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70% of Venice Flooded by Highest Tide in at Least a Decade
Venice is the Mediterranean World Heritage Site currently most at risk from flooding due to sea level rise, according to a recent study, and the city even has elevated sidewalks ready in case of high tides, but Monday's waters rose higher than the emergency sidewalks.
The tide surpassed 5 feet, 3 inches, making it the highest recorded since 2008 and potentially the highest recorded since 1979, CNN reported.
The high water didn't stop tourists from wading around famous landmarks like Piazza San Marco as business owners worked to keep water from entering their shops. Videos posted to social media showed waiters serving pizza in rubber boots, waves crashing against historic buildings and a jellyfish swimming up a cobblestone street.
Runners in the Venice Marathon competed Sunday despite 'the worst conditions ever for the event."
The flooding in Venice is immediately caused by a low-pressure system that has also brought flooding, wind and rain to other parts of northern Italy. At least six people have died, and popular Roman tourist sites like the Colosseum and Roman Forum were closed, the Huffington Post reported.
Venice, however, is increasingly used to flooding because of a combination of incoming silt, climate change and methane gas drilling in the sea nearby that undermines its islands, ABC News reported. When tide levels lower to 110 centimeters (approximately 3.6 feet) on Tuesday, they will be at levels Venice sees about four times a year, CNN said.
Venice has been working on an ambitious series of flood barriers since 2003 dubbed "Project Moses." The project features retractable gates that would block the entrance to the city's lagoon when tides are high, but corruption scandals and high costs have beset the operation, which should be completed in 2022 and has already cost around $6.5 billion, the Huffington Post reported.
But an article published in YaleEnvironment360 last year pointed out that the barrier, which was first conceived after a record-breaking 1966 flood, was only designed to withstand 1 foot of sea level rise, and some scientists think we could see 2 feet by 2050.
"After that, the sea will come in from other places to the north and the south. There is nothing we can do to stop it," project spokesperson Monica Ambrosini said.
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Tropical forests globally are being lost at a rate of 61,000 square miles a year. And despite conservation efforts, the global rate of loss is accelerating. In 2016 it reached a 15-year high, with 114,000 square miles cleared.
At the same time, many countries are pledging to restore large swaths of forests. The Bonn Challenge, a global initiative launched in 2011, calls for national commitments to restore 580,000 square miles of the world's deforested and degraded land by 2020. In 2014 the New York Declaration on Forests increased this goal to 1.35 million square miles, an area about twice the size of Alaska, by 2030.
By Cheryl Leahy
Do you think almond milk comes from a cow named Almond? Or that almonds lactate? The dairy industry thinks you do, and that's what it's telling the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
For years, the dairy industry has been flexing its lobbying muscle, pressuring states and the federal government to restrict plant-based companies from using terms like "milk" on their labels, citing consumer confusion.
By Jeremy Deaton
A driver planning to make the trek from Denver to Salt Lake City can look forward to an eight-hour trip across some of the most beautiful parts of the country, long stretches with nary a town in sight. The fastest route would take her along I-80 through southern Wyoming. For 300 miles between Laramie and Evanston, she would see, according to a rough estimate, no fewer than 40 gas stations where she could fuel up her car. But if she were driving an electric vehicle, she would see just four charging stations where she could recharge her battery.
Fire Continues at Texas Petrochemical Plant as Company's History of Violations Gets Renewed Scrutiny
By Andrea Germanos
A petrochemical plant near Houston continued to burn for a second day on Monday, raising questions about the quality and safety of the air.
The Deer Park facility is owned by Intercontinental Terminals Company (ITC), which said the fire broke out at roughly 10:30 a.m. Sunday. Seven tanks are involved, the company said, and they contain naptha, xylene, "gas blend stocks" and "base oil."
"It's going to have to burn out at the tank," Ray Russell, communications officer for Channel Industries Mutual Aid, which is aiding the response effort, said at a news conference. It could take "probably two days" for that to happen, he added.
The hillsides dyed orange with poppies may look like something out of a dream, but for the Southern California town of Lake Elsinore, that dream quickly turned into a nightmare.
The town of 66,000 people was inundated with around 50,000 tourists coming to snap pictures of the golden poppies growing in Walker Canyon as part of a superbloom of wildfires caused by an unusually wet winter, BBC News reported. The visitors trampled flowers and caused hours of traffic, The Guardian reported.
A controversial pesticide test that would have resulted in the deaths of 36 beagles has been stopped, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the company behind the test announced Monday. The announcement comes less than a week after HSUS made the test public when it released the results of an investigation into animal testing at Charles River Laboratories in Michigan.
"We have immediately ended the study that was the subject of attention last week and will make every effort to rehome the animals that were part of the study," Corteva Agriscience, the agriculture division of DowDupont, said in a statement announcing its decision.