By now, you've probably heard that at least 90 percent of the Great Barrier Reef has been affected by a global bleaching event. But these "rocks" on the seabed play a key role for life in oceans - and for people, too.
After a few blistering months, the average temperature across the U.S. cooled down slightly in April in many parts of the country, with the month ending up as the 18th-warmest April on record. But the slight downward tick wasn’t enough to make a big dent in the long-term trend — for the year to date (January-April), it’s the second-warmest such period on record, according to the monthly state of the climate report from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. For April, the average temperature across the contiguous 48 states was 53.2 degrees, which is 2 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average. For the year-to-date, the average temperature across the lower 48 states was 43.1 degrees Fahrenheit, which is 4 degrees above the 20th century average.
The UK government says it will consider a unilateral ban on plastic microbeads in shower gels and facial scrubs if the EU doesn't prohibit their use. Several nations, including the US, have already banned microbeads in cosmetics because of their impact on marine life. The beads are used in products to exfoliate the skin - but they are swelling plastic debris in the ocean. Scientists say a ban on the tiny beads wouldn't solve plastic pollution, but it is an easy place to start.
Donna Diehl, a 55-year-old school bus driver from Kunkletown, Pennsylvania, a small historic town located on the edge of the Poconos, wanted to do three things this year: drive the bus, paint her bathroom and learn to crochet. Instead, Diehl, along with dozens of her neighbors, is spending her time trying to stop the largest food and beverage corporation in the world from taking her community’s water, putting it in bottles and selling it for a massive profit.
In 2014, in the USA alone, cars traveled an estimated 2,926 billion miles (4,740 billion kilometers) - not always safely. During that year, 32,675 people lost their lives in traffic accidents, and a much larger number were injured. This meant around $200 billion (175 billion euros) in insurance claims and another $670 billion of uncompensated losses in pain and suffering, lost work-time, damaged gear, emergency services costs and other economic losses, according to figures from the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. "That works out to about 29.6 cents per mile," said Brad Templeton, a Canadian expert on autonomous vehicles, who was in Berlin for the Singularity University Germany Summit. That's more than two and a half times what people spend on fuel per mile on average, given US gasoline prices of $2.14 a gallon.
MEXICO CITY — The monarch butterfly is now facing a potentially lethal threat to its over-wintering habitat in Mexico’s oyamel fir forests.
As if it weren’t enough for the migratory butterfly to contend with illegal logging in the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, it is also facing severe depletion of the milkweed, which is indispensable for its development from egg into butterfly, caused by ever-increasing use of herbicides on genetically engineered corn and soybean crops in the American corn belt.
People urging more aggressive action on climate change often use children in their rhetoric: “we need to leave a better planet for our children,” “we owe it to the next generation to act,” etc. Earlier this year, two dozen children went so far as to sue the U.S. government for failing to act. “This is an intergenerational issue,” said James Hansen, a former NASA scientist supporting the lawsuit. “Our actions will affect our grandchildren and their children.”
Over 1,000 old landfill sites on the coasts of England and Wales are at increasing risk of being breached by erosion, according to a new study, posing a serious pollution danger to wildlife and bathing waters.
Landfill sites before the mid-1990s had few or no restrictions about what rubbish could be dumped in them and little is known about what they contain. But many were on the coast and some were used to raise land levels and even as part of flood defences. Climate change is bringing higher sea levels and stronger storms, putting the old dumps at greater risk of being broken up.
So much about the planet’s future will depend on processes that humans today cannot directly observe — because they are occurring hundreds of meters below the sea surface where enormous marine glaciers, in Greenland and Antarctica, simultaneously touch the ocean and the seafloor.
The more we learn about this crucial yet inscrutable place, the more worrying it seems.
We know that ocean plastic can have a devastating impact on aquatic life such as seabirds, fish and whales. Now, researchers have found that 60 percent of post-hatchling loggerhead turtles stranded on southern Cape beaches in South Africa have been impacted by growing quantities of human-caused debris such as plastic fragments, packaging and fibers.
After fighting for more than two years to avoid paying almost $1 billion in oil spill damages to Gulf Coast shrimpers, oystermen and seafood processors it claimed didn’t exist, BP Plc has thrown in the towel.
“We have withdrawn our claims seeking an injunction against payments by the Seafood Program so the program can be concluded,” Geoff Morrell, a BP spokesman, said in an e-mail Tuesday. The company will keep pursuing fraud claims against lawyer Mikal Watts and his firm, Morrell said. Watts was indicted for allegedly making false claims in connection with the BP spill.
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