The Methane Riddle: What Is <br />Causing the Rise in Emissions?


The Methane Riddle: What Is
Causing the Rise in Emissions?

by fred pearce
The cause of the rapid increase in methane emissions since 2007 has puzzled scientists. But new research finds some surprising culprits in the methane surge and shows that fossil-fuel sources have played a much larger role over time than previously estimated.
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For European Wind Industry, <br />Offshore Projects Are Booming


For European Wind Industry,
Offshore Projects Are Booming

by christian schwägerl
As Europe’s wind energy production rises dramatically, offshore turbines are proliferating from the Irish Sea to the Baltic Sea. It’s all part of the European Union’s strong push away from fossil fuels and toward renewables.
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In New Ozone Alert, A Warning <br />Of Harm to Plants and to People


In New Ozone Alert, A Warning
Of Harm to Plants and to People

by jim robbins
Scientists are still trying to unravel the damaging effects of ground-level ozone on life on earth. But as the world warms, their concerns about the impact of this highly toxic, pollution-caused gas are growing.
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The Rising Environmental Toll <br />Of China’s Offshore Island Grab


The Rising Environmental Toll
Of China’s Offshore Island Grab

by mike ives
To stake its claim in the strategic South China Sea, China is building airstrips, ports, and other facilities on disputed islands and reefs. Scientists say the activities are destroying key coral reef ecosystems and will heighten the risks of a fisheries collapse in the region.
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For A Bird Nearing Extinction, <br />An Indian Doctor Seeks a Cure


For A Bird Nearing Extinction,
An Indian Doctor Seeks a Cure

by moushumi basu
Numbers of the great Indian bustard are down to about 250, the result of hunting and habitat loss. But a young physician-turned-conservationist is working with herders in the desert of northwest India to stop this magnificent bird’s slide into oblivion.
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Natural Aquaculture: Can We <br />Save Oceans by Farming Them?


Natural Aquaculture: Can We
Save Oceans by Farming Them?

by richard schiffman
A small but growing number of entrepreneurs are creating sea-farming operations that cultivate shellfish together with kelp and seaweed, a combination they contend can restore ecosystems and mitigate the impacts of ocean acidification.
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How the Attack on Science Is <br />Becoming a Global Contagion


How the Attack on Science Is
Becoming a Global Contagion

by christian schwägerl
Assaults on the science behind climate change research and conservation policies are spreading from the U.S. to Europe and beyond. If this wave of “post-fact” thinking triumphs, the world will face a future dominated by pure ideology.
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As Arctic Ocean Ice Disappears, <br />Global Climate Impacts Intensify


As Arctic Ocean Ice Disappears,
Global Climate Impacts Intensify

by peter wadhams
The top of the world is turning from white to blue in summer as the ice that has long covered the north polar seas melts away. This monumental change is triggering a cascade of effects that will amplify global warming and could destabilize the global climate system.
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Why We Need a Carbon Tax, <br />And Why It Won’t Be Enough

Why We Need a Carbon Tax,
And Why It Won’t Be Enough

by bill mckibben
Putting a price on carbon is an idea whose time has come, with even Big Oil signaling it may drop its long-standing opposition to a carbon tax. But the question is, has it come too late?
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In Fukushima, A Bitter Legacy <br />Of Radiation, Trauma and Fear


In Fukushima, A Bitter Legacy
Of Radiation, Trauma and Fear

by fred pearce
Five years after the nuclear power plant meltdown, a journey through the Fukushima evacuation zone reveals some high levels of radiation and an overriding sense of fear. For many, the psychological damage is far more profound than the health effects.
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How Climate Change Could Jam <br />The World


How Climate Change Could Jam
The World's Ocean Circulation

by nicola jones
Scientists are closely monitoring a key current in the North Atlantic to see if rising sea temperatures and increased freshwater from melting ice are altering the “ocean conveyor belt” — a vast oceanic stream that plays a major role in the global climate system.
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e360 digest

Photo Essay: How Pollution Is
Devastating an Indonesian Lake

Lake Toba Pollution
Binsar Bakkara

More than 1,500 tons of fish suddenly turned up dead in Indonesia’s largest lake earlier this year, a mass asphyxiation caused by high pollution levels. The event threatened the livelihoods of hundreds of fish farmers and the drinking water for thousands of people, and it shed light on the rapidly declining conditions in Lake Toba, the world’s largest volcanic lake. In a photo essay for Yale Environment 360, Binsar Bakkara visits the lake he grew up on to chronicle the destruction.
View the photos.

26 Oct 2016: At Least 74,000 People Live
Near Oil and Gas Wells on Public Lands

A new online tool mapping active oil and gas wells on U.S. public lands shows that at least 74,000 people in six states

People living within a half-mile of oil and gas wells.
live within a half-mile of drilling sites. That close proximity puts these people at increased risk of cancer, heart disease, and respiratory problems from natural gas leaking from the wells, said the Wilderness Society, which together with Earthworks helped create the tool. In Wyoming, for example, 15,869 oil and gas facilities operate on public land, and some 4,000 people live within a half-mile of them — the range that airborne pollutants from wells, such as benzene, can easily travel. The mapping tool is being released at a time when scientists, environmental groups, and policymakers are ramping up calls to reduce and regulate natural gas leaks from drilling and storage sites in an effort to fight climate change, increase energy efficiency, and protect public health.


The Moth Snowstorm: Finding
True Value in Nature’s Riches

It is the blizzard of moths that Michael McCarthy remembers most vividly. As a boy, his family would take summer nighttime drives to the English coast,
English butterfly

and the car headlights and windshield would soon be so splattered with moths they would have to stop to clean them off. “That phenomenon has gone,” says McCarthy. “It’s disappeared because there has been a horrendous crash in moth numbers in the U.K.” His recent book, The Moth Snowstorm: Nature and Joy, offers a defense of the natural world rooted in the joy and spiritual nourishment it provides. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, McCarthy, a British journalist, talks about the loss of wildlife; how the decline in species abundance, as opposed to extinctions, is overlooked; and why he thinks putting a monetary value on so-called ecosystem services is too limiting. “You can say mangrove swamps are worth so many billion dollars,” he says. “But what about birdsong? How much is birdsong worth?”
Read the interview.

24 Oct 2016: Pope Francis’ Call for Climate
Action Fails to Sway Many Americans

A direct call to action by the Pope has apparently failed to inspire people to be concerned about climate change, according to a new national survey by

Pope Francis.
public policy researchers at the University of Pennsylvania. Last year, Pope Francis release a 200-page papal letter entitled “Laudato Si,” or “Be Praised,” that urged 1.1 billion Catholics to address climate change and live more sustainably. The new survey, published in the journal Climatic Change, found those who had heard of the encyclical — both Catholics and non-Catholics — were no more concerned about global warming than those who hadn’t. Those who knew about the encyclical were also more politically polarized in their acceptance or denial of climate change. The scientists used data from 1,381 20-minute phone interviews one week before the encyclical’s release and two weeks after it was published.


Public Art or Renewable Energy?
New Designs Aim to Produce Both

When the topic of energy infrastructure comes up, works of art don’t usually come to mind. But hundreds of such hybrid creations — part renewable power generators,

A vegetable farm off the Santa Monica Pier.
part large-scale art installations — now exist, at least on paper, as the result of a sustainable design competition known as the Land Art Generator Initiative. Multi-disciplinary teams across the world have taken up the challenge to come up with buildable designs that produce renewable energy and “add value to public space, inspire, and educate.” In a photo essay, Yale Environment 360 highlights eight submissions to this year’s biennial competition, including the three winners announced this week. All designed for the waters off the Santa Monica Pier in Southern California, the systems range from a ring-shaped farm floating offshore to sail-like structures that harvest drinking water from fog.

21 Oct 2016: Scientists Report Finding DNA
Mutations That Caused Snakes to Lose Legs

A mutation in the DNA of some reptiles about 150 million years ago switched off the gene responsible for forming limbs — leading to the

A green tree python.
creation of modern day snakes, according to two studies published week. The findings were discovered by two independent teams of researchers, which reported their results separately in the journals Current Biology and Cell. Some snakes, including pythons and boas, still have tiny leg bones inside their bodies, remnants of this evolutionary history; but most species lost their legs starting about100 million years ago. The scientists traced the mutation back to a docking site for proteins, known as an enhancer, situated in front of the Sonic hedgehog gene, which controls limb development. They found that the enhancer is simply switched off, not broken. When the missing DNA was fixed and the modified enhancer was put in mice, they grew legs like normal.

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Yale School of Forestry
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A look at how acidifying oceans could threaten the Dungeness crab, one of the most valuable fisheries on the U.S. West Coast.
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An aerial view of why Europe’s per capita carbon emissions are less than 50 percent of those in the U.S.
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An indigenous tribe’s deadly fight to save its ancestral land in the Amazon rainforest from logging.
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Food waste
An e360 video series looks at the staggering amount of food wasted in the U.S. – a problem with major human and environmental costs.
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Choco rainforest Cacao
Residents of the Chocó Rainforest in Ecuador are choosing to plant cacao over logging in an effort to slow deforestation.
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Tribal people and ranchers join together to stop a project that would haul coal across their Montana land.
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