Climate Change & Environment
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The Simple Statistic that Perfectly Captures what Climate Change Means

There are many ways to measure the world’s changing climate. You can chart rising global temperatures, rising sea levels and melting ice. What’s tougher, though, is to find a measurement that easily relates all of that to what people experience in their daily lives.

In a new study in Geophysical Research Letters, however, two Australian researchers do just this by examining a simple but telling meteorological metric — the ratio of new hot temperature records set in the country to new cold temperature records.

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Failure to Act on Climate Change Means an Even Bigger Refugee Crisis

As I looked in on my own children sleeping safely last Thursday night before I went to bed, I did so with added poignancy as I reflected that this was something Abdullah Kurdi was not able to do. I’m sure millions of parents of young children right across Europe have felt similar emotions these last few days.

We’re all human, and so it’s perhaps not surprising that it takes a single photograph and an individual’s story to shake a society, all too belatedly, into glimpsing at one horrific aspect of Europe’s refugee crisis and demanding action.

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Emissions 'Far above' 2C Target

Global plans to curb carbon dioxide are well below what's needed to keep temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees, according to a new analysis.

It is the work of researchers from the Climate Action Tracker (CAT), a consortium of research institutions.

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Warming Oceans Putting Marine Life ‘In a Blender’

Up in Maine, lobsters are thriving. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission reported last month that stocks there reached a record high.

Down the coast, however, the story is different. In southern New England, lobster stocks have plummeted to the lowest levels ever recorded, putting many lobstermen out of business.

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Fleeing Drought, Climate Migrants Press Zimbabwe's Fertile East

In the eastern highlands of Manicaland province, crudely built wood, mud, and thatch hovels cling perilously to the mountainsides.

The illegal homes, the government says, belong to migrants who have fled drought-prone areas of the province in search of fertile soil and good rains. And they are growing in number every year.

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U.N. Climate Talks Plagued by Twin Fears

Negotiators from 195 nations tasked with crafting a universal climate pact are driven by twin fears tugging in opposite directions, which may result in a hollow deal, say analysts.

The all-too-real prospect of climate catastrophe on a horizon of decades, not centuries, coupled with a rising tide of expectations, would seem to be powerful incentives to forge an agreement that is truly up to the task.

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Tutu, Klein and Chomsky Call for Mass Climate Action ahead of Paris Conference

Desmond Tutu, Vivienne Westwood, Naomi Klein and Noam Chomsky are among a group of high-profile figures who will issue a mass call to action on Thursday ahead of the UN’s crunch climate change conference in Paris in December.

They call for mass mobilization on the scale of the slavery abolition and anti-apartheid movements to trigger “a great historical shift”.

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Zebra Mussels Found in Gunpowder, Middle Rivers

Possibly aided by June's record wet weather, invasive zebra mussels have found their way down the Chesapeake Bay as far as Middle River, not far from Baltimore.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced Wednesday that it had confirmed the presence along the bay's upper western shore of the little brown-striped shellfish that have clogged power plants and drinking water facilities in the Great Lakes region.

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Middle East Faces Water Shortages for the Next 25 Years, Study Says

Water supplies across the Middle East will deteriorate over 25 years, threatening economic growth and national security and forcing more people to move to already overcrowded cities, a new analysis suggests.

As the region, which is home to over 350 million people, begins to recover from a series of deadly heatwaves which have seen temperatures rise to record levels for weeks at a time, the World Resources Institute (WRI) claims water shortages were a key factor in the 2011 Syria civil war.

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Gabon Protecting Vital Forests, and Communities

Anne-Marie Ndong Obiang has a machete attached to her belt, which she assures us is “for cutting off poachers’ fingers”. In her spotless forest-green camouflage uniform she does not appear to be joking. Working for Gabon’s National Parks Agency (ANPN) she has firsthand experience of the harsh conditions in the big reserves in the north of the country, some almost impenetrable. Gold prospectors, often from neighboring Cameroon, have been known to leave craters 40 metres deep in the middle of the woods.

Obiang is head of the Raponda Walker Arboretum close to the capital Libreville, which is on the Atlantic coast. Her priority here is to combat uncontrolled urban sprawl. “My fellow eco-wardens and myself can’t look the other way for a moment without someone starting to build beside the track,” she says. True enough quite substantial houses are springing up, with no planning permission, jeopardizing the exceptional forest ecosystem that is bordered by a few sandy creeks – miraculously spared so far. To the south, the city is spreading unchecked. “We have about 40 endemic plant species here and we’re still identifying new ones, despite the airport being only 15 minutes away,” she says. Her favorite natural landmark is an Aleppo pine, 57 meters tall, which she likes showing to visiting schoolchildren.

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