Climate Change & Environment
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Farmers struggle in Argentina as drought withers their crops

The ground crackles as Guillermo Cuitino walks across dry farmland that should be green and lush this time of year. He grabs a soy plant and easily disintegrates its leaves with his hands.

"This year's drought was extreme," the agricultural engineer said this week at the farm where he works in Urquiza, a town about 230 kilometers (143 miles) from Argentina's capital.

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New Mexico OKs its 1st wildlife bridges to limit collisions

New Mexico will build its first wildlife highway overpasses for free-roaming cougars, black bears, bighorn sheep and other creatures large and small and will also set aside $100 million for conservation projects, under two bills signed Thursday by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

Advocates for the initiatives say the state stands to capture millions of dollars in federal matching funds for wildlife crossings and an array of established conservation programs. New Mexico hopes to expand efforts ranging from river stewardship to outdoor adventures for young people from low-income households.

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Weather-weary California hopes for sunny spring after storms

Californians are tired. Tired of the rain, tired of the snow, tired of stormy weather and the cold, relentlessly gray skies that have clouded the Golden State nearly nonstop since late December.

With spring now underway, the state's 39 million residents are hopeful for sunnier days ahead. But this week's atmospheric river — the 12th such storm here since late December — had other plans.

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1500 evacuated as Spain's fire season starts early

More than 1,500 people were evacuated as a major forest fire raged in Spain's eastern Castellon province on Friday, marking an early start to the nation's fire season amid bone dry conditions.

Local officials said the fire had engulfed around 3,000 hectares of land since it broke out on Thursday, forcing residents from their homes and into shelters operated by the Red Cross and other charities.

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Cost of India quitting coal is $900 billion, think tank says

If India stopped burning coal tomorrow, over five million people would lose their jobs. But for a price tag of around $900 billion over the next 30 years, the country can make sure nobody is left behind in the huge move to clean energy to curb human-caused climate change, according to figures released by New Delhi-based think tank Thursday.

The International Forum for Environment, Sustainability and Technology, known by the acronym iFOREST, released two reports detailing how much it will cost for India to move away from coal and other dirty fuels without jeopardizing the livelihoods of millions who still are employed in coal mines and thermal power plants.

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EU warns Spain over expanding irrigation near prized wetland

The European Union has warned Spain that it won't tolerate renewed plans by regional politicians in the country's south to expand irrigation near the prized Doñana wetlands, which scientists and ecologists say are in danger of drying up.

In a letter seen by The Associated Press on Tuesday, Florika Fink-Hooijer, the head of the EU's Directorate General for the Environment, told Spain's government that it is "necessary to immediately ensure the strict protection of Doñana's exceptional natural treasures, especially taking into account that rainfall is increasingly scarce due to climate change."

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Number of monarch butterflies wintering in Mexico drops 22%

The number of monarch butterflies wintering in the mountains of central Mexico dropped 22% from the previous year, and the number of trees lost from their favored wintering grounds tripled.

Frost and "extreme temperatures" in the United States may have played a role in the butterfly's decline during the most recent winter season, said Humberto Peña, director of Mexico's nature reserves.

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World's water in focus as clean supplies squeezed

It's one of the world's most vital resources. In Paraguay, a man displaced by a rising river hauls heavy buckets of it to his temporary home. In the Philippines, a girl uses a manual pump to get just enough to wash. In Haiti children fill large jugs of it in dwindling ravines.

Water is the lifeblood of every community around the world. But a sustainable, clean supply for drinking, hygiene and farming is not guaranteed for hundreds of millions of people, according to United Nations figures.

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A quarter of world population lacks safe drinking water

A report issued on the eve of the first major U.N. conference on water in over 45 years says 26% of the world's population doesn't have access to safe drinking water and 46% lacks access to basic sanitation.

The U.N. World Water Development Report 2023, released Tuesday, painted a stark picture of the huge gap that needs to be filled to meet U.N. goals to ensure all people have access to clean water and sanitation by 2030.

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Behind massive seaweed belt headed for some Atlantic beaches

A 5,000-mile seaweed belt lurking in the Atlantic Ocean is expected in the next few months to wash onto beaches in the Caribbean Sea, South Florida, and the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico.

The Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt — as the biomass stretching from West Africa to the Gulf of Mexico is called — contains scattered patches of seaweed on the open sea, rather than one continuous blob of sargassum. It's not a new occurrence, but satellite images captured in February showed an earlier start than usual for such a large accumulation in the open ocean.

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