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Category: Environment

Project 2025 poses far-reaching threats to science

Project 2025 poses far-reaching threats to science

Scientific American reports: Project 2025, the sweeping right-wing blueprint for a new kind of U.S. presidency, would sabotage science-based policies that address climate change, the environment, abortion, health care access, technology and education. It would impose religious and conservative ideology on the federal civil service to such an extent that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has, dubiously, tried to distance himself from the plan. But in 2022 Trump said the Heritage Foundation—the think tank that authored Project 2025—would “lay the…

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Data centers are draining resources in water-stressed communities

Data centers are draining resources in water-stressed communities

Eric Olson, Anne Grau, and Taylor Tipton write: The rapid growth of the technology industry and the increasing reliance on cloud computing and artificial intelligence have led to a boom in the construction of data centers across the United States. Electric vehicles, wind and solar energy, and the smart grid are particularly reliant on data centers to optimize energy utilization. These facilities house thousands of servers that require constant cooling to prevent overheating and ensure optimal performance. Unfortunately, many data…

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NOAA is under threat from Project 2025

NOAA is under threat from Project 2025

Zoë Schlanger writes: In the United States, as in most other countries, weather forecasts are a freely accessible government amenity. The National Weather Service issues alerts and predictions, warning of hurricanes and excessive heat and rainfall, all at the total cost to American taxpayers of roughly $4 per person per year. Anyone with a TV, smartphone, radio, or newspaper can know what tomorrow’s weather will look like, whether a hurricane is heading toward their town, or if a drought has…

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Earth’s water is rapidly losing oxygen, and the danger is huge

Earth’s water is rapidly losing oxygen, and the danger is huge

Science Alert reports: Supplies of dissolved oxygen in bodies of water across the globe are dwindling rapidly, and scientists say it’s one of the greatest risks to Earth’s life support system. Just as atmospheric oxygen is vital for animals like ourselves, dissolved oxygen (DO) in water is essential for healthy aquatic ecosystems, whether freshwater or marine. With billions of people relying on marine and freshwater habitats for food and income, it’s concerning these ecosystems’ oxygen has been substantially and rapidly…

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Plastics pollution has become a ‘crisis,’ Biden administration acknowledges

Plastics pollution has become a ‘crisis,’ Biden administration acknowledges

Inside Climate News reports: Single-use plastic would be phased out of all U.S. government operations by 2035 under a new federal plastics pollution strategy unveiled Friday by President Joe Biden’s administration, which cited a “crisis” of littered oceans and poisoned air due to plastics. “The Federal government is—for the first time—formally acknowledging the severity of the plastic pollution crisis and the scale of the response that will be required to effectively confront it,” said Brenda Mallory and Ali Zaidi, the…

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Climate crisis is making days longer, study finds

Climate crisis is making days longer, study finds

The Guardian reports: The climate crisis is causing the length of each day to get longer, analysis shows, as the mass melting of polar ice reshapes the planet. The phenomenon is a striking demonstration of how humanity’s actions are transforming the Earth, scientists said, rivalling natural processes that have existed for billions of years. The change in the length of the day is on the scale of milliseconds but this is enough to potentially disrupt internet traffic, financial transactions and…

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To save life on Earth, bring back taxonomy

To save life on Earth, bring back taxonomy

Robert Langellier writes: In 2009, the botanist Naomi Fraga was hunting a flower without a name near Carson City, Nev. Ms. Fraga saw that the plant was going extinct in real time as its desert valley habitat was bulldozed to make way for Walmarts and housing developments. But in order to seek legal protections for it, she had to give it a name. The diminutive yellow flower became the Carson Valley monkeyflower or, officially, Erythranthe carsonensis, allowing conservationists to petition…

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American environmentalism just got shoved into legal purgatory

American environmentalism just got shoved into legal purgatory

Zoë Schlanger writes: In a 6–3 ruling today, the Supreme Court essentially threw a stick of dynamite at a giant, 40-year-old legal levee. The decision overruled what is known as the Chevron doctrine, a precedent that governed how American laws were administered. In doing so, it likely unleashed a river of litigation, much of which could erode away the country’s climate and environmental ambitions. The Chevron doctrine held that when Congress passed ambiguously worded statutes, courts would defer to agencies’ interpretations of how to implement them….

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Inside Leonard Leo’s campaign to end protections for endangered species

Inside Leonard Leo’s campaign to end protections for endangered species

Rolling Stone reports: Leonard Leo, best known as the architect of the Supreme Court’s conservative supermajority, is fueling an assault on efforts to preserve the environment and the planet. His dark money network has also been funding campaigns to dismantle the Endangered Species Act (ESA) — 50 years after it was established to protect plant and animal species at risk of extinction. Since its passing, the ESA has been credited for saving 99 percent of its listed wildlife including bald…

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Protecting just 1.2% of Earth’s land could save most-threatened species, says study

Protecting just 1.2% of Earth’s land could save most-threatened species, says study

The Guardian reports: Protecting just 1.2% of the Earth’s surface for nature would be enough to prevent the extinction of the world’s most threatened species, according to a new study. Analysis published in the journal Frontiers in Science has found that the targeted expansion of protected areas on land would be enough to prevent the loss of thousands of the mammals, birds, amphibians and plants that are closest to disappearing. From Argentina to Papua New Guinea, the team of researchers…

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Water is a cosmic gift. Climate change is turning it into a weapon

Water is a cosmic gift. Climate change is turning it into a weapon

Marina Koren writes: Water gave every living thing on Earth the gift of existence. And yet, of late, it seems determined to wipe us out. The Atlantic hurricane season, widely predicted to be a fierce one, is here, and early this morning the first named storm, Alberto, made landfall in northeastern Mexico and drenched everything in its path. And in Florida last week, it was as if the heavens had turned on the tap and simply left it running. The…

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Could the global boom in greenhouses help cool the planet?

Could the global boom in greenhouses help cool the planet?

Fred Pearce writes: The world is awash with greenhouses growing fresh vegetables year-round for health-conscious urbanites. There are so many of them that in places their plastic and glass roofs are reflecting sufficient solar radiation to cool local temperatures — even as surrounding areas warm due to climate change. The extent of this accidental climate engineering is becoming ever more apparent as analysis of satellite images dramatically increases estimates of the area of the planet swathed in greenhouses. From southern…

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Chemicals from East Palestine, Ohio, derailment spread to 16 states, data shows

Chemicals from East Palestine, Ohio, derailment spread to 16 states, data shows

The Guardian reports: Chemicals released during the East Palestine train wreck fires in February 2023 in Ohio were carried across 16 US states, new research of federal precipitation and pollution data shows. Analysis of rain and snow samples collected from northern Wisconsin to Maine to North Carolina in the weeks following the crash found the highest levels of pH and some compounds recorded over the last ten years. That includes chloride, which researchers say was largely released during a controversial…

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Wildfire smoke killed more than 50,000 Californians over a decade

Wildfire smoke killed more than 50,000 Californians over a decade

Yale E360 reports: A new study finds that more than 50,000 Californians died from exposure to wildfire smoke over a little more than a decade. Smoke contains tiny particles, small enough to enter the bloodstream when inhaled, that can raise the risk of dying from heart or lung disease. For the study, researchers modeled particulate pollution from wildfires across California from 2008 to 2018. They then compared their model with local mortality numbers to infer the number of deaths from…

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‘If the land is sick, so are we’: Australian First Nations spirituality explained

‘If the land is sick, so are we’: Australian First Nations spirituality explained

By Joshua Waters, Deakin University First Nations peoples have been present on the Australian continent for more than 65,000 years. During this time, they have managed to develop and maintain continuous, unbroken connections with the land, water and sky. Understanding the deep interrelatedness between humans and their (human and nonhuman) kin and ancestors instilled a sense of responsibility, through custodianship of their environment. The aim of this was to survive, and to promote a sense of ecological and cosmological balance….

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Warm water is sneaking underneath the Thwaites Glacier — and rapidly melting it

Warm water is sneaking underneath the Thwaites Glacier — and rapidly melting it

Science News reports: In Antarctica, the warm ocean is stealthily attacking a major glacier through a previously unknown route — undermining its foundation on a daily basis. As each rising tide lifts the coastal terminus of the southern continent’s Thwaites Glacier a tiny bit off the seafloor, warm salty water squeezes in underneath, satellite measurements reveal. This inrush of seawater forces its way many kilometers inland as it melts the ice from beneath. The melt water and seawater are then…

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