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Monday, Dec 09th

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Drought-hit Australian towns prepare for 'unimaginable' water crisis

Australian droughtThe little town of Guyra in eastern Australia lies next to a freshwater lagoon just half a day’s drive from Sydney, but its drinking water is due to run dry in 400 days’ time.

The local authorities have been trucking in fresh water, built a pipeline to a local dam and will soon start drilling in the hope of finding new supplies. For Mayor Simon Murray, the biggest worry is that Guyra is not alone.

“A lot of towns are forecast to run out at the same time - and then where do you get the water from?” he said, referring to an area that is home to some 180,000 people.

It is part of a much bigger problem in a country unused to widespread financial hardship; Australia has enjoyed growth for a generation yet livelihoods are now at risk from drought worsened by climate change, a predicament more familiar to developing countries.

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Lorenzo becomes the most powerful hurricane to make it so far east in the Atlantic

Hurricane lorenzo

Forecasters say Hurricane Lorenzo has become the largest and most powerful hurricane that has made it so far east in the Atlantic.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Lorenzo rapidly grew to a Category 4 storm Thursday, making it the region's third major hurricane of the record-breaking season. The storm's quick growth was unusual for hurricanes in the Atlantic, which usually gain intensity further west.

By 11 a.m. EDT Friday, Lorenzo was located about 1,600 miles southwest of the Azores Islands, moving north-northwest over the central Atlantic at 14 mph.

The storm is powerful — maximum sustained winds clocked in at 140 mph — and large: Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles from the center, and tropical-storm-force winds reach up to 265 miles.

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Italy and France Prepare for Imminent Collapse of Mont Blanc Glacier

Ital and France get set to shut down Mont BlancThe road that winds towards France from Courmayeur in Italy’s spectacular Aosta Valley is an Alpine paradise. In the spring and summer, the Mont Blanc foothills are covered with a carpet of wildflowers set against a backdrop of the Western Alps, which make up Europe’s highest mountain range. Some 20,000 outdoor enthusiasts come here to hike the Italian side of Mont Blanc every year. In the winter, those numbers triple as glitzy chalet resorts offer breathtaking views and some of the best ski runs in Europe.

But all of that is in jeopardy due to the devastating effects of climate change. Tuesday evening, Italian civil protection authorities took the extreme measure of closing down the Italian side of Mont Blanc due to the imminent threat of around 9 million cubic feet of ice breaking away from the Planpincieux glacier on the Grandes Jorasses mountain on the Mont Blanc massif. To get an idea of how big that is, that much ice would make 67.3 million gallons of water if it melted.

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World's oceans and mountains are in big trouble from climate change, UN report says

UN climate change: oceans in deep trouble

The world's oceans and mountains are in peril, and so are we, according to a major new report from United Nations climate scientists released early Wednesday.

The "Special Report on Oceans and the Cryosphere" offers a bleak picture. It warns that the world's oceans have reached or are nearing critical tipping points: Oceans have gotten warmer, more acidic and are losing oxygen, resulting in a cascade of negative effects that are wreaking havoc on coral and other marine ecosystems, threatening the collapse of the world’s fisheries and turbocharging deadly hurricanes and tropical storms.

In an unprecedented effort, teams of scientists from the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change explored the farthest corners of Earth, from the highest Alpine regions to the deepest oceans, said Ko Barrett,  panel vice chair and a NOAA deputy assistant administrator for research, "and even in these remote places climate change is evident."

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'You have stolen my dreams,' an angry Thunberg tells U.N. climate summit

Greta Thurnberg

The Swedish campaigner’s brief address electrified the start of a summit aimed at mobilising government and business to break international paralysis over carbon emissions, which hit record highs last year despite decades of warnings from scientists.

“This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you?” said Thunberg, 16, her voice quavering with emotion.

“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words,” she said.

Inspired by Thunberg’s solitary weekly protest outside the Swedish parliament a year ago, millions of young people poured onto the streets around the globe last Friday to demand governments attending the summit take emergency action.

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Skip school and strike: Students worldwide join Global Climate Strike marches

Climate strike: Students walk out of school worldwide

Tens of thousands of protesters — from Australia to Thailand to London — joined Global Climate Strike marches and rallies worldwide Friday to express their concern about climate change.

While supporters of all ages are turning out, the day was billed as a walkout by high school students to call on world leaders to step up their efforts against carbon emissions and other environmental issues.

In the U.S., New York City's 1.1 million school students were excused from class to participate in the strike protests. Demonstrators in Washington, D.C., planned a march to Capitol Hill.

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Study finds US, Canada lost 3 billion birds over last 50 years

3 billion birds lost in US and Canada

The bird population in the United States and Canada has decreased by 29 percent since 1970, according to the findings of a new study released Thursday.

The study, published in the journal Science, found that change means there are 2.9 billion few birds in the sky than five decades ago.

The study was the most in-depth investigation scientists have conducted to determine what is happening to the planet's birds. Over 500 aviary species were surveyed for the analysis.

David Yarnold, president and chief executive of the National Audubon Society, described the massive drop as “a full-blown crisis,” in a statement Thursday and called for action.

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