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Friday, Nov 21st

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World wildlife populations halved in 40 years - report

wild life species cut in halfThe global loss of species is even worse than previously thought, the London Zoological Society (ZSL) says in its new Living Planet Index.

The report suggests populations have halved in 40 years, as new methodology gives more alarming results than in a report two years ago.

The report says populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish have declined by an average of 52%.

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Ice melt dilutes Arctic sea’s CO2 clean-up role

Ice meltNew scientific research confirms that global warming is melting increasingly larger areas of Arctic sea ice − and reducing its vital function of removing CO2 from the atmosphere.

The Arctic ice cap has just passed its summer minimum – and it’s the sixth lowest measure of sea ice recorded since 1978, according to scientists at the US space agency NASA.

For three decades, the shrinking Arctic ice – and the growing area of clear blue water exposed each summer – has been a cause of increasing alarm to climate scientists.

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Pennsylvania Releases Official File Detailing 250 Water Supplies Directly Polluted by Fracking

Pa. frackingThe following list identifies cases where DEP determined that a private water supply was impacted by oil and gas activities. The oil and gas activities referenced in the list below include operations associated with both conventional and unconventional drilling activities that either resulted in a water diminution event or an increase in constituents above background conditions.

This list is intended to identify historic water supply impacts and does not necessarily represent ongoing impacts.

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U.S. Appeals Court Orders Disclosure of Secrets in Chevron Oil Pollution Case

Chevron loses appealOne might assume that after 21 years of litigation, all the sordid details surrounding the epic Chevron oil pollution case had been made public. Not so. A three-judge federal appeals court panel in Richmond, Va., ruled unanimously on Tuesday that plaintiffs’ lawyers accused of fraud against the oil company must reveal the contents of documents that had been confidential and could hold new information about wrongdoing.

The appellate ruling constitutes the latest victory for Chevron (CVX) as the company seeks to nullify a $19 billion judgment imposed against the company in 2011 by a trial court in Ecuador. The Andean nation’s supreme court has affirmed Chevron’s liability while halving the damages to a still-substantial $9.5 billion.

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Magnitude 6.2 quake hits Alaska near Anchorage, no immediate damage reported

alaska earthquake 6.2A 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck Alaska on Thursday near Anchorage, but the U.S. Geological Survey said there was little likelihood of casualties or severe damage from shaking generated by the deeply rooted tremor.

The agency said the quake's epicenter was located 81 miles (130 km) northwest of Anchorage, Alaska's most populous city, and originated at a depth of 63.2 miles (101.7 km) below the surface, which would have lessened its impact.

"It was the earth rolling. It looked like I had double vision going on. Little bit of a vertigo," said Alaska State Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters, adding there were no initial reports of injuries of damage.

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EU climate change chief: Obama has six months to take substantial action

EU Climate Change Commissioner Connie HedegaardBarack Obama has six months to deliver on the promises he made in a rousing speech at the United Nations climate change summit, Europe’s climate action commissioner said.

Obama, in a well-received address on Tuesday, promised the United States would play a leading role in reaching an international agreement to fight climate change, due to be finalised in Paris at the end of next year.

Connie Hedegaard, who is responsible for ensuring the European Union meets its climate change obligations, told the Guardian that after the president’s speech raised expectations, other countries, especially the rising economies of China, India and Brazil, will be looking closely at what the US has to offer in six months.

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Fukushima, Japan Rocked By Two Earthquakes in One Hour; Epicenter Near Nuclear Plants

japan earthquakesA pair of moderate earthquakes struck just off the coast of Japan's Fukushima Prefecture Wednesday, close to the nuclear power plants crippled by the March 2011 tsunami. There were no early reports of damage, injuries, or new problems at the nuclear plants.

The Japan Meteorological Agency says the first earthquake struck at 9:45 p.m. JST (8:45 a.m. EDT in the U.S.) and registered a magnitude of 5.0. The second quake, a slightly stronger magnitude-5.2 tremor, struck 46 minutes later.

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