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Saturday December 20th 2014

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Environment News Headlines – Yahoo! News UK

Arctic offshore drill company enters guilty pleas

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The company hired by Royal Dutch Shell PLC in 2012 to drill on petroleum leases in the Arctic Ocean pleaded guilty Friday to eight felony environmental and maritime crimes.

Posted on 19 December 2014 | 11:44 pm

Canada slaps sanctions on Russian oil industry

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada announced new sanctions against Russia on Friday, including additional restrictions on the export of technology used in the oil and gas industry, saying it was important to speak truth to power. Foreign Minister John Baird also said sanctions were being applied on 11 Russians and nine Ukrainians, due to Russia’s actions in Ukraine. “Doing nothing is not an option,” Baird told a news conference. Canada’s steps were among the first since a recent steep fall in the rouble against the U.S. dollar stemming from the drop in the price of oil. U.S. …

Posted on 19 December 2014 | 9:04 pm

Exclusive – Iran’s support for Syria tested by oil price drop

A man places an Iranian flag on bags of Iranian humanitarian aid at the port of BeirutBy Suleiman Al-Khalidi AMMAN (Reuters) – Syrian businessmen and trade officials say they are worried the economic lifeline provided by Iran is under strain from plunging oil prices, despite public messages of support from Syria's strongest regional ally. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has relied on oil-producing Iran to help him fight a nearly four-year-old civil war and also prop under a currency under pressure. “If it had not been for Iranian support we could not have survived the crisis," a senior Syrian trade official said from Damascus, requesting anonymity. …

Posted on 19 December 2014 | 6:26 pm

Oil up on pre-holiday short-covering but down for fourth week

A man refuels a vehicle next to a pricing quotation board at a petrol station in TokyoBy Barani Krishnan NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil bounced higher on Friday as selling pressure from a six-month price rout eased for a second time this week on short-covering, helped by fresh buying in U.S. crude before the expiry of the front-month contract. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures traded above $55 a barrel while benchmark Brent hovered above the psychologically key $60 (38 pounds) level, gaining over 2 percent in New York's morning trade. On a weekly basis though, Brent and U.S. …

Posted on 19 December 2014 | 5:07 pm

Most of Alaska’s Permafrost Could Melt This Century

The permafrost in some of Alaska’s most iconic national parks could all but disappear this century, new research suggests. Right now, half of the ground in Denali National Park’s is frozen year-round, but if global warming continues at the current pace, just 1 percent of this land could remain permafrost by the year 2100, according to new research presented here at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union. “If the climate continues to warm as it has been for the last 30 or 40 years, permafrost will degrade, and only in a few pockets will you have permafrost,” said study co-author Santosh Panda, a permafrost scientist at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Many of the current models predict that the climate in the Arctic will warm by 7 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit (4 to 5 degrees Celsius) by 2100, Panda told Live Science.

Posted on 19 December 2014 | 3:34 pm

Reindeer Populations Are Disappearing Worldwide

Reindeer Populations Are Disappearing WorldwideReindeer populations are in trouble around the world, and in China, the iconic animals are on the decline largely because of inbreeding, according to new research. Some folklorists say Christmas tales of flying reindeer may have originated as a hallucination, with one theory claiming the inspiration for Santa Claus came from shamans who would give out bags of hallucinatory mushrooms in late December in the Siberian and Arctic regions. Reindeer populations currently live in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Canada, Alaska, Russia, Mongolia and China, and populations across the board are declining. In the new study, researchers from Renmin University in Beijing focused on the reindeer population in China, which has declined about 28 percent since the 1970s.

Posted on 19 December 2014 | 3:29 pm

Citi buys Credit Suisse commodities trading book

A pedestrian passes a logo of Citigroup in TokyoLONDON (Reuters) – Citigroup has bought the commodity trading books of Credit Suisse , sources familiar with the matter said on Friday, as the U.S. bank extends its reach in the sector as others retreat. Citi will buy Credit Suisse's base and precious metals, coal, iron ore, freight, crude oil, oil products and U.S. and European natural gas books, the source said. The move from Citi follows its purchase of Deutsche Bank's metals, oils and power books in the summer and autumn. …

Posted on 19 December 2014 | 3:22 pm

To Cool a Warming Planet, Give Developing Countries a Voice (Op-Ed)

To Cool a Warming Planet, Give Developing Countries a Voice (Op-Ed)Raghu Murtugudde is executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Forecasting System at the University of Maryland Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC) and a professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science. It was in 1992 that the world first came together, in Rio de Janeiro, to address global warming through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC). The cornerstone for all negotiations remains helping nations cut carbon emissions, but as occurred too often, other factors such as financial crises can easily derail the journey towards what climate advocates call deep decarbonization. The Industrial Revolution that elevated the standards of living and lifespan for all of humanity, albeit unequally, was founded on fossil fuels and an unintended consequence was global warming.

Posted on 19 December 2014 | 3:20 pm

Oil price bloodbath to spark energy sector buying spree

By Ron Bousso LONDON (Reuters) – Large oil companies flush with cash are expected to seize on the recent collapse in oil prices to begin a shopping spree for smaller rivals, focussing on oil producers and explorers in Africa, Asia and the United States. With benchmark Brent crude prices nearly halving over the past six months to $60 (38 pounds) a barrel, energy companies have also seen their share prices tumble and are already adjusting the value of their assets and cutting budgets. Repsol’s move this week to buy Talisman Energy , Canada’s fifth-largest independent oil producer, for $8. …

Posted on 19 December 2014 | 1:33 pm

Bangladesh development threatens fragile Sundarbans mangroves

A bird covered in oil lies on the banks of Bangladesh's Shela River after a cargo ship carrying 350,000 litres of furnace oil collided with another vessel in Mongla on December 14, 2014Bangladesh's rapid development on the doorstep of the ecologically fragile Sundarbans mangrove forest means "environmental disasters" like this month's oil spill in the massive delta are increasingly likely, experts warn.

Posted on 19 December 2014 | 1:14 pm

Green News – Environment and climate change news

Earth news from Telegraph Earth – your source for environment and green news and environment and green issues, with information on farming, climate change, global warming, pollution, green living and recycling, and all other environment issues.

Life in the Mariana Trench: how deep does it go?

Watch collection of video clips of life in the Mariana Trench in order of depth, from the shallowest to one of the deepest places on Earth, the Sirena Deep

Posted on 19 December 2014 | 3:34 pm

Pictures of the day: 19 December 2014

A snow-covered penguin, squashing Santas and a massive storm cloud

Posted on 19 December 2014 | 11:05 am

Pictures of the day: 18 December 2014

A orangutan-ta Claus, Turkey TV stars and a frozen waterfall

Posted on 18 December 2014 | 9:07 am

Pictures of the day: 17 December 2014

A pygmy possum, a festive beluga whale and a frosty face

Posted on 17 December 2014 | 2:27 pm

Cats hated for being ‘murderous’ pests by third of gardeners, survey finds

Cats are now more hated than wasps and foxes, with 34 per cent of gardeners loathing the ‘murderous’ pests, according to annual survey

Posted on 17 December 2014 | 6:30 am

Life on Mars: in pictures

In pics: Nasa’s Curiosity rover discovers methane on the red planet

Posted on 16 December 2014 | 6:30 pm

Dolphin ‘living alone for 30 years in Irish harbour’ spotted leaping next to boat

Dolphin nicknamed Fungi, believed to have lived in Irish harbour alone for past 30 years, spotted within touching distance of a boat

Posted on 16 December 2014 | 4:37 pm

Pictures of the day: 16 December 2014

Fighting polar bears, Italy from space and ice skating on the Eiffel Tower

Posted on 16 December 2014 | 9:30 am

Pictures of the day: 15 December 2014

A hungry kingfisher, an upside down house and a wasp and a hawk

Posted on 15 December 2014 | 2:49 pm

Climate change talks. Plus ça change…

Global accord is impossible. But China and America have shown that meaningful progress can be made

Posted on 15 December 2014 | 6:30 am

Earth & Climate News — ScienceDaily

Europe shows that humans and large predators can share the same landscape

The recovery of large carnivores in Europe is a great success for nature conservation. At one third of mainland Europe, at least one species of large carnivore is present, according to a new article. It is an excellent example that humans and carnivores can share the same landscape, say researchers.

Posted on 19 December 2014 | 6:01 pm

Yellowstone’s thermal springs: Their colors unveiled

Researchers have created a simple mathematical model based on optical measurements that explains the stunning colors of Yellowstone National Park’s hot springs and can visually recreate how they appeared years ago, before decades of tourists contaminated the pools with make-a-wish coins and other detritus.

Posted on 19 December 2014 | 6:01 pm

A vegetarian carnivorous plant

Carnivorous plants catch and digest tiny animals in order and derive benefits for their nutrition. Interestingly the trend towards vegetarianism seems to overcome carnivorous plants as well. The aquatic carnivorous bladderwort, which can be found in many lakes and ponds worldwide, does not only gain profit from eating little animals but also by consuming algae and pollen grains.

Posted on 19 December 2014 | 3:40 pm

‘Tipping points’ for sea level rise related flooding determined

By 2050, a majority of US coastal areas are likely to be threatened by 30 or more days of flooding each year due to dramatically accelerating impacts from sea level rise, according to a new study.

Posted on 18 December 2014 | 8:45 pm

Glimpsing pathway of sunlight to electricity

Four pulses of laser light on nanoparticle photocells in a spectroscopy experiment has opened a window on how captured sunlight can be converted into electricity. The work, which potentially could inspire devices with improved efficiency in solar energy conversion, was performed on photocells that used lead-sulfide quantum dots as photoactive semiconductor material.

Posted on 18 December 2014 | 8:45 pm

New, tighter timeline confirms ancient volcanism aligned with dinosaurs’ extinction

A definitive geological timeline shows that a series of massive volcanic explosions 66 million years ago played a role in the extinction event that claimed Earth’s non-avian dinosaurs, and challenges the dominant theory that a meteorite impact was the sole cause of the extinction.

Posted on 18 December 2014 | 8:45 pm

Origin of long-standing space mystery revealed: Origin of the ‘theta aurora’

Scientists have solved a long-standing space mystery – the origin of the ‘theta aurora’. Auroras are the most visible manifestation of the Sun’s effect on Earth. They are seen as colorful displays in the night sky, known as the Northern or Southern Lights. They are caused by the solar wind, a stream of plasma – electrically charged atomic particles – carrying its own magnetic field, interacting with the earth’s magnetic field. Normally, the main region for this impressive display is the ‘auroral oval’, which lies at around 65-70 degrees north or south of the equator, encircling the polar caps. However, auroras can occur at even higher latitudes. One type is known as a ‘theta aurora’ because seen from above it looks like the Greek letter theta – an oval with a line crossing through the center.

Posted on 18 December 2014 | 7:09 pm

Study fuels hope for natural gas cars: Metal organic framework candidates for methane storage identified

Cars that run on natural gas are touted as efficient and environmentally friendly, but getting enough gas onboard to make them practical is a hurdle. A new study promises to help. Researchers have calculated the best candidates among possible metal organic frameworks to store natural gas for cars.

Posted on 18 December 2014 | 6:19 pm

How will climate change transform agriculture?

Climate change impacts will require major but very uncertain transformations of global agriculture systems by mid-century, according to new research.

Posted on 18 December 2014 | 6:14 pm

Birds sensed severe storms and fled before tornado outbreak

Golden-winged warblers apparently knew in advance that a storm that would spawn 84 confirmed tornadoes and kill at least 35 people last spring was coming, according to a new report. The birds left the scene well before devastating supercell storms blew in.

Posted on 18 December 2014 | 6:14 pm