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Saturday, Feb 28th

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EU climate change chief: Obama has six months to take substantial action

EU Climate Change Commissioner Connie HedegaardBarack Obama has six months to deliver on the promises he made in a rousing speech at the United Nations climate change summit, Europe’s climate action commissioner said.

Obama, in a well-received address on Tuesday, promised the United States would play a leading role in reaching an international agreement to fight climate change, due to be finalised in Paris at the end of next year.

Connie Hedegaard, who is responsible for ensuring the European Union meets its climate change obligations, told the Guardian that after the president’s speech raised expectations, other countries, especially the rising economies of China, India and Brazil, will be looking closely at what the US has to offer in six months.

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How a 3-Minute Film Is Making a Long-Term Difference on Climate Change

climate conferenceThis is the story of how a three-minute film watched by over 120 world leaders at the United Nations this morning was produced by a newly empty nested mother of three who had never produced a minute of film before.

It began 26 years ago when my friend, Cindy Horn, and I were pregnant with our first born and concerned about what the scientific community was telling us about the man-made threat to the planet that was soon to welcome our innocent babies.

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Rockefellers, Heirs to an Oil Fortune, Will Divest Charity of Fossil Fuels

Rockefeller brother's fundThe family whose legendary wealth flowed from Standard Oil is planning to announce on Monday that its $860 million philanthropic organization, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, is joining the divestment movement that began a couple years ago on college campuses.

The announcement, timed to precede Tuesday’s opening of the United Nations climate change summit meeting in New York City, is part of a broader and accelerating initiative.

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Fracking may put drinking water supply at risk for many countries, study finds

rfacking dangersA new study by the World Resources Institute finds that many places with water scarcity are using too much of their resources on fracking. "Eight of the top 20 countries with the largest shale gas resources face arid conditions or high to extremely high baseline water stress where the shale resources are located; this includes China, Algeria, Mexico, South Africa, Libya, Pakistan, Egypt, and India," the study states.

The United States is also at risk, according to the study, since many of the places inside the United States that are good for fracking are going through a drought or generally have low water supply.

To drill a fracking well takes 5 million gallons of water, on average. States like Texas have a strong fracking industry, but lack of water supplies has forced frackers to import water from elsewhere to continue their business.

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Record rainfall swamps Phoenix

Record rainfall swamps PhoenixTorrential rain from the remnants of a Pacific Ocean hurricane swamped the Desert Southwest Monday, with Phoenix and Tucson seeing some of the worst flooding.

In Phoenix, the rain turned freeways into lakes and forced the closure of highways, streets and schools throughout the region.  In Tucson, one woman died after her car was swept away by heavy floods and became trapped against a bridge.

Monday was the rainiest single day in the history of Phoenix, where weather records go back to 1895.

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The Disaster That No One Is Talking About

Maryland sinkingThree millimeters, about one-eighth of an inch, may not sound like much. But when it’s the height water is steadily rising outside your doorstep every year, it may as well be three feet if it’s anything at all.

On the eastern shores of Maryland, ocean levels are climbing by at least this much — nearly two times the global historic average, according to the state’s Department of Natural Resources — and those waters are pushing several small fishing communities to the brink of extinction. Photographer Greg Kahn set out to capture what it’s like for these sinking towns in his new series “3 Millimeters.”

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Global warming is already here and could be irreversible, UN panel says

Global warming irreversibleGlobal warming is here, human-caused and probably already dangerous – and it’s increasingly likely that the heating trend could be irreversible, a draft of a new international science report says.

The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on Monday sent governments a final draft of its synthesis report, which combines three earlier, gigantic documents by the Nobel Prize-winning group. There is little in the report that wasn’t in the other more-detailed versions, but the language is more stark and the report attempts to connect the different scientific disciplines studying problems caused by the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and gas.

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