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Monday, Sep 01st

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The people of Miami know about climate change. We're living it

Miami climate changeClear skies above but water below, a woman on a moped navigates a flooded street corner on Miami Beach, an all-too-familiar sign for residents of this iconic peninsula where the ocean seems more likely than ever to swamp Ocean Drive one day.

If there's an image that starkly illustrates the threats of climate change, it's this photograph, which was included in the recent National Climate Assessment released by the White House. It is noteworthy because the flood is from exceptionally high spring tides – not heavy rains. Tidal flooding like that is relatively new. And scary. "People in Miami Beach are living climate change," said David Nolan, a meteorology and physical oceanography professor at the University of Miami. "They're on the frontline."

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President Obama’s big carbon crackdown readies for launch

Carbon crackdown

The EPA will launch the most dramatic anti-pollution regulation in a generation early next month, a sweeping crackdown on carbon that offers President Barack Obama his last real shot at a legacy on climate change — while causing significant political peril for red-state Democrats.

The move could produce a dramatic makeover of the power industry, shifting it away from coal-burning plants toward natural gas, solar and wind. While this is the big move environmentalists have been yearning for, it also has major political implications in November for a president already under fire for what the GOP is branding a job-killing “War on Coal,” and promises to be an election issue in energy-producing states such as West Virginia, Kentucky and Louisiana.

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Toxic fumes, health concerns remain after L.A. pipeline rupture

los angeles oil spillToxic fumes continued to hang in the air at an industrial area of Los Angeles Friday, a day after a pipeline run by a company with a checkered history of accidents ruptured and spilled at least 18,000 gallons of crude oil onto city streets.

“We can smell fumes, but we’re all in today for work,” said an employee at Plumbing and Industrial Supply, a business next door to The Gentleman’s Club, a strip joint that served as the epicenter to the spill and was showered in crude during the rupture in the early hours of Thursday morning.

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Big mammals vs. big oil: New pipeline puts humpback whales at risk

humpback whaleIn a deep fjord in British Columbia called the Douglas Channel, where the Kitimat River pours runs of Chinook salmon into the Pacific Ocean, fishermen see singing humpback whales fling themselves into the air.

These barnacled, 40-ton whales with long, ridged flippers were harpooned to the brink of extinction in the 1900s. Only through intense conservation efforts have they found safety in ancient migration routes. Mothers birth a single calf in tropical seas and fast for months as it nurses, before migrating thousands of miles up to the North Pacific. There, in enclaves like the Douglas Channel — a critical feeding ground — the whales nourish themselves on krill.

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Only a fraction of Ohio fracking wastes to undergo regulation

fracking wastesOhio annually processes thousands of tons of radioactive waste from hydraulic-fracturing, sending it through treatment facilities, injecting it into its old and unused gas wells and dumping it in landfills. Historically, the handling and disposal of that waste was barely regulated, with few requirements for how its potential contamination would be gauged, or how and where it could be transported and stored.

With the business of fracking waste only growing, legislators in 2013 had the chance to decide how best to monitor the state's vast amounts of toxic material, much of it being trucked into Ohio from neighboring states.

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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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