Environment

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Thousands of years of history tell us drought is nothing new. Sometimes we prevail. Often we don’t. A bleak look into the future tells us we’ve seen nothing yet, with a mix of shifting climates, poor water management practices, and growing population densities promising a ‘pandemic‘ of catastrophic droughts awaits. The UN’s Special Report on Drought
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A heavily used group of pesticides, designed to kill insects upon contact, is also poisoning bee colonies. Scientists have discovered a way to deliver an antidote using pollen-like microparticles. The medicine is composed of a special enzyme that can break down certain groups of insecticides called organophosphates. These insecticides pose a deadly threat, but if the
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Almost 60 years after British nuclear tests ended, radioactive particles containing plutonium and uranium still contaminate the landscape around Maralinga in outback South Australia. These “hot particles” are not as stable as we once assumed. Our research shows they are likely releasing tiny chunks of plutonium and uranium which can be easily transported in dust
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Modeling the future consequences of climate change requires a huge number of calculations based on a vast amount of factors, including how well microbes in soil might hold onto carbon – something that’s much more complicated than originally thought. In new research, scientists combined field measurements with computer modeling to show significant seasonal shifts in
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Lightning could be a much more important atmospheric cleanser than previously thought, according to a new analysis of historical measurements gathered from a storm-chasing airplane back in 2012 – data which were originally thought to be inaccurate. While some of the air-scrubbing qualities of lightning bolts are already well understood – in particular the creation
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For decades, warmer waters seeping into the Arctic Ocean have increasingly threatened Arctic sea ice, with scientists predicting the ice pack could disappear entirely in summers from the middle of the next decade. Researchers have now uncovered one of the mechanisms driving this catastrophe, identifying how ‘heat bombs’ of warm, salty water from the Pacific
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Ambitious climate policies could reduce extreme poverty in developing countries if governments opted for robust taxes on emitters that were then fairly distributed to help the poor, new research showed Tuesday. Authors of the study said the results showed that policymakers were facing a false choice between climate change mitigation and poverty reduction. Since fossil
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Global warming thresholds that could tip massive ice sheets into irreversible melting or see the Amazon rainforest shrivel into savannah have “grace periods”, giving humanity more time to draw down planet-warming carbon emissions, researchers have calculated. More than a dozen tipping points triggered mainly by rising temperatures could unleash catastrophic changes in Earth’s climate system.
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New Zealand will force banks to reveal the impact their investments have on climate change under world-first legislation intended to make the financial sector’s environmental record transparent, officials said. Commerce Minister David Clark said the law would make climate reporting mandatory for banks, insurance companies and investment firms. “Becoming the first country in the world