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Wednesday, Dec 17th

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What New York can learn from North Dakota: the dark side of fracking

ND frackingAs children we are often taught basic life lessons about survival, such as not to make deals with strangers that involve getting in their cars or not to accept large amounts of money or gifts from a stranger without expecting they'll want something in return. Yet that's exactly the deal that proponents of fracking are putting forward: We'll give you unlimited energy, money and high paying jobs, they say, with no downside.

Tapping into concerns about climate change, energy companies are even encouraging the ridiculous notion of fracking as a solution to global warming and a bridge to cleaner energy. Day by day, though, we're learning that the upsides of fracking are far less than what producers advertise, and the downsides are numerous and often devastating.

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Communities find little success in resisting fracking infrastructure

Anti frackingAmy Nassif thought petitioning her Pennsylvania school board to vote against drilling near her two children’s school would be enough — but even without the board’s approval, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection approved the permits.

“I was completely shocked at the total disregard for the safety of the community,” she said. “They have active-shooter drills at the school, they have drug free zones, but we can’t protect our kids from this.”

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The Climate-Change Solution No One Will Talk About

Climate control solutionThe equation seems fairly simple: The more the world's population rises, the greater the strain on dwindling resources and the greater the impact on the environment.

The solution? Well, that's a little trickier to talk about.

Public-health discussions will regularly include mentions of voluntary family planning as a way to reduce unwanted pregnancies and births. But, said Jason Bremner of the Population Reference Bureau, those policies can also pay dividends for the environment.

"And yet the climate-change benefits of family planning have been largely absent from any climate-change or family-planning policy discussions," he said.

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Given Scant Information, Activists Struggle to Fight New Pipeline in Iowa

Iowa frackingApparently - supposedly - it caught everyone by surprise. Without any previous announcement or public consultation, Iowa media reported in July that a Texas company, Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) plans to build a $5 billion, 1,100-mile pipeline to go through 17 Iowa counties.

It would bring at least 320,000 barrels of crude per day from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa and to refineries in Illinois before it's finally shipped to the Gulf Coast, primarily for export.

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UN climate report offers stark warnings, hope

UN climate controlClimate change is happening, it's almost entirely man's fault and limiting its impacts may require reducing greenhouse gas emissions to zero this century, the U.N.'s panel on climate science said Sunday.

The fourth and final volume of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's giant climate assessment offered no surprises, nor was it expected to since it combined the findings of three reports released in the past 13 months.

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Chicago shoreline hit by 20ft waves

20 ft. waves hit Chicago shorelineWinds gusting up to 65mph caused waves from Lake Michigan to slam into the Chicago shoreline, slowing traffic and forcing the closure of a Halloween attraction.

Parts of the scenic Lake Shore Drive highway were flooded on Friday, leading to some lane closures. Traffic was backed up for miles.

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Ozone hole remains size of North America, Nasa data shows

ozone hole layerThe Antarctic ozone hole, which was expected to reduce in size swiftly when manmade chlorine emissions were outlawed 27 years ago, is stubbornly remaining the size of North America, new data from Nasa suggests.

The hole in the thin layer of gas, which helps shield life on Earth from potentially harmful ultraviolet solar radiation that can cause skin cancers, grows and contracts throughout the year but reached its maximum extent on 9 September when monitors at the south pole showed it to cover 24.1m square km (9.3m sq miles). This is about 9% below the record maximum in 2000 but almost the same as in 2010, 2012 and 2013.

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