The LA Times reports the Pacific Ocean ‘dead zone’ in Northwest may be irreversible. Unlike other “dead zones” that are caused by agricultural and other pollution, the vast oxygen-depleted “dead zone” off the coast of Oregon and Washington is permanent and was brought about by the changing climate.
“I really think we’re in a new pattern, a new rhythm, offshore now. And I would expect [the low-oxygen zone] to show up every year now,” said Jack Barth, professor of physical oceanography at Oregon State University.
The National Science Foundation released a “multimedia report that said the number of dead zones worldwide was doubling every decade. According to the report, in the Pacific Northwest “the areas of hypoxic, or low-oxygen, water that long have existed far offshore began to appear closer to land in 2002, a phenomenon that may mean they are even deadlier to sea life that exists near the ocean floor.”
“What we’re seeing is changes in the oxygen content of the water and the winds that drive the ocean and cause that flushing,” Barth said, calling it a “double whammy.”
Four at Four continues with foreclosures, derivatives, climate change, and my farewell.
McClatchy reports a Congressional watchdog has found Obama’s mortgage relief efforts aren’t good enough. “The Obama administration’s efforts to force the modifications of distressed mortgages… is likely to fall far short because the foreclosure crisis has grown and threatens to dwarf government efforts to relieve it”.
The Congressional Oversight Panel, created to monitor how taxpayer bailout dollars are being spent, warned that the administration’s Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP, announced in February, seems sure to prove ineffective.
“Foreclosures continue every day as Treasury ramps up the program, with foreclosure starts outpacing new HAMP trial modifications at a rate of more than 2 to 1,” the report said.
Meanwhile, the CS Monitor reports Obama declares small victory in war on home foreclosures. In announcing a “key milestone” in its foreclosure-relief program, the Obama administration announced that ahead of target, “half a million at-risk homeowners have had their mortgages modified since this spring, making them less likely to default”.
Bloomberg reports that the Derivatives lobby links with the New Democrat Coalition to blunt Obama regulation plan.
As President Barack Obama vowed in a Sept. 14 speech in New York’s Federal Hall to correct “reckless behavior and unchecked excess” on Wall Street, Mike McMahon and Barney Frank sat in the audience discussing how to ease proposed rules for the $592 trillion over-the-counter derivatives market.
Side by side at 26 Wall St., across from the New York Stock Exchange, freshman congressman McMahon told House Financial Services Committee Chairman Frank he was worried that Obama’s derivatives plan, released in August, would penalize a wide swath of U.S. corporations and could push jobs in his home district overseas, McMahon said in an interview.
McMahon is a member of the New Democrat Coalition, a group of 68 self-described pro-growth Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives. “JPMorgan Chase & Co.,Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Credit Suisse Group AG lobbied McMahon and fellow New Democrat Coalition member Representative Melissa Bean of Illinois, among others, to expand the ways the legislation allows dealers and major investors to trade the contracts, according to people familiar with the matter.”
The Guardian reports Bangkok climate talks end in recrimination.
Global climate change talks came to an end in Bangkok today in an atmosphere of distrust and recrimination, with the rift between rich and poor countries seemingly wider than ever. After two weeks of negotiations there have been no breakthroughs on big issues such as money or emissions cuts.
With just five days of negotiating time now left before the concluding talks in Copenhagen in December, delegates said it appeared a weak deal was the most likely outcome, and no deal at all was a possibility…
China, India, Brazil and other major developing countries lined up with environment and development groups to condemn both the US and EU for demanding a brand-new climate agreement.
Some delegates hope Barack Obama’s winning the Nobel peace prize will help progress be made in the climate talks. “The citation for the prize specifically mentions the president ‘now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting’.”
However, some remain skeptical including Di-Aping Lumumba, Sudanese chair of the G77, a group of 130 developing countries. He said:
“Developed countries have a massive leadership deficit. It’s now up to their leaders to intervene and give a direction to the negotiations rather than waste everyone’s time.”
On a personal note: I am retiring from the Four at Four column. Today is my last day editing.
The past two years have been an interesting time to be chronicling the news. It marked the transition from Bush to Obama and from a focus on the war in Iraq to the war in Afghanistan. It has seen the world plunge into a Great Recession and that, once again, U.S. executive branch criminality goes unchecked.
And while not unexpected, I’m the most disappointed by the world’s, not just America’s, inaction on addressing climate change. As readers of Four at Four will no doubt be aware, the future is grim.
But that’s the news. Before I leave, I want to thank buhdy for the opportunity to be part of creating a new blog. Also, thank you to all in the Docudharma community for your support and readership. Being a part of Docudharma has been a wonderful and rewarding experience.
Be seeing you.