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95% of World's Population Breathes Unsafe Air

A report released Tuesday found that 95 percent of the world's population is exposed to dangerous levels of air pollution, CNN reported.

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Renewable Energy
Solar panels floating on a lake created by the collapse of abandoned coal mines in Liulong, China. georgeekman / Flickr

Solar Capacity Exceeded All Other Fuel Sources Combined in 2017, Study Finds

In 2017, the world invested more in solar power than it did in any other energy technology and installed more new solar capacity than all other energy sources combined, including fossil fuels.

Those are the bright findings of a UN-backed report Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2018, published Thursday.

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Business
Soybean harvest. United Soybean Board

Why China’s Soybean Tariffs Matter

By Ian Sheldon

China's plan to levy a 25 percent tariff on imports of U.S. soybeans may come as something of a surprise to most Americans. But to a professor of agricultural economics who studies international commodity markets for a living, this was not at all unexpected.

Even before the conclusion of the 2016 presidential race, trade analysts were already weighing the possibility that China might impose an embargo on U.S. soybean imports based on protectionist rhetoric from both candidates.

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Climate
Alaska's Columbia glacier has melted away, leaving a pool of water in its wake. NASA

Trump Wants to Eliminate NASA’s Climate Research Programs: These Pictures Show What a Loss That Would Be

By Jeremy Deaton

President Trump's proposed 2019 budget would slash funding for NASA's Earth Science Division, and while his budget hasn't gained traction in Congress, it is an important statement of the administration's priorities. In a nod to his allies in the fossil fuel industry, Trump is calling for the elimination of vital programs that monitor carbon pollution and climate change.

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Climate
Initial estimates say air pollution sources in China have increased by more than half since 2010. High Contrast / Wikimedia Commons

Pollution Sources in China Increased More Than 50 Percent in Eight Years

The number of pollution sources in China has gone up by more than 50 percent since 2010, Reuters reported Thursday, indicating that the country still has a lot of work to do in its efforts to clean up its environment.

The announcement was made Thursday in the first regular press briefing given by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE), the newly-enhanced environment ministry which was renamed and given added jurisdiction over marine ecology, agricultural pollution and climate change this month as part of what Chemical & Engineering News reported was the biggest shake-up in the Chinese government in 20 years.

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Fuel economy and air pollution regulations have lowered pollution and pushed industry innovation. Federated Conservationists of Westchester County / Flickr

Why EPA’s U-Turn on Auto Efficiency Rules Gives China the Upper Hand

By Greg Dotson

The Trump administration is poised to ease pollution and efficiency rules for new passenger cars and trucks, giving automakers a reprieve from more stringent Obama-era standards. But in the process, it could yield global leadership in the auto sector to the Chinese.

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Politics
China has banned 24 kinds of foreign waste, including materials used in plastic bottles.

U.S. Asks China to 'Immediately Halt' Ban on Foreign Waste

Last year, China—the world's largest importer of wasteannounced it no longer wanted to take in other countries' trash so it could focus on its own pollution problems.

This unexpected policy shift, which took effect Jan. 1, has left exporters in the U.S., Canada, Ireland, Germany and other European countries scrambling for solutions for their growing mountains of trash, the New York Times reported.

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Business

World's First Mass-Market 3D-Printed Electric Car Costs Less Than $10K

The world's first mass-produced 3D-printed electric vehicle could hit the roads by 2019.

Italian startup X Electrical Vehicle (XEV) and Shanghai-based Polymaker, a 3D-printing filament manufacturer, are behind the LSEV—a $9,500 two-seater with a top speed of 42 miles per hour and a range of 93 miles.

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Insights
Galvanized steel coil rolls in a plant. Shutterstock

Rethinking Trade, Steel and Climate

President Trump's proposed steel and aluminum tariffs have reopened a confusing debate about trade, made harder to follow by the incoherence of the president's approach. But it's a debate we need to have, and clarify, because along with its incoherence, Trump's proposal correctly challenges the establishment wisdom that the current international trade framework is, broadly, the best the U.S. could hope for.

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