Friday, May 22, 2015
May 22, 2015
May 22, 2015
"As opponents and advocates of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) continue to battle it out, the debate over the agreement has largely focused on the issue of trade – whether jobs will be lost or gained, what the agreement will do to our trade deficit, and other related matters."
"It's worth pointing out that the United States already trades heavily with the other 11 nations included in the TPP talks. As Paul Krugman says, “this is not a trade agreement. It's about intellectual property and dispute settlement; the big beneficiaries are likely to be pharma companies and firms that want to sue governments.” Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has been particularly critical of the so-called Investor State Dispute Settlement provisions, which would empower corporations to use international courts to sue the U.S. government and others who are enacting regulations and protections that harm their profits."
"The Obama administration is arguing that the deal is instead about trade and increasing American exports abroad. They have set up a web page on the U.S. Trade Representative's (USTR) site listing the benefits of exports from each of the fifty states in order to argue for the Trans-Pacific agreement."
"Yet an obscure government document put out by that very same office makes Warren's case for her. The office puts out an annual report on “foreign trade barriers” around the world, going country by country to list complaints the U.S. government has about their laws with respect to commerce. If you read the 2015 report, you'll quickly see that many of the complaints are about laws designed to promote environment, labor, and anti-monopolistic practices – and relate only vaguely to the larger issue of trade and tariffs. The complaints seem more focused around opposing regulations that restrict the rights of multi-national corporations and their investors."
Thursday, May 21, 2015
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
The evolving instability of the remnant Larsen B Ice Shelf and its tributary glaciers
Ala Khazendara, Christopher P. Borstada, Bernd Scheuchl, Eric Rignotb, Helene Seroussia
Following the 2002 disintegration of the northern and central parts of the Larsen B Ice Shelf, the tributary glaciers of the southern surviving part initially appeared relatively unchanged and hence assumed to be buttressed sufficiently by the remnant ice shelf. Here, we modify this perception with observations from IceBridge altimetry and InSAR-inferred ice flow speeds. Our analyses show that the surfaces of Leppard and Flask glaciers directly upstream from their grounding lines lowered by 15 to 20 m in the period 2002–2011. The thinning appears to be dynamic as the flow of both glaciers and the remnant ice shelf accelerated in the same period. Flask Glacier started accelerating even before the 2002 disintegration, increasing its flow speed by ∼55% between 1997 and 2012. Starbuck Glacier meanwhile did not change much. We hypothesize that the different evolutions of the three glaciers are related to their dissimilar bed topographies and degrees of grounding. We apply numerical modeling and data assimilation that show these changes to be accompanied by a reduction in the buttressing afforded by the remnant ice shelf, a weakening of the shear zones between its flow units and an increase in its fracture. The fast flowing northwestern part of the remnant ice shelf exhibits increasing fragmentation, while the stagnant southeastern part seems to be prone to the formation of large rifts, some of which we show have delimited successive calving events. A large rift only 12 km downstream from the grounding line is currently traversing the stagnant part of the ice shelf, defining the likely front of the next large calving event. We propose that the flow acceleration, ice front retreat and enhanced fracture of the remnant Larsen B Ice Shelf presage its approaching demise.