Climate Change & Environment
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The World’s First Solar Road is Producing More Energy than Expected

In its first six months of existence, the world’s first solar road is performing even better than developers thought.

The road, which opened in the Netherlands in November of last year, has produced more than 3,000 kilowatt-hours of energy — enough to power a single household for one year, according to Al-Jazeera America.

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Starbucks is Moving its Bottled Water Business Out of Drought-Stricken California

Last month, Starbucks came under fire for its bottled water business. An investigation by Mother Jones magazine found that Ethos — the Starbucks-owned water brand created “to help fix the global water crisis” — was sucking groundwater out of a California county in exceptional drought, and making a lot of money doing it.

Now, ostensibly in response to that criticism, Starbucks has announced that it will stop doing that. In a Friday statement, the company said it would move the sourcing and manufacturing of Ethos water out of California and into Pennsylvania. Moving the entire West Coast operation cross-country would take about six months, it said.

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Drought Kills 12 Million Trees in California's National Forests

Rangers in the San Bernardino National Forest call them “red trees.”

Instead of the typical deep green color, large swaths of pine trees now don hues of death, their dehydrated needles turning brown and burnt-red because of the state’s worsening drought.

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Russia: The Unsustainable Superpower

It’s been a world superpower for most of the past century, but Russia still faces enormous sustainable development challenges – challenges that are compounded by economic sanctions that are sending its economy into recession territory.

The country’s infrastructure, building and manufacturing stock all suffer from extreme energy inefficiency: a recent World Bank study found that efficiency improvements in Russia could cut its energy consumption by 45%, an amount equal to France’s total annual energy consumption.

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How Fjords are Helping Curb Global Warming

Fjords from Alaska to Norway soak up potentially damaging carbon from the atmosphere, making the steep-sided inlets an overlooked natural ally in offsetting man-made climate change, a study showed on Monday.

Fjords cover only 0.1 percent of the world's ocean surface but account for 11 percent of the organic carbon in plants, soils and rocks that gets buried in marine sediments every year after being washed off the land by rivers, it said.

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Fabius: Political Mood Good for Climate Deal

Despite "extremely complex" issues, the political mood for reaching a global climate deal this year is stronger than ever, says French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.

Fabius, who will help steer the U.N. conference in Paris, said world leaders, supported by business chiefs and the public, were more resolved than ever to tackle climate change.

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Morocco's Majestic Cedars Threatened by Climate Change

The cedar tree, considered by many to be Morocco's national treasure, is coming under attack from climate change, greedy humans who indulge in illegal logging, and monkeys.

The noble conifer Cedrus Atlantica covers about 134,000 hectares (330,000 acres) of the North African country. Although less well-known than its Lebanese cousin Cedrus Libani, the Moroccan cedar is still a potent symbol of national pride.

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E.P.A. Carbon Emissions Plan Could Save Thousands of Lives, Study Finds

New carbon emissions standards that were proposed last year for coal-fired power plants in the United States would substantially improve human health and prevent more than 3,000 premature deaths per year, according to a new study.

The study, led by researchers at Syracuse and Harvard Universities, used modeling to predict the effect on human health of changes to national carbon standards for power plants. The researchers calculated three different outcomes using data from the Census Bureau and detailed maps of the more than 2,400 fossil-fuel power plants across the country.

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Tesla Wants its Powerwall to Save the Grid and your Bank Account

Our lust for electricity is insatiable. At night we connect a hydra of wires to our phones, computers, smartwatches and tablets. They sip at the electrons being pumped into our homes, filling their batteries to be ready for another day without being tethered to a wall. Tesla wants your house to be ready. Ready for power outages and heat waves. The company says its Powerwall home battery system can untether your home from the power grid for a few hours, which might not sound like much, but could have huge implications for the way we power our lives.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk introduced the Powerwall at his company's design studio in Southern California. He said it's a "whole integrated system that just works and is connected to the internet." The battery packs are lithium-ion cells with a liquid thermal-control system. Powerwall -- which Tesla has been testing with select customers for a year -- connects to the internet so it can track power usage and share that information with utilities.

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One in Six Species Could be Wiped out by Climate Change, Study Says

About one in six species now alive on the planet could become extinct as a result of climate change, according to a study edition of the journal Science.

If present trends continue, the Earth’s temperature will wind up 4.3 degrees Celsius higher than it was before the onset of the industrial era. Should that scenario come to pass, as many as 16% of species around the world would be at risk of dying out, the study says.

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