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Monday, Dec 22nd

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U.S. Supreme Court rejects BP challenge to Gulf spill settlement

BP challengeThe U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected BP's challenge to its multibillion-dollar settlement agreement over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, which the oil giant complained has allowed payouts to some businesses that are unable to trace their losses to the disaster.

The court's decision not to hear the London-based company's appeal is the latest setback for BP, which is trying to limit payments over a disaster that killed 11 people and triggered the largest U.S. offshore oil spill.

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California's drought worst in 1,200 years

california California's soil is extremely parched. Its ground is cracking, its rivers and lakes are low, it valleys are shrinking, and its mountains are rising. The state's drought has persisted for nearly two years. Now, researchers say the severity of the situation is unprecedented in modern times -- the worst drought in 1,200 years.

In a recent study, researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the University of Minnesota compared California's current condition to precipitation data ascertained from the tree rings of blue oak trunks.

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California Becomes the First State to Ban Wildlife Killing Contests

California bans wildlife killing contestsIn a historic victory for wildlife, this week California became the first state in the nation to officially ban barbaric wildlife killing contests for good in a move that wildlife advocates are hopeful will set a precedent for other states to follow.

According to Project Coyote, more contests than we care to know about continue to take place under the radar because state wildlife agencies don’t monitor them, but they’ve been making headlines recently and a growing number of people have been speaking out against them. Thankfully wildlife officials and land managers are listening to the calls from wildlife advocates and are taking the problems with these unjustified events seriously.

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Big-Picture Study Of Fracking Operations Suggests Even Small Chemical Exposures Pose Risks

fracking risksApril Lane's work often brings her to Fayetteville, Arkansas, where she monitors pollution from natural gas production sites around the area's rich shale reserves. Exposure to toxins, she says, have left her with chronic headaches, nausea and a hesitancy to have more children.

"I've decided having another baby is probably not going to happen for me. I'm too scared of what the health effects might be," said Lane, 28, of Little Rock, a mother of one and an environmental health advocate who has led citizen groups in tracking threats from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, operations.

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These 6 Countries Produce Nearly 60 Percent Of Global Carbon Dioxide Emissions

carbon dioxide emissionSix countries produce nearly 60 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. China and the United States combine for more than two-fifths. The planet's future will be shaped by what these top carbon polluters do about the heat-trapping gases blamed for global warming.

How they rank, what they're doing:  CHINA:

t emits nearly twice the amount of greenhouse gases as the United States, which it surpassed in 2006 as the top emitter of carbon dioxide. China accounts for about 30 percent of global emissions. U.S. government estimates show China doubling its emissions by 2040, barring major changes. Hugely reliant on fossil fuels for electricity and steel production, China until recently was reluctant to set firm targets for emissions, which continue to rise, although at a slower rate.

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To Avert Climate Chaos, Meat Consumption Must Drop: Study

meat consumptionThere is an "awareness gap" amongst the global public of the link between eating meat and climate change, and that presents a real obstacle to keeping global warming under the 2-degree threshold, a new study finds.

From the London-based policy institute Chatham House, Livestock – Climate Change’s Forgotten Sector: Global Public Opinion on Meat and Dairy Consumption explores how the livestock sector's contribution to climate change—14.5 per cent of total global greenhouse gas emissions—is failing to get the attention it warrants.

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The Fracking Boom Could End Way Sooner Than Obama Thinks

Fracking boom could endPresident Obama is fond of touting America's vast trove of natural gas—and the energy (read: economic growth) it can provide—as a reason to support fracking. "Our 100-year supply of natural gas is a big factor in drawing jobs back to our shores," he told a gathering at Northwestern University in October.

You can hear that same optimism about US natural gas production from Democrats, Republicans, and of course, the industry itself. The conviction that America can fuel its economy by churning out massive amounts of natural gas for decades has become a core assumption of national energy policy. But what if it's wrong?

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