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- Thu Apr 20, 2017 - Last stand: Nebraska farmers could derail Keystone XL pipeline
When President Donald Trump handed TransCanada Pipeline Co. a permit for its Keystone XL pipeline last month, he said the company could now build the long-delayed and divisive project \'with efficiency and with speed.\'
But Trump and the firm will have to get through Nebraska farmer Art Tanderup first, along with about 90 other landowners in the path of the pipeline.
They are mostly farmers and ranchers, making a last stand against the pipeline - the fate of which now rests with an obscure state regulatory board, the Nebraska Public Service Commission.
The group is fine-tuning an economic argument it hopes will resonate better in this politically conservative state than the environmental concerns that dominated the successful push to block Keystone under former President Barack Obama.
Backed by conservation groups, the Nebraska opponents plan to cast the project as a threat to prime farming and grazing lands - vital to Nebraska's economy - and a foreign company's attempt to s
- Thu Apr 20, 2017 - Terrorists could wipe out 30 million people by weaponising a disease such as smallpox
A bioterrorist attack which could wipe out 30 million people is becoming increasingly likely because it is easier than ever to create and spread deadly pathogens, Bill Gates has warned.
The Microsoft founder, who was speaking before a speech at the Royal United Services Institute in London (RUSI), warned that an outbreak of a lethal respiratory virus such as smallpox would be more dangerous than even a nuclear attack.
Mr Gates, whose charitable foundation funds research into quickly spotting outbreaks, said it was more important than ever to help foreign countries monitor diseases to prevent a global tragedy.
\'Bioterrorism is a much larger risk than a pandemic,\' he said.
\'All these advances in biology have made it far easier for a terrorist to recreate smallpox, which is a highly fatal pathogen, where there is essentially no immunity remaining at this point.
\'When you are thinking about things that could cause in excess of 10 million deaths, even something tragic like a
- Thu Apr 20, 2017 - As China Pushes Waste-to-Energy Incinerators, Protests Are Mounting
With its burgeoning economy producing vast quantities of garbage, China is turning to new facilities that burn solid waste to produce electricity. But local citizens are increasingly protesting these incinerators, fearful that they emit toxic pollutants.
What once was a lush valley studded with small fish ponds, just north of one of Shenzhen's major drinking water reservoirs, is now a vast crater of red earth --- the construction site of what is expected to become the largest waste-to-energy incinerator plant on earth.
A group of several dozen Shenzhen residents --- fearing that landfilled waste ash, leachate, and airborne pollutants from the future Shenzhen East Waste-to-Energy Plant will make their way into the reservoir and the air --- has launched a legal battle to halt the project. Their hope: to force authorities to relocate the waste-to-energy plant away from the reservoir, away from their communities, and closer to less-populated areas on the South China coast.
- Thu Apr 20, 2017 - Trillions of Plastic Bits, Swept Up by Current, Are Littering Arctic Waters
The world's oceans are littered with trillions of pieces of plastic --- bottles, bags, toys, fishing nets and more, mostly in tiny particles --- and now this seaborne junk is making its way into the Arctic.
In a study published Wednesday in Science Advances, a group of researchers from the University of Cádiz in Spain and several other institutions show that a major ocean current is carrying bits of plastic, mainly from the North Atlantic, to the Greenland and Barents seas, and leaving them there --- in surface waters, in sea ice and possibly on the ocean floor.
Because climate change is already shrinking the Arctic sea ice cover, more human activity in this still-isolated part of the world is increasingly likely as navigation becomes easier. As a result, plastic pollution, which has grown significantly around the world since 1980, could spread more widely in the Arctic in decades to come, the researchers say.
Andrés Cózar Cabañas, the study's lead author and a professor of bi
- Wed Apr 19, 2017 - Climate Activists Plot How to Turn Anti-Trump Rage Into Anti-Trump Votes
Activists planning the People's Climate March in Washington, D.C. on April 29 are mapping out a far more ambitious trek than that day's walk from the Capitol to the White House. They are trying to turn rage over the Trump administration's rollback of climate change policy and budget cuts targeting science into actual political clout.
Tens of thousands of demonstrators organized by 50 groups that represent millions of members plan to demand that political leaders preserve protections for the environment and public health and invest in a clean energy economy. The march will culminate a week of activism that begins with the March for Science on April 22, followed by lobbying visits on Capitol Hill, rallies outside federal agencies and national and local candidate training workshops. There will be more than 250 People's Climate Marches held across the country and overseas.
The march will be the first major demonstration of how the climate movement is regrouping since the election las
- Wed Apr 19, 2017 - Justin Trudeau finally got something wrong, and it took a climate activist to call him out.
Justin Trudeau, the handsome, worldly prime minister of Canada seems to do no wrong, but when it comes to climate change, he's a complicated figure.
The prime minister boldly declared that \'Canada is back\' at the negotiating table for U.N. climate talks during a speech at the Paris negotiations in 2016, garnering a standing ovation.
But a well-known climate activist wants the world to see through the double-speak. Never one to shy away from a fight, activist and journalist Bill McKibben took aim at the internet's favorite world leader, and onetime boxer.
While Trudeau's government is working to lower its emissions and aid other countries hit hard by climate change, his administration has also been pushing the development of Canada's bountiful oil and gas resources, including the dirty tar sands of Alberta.
Trudeau may be viewed by many Americans and millions of Canadians as something of a left-leaning hero, but the story is far more complex when it comes to his climate po
- Wed Apr 19, 2017 - A resurgence of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon.
The Brazilian Amazon is the size of Western Europe, and in the 41 years I have lived in the region and worked on problems of deforestation, an area larger than France has been cleared. Over the decades, I have watched as economic cycles, swings in commodity prices, and land speculation have led to peaks and valleys in the clearing of the Amazon, with 1995 setting a record for destruction: 11,200 square miles --- an area the size of Belgium --- fell to loggers, cattle ranchers, and farmers.
When the annual deforestation rate in Brazil's Amazon plunged from nearly 11,000 square miles in 2004 to 1,700 square miles in 2012 --- an 84 percent decline --- I was of course relieved. But I had witnessed too much destruction in the Amazon to celebrate. Unfortunately, these widely publicized declines led not only to the impression among the international conservation community that Amazon deforestation was finally ebbing. It also led to a dangerous illusion taking hold in the capital of Brasíli
- Wed Apr 19, 2017 - When Rising Seas Transform Risk Into Certainty
In 1909, a group of Virginia developers placed an ad in The Norfolk Ledger-Dispatch announcing the creation of a subdivision that --- because it was built on a pair of peninsulas where the Lafayette and Elizabeth Rivers poured into Chesapeake Bay --- came to be known as Larchmont-Edgewater. The developers set up private jitney service to downtown and advertised the area as \'Norfolk's only high-class suburb.\' People flocked to live by the water's edge.
Today the neighborhood is known for the venerable crepe myrtles that line its streets, for its fine houses and schools and water views and for the frequency with which it is not just edged by, but inundated with, water. Melting ice and warming water are raising sea levels everywhere. But because the land in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia (which includes Norfolk) is also sinking, relative sea levels there are rising faster than anywhere on the Atlantic coast. Water levels are already as much as 18 inches higher than they were when t
- Tue Apr 18, 2017 - Trump advisers to meet Tuesday to discuss Paris climate agreement
Advisers to President Donald Trump will meet on Tuesday to discuss whether to recommend that he withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord, a White House official said on Monday.
The accord, agreed on by nearly 200 countries in Paris in 2015, aims to limit planetary warming in part by slashing carbon dioxide and other emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. Under the pact, the United States committed to reducing its emissions by 26 to 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025.
Trump has said the United States should \'cancel\' the deal, but he has been mostly quiet on the issue since he was elected last November.
Environmental groups want Washington to remain in the Paris agreement, even if the new administration weakens U.S. pledges.
A White House official said Trump's aides would \'discuss the options, with the goal of providing a recommendation to the president about the path forward.\'
The meeting comes before a summit of the Group of Seven wealthy nations in
- Tue Apr 18, 2017 - Receding glacier causes immense Canadian river to vanish in four days
An immense river that flowed from one of Canada's largest glaciers vanished over the course of four days last year, scientists have reported, in an unsettling illustration of how global warming dramatically changes the world's geography.
The abrupt and unexpected disappearance of the Slims river, which spanned up to 150 metres at its widest points, is the first observed case of \'river piracy\', in which the flow of one river is suddenly diverted into another.
For hundreds of years, the Slims carried meltwater northwards from the vast Kaskawulsh glacier in Canada's Yukon territory into the Kluane river, then into the Yukon river towards the Bering Sea. But in spring 2016, a period of intense melting of the glacier meant the drainage gradient was tipped in favour of a second river, redirecting the meltwater to the Gulf of Alaska, thousands of miles from its original destination.
The continental-scale rearrangement was documented by a team of scientists who had been monitoring the