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Tuesday, Jul 28th

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Broken Pipeline Spills Oil on Coastline Near Santa Barbara

santa barbara oil spillAn emergency cleanup is underway Tuesday afternoon along the coastline near Santa Barbara after an oil pipeline leaked 21,000 gallons, some of which made it into the ocean.

Coast Guard crews responded after reports of an oil slick in the ocean, also seen on the sand at Refugio State Beach, around noon. The slick was initially estimated to be about a half-mile long but was reported to have spread to 4 miles wide by 3:30 p.m.

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‘Disaster after disaster’ hits Marshall Islands as climate change kicks in

Marshall Islands climate changeThe atolls of the Marshall Islands are narrow and practically level with the sea, leaving their 68,000 residents nowhere to move to as a rising sea and increasingly frequent floods threatens to swamp the country. Unlike in many parts of the world where climate change often seems a distant threat, for the Marshallese it is already a daily reality.

Keslynna’s grandmother, Rusina Rusin, said the land has been in her family for too many generations to count, passed down from mother to daughter in the country’s matrilineal social system. She said she has noticed the increasing unpredictability of the weather.

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Seattle 'Kayaktivists' Protest Shell's Arctic Drilling Endeavor

kayactivistsHundreds of activists in kayaks and small boats fanned out on a Seattle bay on Saturday to protest plans by Royal Dutch Shell to resume oil exploration in the Arctic and keep two of its drilling rigs stored in the city's port.

Environmental groups have vowed to disrupt the Anglo-Dutch oil company's efforts to use the Seattle as a home base as it outfits the rigs to return to the Chukchi Sea off Alaska, saying drilling in the remote Arctic waters could lead to an ecological catastrophe.

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2015 Is the Hottest Year On Record

2015 hottest yearHere’s the climate crisis in two hunks of ice: the snowball that Climate Change denier James Inhofe tossed on the floor of the Senate, and Antarctica’s 618-square-mile Larson B Ice Shelf, which will disintegrate by the end of the decade, according to a report released today by NASA.

Earlier this week, Larson B’s much bigger brother, Larson C, was also declared to be at “imminent risk” with huge cracks appearing on its surface.

Not only are these developments yet more canaries in the coalmine of global climate disruption, they have nasty effects. When massive ice shelves fall apart, glaciers melt into the ocean, accelerating the rise in global sea levels.

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Washington State Declares Drought Emergency

washington drought emergencyDrought isn't just a California problem, folks. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee declared a statewide drought emergency on Friday, with snowpack and stream flows dramatically below normal.

“We’re really starting to feel the pain from this snowpack drought," Inslee said at a press conference. "Impacts are already severe in several areas of the state. Difficult decisions are being made about what crops get priority water and how best to save fish. ... We have some tough, challenging months ahead of us. We’re ready to bring support and relief to the hardest hit areas of the state. We’re going to do everything we can to get through this."

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Duke Energy fined $102 million in coal ash spill

Duke EnergyDuke Energy pleaded guilty Thursday to nine violations of the federal Clean Water Act and will pay $102 million in fines and restitution for illegally discharging pollution from coal-ash dumps at five North Carolina power plants.

The plea by the nation's largest electricity company, part of a negotiated settlement with federal prosecutors, is the result of an investigation that began in February after a pipe collapsed under a coal ash dump, coating 70 miles of the Dan River in gray sludge.

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Antarctic Ice Shelf Is A Few Years From Disintegration: NASA

Antarctic ice shelf near disappearingThe last intact section of one of Antarctica's mammoth ice shelves is weakening fast and will likely disintegrate completely in the next few years, contributing further to rising sea levels, according to a NASA study released on Thursday.

The research focused on a remnant of the so-called Larsen B Ice Shelf, which has existed for at least 10,000 years but partially collapsed in 2002. What is left covers about 625 square miles (1,600 square km), about half the size of Rhode Island.

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