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The North Pole just surged above freezing in the dead of winter, stunning scientists

N Pole goies above freezing for first time

The sun won’t rise at the North Pole until March 21, and it’s close to the coldest time of year, but an extraordinary and possibly historic thaw swelled over the tip of the planet this weekend. Analyses show that the temperature warmed to the melting point as an enormous storm pumped an intense pulse of heat through the Greenland Sea.

Temperatures may have soared as high as 2 C at the pole, according to the U.S. Global Forecast System model. While there are no direct measurements of temperature there, Zack Labe, a climate scientist working on his PhD at the University of California at Irvine, confirmed that several independent analyses showed “it was very close to freezing,” which is more than 30 C above normal.

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U.S. Supreme Court rejects challenge to EPA water regulation

Riverkeepers defeated in SC challengeThe U.S. Supreme Court on Monday turned away a challenge led by states and environmental groups to an Environmental Protection Agency regulation that lets government agencies transfer water between different bodies, such as rivers and lakes, without needing to protect against pollution.

The nine justices left in place a lower court ruling upholding the EPA’s “water transfers rule,” issued in 2008 by Republican former President George W. Bush’s administration, that exempted such transfers from a national water discharge program aimed at curbing pollution.

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Saudi-led coalition killed 68 children in Yemen: UN

Yemeni children being killedThe Saudi-led coalition that is fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen is responsible for the deaths of scores of children since last summer, a United Nations report says.

Al Jazeera obtained excerpts from the confidential report by the UN Office on Children and Armed Conflict, which was sent to the UN Security Council on January 19.

According to the excerpts, the Saudi-led coalition killed 68 children and wounded 36 others from July to September 2017.

The report found there were at least 20 coalition raids every day - some targeting schools and homes.

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EPA Reverses Decades-Old ‘Forever’ Air-Pollution Policy

EPA regulation on air quality reversedThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Thursday it was withdrawing a provision of the Clean Air Act that requires a major source of pollution like a power plant to always be treated as a major source, even if it makes changes to reduce emissions.

The decision to withdraw the “once-in always-in” policy is part of President Donald Trump’s effort to roll back federal regulations and was sought by utilities, the petroleum industry and others.

Sources of air pollution previously classified as “major sources” may be reclassified as “area” sources when the facility limits its emissions below “major source” thresholds, the EPA said. Area sources are subject to less strict pollution control standards than major sources.

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Fossil fuel companies are the real abusers of the welfare system

Fossil fuel companies are the real abusers of welfareIt is time we shift the cost of climate disasters away from the American taxpayer and to the industry that is largely responsible for the damage. That means putting a price on carbon instead of subsidizing their dangerous pollution.

Storms in 2017 cost American taxpayers more than $300 billion, more than any year on record. That’s enough money to feed every food insecure household in the United States — all 17.6 million of them — for an entire year and still have money left over to provide free healthcare to 9 million low-income children for the next 30 years.

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2017 was among the planet’s hottest years on record, government scientists report

2017 among hottest years on record

2017 was among the hottest years ever recorded, government scientists reported Thursday.

The year was the second-hottest in recorded history, NASA said, while scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported 2017 was the third-warmest they’ve ever recorded.

The two government agencies use different methodologies to calculate global temperatures, but by either standard, the 2017 results make the past four years the hottest period in their 138-year archive.

2017 achieved a temperature of 1.51 degrees Fahrenheit (0.84 degrees Celsius), above the average temperature seen in the 20th century, according to NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.

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Trump administration plans to allow drilling off all U.S. waters

Trump moves to vastly increase offshore drillingThe Trump administration unveiled a controversial plan Thursday to permit drilling in all U.S. waters, including protected areas of the Arctic and the Atlantic, where oil and gas exploration is opposed by governors from New Jersey to Florida, nearly a dozen attorneys general, more than 100 U.S. lawmakers and the Defense Department.

More than 3 billion barrels of oil is recoverable on the outer continental shelf, along with more than 30 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, according to the Interior Department, which announced the plan. States stand to gain royalties from extraction of these natural resources, and drilling could create hundreds of jobs.

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