Eco-briefs | So you’re saying there’s a chance?

Solar energy zones in Colorado
Photo courtesy of the BLM

So you’re saying there’s a chance?

Climate change scientists have just a 5 percent slice of hope that human industrial flatulence is not warming the planet.

A leaked draft of an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report obtained by Reuters states global climate scientists are 95 to 100 percent certain climate change is caused by human activity.

The draft cites fossil fuel combustion as the primary factor of global warming since the 1950s, with a level of certainty higher than the 90 percent projection from the 2007 report, and 66 percent in 2001.

While the leak strongly ties anthropogenic activity to increased global temperatures, Reuters reports the IPCC will likely de-emphasize the correlation between human activity and increased droughts — a tentative finding from 2007.

The IPCC’s final report will be published in three installments over the next year, the first of which will be presented in Stockholm on Sept. 26, and “is likely to change in response to comments from governments received in recent weeks and will also be considered by governments and scientists at a four-day approval session at the end of September,” the panel’s spokesman, Jonathan Lynn, said in a press statement Monday. “It is therefore premature and could be misleading to attempt to draw conclusions from it.”

— Zak Weinberg

Bureau of Land Management to auction public land for solar energy zones

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will host the first competitive auction for 3,705 acres of public land designated as solar energy zones in Conejos and Saguache counties on Oct. 24.

“This process will facilitate the Department’s priority approach to making appropriate public lands available for renewable energy development in the Solar Energy Zones and ensure a fair return to taxpayers for the commercial use of these lands,” said Helen Hankins, BLM Colorado state director, in a BLM press release.

The De Tilla Gulch and Los Mogotes East solar energy zones are part of the Western Solar Plan, a two-year effort spearheaded by the Department of the Interior and the Department of Energy and approved last October. The plan provides incentives for development within 19 solar energy zones with access to existing or planned transmission zones, as well as creating a process for considering additional zones.

— Zak Weinberg

Dolphin what?

One of Matt Groening’s personal favorite scenes from The Simpsons is “Night of the Dolphin,” based roughly on the 1973 American science-fiction thriller film directed by Mike Nichols, The Day of the Dolphin.

In the episode, dolphins surpass human intelligence and violently relocate the town of Springfield into the ocean. While lawmakers wait idly for what could become our cartoonish and hyperbolic future, crowdfunding group FundaGeek and the Dolphin Communication Project have teamed up to support the continuous study of bottlenose dolphins and how they value their social relationships.

“In 2000, when the Dolphins IMAX film premiered, I founded the Dolphin Communication Project,” Kathleen Dudzinski, director of the project, says on the website. “By comparing dolphins of different species living in different environments, we are able to determine how their social structures are affected by the many differences we see in their unique situations, as well as ascertain which social behaviors might be universal or shared by all dolphin species.”

— Zak Weinberg