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Page Updated: May 30, 2020

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• Decade's Biggest
Envoronmental Stories

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2/3 of Tropical Forests
‘Under Threat in Next Decade’
--ENN Network
Environmental Inhjustive
May 29, 2020

Tropical forests can develop resistance o a warmer climate, but 71% will come under threat in the next decade if global average temperatures reach two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, a new study warns.

Forest-dependent communities and the global climate will be affected if tropical forests are further degraded, experts say.

Led by scientists at the University of Leeds and published in Science, the study involved 226 researchers from around the world. The cohort analysed carbon stock data in 590 permanent forest plots in South America, Africa, Asia and Australia, with most in the Amazon region.

The Amazon rainforest acts as a huge carbon sink, absorbing and storing carbon dioxide (CO2) and helping to cool global temperatures. Even under high temperatures, trees remove CO2.

Warm weather Triggers
a Landslide in Alaska
GHG Emitter
May 29, 2020

The month of May brought a blast of early summer temperatures to the region.

According to University of Sheffield landslide watcher Dave Petley, a type of landslide that occurs along multiple planes, known as a “wedge failure,” sent rocky debris sliding down the mountain at some point in early May.

The image was captured on May 13, 2020 by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8.

Dam Failure Threats to Chemical
Complex and Superfund Cleanup
--New York Times
Climate Change
May 20, 2020

Floodwaters from two breached dams in Michigan on Wednesday flowed into a sprawling Dow chemical complex and threatened a vast Superfund toxic-cleanup site downriver, raising concerns of wider environmental fallout from the dam disaster and historic flooding.

The compound, which also houses the chemical giant’s world headquarters, lies on the banks of the Tittabawassee River in Midland, where by late Wednesday rising water had encroached on some parts of downtown. Kyle Bandlow, a Dow spokesman, said that floodwaters had reached the Dow site’s outer boundaries and had flowed into retaining ponds designed to hold what he described as brine water used on the site.

The Superfund cleanup sites are downriver from the century-old plant, which for decades had released chemicals into the nearby waterways. The concern downriver, according to Allen Burton, a professor of earth and environmental sciences at the University of Michigan, is that contaminated sediments on the river floor could be stirred up by the floodwaters, spreading pollution downstream and over the riverbanks.

Nuclear Waste Rules?
NRC Says, "No"
--the Guardian
May 7, 2020

The federal agency providing oversight of the commercial nuclear sector is attempting to push through a rule change critics say could allow dangerous amounts of radioactive material to be disposed of in places like municipal landfills, with potentially serious consequences to human health and the environment.

“This would be the most massive deregulation of radioactive waste in American history,” said Dan Hirsch, president of the Committee to Bridge the Gap, a nuclear industry watchdog non-profit, about a proposal that would permit “very low-level” radioactive waste to be disposed of by “land burial”.

Currently, low-level radioactive waste is primarily disposed of in highly regulated sites in Texas, Washington, South Carolina and Utah. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) also provides exemptions allowing “low-level waste” to be dumped in unlicensed disposal sites, but these exemptions are given only rarely, and are conducted with strict case-by-case protocols in place.


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