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This Year Is Headed for the Hottest on Record, by a Long Shot

2015 hottest year on recordWe broke the record. Again.

Last month was the hottest May on record, and the past five months were the warmest start to a year on record, according to new data released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It's a continuation of trends that made 2014 the most blistering year for the surface of the planet, in records going back to 1880.

The animation below shows the Earth’s warming climate, recorded in monthly measurements from land and sea over more than 135 years. Temperatures are displayed in degrees above or below the 20th-century average. Thirteen of the 14 hottest years are in the 21st century, and 2015 is on track to break the heat record again. It isn't even close.

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US Catholics ready to follow Pope's 'marching orders' on climate change

US Catholics ready to follow pope on climate changeLeaders of the Catholic church in America took their “marching orders” from the pope’s encyclical on Thursday, fanning out to Congress and the White House to push for action on climate change.

The high-level meetings offered a first glimpse of a vast and highly organised effort by the leadership of America’s nearly 80 million Catholics to turn the pope’s moral call for action into reality.

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Pope Francis sends out strong climate change warning, urges environmental policy

Pope FrancisPope Francis has released his encyclical on climate change, urging for worldwide environmental policy and warning that humans threaten the planet.

Climate change "represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day. Its worst impact will probably be felt by developing countries in coming decades," the Pope wrote.

Francis has called for renewable fuel subsidies and "maximum energy efficiency." He urges the use of public transportation, carpooling and recycling.

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One-Third Of The World's Largest Groundwater Sources Are In Serious Trouble: Study

groundwater in troubleThe earth's biggest groundwater basins are being depleted far more quickly than previously believed, according to two new studies by the University of California, Irvine (UCI).

The studies used data from NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites gathered between 2003 and 2013 to examine the 37 largest aquifers on the planet. Twenty-one of those aquifers have exceeded their sustainability "tipping points," meaning they lose more water every year than is being naturally replenished through processes like rainfall or snow melt, said Jay Famiglietti, senior water scientist at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and principal investigator in the two studies.

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U.S. House mulls arctic drilling

House considers Arctic drilllingDrilling offshore, particularly in arctic regions offshore Alaska, won't do much to wean the United States off foreign oil, a U.S. House committee heard.

A House subcommittee on energy resources held an oversight hearing on reserves thought to be in arctic waters and how they could potentially impact U.S. leverage overseas. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said in early June that moving more domestic oil to the global market could "strengthen the strategic hand of the United States."

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Pope draft encyclical calls for swift action on climate change

Pope FrancisThe world could see the destruction of entire ecosystems this century without urgent action on climate change, Pope Francis says in a draft of his keenly awaited encyclical on the environment.

In the Italian version of the 192-page document, posted on Monday by the weekly magazine l'Espresso, the pope again backs scientists who say global warming is mostly man-made and that developed countries have a particular responsibility to stem a trend that will hurt the poor the most.

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Fast-growing Alaska wildfires force evacuations

Alaskan wildfiresFire crews are battling two serious wildfires in Alaska that are threatening hundreds of residences and have forced numerous evacuations.

The most recent fire erupted Monday and burned six structures and prompted hundreds of residents to flee homes on the Kenai Peninsula, roughly 150 miles south of major wildfire that started a day earlier near Willow in the heart of the state's sled-dog community.

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