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Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life
The Biden administration is temporarily using Obama-era calculations of the "social cost" of three greenhouse gas pollutants while calculating a more accurate estimate. Bloomberg Creative / Getty Images

The Biden administration announced it will use Obama-era calculations of the "social cost" of three greenhouse gas pollutants while an interagency working group calculates a more complete estimate, the White House announced Friday.

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

An oil pumpjack is seen in a Texas cotton field against a backdrop of wind energy. ChrisBoswell / Getty Images

Many congressional districts with the most clean energy potential are current fossil fuel hubs, potentially reducing political barriers to a just transition away from the energy sources that cause climate change, a Brookings report says.

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Xsandra / Getty Images

Looking for ways to cut down on single-use plastic while grocery shopping? You may already have eco-friendly shopping bags, but bringing your own reusable produce bags is another easy swap.

According to the UN Environment Program, up to 5 trillion single-use plastic bags are used globally each year, and because of the material they're made from, most municipal recycling centers don't accept them (more on this below).

The most sustainable option is to skip the bag altogether. You can also make your own reusable produce bags out of old T-shirts. But if you'd rather purchase them new, here are our recommendations for the best reusable produce bags on the market today.

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Gas utilities and industry trade groups are fighting across the country to prohibit municipalities from taking steps to cut greenhouse gas pollution from buildings. tomazl / Getty Images

Gas utilities and industry trade groups are fighting across the country to prohibit municipalities from taking steps to cut greenhouse gas pollution from buildings, efforts those utilities and groups view as an existential threat, NPR and the Washington Post report.

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Wetlands of Okavango Delta, Botswana. Martin Harvey / The Image Bank / Getty Images

Scientists have long warned the public about compound climate events when climate change drivers combine with climate disasters. One occurrence may already be happening in East Africa, a study published Wednesday found.

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Pipeline construction cuts through forests and farms in Appalachia. Erin Brock Carlson / CC BY-SA

By Erin Brock Carlson and Martina Angela Caretta

More than 2 million miles of natural gas pipelines run throughout the United States. In Appalachia, they spread like spaghetti across the region.

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Wetlands play a key role in regulating the planet's climate. sdbower / Getty Images

By Tim Schauenberg

Although wetlands cover less than 4% of the Earth's surface, 40% of all animal species live or reproduce in them. One-third of all organic matter on our planet is stored in places like the gigantic Pantanal wetland in western Brazil, the Sudd floodplain in southern Sudan or the Wasjugan Marsh in western Siberia.

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The moon over the Svalbard Islands, Norway, and the Arctic Ocean, where a study has linked tidal rhythms to methane release. MB Photography / Moment / Getty Images

The moon helps to control the release of methane from the Arctic Ocean.

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More than 30,000 abandoned oil and gas wells litter the floor of the Gulf of Mexico. Chris Graythen / Getty Images

More than 30,000 abandoned oil and gas wells litter the floor of the Gulf of Mexico in federal waters, the vast majority of those permanently — with many likely leaking methane and other pollutants in perpetuity, the Environmental Health Network reports.

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Researchers say they have observed methane being released along a wide swath of the slope of the Laptev Sea. Aerohod / CC BY-SA 4.0

Arctic Ocean sediments are full of frozen gases known as hydrates, and scientists have long been concerned about what will happen when and if the climate crisis induces them to thaw. That is because one of them is methane, a greenhouse gas that has 80 times the warming impact of carbon dioxide over a 20 year period. In fact, the U.S. Geological Survey has listed Arctic hydrate destabilization as one of the four most serious triggers for even more rapid climate change.

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White thick smoke of methane gas seeps up between layers of garbage and waste at a dumping zone in Belgharia, India that has been leaking uncontrolled methane since 2008. Jonas Gratzer / LightRocket via Getty Images

Large methane leaks rose 32 percent in the first eight months of 2020, according to Paris-based data firm Karryos, as Reuters reported.

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Newlight's Air Carbon cutlery is made of methane and degrades in the ocean the way cellulose would. Newlight

Newlight Technologies, a California biotech company, has set its sights on curbing greenhouse gas emissions and marine plastic pollution simultaneously. The startup uses ocean bacteria to create a new material that is made of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, and that can replace many single-use plastics and leathers.

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Emitting methane will always be worse than emitting the same quantity of carbon dioxide, no matter the time scale.
Алексей Филатов / Getty Images

By Zebedee Nicholls and Tim Baxter

Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change.

If you have a question you'd like an expert to answer, please send it to [email protected]

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