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  3. In hydraulic fracturing, a slurry of water, sand, and chemicals is blasted at high pressure through a well pipe that reaches a mile or more into a layer of shale. There, the high-pressure fluid cracks open the porous rock, unlocking trapped oil and gas and releasing it to flow back up the well. Like all energy extraction methods, fracking has a multitude of environmental impacts, but one critical question will determine fracking’s future: Does fracking contaminate drinking water? 

    The politics of fracking

     


  4. Have you cut your energy consumption — and greenhouse gas emissions — by 40 percent in recent years? Didn’t think so. Neither have I, or many of the other seven billion people on the planet. In a draft of their final report that was leaked last week to The New York Times, scientists on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have concluded that the world is not heeding their repeated warnings, and that mankind’s heavy use of fossil fuels — and emissions of carbon dioxide — are increasing, not declining by 25 to 40 percent, as they recommended.

    Resistance remains strong. If plan A is prevent climate change through massive, collective sacrifice, let’s face it: It’s time to start working on plan B.

    — William Falk, in Why climate change is inevitable
     

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  6. If trends continue, solar energy prices could be competitive with coal by 2020.

    Get ready for a massive renewable energy boom

     


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  8. In the wake of 2011’s Fukushima nuclear disaster, Japan installed solar panels at such a furious rate that the small nation is quickly becoming the largest solar market in the world.

     

  9. Can cloning redwoods help fight climate change?

    A recent study revealed Earth is currently warmer than any given point in the past 11,300 years. So what should we do? 

    One idea: Clone and plant a lot of gigantic trees with a glutton’s appetite for carbon dioxide.  Archangel Ancient Tree Archive is spearheading a movement to plant California’s towering redwood trees in Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, Ireland, Canada, Germany, and other parts of the United States. 

    According to NASA previous research has demonstrated that these monstrous organisms are capable of digesting much more carbon than any other tree on the planet.

    Read more…

    Photo from: DLILLC/Corbis

     


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  11. Photos taken over nine consecutive days demonstrate the air pollution levels in the sky over Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Air quality in Beijing has been at “very unhealthy” and “hazardous” levels since the beginning of this year. PHOTO: REUTERS/Wei Yao

     

  12. On this day in 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant established the nation’s first national park — Yellowstone. A future president, Gerald Ford, worked as a park ranger at Yellowstone — the only President to ever work as a park ranger.

    Here’s what else happened on this day in history

     

  13. Drones aren’t always the rights-infringing death machines conjured up by news stories. Sometimes they do the world quite a bit of good. Take the above nature footage by Thomas Renck, a hobbyist whose camera-equipped tricopter captured a pack of wild coyotes sweeping across a hillside in Riverside, Calif. The vantage point makes the video look like something straight out of a Discovery Channel documentary.

    More: Breathtaking nature footage taken from a drone