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Wednesday, Nov 26th

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Methane bubbles in Arctic seas stir warming fears

Large amounts of a powerful greenhouse gas are bubbling up from a long-frozen seabed north of Siberia, raising fears of far bigger leaks that could stoke global warming, scientists said.

It was unclear, however, if the Arctic emissions of methane gas were new or had been going on unnoticed for centuries -- since before the Industrial Revolution of the 18th century led to wide use of fossil fuels that are blamed for climate change.

The study said about 8 million tonnes of methane a year, equivalent to the annual total previously estimated from all of the world's oceans, were seeping from vast stores long trapped under permafrost below the seabed north of Russia.

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U.S. backs efforts to ban international trade of Atlantic bluefin tuna

The U.S. government announced Wednesday that it supports prohibiting international trade of Atlantic bluefin tuna, a move that could lead to the most sweeping trade restrictions ever imposed on the highly prized fish.

Sushi aficionados in Japan and elsewhere have consumed bluefin for decades, causing the fish's population to plummet. In less than two weeks, representatives from 175 countries will convene in Doha, Qatar, to determine whether to restrict the trade of bluefin tuna -- valued for its rich, buttery taste -- and an array of other imperiled species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

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Herbicide Chemical in Drinking Water Could Pose Much Greater Danger to Health Than Previously Thought

Contamination of drinking water by a common herbicide poses a greater health threat than previously believed, according to a report issued by the nonprofit environmental organization Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

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Rulings Restrict Clean Water Act, Foiling E.P.A.

Thousands of the nation’s largest water polluters are outside the Clean Water Act’s reach because the Supreme Court has left uncertain which waterways are protected by that law, according to interviews with regulators. As a result, some businesses are declaring that the law no longer applies to them. And pollution rates are rising.

Companies that have spilled oil, carcinogens and dangerous bacteria into lakes, rivers and other waters are not being prosecuted, according to Environmental Protection Agency regulators working on those cases, who estimate that more than 1,500 major pollution investigations have been discontinued or shelved in the last four years.

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Large Iceberg Breaks Off Antarctica's Mertz Glacier

A joint Australian-French study has discovered the calving of a large iceberg from the Mertz Glacier in the Australian Antarctic Territory. The iceberg -- 78 kilometres long with a surface area of roughly 2,500 square kilometres, about the size of Luxembourg -- broke off the Mertz Glacier after being rammed by another iceberg, 97 kilometres long.

The Mertz Glacier had a large crack in it for two decades. A second crack developed opposite the first in the early part of the 21st century. The collaboration studied whether these two cracks would eventually meet, and the processes that would lead to the calving of an iceberg.

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Whaling worsens carbon release, scientists warn

A century of whaling may have released more than 100 million tonnes - or a large forest's worth - of carbon into the atmosphere, scientists say. Whales store carbon within their huge bodies and when they are killed, much of this carbon can be released.

US scientists revealed their estimate of carbon released by whaling at the Ocean Sciences meeting in Portland, US. Dr Andrew Pershing from the University of Maine described whales as the "forests of the ocean". Dr Pershing and his colleagues from the Gulf of Maine Research Institute calculated the annual carbon-storing capacity of whales as they grew.

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Asia-produced ozone making its way to U.S., study finds

A new study further bolsters concerns that pollution blowing across the Pacific Ocean from China and other rapidly developing Asian nations may swamp efforts to clean up the air in the Western United States and make it difficult for states and cities to meet federal standards.

The study, based on 100,000 measurements over 25 years and a computer model tracking air-flow patterns, found that during the spring, ozone from Asia reaches Washington, Oregon, California and other states west of the Rocky Mountains.

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