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Thursday, Oct 23rd

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Tuna, polar bear protections rejected

Delegates gathered in Doha, Qatar for a global conference aimed at protecting imperiled species rejected a proposal Thursday that would have banned international trade of Atlantic bluefin tuna, a coveted fish whose numbers have dropped steeply in recent decades.

The proposal, offered by Monaco and co-sponsored by the United States, failed by a margin of 20 in favor and 68 against, with 30 abstaining. The vote came just hours after the 175 countries assembled at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) rejected a U.S. proposal to limit the hunting of polar bears.

"This was a case of just plain ignoring the science for short-term economic gain," said Susan Lieberman, director of international policy at the Pew Environment Group, in an interview from Doha.

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IBM invents Earth-friendly plastic made from plants

IBM researchers on Tuesday said they have discovered a way to make Earth-friendly plastic from plants that could replace petroleum-based products tough on the environment.

The breakthrough promises biodegradable plastics made in a way that saves on energy, according to Chandrasekhar "Spike" Narayan, a manager of science and technology at IBM's Almaden Research Center in Northern California.

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Nobel Prize-Winning Scientists and Economists Call on Senate to Address Climate Change Now

Nobel Prize-winning economists and scientists will deliver a letter to the U.S. Senate today, urging lawmakers to require immediate cuts in global warming emissions. The letter was signed by more than 2,000 prominent U.S. economists and climate scientists, including eight Nobel laureates, 32 National Academy of Sciences members, 11 MacArthur "genius award" winners, and three National Medal of Science recipients.

"The nation's leading scientists and economists have joined together to tell policymakers we agree about the urgency of addressing climate change now," said James McCarthy, one of the letter's organizers and a biological oceanography professor at Harvard University. "The bad news is the science of climate change is indisputable. The good news is we can cost-effectively cut the emissions that are causing it."

McCarthy is a former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the chairman of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) board, and a leader of the Nobel Peace Prize winning U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

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Humans driving extinction faster than species can evolve, say experts

For the first time since the dinosaurs disappeared, humans are driving animals and plants to extinction faster than new species can evolve, one of the world's experts on biodiversity has warned.

Conservation experts have already signalled that the world is in the grip of the "sixth great extinction" of species, driven by the destruction of natural habitats, hunting, the spread of alien predators and disease, and climate change.

TVNL Comment: Humans have behaved like a deadly virus on this planet. We destroy everything and anything and we leave behind a planet that can not sustain life.

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16 Cities Sue Manufacturer Of Atrazine Weed-Killer For Contaminating Drinking Water

A coalition of communities in six Midwestern states filed a federal lawsuit Monday seeking to force the manufacturer of a widely-used herbicide to pay for its removal from drinking water.

Atrazine, a weed-killer sprayed primarily on cornfields, can run off into rivers and streams that supply municipal water systems. As the Huffington Post Investigative Fund reported in a  series of  articles last  fall, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency failed to notify the public that atrazine had been found at levels above the federal safety limit in drinking water in at least four states.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois by 16 cities in Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, and Iowa.  The communities allege that Swiss corporation Syngenta AG and its Delaware counterpart Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc. reaped billions of dollars from the sale of atrazine while local taxpayers were left with the financial burden of filtering the chemical from drinking water.

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Mystery problem again hits bee colonies

A mysterious problem that causes bee colonies to decline is once again taking its toll on the state's beekeepers. The problem known as colony collapse disorder is characterized by a sudden drop in a bee colony's population and the inexplicable absence of dead bees.

The disorder has no known cure and appears to be cyclical. After several mild years, it has resurfaced with a vengeance, said Eric Mussen, apiculturist with the University of California at Davis. "It never went away, but this year a substantial number of beekeepers got walloped again," said Mussen, the state's leading bee expert. "And worse than they had been hit before."

Although Mussen said it is too early to tell exactly how many bees have been lost, a bee industry official said losses in the state vary from 30% to 80%.

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Growing low-oxygen zones in oceans worry scientists

Lower levels of oxygen in the Earth's oceans, particularly off the United States' Pacific Northwest coast, could be another sign of fundamental changes linked to global climate change, scientists say. They warn that the oceans' complex undersea ecosystems and fragile food chains could be disrupted.

In some spots off Washington state and Oregon, the almost complete absence of oxygen has left piles of Dungeness crab carcasses littering the ocean floor, killed off 25-year-old sea stars, crippled colonies of sea anemones and produced mats of potentially noxious bacteria that thrive in such conditions.

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