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Tuesday August 30th 2016

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Environment News Headlines – Yahoo! News UK

Philippines says China must recognise South China Sea ruling

Philippines Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay speaks during a news conference at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Pasay city Metro ManilaChina will be the "loser" if it does not recognise an international court ruling against its territorial claims in the South China Sea, Philippine Foreign Minister Perfecto Yasay said on Tuesday. An arbitration court in The Hague infuriated China in July when it ruled that China had no historical title over the South China Sea and it had breached the Philippines' sovereign rights. China has ignored the ruling that none of its claims in the disputed Spratly Islands entitled it to a 200-mile (320 km) exclusive economic zone.

Posted on 30 August 2016 | 7:02 am

Oil prices rise as dollar comes off two-week high

A maze of crude oil pipes and valves is pictured during a tour by the Department of Energy at the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in FreeportBy Roslan Khasawneh SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Oil futures edged up on Tuesday as the U.S. dollar backed off a two-week high hit the day before, although doubts that crude producers would agree next month to an output freeze continued to drag on prices. The U.S. dollar has retreated from Monday's peak as investors look ahead to jobs data this week that Federal Reserve Vice Chair Stanley Fischer has said will be important to whether the U.S. central bank raises interest rates soon. "There's a feeling that the OPEC production freeze talks might result in something positive, but it's just talk," said Robert Nunan, risk management director at Mitsubishi Corporation.

Posted on 30 August 2016 | 6:49 am

Shell Deer Park FCCU to shut Sept 12 for overhaul – sources

A logo is seen under a canopy of trees at a Shell petrol station in central LondonHOUSTON (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell Plc plans to shut the gasoline-producing fluidic catalytic cracking unit for a planned overhaul at the its joint-venture 285,500 barrel per day (bpd) Deer Park, Texas refinery by Sept. 12, said sources familiar with plant operations on Monday. The overhaul of the 70,000 bpd FCCU is expected to last through at least the end of October, the sources said. The Gerbitol unit, which reduces air pollution and another unit will also be shut along with the cat cracker. (Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Meredith Mazzilli)

Posted on 29 August 2016 | 9:54 pm

More Than 300 Reindeer Killed By Lightning: Here’s Why

More Than 300 Reindeer Killed By Lightning: Here's WhyMore than 300 wild reindeer were killed after being struck by lightning in Norway, in what government officials say was an unusually deadly event. It's not uncommon for wildlife to be killed by lightning strikes, but what made this storm so deadly? Most lightning deaths that occur in groups are due to the ground current, John Jensenius, a lightning safety expert from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told The Verge.

Posted on 29 August 2016 | 9:12 pm

Shell to sell certain Gulf of Mexico assets to EnVen Energy

A Shell logo is seen on a pump at a petrol station in London(Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell Plc said it has agreed to sell certain assets in the Gulf of Mexico to independent oil and gas company EnVen Energy Corp for $425 million, plus royalty interests. Houston-based EnVen plans to buy the Brutus/Glider assets, which include a subsea production system, and the deal is expected to close in October. The Brutus/Glider assets have a combined current production estimate of about 25,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d), which is about 4 percent of Shell's total production.

Posted on 29 August 2016 | 9:03 pm

Oil down 1 percent, pressured by glut, dollar, Nigeria outlook

People work at the Halfaya oilfield in Amara, southeast of BaghdadBy Barani Krishnan NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil prices settled down more than 1 percent on Monday, snapping two consecutive days of gains, on renewed concerns about an oil glut, a stronger dollar and expectations that Nigerian rebels will stop hampering that country's crude output.

Posted on 29 August 2016 | 8:41 pm

Niger Delta Avengers says halted hostilities in Nigerian Delta

A Nigerian militant group, which has claimed responsibility for a series of attacks on oil and gas facilities in the southern Niger Delta energy hub in the last few months, said on Monday that it had halted hostilities. The statement by the Niger Delta Avengers comes just over a week after the militant group said it was ready for a ceasefire and talks with the government. “We have listened carefully and halted hostilities in the Niger Delta,” said the Avengers in the statement, presented as an “open letter” to President Muhammadu Buhari on the group’s website.

Posted on 29 August 2016 | 5:58 pm

Statoil expects ‘loads of’ M&A deals coming up, strategy chief says

The company logo of Statoil is seen during a company results presentation in LondonJohn Knight, Statoil's executive vice-president for global strategy and business development, told Reuters on the sidelines of the ONS oil conference in Stavanger, Norway on Monday: ** "Absolutely, I think there are loads of deals out there," he said when asked whether he expects more deals coming up ** Says: "If you look at the acquisition and divestment markets for upstream oil and gas on a global basis over the last five years, they have been falling to all-time lows… but there are a number of active spots, one of those is in certain parts of North American shale and you've seen us divesting some parts there to take advantage of that. Then we bought three partners out of Utgard at a very competitive pricing, reflecting the bottom of the cycle… Those two deals help with getting operational control and with fundamental efficiency in this low-price environment" ** The other two deals (Buying a stake in Lundin and exploration licence from Petrobras) are for the longer term.

Posted on 29 August 2016 | 3:52 pm

Iraqi government, Kurds to start talks about oil dispute – Iraqi spokesman

The Iraqi government and the Kurdish regional authorities in northern Iraq will discuss a dispute on oil revenue sharing during bilateral talks on Monday, a government spokesman said. The oil issue will be among the topics to be discussed in Baghdad by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and Nechirvan Barzani, the prime minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government. Iraq’s oil ministry said on Friday it would consider selling crude through Iran should talks with the autonomous Kurdish region about oil exported through Turkey fail.

Posted on 29 August 2016 | 11:34 am

China’s Parliament proposes new environmental tax benefits – Xinhua

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s Parliament has proposed increasing tax benefits for companies that cut pollution by more than the national standard, state media Xinhua reported on Monday, the latest effort by Beijing to curb the country’s emissions. If passed by the National People’s Congress, China’s top legislator, companies that reduce emissions to half of the national requirement would only pay half the taxes levied for air, water and soil pollution. No other details were given. (Reporting by Beijing newsroom, Josephine Mason and Kathy Chen; Editing by Susan Fenton)

Posted on 29 August 2016 | 11:22 am

Earth & Climate News — ScienceDaily

Interactive map shows where animals will move under climate change

Researchers have created an animated map showing where mammals, birds and amphibians are projected to move in the Western Hemisphere in response to climate change.

Posted on 29 August 2016 | 8:36 pm

Anti-friction solutions? Very thin layers of water can become ice-like at room temperature

New research shows that a nanometer-thin layer of water between two charged surfaces exhibits ice-like tendencies that allow it to withstand pressures of hundreds of atmospheres. The discovery could lead to better ways to minimize friction in a variety of settings.

Posted on 29 August 2016 | 6:04 pm

Amazon forests: Biodiversity can help mitigate climate risks

A forest with greater diversity of plants can better adjust to climatic stress. Now for the first time, a team of scientists can show this in computer simulations of the Amazon region by accounting for its amazing diversity of trees. Biodiversity can hence be an effective means to mitigate climate risks and should not only be seen in the context of nature conservation.

Posted on 29 August 2016 | 4:22 pm

An imbalance in nutrients threatens plant biodiversity

An unnatural balance of nutrients threatens biodiversity in a survival of the fittest scenario, according to new research. A global network of researchers who have tested the impact increased nutrient levels is having on grasslands across six continents.

Posted on 29 August 2016 | 2:57 pm

‘Anthropocene’: Potential new geological time interval

The Working Group on the ‘Anthropocene’ (AWG) will provide its summary of evidence and its provisional recommendations on a potential new geological time interval.

Posted on 29 August 2016 | 1:42 pm

A better way to predict the weather on sea and over land

Scientists have made new updates to old technology that will enable weather forecasters to make improved predictions of severe weather.

Posted on 26 August 2016 | 8:21 pm

Air contamination near fracking sites result of operational inefficiencies

Chemists have published a new study that indicates that highly variable contamination events registered in and around unconventional oil and gas developments are the result of operational inefficiencies and not inherent to the extraction process itself.

Posted on 26 August 2016 | 7:16 pm

The sound of a healthy reef

A new study will help researchers understand the ways that marine animal larvae use sound as a cue to settle on coral reefs. The study has determined that sounds created by adult fish and invertebrates may not travel far enough for larvae — which hatch in open ocean — to hear them, meaning that the larvae might rely on other means to home in on a reef system.

Posted on 26 August 2016 | 6:23 pm

Chemists develop promising cheap, sustainable battery for grid energy storage

Chemists have developed a long-lasting zinc-ion battery that costs half the price of current lithium-ion batteries and could help enable communities to shift away from traditional power plants and into renewable solar and wind energy production.

Posted on 26 August 2016 | 6:20 pm

Research priorities for the field of atmospheric chemistry

Increasing energy demands and expanding industrial and agricultural activities worldwide are changing the composition of the atmosphere and contributing to major global challenges like climate change and air pollution.

Posted on 26 August 2016 | 6:20 pm