Climate Change & Environment
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U.S. Researchers Say Permafrost Carbon Release Will be Gradual

Frozen Arctic and sub-Arctic soil that thaws from global warming will add substantial amounts of carbon to the atmosphere in the form of greenhouse gases, accelerating climate change the rest of the century, but it won't come in a sudden burst, researchers say in a new paper.

A review by government and academic experts concludes that harmful carbon dioxide and methane generated by microbes digesting thawed plant and animal material will instead enter the atmosphere gradually. But it's a carbon source that shouldn't be ignored, said Dave McGuire, a senior researcher at the U.S. Geological Survey and a professor of ecology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

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Limiting Climate Change Could Have Huge Economic Benefits, Study Finds

Major economies would boost their prosperity, employment levels and health prospects if they took actions that limited global warming to 2C, according to the first analysis of emissions pledges made before the UN climate summit in Paris later this year.

Europe has promised a 40% emissions cut by 2030, compared to 1990 levels – and the report says this will bring real benefits, including 70,000 full-time jobs, the prevention of around 6,000 pollution-related deaths, and a €33bn cut in fossil fuel imports.

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Obama is about to Announce a Big Job Creation Move for the Solar Industry

President Obama is scheduled to announce new initiatives to help bolster the country’s solar workforce on Friday, including a goal to add 75,000 solar workers by 2020, and a new program aimed at providing solar training to veterans.

The goal to add to the nation’s solar workforce adds to the President’s last commitment to solar training, which promised 50,000 solar workers by 2020. According to a statement released by the White House, the solar industry is adding jobs “10 times faster” than the rest of the economy, and prices for solar installations are falling, having declined 12 percent in the past year alone.

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Everyone Praises Green Copenhagen. But What If Your City Has 20M people?

“There will be roughly 1 billion more people living in cities by 2030,” said Buenos Aires mayor Mauricio Macri at the C40 Latin American Mayors Forum in the Argentinian capital last week. “Which is equivalent to creating a Buenos Aires-sized city every three weeks for the next 15 years.” The big question, as Macri and other mayors agreed at the forum, is: how do cities accommodate this high population expansion in a sustainable way?

We often hear the looming figure that 70% of the world’s population will be living in cities by 2050 – yet that’s a milestone Latin America has already reached. It is the most urbanised region in the world. Do its cities champion ideas that are up to the task of cutting greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing climate change resilience? Judge for yourself.

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India Hikes Compensation for Rain-Hit Farmers

India's prime minister said Wednesday he would boost compensation to farmers whose crops were destroyed by recent heavy rains, amid growing criticism of the government's rural policies.

Narendra Modi was elected less than a year ago with a huge majority, but there has been strong rural opposition to his government's controversial land acquisition bill.

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Taiwan Launches Water Rationing to Fight Drought

Taiwan launched water rationing in some major cities on Wednesday as the island battled its worst drought in over a decade, following the lowest rainfall in nearly 70 years.

The state water company cut supplies to around 800,000 households and businesses in Taoyuan city as well as parts of Hsinchu county and New Taipei City in northern Taiwan for two days a week for an indefinite period.

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Meet the Cool Beans Designed to Beat Climate Change

A planet that is warming at extraordinary speed may require extraordinary new food crops. The latest great agricultural hope is beans that can thrive in temperatures that cripple most conventional beans. They're now growing in test plots of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, or CIAT, in Colombia.

Many of these "heat-beater" beans resulted from a unique marriage, 20 years ago, of tradition and technology. The matchmaker was a Colombian scientist named Alvaro Mejia-Jimenez. But for almost two decades, his innovation sat on the shelf, unused.

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Why We Should Talk about Geoengineering Even if We Never Do it

Ben Kravitz has studied geoengineering for the past seven years and doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon, despite ongoing controversy around the issue. That’s because even if geoengineering never happens in the real world, the concept alone is already playing an important role in the climate change story.

“[Theoretical geoengineering] has allowed us to ask questions about how the climate system works that we didn’t even know we wanted to ask,” says Kravitz, a researcher at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. “It’s actually in some ways changed the way I think about problems in climate science.”

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Costa Rica Uses 100% Renewable Energy for Past 75 Days. How are they Doing it?

The entire country of Costa Rica is currently running on completely renewable energy and has been for 75 days now. Relying mainly on hydropower, Costa Rica has not used any fossil fuels to generate electricity since the beginning of 2015.

The heavy rainfall over the past year has kept hydroplants busy enough to power nearly the whole country, with geothermal, wind, biomass, and solar energy making up the deficit, according to a press release from the Costa Rican Electricity Institute.

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Could Oslo's Decision to Divest from Coal Inspire Bigger Cities to Do the Same?

When Oslo sells the coal investments in its pension portfolio next month, it will set a historic precedent: the first capital city in the world to divest itself of that most polluting of fossil fuels. And the city is just the highest profile in a series of major urban areas that have made bold moves in recent weeks, ridding themselves of fossil fuel investments and becoming more carbon friendly.

Leichardt, Australia voted to completely divest from fossil fuels within three years, while Byron Bay announced the decision to commit to zero emissions. Smaller U.S. cities have already gotten on board in various ways, while last week in London, the GLA passed a motion asking the mayor to approve pulling City Hall’s pension fund out of all fossil fuel holdings. The list of cities that have divested appears set to grow ever longer.

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