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Sunday, Feb 07th

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Beijing Issues First-Ever 'Red Alert' Over Air Pollution

refd alert in BeijingChina's capital on Monday issued its first ever "red alert" for pollution, as the city government warned that Beijing would be shrouded in heavy smog from Tuesday until Thursday.

China's leadership has vowed to crack down on environmental degradation, including the air pollution that blankets many major cities, following decades of unbridled economic growth.

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7.2-magnitude earthquake, aftershocks jolt Tajikistan

7.2 earhquake TajikistanA 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck Tajikistan on Monday afternoon, shaking buildings hundreds of miles away in Islamabad and New Delhi.

The quake struck at 12:50 p.m. local time, with a 4.8-magnitude aftershock about 25 minutes later. Two others occurred within an hour.

A separate, 5.5-magnitude earthquake hit neighboring Kyrgyzstan.

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Greenland's glaciers retreating at record speeds

Greenland glaciers recedingGreenland's glaciers are on retreat, shrinking at strikingly fast rates -- at least twice as fast as any time over the last 9,500 years.

Researchers with Columbia University's Earth Institute compared modern satellite data with records of glacier growth and decline gleaned from ice cores. Their findings were published last week in the journal Climate of the Past.

"If we compare the rate that these glaciers have retreated in the last hundred years to the rate that they retreated when they disappeared between 8,000 and 7,000 years ago, we see the rate of retreat in the last 100 years was about twice what it was under this naturally forced disappearance," study co-author William D'Andrea, a paleoclimatologist at Columbia's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, explained in a press release.

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Climate draft deal reached at Paris conference

Climate deal draft agreed onNegotiators from 195 countries in Paris on Saturday agreed to a tentative deal to reduce global carbon emissions, CNN reported.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) posted a copy of the draft on its website and pledged to work through next week at the COP21 Paris conference to reach a final agreement.

Christina Figueres, executive secretary of the UNFCCC, tweeted that the draft is “One more step in writing of history.”

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Massive natural gas storage leak alarms California residents, climate activists

Natural gas storage dangerIt’s the climate equivalent of the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico: the rupture of a natural gas storage site in California that is spewing vast amounts of methane into the atmosphere and is likely to go unchecked for three months.

The breach of the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage site, near Porter Ranch has forced the relocation of hundreds of families, who complained of headaches, nosebleeds and nausea from the rotten-egg smell of the odorant added to the gas to aid in leak detection.

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NYers fear gas pipeline near nuclear reactor could spell disaster

NYers fear gas pipeline near nuclear reactor could spell disaster.The school is just 400 feet from the path of a massive new pipeline expansion project that’s being carried out by Spectra Energy, an oil and gas infrastructure company based in Houston. The Algonquin pipeline expansion is one of at least 22 pipeline projects designed in recent years to transport natural gas from shale fields across the U.S. to distribution points in the Northeast.

But the noise isn’t the only thing troubling local residents like Williams. The pipeline will run within several dozen feet of electrical infrastructure necessary to operate Indian Point, an aging nuclear plant on the Hudson River. Residents worry that if the pipeline were to rupture, it could trigger a chain of events that might end in a nuclear meltdown, devastating their communities and turning New York City into a radioactive evacuation zone.

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Researchers: Greenland is melting away

Greenland meltingGreenland ice sheet. Brandon Overstreet, a doctoral candidate in hydrology at the University of Wyoming, picked his way across the frozen landscape, clipped his climbing harness to an anchor in the ice and crept towards the edge of a river that rushed downstream towards an enormous sinkhole.

If he fell in, “the death rate is 100 per cent,” said Overstreet’s friend and fellow researcher, Lincoln Pitcher.

But Overstreet’s task, to collect critical data from the river, is essential to understanding one of the most consequential impacts of global warming. The scientific data he and a team of six other researchers collect here could yield groundbreaking information on the rate at which the melting of Greenland ice sheet, one of the biggest and fastest-melting chunks of ice on Earth, will drive up sea levels in the coming decades. The full melting of Greenland’s ice sheet could increase sea levels by about 20 feet.

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