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Tuesday, May 05th

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4.2 earthquake officially reported in Michigan, felt in Grand Rapids

Michigan earthquakeIf you thought you felt an earthquake on Saturday — you did. And It was one of the strongest quakes ever experienced in Michigan.

Paul Caruso, a geophysicist with the United States Geological Survey, said an earthquake with a magnitude of 4.2 and a depth of focus of 5.9 km was measured around 12:23 p.m. about nine miles southeast of Kalamazoo, near Galesburg.

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UN, Vatican team up for climate change agenda

Vatican and UN unite on climate changeThe United Nations and Vatican joined forces Tuesday to warn about the dire effects of climate change, gathering religious leaders, Nobel laureates and heads of state to present a united front ahead of make-or-break environment talks later this year in Paris.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon praised Pope Francis for framing the need to combat global warming as an urgent moral imperative, saying his upcoming encyclical provided an "unprecedented opportunity" to create a more sustainable future for the planet.

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Extreme weather already on increase due to climate change, study finds

climate changeExtreme heatwaves and heavy rain storms are already happening with increasing regularity worldwide because of manmade climate change, according to new research.

Global warming over the last century means heat extremes that previously only occurred once every 1,000 days are happening four to five times more often, the study published in Nature Climate Change said.

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The oil and gas boom has devastated ecosystems across the US

oil and gas destroy ecosystemsDrilling for oil and gas has caused long-lasting damage to ecosystems across Canada and the US, according to a study published today. The findings lend new weight to longstanding concerns over the resurgence in domestic fossil fuel production, as well as the complex land use regulations that make environmental monitoring more challenging.

The paper, published in the journal Science, examines the impact of oil and gas production on terrestrial plant growth, using a metric called net primary production (NPP). NPP can be used to gauge the health of the ecosystem.

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Cause behind African migrant flood has terrifying implications for the world

immigrants from AfricaThe migrant crisis in the Mediterranean is symptomatic of deep dislocation in the Sahel region and sub-Saharan Africa — dislocation exacerbated by climate change.

Climate change is affecting such basic environmental conditions as rainfall patterns and temperatures and is contributing to more frequent natural disasters like floods and droughts. Over the long term, these changing conditions can undermine the rural livelihoods of farming, herding and fishing. The resulting rural dislocation is a factor in people’s decisions to migrate.

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Lake Mead On Track For Record Low Water Level Amid Drought

Lake Mead near record low levelNevada's Lake Mead, the largest capacity reservoir in the United States, is on track to drop to its lowest water level in recorded history on Sunday as its source, the Colorado River, suffers from 14 years of severe drought, experts said on Friday.

The 79-year-old reservoir, formed by the building of the Hoover Dam outside Las Vegas, was expected to dip below 1,080 feet on Sunday, lower than a previous record of 1,080.19 feet last August, according to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

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Scientists convinced of tie between earthquakes and drilling

fracking causes earthquakesWith the evidence coming in from one study after another, scientists are now more certain than ever that oil and gas drilling is causing hundreds upon hundreds of earthquakes across the U.S.

So far, the quakes have been mostly small and have done little damage beyond cracking plaster, toppling bricks and rattling nerves. But seismologists warn that the shaking can dramatically increase the chances of bigger, more dangerous quakes.

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