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India is the world's largest cotton producer. Wikimedia Commons

Monsanto Can Claim Patent on GM Cotton in India, Top Court Rules

After a long-standing legal battle, India's top court ruled on Tuesday that Monsanto can own patents on genetically modified cotton seeds, overturning a Delhi High Court ruling that said plant varieties and seeds cannot be patented under the country's laws, according to media reports.

The Supreme Court decision is a rare win for the seed giant—now owned by Germany's Bayer—which is facing more than 9,300 U.S. lawsuits over the safety of its controversial Roundup weedkiller.

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

Journalists Reporting on the Environment Faced Increased Dangers in 2018

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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Insights/Opinion
An especially sanguine view of the Amazon jungle in Peru on Oct. 12, 2018. Kjell Eson / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

10 Most Intriguing Forest Stories of 2018

By Genevieve Belmaker and Joseph Charpentier

Throughout 2018, forests continued to be threatened and destroyed. From the Amazon, to the Congo Basin, to the Mekong Delta and scores of places in between—journalists reporting for Mongabay filed hundreds of stories about the world's forests.

Although the significance of any one story is difficult to gauge in the short-term, several Mongabay reports from 2018 stood out. These pieces dealt with illegal timber trafficking, advances in technology-based environmental protections and human rights protections for the people doing environment-defense work—formal and informal.

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Energy
A coal-fired power plant in Jiangxi, China. chuyu / iStock / Getty Images Plus

IEA: China and India to Fuel Further Rise in Global Coal Demand in 2018

By Daisy Dunne

The IEA's Coal 2018 report finds that global coal demand grew by 1 percent in 2017 after two years of decline. The rise was chiefly driven by global economic growth, it says. Despite recent growth, demand is still below "peak" levels seen in 2014.

Demand is likely to "remain stable" until 2023, the report authors say. This is because falling demand in western Europe and North America is likely to be offset by increased demand in a host of Asian countries, including India, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Carbon Brief takes a look at the IEA's changing coal forecasts for key world regions.

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Climate
A newly built Chinese state-owned coal fired power plant on Feb. 7, 2017. Kevin Frayer / Getty Images AsiaPac

2018 Emissions on Pace to Hit ‘Record High’

As representatives from around 200 countries approach the end of first week negotiations on implementing the Paris agreement, a major new report underscores the urgency of their work.

The Global Carbon Budget 2018 was published in the journal Earth System Science Data Wednesday with the help of more than 70 authors from 53 research institutions, and the news is not good. After a three year lull in the rise of greenhouse gas emissions, emissions in 2018 are projected to shoot up by more than 2 percent, "a new record high," the report highlights from The Global Carbon Project said.

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

3 Ways the ‘Trump Effect’ Puts the Brakes on International Climate Action

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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Popular
Amitabh Bachchan TeachAids / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Indian Cinema Legend Clears Debts of 1,398 Farmers

Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan said he has "taken care" of 1,398 farmers by wiping out more than $560,000 (40m rupees) of their debt, BBC News reported.

"Gratitude leans across to the desire of removing some of the burdens that farmers continue to suffer from ... and the inner peace it generates when the desired is completed," the 76-year-old Indian film legend wrote in a blog post on Tuesday.

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Health
Prayitno / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Vehicle Pollution Could Increase Risk of Childhood Obesity

From ear infections to loss of intelligence, it's become increasingly clear that air pollution can affect more than just our lungs.

Now, a study from University of Southern California researchers suggested that early exposure to traffic pollution increases the risk of childhood obesity in later life, adding more evidence that dirty air is a public health threat to children.

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Residents stand in a long queue to fill water containers on May 27 in Shimla, India. Deepak Sansta / Hindustan Times / Getty Images

World Peace Requires Access to Safe Water

International Peace Day is Sept. 21. Mekela Panditharatne, attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, submitted the following op-ed to EcoWatch in commemoration.

In drought-ravaged East Africa, the cracks in the plains echo the fault lines splitting tribes.

Across the globe, the devastation of deadly brawls is being exacerbated by tensions over access to water. Water crises, often worsened by governance failures, can portend warning signs for instability and conflict. This year, the World Resources Institute cautioned that water stress is growing globally, "with 33 countries projected to face extremely high stress in 2040." The effects of such water stress span the gamut from civil unrest to open warfare.

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