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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Why a Warming Arctic May Be Causing Colder U.S. Winters


A piece of ice breaks from Juneau's Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska.  PHOTOGRAPH BY PETE MCBRIDE, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

A new study shows how a warming Arctic could negatively impact regions thousands of miles away.

CLICK HERE - Nature Geoscience - Reduced North American terrestrial primary productivity linked to anomalous Arctic warming

news.nationalgeographic.com - by Sarah Gibbens - July 11, 2017

When a U.S. Republican senator threw a snowball onto the Senate floor in late February of 2015, he used it to underscore his belief that human-made climate change was an alarmist conclusion. The snowball had been rolled from the Capitol grounds in Washington D.C., which, at the time, was experiencing an uncharacteristically cold winter.

If global warming was real, he posited, how could the nation's capital experience such severe cold?

Uncharacteristically cold winters, however, just might be one of the most hard felt effects of climate change, according to a study published in Nature Geoscience by a team of researchers.

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Higher Seas to Flood Dozens of US Cities, Study Says; Is Yours One of Them?

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Union of Concerned Scientists - When Rising Seas Hit Home: Hard Choices Ahead for Hundreds of US Coastal Communities (2017)

cnn.com - by Jennifer Gray - July 12, 2017

For the past several years, scientists have been trying to get people to wake up to the dangers that lie ahead in rising seas due to climate change. A comprehensive list now names hundreds of US cities, large and small, that may not make it through the next 20, 50 or 80 years due to sea level rise . . .

 . . . If you live along the coast, your city could be one of them -- meaning you could be part of the last generation to call it home.

"This research hones in on exactly how sea level rise is hitting us first. The number of people experiencing chronic floods will grow much more quickly than sea level itself," Benjamin Strauss, Vice President for Sea Level and Climate Impacts at Climate Central said in reaction to this study.

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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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Earth's Sixth Mass Extinction Event Under Way, Scientists Warn

Researchers talk of ‘biological annihilation’ as study reveals billions of populations of animals have been lost in recent decades


Earth already in midst of sixth mass extinction, scientists say

CLICK HERE - RESEARCH - PNAS - Biological annihilation via the ongoing sixth mass extinction signaled by vertebrate population losses and declines

theguardian.com - by Damian Carrington - July 10, 2017

A “biological annihilation” of wildlife in recent decades means a sixth mass extinction in Earth’s history is under way and is more severe than previously feared, according to research.

Scientists analysed both common and rare species and found billions of regional or local populations have been lost . . . 

 . . . “All signs point to ever more powerful assaults on biodiversity in the next two decades, painting a dismal picture of the future of life, including human life” . . . 

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Just 100 Companies Responsible for 71% of Global Emissions, Study Says

A relatively small number of fossil fuel producers and their investors could hold the key to tackling climate change


An oil rig exploring for oil and gas. A new report says more than 50% of global industrial emissions since 1988 can be traced to just 25 companies. Photograph: Dazman/Getty Images/iStockphoto

CLICK HERE - The Carbon Majors Database - CDP Carbon Majors Report 2017 (16 page .PDF report)

the guardian.com - by Tess Riley - July 10, 2017

Just 100 companies have been the source of more than 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988, according to a new report.

The Carbon Majors Report (pdf) “pinpoints how a relatively small set of fossil fuel producers may hold the key to systemic change on carbon emissions,” says Pedro Faria, technical director at environmental non-profit CDP, which published the report in collaboration with the Climate Accountability Institute.

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When Will Electric Cars Go Mainstream? It May Be Sooner Than You Think


A Volkswagen e-Golf electric car being charged in Dresden, Germany, in March. Volkswagen and Tesla each have plans to produce more than 1 million electric vehicles per year by 2025. Credit Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters

CLICK HERE - Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) - Electric Vehicle Outlook 2017

nytimes.com - by Brad Plumer - July 8, 2017

As the world’s automakers place larger bets on electric vehicle technology, many industry analysts are debating a key question: How quickly can plug-in cars become mainstream?

The conventional view holds that electric cars will remain a niche product for many years, plagued by high sticker prices and heavily dependent on government subsidies.

But a growing number of analysts now argue that this pessimism is becoming outdated. A new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a research group, suggests that the price of plug-in cars is falling much faster than expected, spurred by cheaper batteries and aggressive policies promoting zero-emission vehicles in China and Europe.



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Thousands Flee Wildfires Burning in the US and Canada


Thousands flee wildfires burning in the US and Canada - The Associated Press

abcnews.go.com - by The Associated Press - July 9, 2017

Wildfires barreled across the baking landscape of the western U.S. and Canada, destroying a smattering of homes, forcing thousands to flee and temporarily trapping children and counselors at a California campground.

Here's a look at the wildfires blackening the West.



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Super Majority Of Americans Worry About Clean Drinking Water


Clean drinking water is even more precious to Americans than clean air.  Nestle Waters North America

CLICK HERE - Perspectives on America’s Water - June 2017 (38 page .PDF file)

forbes.com - by James Conca - June 29, 2017

Americans want to drink clean water even more than they want to breathe clean air. A new public survey and study was conducted in May by Nestlé Waters North America on 4,756 American adults across the lower 48 states.

The ‘Perspectives on America’s Water’ Study, released yesterday at the annual Aspen Ideas Festival on innovative solutions in Colorado, asked the respondents to share their views on water-related topics . . .

The overall take-away from the survey is that:

- clean drinking water is more important than clean air to Americans

- two out of three Americans believe their community is vulnerable to a water crisis

- a majority of the public believes significant, immediate investments in water infrastructure are needed to avoid future water crises

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Attacks in Syria and Yemen are Turning Disease Into a Weapon of War


A cholera-infected man receives treatment at a hospital in Sanaa, Yemen, in May.  HANI MOHAMMED/AP

statnews.com - by Homer Venters - July 7, 2017

 . . . Today we are seeing another cruel method of warfare emerge on the battlefield: the weaponization of disease, particularly in Syria and Yemen.

Targeting health care facilities during conflict has occurred before. But unlike the attacks on hospital ships during World War I, or even sporadic attacks in more recent conflicts, the pace of attacks on health facilities, workers, and resources in Syria and Yemen is massive and unrelenting . . . 

 . . . We must not make the mistake of thinking of these deaths and illnesses as collateral damage of war. They are not accidental, and the destruction of medical and sanitation infrastructure is part of a cruel, illegal, and intentional strategy . .

 . . . there must be independent investigations of violations of international law when it comes to targeting health and humanitarian resources . . .

 . . . Hundreds of thousands have already died in Syria and Yemen. And without accountability and clear condemnation from the international community, millions more lives are at stake.

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France Set to Ban Sale of Petrol and Diesel Vehicles by 2040


Hybrid and electric cars, like this Renault, make up about 5% of the French car market - Reuters

bbc.com - July 6, 2017

France is set to ban the sale of any car that uses petrol or diesel fuel by 2040, in what the ecology minister called a "revolution".

Nicolas Hulot announced the planned ban on fossil fuel vehicles as part of a renewed commitment to the Paris climate deal.

He said France planned to become carbon neutral by 2050.


ALSO SEE RELATED ARTICLE HERE - France to ban sales of petrol and diesel cars by 2040

ALSO SEE RELATED ARTICLE HERE - France to Ban Sales of Gas, Diesel Vehicles by 2040


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Here’s the public evidence that supports the idea that Russia interfered in the 2016 election

washingtonpost.com - by Philip Bump - July 6, 2017

. . . “I think it was Russia,” Trump said, “but I think it was probably other people and/or countries, and I see nothing wrong with that statement. Nobody really knows. Nobody really knows for sure.”

There’s a lot packed into that statement: a cursory acceptance of the consensus view that Russia was involved, a shadow of doubt overlaid with the idea that Russia didn’t act alone, and a blanket shrug at the idea that the truth was really knowable . . .

. . . we’ve cobbled together the publicly available information to demonstrate why a layperson might have reasonable confidence that Russia was behind the election hacks — even if Trump, with access to a fuller set of information, does not concur.



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