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Monday, Dec 05th

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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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Rusted, Broken Containment Systems in Indian Point Discharge Canal: NY State Officials

Indian Point nuclear plantThe Department of Environmental Conservation and the Department of Public Service have been directed to conduct a comprehensive review of Friday’s oil spill event at the Indian Point Energy Center as part of the state's ongoing investigation into the operational reliability and safety of the nuclear power plant.

About 600 gallons of petroleum leaked from a heat exchanger into a cooling water discharge canal inside the plant on Friday.

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Hurricane Matthew: Death toll soars in Haiti

Haity deaths at 450The number of people killed in Haiti by Hurricane Matthew has risen sharply, as coastal villages and towns began making contact with the outside world, two days after being hit by the fiercest Caribbean storm in nearly a decade.

A Reuters news agency tally of deaths reported by civil protection officials at a local level on Friday showed the storm killed at least 572, updating an earlier figure of 478.

Bodies started to appear late on Thursday as waters receded in some places after Matthew's 235 kilometres-per-hour winds smashed concrete walls, flattened palm trees and tore roofs off homes, forcing thousands of Haitians to flee.

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Tree growth slows as cities heat up

Tree growth slowd by city heatThere's evidence that global warming is having a "greening" effect on large portions of the planet. And some scientists have suggested an uptick in carbon will encourage photosynthesis -- for better or worse. But that's not case in cities, new research shows.

When scientists at North Carolina State University tracked tree growth throughout the city of Raleigh, they found urban warming curbs both tree growth and photosynthesis. They also found pests, including scale insects and spider mites, were more abundant among trees at warmer sites.

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