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Sierra magazine
Up to Speed: Two Months, One Page

President Obama proposes tripling federal loan guarantees for new nuclear reactors, even though the Congressional Budget Office puts the risk of default at more than 50 percent.

The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, which is seeking a 20-year license extension, is leaking radioactive tritium.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates that the United States needs 20,000 miles of new transmission lines to move clean wind energy from the Midwest to consumers on the East Coast.

The U.S. Supreme Court upholds states' ability to deny permits for transmission lines, making construction of new lines doubtful.

Employees of the Arizona Game and Fish Department snare the last wild jaguar in the Southwest. It dies soon after.

Fewer than 100 Florida panthers survive in the wild, but U.S. Fish and Wildlife won't designate critical habitat for them, prompting a lawsuit by the Sierra Club and others.

Global warming threatens the pika, an alpine lagomorph (an order whose only other members are rabbits and hares) that needs cool temperatures-but not enough, decides U.S. Fish and Wildlife, to list it as an endangered species.

Fish and Wildlife does set aside 1.6 million acres of critical habitat for the endangered red-legged frog, a.k.a. "the celebrated jumping frog of Calaveras County."

Afghanistan adds 16 animals to its new endangered list, including the recently rediscovered large-billed reed warbler, thought to have been extinct for 135 years.

Summers in California are substantially less foggy, threatening fog-dependent coastal redwoods.

Mountains in Patagonia are growing 1.5 inches per year, rebounding because of the diminished weight of melting glaciers.

Worldwide, January 2010 is the warmest January ever in satellite records. But blizzards in Washington, D.C., put the brakes on discussions of climate-change legislation.

Balmy Vancouver imports snow by truck and helicopter for the Winter Olympics.

Osama bin Laden blames the United States for global warming.

An economic analysis commissioned by Park City, Utah, estimates that decreased snowpack will cost the ski industry $120 million a year by 2030.

The Utah House of Representatives officially doubts climate science.

Virgin sharks can give birth to viable young via parthenogenesis.

Eighty million pounds of the herbicide atrazine are applied annually in the United States. When exposed to atrazine at 2.5 parts per billion, 75 percent of adult male frogs are emasculated, and 10 percent turn into females.

The world's 3,000 largest companies cause $2.2 trillion in environmental damage per year, an amount equal to more than a third of their total profits.

By slowing down its container ships, Danish shipping giant Maersk cuts fuel consumption by 30 percent.

Obama announces $8 billion in grants for high-speed rail projects in 31 states.

The World Wildlife Fund warns that tigers may be extinct in the wild within 10 years.

The Year of the Tiger begins. —Paul Rauber


 

This article has been corrected.

Photos and illustrations, left column, from top: iStockphoto/3d_kot, iStockphoto/JeffGoulden, iStockphoto/KentWeakley; right column: iStockphoto/Pazhyna

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