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Friday, Dec 19th

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California Becomes First State To Ban Single-Use Plastic Bags

Ban the bagGov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed legislation imposing the nation's first statewide ban on single-use plastic bags, driven to action by a buildup of litter and damage to aquatic ecosystems.

A national coalition of plastic bag manufacturers immediately said it would seek a voter referendum to repeal the law, which is scheduled to take effect in July 2015.

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Australia's 2013 heat waves linked to human-caused climate change, studies conclude

australia heat linked to climate changeAustralia has suffered through two back-to-back sweltering summers, with a record-setting heat wave sweeping across the country at the end of 2013 and into 2014. Now, five separate studies published today conclude that the blazing summer was linked to human-caused climate change.

The papers are part of a larger report, Explaining Extreme Events of 2013 From a Climate Perspective, published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS). It includes 22 separate studies focusing on 16 different extreme weather events that occurred last year. And while researchers concluded that human activity had increased the likelihood and severity of Australia’s heat wave, they reported that it was hard to see any direct link between climate change and other extreme events last year—including the last 2 years of California drought and Colorado’s extreme rains.

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Causes of California drought linked to climate change

california drought due to climate changeThe atmospheric conditions associated with the unprecedented drought currently afflicting California are "very likely" linked to human-caused climate change, Stanford scientists write in a new research paper.

In a new study, a team led by Stanford climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh used a novel combination of computer simulations and statistical techniques to show that a persistent region of high atmospheric pressure hovering over the Pacific Ocean that diverted storms away from California was much more likely to form in the presence of modern greenhouse gas concentrations.

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World wildlife populations halved in 40 years - report

wild life species cut in halfThe global loss of species is even worse than previously thought, the London Zoological Society (ZSL) says in its new Living Planet Index.

The report suggests populations have halved in 40 years, as new methodology gives more alarming results than in a report two years ago.

The report says populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish have declined by an average of 52%.

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Ice melt dilutes Arctic sea’s CO2 clean-up role

Ice meltNew scientific research confirms that global warming is melting increasingly larger areas of Arctic sea ice − and reducing its vital function of removing CO2 from the atmosphere.

The Arctic ice cap has just passed its summer minimum – and it’s the sixth lowest measure of sea ice recorded since 1978, according to scientists at the US space agency NASA.

For three decades, the shrinking Arctic ice – and the growing area of clear blue water exposed each summer – has been a cause of increasing alarm to climate scientists.

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Pennsylvania Releases Official File Detailing 250 Water Supplies Directly Polluted by Fracking

Pa. frackingThe following list identifies cases where DEP determined that a private water supply was impacted by oil and gas activities. The oil and gas activities referenced in the list below include operations associated with both conventional and unconventional drilling activities that either resulted in a water diminution event or an increase in constituents above background conditions.

This list is intended to identify historic water supply impacts and does not necessarily represent ongoing impacts.

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U.S. Appeals Court Orders Disclosure of Secrets in Chevron Oil Pollution Case

Chevron loses appealOne might assume that after 21 years of litigation, all the sordid details surrounding the epic Chevron oil pollution case had been made public. Not so. A three-judge federal appeals court panel in Richmond, Va., ruled unanimously on Tuesday that plaintiffs’ lawyers accused of fraud against the oil company must reveal the contents of documents that had been confidential and could hold new information about wrongdoing.

The appellate ruling constitutes the latest victory for Chevron (CVX) as the company seeks to nullify a $19 billion judgment imposed against the company in 2011 by a trial court in Ecuador. The Andean nation’s supreme court has affirmed Chevron’s liability while halving the damages to a still-substantial $9.5 billion.

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