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Study: Bubble plumes of methane escaping warming ocean

methane bubble fumesThe most infamous and abundant greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide. But though less prolific, methane actually packs a meaner climate-warming punch.

To the dismay of climate scientists (and anyone concerned by global warming), there appears to a new and growing source of methane -- the deep sea.

In analyzing instances of bubble plumes, columns of rising methane gas bubbles, researchers found a growing number have been measured at a transition zone. The transition zone, beginning a third of a mile below the surface, is significant to stability of methane hydrates -- an area where warming water temperatures could encourage sublimation.


Brazil pledges absolute carbon emissions reduction of 37 percent

Brazil pledgeds carbon emissions reductionBrazil has pledged a 37 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2025, making the South American country the first major developing nation to pledge an absolute emissions reduction.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff made the announcement on Sunday at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit. She also announced an "intended reduction" of 43 percent by 2030.


Giant Viruses Are Hiding in Permafrost, But Not for Long

Giant viruses in permafrostIf you’re a germophobe, you won’t find comfort even in bleak Siberian expanses. Scientists have made another massive discovery of ancient (and giant) viruses hidden dormant in the permafrost. As the planet warms, finding these things—and waking them—is going to become more commonplace.

That’s significant, especially when you understand the gravity of the findings for experts involved in the ongoing research.


Drinking water systems imperiled by failing infrastructure

Drinking water in dangerDeep inside a 70-year-old water-treatment plant, drinking water for Iowa's capital city is cleansed of harmful nitrates that come from the state's famously rich farmland.

Without Des Moines Water Works, the central Iowa region of 500,000 people that it serves wouldn't have a thriving economy. But after decades of ceaseless service, the utility is confronting an array of problems: Water mains are cracking open hundreds of times every year. Rivers that provide its source water are increasingly polluted. And the city doesn't know how it will afford a $150 million treatment plant at a time when revenues are down and maintenance costs are up.


The pope at White House: Climate change action can't wait

Pope Francis at White HouseJumping into the issues of the day, Pope Francis opened his visit to the United States with a strong call Wednesday for action to combat climate change, calling it a problem that "can no longer be left to a future generation." President Barack Obama, in turn, hailed the pontiff as a moral force who is "shaking us out of our complacency" with reminders to care for the poor and the planet.

The White House mustered all the pageantry it had to offer as the pope arrived at the White House before an adoring crowd of thousands and a nation that seemingly cannot get enough of the humble pontiff who is rejuvenating American Catholicism while giving heartburn to some of its conservatives.


In clash with pope's climate call, U.S. Church leases drilling rights

Catholic church sells drilling rightsCasting the fight against climate change as an urgent moral duty, Pope Francis in June urged the world to phase out highly-polluting fossil fuels.

Yet in the heart of U.S. oil country several dioceses and other Catholic institutions are leasing out drilling rights to oil and gas companies to bolster their finances, Reuters has found.

And in one archdiocese -- Oklahoma City -- Church officials have signed three new oil and gas leases since Francis's missive on the environment, leasing documents show.


Explosive wildfire threatens California mountain towns as blaze intensifies

Explosive wildfires in CaliforniaA mountain town is standing by to evacuate on Saturday and residents across a huge swath of northern California have been warned of “explosive fire conditions” as a fierce wildfire across more than 100 square miles suddenly intensified.

California governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency for the counties experiencing the inferno, as it approaches the town of San Andreas, about 60 miles south-east of Sacramento in the Sierra Nevada region.


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