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South Carolina floods: climate change intensified conditions, scientists say

South carolina floodsScientists say climate change has exacerbated the effects of a storm blamed for at least nine deaths in the south-eastern US.

On Monday, after weekend downpours, flooding continued to overwhelm large parts of South Carolina and North Carolina in what was described as a “once-in-a-millennium” storm.

Individual weather events cannot be attributed to climate change, but climatologists say atmospheric conditions tied to climate change intensified this downpour.


U.S. settles claims with BP over 2010 spill

BP settlementThe U.S. Justice Department announced Monday it reached a settlement with British energy company BP over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch in July said both parties reached an agreement in principle to settle civil claims for the spill. If agreed to, the estimated $18.7 billion would be the largest settlement of its kind in U.S. history.


Cargo Ship With 33 Crew Members Aboard Missing in Hurricane Joaquin

Cargp ship missingThe U.S. Coast Guard and Air Force Hurricane Hunters were searching the Atlantic Ocean near Crooked Island, Bahamas, on Friday for a cargo ship with 33 crew members aboard that is missing in Hurricane Joaquin.

The 735-foot cargo ship El Faro was en route to San Juan, Puerto Rico, when it was caught in the Category 4 storm that's battering the Bahamas, the Coast Guard said.


Hurricane Joaquin 'extremely dangerous' category 4, 130 mph winds

HoaquinHurricane Joaquin was upgraded to an "extremely dangerous" Category 4 storm Thursday afternoon with 130 mph winds, the National Hurricane Center said.

The storm is moving slowly at about 6 mph and is located about 70 miles from San Salvador in the Bahamas. It is expected to pick up forward speed when it turns north Friday. Air Force Reserve "Hurricane Hunter" aircrafts found hurricane force winds extend some 45 miles from the center of the storm, and tropical force winds extend about 140 miles.


DOJ reaches $2 billion settlement with fertilizer maker

DOZ reaches deal over gertilizer wasteOne of the world's largest fertilizer makers is settling a massive hazardous waste lawsuit for nearly $2 billion to help clean up pollution and upgrade leaky facilities in Florida and Louisiana, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

The department and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency were set to announce the agreement with Minnesota-based The Mosaic Co. on Thursday. The deal still needs to be finalized by the court.


Refineries must monitor air quality in nearby communities, EPA says

EPA: refineries must monitor airThe Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Tuesday released its first-ever rule requiring petroleum refineries to monitor air pollution in surrounding residential communities — a move that could lower the cancer risk from toxic emissions for more than one million Americans.

Levels of air pollutants including benzene, a known human carcinogen, are often higher in areas near oil refineries. They can cause respiratory problems and other serious health issues and are seen as a factor in the increased risk of cancer, according to an EPA statement announcing the new requirement.


Study: Climate change negatively affects birth weight

Climate change affects birth weightStronger storms, higher tides, longer droughts and lower birth weights -- global warming's rap sheet continues to get longer and longer.

According to a new study, expecting mothers in Africa who are exposed to higher temperatures and less precipitation tend to birth infants weighing less.

Researchers from the University of Utah analyzed the birth weights of 70,000 infants born in 19 African countries between 1986 and 2010. They cross-referenced birth weights with weather data from the estimated time of conception through birth.


Brazil pledges absolute carbon emissions reduction of 37 percent

Brazil pledgeds carbon emissions reductionBrazil has pledged a 37 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2025, making the South American country the first major developing nation to pledge an absolute emissions reduction.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff made the announcement on Sunday at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit. She also announced an "intended reduction" of 43 percent by 2030.


Shell says it will cease Alaska offshore Arctic drilling

Duutch to leave Arctic drilllingRoyal Dutch Shell said it will cease exploration in Arctic waters off Alaska's coast following disappointing results from an exploratory well backed by billions in investment and years of work.

Shell will end exploration off Alaska “for the foreseeable future,” the company said, because of the well results and because of the “challenging and unpredictable federal regulatory environment in offshore Alaska.”


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