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A worker inspects recycled plastic in a plastics factory. Getty Images

The Plastic Waste Crisis Is an Opportunity to Get Serious About Recycling

By Kate O'Neill

A global plastic waste crisis is building, with major implications for health and the environment. Under its so-called "National Sword" policy, China has sharply reduced imports of foreign scrap materials. As a result, piles of plastic waste are building up in ports and recycling facilities across the U.S.

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Thailand's Wai Mei Dat center filled with imported e-waste. baselactionnetwork / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

Thailand to Ban Imports of Plastics and E-Waste

Thailand has joined Vietnam and Malaysia in cracking down on the world's trash. Thailand will stop accepting more than 400 types of electronic waste (e-waste), including circuit boards, old TVs and radios, within six months, an environment ministry official told Reuters.

The decision was made Wednesday at a meeting chaired by Surasak Kanchanarat, the environment minister. Imports of plastic waste will also be banned in two years, although specific details of the program are not yet known, Reuters reported.

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Climate

China’s Breadbasket Could Suffer the Worst of Climate Change’s Deadly Heat Waves

Deadly heat waves are breaking records and making headlines around the world this summer, but they have nothing on the heat waves that the North China Plain is likely to see in the future if we don't act now to combat climate change.

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Energy
Vehicle charging points at a railway station in France. François GOGLINS via Wikimedia Commons

Electric Vehicle Sales Foretell a Big Oil Crash

By Paul Brown

Oil and gas companies have underestimated probable electric vehicle sales and the effect they will have on their own businesses and profits, a new report says.

If the car manufacturers' projections of future sales of electric cars are correct, then demand for oil will have peaked by 2027 or even earlier, sending the price of oil in a downward spiral as supply exceeds demand, said Carbon Tracker (CT), an independent financial think-tank carrying out in-depth analysis on the impact of the energy transition on capital markets.

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World's Plastic Waste Problem Now Predicted to Reach 111 Million Metric Tonnes by 2030

Mountains of plastic waste are building up around the globe after China implemented a ban on other countries' trash.

By 2030, an estimated 111 million metric tons of single-use drink bottles, food containers and other plastic junk will be displaced because of China's new policy, according to a new paper from University of Georgia researchers, who cited UN global trade data for their study.

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Minnesota Senate Building solar array ribbon-cutting ceremony on May 10. MN Administration / CC BY 2.0

U.S. Sees Steady Solar Growth Despite Trump, But China Slashes Subsidies

By Andy Rowell

Donald Trump can't stop the sun from shining. Despite the climate denier's pro-fossil fuel agenda, and despite his tariffs on imported solar panels, the U.S. still installed more solar than any other source of energy in the first quarter of the year.

The amount of solar power installed in the U.S. climbed 13 percent in the first quarter, according to the trade body, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

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Energy

Chinese Gas Pipeline Explosion Injures 24 People

A natural gas pipeline operated by the state-owned China National Petroleum Corp. exploded in the southwestern Guizhou province on Sunday night.

At least 24 people were "seriously injured," Xinhua reported Monday, citing local government authorities. Eight people are reportedly in critical condition and 16 in serious condition. No deaths were reported.

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Electric Vehicle Sales More Than Doubled in 2017

A record number of electric vehicles (EVs) were sold in 2017, more than doubling the number of EVs on the road, a report released Wednesday by the International Energy Agency (IEA) found.

The report, Global EV Outlook 2018, gave a summary of the state of EVs today and estimated their progress through 2030.

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Climate
China's Xiangjiang river nears its record level in 2017. Huangdan2060 / Wikimedia Commons

Climate Change Damage in China Could Harm U.S. Economy, Study Finds

By Tim Radford

German scientists have shown once again that climate change remains a global problem, with China's climate impact, for instance, hurting the economy of the U.S. Disastrous flooding—likely to increase as the world warms, and ever more water enters the atmosphere—in one country could reverberate in ways that could harm another nation's economy.

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