Climate Change & Environment
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Daniel Hubbell Belugas Comes South -- to Northeast

With its distinctive white skin and high-pitched cries, the beluga whale is an emblem of the Arctic Ocean. Most belugas reside in the Arctic waters of Alaska, Canada, Russia and Greenland, which has made the recent appearance of a trio of belugas along the Northeast coast a surprise.

From Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay to Long Island, and now the Shrewsbury River in New Jersey, captivated boaters and beachgoers have watched the white whales travel past. It is unclear what caused the three juvenile whales to travel this far from their native St. Lawrence estuary habitat in Canada. Are they following prey? Or perhaps like teenagers the world over, the whales just felt like taking a trip. We can only speculate.

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U.N. Climate Chief to Big Oil Talk Isn’t Enough

The United Nations official who is convening international climate change talks has a message for big oil-and-gas companies that claim to support tougher carbon-pollution policies: prove it.

Christiana Figueres on Thursday responded to Shell, BP, and four other companies that jointly called for wider adoption of carbon pricing—a broad term for policy plans such as carbon taxes or cap-and-trade systems. "The world wants to be proud of your actions at this time of crisis and I look forward to your giving us every reason to be," Figueres, whose formal title is Executive Secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, wrote in an open letter.

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Here’s How Owls Could Help Make Wind Turbines Quieter

Scientists seeking to make a quieter wind turbine are mimicking owl wings after uncovering the secret of the bird’s ability to silently descend on its prey.

Researchers examining owl feathers found downy microscopic coverings and a porous elastic fringe on the trailing edge that scatters sound without affecting aerodynamics, the University of Cambridge said Monday. They mimicked the structure with 3D-printed plastic that can be applied to wind turbines, plane propellers or even computer fans to muffle their noise.

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Google to Convert Alabama Coal Plant into Renewable-Powered Data Centre

Google will convert an old coal-fired power plant in rural Alabama into a data center powered by renewable power, expanding the company’s move into the energy world.

The technology giant said on Wednesday that it would open its 14th data center inside the grounds of the old coal plant, and had reached a deal with the Tennessee Valley Authority, the region’s power company, to supply the project with renewable sources of electricity. With the coal plant rehab, Google solidifies a reputation among tech companies for promoting clean energy.

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EU Ministers Seek Ambitious, Binding Deal at Paris Climate Talks Draft

European Union ministers are seeking an ambitious, durable and legally binding deal to curb global warming, enforced through five-yearly reviews, a draft of their position statement for U.N. climate talks shows.

EU environment ministers meet on Sept. 18 in Brussels to iron out their joint position ahead of the U.N. talks in Paris in December. Diplomats have already drawn up a draft text.

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Global Warming as Seen Through the Gorious Life Work of a Singular Man

The first time I met Ron Naveen was in the dining room of an Antarctic cruise vessel. Most passengers on the Akademik Ioffe were dressed for the south pole; two or three base layers, lots of high-quality goosedown. Naveen was wearing a very old pair of jeans, a baseball cap emblazoned with images of hairy penguins, a disintegrating T-shirt and a pair of sandals. I reckoned, with his afterthought hair and warm eyes, he must have been in his mid-70s. He looked, frankly, like a bum.

Over the next few days, I watched Naveen in penguin colonies throughout the Antarctic peninsula. All the time, he talked to camera about the different breeds and the survival issues that they faced. He talked about corners of the Antarctic continent where few people had ever been, the challenges posed by increased tourism and the temperamental life cycle of the penguins’ main food source, krill.

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Barack Obama's Climate Change Initiative $4 Billion for Clean Energy

A series of initiatives and recent investment successes in the field of renewable energy were announced at the White House Clean Energy Investment Summit in June.

“Unbelievably exciting advances" are "happening in real time” in the field of clean energy, senior adviser to the president Brian Deese, told summit attendees. Mr. Deese spoke of progress made in meeting the “global challenge” in the field of renewable energy, and characterized the advances his team and the Obama administration have made as “improbably American success[es].” Chief among these gains, Deese noted, are a 50 percent decrease in the cost of solar energy and a three-fold increase in the amount of energy produced by wind since 2009.

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Scottish Government Publish Green Heating Plan

NEW “holistic” plans to create an affordable green heating supply for Scotland will have financial and environmental benefits, according to green campaigners.

Scottish ministers say the country’s heat system should be largely decarbonised by 2050 in an effort to battle climate change.

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Road to Paris Notes from the U.N. Bonn Climate Negotiations

Early in June, the United Nations climate change negotiations wrapped up in Bonn, Germany. The negotiations, aimed at consolidating a text in time for the massive COP21 conference in Paris later this year, succeeded in trimming the agreement draft a mere five pages in 10 days of talks -- down from 89 pages to 85.

The co-chairs of the process -- representatives from Algeria and the United States -- stressed the importance of investing time in Bonn building trust rather than streamlining the text. They lauded countries' willingness to cooperate, all the while dismissing that it would require months to reach a meaningful agreement at this pace, not the 10 days that are actually scheduled between now and Paris.

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Natural Concerns - VIP Interview H.E. Mohammed al Mashnouq

Environmental degradation has emerged as one of the key challenges facing Lebanon’s socio-economic development, costing the country $908.8 million each year.

What initiatives aimed at improving the overall efficiency and effectiveness of solid waste management is the Ministry of Environment currently undertaking?

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