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Encouraging news on the fight against plastic pollution! Europe is one step closer to banning some of the most common single-use plastics to help protect the environment and reduce marine litter.

Negotiators from the European Parliament and Council reached a provisional agreement on Wednesday to reduce use or eliminate plastic products such as cigarette butts, straws, bottles, cutlery and cotton buds. The European Commission—the EU's executive arm—first introduced the sweeping proposal in May.

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Donald Trump announces his decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement on June 1, 2017. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

As representatives of around 200 countries kicked off the COP24 meeting in Katowice, Poland this week to develop a rulebook for implementing the Paris agreement, a new study looked at how U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw has affected the landmark climate accord. The verdict? The so-called 'Trump Effect' has significantly slowed the momentum of global climate action.

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Campaigners say that the EU's domestic ivory trade puts elephants like these at risk from poachers. Ikiwaner / GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2

From bee-killing pesticides to single-use plastics, we can usually rely on the European Union to ban substances and activities that harm wildlife. That's why it's shocking and saddening to learn that the European Commission is walking back a commitment to end its domestic ivory trade, as The Independent reported early Thursday.

The EU banned raw ivory exports in 2017, but many rightly argue that this is not enough to discourage poachers from targeting elephants and slipping illegal items into the EU's legal trade. The U.S., China and the UK have all moved forward with full bans, so the EU is uncharacteristically behind the times on this one.

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JurgaR / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Olivia Desmit

Climate change has fueled raging wildfires around the world, bleached coral reefs and intensified hurricanes—and now it's coming for Europe's fries.

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Frank Straub / EyeEm / Getty Images

Europe must phase out the sales of new gasoline- and diesel-fueled cars by 2028 if it wants to live up to its Paris climate agreement emissions-reduction pledges, according to new research by Germany's Aerospace Center.

Even conventional hybrid cars, which feature gasoline-powered engines, would have to disappear by the mid-2030s if Europe intends to fulfill its part of the Paris deal to limit global warming to 1.5°C, according to the Greenpeace-commissioned study.

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PHILIPPE HUGUEN / AFP / Getty Images

Google announced Wednesday it would expand its innovative, street-by-street air pollution mapping program to an international fleet of 50 Google Street View cars, Business Wire reported.

The program is a partnership with Aclima, a San Francisco company that maps air quality on a block-by-block scale.

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A piece by Indonesian woodcut artist Ari Aminuddin. Rise for Climate

Environmentalists and creative minds around the world are gearing up for this month's major climate action events.

This weekend, people in 89 countries will mobilize for the Rise for Climate global grassroots movement. It will feature 748 local events and rallies across the globe, as well as the largest-ever West Coast climate march to be held in San Francisco this Saturday.

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Halogen light bulbs. Getty Images

Halogen lightbulbs will soon flicker out in Europe after the European Union's ban on the sale of the bulbs comes into effect on Sept. 1.

Households are expected to switch to LED lights, which tend to be more expensive up front, but usually last longer, consume less energy and can save on electricity bills in the long term compared to halogens. Lighting manufacturer Philips estimated to the Guardian that consumers can save up to £112 ($144) a year from the switch.

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People cool themselves at the fountain of the Louvre Pyramid in Paris on July 25, as a heatwave continues across northern Europe, with wildfires breaking out in northern Scandanavia and Greece. BERTRAND GUAY / AFP / Getty Images

Climate change increased the odds of northern Europe's current heatwave, according to a preliminary assessment from scientists.

"We estimate that the probability to have such a heat or higher is generally more than two times higher today than if human activities had not altered climate," according to World Weather Attribution, an international network of researchers who conduct analyses of real-time extreme weather events and its possible connection to climate change.

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July 24, Nettetal, Germany: Potato plants dried up by the heat in a field. The agriculture suffers from the dry weather. Jana Bauch / Getty Images

For farmers in central and northern Europe, this summer's unusually high temperatures aren't just uncomfortable, they are putting their harvests at risk, The Guardian reported Friday.

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

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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