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Monday, Jan 26th

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Capping warming at 2 C not enough to avert disaster, climate experts warn

cap not enough to save planetScientists, environmentalists and world leaders alike have generally agreed that capping Earth’s temperature rise at 2 degrees Celsius would prevent the worst effects of climate change — a cut-off touted again in the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

But many experts in the field, including former IPCC leaders, have said that even if global warming is kept to that limit, such a rise could nevertheless devastate the environment and endanger humanity — the very effects that the latest study warns will happen if the 2 C ceiling is breached.

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Alaska storm becomes strongest in Bering Sea history

Alaska stormA massive storm in the Bering Sea, off the western Alaska coast and to the east of Russia, strengthened enough to be considered the strongest storm that the turbulent region has ever seen. It may not be an official record, however, as the minimum central pressure of 924 millibars (mb) was estimated by meteorologists, since the storm is over the open ocean off the Kamchatka Peninsula.

The previous record-lowest sea level pressure in a Bering Sea storm was 925 mb, set in October 1977 in Dutch Harbor, Alaska. This storm also likely sets a record for the strongest storm observed in the North Pacific Ocean, although the relatively sparse data for that region makes it possible that there were some stronger systems that were missed by ships or surface observing stations.

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Nevada earthquake swarm sparks warning

Nevada earthquake swarmAn intensifying swarm of hundreds of earthquakes in Nevada has rattled seismologists, who are issuing warnings that a major shaker could be on its way.

Nearly 750 earthquakes, mostly magnitude 2.0 to 3.0, have struck an area about 50 miles southeast of Lakeview, Ore., since the swarm started in July. They're growing steadily stronger, with one hitting 4.6. More than 40 have struck in the last two days.

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Over 200 Cumulative Arrests including “Beyond Extreme Energy” Blockade

protests arrestsOver 200 people have been arrested in recent days carrying out nonviolent actions in four states and Washington, DC to resist fracking infrastructure: VT (60); RI (3); NY (25); MD (11); and Washington DC (now over 100).

The total number of people arrested in the Beyond Extreme Energy daily FERC blockades in Washington, DC is not yet known.
Nadia Prupis, staff writer for Common Dreams, sums up the week’s Beyond Extreme Energy actions:

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Elections a 'bloodbath' for environmental policy, advocates say

pollutionJust days after a United Nations panel warned that failure to dramatically and quickly curb the burning of fossil fuels would do "irreversible damage" to the planet, the U.S. electorate on Tuesday voted in a Congress even more committed to the carbon status quo.

Controversial projects such as the Keystone XL pipeline enjoy strong backing by the Republican House and Senate leadership. Some newly elected politicians want gas and oil production boosted to turn America into "the next Saudi Arabia," and have questioned the existence of climate change.

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Texas oil town makes history as residents say no to fracking

Denton bans frackingThe Texas town where America’s oil and natural gas boom began has voted to ban fracking, in a stunning rebuke to the industry.

Denton, a college town on the edge of the Barnett Shale, voted by 59% to ban fracking inside the city limits, a first for any locality in Texas.

Organisers said they hoped it would give a boost to anti-fracking activists in other states. More than 15 million Americans now live within a mile of an oil or gas well.

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Senate Now Has Enough Votes To Pass Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Bill

XL Keystone PipelineThe new Senate Republican majority creates an opportunity for likely Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to force a vote on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline he's been waiting years to hold.

By The Huffington Post's count, the new Senate will have at least 61 votes in favor of a measure forcing the pipeline's approval -- a filibuster-proof majority.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said Tuesday in an appearance on MSNBC that passing a Keystone approval bill would be the second item on the Republican agenda, after a budget. "I actually think the president will sign the bill on the Keystone pipeline because I think the pressure -- he’s going to be boxed in on that, and I think it's going to happen," Priebus said.

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