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United Nations says pledges to limit emissions don't go far enough

UN: emissions pledges don't go far enoughPlans submitted by 146 countries to cap greenhouse gas emissions do not go far enough to keep global temperatures from exceeding the danger threshold, the United Nations said.

Pledges, submitted by all developed nations and three-quarters of developing countries, deliver "sizable" emission reductions and slow emissions growth in the coming decade, but they will not be sufficient to reverse by 2030 the upward trend of global emissions, the UN's climate change secretariat said in a report released in advance of a global climate summit.

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Greenland Is Melting Away

Greenland melting awayThe midnight sun still gleamed at 1 a.m. across the brilliant expanse of the Greenland ice sheet. Brandon Overstreet, a doctoral candidate in hydrology at the University of Wyoming, picked his way across the frozen landscape, clipped his climbing harness to an anchor in the ice and crept toward the edge of a river that rushed downstream toward an enormous sinkhole.

If he fell in, “the death rate is 100 percent,” said Mr. Overstreet’s friend and fellow researcher, Lincoln Pitcher.

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World's Catholic bishops issue appeal to Paris climate talks

Catholic bishops urge climate change policiesCatholic patriarchs, cardinals and bishops representing five continents appealed to climate negotiators on Monday to approve a "transformative" and fair, legally binding agreement that sets global temperature limits and decarbonization goals to save the planet from climate-induced catastrophe.

The representatives of bishops' conferences from around the globe signed the appeal in a renewed push to encourage climate negotiators meeting in Paris next month to heed Pope Francis' call to protect God's creation and the poor who suffer most from its exploitation.

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Fracking Disaster: Kansas Went From 1 Earthquake Per Year To 42 A Week

fracking disasterThe revolutionary method of natural-gas extraction known as hydraulic fracturing – or “fracking” – has left in its wake a trail of contaminated water supplies, polluted air, health problems, and environmental degradation. But what is potentially the most damaging aspect of the process is just coming to light in the form of a tremendous spate of earthquakes in the heart of the United States.

In the past week, northern Oklahoma and southern Kansas have suffered forty two earthquakes of magnitude 2.5 on the Richter scale – 17% of all earthquakes in the world. This brings the year-to-date count up to 680 such tremors – and this in area that until recently was almost completely seismically dormant. Up until 2009, the area experienced an average of 1.5 of these quakes each year. What has changed since then is the massive influx of fracking operations seeking to take advantage of the Woodford Shale that straddles the two states’ border.

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Study: Bubble plumes of methane escaping warming ocean

methane bubble fumesThe most infamous and abundant greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide. But though less prolific, methane actually packs a meaner climate-warming punch.

To the dismay of climate scientists (and anyone concerned by global warming), there appears to a new and growing source of methane -- the deep sea.

In analyzing instances of bubble plumes, columns of rising methane gas bubbles, researchers found a growing number have been measured at a transition zone. The transition zone, beginning a third of a mile below the surface, is significant to stability of methane hydrates -- an area where warming water temperatures could encourage sublimation.

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Brazil pledges absolute carbon emissions reduction of 37 percent

Brazil pledgeds carbon emissions reductionBrazil has pledged a 37 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2025, making the South American country the first major developing nation to pledge an absolute emissions reduction.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff made the announcement on Sunday at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit. She also announced an "intended reduction" of 43 percent by 2030.

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Giant Viruses Are Hiding in Permafrost, But Not for Long

Giant viruses in permafrostIf you’re a germophobe, you won’t find comfort even in bleak Siberian expanses. Scientists have made another massive discovery of ancient (and giant) viruses hidden dormant in the permafrost. As the planet warms, finding these things—and waking them—is going to become more commonplace.

That’s significant, especially when you understand the gravity of the findings for experts involved in the ongoing research.

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