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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Power Plan Sent to the Cleaners

 

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has started to rollback the Clean Power Plan, President Obama’s signature policy to curb carbon emissions from power plants. This move could help prolong the life of the coal industry, yet may be largely symbolic as analyses show the U.S. is ahead of schedule on emissions reduction goals.

 

Read More »

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has started to rollback the Clean Power Plan, President Obama’s signature policy to curb carbon emissions from power plants. This move could help prolong the life of the coal industry, yet may be largely symbolic as analyses show the U.S. is ahead of schedule on emissions reduction goals.

Ancient Trees Race to the Top

 

Trees tend to move to higher, cooler habitats in response to a warming climate. Now research on two pine tree species in the western US Great Basin that can live for thousands of years demonstrates that some species move faster than others -- and it could be thousands of years before we really know how human-caused global warming has affected these enduring trees.

 

Read More »

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Rise of the Necrofauna

 

Bringing extinct species like dinosaurs back from the evolutionary graveyard has long been a science fiction story. But with new gene editing technologies, cloning and careful selective breeding, this dream of de-extinction could soon be a reality. A new book, Rise of the Necrofauna, examines real-life efforts to bring back lost species, and the ethical and cultural challenges of de-extinction.

 

Read More »

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Power to Puerto Rico: Resilient, Renewable Microgrids

 

Before Hurricane Maria devastated the island, Puerto Rico relied on an outdated, centralized power grid that burned imported fossil fuels. It will likely take months or more to restore the system, but this disaster may offer the chance to rebuild Puerto Rico’s power system with more resilience and less carbon.

 

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Global Warming Threatens Nutrition

 

Research is finding that increased atmospheric carbon is harming staple food crops by decreasing their nutritional value. Declining levels of iron, zinc and protein could put human health at risk, especially in the developing world.

 

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Tamed and Untamed: Close Encounters of the Animal Kind

 

The science of animal psychology is still developing and what exactly your family dogs, or wild rabbits, are thinking is a fascinating topic for two committed animal observers, Sy Montgomery and Elizabeth Marshall Thomas. Their new collaborative book of essays, Tamed and Untamed, dives into the curious mental and emotional space among creatures and humans, as they explained to host Steve Curwood, when he visited Sy Montgomery’s New Hampshire farmhouse.

 

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Nuclear Storage Crisis

 

The meltdown at Fukushima in Japan may be grabbing all the headlines, but with the Yucca Mountain project in perpetual limbo the United States has a nuclear storage problem on its hands as well.

 

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Hummingbirds Citizen Science Project

 

The Rufous hummingbird follows the Rocky Mountains to migrate from Alaska to Mexico (Photo: Diana Douglas for Hummingbirds at Home).

 

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Hummingbirds in the Canyon

 

Watching hummingbirds in Arizona's Madera Canyon gave Mark Seth Lender an up close view of their interactions, and a chance to take spectacular photos.

 

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Power Plan Sent to the Cleaners

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has started to rollback the Clean Power Plan, President Obama’s signature policy to curb carbon emissions from power plants. This move could help prolong the life of the coal industry, yet may be largely symbolic as analyses show the U.S. is ahead of schedule on emissions reduction goals.

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Tropical Forests Now Add To Global Warming

Tropical forests have historically absorbed excess carbon dioxide, but new research indicates that these areas are now actually a net source of CO2. Both selective logging and deforestation degrade these ecosystems, releasing more carbon into the atmosphere than the remaining trees can sequester.

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Rise of the Necrofauna

Bringing extinct species like dinosaurs back from the evolutionary graveyard has long been a science fiction story. But with new gene editing technologies, cloning and careful selective breeding, this dream of de-extinction could soon be a reality. A new book, Rise of the Necrofauna, examines real-life efforts to bring back lost species, and the ethical and cultural challenges of de-extinction.

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This Week’s Show
October 13, 2017
listen / download


Power Plan Sent to the Cleaners

listen / download
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has started to rollback the Clean Power Plan, President Obama’s signature policy to curb carbon emissions from power plants. This move could help prolong the life of the coal industry, yet may be largely symbolic as analyses show the U.S. is ahead of schedule on emissions reduction goals.

CO2 Boosts Photosynthesis

listen / download
As carbon dioxide levels climb in the atmosphere, plants step up photosynthesis. Living on Earth’s Savannah Christiansen reports in this week’s Note on Emerging Science that the increased carbon in the air also allows vegetation to use water more efficiently.

Tropical Forests Now Add To Global Warming

listen / download
Tropical forests have historically absorbed excess carbon dioxide, but new research indicates that these areas are now actually a net source of CO2. Both selective logging and deforestation degrade these ecosystems, releasing more carbon into the atmosphere than the remaining trees can sequester.

Ancient Trees Race to the Top

listen / download
Trees tend to move to higher, cooler habitats in response to a warming climate. Now research on two pine tree species in the western US Great Basin that can live for thousands of years demonstrates that some species move faster than others -- and it could be thousands of years before we really know how human-caused global warming has affected these enduring trees.

Rise of the Necrofauna

listen / download
Bringing extinct species like dinosaurs back from the evolutionary graveyard has long been a science fiction story. But with new gene editing technologies, cloning and careful selective breeding, this dream of de-extinction could soon be a reality. A new book, Rise of the Necrofauna, examines real-life efforts to bring back lost species, and the ethical and cultural challenges of de-extinction.


Special Features

A River Town in Transition

listen / download
Wrangell, Alaska is a small, isolated town at the mouth of the mighty Stikine River and a former a timber capital. But since the saw mills shut down in the ‘90s, the small town has reinvented itself as a tourist destination and a commercial fishing hub. Since both of these industries are dependent on the Stikine, some locals worry that a mining development upriver could put the whole town’s livelihood at risk.
Blog Series: Alaskan River Riches

Close Encounter with a Tabular Iceberg: Mark Seth Lender
Living on Earth's Resident Explorer Mark Seth Lender describes an encounter with a tabular iceberg similar (though much smaller) to the one that recently broke off of the Larsen C ice sheet.
Blog Series: Field Notes on the Cheetah's Need for Open Space


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...Ultimately, if we are going prevent large parts of this Earth from becoming not only inhospitable but uninhabitable in our lifetimes, we are going to have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground rather than burn them...

-- President Barack Obama, November 6, 2015 on why he declined to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline.

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