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Mexico’s Climate Migrants are Already Coming to the United States

           

Guanajuato, Mexico - Russ Bowling

grist.org - by Amy McDermott - December 29, 2016

 . . . Mexico’s climate story reflects a growing global problem. Worsening droughts, floods, wildfires, and rising seas will drive millions from their homes, all around the world.

From Mexico to China, Bangladesh to Senegal, climate migrants everywhere will relocate to the nearest safe place, says sociologist Cristina Bradatan, also of Texas Tech. Sometimes that means crossing borders . . .

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El Niño and Global Warming Blamed for Zika Spread

           

A female Aedes albopictus mosquito feeding on a human host. Credit: James Gathany CDC

CLICK HERE - STUDY - PNAS - Global risk model for vector-borne transmission of Zika virus reveals the role of El Niño 2015

scientificamerican.com - by Kavya Balaraman - December 21, 2016

Mosquito-borne diseases like Zika can be extremely sensitive to climatic changes

The combination of climate change and last year’s El Niño phenomenon likely created the perfect playground for the Zika virus to spread rapidly across South America, a new study finds.

Both the Zika virus and the mosquitoes that carry it have been present in different parts of the world for a while. But several factors, including specific climatic conditions, could have catapulted the disease to public health emergency status, according to researchers from the University of Liverpool.

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How Hospitals, Nursing Homes Keep Lethal ‘Superbug’ Outbreaks Secret

        

The deadly epidemic America is ignoring - The Uncounted - A REUTERS INVESTIGATION

reuters.com - by Deborah J. Nelson, David Rohde, Benjamin Lesser and Ryan McNeill - December 22, 2016

Across the U.S., vague rules give healthcare providers lots of leeway in deciding when, or even whether, to report unusual clusters of infections. And when they do alert officials, that information is usually kept from the public . . .

 . . . An examination of cases across the country reveals a system that protects the healthcare facilities where superbugs thrive, while leaving patients, their families and the broader public ignorant of potentially deadly threats.

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World Energy Hits a Turning Point: Solar That's Cheaper Than Wind

           

Emerging markets are leapfrogging the developed world thanks to cheap panels.

bloomberg.com - by Tom Randall - December 15, 2016

A transformation is happening in global energy markets that’s worth noting as 2016 comes to an end: Solar power, for the first time, is becoming the cheapest form of new electricity. 

This has happened in isolated projects in the past: an especially competitive auction in the Middle East, for example, resulting in record-cheap solar costs. But now unsubsidized solar is beginning to outcompete coal and natural gas on a larger scale, and notably, new solar projects in emerging markets are costing less to build than wind projects, according to fresh data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

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President Obama Bans Oil Drilling in Large Areas of Atlantic and Arctic Oceans

           

Hundreds of kayaktivists protest drilling in the Arctic and the Port of Seattle being used as a port for the Shell Oil drilling rig Polar Pioneer (Daniella Beccaria/seattlepi.com via Associated Press)

washingtonpost.com - by Darryl Fears and Juliet Eilperin - December 20, 2016

President Obama moved to solidify his environmental legacy Tuesday by withdrawing hundreds of millions of acres of federally owned land in the Arctic and Atlantic Ocean from new offshore oil and gas drilling.

Obama used a little-known law called the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to protect large portions of the Chukchi and Beaufort seas in the Arctic and a string of canyons in the Atlantic stretching from Massachusetts to Virginia. In addition to a five-year moratorium already in place in the Atlantic, removing the canyons from drilling puts much of the eastern seaboard off limits to oil exploration even if companies develop plans to operate around them.

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Birth Defects Among Fetuses and Infants of US Women With Evidence of Possible Zika Virus Infection During Pregnancy

jamanetwork.com - December 13, 2016 - doi:10.1001/jama.2016.19006

In this report based on preliminary data for pregnant women in the USZPR with laboratory evidence of possible Zika virus infection, 6% overall had a fetus or infant with evidence of a Zika-related birth defect, and among women with timing of possible Zika infection exclusively during the first trimester, 11% had a fetus or infant with a birth defect. The birth defects primarily involved included microcephaly with brain abnormalities, such as intracranial calcifications. Preliminary estimates from the USZPR were within the range of 1% to 13% risk of microcephaly following first-trimester maternal Zika virus infection modeled on the outbreak in Bahia, Brazil, lending support to the credibility of these estimates.

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Arctic Heating Up at Twice as Fast as Rest of Globe

           

Arctic Sea Ice Disappearing

CLICK HERE - NOAA - Arctic Report Card: Update for 2016

cnn.com - by Mayra Cuevas and Max Blau - December 14, 2016

The Arctic is heating up twice as fast as the rest of the world -- triggering a "massive decline in sea ice and snow," according to a new federal report.

On Tuesday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its 11th annual Arctic Report Card, which compiles data from 61 scientists in 11 countries.

"Rarely have we seen the Arctic show a clearer, stronger or more pronounced signal of persistent warming and its cascading effects on the environment than this year," Jeremy Mathis, director of NOAA's Arctic Research Program, said in a statement.

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CLICK HERE - NASA - Scientific Visualization Studio - Weekly Animation of Arctic Sea Ice Age with Graph of Ice Age By Area: 1984 - 2016

CLICK HERE - VIDEO - NASA - Older Arctic Sea Ice Disappearing

 

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A Year Later, Unfiltered Flint Tap Water Is Still Unsafe To Drink

The state says more than 600 pipes have been replaced in Flint, Mich., this year — but 30,000 suspect pipes remain. Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Image: The state says more than 600 pipes have been replaced in Flint, Mich., this year — but 30,000 suspect pipes remain. Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

npr.org - December 14th 2016 - Steve Carmody

A year ago, Flint, Mich., Mayor Karen Weaver declared a state of emergency because of lead-contaminated drinking water, attracting national outrage and sympathy, and millions of gallons of donated water.

But a year later donations have slowed to a trickle, and little has changed — unfiltered water here is still unsafe to drink.

With frigid temperatures and flurries swirling around outside, the crowd inside Flint's downtown transit station ebbs and flows as buses come and go.

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Negative Effects Of Zika During Pregnancy More Common Than Realized

           

Juan Pedro, who has microcephaly and turned one-year-old on December 4, sits in a specially designed chair to keep him upright as he is kissed by his sister Jennifer Karine on December 12, 2016 in Recife, Brazil. As many of the babies with microcephaly, believed to be linked to the Zika virus, turn one-year-old in Recife, doctors and mothers are adapting and learning treatments to assist and calm the children. Many of the children are suffering a plethora of difficulties including vision and hearing problems with doctors now labeling the overall condition as 'Congenital Zika Syndrome'. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

CLICK HERE - STUDY - NEJM - Zika Virus Infection in Pregnant Women in Rio de Janeiro

forbes.com - by Tara Haelle - December 14, 2016

The rate of birth defects, disability and brain irregularities in babies exposed to the Zika virus is considerably higher than was previously believed — regardless of the mother’s symptoms or the trimester she had the infection — found a new study . . .

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The Goose-Killing Lake and the Scientists Who Study It

The toxic lake left behind after the Berkeley Pit copper mine shut down.

Image: The toxic lake left behind after the Berkeley Pit copper mine shut down.

theatlantic.com - 13 December 2016 - Sarah Zhang

In late November, a flock of migrating snow geese landed in a lake in Butte, Montana. Soon, they began to die. Because what they landed in was the Berkeley Pit, a Superfund site filled with acidic and metal-laden toxic waste from copper mining. 

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