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Planet Has Just 5% Chance of Reaching Paris Climate Goal, Study Says

Researchers find that economic, emissions and population trends point to very small chance Earth will avoid warming more than 2C by century’s end

       

Environmental activists protest Donald Trump’s decision to exit the Paris climate accords, which set a goal of avoiding warming beyond 2C. Photograph: Scott Olson/Getty Images

CLICK HERE - RESEARCH - Nature Climate Change - Less than 2 °C warming by 2100 unlikely

CLICK HERE - RESEARCH - Nature Climate Change - Future global mortality from changes in air pollution attributable to climate change

theguardian.com - by Oliver Milman - July 31, 2017

There is only a 5% chance that the Earth will avoid warming by at least 2C come the end of the century, according to new research that paints a sobering picture of the international effort to stem dangerous climate change.

Global trends in the economy, emissions and population growth make it extremely unlikely that the planet will remain below the 2C threshold set out in the Paris climate agreement in 2015, the study states.

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12 years after Gulf Oil Platform Destroyed, Feds Start Investigating Environmental Damage

nola.com - by Mark Schleifstein - July 28, 2017

Twelve years after Hurricane Ivan destroyed a Taylor Energy Co. platform in the Gulf of Mexico, the federal government has finally started investigating how oil and gas that is still leaking from its wells damages natural resources. The flow of oil, "if left unchecked, could continue for 100 years or more," says the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, the Interior Department agency that oversees gulf drilling.

Although the storm waylaid Taylor Energy's MC-20 Saratoga platform on Sept. 15, 2004, it was not until late 2016 that the government began its inquiry, and not until Thursday (July 27) that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration confirmed the investigation. 

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Texas Reports First Locally Transmitted Case of Zika in US This Year

                                                    

CLICK HERE - Texas Department of State Health Services - Health officials find probable local Zika infection - July 26, 2017

cnn.com - by Debra Goldschmidt - July 26, 2017

A resident of Hidalgo County, Texas who has now recovered from the Zika virus was probably infected within the county, local and state health officials said Wednesday. This represents the first locally transmitted case of the virus reported in the continental United States this year.

"Because the individual has not recently traveled outside the area or had any other risk factors, the infection was probably transmitted by a mosquito bite in South Texas sometime in the last few months," according to a joint statement from the Texas Department of State Health Services and Hidalgo County Health and Human Services.

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Satellite Snafu Masked True Sea Level Rise for Decades

           

Credit: Joe Raedle  Getty Images 

Revised tallies confirm that the rate of sea level rise is accelerating as Earth warms and ice sheets thaw

scientificamerican.com - by Jeff Tollefson - July 19, 2017

The numbers didn’t add up. Even as Earth grew warmer and glaciers and ice sheets thawed, decades of satellite data seemed to show that the rate of sea-level rise was holding steady—or even declining.

Now, after puzzling over this discrepancy for years, scientists have identified its source: a problem with the calibration of a sensor on the first of several satellites launched to measure the height of the sea surface using radar. Adjusting the data to remove that error suggests that sea levels are indeed rising at faster rates each year.

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CLICK HERE - University of Colorado - CU Sea Level Research Group

CLICK HERE - New estimate of the current rate of sea level rise from a sea level budget approach

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TEPCO Chair: Nuclear Plant Must Release Contaminated Water

           

Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s new Chairman Takashi Kawamura speaks during an interview at the TEPCO headquarters in Tokyo on Thursday, July 13, 2017. Kawamura said the utility needs to stop dragging its feet on plans to dump massive amounts of treated but contaminated water into the sea and make more money if it’s ever going to succeed in cleaning up the mess left by meltdowns more than six years ago at the tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear power plant. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

abcnews.go.com - by Mari Yamaguchi - July 13, 2017

. . . Takashi Kawamura, an engineer-turned-business leader who previously headed Hitachi's transformation into a global conglomerate, is in charge of reviving TEPCO and leading the cleanup at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant. In an interview Thursday with selected media including The Associated Press, Kawamura said despite the massive costs of the cleanup and meeting tighter safety requirements, nuclear power is still vital for Japan's national security.

Below are highlights from the interview, where Kawamura spoke in Japanese:

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Haitians Found at Sea Show Dire Conditions Could Worsen on Island Nation

reuters.com - by Sebastien Malo - July 13, 2017

U.S. authorities sent home some 100 Haitian immigrants discovered on a rickety boat this week, the most found at sea in more than a year and a sign of more people likely to flee the impoverished island, advocates said on Thursday.

Haitians are struggling to survive a homeland devastated by natural disasters and disease, and the situation could worsen if U.S. officials return home more than 50,000 Haitians in the United States on temporary visas, they said.

Under President Donald Trump, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has cast uncertainty over whether to extend a special immigration status that has been granted to Haitians since a 2010 earthquake.

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Elon Musk: Artificial Intelligence Is Society's Biggest Risk

           

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk responds to a question by Nevada Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval during the National Governors Association's meeting Saturday Providence, R.I. (STEPHAN SAVOIA/AP)

The Tesla and SpaceX CEO urged governors to regulate artificial intelligence before it's too late.

usnews.com - by Casey Leins - July 16, 2017

Artificial intelligence is the "biggest risk that we face as a civilization" Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said Saturday, speaking to state leaders on the last day of the National Governors Association summer meeting.

The business magnate participated in a question and answer session with Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, the incoming chair of the National Governors Association, whose initiative explores how state leaders can prepare for and benefit from innovative technologies.

Musk made his stance clear that governors must address artificial intelligence proactively, or it will be too late.

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Hotez Measles Prediction: Something Awful is Happening in Texas

CLICK HERE - PLOS - Texas and Its Measles Epidemics

outbreaknewstoday.com - by Robert Herriman - July 15, 2017

The Dean for the National School of Tropical Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Dr Peter Hotez is concerned about measles in his state of Texas, so much that he is raising the alarm by predicting a measles outbreak could happen as early as the winter or spring of 2018.

In an article published in PLoS Medicine last fall, Hotez writes: Measles vaccination coverage in certain Texas counties is dangerously close to dropping below the 95% coverage rate necessary to ensure herd immunity and prevent measles outbreaks.

He tells me during the interview, “Something awful is happening in Texas,” Dr Hotez said.

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To Solve Climate Change, Solve Income Inequality

A new report says that the wider the gap between rich and poor, the more the environment suffers.

           

CREDIT: Pixabay

CLICK HERE - REPORT - Roosevelt Institute - Boiling Points: The Inextricable Links Between Inequality and Climate Change

thinkprogress.org - by Marlene Cimons - May 24, 2017

We often talk about how climate change exacerbates social and economic inequality, but rarely do we consider the opposite: that inequality itself can be a driver of climate change.

“What’s missing from the conversation is what our inequality crisis is doing to our planet,” said Susan Holmberg, a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute and author of a new report that shows how unequal societies inflict more environmental damage than more economically even societies. “One key topic that is still overlooked is how environmental degradation and climate change are themselves the toxic byproducts of our inequality problem,” Holmberg said.

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Carbon in Atmosphere Is Rising, Even as Emissions Stabilize

           

The Cape Grim Baseline Air Pollution Station in Tasmania. Credit Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization

nytimes.com - by Justin Gillis - June 26, 2017

CAPE GRIM, Tasmania . . . For more than two years, the monitoring station here, along with its counterparts across the world, has been flashing a warning: The excess carbon dioxide scorching the planet rose at the highest rate on record in 2015 and 2016. A slightly slower but still unusual rate of increase has continued into 2017.

Scientists are concerned about the cause of the rapid rises because, in one of the most hopeful signs since the global climate crisis became widely understood in the 1980s, the amount of carbon dioxide that people are pumping into the air seems to have stabilized in recent years, at least judging from the data that countries compile on their own emissions.

That raises a conundrum: If the amount of the gas that people are putting out has stopped rising, how can the amount that stays in the air be going up faster than ever? Does it mean the natural sponges that have been absorbing carbon dioxide are now changing?

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