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With First Nationwide Fracking Law, Germany Approaches A Ban

German fracking banOn Wednesday, the German cabinet approved the country’s first nationwide fracking law, which would set the “strictest conditions for fracking” according to Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks.

The law, which now heads to parliament for debate, would ban fracking in specified regions “to protect drinking water, health and the environment,” according to the environment and energy ministries. The draft law would ban the use of hydraulic fracturing for drilling processes that are shallower than 3,000 meters, or almost 10,000 feet, and any fracking in nature reserves or national parks.

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Long-Awaited ‘Jump’ In Global Warming Now Appears ‘Imminent’

climate changeWe may be witnessing the start of the long-awaited jump in global temperatures. There is “a vast and growing body of research,” as Climate Central explained in February. “Humanity is about to experience a historically unprecedented spike in temperatures.”

A March study, “Near-term acceleration in the rate of temperature change,” makes clear that an actual acceleration in the rate of global warming is imminent — with Arctic warming rising a stunning 1°F per decade by the 2020s.

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As Quakes Rattle Oklahoma, Fingers Point to Oil and Gas Industry

Oklahoma quakesYanked without warning from a deep sleep, Jennifer Lin Cooper, whose family has lived near here for more than a half-century, could think only that the clamor enveloping her house was coming from a helicopter landing on her roof. She was wrong

A 5.0-magnitude earthquake — the first of three as strong or stronger over several days in November 2011 — had peeled the brick facade from the $117,000 home she bought the year before. Ms. Cooper could not get out until her father pried a stuck storm door off the front entrance. Earthquake repairs have so far cost $12,000 and forced her to take a second job, at night, to pay the bill.

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The toxic lake filled by the world’s tech lust

Toxic lake From where I'm standing, the city-sized Baogang Steel and Rare Earth complex dominates the horizon, its endless cooling towers and chimneys reaching up into grey, washed-out sky. Between it and me, stretching into the distance, lies an artificial lake filled with a black, barely-liquid, toxic sludge.

Dozens of pipes line the shore, churning out a torrent of thick, black, chemical waste from the refineries that surround the lake. The smell of sulphur and the roar of the pipes invades my senses. It feels like hell on Earth.

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California used 70 million gallons of water in fracking in 2014

Califoria droughtCalifornia oil producers used 214 acre-feet of water, equivalent to nearly 70 million gallons, in the process of fracking for oil and gas in the state last year, less than previously projected, state officials told Reuters on Thursday.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, occurs when water and some chemicals are injected deep underground at high pressure to break up rock and release oil and gas into wells.

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Study: Polar bears can’t thrive on land, amid record-breaking ice loss

polar bears in dangerPolar bears are increasingly feeding on land-based foods instead of their traditional marine prey as climate change reduces the sea ice they use as hunting platforms — a dietary change that has contributed to declining health and survival rates among the species, a team of scientists led by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has found.

“While it’s tempting to think that polar bears could survive by switching to a terrestrial diet, this paper establishes in no uncertain terms that land-based foods do not offer any hope of polar bear salvation,” said Steven Amstrup, the chief scientist for conservation group Polar Bears International (PBI), who is a co-author of the study, which was published Wednesday in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. Scientists with the USGS, PBI and Washington State University participated in the research.

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It's Almost Impossible To Find Data On Oil And Gas Spills In Most States

oil drillingA new report from the environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council has analyzed the data on spills and other violations at oil and gas wells across the country. But perhaps the most interesting aspect of the report is how little data the group was able to turn up.

Based on NRDC's evaluation of dozens of state databases, only three states -- West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Colorado -- have easily accessible, publicly available data on spills and other violations. That's three states out of 36 that have active oil and gas development.

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