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States, Nations Announce Commitments Ahead of U.N. Climate Conference

Roughly six months before international leaders meet in Paris for a United Nations climate change conference, U.S. states and foreign nations are stepping forward with climate commitments. Canada, on Friday, pledged to cut its greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. California is joining a climate agreement with eight foreign nations and…

Top 25 Photographs from the Wilderness #23

“Life in us is like the water in a river.” Henry David Thoreau The Okavango is the beating heart of Africa, home to an estimated 50% of the world’s elephants, most of the world’s hippo, and crucial populations of many other keystone species. There is no wilder place on earth: this is the Africa of…

Organizations Develop Tools to Help States Comply with EPA’s Clean Power Plan

The same week Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W. Va.) introduced a new bill pushing back on implementation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed Clean Power Plan, organizations released tools to help states and regulators navigate compliance with the resulting rule, set to be finalized this summer. The rule uses an infrequently exercised provision of the…

States Challenge Clean Power Plan, Report Finds Health Benefits

Attorneys for two-energy producing states spoke on the legal implications of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan—which aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from existing fossil fuel–fired power plants 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030—at a Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee this week. West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, whose state is involved…

California Governor Calls for Aggressive Emissions Cuts

California will establish a greenhouse gas reduction target of 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, the state’s Gov. Jerry Brown announced Wednesday. The declaration was made just before a speech on the new executive order at the Navigating the American Carbon World Conference in Los Angeles, where participants took to Twitter to reflect on…

Emissions, Economic Growth Parting Ways

A U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) analysis released Monday reveals that the country’s energy-related carbon emissions grew last year but more slowly than the economy as a whole, representing a decoupling of emissions and economic growth that is projected to continue through 2015 (subscription). Bloomberg reports that the difference in the emissions increase and the…

No Ice in Sight: Polar Bears Scrabble Onshore to Find Food

On June 4, 1773, English naval officers were dispatched on an expedition to the Arctic. Their goal was to locate a passage from the British Isles to the Pacific Ocean. Instead, on ice floes near Spitsbergen (Svalbard), Norway, they found polar bears. The explorers were the first Europeans to describe the bears as a distinct…

R4WO Invited To The United Nations To Discuss Marine Plastic Pollution

The R4WO had a lot on its plate in the Big Apple in order to keep on passing the message about the urgency to act for our oceans. Litter is found in all the world’s oceans and seas and concerns are growing about impacts of marine litter on ecosystem health, biodiversity and human health. For this reason,…

Epic Mountain Hike Leads to Discovery of New Microbes

“Diatoms are to microscopic organisms as grizzly bears are to mammals. They are beautiful for their intricate designs and symmetry, and amazing for their incredible variety.”

Court Hears Arguments Surrounding EPA Power Plant Rule

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit heard arguments Thursday in a set of cases (Murray Energy v. EPA andWest Virginia v. EPA) challenging the U.S Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority to limit greenhouse gases from existing power plants under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act. There was skepticism from at…

Obama Releases Report, Other Initiatives Directed at Tackling Climate Change Impacts

President Barack Obama announced a series of steps that aim to tackle the effects of climate change on the health of Americans. These 150 health-focused actions to boost climate change preparedness expand on the Climate Data Initiative launched a year. “The sooner we act, the more we can do to protect the health of our…

United States, Europe Announce Emissions Reductions Pledges

“Ambitious and achievable” is how the White House described its formal emissions reduction pledge—a cut of 26 to 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025—to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in preparation for negotiation of a binding climate agreement in Paris in December. Opinion about the aptness of the two adjectives…

Supreme Court Reviews EPA’s Power Plant Mercury Rule; Decision Due in June

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments this week in a challenge to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) consideration of cost impacts when developing the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard, (MATS) which are set to go into effect next month. At issue in the case is whether the Clean Air Act requires the EPA…

The Azores: First Witness to Global Marine Plastic Pollution

Having left Bordeaux on March 15, the Race for Water Odyssey arrived in the Azores on Friday afternoon, the location of the expedition’s first scientific analyses. It is estimated that 80% of pollution in the ocean is plastic. This debris has devastating effects on marine ecosystems and, as a consequence, on human beings. Entanglement, lacerations,…

First Global Review of Arctic Marine Mammals Reveals Uncertain Future

Despite Arctic marine mammals being icons of climate change, little is known about their populations across the Arctic. In a first ever global review of Arctic marine mammals, published last week in Conservation Biology, an international team of scientists provides a circumpolar range assessment. They studied population status and trends for 11 species, including polar bears, ice seals, narwhals,…