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Monday, Apr 21st

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UN science report: Warming worsens security woes

warming globeIn an authoritative report due out Monday a United Nations climate panel for the first time is connecting hotter global temperatures to hotter global tempers. Top scientists are saying that climate change will complicate and worsen existing global security problems, such as civil wars, strife between nations and refugees.

They're not saying it will cause violence, but will be an added factor making things even more dangerous. Fights over resources, like water and energy, hunger and extreme weather will all go into the mix to destabilize the world a bit more, says the report by the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The summary of the report is being finalized this weekend by the panel in Yokohama.

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Pa. court loosens limits on anti-fracking activist's movements

Vera ScrogginsA Pennsylvania judge on Friday loosened a court injunction restricting the movements of Vera Scroggins, who was banned from setting foot on property owned by or leased to Cabot Oil & Gas Co. in Susquehanna County — and therefore unable to shop at her favorite grocery store, go to the nearby hospital, or visit some of her friends.

Scroggins has been lauded by environmentalists — and has become notorious among oil and gas operators — after years of giving fellow activists, local residents and even celebrities tours of local hydraulic fracturing operations.

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White House unveils methane-cutting plan

Obama to cut methane emissionsThe White House said on Friday it will take a hard look at whether new regulations are needed to cut emissions of methane from the oil and gas industry, part of President Barack Obama's plan to address climate change.

Regulators will start by proposing new rules later this year to reduce venting and flaring from oil and gas wells on public lands, one way to begin slashing emissions of the potent greenhouse gas, said Dan Utech, Obama's top energy and climate aide.

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Methane emissions expected to soar as Earth warms

methaneCarbon dioxide is the gas most discussed in relation to manmade climate change. But there are other gases responsible for the greenhouse effect that climate scientists blame for global warming.

Scientists say the presence of one of those gases, methane, can be expected to rise rapidly, should the planet continue to warm. That's bad news, since methane -- already the third most abundant greenhouse gas -- has roughly 30 times the heat-trapping potency of CO2.

Scientists have known for some time that methane is a byproduct of biological activity in the world's freshwater ecosystems. Microorganisms in freshwater lakes, rivers, ponds, and streams produce methane as they digest organic materials.

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Oxfam report: Climate change could prolong world hunger for decades

world hungerA typhoon hits the Philippines, decimating the fishing industry. Drought in Brazil’s breadbasket region ruins the coffee harvest and market prices double. Changing rainfall patterns cause the loss of 80 percent of Guatemala’s corn harvest; the smaller harvest means fewer jobs, higher unemployment. California -- the largest producer of fruits, vegetables, and nuts in the U.S. -- is hit by the worst drought in 100 years, decreasing crop yields, increasing market prices, and putting pressure on farmers.

This is not the imagined paucity climate change may bring, rather, this is happening now, according to Oxfam.

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Mountaintops, communities permanently altered in West Virginia

mountaintop miningEvery day around 4 p.m. near Rock Creek the ground rumbles.

The thunder comes with the shift change at the coal mines. It’s the sound of surface mining, as hundreds of acres of mountain summits are pulverized and decapitated to extract coal close to the surface.

It’s the reverberation of the pressure to keep energy prices low, Rock Creek resident Junior Walk said.  “That’s definitely felt by West Virginians every day at 4 p.m. when they set off their blasts.” Every day but Sunday, that is.

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Environment Climate change Global warming to hit Asia hardest, warns new report on climate change

global warmingPeople in coastal regions of Asia, particularly those living in cities, could face some of the worst effects of global warming, climate experts will warn this week. Hundreds of millions of people are likely to lose their homes as flooding, famine and rising sea levels sweep the region, one of the most vulnerable on Earth to the impact of global warming, the UN states.

The report – Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability – makes it clear that for the first half of this century countries such as the UK will avoid the worst impacts of climate change, triggered by rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. By contrast, people living in developing countries in low latitudes, particularly those along the coast of Asia, will suffer the most, especially those living in crowded cities.

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