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Area 1002 of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge coastal plain. Wikimedia Commons.

GOP-Controlled Senate Paves Way for Oil Drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

The Senate Republicans' narrow passage of the 2018 budget plan on Thursday opened the door for oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR).

But Democratic lawmakers and environmental groups criticized the GOP for sneaking the "backdoor drilling provision" through the budget process. Past proposals to drill in the refuge have consistently failed.

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vimeo.com

Video Shows Oil Company's Plans to Drill Arctic From Artificial Island

The Liberty Project has posted a video about its proposal to build the nation's first oil production platform in federal waters in the Arctic.

The video was quietly uploaded two months ago and shows Hilcorp Alaska's plan to build an artificial gravel island and undersea pipeline for its offshore drilling project in the Beaufort Sea. Frankly speaking, the five-minute clip—with its all-American voiceover and electric guitar riffs—is something you'd expect from a pickup truck commercial.

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Business

France’s Largest Bank Cuts Ties With Dirty Energy Companies

BNP Paribas announced Wednesday that it would no longer do business with shale and tar sands companies, as part of a larger set of climate commitments.

In a statement, France's largest bank said it would also stop financing shale and tar sands projects and oil and gas production or exploration projects in the Arctic. The global bank has previously committed to spending billions of euros on renewable energy financing and energy efficiency, and has ceased support for coal mines and coal-fired power plants.

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United States Geological Survey

Trump Administration Signs 'Death Sentence' For Pacific Walrus

The Trump administration announced Wednesday it would decline to list the Pacific walrus on the endangered species list, reversing an Obama-era finding that the walruses should be protected under the Endangered Species Act.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recommended in 2011 that the walrus be considered for endangered species status in the near future due to increased habitat loss from disappearing Arctic sea ice. While its Wednesday announcement acknowledged the species faced "stressors" due to habitat loss, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said it could not determine if the walrus will become endangered "in the foreseeable future"—a date the agency defines as 2060.

"This disgraceful decision is a death sentence for the walrus," Shaye Wolf, climate science director at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement. "Walruses face extinction from climate change, and denying them critical protections will push them closer to the edge."

For a deeper dive:

AP, The Guardian, CBS, USA Today, Washington Examiner

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for daily Hot News.

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Arctic Mission vessel ventures into a "new, unexplored and vulnerable ocean region on the planet, the Central Arctic Ocean."

Plastic Debris Found on One of World's Most Inaccessible Sites

It's becoming clear that plastic pollution is everywhere, even at the northernmost tip of the planet.

Scientists have recently found chunks of polystyrene on ice floes in the Central Arctic Ocean, about 1,000 miles from the north pole—an area that could not be accessed before due to sea ice, the Guardian reports.

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Kevin Vallely

'Rowing the Northwest Passage' Chronicles An Expedition Through the Changing North

By Kevin Vallely

In 2013 four adventurers set out on an 80-day rowboat mission through the Arctic's rapidly melting Northwest Passage. Their journey brought them face to face with the changing seas in a world of climate change. In this excerpt from adventurer Kevin Vallely's new book about the expedition, Rowing the Northwest Passage (Greystone Books), we also see how climate change has affected some of the people the team met along their journey:

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Texas National Guard soldiers respond to the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Ssg. Tim Pruitt

Intensity of Harvey's Devastation Linked to Warming

By Alex Kirby

Tropical storm Harvey is by any standard off the scale. Some parts of Texas have received in just over a week the rainfall they would normally expect in an entire year, and the storm is described as generating as much rain as would normally be seen only once in more than 1,000 years.

Exceptional as it is, Harvey is not a direct consequence of climate change, in the judgment of one leading climate scientist, professor Stefan Rahmstorf, co-chair of Earth System Analysis at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in Germany.

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Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, Norway. Wikimedia Commons

5 Nobel Peace Laureates Urge Norway PM Candidates to Show Climate Leadership

By Hannah McKinnon

Five Nobel Peace Laureates have called on Norwegian Prime Ministerial candidates to declare their intent to put an end to fossil fuel exploration and expansion.

The letter, sent in advance of the country's national elections in mid-September, is an appeal for climate leadership.

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Ice-breaking LNG carrier Christophe de Margerie. Sovcomflot

Tanker Crosses Arctic Without Icebreaker for First Time Due to Rapid Melting of Sea Ice

In the Arctic, where warming is happening twice as fast as the rest of the planet, a Russian tanker sailed across the Northern Sea Route in record speed and without the aid of an icebreaker for the first time.

On its maiden journey, the 984-foot Christophe de Margerie tanker transported liquefied natural gas from Norway to South Korea in 19 days, about 30 percent faster than the regular route through the Suez Canal, the ship's owner Sovcomflot boasted.

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