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DiCaprio's Climate Doc Exposes Destruction of Rainforest for Palm Oil as Huge Driver of Global Carbon Emissions

Rain forest destructionA new documentary produced and starring actor and activist Leonardo DiCaprio premieres in Los Angeles today and will be broadcast globally in 45 languages in 171 countries on the National Geographic Channel starting Oct. 30, timed to air in advance of the November elections.

The film highlights the critical role forest destruction plays in driving carbon pollution into Earth's atmosphere and focuses specifically on how the rapid spread of industrial palm oil plantations in Southeast Asia are at the heart of this crisis. The film It is directed by Fisher Stevens who, like DiCaprio, is an Academy Award winner.

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Renewables just passed coal as the largest source of new electricity worldwide

Reign of coal is overIt’s been a long run, coal, but your reign is over.

Renewable energy sources have passed coal as the largest new source of electricity in the world, according data released Tuesday by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The transition of the world’s energy sources is critical for avoiding a 2°C rise in global temperatures. Coal, for instance, represented about a quarter of U.S. CO2 emissions in 2012.

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6.6-magnitude quake hits Japan; little damage reported

6.6 earthquake in JapanA suspected 6.2-magnitude earthquake shook western Japan's Tottori prefecture Friday afternoon, causing some injuries and property damage, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

The temblor struck near the city of Kurayoshi, west of Osaka, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

At least 10 injuries were reported, fire officials said, and some buildings were damaged. The earthquake temporarily disrupted highway travel, bullet train service and airport schedules, and nearly 80,000 homes endured a temporary power blackout. No injuries were reported at the region's nuclear power plants, which were automatically powered down, and no tsunami warning was announced.

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Atchison, Kan., residents urged to shelter in place after chemical spill

MGP spillA spill at the MGP Ingredients Inc. chemical plant in the Kansas city of Atchison has led officials to recommend residents shelter in place on Friday.

The Atchison City Manager's Office said the chemical leak could be an airborne chlorine powder, though the company has not confirmed, KSHB Kansas City reports.

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Study: Deforestation in Amazon going undetected by Brazilian monitors

Brazilian deforestationOver the last two decades, Brazil's government has pushed to curb deforestation. By official accounts, their progress as been commendable, but new research suggests a significant portion of deforestation has gone undetected by Brazil's satellite monitoring system, called PRODES.

Researchers published their findings this week in the journal Conservation Letters.

"PRODES has been an incredible monitoring tool and has facilitated the successful enforcement of policies," Leah VanWey, co-author of the new study and director at the Institute at Brown for Environment and Society, said in a press release. "But we show evidence that landowners are working around it in ways that are destroying important forests."

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Bolt cutters expose vulnerability of North America's oil pipeline grid

Bolt cutters used on pipelinesAll it took was a pair of bolt cutters and the elbow grease of a few climate activists to carry out an audacious act of sabotage on North America's massive oil and gas pipeline system.

For an industry increasingly reliant on gadgets such as digital sensors, infrared cameras and drones to monitor security and check for leaks, the sabotage illustrated how vulnerable pipelines are to low-tech attacks.

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The Great Pacific Garbage Patch Is Even Worse Than We Feared

Great pacofoc garbage dumpThe first aerial survey of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch shows that the amount of debris swirling in the North Pacific has been “heavily underestimated,” the expedition group said.

On Monday, The Ocean Cleanup, a project founded in 2013 by then-18-year-old Dutch inventor Boyan Slat with the goal of ridding the world’s oceans of plastic, shared initial findings from its aerial expedition of the trash vortex between Hawaii and California.

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