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Earth's climate notches record carbon dioxide benchmark

CO2 levels at all time highA new atmospheric record was recently broken, but don't pull out the champagne. Looking for property along higher latitude lines might be a wiser idea, as scientists say carbon dioxide levels in Earth's atmosphere have reached levels higher than ever before.

Instruments measuring atmospheric CO2 at Hawaii's Mauna Loa observatory recently calculated the presence of the colorless, odorless gas blamed for global warming at over 401 parts per million. Ralph Keeling from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego confirmed that readings in Southern California touched 401.6, the new record.

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Hiland Crude Pipeline Spills Oil Near Alexander, ND

hiland crudeCleanup workers have contained about 34,000 gallons of crude that spewed from a broken oil pipeline in northwestern North Dakota, a state health official said Friday.

North Dakota Water Quality Director Dennis Fewless said the breach occurred Thursday morning on Hiland Crude LLC's pipeline about 6 miles northeast of Alexander. A gasket on the above-ground pipeline appears to have failed near a compressor station, spewing about 800 barrels of crude, Fewless said. A barrel holds 42 gallons.

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North Carolina to withdraw Duke Energy settlement over coal ash spill

Duke Energy spillNorth Carolina regulators say they have asked a judge to withdraw a proposed settlement that would have allowed Duke Energy to resolve environmental violations by paying a $99,000 fine with no requirement that the $50bn company clean up its pollution.

The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources said in a statement on Friday that it would scuttle the proposed consent order to settle violations for groundwater contamination leeching from coal ash dumps near Charlotte and Asheville.

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While the seas rise in the Outer Banks and elsewhere in NC, science treads water

sea level risingThere’s not much dispute these days, up and down the coast, about whether the ocean is rising. The question is: How high will it go here, and how fast?

North Carolinians must wait until 2016 for an official answer. That’s the law.

After promoters of coastal development attacked a science panel’s prediction that the sea would rise 39 inches higher in North Carolina by the end of this century, the General Assembly passed a law in 2012 to put a four-year moratorium on any state rules, plans or policies based on expected changes in the sea level. The law sets guidelines under which the Coastal Resources Commission, a development policy board for the 20 coastal counties, will formulate a new sea-level prediction to serve as the official basis for state planners and regulators.

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Was the Los Angeles Earthquake Caused by Fracking Techniques?

la earthquakeWas the 4.4-magnitude earthquake that rattled Los Angeles on Monday morning caused by fracking methods? It's hard to say, but what's clear from the above map, made by Kyle Ferrar of the FracTracker Alliance, is that the quake's epicenter was just eight miles from a disposal well where oil and gas wastewater is being injected underground at high pressure.

Don Drysdale, spokesman for the state agency that oversees California Geological Survey, told me that state seismologists don't think that the injection well was close enough to make a difference (and the agency has also raised the possibility that Monday's quake could have been a foreshock for a larger one). But environmental groups aren't so sure.

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Key climate-change measurement imperiled

Keeing curveOne of the planet's top dipsticks is in trouble.

The "Keeling curve," the most famous measurement of the world's rising levels of carbon dioxide for the past six decades, is in jeopardy from funding shortfalls.

The Keeling curve, run by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, is the longest continuous record of carbon dioxide measurements on the planet. The measurements were begun in 1958 by Scripps climate scientist Charles David Keeling and are taken near the top of Mauna Loa on the Big Island of Hawaii.

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Climate change is putting world at risk of irreversible changes, scientists warn

climate changeThe world is at growing risk of “abrupt, unpredictable and potentially irreversible changes” because of a warming climate, America’s premier scientific society warned on Tuesday.

In a rare intervention into a policy debate, the American Association for the Advancement of Science urged Americans to act swiftly to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – and lower the risks of leaving a climate catastrophe for future generations.

“As scientists, it is not our role to tell people what they should do,” the AAAS said in a new report, What we know.

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