NEWS ABOUT: environment

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White House's New Enemy: Coolant Found in Your Home

Calls on firms, trading partners to cut down on R-134a

(Newser) - The Obama administration has a new goal in its effort to fight climate change: get Americans—and the world—to quickly stop using a chemical coolant found in just about every US home, car, and office. R-134a is a hydrofluorocarbon, or HFC; the chemical was used to replace ozone-damaging Freon... More »

UN: Ozone Is Bouncing Back

Layer is showing first signs of recovery

(Newser) - An environment story without warnings of impending doom : The ozone layer that blocks cancer-causing rays from the sun is finally starting to recover thanks to global action, according to the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Program. While it will probably take until the middle of this century... More »

2013 Saw Fastest Spike in CO2 Levels Since 1984

Greenhouse gases hit record highs: World Meteorological Organization

(Newser) - Greenhouse gases rose to record levels last year, according to a new report by the World Meteorological Organization, making a worldwide climate treaty more critical now than ever. Concentrations of carbon dioxide in particular peaked at 396 parts per million, the BBC reports—3ppm over the previous year, in the... More »

Don't Feel Guilty for Eating These 21 Fish

Sustainability watchdog gives the OK to chow down on flounder, other species

(Newser) - If you've been plagued by guilt every time you scarf down that fried flounder, rest easy: A California sustainability-monitoring group has given a thumbs-up to that species, as well as 20 other West Coast varieties such as sole and snapper, after deciding there's enough available to catch without... More »

California May Get Nation's First Statewide Ban on Plastic Bags

But it's unclear whether Gov. Jerry Brown will sign legislation

(Newser) - California's legislature has approved what will be a national first if Gov. Jerry Brown goes along—a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags in supermarkets and other stores, reports the Los Angeles Times . Lawmakers narrowly approved the measure yesterday in the name of reducing litter on streets and beaches.... More »

Atlantic Sea Floor Is Burping Methane

570 methane seeps quite unexpected in 'cold, old' East Coast

(Newser) - The bottom of the Atlantic Ocean has been burping methane for at least 1,000 years, scientists have discovered. NOAA surveyed the Atlantic Coast using sound waves and found at least 570 methane "seeps" from Cape Hatteras to Nantucket, right where the continental shelf meets the ocean, LiveScience reports.... More »

More Elephants Being Killed Than Born

35K killed annually since 2010; deaths driven by illegal ivory trade

(Newser) - A new study tallying the African elephant population has made a stark finding: If poaching continues at its current rate, the animal may be extinct in a century, the BBC reports. "We are shredding the fabric of elephant society and exterminating populations across the continent," says the study'... More »

If Drought Continues, Giant Sequoias Could Disappear

California's 3-year drought threatens 3K-year-old trees

(Newser) - Scientists are working hard to prevent a "what-if" scenario that could be caused by California’s epic three-year drought—the disappearance of the state's ancient giant sequoias. "A world where a child can’t stare up in wonder at a giant cathedral-like crown is a very real... More »

Your Bottled Water Might Come From Parched California

Loose regulations, high demand keep bottlers in business

(Newser) - The $22 billion bottled water business is rife with odd logic: It takes 1.39 liters of water to make one liter of bottled water, for example, and much of the nation's supply is being drawn from a state parched by drought, the Atlantic reports. Why, then, do we... More »

Anti-Wildfire Project Tabled Over Rare Frogs

Forest Service project may hurt endangered species

(Newser) - US officials are balancing forest-fire risk against the need to preserve an endangered species near Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevadas, the Tahoe Daily Tribune reports. Per a stipulation signed by a judge last week, the US Forest Service will delay its tree-thinning project there until it consults with the... More »

Gulf's Dead Zone Is the Size of Connecticut

Activists sue EPA to get stricter regulations

(Newser) - A Connecticut-sized swath of oxygen-deprived waters off the Gulf Coast is a "poster child for how we are using and abusing our natural resources," says one researcher in Louisiana. In its 30th annual survey, the Louisiana Marine Consortium shows the dead zone has shrunk to about 5,000... More »

White House: Cut Carbon Now, or Pay $150B a Year Later

Climate change costs could jump 40% each decade

(Newser) - When it comes to climate change, the United States can pay to cut carbon emissions now, or we can pay about $150 billion a year down the road as costs soar by about 40% a decade, according to a White House Council of Economic Advisers analysis out today, as per... More »

Beef: Meat Industry's Worst Eco-Offender

Raising cattle takes up 160 times as much land as plants, study finds

(Newser) - Think drive-thru cheeseburgers are cheap? Think again. What may be light on the wallet is heavy on the planet, according to a new study on the environmental costs per calorie of beef, pork, poultry, dairy, and eggs—which, combined, make up 96% of the calories Americans get via animal sources.... More »

Odd Ditches Made Before Amazon Rainforest Grew

Study: Before it was jungle, it was savannah

(Newser) - Some 3,000 years ago, the Bolivian Amazon didn’t look like a jungle at all—it was more like an African savannah. A new study reveals how the ancient landscape took shape, and sheds new light on the mysterious ditches the early Amazonians built there for purposes unknown. The... More »

99% of Ocean Plastic Is AWOL

Bad news: It's probably entering our food chain

(Newser) - Millions of tons of plastic thought to be floating around the world’s oceans have gone missing. But that's not the good news one might think. According to a new study , marine animals could be ingesting our garbage, reports the Verge . Up to 99% of the most microscopic plastic... More »

Antarctica's New Scourge: Tourists

Number of humans is soaring in a fragile ecosystem

(Newser) - The fanny-pack set is now the bane of even Antarctica's existence: A new study published in PLoS Biology is warning that, yes, tourists are threatening the frigid environment of the globe's least populated continent. "Many people think that Antarctica is well protected from threats to its biodiversity... More »

Obama May Create Earth's Biggest Ocean Sanctuary

Would use executive authority to expand Bush-created monument

(Newser) - In 2009, President Bush created an 87,000-square-mile marine sanctuary in the Pacific. Now, his successor wants to expand the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument to 782,000 miles, a move that would double the area of protected ocean worldwide, the Washington Post reports. The marine sanctuary would be... More »

A Bioluminescent Bay Has Suddenly Gone Dark

Change threatens tourist economy of Puerto Rico's Vieques

(Newser) - Puerto Rico's Mosquito Bay has long awed visitors with its magical glow, the result of plankton called dinoflagellates that "shimmer." This year, however, what Gizmodo dubs "one of the world's most spectacular natural sights" has gone dark. In January, the bay—located about 10 miles... More »

Scientists: China's Bulldozing of Mountains Is Nuts

Chinese experts say environmental damage is already evident

(Newser) - China is bulldozing its mountains by the dozen to make way for cities—a move that could prove disastrous, Chinese scientists warn in Nature . The country is only a fraction of the way through its plan to flatten more than 700 mountains, move the debris into valleys, and build on... More »

Antarctica's Melting Speed Doubles

Compared to measurements just a few years ago

(Newser) - If we needed more disturbing news on a melting Antarctica, scientists are supplying it. Days after we learned that the melting of the West Antarctica ice sheet is apparently unstoppable , researchers find that the continent is disappearing twice as quickly as it was when last measured. Information from Europe's... More »

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