Climate Change & Environment
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Texas City Opts for 100% Renewable Energy – to Save Cash, not the Planet

News that a Texas city is to be powered by 100% renewable energy sparked surprise in an oil-obsessed, Republican-dominated state where fossil fuels are king and climate change activists were described as “the equivalent of the flat-earthers” by U.S. senator and GOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz.

“I was called an Al Gore clone, a tree-hugger,” says Jim Briggs, interim city manager of Georgetown, a community of about 50,000 people some 25 miles north of Austin.

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Electric Car Batteries Just Hit a Key Price Point

Electric vehicle demand in the past five years has soared in this country. The same is true worldwide. By the end of 2014, more than 700,000 total plug-in vehicles had been sold worldwide (plug-in hybrids and pure battery electrics), up from about 400,000 at the end of 2013. As of 2015, dozens of models of electric cars and vans are available for purchase, mostly in Europe, the United States, Japan, and China.

A major reason for the rapid jump in EV sales is the rapid drop in the cost of their key component -– batteries. The energy stored in a battery is measured by kilowatt-hour (kWh). The more kWh stored, the further the car can go on one charge, so a key metric for battery economics is the cost per kWh. The lower the cost, the cheaper it is to build an electric car with a significant range.

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Food, Farming and Climate Change: It’s Bigger than Everything Else

Record-breaking heat waves, long-term drought, “100-year floods” in consecutive years, and increasingly extreme superstorms are becoming the new normal. The planet is now facing an unprecedented era of accelerating and intensifying global climate change, with negative impacts already being widely felt. While global climate change will impact nearly everyone and everything, the greatest impact is already being felt by farmers and anyone who eats food.

When we think of climate change and global warming, visions of coal-fired power plants and solar panels come to mind. Policy discussions and personal action usually revolve around hybrid cars, energy-efficient homes and debates about the latest technological solutions. However, the global agriculture system is at the heart of both the problem and the solution.

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President Obama, Others Link climate Change to Public Health

Debates on climate change can break down fairly fast. There are those who believe that mankind's activities are changing the planet's climate, and those who don't.

But a new way to talk about climate change is emerging, which shifts focus from impersonal discussions about greenhouse gas emissions and power plants to a very personal one: your health.

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India and France Vow to Make Paris 2015 a Success

In a joint statement issued by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French president Francois Hollande, the two leaders have vowed to cooperate closer in the fight against climate change and to work jointly to reach an effective global climate agreement in Paris at the end of the year. The key paragraph of the joint statement, published during last week's visit of Prime Minister Modi to France:

“Tackling the issue of climate change is of vital importance for the sake of today's world and future generations. Prime Minister extended his full support to France for a successful outcome of CoP 21 to UNFCCC to be held in Paris later this year.

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Catholics Prep for Pope Francis to Tackle Climate in Upcoming Encyclical

Dan Misleh, director of the Catholic Climate Covenant, found himself facing a skeptic recently after he outlined the coalition's preparations for Pope Francis' upcoming encyclical on global warming.

The woman didn't doubt the science. She just wasn't sure of the bishops.

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Venice's Sink or Swim Moment

"Attenzione, the wine!"

That is an old punchline in the Weir home, thanks to plastic cups of Chianti, a low bridge and a gondolier named Marco.

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Study: Coal Industry Lost Nearly 50,000 Jobs in Just Five Years

When it comes to energy, we live in transformative times. From shale oil helping to upend global markets, to explosive growth in rooftop solar, the changes we’re seeing in the energy industry have not only been rapid, but often unexpected.

Not every part of the energy industry has fared well during these tumultuous years. In particular, coal has struggled, amid mounting concerns about its contributions to greenhouse gas pollution and increased regulatory initiatives by the Obama administration. It doesn’t help that electricity demand has flattened, and activists have worked to retire a large number of coal plants.

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Retro News: Cronkite's 1980 Global Warming Alert

On April 3, 1980, Cronkite tossed to a news piece from CBS veteran Nelson Benton. Thirty-five years ago, for two and half minutes – an eternity even then by TV news standards and a near-impossibility today – a broadcast anchored by The Most Trusted Man in America tried to warn us about climate change.

Actually, "climate change" wasn’t mentioned in Benton's piece, but CO2, "global warming" and the "Greenhouse Effect" were. "Scientists," intoned Benton, "and a few politicians are beginning to worry."

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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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