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Climate
Algae bloom in the Arabian sea. Norman Kuring / NASA

Oceans Losing Oxygen at Breathtaking Speeds

Ocean dead zones quadrupled in size since 1950, while low oxygen sites around the world increased tenfold, threatening large swaths of marine life, scientists warned in a study released on Friday.

"Major extinction events in Earth's history have been associated with warm climates and oxygen-deficient oceans," the analysis published in the journal Science stated.

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Climate

Beijing Meets Air Quality Improvement Goals With Crackdown on Polluters

Beijing successfully lowered air pollution levels following a crackdown on polluters last year, bringing China's capital in line with air quality targets, according to Chinese officials.

The announcement Wednesday by the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau followed a 2013 plan that ordered the city to reduce the yearly average concentration of particulate matter to less than 60 micrograms. According to the bureau, the capital succeeded by reducing PM2.5 concentrations to 58 micrograms per cubic meter—a reduction of 35.6 percent from 2012.

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Anjo Kan / Shutterstock

Migratory Birds Lose Protection Against Industry in Latest Trump Action Against Environmental Regulations

Energy companies and other businesses are no longer liable for accidentally killing migratory birds, the Trump administration announced Friday in a decision hailed by industry insiders.

A legal memo by the U.S. Interior Department reverses a longstanding agency practice and last-minute ruling released by the Obama administration in January 2017. The Obama-era policy meant that oil, gas, wind and solar operators could face prosecution for accidentally killing birds.

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Climate

'Anti-Smog Gun' Met With Criticism in India

Indian officials have just rolled out their newest weapon to fight air pollution—an "anti-smog gun."

The $40,000 vehicle-mounted cannon sprays fine water droplets at extremely high speeds. Its manufacturers say this will flush out deadly airborne pollutants in one of the world's smoggiest capitals. Delhi's government tested the cannon this week in Anad Vihar, one of the most polluted parts of the city.

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Animals
Elephant at Réserve Africaine de Sigean. Pauline Guilmot / Flickr

Japan's Lax Regulations Threaten Chinese Ivory Ban

Japan's failure to prevent illegal ivory exports could weaken China's coming ban on domestic ivory trade, conservationists said Wednesday.

The warning—made by Traffic, a wildlife trade monitoring group—comes just more than a week before the Chinese government will ban ivory retail sales and follows the closure of ivory factories in the country last March.

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Polllution in Shanghai, China on Dec. 5, 2013. leniners / Flickr

China on Track to Establish Carbon Market as U.S. Withdraws From Climate Stage

China unveiled the details on Tuesday of what is soon to be the world's largest carbon market, two years after China's president Xi announced the initiative.

Although the market launch date wasn't revealed, observers saw today's announcement as a noteworthy step. "This is like the pyramids of Giza for climate policy," Nathaniel Keohane, the vice president of international climate at the Environmental Defense Fund, told ClimateWire.

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Climate
An entrance to the Naval Air Station Key West Truman Annex was flooded by Hurricane Ike. U.S. Navy Cmdr. Michael Kutyba / Wikimedia Commons

Climate Change Already Hampers U.S. Military Sites Around the World, Government Study Finds

The U.S. military is neglecting to plan for climate change-related risks facing hundreds of overseas facilities, according to a report released on Wednesday by the Government Accountability Office.

In addition to failing to plan for and incorporate climate change's risks into project designs, the report found that many facilities are not consistently tracking costs incurred by extreme weather. The Defense Department has identified climate change and its effects as threats to facilities, but a gap remains between determining threats and implementing solutions, the study found.

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Energy

Energy Innovation Funds Were Illegally Withheld by Trump Administration

The Trump administration violated the law by withholding funds from an Energy Department program that supported research and development of advanced energy technologies, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported on Tuesday.

The GAO said the Trump administration had violated the Impoundment Control Act by not spending $91 million that was intended for the Energy Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). Administration officials planned to cancel half of the unspent $91 million and use the other half to shut down the program.

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Cap Sciences / Flickr

Electronic Waste Study Finds $65 Billion in Raw Materials Discarded in Just One Year

The amount of electronic waste around the world grew to a record 45 million tons in 2016, according to a United Nations-backed study released on Wednesday.

To put that in perspective, the weight of last year's e-waste was equivalent to about 4,500 Eiffel Towers, according to the study by the UN university, the International Telecommunication Union and the International Solid Waste Association. The amount of e-waste—defined as anything with a plug or a battery—rose by eight percent since 2014, the time of the last assessment.

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