Michael D. Lemonick 360

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Yale Environment 360 is an online magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting, and debate on global environmental issues.
Updated: 1 hour 57 min ago

McDonald’s Will End Use of Plastic Straws at Thousands of Locations

Fri, 2018-06-15 13:09

McDonald’s plans to stop using plastic straws in all of its 1,361 restaurants in the UK and Ireland by the end of 2019, according to a company press release. It will start testing non-plastic alternatives in select locations in the United States, Belgium, France, Sweden, Norway, and Australia later this year, as well as test only giving straws upon request in markets such as Malaysia.

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Does a Fire-Ravaged Forest Need Human Help to Recover?

Thu, 2018-06-14 05:00

Rising temperatures and more frequent forest fires have reignited a longstanding debate among foresters, ecologists, and conservationists: Is logging and other human intervention needed to regenerate severely burned woodlands, or should these charred lands be left to revive on their own?

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Antarctic Ice Loss Has Tripled Since 2012

Wed, 2018-06-13 13:00

The Antarctic Ice Sheet has lost 3 trillion tons of ice since 1992, according to a new analysis published in the journal Nature. During this period, melting from warmer ocean waters led to a tripling of ice-loss rates in West Antarctica, from 53 billion to 159 billion tons per year.

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An Unapproved, Genetically Modified Cotton Seed is Being Planted Across India

Tue, 2018-06-12 11:59

Indian farmers are planting unapproved, genetically modified cotton seeds created by the agrochemical giant Monsanto, violating environmental laws and risking arrest, according to Reuters. Indian state officials are attempting to crack down on use of the seeds, forming inspection teams and seizing 12 million rupees-worth ($178,000) of the herbicide-tolerant seeds in recent months, enough to cultivate 25,000 acres.

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As Subsidies Wane, Market Forces Drive the Growth of Renewables

Tue, 2018-06-12 05:00

Competitive bidding on new power installations is becoming increasingly common worldwide, with solar and wind energy now reaching parity with fossil fuels in many countries. But the rise of renewables auctions carries risks, including the elimination of smaller green energy producers.

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The Mysterious Demise of Africa’s Oldest Trees

Mon, 2018-06-11 12:17

Baobabs are some of the most distinct and revered trees in Africa, living for hundreds, often thousands, of years and containing up to 500 cubic meters of wood. But scientists have discovered that an alarming number of these trees are dying — and they don’t know exactly why.

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Visualizing Coal in the 21st Century, in One Map

Fri, 2018-06-08 14:03

The world has doubled its coal-fired power capacity since 2000, largely due to rapid growth in China and India. There are now 2,000 gigawatts of coal-fired generating capacity, with another 200 GW currently being built and 450 GW planned, according to a new interactive map that visualizes the global coal trends in the 21st century.

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CO2 Levels Break Another Record, Exceeding 411 Parts Per Million

Thu, 2018-06-07 12:23

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.

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After Years of Green Promises, Automakers Renege on Emissions Standards

Thu, 2018-06-07 05:00

For decades, government pressure has been needed to force U.S. automakers to agree to reduce pollution and CO2 emissions from their fleets. Now, with the Trump administration, the job of pushing Detroit to slash emissions falls to California and other environmentally minded states.

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Artificial Intelligence Can Identify Wildlife as Accurately as Humans

Tue, 2018-06-05 13:58

Motion-sensor cameras are increasingly being used to track wildlife across the globe, from tigers in India to aardvarks in Africa. But combing through the millions of images captured by these systems is a time-consuming task. Now, scientists have discovered that artificial intelligence is as effective as human volunteers — and much faster — at identifying species in these largely untapped photo repositories.

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Pilot Whale in Thailand Dies After Consuming 80 Plastic Bags

Mon, 2018-06-04 13:34

A pilot whale that died in Thailand last week had more than 17 pounds of plastic waste in its stomach, including more than 80 plastic bags, according to an autopsy performed by Thailand’s Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, Agence France-Presse reported.

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Do Conservation Strategies Need to Be More Compassionate?

Mon, 2018-06-04 09:18

Some scientists and ethicists are criticizing traditional conservation strategies, which they say focus on saving valued species while discounting the lives of less charismatic animals. Will these advocates of “compassionate conservation” point the way to new approaches, or are they simply being naïve?

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