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- Mon Feb 27, 2017 - Wet winter has improved Colorado River basin's water forecast, but the drought endures
California is not the only place in the West confronting startling amounts of rain and snow.
Drought conditions have declined substantially across the region in recent weeks, with heavy storms replenishing reservoirs and piling fresh powder on ski resorts.
In fact, if the Rocky Mountains continue to see substantial snowfall this winter, there is a chance that later this year, water managers for the Colorado could do something that seemed inconceivable just a few weeks ago: They could start giving water away.
Under federal guidelines that kick in when water flows reach certain volumes, the Bureau of Reclamation, which oversees the river basin's largest reservoirs, Lake Powell and Lake Mead, could release enough water from the former to raise the elevation of the latter by 20 feet or more --- providing a remarkable shot in the arm for a lake that has been declining steadily during a devastating drought that started in 2000.
The process --- lowering one reservoir to lift anoth
- Mon Feb 27, 2017 - Farmer brings water to wild animals in drought-stricken Kenya
When Patrick Kilonzo Mwalua pulls his huge truck up to its destination in Kenya, dozens of elated four-legged customers are already waiting for him and others come racing when they hear the rumble of his engine.
Mwalua is making the rounds in drought-stricken Tsavo West National Park, and he's carrying 3,170 gallons of water to fill dried-out watering holes. His \'clients\' are elephants and zebras, African water buffaloes, antelopes, and even the occasional donkey.
About four times a week, Mwalua climbs into a water truck where he makes a 55-mile round trip to fill up watering holes in the park. A long-time conservation activist, Mwalua began renting a truck in September 2016 when he noticed the area had become incredibly parched and there was no rain expected for many months. He estimates that each truckload of water costs about $250 and he delivers about two or three in one day.
\'This has got us all very worried of losing many animals from antelopes to elephants if nothing is
- Mon Feb 27, 2017 - United Nations announces new global campaign to clear plastic from oceans
The United Nations Environment Progam announced Thursday that it would be launching a new effort to clean the world's oceans of plastic pollution. Called the #CleanSeas campaign, the ambitious program seeks to remove more than eight million tons of plastic leaks into the ocean each year, an amount that's equal to a garbage truck of plastic hitting the sea every minute.
The campaign was launched at the Economist World Ocean Summit, which is currently taking place in Bali. Through #CleanSeas, the UN is urging governments around the world to pass plastic reduction policies. So far, ten countries are on board; Indonesia has committed to reducing its ocean litter 70 percent by 2025, Uruguay will begin taxing plastic bags this year, and Costa Rica is working on methods to reduce single-use plastic.
\'Costa Rica recognizes the risks and damage caused by the effects of single-use plastic and non-recoverable microplastics on the marine environment,\' said Edgar Gutiérrez-Espeleta, Minister
- Mon Feb 27, 2017 - Aggressive cuts to Obama-era green rules to start soon
U.S. President Donald Trump's administration will begin rolling back Obama-era environmental regulations in an \'aggressive way\' as soon as next week, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency said on Saturday - adding he understood why some Americans want to see his agency eliminated completely.
\'I think there are some regulations that in the near-term need to be rolled back in a very aggressive way. And I think maybe next week you may be hearing about some of those,\' EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt told the Conservative Political Action summit in Washington DC.
Pruitt added the EPA's focus on combating climate change under former President Barack Obama had cost jobs and prevented economic growth, leading many Americans to want to see the EPA eliminated completely.
\'I think its justified,\' he said. \'I think people across this country look at the EPA much like they look at the IRS. I hope to be able to change that.\'
Pruitt was confirmed as EPA head last week. His appoin
- Wed Feb 22, 2017 - VW looks to east Germany in switch to electric cars
Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) wants to build more electric cars in eastern Germany and backs a Tesla (TSLA.O)-style expansion of charging stations in the city of Dresden, evidence of efforts to reshape its business after a diesel emissions scandal.
VW, which has regained the status of the world's largest carmaker, is pursuing a multi-billion-euro investment in battery-powered cars and new mobility services as Europe and China seek to encourage sales of plug-in cars and regulators tighten emissions rules.
VW's glass-walled factory in the eastern city of Dresden embodies the company's post-dieselgate transformation better than any of its 120 plants worldwide.
Before the scandal broke in September 2015, VW's smallest plant built the 12-cylinder Phaeton saloon, the brand's most expensive model which was dropped last March. Now it will instead produce a version of the all-electric e-Golf from April.
\'We want to play a major role when it comes to launching further electric vehicles,\' sa
- Wed Feb 22, 2017 - Mosquito Spit Vaccine Would Fight Malaria, Zika, West Nile, Too
Government doctors have started testing a vaccine designed to protect against all diseases spread by mosquitoes, from Zika to malaria and yellow fever.
The vaccine targets mosquito saliva in the hope that the body could push back against the bite and stop viruses or parasites from getting a foothold and starting an infection.
Mosquito-borne diseases kill hundreds of thousands of people every year. Malaria killed 438,000 people in 2015, according to the World Health Organization.
Mosquitoes spread viruses including Zika, yellow fever, dengue, West Nile virus, chikungunya and Japanese encephalitis.
There's a good yellow fever vaccine, but it's in short supply. And the same mosquitoes that spread yellow fever spread Zika, dengue and other viruses. Malaria spreads in many of the same regions, although it's carried by different mosquitoes.
\'Mosquitoes cause more human disease and death than any other animal,\' said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Alle
- Wed Feb 22, 2017 - Should we mine the deep ocean?
You've probably heard of peak oil---the point at which oil production reaches its maximum and begins to decline---but what about peak copper?
Copper helps send the electrical signals that make modern electronics like cellphones and tablets work. But there's growing concern that the prevalence of key minerals like copper is on the decline.
In 2016 the Chilean Copper Commission (Cochilisco) released a report that looked at 15 years of copper exploration data. They found that most new copper deposits had been found before 2010. The world hasn't stopped looking for copper, but we've stopped finding it.
And copper isn't even the mineral that makes companies most nervous---it's still pretty abundant. Minerals like tantalum, tungsten, and molybdenum are another matter entirely. They're vital to manufacturing high-tech devices and don't have ready substitutes. These minerals are often not mined directly but are byproducts of other types of mining. And recycling, in this case, isn't a
- Wed Feb 22, 2017 - 'Alarming' superbugs a risk to people, animals and food, EU warns
Superbug bacteria found in people, animals and food across the European Union pose an \'alarming\' threat to public and animal health having evolved to resist widely used antibiotics, disease and safety experts warned on Wednesday.
A report on antimicrobial resistance in bacteria by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said some 25,000 people die from such superbugs in the European Union every year.
\'Antimicrobial resistance is an alarming threat putting human and animal health in danger,\' said Vytenis Andriukaitis, the EU's health and food safety commissioner.
\'We have put substantial efforts to stop its rise, but this is not enough. We must be quicker, stronger and act on several fronts.\'
Drug resistance is driven by the misuse and overuse of antibiotics, which encourages bacteria to evolve to survive and develop new ways of beating the medicines.
Wednesday's report highlighted that in Salmonella bact
- Tue Feb 21, 2017 - Saudis Kick Off $50 Billion Renewable Energy Plan to Cut Oil Use
Saudi Arabia is kicking off its $50 billion renewable-energy push as the world's top crude exporter turns to solar and wind power to temper domestic oil use in meeting growing energy demand.
Bidders seeking to qualify to build 700 megawatts of wind and solar power plants should submit documents by March 20, and those selected will be announced by April 10, Saudi Arabia's energy ministry said Monday in an e-mailed statement. Qualified bidders will be able to present their offers for the projects starting on April 17 through July.
\'This marks the starting point of a long and sustained program of renewable energy deployment in Saudi Arabia that will not only diversify our power mix but also catalyze economic development,\' Khalid Al-Falih, the energy minister, said in the statement. The ministry's Renewable Energy Project Development Office intends to set up \'the most attractive, competitive and well executed government renewable energy investment programs in the world,\' he said.
- Tue Feb 21, 2017 - No place is safe for Africa's hunted forest elephants
Africa's forest elephants have nowhere to hide. Even those living in isolated wilderness in Gabon, in Central Africa, are vulnerable to poachers, scientists report today. Their analysis reveals that more than 25,000 of Gabon's forest elephants---some 80%---were killed between 2004 and 2014. That's another grim bit of news for the forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis): A similar study in 2013 found that their numbers across Central Africa dropped 62% since 2002.
Conservationists had thought that the elephants would thrive in large, intact landscapes, even without active guarding or armed patrols. But the new data show that wilderness itself offers little protection.
\'The loss of elephants at this site is even graver than we thought,\' says Fiona Maisels, a conservation scientist with the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York City who was part of the 2013 study. She was not involved with the new work, which she says is based on a \'more intense\' survey inside one large reserve an