Climate Change & Environment
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Scientists say climate change goosed New Zealand storm fury

Climate change worsened flooding from a tropical cyclone that shut down much of New Zealand last month in one of the country's costliest disasters, scientists said, but they couldn't quite calculate how much it magnified the catastrophe.

A flash study Tuesday by 23 scientists from around the globe found that global warming from the burning of fossil fuels added to the downpours from Cyclone Gabrielle that included at least six hours of deluges of nearly an inch per hour (20 millimeters per hour) of driving rain. But normal methods to quantify how much climate change added to the disaster weren't conclusive enough for scientists because weather records there don't go back very far, the area affected was relatively small and the region is subject to naturally high weather variability.

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How coconuts protect the Jersey Shore, other eroding coasts

Coastal communities around the world are adding a tropical twist to shoreline protection, courtesy of the humble coconut.

From the sands of the Jersey Shore to the islands of Indonesia, strands of coconut husk, known as coir, are being incorporated into shoreline protection projects.

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Iraqi PM promises action to tackle crippling climate change

Iraq's prime minister has promised sweeping measures to tackle climate change — which has affected millions across the country — including plans to meet a third of the country's electricity demands using renewable energy.

Climate change for years has compounded the woes of the troubled country. Droughts and increased water salinity have destroyed crops, animals and farms and dried up entire bodies of water. Hospitals have faced waves of patients with respiratory illnesses caused by rampant sandstorms. Climate change has also played a role in Iraq's ongoing struggle to combat cholera.

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Poland lawmakers back EU-sought liberalized wind energy law

Poland's lawmakers have approved a new law relaxing the rules for installation of onshore wind turbines, a move that was urged by the European Union, which is holding up recovery funds for the nation over a number of legislative issues.

The law approved by the lower house, the Sejm, late Thursday allows for turbines to be built no less than 700 meters (765 yards) from houses — less restrictive than the previous rule of 10 times the turbine's height that was introduced by the current government in 2016.

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La Nina is gone. These were the deadly storms during its run

La Nina seemed to treat Louisiana and the rest of the Southeast United States like a punching bag. Its three-year barrage of body blows has come to an end, but left behind a lot of scars from hurricanes and tornadoes among other weather disasters.

Experts caution that attributing any single event to La Nina or its better-known cousin, El Nino, is difficult as they pronounced Thursday that the La Nina weather phenomenon has come to an end. But they can say generally that tornadoes in the Southeast and hurricanes are more frequent during La Nina.

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East coast African states ail from too much, too little rain

Surrounded by miles of dried land and what remains of his famished livestock, Daniel Lepaine is a worried man. Dozens of his goats in Ngong, a town in southern Kenya, have died after three years of harrowing drought in the east and Horn of Africa. The rest are on the verge of starvation as rain continues to fail.

"If this drought persists, I will have no livelihood and nothing for my family," Lepaine mourned. "We are praying hard for the rains."

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Why is Indonesia moving its capital from Jakarta to Borneo?

Jakarta is congested, polluted, prone to earthquakes and rapidly sinking into the Java Sea. Now the government is in the process of leaving, moving Indonesia's capital to the island of Borneo.

Indonesian officials say the new metropolis will be a "sustainable forest city" that puts the environment at the heart of the development and aims to be carbon-neutral by 2045.

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Denmark hopes to pump some climate gas beneath the sea floor

Denmark pushed the button Wednesday on an ambitious project that aims to bury vast amounts of planet-heating carbon dioxide gas beneath the North Sea floor, in the hope that it can help the Nordic nation and others meet climate targets.

An international consortium including chemicals giant INEOS and gas and oil producer Wintershall Dea said Project Greensand in Denmark's North Sea will be the world's first cross-border carbon storage project.

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Costa Rica ponders ways to sustain reforestation success

Costa Rica went from having one of the world's highest deforestation rates in the 1980s to a nation centered on ecotourism, luring world travelers with the possibility of moving between marine reserves and cloud forest in a single day.

But the Central American country known for lush jungle and rich biodiversity now faces a dilemma as one environmental priority – reforestation -- runs headlong into another -- reducing the use of fossil fuels.

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Work begins to clear water canals following New Mexico fire

It's tradition in New Mexico's rural communities — to gather with neighbors each spring, shovels and rakes in hand, to clean the earthen irrigation canals that will direct snowmelt from the surrounding mountains to crops, gardens and orchards.

Doing the job in the traditional way — by hand — is nearly impossible this year because dozens of the irrigation systems known as acequias are choked with ash, silt and other debris from flooding that followed the largest wildfire in New Mexico's history — a conflagration sparked last year by the federal government during prescribed burn operations.

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