Climate Change & Environment
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USAID Backs How-to Course to Help Asia Cope with Climate Change

The U.S. government is setting up a course to train officials in the Asia-Pacific region in the basics of preparing and financing projects to help communities weather climate change, experts from the USAID development agency said on Friday.

Financing needs for climate change adaptation - efforts to adjust to extreme weather and rising seas - are estimated at tens of billions of dollars per year in developing countries.

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The Secret Weapon in Fight against Climate Change

What if we could slow climate change with a few good inventions? That’s the promise of “geoengineering”, often described as plan B if all the politics and protests fail to spur a response to global warming.

Some experts have suggested we repel the sun with cannon-fired reflective dust or clouds of reflective bubbles. Others have mused about free-floating filters to suck carbon from the air. Still others have never given up the old military dream of controlling the weather.

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Climate Change Activists Protest on Heathrow Runway

A group of climate change activists staged a protest on one of London Heathrow airport's two runways on Monday, causing minor delays to flights, the police and airport officials said.

"A group of people have breached the airport perimeter fence and are currently staging a protest on the northern runway," the airport said in a statement.

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Scorched Earth Is Big Climate Concern in Alaska Wildfires

Alaska and its neighbor to the east, Canada, have kicked off wildfire season in a major way. Blazes have raged across the northern stretches of North America, sending smoke streaming down into the Lower 48 and leaving the landscape charred.

The multitudes of fires is a glimpse of things to come as the climate warms, but blackened trees are only the most visible concern. The ground beneath them is what has some truly worried, with vast carbon reserves that could contribute to even more warming of the planet if they’re sent up in smoke.

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Daniel Hubbell Belugas Comes South -- to Northeast

With its distinctive white skin and high-pitched cries, the beluga whale is an emblem of the Arctic Ocean. Most belugas reside in the Arctic waters of Alaska, Canada, Russia and Greenland, which has made the recent appearance of a trio of belugas along the Northeast coast a surprise.

From Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay to Long Island, and now the Shrewsbury River in New Jersey, captivated boaters and beachgoers have watched the white whales travel past. It is unclear what caused the three juvenile whales to travel this far from their native St. Lawrence estuary habitat in Canada. Are they following prey? Or perhaps like teenagers the world over, the whales just felt like taking a trip. We can only speculate.

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U.N. Climate Chief to Big Oil Talk Isn’t Enough

The United Nations official who is convening international climate change talks has a message for big oil-and-gas companies that claim to support tougher carbon-pollution policies: prove it.

Christiana Figueres on Thursday responded to Shell, BP, and four other companies that jointly called for wider adoption of carbon pricing—a broad term for policy plans such as carbon taxes or cap-and-trade systems. "The world wants to be proud of your actions at this time of crisis and I look forward to your giving us every reason to be," Figueres, whose formal title is Executive Secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, wrote in an open letter.

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Here’s How Owls Could Help Make Wind Turbines Quieter

Scientists seeking to make a quieter wind turbine are mimicking owl wings after uncovering the secret of the bird’s ability to silently descend on its prey.

Researchers examining owl feathers found downy microscopic coverings and a porous elastic fringe on the trailing edge that scatters sound without affecting aerodynamics, the University of Cambridge said Monday. They mimicked the structure with 3D-printed plastic that can be applied to wind turbines, plane propellers or even computer fans to muffle their noise.

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Google to Convert Alabama Coal Plant into Renewable-Powered Data Centre

Google will convert an old coal-fired power plant in rural Alabama into a data center powered by renewable power, expanding the company’s move into the energy world.

The technology giant said on Wednesday that it would open its 14th data center inside the grounds of the old coal plant, and had reached a deal with the Tennessee Valley Authority, the region’s power company, to supply the project with renewable sources of electricity. With the coal plant rehab, Google solidifies a reputation among tech companies for promoting clean energy.

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EU Ministers Seek Ambitious, Binding Deal at Paris Climate Talks Draft

European Union ministers are seeking an ambitious, durable and legally binding deal to curb global warming, enforced through five-yearly reviews, a draft of their position statement for U.N. climate talks shows.

EU environment ministers meet on Sept. 18 in Brussels to iron out their joint position ahead of the U.N. talks in Paris in December. Diplomats have already drawn up a draft text.

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Global Warming as Seen Through the Gorious Life Work of a Singular Man

The first time I met Ron Naveen was in the dining room of an Antarctic cruise vessel. Most passengers on the Akademik Ioffe were dressed for the south pole; two or three base layers, lots of high-quality goosedown. Naveen was wearing a very old pair of jeans, a baseball cap emblazoned with images of hairy penguins, a disintegrating T-shirt and a pair of sandals. I reckoned, with his afterthought hair and warm eyes, he must have been in his mid-70s. He looked, frankly, like a bum.

Over the next few days, I watched Naveen in penguin colonies throughout the Antarctic peninsula. All the time, he talked to camera about the different breeds and the survival issues that they faced. He talked about corners of the Antarctic continent where few people had ever been, the challenges posed by increased tourism and the temperamental life cycle of the penguins’ main food source, krill.

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