to a new study, if melting Arctic permafrost released the methane being held beneath the East Siberian Sea within a time span of 10 to 20 years, the surge in the powerful greenhouse gas would cost the world an unimaginable $60 trillion. (What does that number even mean? Well, the total Gross Domestic Product of all the world's nations is $70 trillion.) While some climate scientists are debating the figure, the news is the latest in a long string of attempts to quantify the effects of a warming planet. NRDC estimates that U.S. taxpayers spent $100 billion last year to cover the costs of climate change. A billion, a trillion—in the end, numbers are probably less important than simply getting the public and politicians to realize unmitigated climate change is going to hit them where it hurts most: their wallets. Guardian, Yahoo!
More than a hop, skip, and a jump away: New research has found pesticides in frogs living 50 to 100 miles away from crops sprayed with the ag chemicals. Even stranger, there was no evidence of the same chemical compounds in the water and the study found only a little bit of the pesticides in the surrounding sediment. Oh, and one of the pesticides identified was DDT, which has been banned for over 40 years. Scientists suspect dust and precipitation kick the pesticides up, and the wind carries them the rest of the way. Los Angeles Times
No soup for you!: New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a law Friday banning the shark fin trade, a destructive business that slaughters 73 million sharks worldwide each year. With one of the country’s largest Chinatowns, New York City is one of the more likely places you could go to find shark fin soup in America, though one restaurant manager admits fewer and fewer customers have been requesting the $80-a-bowl "delicacy." The ban is a step in the right direction to curb ecologically destructive and horrifying fishing practice, which involves cutting off a shark’s fins and then tossing the animal back in the ocean to die. Associated Press
Back-scratch fever: A motion-sensitive camera in Alberta, Canada, has revealed the secret social life of one really popular tree. Alberta Parks
They registered for what?!?: From chocolate covered ants to cicada ice cream, there’s nothing new about the idea of eating insects (see "Worm: the Other Red Meat"). But what about growing them on your kitchen counter? Now, with a new appliance called "Farm 432," black soldier fly larvae can be harvests right at your fingertips. Treehugger
Pope Francis Defends Amazon and Environment in Brazil Associated Press
Tips: @OnEarthMag (tag it #greenreads)
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