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Bonn Climate Change Conference, June 4 2015. UNclimatechange / Flickr.

UN Urges World Leaders to Heed Climate Risk, Warns of More Severe Disasters

By Paul Brown

The hurricanes and wildfires that have severely damaged large areas of the U.S. in recent weeks have had no impact on President Donald Trump's determination to ignore the perils of climate change and support the coal industry.

In a deliberate denial of mainstream science, the Trump administration has issued a strategic four-year plan for the U.S. Environment Protection Agency that does not once mention "greenhouse gas emissions," "carbon dioxide" or "climate change" in its 48 pages.

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California Wildfires: Death Toll Rises to 23, 'Worst Air Quality Ever Recorded' in Bay Area

Firefighters continue to battle the unprecedented wildfires ravaging Northern California.

As of Wednesday, the fast-moving blazes—aided by high winds and low humidity—have burned nearly 170,000 acres and destroyed at least 3,500 homes and commercial structures since the outbreak started Sunday.

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Food

Food and Water Security and the Climate Crisis: What You Need to Know

Chances are you've heard the line that the climate crisis affects all of us, wherever we live and whether we know it or not. But how? Especially if you haven't been personally touched by a climate-related hurricane or drought or other weather event?

You don't have to look far for an answer. In fact, most of us just need to look at what's on our plates.

Why? If we keep burning fossil fuels at our current rates, food may become harder and harder to grow in many places, and what does grow could be less and less nutritious. Fresh drinking water could become more and more scarce as polluted floodwater runoff contaminates rivers, lakes and reservoirs—or drought and warming combine to simply dry it all up.

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A thinning forest in Bolivia. Wayne Walker

Degraded Tropical Forests Now Release More Carbon Than They Store, New Study Finds

Tropical forests may no longer be acting as carbon sinks and could be releasing more carbon than they store, according to troubling new research.

A study published Thursday in the journal Science finds that forests across Asia, Latin America and Africa release 425 metric tons of carbon per year, which is equivalent to nearly one-tenth of the U.S.' annual carbon footprint.

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Soy was one of the key agricultural crops found to have decreased nutritional content when grown in a high C02 environment. Bigstockphoto

C02 and Food: We Can't Sacrifice Quality for Quantity

Bigger isn't always better. Too much of a good thing can be bad. Many anti-environmentalists throw these simple truths to the wind, along with caution.

You can see it in the deceitful realm of climate change denial. It's difficult to keep up with the constantly shifting—and debunked—denier arguments, but one common thread promoted by the likes of the Heartland Institute in the U.S. and its Canadian affiliate, the misnamed International Climate Science Coalition, illustrates the point. They claim carbon dioxide is good for plants, and plants are good for people, so we should aim to pump even more CO2 into the atmosphere than we already are.

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Hurricane Irma damage in northeast Florida. St. Johns County Fire Rescue

Why Hurricanes Harvey and Irma Won’t Lead to Action on Climate Change

By Scott Gabriel Knowles

It's not easy to hold the nation's attention for long, but three solid weeks of record-smashing hurricanes directly affecting multiple states and at least 20 million people will do it.

Clustered disasters hold our attention in ways that singular events cannot—they open our minds to the possibility that these aren't just accidents or natural phenomena to be painfully endured. As such, they can provoke debates over the larger "disaster lessons" we should be learning. And I would argue the combination of Harvey and Irma has triggered such a moment.

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U.S. Army soldiers drive a woman to safety following flooding from Hurricane Harvey in Orange, Texas. Spc. Austin T. Boucher

Beyond Harvey and Irma: Homeland Security in the Climate Change Era

By Michael T. Klare

Deployed to the Houston area to assist in Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, U.S. military forces hadn't even completed their assignments when they were hurriedly dispatched to Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to face Irma, the fiercest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who had sent members of the state National Guard to devastated Houston, anxiously recalled them while putting in place emergency measures for his own state. A small flotilla of naval vessels, originally sent to waters off Texas, was similarly redirected to the Caribbean, while specialized combat units drawn from as far afield as Colorado, Illinois and Rhode Island were rushed to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Meanwhile, members of the California National Guard were being mobilized to fight wildfires raging across that state (as across much of the West) during its hottest summer on record.

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Smoke obscures much of the Pacific Northwest on Sept. 6, 2017. NASA / Goddard, Lynn Jenner

Severe Wildfires Spread in Western States During Unprecedented Drought

An intense and deadly fire season continued to exhaust Western firefighters this week as drought envelops the region.

Officials reported Wednesday that more than one million acres total have burned during Montana's fire season. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock declared a state of emergency last week, calling this "one of the worst fire seasons" in the state's history.

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Ronald F. Billings / Texas Forest Service / bugwood.org

Killer Beetle Spreads Forest Destruction North

By Tim Radford

An unwelcome invader from the south has begun to infiltrate the U.S., destroying property and reducing income—and this time the blame can be securely pinned to climate change.

The southern pine beetle (Dendroctonus frontalis) from Central America, one of the most voracious of tree-killing infestations, has already made itself at home in southern New Jersey and could infect the northern U.S. and southern Canada by 2080.

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