Climate Change & Environment
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'Warm Blob' Caused Wild Climate Swings During Last Ice Age

A "warm blob" of surface water played a role in Greenland's wild climate swings during the last ice age, a new study finds.

Greenland's climate flipped quickly and brutally from cold to warm and back again 25 times between about 20,000 and 70,000 years ago, ice cores and ocean sediments show. The abrupt climate swings, called Dansgaard-Oeschger events, involved extreme changes in average temperature. Each time, the cold snaps continued for centuries, while the rapid warming lasted a few decades.

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Study: Long-Term Global Warming Needs External Drivers

A study by scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, shows, in detail, the reason why global temperatures remain stable in the long run unless they are pushed by outside forces, such as increased greenhouse gases due to human impacts.

Lead author Patrick Brown, a doctoral student at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, and his JPL colleagues combined global climate models with satellite measurements of changes in the energy approaching and leaving Earth at the top of the atmosphere over the past 15 years. The satellite data were from the Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) instruments on NASA’s Aqua and Terra spacecraft. Their work reveals in new detail how Earth cools itself back down after a period of natural warming.

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Rainforests May Store Less Carbon As Climate Changes

Their findings suggest that profound changes lay ahead for these important ecosystems around the world, and that the changes may accelerate global warming.

Although numerous studies have already investigated how tropical forests will be affected by global warming, most of them have involved mature stands of trees.

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France's Oldest Nuclear Plant to Close This Year

France is to close down its oldest nuclear power plant, at the center of a row with neighboring Germany and Switzerland, by the end of this year, a green minister said Sunday.

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Chinese Smog Has Silver Lining for Mask Makers

The steel plants and cement factories scattered across China's Shandong province have made it one of the most contaminated areas of the world's biggest polluter. But for one company, that just makes the business climate better.

ASL Masks says it turned out more than 100,000 face coverings last year and aims to more than double that in 2016 as China struggles to shake off the toxic smog produced by its heavy industries.

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China Emissions Goals Less Ambitious than 2015 Cuts

China on Saturday set less ambitious climate change goals for this year than it achieved in 2015, as the world's biggest polluter struggles to wean itself off harmful fossil fuels.

Beijing has said its emissions of the greenhouse gases that cause climate change will carry on rising until "around 2030".

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Canadian Leaders Fail to Reach Agreement on Carbon Pricing

Canadian regional leaders have ended climate talks Thursday without agreement on a central government goal to establish a carbon pricing plan.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wants to set a national carbon price in order to meet an international commitment to slash CO2 emissions that cause global warming.

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Family: Honduran Environmentalist Murdered

Honduran indigenous activist Berta Caceres, an award-winning environmentalist, was shot and killed in her home Thursday, her family said, labeling her death an assassination.

Caceres won the 2015 Goldman Prize, considered the world's top award for grassroots environmental activism, for leading the indigenous Lenca people in a struggle against a hydroelectric dam project that would flood large areas of native lands and cut off water supplies to hundreds.

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S.Sudan Oil Production Pollution Threatens Thousands

Dangerous heavy metals used in oil production in war-torn South Sudan have leaked into drinking water sources used by 180,000 people with life-threatening health risks, a rights group said Friday.

Toxicological tests carried out on hair samples from 96 volunteers living around the Thar Jath oil processing plant in South Sudan's northern Unity region revealed they were "highly intoxicated with pollutants such as lead and barium," said Klaus Stieglitz, from the German-based Sign of Hope organisation.

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How to Track a Brutal Cereal Killer: Extreme Weather

It’s no surprise that wildly swinging temperatures, droughts, and floods aren’t exactly good for crops. California’s drought cost the state’s thirsty agricultural sector $1.84 billion in 2015 alone, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that a warming climate reduces yields of cereals like wheat, rice, and maize.

And with climate change messing with the frequency and intensity of at least some extreme weather events, we may be seeing more trouble for food security to come. But just how bad are these crazy weather patterns for our staple crops?

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