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Shrimp fishing along the coast of Nayarit, Mexico. Tomas Castelazo / Wikimedia, CC BY-SA

By Paula Ezcurra and Octavio Aburto

Thousands of hydroelectric dams are under construction around the world, mainly in developing countries. These enormous structures are one of the world's largest sources of renewable energy, but they also cause environmental problems.

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James Suter / Black Bean Productions / WWF-US

Only a little more than one-third of the world's 246 longest rivers remain free-flowing, drastically reducing the diverse benefits that healthy rivers provide to people and nature everywhere, according to a new study by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and partners.

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Irina Vodneva / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By the Numbers

5: Priority recommendations that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has implemented since March 2018. Those actions relate to chemical standards, nonpoint water pollution and water pollution assessment. There are, however, 14 priority recommendations that the agency has not acted on. (Government Accountability Office)

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Illegal deforestation in Pirititi indigenous land, Roraima, Brazil on May 8, 2018. Felipe Werneck / Ibama / CC BY-SA 2.0

By Robert T. Walker

Over the past 25 years that I have been conducting environmental research in the Amazon, I have witnessed the the ongoing destruction of the world's biggest rainforest. Twenty percent of it has been deforested by now—an area larger than Texas.

I therefore grew hopeful when environmental policies began to take effect at the turn of the millennium, and the rate of deforestation dropped from nearly 11,000 square miles per year to less than 2,000 over the decade following 2004.

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A man photographing a landscape in Brazil, where environmental journalism is under pressure. Cesar Okada / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Kaamil Ahmed

A pair of "French spies" had infiltrated India by sea to commit a "treasonous conspiracy," an Indian minister claimed in late November. In reality, they were two visiting journalists, and their mission was an investigation into allegations of illegal sand mining in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. They had merely tried and failed to visit the site of a major mining company through legal means.

Their presence set off alarm bells among some connected to the industry, and the fallout has been significant. It's included a police investigation, a politically fueled propaganda campaign and the arrests of two local translators who had been working for them.

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The Walney offshore windfarm. David Dixon / CC BY-SA 2.0

Britain's electricity grid hit a "major milestone," as its total renewable electricity capacity leapfrogged fossil fuels for the first time, experts revealed Tuesday.

The total available capacity from wind, solar, biomass, hydro and other renewables reached a record 42 gigawatts between July and September, overtaking the 40.6 gigawatts available from fossil fuels, according to a report commissioned by Drax's Electric Insights and produced by Imperial College London researchers.

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Terry Whittaker / WWF

This year's Living Planet Report shows that populations of animals—including mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians—plummeted by 60 percent between 1970 and 2014. But those living in freshwater are experiencing a far more drastic decline: 83% since 1970. It's a sobering statistic and one tied directly to the ever-increasing pressures that people are putting on natural habitats.

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The Centralia Power Plant in Washington state. Robert Ashworth / CC BY 2.0

By Starre Vartan

It was once Washington state's largest coal pit, a terraced, open-to-the-sky strip mine, five miles from the city of Centralia and halfway between Seattle and Portland, Oregon. Today, the coal beds are quiet and blanketed in green, but an adjacent TransAlta power plant with three tall stacks still churns out electricity the traditional way, with coal now supplied from Wyoming.

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Workers installing solar panels on a barn roof. 10 10 / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

2017 broke the record for increased renewable energy capacity, Reuters reported Sunday. But it still isn't enough to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in line with the goals of the Paris agreement.

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Puntarenas, Costa Rica. kansasphoto/ Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Carlos Alvarado, the new president of Costa Rica, announced the country's "titanic and beautiful task of abolishing the use of fossil fuels in our economy to make way for the use of clean and renewable energies."

He made the remarks at his inauguration speech Wednesday in front of a crowd of thousands, the Independent reported.

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Heavy seas engulf the Block Island Wind Farm—the first U.S. offshore wind farm. Dennis Schroeder / National Renewable Energy Lab / Flickr

By John Hall

The wind industry is growing quickly around the world, especially in China and the U.S., where the total amount of electricity generated by wind turbines nearly doubled between 2011 and 2017.

All told, about 25 percent of global electricity now comes from renewable sources like hydropower, wind and solar energy.

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