The Stream, January 25: Climate Change Brings Floods, Droughts, and Melting Glaciers to Europe

The Global Rundown

A new study predicts Europe will experience more floods, droughts, and glacier-melting temperatures as climate change progresses. The Dakota Access and Keystone XL oil pipelines are back on the table after U.S. President Donald Trump signed executive orders reviving the projects. Protest camps are popping up along Florida’s Suwannee River in opposition to the Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline. Conservation groups in Canada say a recent oil spill in Saskatchewan highlights the risk to soil and water from pipelines. Rainstorms and floods in the Northern Territory of Australia could increase the risk of massive fires during the dry season. Officials say lead concentrations in the drinking water supply for Flint, Michigan have dropped below the federal action level.

“This is our land and our water, not theirs. We can’t just sit here and let them come through here. We have to do something about it.” –John Quarterman, president of the WWALS Watershed Coalition in Florida and Georgia, referring to the Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline under construction near the Suwannee River. Protesters, concerned that the line could contaminate the Floridan aquifer, are creating opposition camps near the river and elsewhere along the pipeline’s route. (Guardian)

By The Numbers

12 parts per billion Concentration of lead in the water supply for Flint, Michigan during the last six months of 2016, below the federal action level, according to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Nonetheless, city officials say there is still a lot of work to do to ensure Flint’s drinking water system is safe — namely replacing old lead pipes. Associated Press

In context: Read more about the Flint water crisis and efforts to restore the integrity of the city’s water supply.

200,000 liters of oil Amount that leaked from an underground pipeline onto the Ocean Man First Nation in Saskatchewan, Canada last week. The spill did not flow into any water sources, but it “raises the issue yet again, that if you are going to build these pipelines, you’re going to be placing communities and water and land at risk,” said Gretchen Fitzgerald of the Sierra Club Canada Foundation. Reuters

Science, Studies, And Reports

Climate projections are “coming true” across Europe, according to researchers at the European Environment Agency. The agency released a new, comprehensive report detailing changes that have occurred in the region’s climate, as well as expectations for the future. Among the findings with ramifications for water: higher flood risks in the Atlantic coast countries, rising temperatures that will melt glaciers in the Alps, and hotter, drier conditions in the Mediterranean. Guardian

On The Radar

Executive orders signed by U.S. President Donald Trump Tuesday instruct government agencies to move forward with the approval process for the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines. Progress on the pipelines, both of which have been opposed in part due to concerns about water pollution, stalled under the Obama administration. The Washington Post

In context: Learn about the North American fossil fuel boom behind the surge in pipeline projects.

Heavy rainfall and flash floods in Australia’s Northern Territory are nurturing an explosion of vegetation that could create a significant fire hazard during the dry season, the Indigenous Desert Alliance warned. The group said early planning and action is key for preventing large-scale fires, some of which can burn millions of hectares. Guardian