environment

Microsoft aims to use 50% renewable energy by 2018

Microsoft aims to use 50% renewable energy by 2018

Microsoft has some ambitious goals to decrease its impact on the environment, and chief among them is the plan to utilize 50-percent renewable energy by 2018. This renewable energy will come from a mixture of solar power, wind, and hydro power, which the company says it buys through the grid and directly. The 2018 goal is only the start: Microsoft wants to see the percentage increase to 60-percent by the next upcoming decade, and to keep increasing upward from there.

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Germany will soon have a quieter, hydrogen-powered train

Germany will soon have a quieter, hydrogen-powered train

“Environment-friendly trains” is probably a bit of an oxymoron, unless you’re talking about electric-powered ones. Ever since their first incarnations, trains have been synonymous not just with the consumption of massive amounts of diesel but also of CO2 emission. But as they are an integral part of public transportation, especially in European countries, they can’t be simply removed. In Germany, however, a solution is already being tested in the form of the Coradia iLint, billed as the world’s first clean and green train fit for public use.

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August was the 16th straight month of record-breaking heat

August was the 16th straight month of record-breaking heat

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is back with its latest report on monthly global temperatures, and the news is exactly what we expected it to be: August 2016 was yet another record-breaking month, marking 16 straight months of steadily increasing global temperatures. This is the longest streak of increasing warmth in 137 years, and — speaking of August specifically — involves temps that are 1.66F degrees higher than the 20th century average. This is 0.09F higher than last year’s highest-August record.

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Russian river turns blood red in nation’s latest environmental mystery

Russian river turns blood red in nation’s latest environmental mystery

Russia, land of bears and ice and mystery. The nation is no stranger to fireballs falling from the sky and, more recently, huge deep craters appearing in the Siberian ice from seemingly nowhere. Now there's another mystery for locals to ponder: a river has turned blood red, something that doesn't yet have any determined cause but that, some think, may be the result of pollution. As it turns out, the Hope Metals Plant is located upstream and may be leaking.

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Giant pandas’ status downgraded from ‘endangered’ to ‘vulnerable’

Giant pandas’ status downgraded from ‘endangered’ to ‘vulnerable’

Good news for fans of animals: one of nature's cutest critters, the giant panda, is officially no longer recognized as an endangered species. This announcement comes from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which clarifies, however, that the animals are still considered "vulnerable" to extinction due to the threat of climate change. In other words, the current state of giant pandas is improving, but they're not out of the fire yet.

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Pistachio scarcity looms as droughts decimate farms

Pistachio scarcity looms as droughts decimate farms

If you love pistachios, stock up while you can: the next few years or more may see a scarcity of the nut as long-running droughts in Iran have decimated entire pistachio farms and have others on the brink of collapse. Pistachios are a vital export for Iran, coming second only to crude oil, with the nation’s various pistachio farms producing 250,000 tons last year. Extreme water scarcity in the nation, though, has led to mass farm loss and more farms are sure to fail soon if something doesn't change.

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LA’s mountain lions could go extinct in the near future

LA’s mountain lions could go extinct in the near future

Mountain lions call the Santa Monica Mountains home, but that could change in the next handful of decades or sooner. According to the National Park Service and a study it did with researchers from UCLA, Utah State University, and UC Davis, LA’s mountain lions may fall victim to their lack of genetic diversity, something stemming from their geographical isolation. The mountain lions' unique location (near such a massive city) has also spurred the development of atypical behaviors.

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Million dead fish wash up in New Jersey: low oxygen levels blamed

Million dead fish wash up in New Jersey: low oxygen levels blamed

This week, more than an estimated million dead fish washed ashore in New Jersey, something experts are saying was likely caused by a combination of events, among them being inadequate levels of oxygen in the water. The fish were found in water bodies in the northern New Jersey city Keansburg; officials finished cleaning the dead fish remains this morning, all the while increasing the estimate of how many died.

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Endangered pack of gray wolves to be exterminated in Washington soon

Endangered pack of gray wolves to be exterminated in Washington soon

Washington state officials have been given the go-ahead to exterminate a pack of 11 gray wolves after they were determined to be behind attacks against cattle. The state is estimated to only have about 90 gray wolves total spanning 19 packs, and the controversial decision to eliminate one of the packs — called the Profanity Peak pack — will reduce the overall percentage of these endangered gray wolves significantly. The pack, however, has killed more than a dozen adult cows and calves with no sign of stopping.

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Yellowstone River parasite kills mass quantities of fish as officials scramble

Yellowstone River parasite kills mass quantities of fish as officials scramble

There’s sad news coming from Montana’s Fish, Wildlife and Parks department: a parasite is killing off large quantities of fish in Yellowstone River, and as a result all activities on the water in both the river and its tributaries has been banned. According to the state’s wildlife division, there have been more than 2,000 recorded instances of Mountain Whitefish dying from this parasite, though the department estimates that there could be tens of thousands of fish affected throughout the larger Yellowstone River region. The ban is instituted in a bid to stop the parasite from spreading to other bodies of water.

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July 2016 was the warmest month on record

July 2016 was the warmest month on record

It's a little depressing to keep hearing this, but both the NOAA and NASA have published reports that say July 2016 was the hottest month on record. Not just the hottest July on record or the hottest month of 2016, but the warmest since modern record keeping of global temperatures began way back in 1880.

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In climate change fight, record high temperatures for 2016 surprise scientists

In climate change fight, record high temperatures for 2016 surprise scientists

There's some discouraging news concerning the fight against climate change today, as scientists with the World Meteorological Organization's climate research arm are saying that the record high temperatures we've seen so far this year are coming as something of a surprise to them. Though they predicted to see increasing temperatures this year, it would appear that the highs we've been experiencing have exceeded expectations, and that may have some worrying implications for the rate at which the climate is changing.

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