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Water Scarcity Central Asian nations, as a region, have the highest per capita water use in the world but also the highest water use per dollar of gross domestic product, according to a report published in Nature, Eurasianet reported. The article concludes that water scarcity is not as much a problem as water waste in […]

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Iraq Militant forces of the Islamic State have taken over the Mosul Dam in Iraq, the country’s largest dam and a strategic control point that experts say could be used as a weapon, Bloomberg News reported. The group has used dams in the past to flood areas or withhold water and electricity, but so far […]

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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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Hydropower Environmental groups have raised concerns that the population of Irawaddy dolphins in the Mekong River—which now consists of an estimated 85 individuals—will disappear if construction of a dam on the river is completed, Time reported. A report from the World Wildlife Fund says that explosions during the dam’s construction could kill dolphins in the […]

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Water Projects A 2-year federal government study assessing the feasibility of agricultural expansion in northern Australia found that up to 50,000 hectares of crops could be irrigated with water from the Flinders and Gilbert rivers and their tributaries, the Australian reported. The report findings have been challenged by environmental organizations that warn diverting water from […]

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Drought As California endures a drought that could be the worst in 500 years, federal politicians are wrangling over how best to allocate available water supplies, the San Jose Mercury News reported. You can see Circle of Blue’s reporting on California’s drought and water pollution here. Severe droughts are also threatening water supplies for communities […]

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Water Contamination Water pollution caused by natural gas and oil drilling operations may be more common than advertised, with cases confirmed in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and West Virginia, according to an Associated Press review of complaints submitted to the states. The review also found that the states varied greatly in the way they reported possible […]

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Water Scarcity Nine new coal mines could significantly draw down surface and groundwater supplies in Queensland, Australia, using 50 to 70 billion liters of water each year, according to a new report from anti-mining group Lock the Gate, the Guardian reported. Queensland politicians say the mines, which could double Australia’s coal exports, will need to […]

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Sea level rise and increasing floods are forcing families living on India’s Sundarbans islands to look to the mainland for a future, according to AlertNet. United States Consecutive years of drought have convinced some farmers in Kansas to give up on corn, Bloomberg News reported. The state planted the fewest acres of corn in three […]

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Massive hydrocarbon production has created worries over water use and pollution as the “Down Under” nation rises to the top of global exporters.

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A coal loader eats away at a mountain of black coal at the Port of Newcastle in New South Wales, Australia. In 2011, the mines, trains, and coal loading terminals here shipped about 114 million metric tons of coal on about 1,000 freighters, bringing billions of dollars in export earnings.

International demand and new technologies push nation to the top for hydrocarbon exports. But massive production has also created worries over water.

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Droughts and Floods Today’s must-read: Paul Salopek’s beautiful, poignant, thought-provoking account for Foreign Policy of his journey with the Daasanach nomads through the hunger zone in northern Kenya. Prolonged dry spells and droughts have threatened parts of China, Russia, Australia, France, Spain, Portugal, Argentina, the United Kingdom, East Africa and the United States in recent […]

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Energy The shale oil boom in the United States is putting a big squeeze on small towns in North Dakota and Montana that are suddenly seeing a rapid influx of people, traffic, infrastructure, crime and rising demand for housing, according to Reuters. On Friday, a second New York state judge upheld an upstate community’s ban […]

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A new study into the carbon footprint of shale gas operations adds more fuel to the debate about the technique’s environmental record, the journal Nature reported. According to the report, natural gas operations could leak enough methane to tarnish shale gas’s image as a cleaner alternative to coal. Floods Rivers in Bulgaria and Greece burst […]

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Weather Extremes Thousands of Australians have been forced from their homes because of floods that have risen to record levels in some areas of Queensland and New South Wales, Reuters reported. While the coal industry is largely unaffected, agriculture and properties are likely to sustain significant damage. Bad weather has gripped much of Europe as […]

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Australia’s first law intended to protect prime agricultural land from mining has come into effect in Queensland, ABC reported. Though the law covers about 4 percent of the state’s land, critics say it will only apply to open-pit mining and not cover underground mining, exploration work or coal seam gas (coal-bed methane) production. Australia is […]

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How can the world feed 9.5 billion people, the projected global population in 2050? The Guardian looks at a mix of new, somewhat radical scientific solutions: commercial algae farms, insects, desert greening and meat grown in a lab. Modernising agricultural technology is the key to boosting China’s food output, according to China’s Premier Wen Jiabao, […]

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Australia’s fast-growing coal-seam gas industry is a “relatively short-term prospect” and may not be worth the cost to farmland and the environment, a according to an interim report for the Senate Inquiry into the impacts of coal seam gas in the Murray-Darling Basin, The Australian reported. The study recommends that coal-seam gas development be suspended […]

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As the global population hit 7 billion yesterday — theoretically speaking, at least — the United Nations chose a newborn in the Philippines to symbolically mark the milestone. But how did the world get so big so fast? Here’s a great visualization by NPR that zips through 1,000 years of human history — from 300 […]

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As an energy boom, propelled by natural gas, continues to gather steam, mining and drilling companies square off with landowners around the globe over who has the right to resources that are located deep below ground.

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