Russian nuclear facility denies it is source of high radioactivity levels | The Guardian


Greenpeace has called for an investigation into a potential cover-up of a nuclear accident after Russia’s nuclear agency had denied European reports of increased ruthenium-106 levels.

Rosgidromet, the weather monitoring service, released test data on Monday that showed levels were indeed much higher than normal. The most potent site was Argayash in the south Urals, where levels were 986 times the norm.

Source: Russian nuclear facility denies it is source of high radioactivity levels | World news | The Guardian

COP23 climate talks accelerate Paris Agreement implementation


The parties made concrete progress on turning the historic 2015 agreement into action on the ground across the world, ahead of next year’s UN climate conference in Katowice, Poland.

The Paris Agreement sets out a global framework for climate action and the necessary transition to a low-carbon future in order to limit global warming to well below 2°C. Under the Paris Agreement the EU has committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% till 2030 (1990 level).

Source: COP23 climate talks accelerate Paris Agreement implementation

Why Is Fiji Selling Out Its Coastlines? | Pacific Standard


By the time the Sigatoka River Dredging Project is done, China Railway will have pulled over 1.2 million cubic meters of silt from the river bottom between its mouth and the Sigatoka Bridge, just over two miles upstream—all in the name of flood prevention. But development along the Sigatoka River won’t end there.

Dome Gold Mines, an Australian mining company, has an exploration license to mine the river mouth for sand laced with magnetite—a source of iron. If the company ultimately receives a full permit to begin dredge-mining in the region, they’ll pull even more material from the bottom of the river and its banks, and from sand deposits on Koroua Island, a tract of incredibly valuable agricultural land for the village of Vunavutu.

Source: Why Is Fiji Selling Out Its Coastlines? – Pacific Standard

Elephants Unmoved by Trump’s Backtracking on Trophy Ban: “We Don’t Forget” | The New Yorker


The blistering statement from the elephants reflected the pachyderms’ contempt not just for Trump but for his two sons, Eric and Donald, Jr., who are widely despised by the elephant community.

The elephants also sent a strongly worded legal letter to the Republican National Committee, demanding that the G.O.P. immediately cease and desist using the elephants’ likenesses in Republican fund-raising appeals and all other materials.

Source: Elephants Unmoved by Trump’s Backtracking on Trophy Ban: “We Don’t Forget” | The New Yorker

Trump to allow imports of African elephant trophies | TheHill


The Trump administration is reversing an Obama administration ban on bringing to the United States the heads of elephants killed in two African countries.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) said it has determined that hunting African elephants in Zimbabwe and Zambia “will enhance the survival of the species in the wild,” which is the standard by which officials judge whether to allow imports of parts — known as trophies — of the animals.

Source: Trump to allow imports of African elephant trophies | TheHill

A title no city wants to win


The world has seen similar pollution in other cities, most notably Beijing. But the problem in Delhi has different roots than that in Beijing, and is proving more difficult to solve. Beijing’s pollution is primarily due to industrial sources—vehicles, construction, and power plants, both in the city and in nearby provinces.

These sources are an important part of Delhi’s problem too, but burning of crop residues in Punjab and Haryana, dust from the desert in Rajasthan, and even fireworks from the recent Diwali festival add to Delhi’s pollution woes.

.. the political system in India does not allow this tight control of pollution sources. Indian states are politically independent and resist control from the central government, making the regional nature of air pollution a challenge to address.

Source: A title no city wants to win

America’s Mortifying Performance at the Bonn Climate Talks | Pacific Standard

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.. while the Paris Agreement eyes a near-total phaseout of coal by mid-century, nearly 20 countries included clean coal development as part of their official pledges under the agreement, Banks said. Across Europe, more than 700 coal-fired power plants are still in operation; in the U.S., that number is more than 7,600.

In reality, the global energy equation is much more dynamic than the official U.S. account is willing to acknowledge. Just in the past 12 months, about seven gigawatts of proposed and planned coal-power capacity has been canceled, according to E3G, a London-based clean energy think tank.

Source: America’s Mortifying Performance at the Bonn Climate Talks – Pacific Standard

We are paving the way for Chinese dominance in clean energy | TheHill


Will the U.S. surrender to China in this key strategic area of clean energy while we rely heavily on carbon-based, dirty fuels?

China is already dominant in many low-carbon energy technologies. It produces two-thirds of the world’s solar panels and nearly half of the wind turbines.

On a lake created by the collapse of abandoned coal mines in Luilong, China has built the world’s largest floating solar project. China is now leading the construction of the Quaid-e-Azam solar park in Pakistan, one of the world’s largest.

China is also rapidly expanding its fleet of nuclear reactors and leads the world by far in hydroelectric power.

The country’s “Made in China 2025” program calls for heavy spending on clean-energy research and development, as a way to bolster the economy. State-owned banks are pouring tens of billions of dollars each year into technologies like solar and wind.

Source: We are paving the way for Chinese dominance in clean energy | TheHill

How California Became a Modern Democratic Stronghold | Pacific Standard


California lived through a version of this narrative two decades ago.

Some of the peripheral details are different—the California Republican in question, former Governor Pete Wilson, was not anything close to the disruptive force that Donald Trump has shown himself to be in the first year of his presidency.

But Wilson’s 1994 re-election did usher in a new era of California politics, and had long-term consequences for the California Republican Party.

In the wake of Wilson’s second term, Latinos moved overwhelmingly to the Democratic Party. Republicans also lost middle-class voters in the process, and the GOP has been relegated to the political sidelines of state politics ever since.

Source: How California Became a Modern Democratic Stronghold – Pacific Standard

United Air Resumes Delhi Service After Pollution Improves | Bloomberg


Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the leader of Delhi, called the capital a “gas chamber” as thick toxic smog continued to envelop the mega-city of around 20 million people on Sunday.

The levels of the deadliest, tiny particulate matter — known as PM 2.5, which lodges deep in a person’s lungs — was at 495 as of 9 a.m. local time Monday, according to a U.S. embassy monitor. The level had soared to 721 as of 1 p.m. Sunday. World Health Organization guidelines suggest levels above 300 are “hazardous.”

Source: United Air Resumes Delhi Service After Pollution Improves – Bloomberg