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Bolt cutters expose vulnerability of North America's oil pipeline grid

Bolt cutters used on pipelinesAll it took was a pair of bolt cutters and the elbow grease of a few climate activists to carry out an audacious act of sabotage on North America's massive oil and gas pipeline system.

For an industry increasingly reliant on gadgets such as digital sensors, infrared cameras and drones to monitor security and check for leaks, the sabotage illustrated how vulnerable pipelines are to low-tech attacks.

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6.8-magnitude earthquake hits Papua New Guinea, no tsunami warning

New Guinea quakeA 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck New Britain island off the coast of mainland Papua New Guinea Wednesday.

The Pacific island nation, north of Australia, is a common site for earthquakes. Wednesday's quake was not followed by a tsunami warning, and no reports of injuries or damage were immediately available. The earthquake was centered near the township of Rabaul, on the north side of the island.

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North Carolina’s floods could trigger an environmental disaster

NC potential environmental disasterHurricane Matthew swept across the southeastern seaboard of the United States this weekend, bringing intense rainfall to North Carolina and triggering record flooding across much of the state. But as the rains subside and clearer weather rolls in, some environmentalists are raising alarm bells about the potential for yet another environmental disaster.

Over the weekend, Hurricane Matthew — which had been downgraded to a tropical cyclone by Sunday — brought as much as 18 inches of rainfall to parts of North Carolina, causing rivers across the state to reach dangerously high levels. The record-breaking floods have already damaged thousands of homes and left thousands of residents stranded. The state also suffered the highest number of causalities in the U.S. from the storm— nearly half of the 23 people killed lived in North Carolina.

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Climate change has doubled western US forest fires

western forest fires increased by climate changeA new study says that human-induced climate change has doubled the area affected by forest fires in the U.S. West over the last 30 years. According to the study, since 1984 heightened temperatures and resulting aridity have caused fires to spread across an additional 16,000 square miles than they otherwise would have—an area larger than the states of Massachusetts and Connecticut combined.

The authors warn that further warming will increase fire exponentially in coming decades. The study appears today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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750,000 still without power in North Carolina after Hurricane Matthew

750,000 without power after MatthewMore than a thousand people had to be rescued from flooding in North Carolina as the state was hit harder by Hurricane Matthew than was expected.

Many areas of eastern North Carolina saw 15 inches of rain, two or three times what had been predicted. And as Matthew moved away from Cape Hatteras, and out into the Atlantic Ocean as a tropical storm, it left a massive amount of damage.

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Canada Sets the Trend on Climate

Canada climate change setterCanada is an unlikely model for climate-change policy. As things stand, it’s a long way from keeping the promise it made as part of the Paris agreement to sharply cut carbon emissions. But its government is now proposing to make this right -- and with an approach that deserves to be widely copied.

This week Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a national carbon tax, starting at C$10 ($8) a ton in 2018 and rising to C$50 by 2022. The plan isn’t perfect, but the basic idea is right.

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Horrors left by Hurricane Matthew become clear in Haiti

Haiti after MatthewThe full scale of the devastation in rural parts of storm-hit Haiti became clear as the death toll soared to nearly 900 three days after Hurricane Matthew levelled huge swaths of the country's south.

As Matthew threatened the US coast on Saturday, US President Barack Obama urged Americans to mobilise in support of Haiti, where a million people were in need of assistance after the latest disaster to strike the western hemisphere's poorest nation.

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