Environment

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At a major climate meeting in Poland, nearly 200 countries are trying to reach a deal on dramatically reducing carbon emissions. But a recent U.N. report found that may not be enough to avoid dangerous impacts from the warming climate. In fact, the world is falling so far short of what's needed, it said, that it might be necessary to pull massive amounts of carbon dioxide out of the air.

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California's building codes are not keeping up with the severe, wind-driven wildfires that are becoming the norm.

Ten years ago, the state passed strict new standards for homes built in high fire-risk areas.

People who live in the town of Utqiaġvik have seen dramatic effects of climate change during their lifetimes.

Utqiaġvik, formerly known as Barrow, sits right on the edge of the Arctic Ocean at the very top of Alaska. It's the northernmost town in the United States, and home to about 4,400. The coastline here used to be edged with sea ice for nearly the whole year. But that period is getting shorter and shorter, and as a result Utqiaġvik locals are dealing with coastal erosion and are changing how they hunt in the fall.

When Ed Fuller and his wife, Sandra, first saw their home in the Clearpoint neighborhood of Ventura, Calif., back in 2011, they were sold. The house needed lots of work, but the view was unparalleled.

"I can see the ocean. I can see the Channel Islands," Fuller says. "This is about ... a 180-degree view. We also get the canyon views. It doesn't get much better than this."

Friday News Roundup - International

Dec 7, 2018

Researchers around the world warned of the escalating toll of climate change this week. Carbon dioxide emissions around the world are reaching record highs. Global emissions grew 1.6 percent in 2017, reported The Washington Post. The rise in 2018? A projected 2.7 percent. This is a bad sign as world leaders gather at the COP 24 summit in Poland to talk about ways to prevent global temperature increases.

Friday News Roundup - Domestic

Dec 7, 2018

Lawmakers, friends, colleagues and family members memorialized President George H.W. Bush in Washington on Wednesday.

The public mourning for the 41st president included a number of reminders of a way politics used to happen — or at least how it seems like it used to happen. Here’s what The New Yorker’s Susan Glasser wrote about the service:

Bees may soon get an ally in their fight against bacterial disease — one of the most serious threats the pollinators face — in the form of an edible vaccine. That's the promise held out by researchers in Finland, who say they've made the first-ever vaccine for insects, aimed at helping struggling honeybee populations.

Ignoring pressure from President Trump to keep the oil flowing, OPEC, Russia and other producers have agreed to cut production. They pledged to pare output by 1.2 million barrels a day, hoping to stem a sharp drop in oil prices.

The price of crude jumped nearly 4.5 percent Friday morning, to $53.75 per barrel, on word of the agreement, which called for a bigger reduction than analysts had expected.

Part 5 of the TED Radio Hour episode Circular.

About Jessi Arrington's TED Talk

Fast fashion is wreaking havoc on the environment. That's why Jessi Arrington makes a point of (almost) never buying anything new. She explains how she builds a sustainable wardrobe that looks great.

About Jessi Arrington

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Circular.

About David Katz's TED Talk

Millions of tons of plastic flow into the ocean each year. David Katz's Plastic Bank helps turn off the tap — and gives the poor an income source — creating a circular economy around plastic waste.

About David Katz

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Circular.

About Kate Orff's TED Talk

Oysters filter water, their shells form protective reefs and habitats, and regenerate into more oyster shells. Kate Orff uses oysters to revive depleted ecosystems — like those around New York City.

About Kate Orff

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Circular.

About Tristram Stuart's TED Talk

Our industrial food system is doing serious damage to our planet and food waste is a rampant problem. Tristram Stuart offers one strategy to combat food waste: cook scraps and feed them to livestock.

About Tristram Stuart

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Circular.

About Kate Raworth's TED Talk

We're often told that economic growth is good, but Kate Raworth says our addiction to growth is destroying the planet. To thrive in the 21st century, she says we need a new circular economic system.

About Kate Raworth

It may seem paradoxical, but sugar maple trees need snow to stay warm and grow.

Each winter, a deep blanket of snow — 8 inches deep or more — covers about 65 percent of northeastern sugar maples. Without this insulating snow, the soil freezes deeper and longer, damaging the trees' shallow roots.

The Trump administration has released plans to lift or alter habitat protections for the greater sage grouse across millions of acres of Western land.

The Trump administration plans to eliminate an Obama-era requirement that new coal-fired power plants have expensive technology to capture carbon dioxide emissions.

Solar panels will be a required feature on new houses in California, after the state's Building Standards Commission gave final approval to a housing rule that's the first of its kind in the United States.

Set to take effect in 2020, the new standard includes an exemption for houses that are often shaded from the sun. It also includes incentives for people to add a high-capacity battery to their home's electrical system, to store the sun's energy.

As climate negotiators from around the world meet in Poland this week and next to figure out how to keep greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere, they are hearing some discouraging news: Emissions of the biggest pollutant, carbon dioxide, are going up.

For three years — 2014 through 2016 — the amount of atmospheric CO2 had leveled off. But it started to climb again in 2017, and is still rising.

"Last year, we thought, was a blip — but it isn't," says Rob Jackson, a climate scientist at Stanford University in California.

While oil companies built seawalls and elevated their oil rigs to protect critical production infrastructure from the rising sea level, they concealed from the public the knowledge that burning fossil fuels could have catastrophic impacts on the biosphere.

That's what citizens and local governments across the United States are asserting in lawsuits against oil, gas, and coal companies. Plaintiffs in the cases have alleged that fossil fuel producers knowingly subjected the entire planet and future generations to the dire consequences of their actions.

About 150 steps from John Imperato's Southern California home, pavement gives way to an ever-shrinking stretch of soft sand.

Imperato lives in Del Mar, a small, affluent town just north of San Diego. He spent his life savings to live here. He wanted to raise his son like he grew up, withing walking distance of the sea.

Del Mar is a picturesque place; its name means "of the sea," in Spanish.

That's becoming increasingly true.

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Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

A major meeting on Earth’s climate is underway in Poland.

David Attenborough, the naturalist and broadcaster, sounded a dire warning in a speech Monday to the U.N. climate conference in Poland.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Many presidents gain respect after they leave office, and that is especially true for President George H.W. Bush.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

For the next two weeks, leaders from around the world are attending a major climate conference in Poland. They will talk about how to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and how to support those communities that are already being affected by climate change.

George Sarelakos emerges from the sea lugging a giant tire. Another two divers surface — with a shopping cart and a netted bag bulging with a cassette player, cans and lots of plastic.

It takes six more people to heave this all onto the main pier of the Greek island of Poros.

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