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Energy
Robusta coffee beans growing on a tree. Dag Sundberg / Getty Images

60% of Wild Coffee Species at Risk for Extinction

If humans don't wake up now to the threats posed by climate change and habitat loss, we may be in for a permanently sleepy future. A study led by scientists from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew found that 60 percent of wild coffee species are at risk for extinction.

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Politics
Andrew Wheeler testifies Wednesday at a Senate confirmation hearing on his nomination to officially head the EPA. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Acting EPA Head Wheeler Downplays Climate Crisis at Confirmation Hearing

Acting U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator and former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler downplayed the threat of climate change and defended his deregulatory record at the first Senate confirmation hearing on his nomination to officially run the agency Wednesday. It was a hearing that some activists and Democrats did not even think should take place, given that business as usual at the EPA has been hampered by the ongoing government shutdown.

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Climate
Sunbathers are seen on Bondi Beach as temperatures soar in Sydney on Dec. 28, 2018. PETER PARKS / AFP / Getty Images

Record-Breaking Heat Wave Bakes Australia

Australia is sweating through yet another record breaking heat wave, with the past four days among the country's 10 hottest days on record, the Bureau of Meteorology announced Tuesday.

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Climate
Power plants like this one need to be retired at the end of their natural life to limit warming to 1.5 degrees. Peter Cade / The Image Bank / Getty Images

'Last Chance': Warming Could Be Limited to 1.5°C With Immediate Phaseout of Fossil Fuel Infrastructure, Researchers Say

It is still possible to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, a study published Tuesday in Nature Communications found, as long as we act immediately to phase out fossil fuels.

The study used a climate model to determine what would happen if, beginning at the end of 2018, all existing fossil fuel infrastructure—from industrial equipment to cars to planes to ships to power plants—was replaced with renewable alternatives at the end of its design lifetime. The researchers found there would be a 64 percent chance of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees, in line with the most ambitious goal of the Paris agreement.

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Food
Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Unpaid FDA Workers Restart ‘High Risk’ Food Inspections

After a year that saw the most Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) food safety investigations in at least 12 years, one of the most frightening impacts of the ongoing government shutdown has been the suspension of routine food safety investigations by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

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Climate
An iceberg flows 180 miles north of East Antarctica. Cultura / Brett Phibbs / Getty Images

Antarctic Melting Increased 6x in the Past 40 Years

The results of what researchers say is the longest-running study of Antarctica's ice mass have been published, and they are dramatic. Yearly ice loss has increased by a factor of six in the past 40 years, contributing more than half an inch to global sea level rise, a University of California, Irvine (UCI) press release reported. The researchers also observed consistent ice loss from East Antarctica, which boasts the world's largest ice sheet and has traditionally been assumed to be more stable.

"The places undergoing changes in Antarctica are not limited to just a couple places," lead author and UCI chair of earth system science Eric Rignot told The Washington Post. "They seem to be more extensive than what we thought. That, to me, seems to be reason for concern."

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Climate
A man snowboards using a kite on the National Mall as storm hit the nation's capital Sunday. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / AFP / Getty Images

Massive Winter Storm Kills 9 in Midwest, Stretches 1,400 Miles to Mid-Atlantic

A massive winter storm dumped snow on the midwest Friday, killing at least nine, before moving east to bring snow and freezing rain to the Mid-Atlantic and the Carolinas Saturday and Sunday, AccuWeather reported.

"We have a strong snowstorm that's stretching 1,400 miles from Kansas to the East Coast," CNN meteorologist Haley Brink said. "St. Louis is seeing its worst snowstorm in five years. We're going to see a significant snow event for the mid-Atlantic to start the year for 2019."

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Animals
A new baby has been born to the southern resident killer whales, pictured here near Pender Island, BC. Chris Cheadle / All Canada Photos / Getty Images

New Orca Calf Born to Ailing Southern Resident Orcas

Is there hope for the critically endangered orcas that travel the waters between Seattle and BC, Canada? The southern resident killer whales have added a new member to their shrinking numbers: a baby that Center for Whale Research (CWR) Founding Director Ken Balcomb has named Lucky.

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Politics
A sign placed by staff is posted on a temporary barricade at a closed campground at Joshua Tree National Park on Jan. 4 in Joshua Tree National Park. Mario Tama / Getty Images

Joshua Tree National Park Will Stay Open After All

Joshua Tree National Park will not shut its gates after all as it works to recover from the effects of the ongoing government shutdown, the park announced Wednesday.

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