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Yale Environment 360: Mayan activity more than 2,000 years ago contributed to the decline of Central America's tropical lowlands and continues to influence the land and environment today, say researchers at the University of Texas at Austin. Evidence shows that during the "Mayacene" — a period from 3,000 to 1,000 years ago when humans began greatly affecting the environment — the Maya's advanced urban and rural infrastructure altered tropical forest ecosystems. Clay and soil sequences indicate erosion and land-use changes,...
Posted: September 4, 2015, 5:02 pm
EcoWatch: It`s been quite a week for tropical cyclones (the umbrella term for hurricanes and typhoons) with several records set. Last weekend, for the first time ever there were three Category 4 hurricanes (Kilo, Ignacio and Jimena) in the central and eastern Pacific basins at the same time. Historic central/eastern Pacific outbreak- 3 major hurricanes at once for the first time on record! #ElNino #climate pic.twitter.com/t4fdIZwhOO -- Eric Blake (@EricBlake12) August 29, 2015 Before then, we had...
Posted: September 4, 2015, 1:50 pm
EcoWatch: An international collaboration of scientists has just completed the ultimate green census--by calculating that the planet is home to 3.04 trillion trees. The latest estimate is far higher and almost certainly more accurate than any previous attempt. But the bad news is that humans are removing trees at the rate of 15 billion a year--and there are now about half as many as there were at the dawn of civilization. For every person on Earth, there are 422 trees--in total, more than 3,000 billion...
Posted: September 4, 2015, 1:05 pm
Nature World News: Researchers from Duke University recently found high concentrations of radioactive contaminants in coal ash from three major U.S. coal-producing basins. Compared to normal soil, the researchers found that this ash was five times more radioactive, and up to 10 times more radioactive than its parent coal. This raises concerns of how coal ash may affect environmental and human health. According to a news release, the researchers collected samples of coal and coal ash from the nation's three major...
Posted: September 3, 2015, 5:04 pm
Yale Environment 360: WRI Tropical tree cover loss More than 45 million acres of trees were cut down last year -- an area twice the size of Portugal -- according to an analysis by the University of Maryland and Google. Tropical nations lost more than half of that total -- nearly 25 million acres of tree cover, an area roughly the size of South Korea. Brazil and Indonesia, the two countries most often associated with deforestation, had been making gains toward stemming the problem, but 2014 saw an uptick in tree cover...
Posted: September 3, 2015, 5:01 pm
Climate Central: The shell of ice that covers the Arctic Ocean is nearing its yearly low point and projections suggest that it will be among the four lowest summer minimums on record. If melt rates are speedy enough, there's a chance it could even take the number two spot, forecasters said Wednesday, as the ice continues its decades-long, warming-driven decline. The sea ice that caps the Arctic Ocean naturally waxes and wanes with the seasons, reaching its maximum area at the end of winter, before the reemergence...
Posted: September 3, 2015, 5:01 pm
Economic Times: Climate change is a "pressing" global challenge and the poor people are "most adversely" affected by it, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said and suggested a shift of the discourse on the issue from "climate change to climate justice." "In my view, the most adversely affected by climate change are the poor and the downtrodden. When a natural disaster strikes, they are hit the hardest. When there are floods, they are rendered homeless. During a quake, their homes are destroyed. "During droughts,...
Posted: September 3, 2015, 4:36 pm
RTCC: A long-awaited plan detailing how developed countries will meet a 2009 promise to deliver US$100 billion a year of climate funds to poor countries will be presented on 9 October, the UN’s top climate official has told RTCC. In an exclusive interview, Christiana Figueres said she expected top donors to outline their proposals at the start of the annual World Bank and International Monetary Fund meeting in Lima next month. Top finance ministers including US Treasury secretary Jacob Lew, Germany’s...
Posted: September 3, 2015, 4:21 pm
Hill: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) pledged Wednesday to reverse President Obama’s major energy and climate policies if he’s elected to the White House in 2016. Rubio hit Obama and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton for pursuing climate regulations he says are hampering the American energy industry during a speech in Oklahoma City. He said, according to prepared remarks, that states, not the federal government, have the constitutional right are better suited to regulate energy production, a policy...
Posted: September 3, 2015, 4:15 pm
Christian Science Monitor: Across much of the United States, regional droughts and heatwaves are appearing simultaneously more frequently, imposing more-extreme conditions than either would deliver separately, according to a new study. California's four-year drought is a case in point, says Amir AghaKouchak, a civil engineer at the University of California at Irvine and the new study's senior author. Looking only at 2014 and using precipitation as the indicator, "it is a serious drought, but it is not that extreme," he says....
Posted: September 3, 2015, 3:48 pm
EcoWatch: Bill Nye recently took a trip north to the Alberta tar sands while filming his new science documentary and he did not mince words about the state of Canada`s crude oil reservoir. Thank you @BillNye & National Geographic for coming to see the #tarsands & its impacts and talk about #climatechange pic.twitter.com/2jjuzabsAm -- Melina LM (@Melina_MLM) September 2, 2015 “Producing all this oil that’s producing all this carbon dioxide, that’s not good from a global stand point,” the children`s...
Posted: September 3, 2015, 3:30 pm
Ecologist: Isn't three trillion trees enough to keep our planet healthy? It sounds like a lot, writes James Dyke, but they are under threat as never before, from deliberate deforestation and climate change. Many of the 1.5 billion trees we are losing a year are in the last great rainforests - key ecosystems under threat of drying out forever under our escalating double onslaught. Humans are attacking the forest on a local front that follows new roads which open up previously undisturbed forest to logging,...
Posted: September 3, 2015, 3:15 pm
EcoWatch: Aspen is one of three U.S. cities to run on 100 percent renewable energy as of today, according to city officials. The Colorado mountain town is best known for its posh ski resorts, but this beautiful town also has established itself as a leader in environmental stewardship. The city had been using about 75 to 80 percent renewable energy until Thursday when it signed a contract with wholesale electric energy provider Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska, in order “to achieve this final leg of our...
Posted: September 3, 2015, 2:27 pm
Monitor: When faced with deforestation statistics that seem daunting, the fact that there are 422 trees per person on Earth sounds a bit more reassuring. But is it? On Wednesday, researchers published the most comprehensive assessment of global tree populations ever conducted, revealing findings that blew previous estimates out of the water. Prior to the Yale-led study, Earth was believed to be home to 400 billion trees, but the new estimate is nearly eight times higher – 3.04 trillion. Researchers arrived...
Posted: September 3, 2015, 2:00 pm
LA Times: Figures released this week point to an apparent rise in deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon over the last year, an ominous development that one researcher attributed to an increase in cattle ranching aimed at the U.S. market. The newly lost forest, nearly 2,000 square miles, amounts to an area about the size of Delaware. The report was published by Brazil's National Institute for Space Research and is based on satellite data used to monitor day-to-day changes in Amazon forest cover. The figures...
Posted: September 3, 2015, 2:00 pm
Greenwire: A few days before John Podesta departed the White House in February, the heads of big national green groups were summoned to the White House to meet with his successor. Message: The new guy will look out for you. Brian Deese -- an economics specialist then just shy of 37 -- had recently been picked as the replacement for Podesta, President Obama's top green adviser, who was taking off to work for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. Deese had long been a trusted aide to the president and...
Posted: September 3, 2015, 2:00 pm
BBC: Global plans to curb carbon dioxide are well below what's needed to keep temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees, according to a new analysis. It is the work of researchers from the Climate Action Tracker (CAT), a consortium of research institutions. They examined the commitments already made by governments to limit warming. The CAT rated seven of the 15 submitted carbon plans as "inadequate" to keep temperatures below the accepted level of dangerous warming. The analysis was released...
Posted: September 3, 2015, 1:47 pm
Clapway: Stories of extended droughts and heat waves have repeatedly been making news headlines. According to scientists, these climatic weather fluctuations are occurring much more frequently, further shedding light on the potentially devastating effects of climate change. To make matters even worse, a study, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, now reports that these extremes are also more likely to occur together. Droughts and Heat Waves: The Troublesome Duo As...
Posted: September 3, 2015, 11:57 am
Agence France-Presse: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Thursday for a focus on "climate justice" rather than climate change, saying the poor suffered most from global warming. India is under pressure to commit to cutting its carbon emissions ahead of a major conference in Paris later this year aimed at forging a global climate pact. It argues the burden should lie with industrialised countries, which have been accused of hypocrisy in heaping demands on poorer nations. In a speech in New Delhi Thursday,...
Posted: September 3, 2015, 11:55 am
BBC: Global plans to curb carbon dioxide are well below what's needed to keep temperatures from rising above 2 degrees according to a new analysis. It is the work of researchers from the Climate Action Tracker (CAT), a consortium of research institutions. They examined the commitments already made by governments to limit warming. The CAT rated seven of the 15 submitted carbon plans as "inadequate" to keep temperatures below the accepted level of dangerous warming. The analysis was released...
Posted: September 2, 2015, 10:29 pm

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