China

Extreme Weather Extreme flooding along the Madeira River in the Amazon basin, which killed 60 people and displaced 68,000 families this year, was the result of massive deforestation in Bolivia and Peru, according to a scientist who was previously the head of the Inter-American Development Bank environmental division, IPS reported. His assessment contradicts the views […]

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China A startup program in China, initiated by the company behind the Taobao Marketplace, seeks to create a map of water quality across the country by allowing residents to purchase water quality testing kits and upload the results with their smartphones, Bloomberg News reported. The results will be aggregated in a map that the company’s […]

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Water Pollution Water utility officials in Lanzhou, China, found the carcinogenic substance benzene present at levels 20 times the national limit in the city’s water supply, Xinhua reported. Approximately 2.4 million residents of the city were told to stop drinking their tap water while authorities search for the source of the benzene, which they say […]

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An American landslide as a global metaphor.

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Climate Change Climate change is no longer a potential problem, but one that is happening right now, says a new report from the International Panel on Climate Change created by dozens of leading scientists, The New York Times reported. The report outlined how climate change effects on businesses, food security and public health will worsen, […]

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Scientists have called into question the viability of wetland ecosystems recreated on land used for oil sands mining in Canada, saying they do not function as well as before, Yale Environment 360 reported. None of the areas reclaimed by oil companies have yet been certified as meeting government standards, and reclamation efforts can cost as […]

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Increased heat and water scarcity will limit food production. Farmers and food markets can adapt, but only to a point.

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Pollution Oil spilled into southern Lake Michigan Monday from a BP refinery in Indiana that was updated last year to accommodate an increasing amount of crude oil coming from Canada’s tar sands, Reuters reported. Lake Michigan is currently 60 percent covered in ice, and the company has not yet said how much oil was leaked. […]

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Asia Vast fires in Indonesia have started earlier in the season than usual and are spreading widely, in part due to a severe drought gripping Southeast Asia, the Guardian reported. The fires, which may have been started illegally to clear land for palm oil and paper plantations, are creating hazardous air pollution in cities like […]

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Asia Water cleanup systems meant to decrease the radioactivity of wastewater at Japan’s damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant have malfunctioned, prompting the Tokyo Electric Power Company to suspend water cleanup operations, the Japan Times reported. One of the three systems was not sufficiently reducing levels of radioactive substances in the water, and officials stopped the […]

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Pollution Officials have found 131 dead pigs in China’s Ganjiang River near Nanchang, and are still recovering more carcasses, Bloomberg News reported. Drinking water in Nanchang has been tested and is safe, according to tests, but the incident is once again raising concerns about food and water safety a year after dead pigs were found […]

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Mining Mining activities for graphite, a material used in several electric car batteries popular in the United States, are leading to polluted rain and wastewater discharges in China, Bloomberg News reported. The pollution has prompted China to suspend operations and many of its graphite mines, even while world demand for the mineral is growing. A […]

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Scientific research stations in Antarctica are contaminating the surrounding environment through wastewater discharges, and toxic chemicals have been found in the tissues of penguins and fish, sediments, and dust, National Geographic reported. Though it is unclear what effect the chemicals are having on the animals, levels in some sediment samples were as high as those […]

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Pollution A federal judge in the United States ruled that actions by lawyers representing plaintiffs in a decades-long Ecuador water pollution case were corrupt, making it less likely that Chevron—the oil company accused of pollution—will end up paying the $US 9.5 billion fine ordered last year by Ecuador’s highest court, The New York Times reported. […]

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Conservationists worry that the Myitsone hydropower project on Myanmar’s Irrawaddy River will resume construction after a 3-year pause initiated by Myanmar president Thein Sein, the Guardian reported. The Chinese-backed dam has already displaced communities along the river, and as much as 90 percent of the electricity it would generate would go to China. U.S. Pollution […]

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Pollution Protesters have been demonstrating and signing petitions against coal ash ponds in front of the corporate headquarters of Duke Energy, the North Carolina-based company responsible for spilling millions of gallons of coal ash into the state’s Dan River, CNN Reported. The United States federal government is conducting a criminal investigation of the spill, and […]

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Natural Disasters The annual economic cost of natural disasters in China nearly doubled in 2013, costing the country $US 69 billion, Reuters reported. The most expensive disasters were floods and mudslides, followed by earthquakes and droughts. An extended period of heavy rainstorms and floods in the United Kingdom has taken a toll on the country’s […]

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Water Scarcity Food security in the Near East and North Africa region will be strained as the availability of fresh water could decline 50 percent by 2050 and the regional population continues to grow, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the UN News Centre reported. The UN has formed […]

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Water Pollution China plans to spend $US 330 billion addressing polluted water supplies, more than it is planning to spend on air pollution, Reuters reported. The money will go to efforts to prevent pollution, such as wastewater treatment upgrades, and aims to improve water quality 30 to 50 percent. Coal ash released in a spill […]

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Europe The United Kingdom has been suffering a deluge of heavy rainstorms for months, leading to record-breaking floods that have inundated thousands of homes and businesses. In this comprehensive summary report of the floods, the Guardian examines how they might affect the country’s water management and the implementation of climate change adaptation measures. Exploration projects […]

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