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Media Reaction: Hurricane Harvey and Climate Change

The impacts of Hurricane Harvey continue to be felt in the southern U.S., where at least nine people have died after unprecedented flooding in Houston, Texas.

The events have sparked early debate over the links between the hurricane and climate change. Commentary from scientists suggests that warming is likely to have intensified its impact.

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Agencja Fotograficzna Caro / Alamy Stock Photo

World’s Soils Have Lost 133bn Tonnes of Carbon Since the Dawn of Agriculture

By Daisy Dunne

The world's soils have lost a total of 133bn tonnes of carbon since humans first started farming the land around 12,000 years ago, new research suggests. And the rate of carbon loss has increased dramatically since the start of the industrial revolution.

The study, which maps where soil carbon has been lost and gained since 10,000 BC, shows that crop production and cattle grazing have contributed almost equally to global losses.

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Factcheck: Misleading Headlines About Electric Car Charging While Boiling the Kettle

By Simon Evans

In recent days, a new round of misleading headlines said that homes won't be able to boil a kettle while also charging an electric car. Given how the traditional British cuppa holds near-sacred status, this subject was ready-made for attention.

Today, however, the vast majority of home car chargers are rated at or below seven kilowatts (kW) and can be run alongside kettles, ovens and any other domestic appliances without problems. The source of the headlines, a National Grid "thought piece" published in April, was about problems on home or local electricity circuits, that might arise in the future if they are not addressed.

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An annular solar eclipse in progress graces the sky at Dog Beach in San Diego, California, USA, 1992. N J Gargasz / Alamy

Solar Eclipse: Why the Sun Is Not Responsible for Recent Climate Change

By Zeke Hausfather

With a total solar eclipse sweeping across North America, everyone is suddenly paying attention to the sun. One of the most common skeptical arguments against human-caused climate change is that changes in solar activity, rather than just CO2, is playing the biggest role.

At first glance, it seems to make intuitive sense: The sun is a massive nuclear fusion reactor a million times larger than Earth, it is responsible for almost all the energy reaching our planet, and in the past few decades scientists have learned that solar activity varies significantly over time. Indeed, changes in the distribution of sunlight reaching the Earth clearly change the temperature dramatically on a daily and annual timescale.

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Anti fracking campaigners gather in Sherwood forest in an effort to stop INEOS carrying out seismic surveys in public forests across Nottinghamshire, UK, July 1. Ian Francis / Alamy Live News

The Return of UK Fracking and What It Could Mean for the Climate

By Jocelyn Timperley

The UK could soon see its first use of hydraulic fracturing since 2011.

The controversial technique for extracting shale gas and oil, known as fracking, is set to be used by the end of this year at a site in Fylde, Lancashire, owned by UK company Cuadrilla. The firm said it hopes to start drilling within weeks.

But how close is the UK to shale gas production on a large scale? And what would the carbon impacts of this be?

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NASA Satellite orbiting Earth. NASA / Unsplash

Major Correction to Satellite Data Shows 140% Faster Warming Since 1998

By Zeke Hausfather

A new paper published in the Journal of Climate reveals that the lower part of the earth's atmosphere has warmed much faster since 1979 than scientists relying on satellite data had previously thought.

Researchers from Remote Sensing Systems (RSS), based in California, have released a substantially revised version of their lower tropospheric temperature record.

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Death Valley, California. slashgear.com

Billions to Face 'Deadly Threshold' of Heat Extremes by 2100, Finds Study

By Robert McSweeney

Up to three quarters of the world's population could be at risk from deadly heat extremes by the end of the century, a new study suggests.

The research found that just under a third of the global population is currently exposed to heat extremes that have resulted in deaths in the past. This will increase as global temperatures rise.

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IEA: World Can Reach 'Net Zero' Emissions by 2060 to Meet Paris Climate Goals

By Simon Evans

Global emissions can be pushed down to "net zero" by 2060 to meet the climate goals of the Paris agreement, said the International Energy Agency (IEA).

For the first time, the 29-member intergovernmental group's annual Energy Technology Perspectives report, the 2017 edition published Tuesday, maps a "below 2°C" scenario. This shows how to limit warming to around 1.75°C above pre-industrial temperatures this century, roughly in line with Paris, which aims for "well below 2°C" and preferably 1.5°C.

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Minke whale stranding near Havergate Island in Suffolk. MCGA.

Factcheck: Whale Strandings and Offshore Wind Farms

By Simon Evans

Last Saturday, two dead whales washed up on the coast of Suffolk, in eastern England, and a third was spotted floating at sea.

What happened next illustrates how news can spread and evolve into misinformation, when reported by journalists rushing to publish before confirming basic facts or sourcing their own quotes.

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