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Western Antarctic ice sheet collapse has already begun, scientists warn

antarctic ice sheet The collapse of the western Antarctic ice sheet is inevitable and is already underway, scientists said on Monday.

The melt will cause up to four metres (13 feet) of additional sea-level rise over the coming centuries, devastating low-lying and coastal areas around the world – from Bangladesh to New Jersey – that are already expected to be swamped by only a few feet of sea-level rise.

But the researchers said the sea-level rise – while unstoppable – was still several centuries off, potentially up to 1,000 years away.

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Fed Govt Failed To Inspect Higher Risk Oil Wells

oil well drillingThe government has failed to inspect thousands of oil and gas wells it considers potentially high risks for water contamination and other environmental damage, congressional investigators say.

The report, obtained by The Associated Press before its public release, highlights substantial gaps in oversight by the agency that manages oil and gas development on federal and Indian lands.

Investigators said weak control by the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management resulted from policies based on outdated science and from incomplete monitoring data.

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Pesticides to blame for honeybee colony collapse disorder, not mites

Honeybee disappearancesThough parasitic mites continue to infect and kill honeybees, a new study suggests they are not to blame for colony collapse disorder (CCD), the phenomenon blamed for rapidly depleting the world's honeybee population -- pesticides are.

Harvard researchers, working with beekeepers in Massachusetts, kept tabs on 18 bee colonies, six hives in three different locations -- from October 2012 to April 2013. Half the colonies were treated with a non-lethal dose of two neonicotinoid pesticides.

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Medical experts warn against high levels of radon and radium from fracking

fradking dangersA group of health professionals opposed to hydraulic fracturing penned a letter Wednesday to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, calling on him to take a closer look at radon levels in shale gas before allowing fracking in New York.

The letter, signed by nine people including a representative of the American Lung Association, urges Cuomo’s administration to first examine whether gas from the Marcellus Shale has elevated levels of radon before green-lighting fracking. The state should take a closer look at radiation issues related to shale-gas before proceeding, the letter signers content.

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Sentinel satellite spies speed-up of ice cap melting

ice cap speedupMelting at one of the largest ice caps on Earth has produced a big jump in its flow speed, satellite imagery suggests.

Austfonna on Norway's Svalbard archipelago covers just over 8,000 sq km and had been relatively stable for many years.  But the latest space data reveals a marked acceleration of the ice in its main outlet glacier to the Barents Sea.

The research was presented in Brussels on Thursday to mark the launch of the EU's new Sentinel-1a radar spacecraft.

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New report: Climate change has 'moved firmly into the present' and nation needs to adapt

Cllimate change is hereSaying that climate change has “moved firmly into the present,” a federal scientific panel Tuesday released a report cataloging the impacts of such changes, saying some would actually be beneficial “but many more are detrimental.”

The American Southeast and Caribbean regional is “exceptionally vulnerable” to rising sea levels, extreme heat events, hurricane and decreased water resources, the report said. Seven major ports in the region are vulnerable. And residents can expect a significant increase in the number of hot days – defined as 95 degrees or above – as well as decreases in freezing events.

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Oklahoma earthquakes tied to oil, gas work

Oklahoma earthquakesThe U.S. and Oklahoma Geological Surveys said an increase in earthquakes in the state may be attributed to heightened oil and gas activity.

USGS said it examined the rate of increase in earthquakes in Oklahoma and found they weren't due to random fluctuations in seismic activity in that state.

The joint study found injecting wastewater underground can lead to pressure increases that may contribute to earthquakes.

"Much of this wastewater is a byproduct of oil and gas production and is routinely disposed of by injection into wells specifically designed and approved for this purpose," USGS said.

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