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By Verner Wilson II

2018 was a breakthrough year for Arctic conservation work at the International Maritime Organization (IMO). I wrote partly about it in my previous blog. Aside from obtaining internationally recognized routing measures and shipping areas to be avoided (ATBA) in the Bering Sea, IMO also moved forward with regulations to ban the use of Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) in the Arctic.

The United Nations shipping agency also moved to regulate climate-change causing greenhouse gas emissions in the international shipping industry, which is one of the largest emitters of carbon and other atmosphere pollutants. I look forward to continuing that type of work into 2019. And there will be plenty of opportunity for that, as there are a number of IMO subcommittee meetings that will consider pollution reduction and prevention measures. The people who I believe made some of the most significant differences in this work in 2018 were able to come to IMO with me last fall.

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Peyri Herrera / CC BY 2.0

By Kendra Klein

A groundbreaking new study in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association reveals that you can cut your cancer risk by eating an organic diet. The findings are dramatic. In a study that followed nearly 70,000 people, those who ate the most organic food lowered their overall risk of developing cancer by 25 percent. The relationship was strongest for two types of cancer: participants who frequently ate organic had 76 percent fewer lymphomas and 34 percent fewer breast cancers that developed after menopause.

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Caleb George / Unsplash

By Doug Norlen

This month the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a startling report, which finds that severe impacts of climate change are happening much sooner than previously expected, and that countries must take far more aggressive actions to avoid the most catastrophic impacts. The report finds that the burning of fossil fuels must be curbed sharply.

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A healthy vegan snack board of fruit, vegetables, dips, nuts and olives. Enrique Díaz / 7cero / Getty Images

By Chloë Waterman

As the Trump administration's dangerous deregulatory agenda leads us closer to climate catastrophe, cities, counties and businesses are stepping up to address the crisis. Last month, Gov. Jerry Brown and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg released their "Fulfilling America's Pledge" plan, laying out the top climate strategies for subnational governments and businesses, at the Global Climate Action Summit.

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Airubon / Getty Images

By Lisa Archer

Friends of the Earth recently released a brief that raised important questions about laboratory-created animal replacement products (in vitro meat and genetically engineered proteins) that are in development or on the market ahead of robust health and environmental assessment, oversight and labeling.

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A fire broke out at Royal Dutch Shell's Puget Sound refinery in Anacortes, WA in 2010. -jon / Flickr

Friends of the Earth Netherlands announced Wednesday that it will take Shell to court if it does not act on demands to stop its destruction of the climate.

"Shell is among the ten biggest climate polluters worldwide," said Donald Pols, director of Friends of the Earth Netherlands. "It has known for over 30 years that it is causing dangerous climate change, but continues to extract oil and gas and invests billions in the search and development of new fossil fuels."

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A new scorecard released Tuesday finds that 20 out of 25 top food retailers fail to protect bees and people from toxic pesticides. The report, Swarming the Aisles II, shows that while supermarkets have made some general commitments to sustainability and social responsibility, most have failed to take steps to reduce pesticide use in their supply chains.

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Survey participant Vilicus Farms is a first generation, organic, dryland crop farm in northern Hill County, Montana. Anna Jones-Crabtree / Vilicus Farms / Flickr

An overwhelming majority of surveyed farmers are concerned about the proposed Bayer-Monsanto merger and believe it will have a negative impact on independent farmers and farming communities, a recent poll has found.

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By Kari Hamerschlag and Christopher D. Cook

Addressing a crowd of mayors gathered in his hometown last week, former President Obama called on the "new faces of American leadership" on climate change to take swift action to spare our children and grandchildren from a climate catastrophe. Twenty-five U.S. mayors signed the "Chicago Charter," affirming a commitment from their cities to meet the Paris agreement target for greenhouse gas reductions by 2025.

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Victoria Pickering / Flickr

By Lukas Ross

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt headed to Congress for testimony before the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on the environment. The topic of the hearing? "The Mission of the U.S. EPA."

Since Pruitt has been incredibly sparing in his appearances on Capitol Hill, this is a rare chance to ask hard questions of the most controversial administrator in the history of the EPA.

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Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) speaks about the People's Budget on the House floor in 2016. youtube.com

As debate continues on the spending bill, dozens of environmental amendments could receive votes. Here are some to watch:

Harvey Response

Many amendments relate to the role of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the funding of its crucial functions. In light of the tragedy of Hurricane Harvey, some of these amendments highlight the importance role of the EPA in disaster zones—and the dangers of starving it of the funding it needs to do this work.

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