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Tuesday, May 31st

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Obama Administration Cracking Down On Potent Planet-Warming Gas

Obama goes after methane gasThe Environmental Protection Agency announced on Thursday final rules that will crack down on methane emissions from the booming natural gas industry.

Methane is a greenhouse gas that has much greater planet-warming potential in the short term than carbon dioxide. It is also a primary component of natural gas, and its release during the oil and gas extraction and transportation process has emerged as a major concern as the U.S. has vastly increased its gas production. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking — a process that uses a high-pressure blast of water, sand and chemicals to tap into gas contained in shale rock — has allowed the U.S. to unlock a lot more gas in recent years.

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‘Unusually’ Thin And Fractured Arctic Ice Hints At Yet Another Record Melt

Arctic ide meltingThe National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) hadn’t updated its near-real time daily chart of Arctic sea ice levels in more than a month. A satellite that monitors the ice malfunctioned, forcing the center to suspend the service.

Researchers missed a lot during those dark weeks.

Using information from a different satellite, the NSIDC provisionally updated its Arctic sea ice data on May 6 — and the findings were alarming.

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"Mistaken" Release of Glyphosate Report Raises Questions Over EPA's Ties to Monsanto

Monsanto connection to EPAThe House Science, Space and Technology Committee is questioning why the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)posted and then suddenly pulled its highly anticipated risk assessment of glyphosate, the main ingredient in weedkillers such as Monsanto's flagship herbicide Roundup.

On April 29, the EPA's Cancer Assessment Review Committee published a report online about glyphosate concluding that the chemical is not likely carcinogenic to humans. However, even though it was marked "Final" and was signed by 13 members of CARC, the report disappeared from the website three days later.

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28% of US bees wiped out this winter, suggesting bigger environmental issues

Bees being wiped outMore than a quarter of American honeybee colonies were wiped out over the winter, with deadly infestations of mites and harmful land management practices heaping mounting pressure upon the crucial pollinators and the businesses that keep them.

Preliminary figures commissioned by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) show that 28% of bee colonies in the United States were lost over the 2015-16 winter. More than half of surveyed beekeepers said they suffered unsustainable losses during the winter.

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World's carbon dioxide concentration teetering on the point of no return

CO2 concentration The world is hurtling towards an era when global concentrations of carbon dioxide never again dip below the 400 parts per million (ppm) milestone, as two important measuring stations sit on the point of no return.

The news comes as one important atmospheric measuring station at Cape Grim in Australia is poised on the verge of 400ppm for the first time. Sitting in a region with stable CO2 concentrations, once that happens, it will never get a reading below 400ppm.

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Rising sea levels: five Solomon Islands have disappeared underwater

Solomon Islands disappea due to rising sea levelsFive islands have disappeared in the Pacific's Solomon Islands due to rising sea levels and coastal erosion, according to an Australian study that scientists said Saturday could provide valuable insights for future research.

A further six reef islands have been severely eroded in the remote area of the Solomons, the study said, with one experiencing some 10 houses being swept into the sea between 2011 and 2014.

"At least 11 islands across the northern Solomon Islands have either totally disappeared over recent decades or are currently experiencing severe erosion," the study published in Environmental Research Letters said.

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Exxon scrambles to contain climate crusade

Exxon scramblesOn Nov. 3, ExxonMobil dispatched its top lobbyists to Capitol Hill on an urgent mission — tamping down an escalating campaign aimed at making the country’s largest oil company pay a legal and political price for its role in warming the planet.

The meeting marked a striking shift in Exxon’s handling of the controversy. The notion of holding oil companies responsible for global warming, in the same way tobacco companies had to pay billions of dollars in damages over the health effects of cigarettes, had long been seen as a quixotic quest led by scruffy, oil-hating extremists.

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