FIGHTING CLIMATE CHANGE WITH SNAPCHAT? MEET THE PACIFIC ISLANDER TRYING TO DO IT....

May 4, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Lutunatabua holds a fue, which gives a chief the authority to speak in front of his people. Jeff Tan By Melissa CroninGRIST Sweating in the hot sun, the protesters sat in wooden canoes, staring up at a 40-foot-tall freight carrier. The gigantic vessel was trying to leave the Port of Newcastle in Australia, the largest coal port in the world. The canoers rowed and chanted and did their best to block this boat and others from leaving the harbor, until the police intervened. Back on the shore, Fenton Lutunatabua captured every moment on his smartphone. It was late 2014, and Lutunatabua had organized the protest with a group called the Pacific Climate Warriors, an alliance of activists from Vanuatu, Tokelau, the Solomon Islands, the Marshall Islands, and eight other island nations in the...

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WORLD BANK: THE WAY CLIMATE CHANGE IS REALLY GOING TO HURT US IS THROUGH WATER...

May 4, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Energy and Environment By Chris Mooney The dried-up riverbank of the Ganges is seen from a bridge in Allahabad, India, on May 3. Much of India is reeling from a heat wave and severe drought conditions that have decimated crops, killed livestock and left at least 330 million Indians without enough water for their daily needs. (Rajesh Kumar Singh/AP) This story has been updated. As India, the world’s second-most populous country, reels from an intense drought, the World Bank has released a new report finding that perhaps the most severe impact of a changing climate could be the effect on water supplies. The most startling finding? The report suggests that by 2050, an inadequate supply of water could knock down economic growth in some parts of the world a figure as high as...

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NEW MAPS SHED LIGHT ON THE SECRET LIVES OF CLOUDS...

May 4, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] By Brian Kahn GRIST Cross-posted from Climate Central Clouds might seem like a nuisance if you’re headed on a Sunday afternoon picnic. But put aside your personal biases for a second and consider this: Clouds can also tell the story of life on Earth. That story has become a lot clearer thanks to new maps created by scientists that document a global year in the clouds in more intimate detail than ever before. The maps — a cloud atlas if you will — provide a fine-grained view of how clouds move around in our atmosphere and represent an important link between climate and ecological research. They’re also pretty easy on the eyes. Seasonal cloud concentration by month. Darker colors indicate less of a seasonal trend in cloudiness.Seasonal cloud concentration by month. Darker colors...

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DEAD ZONES DEVOUR OCEAN’S OXYGEN...

May 4, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   By Tim Radford / Climate News Network   VIA TRUTHDIG     Extremes of heat deprive fish of the oxygen they need to survive near the ocean surface. (Naren Gunasekera via Flickr) This piece first appeared at Climate News Network. LONDON—Scientists in the US have identified a new hazard in a world in which the climates change and the oceans warm: measurable stretches of the seas could become sapped of oxygen. They say that parts of the southern Indian Ocean, the eastern tropical Pacific and the Atlantic are already less oxygen-rich because of global warming. And oxygen deprivation could become increasingly widespread across large regions of ocean between 2030 and 2040. Anyone who has ever kept a home aquarium knows that, in the summer, the fish in the tank are more likely to...

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THE TIME HAS COME TO TURN UP THE HEAT ON THOSE WHO ARE WRECKING PLANET EARTH...

May 4, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Bill McKibben  VIA TRUTHDIG Break free and join the biggest global action against fossil fuel companies the world has ever seen Global direct action began with hundreds of environmental activists invading the UK’s largest opencast coal mine in south Wales on Tuesday. Photograph: Kristian Buus for the Guardian   An interesting question is, what are you waiting for? Global warming is the biggest problem we’ve ever faced as a civilisation — certainly you want to act to slow it down, but perhaps you’ve been waiting for just the right moment. The moment when, oh, marine biologists across the Pacific begin weeping in their scuba masks as they dive on reefs bleached of life in a matter of days. The moment when drought in India gets deep enough that there are armed guards on...

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IS YOUR GOVERNOR OR ATTORNEY GENERAL A CLIMATE DENIER? THIS MAP WILL TELL YOU....

May 4, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Kristen Ellingboe – Guest Contributor & Ryan Koronowski CLIMATE PROGRESS CREDIT: Dylan Petrohilos   After sweating through the second straight year that earned the title of hottest year on record, new research from the Center for American Progress Action Fund finds that 24 governors and attorneys general publicly deny the reality of climate change. It also gives a comprehensive summary of their records and public views on climate change and energy issues. The 21 governors publicly confirmed as climate deniers is an increase from previous years. The public is way ahead of these state lawmakers — a recent poll found that 76 percent of Americans said they believed global climate change is occurring, including 59 percent of Republicans. This year’s analysis, displayed below in an interactive map and accompanying data sheet, also...

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EARTH IS GETTING GREENER. HERE’S WHY THAT’S A PROBLEM...

May 3, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] NASA Goddard By Phil Plait  GRIST This story was originally published by Slate and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. A new study just published in the journal Nature Climate Change reached an interesting, if not totally surprising, conclusion: The Earth has become significantly greener over the past 33 years. The main reason? All the extra carbon dioxide we humans dump into the air. Let me be clear right away: This is a kinda sorta good thing, but don’t celebrate the positive aspect of climate change just yet. The effect almost certainly won’t last, and this small positive is completely buried under a long, long list of negatives. The research used satellites to examine vegetation growth over time, assuming that the extra green is coming from leaves on plants...

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AS CLIMATE DISRUPTION ADVANCES, U.N. WARNS: “THE FUTURE IS HAPPENING NOW”...

May 2, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] By Dahr Jamail,TRUTHOUT.org Each month as I write these dispatches, I shake my head in disbelief at the rapidity at which anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) is occurring. It’s as though each month I think, “It can’t possibly keep happening at this incredible pace.” But it does. By late April, the Mauna Loa Observatory, which monitors atmospheric carbon dioxide, recorded an incredible daily reading: 409.3 parts per million. That is a range of atmospheric carbon dioxide content that this planet has not seen for the last 15 million years, and 2016 is poised to see these levels only continue to increase. To see more stories like this, visit “Planet or Profit?” Recently, Dr. James Hansen, a former NASA scientist and longtime whistleblower about the impending dangers of ACD, published a paper with several colleagues...

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WHY BILL GATES’ MATH ERROR ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE MATTERS...

May 2, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Joe Romm  CLIMATE PROGRESS CREDIT: AP Photo/John Peterson Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates plays table tennis against prodigy Ariel Hsing, unseen, along with Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett, unseen, outside the Borsheims jewelry store, a Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary, in Omaha, Neb., Sunday, May 1, 2016.   Bill Gates keeps saying confused and confusing things about climate policy and clean energy. Gates has positioned himself as a major player and spokesman in this arena with his “Breakthrough Energy Coalition,” a $2 billion effort he is spearheading to research and develop breakthrough “energy miracles.” That means his confused — and often simply wrong — pronouncements could have serious consequences in the public debate and are worth exploring in detail. Gates’ latest bizarre position, as one media headline explained, is to dismiss a carbon...

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A MINE VS. A MILLION MONARCHS

Apr 30, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Opinion A Mine vs. a Million Monarchs By DAN FAGINAPRIL  NYTIMES Photo Credit Melody Newcomb THE national tourism agency calls the Mexican mountain town of Angangueo a “Pueblo Mágico.” If so, it is a dark magic. In recent years, Angangueo’s 5,000 inhabitants have been cursed by calamities natural and manufactured. Snowstorms, mudslides and flash floods have terrorized the town. Hulking piles of mine tailings line the main road, barren reminders of the silver, gold and copper mining that petered out a quarter-century ago after defining the community for 200 years. Even the monarch butterflies that are the focus of the “magic town” tourism campaign are suffering. Millions still roost on nearby mountains, a wintertime spectacle that attracts the visitors from “El Norte” who are the town’s economic lifeline. But the overwintering population of...

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CLIMATE CHANGE IS DRIVING OCEAN OXYGEN LEVELS DOWN, AND THAT’S A BIG PROBLEM FOR MARINE ECOSYSTEMS...

Apr 30, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] BY KATIE VALENTINE – CLIMATE PROGRESS CREDIT: shutterstock   Scientists know that climate change is slowly robbing the oceans of their oxygen, but historically, it’s been hard to differentiate oxygen loss that’s due to natural ocean cycles and warming-driven loss. Now, a new study predicts that within the next 15 to 25 years, warming-caused oxygen loss will be detectable across the worlds’ oceans. The study, published in Global Biogeochemical Cycles, used modelling to determine that, between 2030 and 2040, warming-caused oxygen loss will be severe enough — and data will be comprehensive enough — for scientists to see what parts of the ocean are being affected by human-caused deoxygenation. “Oxygen varies naturally in the ocean quite substantially,” Matthew Long, lead author of the study and scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research....

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THE SECRET TO MAKING CONSERVATIVES CARE ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE...

Apr 29, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] TAKE PART DAILY New research says environmentalists should frame their arguments in ways that will appeal to other people’s values. (Photo: George Rose/Getty Images) Richard Conniff is the author of House of Lost Worlds: Dinosaurs, Dynasties, and the Story of Life on Earth, and other books.   Environmentalists are, by and large, idiots when it comes to talking with the people who disagree with us. We go on (and on) about fairness, about injustice, about caring. We are outraged. We are gloomy. Everything is going extinct, and it’s because of that company you work for or that hamburger you’re eating. And, sure, everything does seem to be going extinct, and there is plenty of blame to go around. But people just tune us out. Is there a better way? A way that might...

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THESE DAYS OF MILD U.S. WEATHER WILL NOT LAST...

Apr 29, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   By Tim Radford / Climate News Network  VIA TRUTHDIG Scientists warn that the current pleasures of warmer weather will pale for Americans as climate change brings extreme temperature increases and unhealthy levels of atmospheric ozone.     Temperatures in the United States could become too hot to handle, scientists say. (Marcos Vasconcelos via Flickr) This piece first appeared at Climate News Network. LONDON—There could be good reasons why US citizens face the prospect of dramatic and potentially catastrophic global climate change with seeming calm. Right now, and for four-fifths of the people, the changes make their seasons more comfortable. But scientists warn that this benign effect could be only temporary. A separate group of researchers has warned that as greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, unhealthy “high ozone days” could increase in...

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DROUGHTS ARE GIVING TREES “HEART ATTACKS”...

Apr 29, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   By Tim Radford / Climate News Network  VIA TRUTHDIG     Around 12 million trees have perished in California in the last year. (NoIdentity via Flickr) This piece first appeared at Climate News Network. LONDON—Scientists in the US have identified the factors that make a tree more likely to perish in a drought, after conducting an exhaustive examination of 33 separate scientific studies of tree mortality involving 475 species and 760,000 individual trees. The answer they come up with is that the deciding factor is how efficiently trees draw water from the ground to their leaf tips. This is not a surprising conclusion, but scientists don’t trust the obvious: they like to check these things. And William Anderegg, assistant professor of biology at the University of Utah, and colleagues report in the Proceedings of...

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NOT A PRETTY PICTURE: CLIMATE CHANGE AND HEALTH IN FOUR INFOGRAPHICS...

Apr 29, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] THE CLIMATE REALITY PROJECT The White House released a groundbreaking new scientific assessment on the impact of climate change on public health in the United States. US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murphy said, “The changes are happening right now… Climate change is going to impact health, and it’s not a pretty picture.” This might seem like old news. But the Climate and Health Assessment connects the dots between climate change and its consequences for American public health more clearly than ever before. The new report (which is the product of three years of research by 13 federal agencies) emphasizes that climate change will continue to exacerbate existing threats to health as well as give rise to new ones. But like many scientific reports, it can get a little dense. So with some help...

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HOW TO TALK TO YOUR FRIENDS ABOUT THE PARIS AGREEMENT...

Apr 29, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] THE CLIMATE REALITY PROJECT You don’t have to be a policy wonk to understand what’s happening with the Paris Agreement. When a record-breaking 175 nations attended the UN ceremony on April 22 to sign the Paris Agreement, Earth Day 2016 officially became one for the history books. But with a whole bunch of technical and official-sounding terms flying around, it’s not always immediately clear what exactly is happening or why. Here’s how to answer common questions your friends – on the internet or IRL – are probably asking about what’s going on. 1. In one sentence – what’s the big deal? On April 22 – Earth Day – the Paris Agreement became one step closer to having legal effect around the world, as the 195 countries that adopted the agreement in December began...

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VIDEO: AL GORE & NEIL DE GRASSE TYSON TALK “SPIDER GOATS” — AND THE FATE OF OUR CLIMATE...

Apr 29, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] CLIMATE REALITY PROJECT When former Vice President Al Gore and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson sit down to talk about the future of climate solutions, the conversation gets real, fast. When many people think about the top science communicators, two of the first names that come to mind are former Vice President Al Gore and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. Watch this never-before-seen interview as the two discuss “spider goats,” old cell phone technology, plummeting renewable energy prices, how technology will continue to change the world, and why good science teachers are key to our climate future. MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD THIS EARTH DAY Add your name and demand that world leaders join the Paris Agreement signing ceremony in New York on Earth Day. First Name * Last Name * Email * Country * Yes, I...

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THIS FLORIDA TOWN WANTS TO BECOME THE MOST SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITY IN AMERICA...

Apr 27, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Natasha Geiling CLIMATE PROGRESS CREDIT: d3 Creative Studio   When Florida real estate developer Syd Kitson began conceptualizing Babcock Ranch, a planned community located some 20 minutes from Florida’s Fort Myers in 2006, he had a singular goal in mind: prove that a new development could exist in harmony with the environment around it. A decade later, Kitson’s initial vision is about to become a reality. Coinciding with Earth Day, Babcock Ranch had its official reveal on Friday, April 22, with construction on the community’s homes set to begin this summer. If all goes according to plan, Kitson expects that residents will begin moving into the community sometime next year. When the project is completed, it will pull all of its energy needs from a neighboring 74.5-megawatt solar power plant, which will...

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TEMPERATURES IN 2016 APPROACH LIMIT SET AT PARIS CLIMATE CONFERENCE...

Apr 27, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] By Dahr Jamail, Truthout | Report The first three months of 2016 have been so warm that global temperatures are already nearing the limit set at the COP21 climate conference, whose international commitments haven’t even been ratified by its signatory countries yet. (Photo: francediplomatie / Flickr) On April 22 (Earth Day), US Secretary of State John Kerry, with his granddaughter in his lap, signed the international commitment that is supposed to slow the pace of anthropogenic climate disruption. The commitment, which was the result of the 2015 Paris Climate Conference last fall, was signed by more than 150 countries at the UN. Its aim was to limit global temperature increases to between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial baseline levels. The problem is, three days before Kerry made his symbolic signature, NASA...

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NEPAL DISASTER: HOW CLIMATE CHANGE TRIGGERS EARTHQUAKES...

Apr 27, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]                                                            Nepal_Earthquake_2015_002 Image by Nirmal Dulal and courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. One year ago, Nepal was rocked by a devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake. In conjunction with a major aftershock one month later, the April 25 disaster claimed around 9,000 lives, injured tens of thousands more, and reduced holy sites like the Dharahara tower and Vatsala Durga to rubble. Relief Web The quake was not entirely unexpected. Residents in this seismically active part of the world have collected records of seismic activity for hundreds if not thousands of years. Earlier earthquakes have done far more damage. An 8.1-magnitude quake in 1934, for example, resulted in the deaths of 19,000 in Nepal and neighboring India. But as world leaders lined up at the United Nations on Friday to commit their nations to greenhouse gas reductions intended...

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DAYS OF REVOLT: CHRIS HEDGES, TIM DE CHRISTOPHER DISCUSS FAR-REACHING EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE...

Apr 26, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   Tim DeChristopher on ‘Days of Revolt’ In this week’s episode of “Days of Revolt,” Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges sits down with Tim DeChristopher, founder of the Climate Disobedience Center. The two analyze how the industrialized world fails to significantly confront climate change, beginning with the “exercise in make-believe” that was the 2015 Paris climate conference. DeChristopher explains that the drastic effects of global warming aren’t just occurring in a vacuum. For example, water shortages in parts of the southern United States play out in areas with pre-existing social tensions, such as racism and xenophobia, creating the potential to trigger violent human responses. Another example is Syria, where, as DeChristopher points out, the CIA actually admitted that climate change accelerated the beginning of civil war. Still, DeChristopher says, “I don’t think it’s inevitable...

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THIRTY WAYS CHERNOBYL AND THE DYING NUCLEAR INDUSTRY THREATEN OUR SURVIVAL...

Apr 26, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]     (Photo: Fi Dot)HARVEY WASSERMAN OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch April 26 marks the 30th anniversary of the catastrophic explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. It comes as Germany, which is phasing out all its reactors, has asked Belgium to shut two of its nukes because of the threat of terrorism. It also comes as advancing efficiencies and plunging prices in renewable energy remind us that nukes stand in the way of solving our climate crisis. And it makes us remember the second and third biggest lies told us by the atomic power industry: that no commercial nuke could explode, and that no one would be harmed by reactor fallout. Prior to the 1986 disaster at Chernobyl, there was at least one minor explosion (on March...

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JOHN KERRY TUGS AT HEARTSTRINGS AT THE PARIS SIGNING (it’s a weak agreement, but we have to start somewhere, ccd)...

Apr 24, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] By Rebecca Leber   GRIST Secretary of State John Kerry, ever the diplomat, sure knows how to melt our cold hearts on Earth Day. Representatives from 175 countries marked the occasion with a formal signing ceremony of the Paris climate agreement at the United Nations. In an event featuring a sea of green ties, Kerry made a different kind of symbolic statement, holding his 2-year-old granddaughter Isabelle as he signed the agreement. The ceremony is only a first step to seeing the Paris agreement enter into force. Fifty-five countries representing at least 55 percent of global emissions still need to ratify the agreement, which the U.S. and China (the two biggest emitters) plan on doing this year. Even once it’s ratified, there’s a lot of work left to be done. Top U.S. climate negotiator Todd Stern told Grist in an interview,...

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9 Ways Global Warming Is Making Us Sick...

Apr 24, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Thanks to climate change, we’ll be seeing more asthma, allergies, Lyme disease and foodborne illnesses. By Reynard Loki / AlterNet The Obama administration has released a major new report on how manmade global warming is making Americans sicker—and it’s only going to get worse. Developed over three years and involving approximately 100 climate and public health experts, the 332-page report was based on more than 1,800 published scientific studies and new federal research, and was reviewed by the National Academies of Sciences. The report, titled The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States, “significantly advances what we know about the impacts of climate change on public health, and the confidence with which we know it,” according to a White House fact sheet about the report. “As the climate continues...

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WE’RE FLIRTING WITH APOCALYPSE: THE PLANET INCHES EVER CLOSER TO 1.5C DEGREE THRESHOLD...

Apr 24, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Analysis finds the world will have to dramatically accelerate emissions reductions to meet Paris climate agreement VIDEO Climate Central   VIA SALON.COM This article originally appeared on Climate Central. Global leaders are meeting in New York this week to sign the Paris climate agreement. One of the expressed purposes of the document is to limit warming to “well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C.” A Climate Central analysis shows that the world will have to dramatically accelerate emissions reductions if it wants to meet that goal. The average global temperature change for the first three months of 2016 was 1.48°C, essentially equaling the 1.5°C warming threshold agreed to by COP 21 negotiators in Paris last December. February exceeded the 1.5°C target at 1.55°C, marking...

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IN A WIN FOR CLIMATE, NEW YORK LEADERS NIX PIPELINE PROJECT...

Apr 23, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Victory: As world leaders sign climate treaty, state leaders in New York show the way Leslie Roeder, an advocate with New Yorkers Against Fracking, celebrates in 2014 after Govenor Cuomo announced he would ban hydraulic fracking. Chang W. Lee/The New York Times/Redux It’s time for fossil fuel industry enablers and apologists to step aside and let the rest of us continue the work necessary to solve the climate crisis and transition our society to 100 percent renewable energy. Moneen Nasmith Attorney, Earthjustice April 22, 2016 Albany, NY —In a win for climate activists and the anti-fracking movement, and a blow to fossil fuel polluters and the federal regulatory agencies that enable them, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) denied a key permit to companies seeking to build a 124-mile fracked gas...

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U.S.-CANADA PACT ERASES ARCTIC FEARS...

Apr 22, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   By Valerie Brown / Climate News Network  VIA TRUTHDIG   The Trans-Alaska pipeline runs 800 miles from the Arctic Ocean to the Gulf of Alaska. (Luca Galuzzi via Wikimedia Commons) This piece first appeared at Climate News Network. OREGON—A joint pledge by the US and Canada to reduce methane emissions for oil and gas activities in the Arctic and limit fossil fuel extraction is putting pressure on Russia to follow suit. The pledge was in response to increasing concern across the world at the intention of the eight nations with territorial claims in the Arctic to exploit its resources, even though this risks making climate change far worse. At the poles, the Earth is warming twice as fast as the global average. In the Arctic, this is disrupting the way of life...

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THIS EARTH DAY, LISTEN UP: MOTHER EARTH IS CALLING US BACK...

Apr 22, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Environment Those of us who succumbed to the false promises of Western consumerism at great cost to the planet and to ourselves are Earth’s prodigal children now returning home. By David Korten / Yes! Magazine   VIA ALTERNET Photo Credit: gletham GIS / Flickr April 22 is Earth Day 2016. Each Earth Day marks another milestone in a profound human reawakening to the truth that we are children of a living Earth who survive and prosper only as contributing members of a living Earth community. The first Earth Day, in 1970, brought 20 million people to U.S. streets, parks, and auditoriums in a massive demonstration of public support for political action to limit human harm to nature. As the first mass demonstration in defense of nature, it marked the birth of the modern environmental...

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U.S. CAN MEET PARIS CLIMATE GOALS (WITH OR WITHOUT THE SUPREME COURT)...

Apr 22, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] People power. Photographer: FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images     Michael R. Bloomberg As world leaders gather in New York on Friday to sign the Paris Agreement on climate change, some have expressed concern that as they implement their commitments, the U.S. Supreme Court has put on hold the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan. Their concern is understandable, but it’s important to recognize: The federal government is not the primary force in the U.S. fight against climate change, and even if the court ultimately strikes down certain parts of the plan, the U.S. will meet and probably exceed its commitment to reduce emissions by 26 to 28 percent by 2025. Here’s why. It was a modest goal. By 2015, the U.S. had already cut emissions by 11 percent compared with 2005 levels. So our starting line was nearly...

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A RADICAL PLAN TO SAVE THE MISSISSIPPI DELTA...

Apr 21, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Point of View METROPOLIS MAGAZINE Liam Otten The Atchafalaya, part of the larger Mississippi River Delta, meets the Gulf of Mexico. Courtesy Derek Hoeferlin This article originally appeared on the blog of the Washington University in St. Louis, The Source. On Jan. 9, 2016, as record floodwaters roared down the mid-Mississippi River valley, hundreds gathered on the shores of Lake Pontchartrain to witness theopening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway. Completed in 1931, the spillway was engineered as a safety valve for the City of New Orleans, diverting floodwater through Pontchartrain and out to the Gulf of Mexico. In satellite images, that diversion can be seen as a large brown bloom overtaking much of the lake. But for those who study the Mississippi River Delta, the bloom was a lost opportunity. Millions of tons of rich river sediment — the delta’s basic building block, which might have...

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