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Monday, Aug 31st

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Volcano warning near nuclear plant raising concerns in Japan

Volcano warning near FukushimaJust under a week after the first nuclear power plant re-opened in Japan, critics are voicing conerns about safety. Oh, and there's a volcano.

After the Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011, all of Japan's nuclear reactors were shut down. To reopen, plants must pass new safety requirement. Plants must have an upgrade plan, an engineering work plan and receive pre-service inspections. These upgrade plans must include disaster preparedness — one plant in Hamaoka built a 70-foot-high, mile-long tsunami seawall in December in order to comply with the new regulations.

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A decade after Katrina, are America's flood estimates dangerously wrong?

Ten years after KatrinaIn the Mississippi River town of Hannibal, Missouri, time apparently flies.

In 2013, Hannibal had a 50-year flood, a high-water event only expected once every 50 years. In 2014, it had another 50-year flood. Somehow, the river has reached its 10-year flood stage in Hannibal—which should happen about once a decade—in seven of the last eight years. And if the years seem to be passing with unusual speed, so do the centuries. Hannibal had a 200-year flood in 2008, considerably less than 200 years after an even larger deluge in 1993.

Evidence is mounting that Hannibal’s statistical anomalies have been caused not by glitches in the space-time continuum, but by a combination of floods getting worse and government estimates of flood risks being wrong.

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Islamic call on rich countries to end fossil fuel use

Carbon emissions IndonesiaIslamic environmental and religious leaders have called on rich countries and oil producing nations to end fossil fuel use by 2050.

The Islamic Climate Declaration says that the world's 1.6bn Muslims have a religious duty to fight climate change.  It urges politicians to agree a new treaty to limit global warming to 2C, "or preferably 1.5 degrees."

The Declaration asks Muslims, in the words of the Koran, "not to strut arrogantly on the Earth".

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Hillary Clinton breaks with Obama on Arctic drilling

Hillary ClintonHillary Clinton distanced herself Tuesday from President Barack Obama’s decision to approve offshore drilling in the Arctic — a move that quickly drew attacks from the GOP but may shore up her support among skeptical environmentalists.

“The Arctic is a unique treasure,” the Democratic front-runner wrote on Twitter. “Given what we know, it’s not worth the risk.”

The message was signed “H.,” indicating Clinton’s personal endorsement.

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New EPA Rules Will Aim To Cut Methane Emissions By 40 Percent

EPA rules limit methanehe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will propose regulations on Tuesday aimed at cutting methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40 to 45 percent over the next decade from 2012 levels, a source familiar with the issue said on Monday.

The regulations on methane are one part of the Obama administration's strategy to curb greenhouse gases and combat climate change.

The targets in Tuesday's proposal are in line with a January announcement by the Obama administration that it wanted to reduce oil and gas industry methane emissions by up to 45 percent from 2012 levels by 2025, the source said.

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How Dick Cheney Kicked off an Era of Cancer Clusters and Eco-Disasters from Fracking

Dick cheneyThis past Saturday, marked a notable 10th anniversary. But it was certainly nothing to celebrate. Ten years ago, President George W. Bush signed the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The giant energy bill included massive giveaways for the fossil fuel, nuclear and ethanol industries and provided only token incentives for renewables and improved energy efficiency.

But the most infamous piece of the law was what is now commonly known as the “Halliburton Loophole,” an egregious regulatory exemption that ushered in the disastrous era of widespread oil and gas fracking that currently grips our nation.

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Feds allow Shell to drill for oil in Arctic Ocean off Alaska

Shell Allowed to Drill off AlaskaThe federal government on Monday gave Royal Dutch Shell the final permit it needs to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean off Alaska’s northwest coast for the first time in more than two decades.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement announced that it approved the permit to drill below the ocean floor after the oil giant brought in a required piece of equipment to stop a possible well blowout.

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