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Monday, Dec 22nd

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Will generating ocean energy affect migration of sea creatures?

Do sea creatures have an internal GPS?Without maps or GPS, great white sharks travel thousand of miles roundtrip from California to Hawaii or Australia to South Africa. Sea turtles hatched on the beaches of Florida travel the currents of the North Atlantic Gyre to Europe, Africa and South America before heading home.

And in one of the most mysterious and epic journeys of all, salmon from the streams and rivers of the Pacific Northwest head to sea and swim into the far reaches of the North Pacific before returning to spawn.

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Expect more extreme winters thanks to global warming, say scientists

Expect more extreme wintersScientists have established a link between the cold, snowy winters in Britain and melting sea ice in the Arctic and have warned that long periods of freezing weather are likely to become more frequent in years to come.

An analysis of the ice-free regions of the Arctic Ocean has found that the higher temperatures there caused by global warming, which have melted the sea ice in the summer months, have paradoxically increased the chances of colder winters in Britain and the rest of northern Europe.

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Is Navy plan a threat to world's oldest killer whales?

Newborn killer whaleCould Ruffles and Granny be in trouble? At 59, Ruffles is the oldest known male orca in the world, one of an estimated 150 orcas known to inhabit the Puget Sound and the coast of Washington state. Granny is his 99-year-old mother.

Environmentalists fear for the safety of the whales as the U.S. Navy prepares to expand its operations in its Northwest Training Range Complex, which stretches from the coastline of Washington state to northern California.

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Congress passes bill to help save world's sharks

Congress passes bill to help save sharksCongress on Tuesday passed legislation to better protect sharks, creatures that swam the oceans before the age of dinosaurs but now are being killed by the millions for their fins, a delicacy used in a traditional Chinese soup.

Conservationists called the measure a major step to save a species in trouble. They estimate that 73 million sharks are killed annually to support the shark fin trade, and that 30 percent of the world's species are threatened or nearly threatened with extinction. The loss of too many top predators can disrupt the balance of the populations of other species.

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Polar bears can be saved by emissions cuts, study says

Emissions cut can still save polar bearsCutting global greenhouse emissions might yet save the polar bear and its Arctic habitat, according to scientists in the US. It has been suggested that emissions of greenhouse gases have already put the Arctic ice cap and the polar bear on an irreversible path towards extinction.

But a new study suggests rapid emission cuts could help preserve ice cover to save the iconic bear. Details are published in the academic journal Nature.

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E.P.A. Delays Tougher Rules on Emissions

Emission standards delayedThe Obama administration is retreating on long-delayed environmental regulations — new rules governing smog and toxic emissions from industrial boilers — as it adjusts to a changed political dynamic in Washington with a more muscular Republican opposition. The move to delay the rules, announced this week by the Environmental Protection Agency, will leave in place policies set by President George W. Bush. President Obama ran for office promising tougher standards, and the new rules were set to take effect over the next several weeks.

Now, the agency says, it needs until July 2011 to further analyze scientific and health studies of the smog rules and until April 2012 on the boiler regulation. Mr. Obama, having just cut a painful deal with Republicans intended to stimulate the economy, can ill afford to be seen as simultaneously throttling the fragile recovery by imposing a sheaf of expensive new environmental regulations that critics say will cost jobs.

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American urban lake pollution traced to parking lot seal coat

Lake pollutionA black sealant sprayed on parking lots, driveways and playgrounds turns out to be the largest contributor to the rise of a toxic pollutant in urban lakes and reservoirs across America, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study.

Scientists saw concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) going up rapidly in the 1990s in areas of urban sprawl. PAHs have been known as a probable human carcinogen since the 19th century, when cancer struck chimney sweeps, said Peter Van Metre, a USGS scientist and a principal author of the report. PAHs also are toxic to fish and other aquatic plant and animal life.

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