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NEWS UPDATE #184


HIGHLIGHTS: *Coal-fired power plants killing 80,000 adults in India yearly *Clashes erupt over water, power across India *Narmada flows “backwards”, sea water intrudes 72 km *Andhra to become India’s first Zero Budget Natural Farming state *Anti-coal mine activist shot dead In Jharkhand *CO2 levels exceed 411ppm *Puerto Rico death toll from Hurricane Maria near 5,000

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INDIA

Coal-fired power plants killing 80,000 adults in India every year: Study
Economic Times
More than 10,000 people (above 25 years) in Maharashtra die prematurely every year due to toxic emissions from thermal power plants, which is the highest in the country. Nationally the figure is nearly 80,000 adults. All this because 300 thermal power plants have failed to meet the air pollution norms that were granted an extension by the Central Electricity Authority and Central Pollution Control Board. The study by Louisiana State University (LSU) revealed that 9 lakh premature deaths in the country can be avoided if mitigation measures to curb air pollution are taken.

Run for cover: 100 days, 44 storms, 16 states, 423 deaths
Down to Earth
Since February this year, India has witnessed more than 44 storms in 16 states. About 423 people have been killed and over 785 people have been injured. The storms also caused massive damage to property—almost 5,000 houses collapsed. In some places, wind speeds exceeded 130 km per hour—when the threshold speed for storms is about 90-100 km per hour. The storms also affected people’s livelihoods. Apart from killing live-stock, standing crops in nearly 0.7 million hectares in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, Telangana, Chhattisgarh and Jammu and Kashmir were destroyed. In Punjab, 0.9 million quintals of harvested wheat were ruined. Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan suffered the maximum damage.

As summer advances, clashes erupt over water, power across India
Hindustan Times
More bodies may pile up as the summer advances. On May 11, two people were killed, 60 injured and 3,000 arrested in Aurangabad in communal riots triggered by the crackdown by the municipal corporation on illegal water connections. What’s true of Wazirpur may well apply to India on a broader scale: too many people and a limited supply of the basic human necessities. A study by the Water Resources Institute reveals that 14 of India’s 20 largest thermal utilities shut down at least once due to water shortages between 2013 and 2016, costing the companies $1.4 billion. (Related: 1) Cut water connections of 224 hotels in Shimla: HP high court) 2) Water crisis looming large over Himachal, warn environmentalists)

As Narmada flows “backwards”, sea water intrudes 72 km in the river, destroying farms, fish catch: Petition to NGT
Counterview
“Failure” to maintain what is called “environmental flow” in the downstream of Narmada river is leading a major ecological disaster in South Gujarat, with salinity ingress affecting the river till about 72 km upstream of mouth of the river in Gulf of Khambhat. A petition filed with the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has estimated that the failure has resulted in tidal effects being felt 100 km upstream. Pointing out that “reduced flows in Narmada have caused salinity” along the Narmada river, destroying agricultural lands, the petition, filed Jayesh Rathi of the Narmada Pradushan Nivaran Samiti, a local environmental group, and the Bharuch Citizens’ Council, has said that “Narmada River at present literally flows backwards during the tides in the dry season, transferring salt and pollution from industries in Bharuch upstream.”

Land Degraded In India Equivalent Of Rajasthan, MP And Maharashtra Put Together, $47Bn Loss
IndiaSpend
The annual economic loss due to degraded land and change in land use in India was valued at Rs 3.17 lakh crore ($46.90 billion) in 2014-15–2.5% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2014-15–according to a recent study commissioned by the ministry of environment and climate change. The government needs to speed up reclamation as the cost of land degradation will outstrip the cost of reclamation in 2030, according to the 2018 study done by The Energy and Resource Institute (TERI), a Delhi-based think-tank.

Monsoon rain may decline by 45% in long term, shows climate model made by Indian scientists
The Print
An advanced climate model, developed by a group of Indian researchers from around the world, predicts an overall decline of 45 per cent in the monsoon rainfall in the long term, with severe repercussions. The researchers came to the conclusion that in the long term, these systems, especially the ones that originate over the Bay of Bengal and dump moisture on land, will slowly reduce in intensity and frequency. The model also shows these storms are slowly moving upwards in their sites of genesis, towards the poles, and will thus reduce overall summer precipitation in the country.

Farmers’ protests brings urban rural divide to the fore
Live Mint
The ongoing protests by farmers attempting to restrict the supply of milk and fresh produce to cities has highlighted differences between farmer unions on modes of protest, especially on the question of whether to risk rattling urban consumers. Some of the largest unions, which see urban India as an ally, are unwilling to inconvenience people in the city and have, therefore, stayed away from the strike called between 1 June and 10 June demanding loan waivers and better crop prices. As a result, current protests have been limited to a few regions in Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Maharashtra, with negligible impact on retail prices in major cities. (Related: 1) Farmers across India have gone on a 10-day strike from June 1. Why are some staying away? 2) A year after police shot six farmers in Mandsaur, memorial events highlight unfulfilled demands)

Thousands in Maharashtra Are Opposing What Could Be ‘Globe’s Largest’ Oil Refinery
The Wire
The oil refinery, planned over an expanse of over 15,000 acres of land in Maharashtra’s Konkan region, if it takes off, will inevitably displace farmers and fisherfolk from 17 villages – 15 villages in Ratnagiri and two in neighbouring Sindhudurg along the western coast. The Rs 3 lakh crore oil refinery project which, officials say, will employ over one lakh people, is being opposed by all political parties, including the Shiv Sena, by environmentalists and also by human rights activists. But so far, the government has stayed resolute in its decision and in April, amidst opposition, it went ahead with signing a Memorandum of Understanding between Saudi Aramco and three state-owned companies.

Andhra Pradesh to become India’s first Zero Budget Natural Farming state
UN Environment
The Government of Andhra Pradesh has today launched a scale-out plan to transition 6 million farms/farmers cultivating 8 million hectares of land from conventional synthetic chemical agriculture to Zero-Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) by 2024, making Andhra Pradesh India’s first 100 per cent natural farming state. The programme is a contribution towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals, focusing on ‘No Poverty’, ‘Clean Water and Sanitation’, ‘Responsible Consumption and Production’, and ‘Life on Land’. It is led by Rythu Sadhikara Samstha (RySS) – a not-for-profit established by the Government to implement the ZBNF programme. (Also read: Bihar to give free crop assistance to all farmers)

NGT orders closure of 350 polluting units in Taloja
The Times of India
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Wednesday brought huge relief to people living along the Kasadi river and Panvel creek by ordering immediate closure of 350 polluting industries in Navi Mumbai’s Taloja MIDC area till further orders. The NGT’s principal bench in Delhi also directed the Taloja MIDC Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) managers to deposit Rs 5 crore as penalty in addition to the Rs 5 crore asked to be deposited last month for failing to contain pollution of the river. (Also read: NGT issues notices on plea to halt road through Corbett)

After forest fires, Uttarakhand is now hit by cloudburst; Kumaon region badly affected
Down to Earth
fter enduring a long spell of forest fires, Uttarkhand is now experiencing torrential rains with cloudbursts being reported from places Uttarkashi, Pauri, Tehri and Balakot. Three children were swept away by flood waters after heavy rains in Uttarkashi’s Gangtadi. Apart from the cloudbursts, there have been heavy rains in several districts. Rains in Pithoragarh district have wreaked havoc on the Indo-Nepal border in the Kali and Gori river basins. In fact, most of the districts in Kumaon region are experiencing torrential rains along with landslides. IMD’s latest release says nothing about the intensity of the cloudburst except mentioning that rain and thundershowers were observed at isolated places over Uttarakhand.

Decline in low-intensity rainfall reduces groundwater recharge in north India
The Hindu
Based on data collected between 1996 and 2016 from over 5,800 groundwater wells spread across India, researchers from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Gandhinagar have been able to find that rainfall intensity is “strongly” linked to groundwater recharge. While low-intensity rainfall during summer monsoon is responsible for groundwater recharge in the case of India, particularly north-west and north-central India, high-intensity rainfall is a major driver for recharging groundwater in south India. The size of aquifers and the yield are much larger in north India compared with south India. (Also read: New Weather Prediction Systems to Help IMD Make Better Forecasts)

Rajnath Singh Launches Online Tool to Monitor Foreign Funded NGO
India.com
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday launched an Online Analytical Tool to facilitate closer monitoring of the flow and utilisation of foreign contributions received by various organisations registered or permitted under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010. This web-based tool enables decision-makers in various Departments of Government to scrutinise source of foreign funds and their actual use in India. It gives them capacity to take data-driven and evidence-based decisions regarding the compliance of the provisions of the FCRA, 2010. It has analytical features to conduct big data mining and data exploration.

Not just Sterlite, Norway Bank blacklisted 17 top Indian companies for environmental, human rights violations
Counterview
Following a recent report in The Wire regarding Norges Bank (NB) deciding not to invest funds from Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) in the controversial Tamil Nadu company, Sterlite, a few years ago “due to an unacceptable risk of complicity in current and future severe environmental damage and systematic human rights violations”, a fresh investigation has revealed that it wasn’t the only Indian company that was blacklisted. The private companies blacklisted include Reliance Infrastructure, Reliance Power and Tata Power Company for “more than 30% operations are relate to thermal coal”, POSCO for “severe environmental damage”, Vedanta Resources for “systematic human rights violation” as also “severe environmental damage”, Imperial Brands and ITC for tobacco production, Zuari Agro Chemicals for “employment of child labour”, and Cairn Energy for “serious violation of fundamental ethical norms”. (Related: 1) Who gave the shooting order, Madras HC asks Tamil Nadu govt on anti-Sterlite protests 2) People’s Inquest into Thoothukudi Firings – INTERIM OBSERVATIONS)

Anti-Coal Mine Activist Suresh Oraon Shot Dead In Jharkhand
Countercurrents
Suresh Oraon (27) of Purnadih Chatra Jharkhand was shot dead this morning. Suresh and his people were the owners of the land on which the state owned Central Coalfields Limited (CCL) built their Purnadih coal mines. Suresh kept fighting CCL and their mafia against land grabbing. When CCL bulldozed the resistance Suresh and community started fighting for jobs and compensation. When CCL started to dump mine waste into the Damodar river they took the management to court and won.(Also read: Alik Chakrabarty, face of Bhangar movement arrested from Odisha hospital)

South Delhi Municipal Corporation becomes ‘first’ civic body in country to generate solar energy, selling surplus power
Economic Times
The SDMC today claimed that it has become the “first” civic body in the country to generate solar energy by installing panels over rooftops of its over 55 buildings and earn a huge income in three months by selling surplus power to a power distribution company. The SDMC also plans to install solar panels over rooftops of its 400 buildings by June 2019, in a bid to ramp up its efforts to go green and earn revenue simultaneously, officials said. As much as 2500 KW peak solar power is being generated from the solar panels installed in 54 schools and a community centre, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation said in a statement. (Also read: Delhi-NCR witnesses major spike in ozone levels with progress of summer: CSE)

India will abolish all single-use plastic by 2022, vows Narendra Modi
The Guardian
India will eliminate all single-use plastic in the country by 2022, the prime minister, Narendra Modi, has announced. The pledge is the most ambitious yet of the global actions to combat plastic pollution that are taking place in 60 nations around the world. Modi’s move aims to drastically stem the flow of plastic from the 1.3 billion people living in the fastest growing economy in the world. A UN report issued on Tuesday – World Environment day – showed dozens of nations acting to cut plastic, including a ban on plastic bags in Kenya, on styrofoam in Sri Lanka and the use of biodegradable bags in China. (Related: More than 50 nations act to ‘curb plastic pollution’)

Government Divides 900 Km Long Chardham Project Into 52 Parts to Bypass Environmental Clearances
News Click
The Government of India’s ongoing Chardham Mahamarg Vikas Pariyojna (Chardham project) in the hilly state of Uttarakhand – to connect the four pilgrimage sites of Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath – is mired in controversy with environmentalists alleging that it is in complete violation of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 and the Environment Impact Assesment Notification, 2006. The matter has reached the National Green Tribunal (NGT), which has reserved its final order on the project. (Also read: 1500 people protest at Reckong Peo, Kinnaur, to raise their voice against on-going eviction drive terming occupants of forestland as illegal encroachers)

Bullet train to come up along new Mumbai-Nagpur Expressway? First-of-its-kind project likely
Financial Express
Indian Railways has joined hands with the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to twin a rail line along the proposed expressway between Mumbai and Nagpur — a first such coordinated move to execute a transportation project. Both arms of the government will work together to put the project on the fast track with the aim of drastically cutting travel time on the busy route. The elevated rail line could be built in the middle or along the proposed 800 km expressway depending on the ground situation, according to a feasibility report.

Novel ‘begging’ behaviour observed in bonnet macaques at Bandipur
Mongabay
Young bonnet macaques at Bandipur Tiger Reserve have evolved a novel strategy to obtain food from visiting tourists. While adults threaten visitors or snatch food, young macaques make eye contact and extend their hand in a ‘begging’ gesture. The ability of young macaques to pick a suitable target (a human with food) and assess the attention state of the target human, and modify their behaviour accordingly, makes this behaviour a case of ‘intentional communication’. This study is the first to document intentional communication in a non-ape primate species in the wild. (Also read: Food drives bear-human conflict in Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve)

Odisha beach is Asia’s first to get ‘Blue Flag’ tag
The Hindu
The Chandrabhaga beach on the Konark coast of Odisha will be the first in Asia to get the Blue Flag certification — the tag given to environment-friendly and clean beaches, equipped with amenities of international standards for tourists. It will be awarded the honour on World Environment Day on June 5, Environment Ministry sources say. Twelve more beaches in the country are being developed by the Society for Integrated Coastal Management (SICOM), an Environment Ministry’s body working for the management of coastal areas, in accordance with the Blue Flag standards. (Also read: ‘Coral Bleaching Event in 2016 Caused Severe Mortality in Gulf of Mannar‘)

Tamil Nadu taps record wind energy for 2017-18, leads clean energy chart
Economic Times
Tangedco harnessed 13,000 million units of wind energy and 2,905 million units of solar energy in 2017-18. Tamil Nadu is the only state to have used so much of green energy last year. The state has saved not less than 5,406 million tonnes of carbon on this count. “In the green energy initiative, Tamil Nadu is a leader among all states. It had installed capacity of 11,113 MW as on March 31, 2018, compared to 10,480 MW at the end of the previous financial year,” said state electricity minister P Thangamani in the assembly on Tuesday.

As Centre Struggles With Oil Conundrum, Will Indebted ONGC Be the Sacrificial Lamb?
The Wire
The Narendra Modi government now wants the public sector undertaking to bear the financial burden of cushioning fuel consumers against the impact of high oil prices in the international market. Energy experts said the proposed move, if implemented, could further hollow out ONGC, which is already struggling to mobilise resources to meet its capital expenditure target. Besides, money taken out of ONGC may not be enough to lower petrol and diesel prices in any meaningful way. (Also read: Fuel efficiency standards: Did Centre buckle under pressure from industry?)

WORLD

CO2 Levels Break Another Record, Exceeding 411 Parts Per Million
Yale Environment 360
Levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere exceeded 411 parts per million (ppm) in May, the highest monthly average ever recorded at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, home to the world’s longest continuous CO2 record. In addition, scientists found that the rate of CO2 increase is accelerating, from an average 1.6 ppm per year in the 1980s and 1.5 ppm per year in the 1990s to 2.2 ppm per year during the last decade.

Harvard study Puts Puerto Rico Death Toll From Hurricane Maria Near 5,000
NPR
Perhaps 5,000 people died in Puerto Rico in 2017 for reasons related to September’s Hurricane Maria, according to a study that dismisses the official death toll of 64 as “a substantial underestimate.” A research team led by scientists at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health didn’t simply attempt to count dead bodies in the wake of the powerful storm. Instead, they surveyed randomly chosen households and asked the occupants about their experiences. From that approach, they concluded that between Sept. 20 and Dec. 31, 2017, there were 4,645 “excess deaths” — that is, deaths that would not have occurred if the island hadn’t been plunged into a prolonged disaster following the devastating storm. (Related: Hurricane Season 2018: Experts Warn of Super Storms, Call For New Category 6)

Trump Administration Resorts to Soviet-style Takeover of Private Energy Markets To Keep Dirty, Uneconomic Coal Plants Running
Earth Justice
On June 1, 2018, President Trump directed Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry to provide a new unjustified and illegal handout to coal executives. Based on a leaked memo it appears Perry will deploy a pair of archaic, World War II- and Cold War-era laws to shelter certain plants from competition in the free market, likely mandating regional utilities to ensure that selected uneconomic coal and nuclear plants continue to operate. (Also read: 1) Billions in U.S. solar projects shelved after Trump panel tariff 2) 17 Governors Renew Climate Pledges on Anniversary of Trump’s Paris Accord Retreat)

‘Impossible-to-cheat’ emissions tests show almost all new diesels still dirty
The Guardian
Emissions tests that are impossible for carmakers to cheat show that almost all diesel car models launched in Europe since the “dieselgate” scandal remain highly polluting. Volkswagen was exposed as cheating emissions tests in September 2015. But, without breaking the letter of the law, almost all car manufacturers were producing diesels that emitted far more in real-world driving conditions than in official lab-based tests. This was done by optimising vehicles to pass standardised tests, but the beam test is conducted as cars pass and so cannot be manipulated. (Also read: 1) Trichlorofluoromethane  – A Gas Banned by the Montreal Protocol Has Resurfaced in the Atmosphere 2) Arctic Methane Leaks Go Undetected Because Equipment Can’t Handle the Cold)

A Balkan Dam Boom Imperils Europe’s Wildest Rivers
Yale Environment 360
A detailed assessment of 22,000 miles of Balkan rivers commissioned by WWF and other conservation groups has classified 30 percent of the region’s rivers as pristine or “near-natural” and another 50 percent as in good condition. That contrasts sharply with the situation in Western Europe, where most rivers have been dammed or subjected to intensive development. Scientists and conservationists say that if the proposed scale of Balkan dam building proceeds, thousands of miles of waterways, home to scores of endemic or endangered species, will be irreversibly degraded and polluted.

Typo derails landmark ruling against Indonesian palm oil firm guilty of burning peatland
Mongabay
A district court in Indonesia has shielded an oil palm company from a Supreme Court ruling ordering it to pay $26.5 million in fines for burning peatlands in a high-biodiversity area, citing a typo in the original prosecution. The verdict has stunned activists, who had hoped that the original guilty verdict would set a strong precedent for the judicial fight against environmental crimes. The government is appealing the latest ruling, which, ironically, is fraught with typos that — under the same legal logic — would render it just as invalid as the original guilty verdict.

Mountain gorilla population rises above 1,000
The Guardian
It is one of the most recognisable animals in the world and one of the most endangered, but a new census reveals the surviving mountain gorilla population has now risen above 1,000. This represents a rise of 25% since 2010 in its heartland of the Virunga Massif in central Africa. It also marks success for intensive conservation work in a region riven by armed conflict, and where six park guards were murdered in April. (Also read: Artificial Intelligence is as effective as human volunteers — and much faster — at identifying species in untapped photo repositories of wildlife sanctuaries)

Thai activists claim victory over luxury housing on forest land
The Guardian
Environmental activists in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai claimed victory on Sunday after the country’s military government agreed not to continue the development of luxury property on forest land. The decision follows a demonstration in Chiang Mai last week in which more than 1,000 people protested against the construction of a luxury development earmarked to house judges in the foothills of the Doi Suthep mountains.

Amid setbacks by the Temer administration, thousands of indigenous peoples march into Brazil’s capital
Global Voices
The place resounded with the voices of the more than 3,000 indigenous people from more than 100 different groups from all over Brazil, who gathered for the five-day 2018 National Indigenous Mobilization, held from April 23 to 27 in Brasilia, the Brazilian capital city. Also known as the ‘Free Land Camp’ (‘Acampamento Terra Livre’, in Portuguese), the sit-in is a yearly event organized by the Articulation of the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB, in the Portuguese acronym). This year’s was its 15th edition.

Antarctica: plastic contamination reaches Earth’s last wilderness
The Guardian
Plastic and traces of hazardous chemicals have been found in Antarctica, one of the world’s last great wildernesses, according to a new study. Researchers spent three months taking water and snow samples from remote areas of the continent earlier this year. These have now been analysed and researchers have confirmed the majority contained “persistent hazardous chemicals” or microplastics. The findings come amid growing concern about the extent of the plastic pollution crisis which scientists have warned risks “permanent contamination” of the planet. (Related: 1) Whale dies from eating more than 80 plastic bags 2)
Ikea commits to phase out single-use plastic products by 2020 3) Preaching against plastic: Indonesia’s religious leaders join fight to cut waste)

Around the World, Farmland Birds Are in Steep Decline
National Geographic
“There’s either large, charismatic animals [that] everybody knows are disappearing, or unknown species that vanish without being noticed—but what of the fate of the common species that are also disappearing without warning?” asks Benoît Fontaine, a conservation biologist at France’s National Museum of Natural History. Since 1980, Europe’s total farmland-bird population shrunk by 300 million birds. And in Canada and the United States, 74 percent of farmland bird species shrank in number from 1966 to 2013.

Ancient ferns highly threatened in Europe – IUCN Red List
IUCN
The new IUCN report – European Red List of Lycopods and Ferns – assesses, for the first time, the extinction risk of all 194 European lycopod and fern species, 53 of which only exist in Europe. It shows that a fifth of these ancient species, which date back to over 400 million years ago, are at risk of extinction, with the same proportion showing a declining trend. Aquatic ferns and lycopods have been found to be more at risk than terrestrial species. This report shows that ferns and lycopods are the most threatened plant group of those assessed by IUCN so far in Europe.

Mind-Boggling Canyons Discovered Beneath Antarctica’s Ice
Earther
Antarctica’s icy mantle hides a truly fantastical world, and we’re still trying to understand its contours. Case in point: a new study has revealed three monstrous canyons on par with the Grand Canyon. The discovery is both wow-worthy and vital to understanding what will happen to Antarctica’s ice as it melts. That’s particularly important in West Antarctica, where some coastal glaciers could be entering an extremely unstable state, increasing the risk of catastrophic sea level rise.

Summers Are Lengthening While Winters Shrink
Climate Central
While there is a lot of variation from year-to-year, that last summer-like day is coming later in the year for many of our U.S. cities. This effectively lengthens summer at the expense of the other seasons. Though the calendar continues to turn the same as ever, fall is arriving later while spring is arriving earlier on average — and in many cities, the high temperatures are reaching earlier into the year than they are lasting into the fall. All of this eats into wintertime, which is becoming shorter and less severe than in years past. (Related: Flooding from high tides has doubled in the US in just 30 years)

Austrialia’s big four banks quit coal only to invest in other fossil fuels, research finds
The Guardian
Australia’s big four banks have significantly increased investment to projects that will expand the fossil fuel industry as they claim to support efforts to limit global climate change, according to new research by the environmental finance group Market Forces. The report shows the banks have effectively walked away from coal, after years of increased pressure from the environmental lobby and customers wanting to deal with sustainable companies. None of the big four banks has invested in new coal projects since 2015. But a spike in finance for new oil and gas projects has, according to Market Forces’ head of research, Jack Bertolus, put a significant dent in those green credentials. (Also read: Alaska Permanent Fund, USA’s largest sovereign fund, built on oil money, moves away from oil investments)

Waste Heat: Innovators Turn to an Overlooked Renewable Resource
Yale Environment 360
Waste heat is everywhere. Every time an engine runs, a machine clunks away, or any work is done by anything, heat is generated. That’s a law of thermodynamics. More often than not, that heat gets thrown away, dribbling out into the atmosphere. The scale of this invisible garbage is huge: About 70 percent of all the energy produced by humanity gets chucked as waste heat. “It’s the biggest source of energy on the planet,” says Joseph King, one of the program directors for the U.S. government’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), an agency started in 2009 with the mission of funding high-risk technology projects with high potential benefit. (Related: A radical US startup has successfully fired up its zero-emissions fossil-fuel power plant)

‘Carbon bubble’ could spark global financial crisis, study warns
The Guardian
The existence of a “carbon bubble” – assets in fossil fuels that are currently overvalued because, in the medium and long-term, the world will have to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions – has long been proposed by academics, activists and investors. The new study, published on Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change, shows that a sharp slump in the value of fossil fuels would cause this bubble to burst, and posits that such a slump is likely before 2035 based on current patterns of energy use. (Also read: Pope to meet with oil execs to discuss climate change: report)

Huge divide in spending on climate change adaptation across world’s megacities
Carbon Brief
The amount of money going towards adapting to climate change in ten of the world’s biggest cities has increased by a quarter in recent years, according to new research. Against a backdrop of a global recession, this might seem like good news. But representing at most 0.33% of a city’s wealth, resilience-building is still a small fraction of total spending. The new study, published today in Nature Climate Change, also highlights the “staggering” difference between adaptation spending in developed and developing countries, with the city of New York spending 35 times more per person to protect its residents than Lagos. The disparity is “proof of concept” that money is being spent preferentially to protect physical capital over people, say the authors.

How Cities Are Literally Keeping Animals From Making It Big
The Wire
Cities are becoming bigger and are also growing in number, and these changes are happening faster every year, in the process reducing or entirely replacing native ecosystems. For one, the effect of city dwelling on animals is seen in rapidly changing populations and in a variety of species, as well as in modified animal behaviour and altered physiological attributes – such as body shape. In a recent study, an international collaboration of ecologists demonstrate that cities also affect the body size of animals.

 

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