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While global methane emissions are up, study says fossil fuels not the culprit

A new study from NOAA, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, puts a new twist on a tricky question about the impact of increased oil and gas production on greenhouse gas emissions. Scientists have detected increased rates of methane emissions globally since 2007. That uptick corresponds to the rapid boom in U.S. shale gas and shale oil production, and some hypothesized that the two could be connected. But it turns out that the correlation may not necessarily be a cause.

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Pew: Renewable energy enjoys wide support while fossil fuels divide national opinion

Pew Research's "Politics of Climate" survey is a mixed bag for energy industry watchers, revealing a solid chunk of Americans support expanded fossil fuel use, while almost everyone supports renewables.

"One spot of unity in an otherwise divided environmental policy landscape is that the vast majority of Americans support the concept of expanding both solar and wind power," the think tank said in a blog post. "The public is more closely divided when it comes to expanding fossil fuel energies such as coal mining, offshore oil and gas drilling, and hydraulic fracturing for oil and natural gas."

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Airlines to Test Alternative Fuel

As the world turns its attention to addressing global warming, the airline industry, too, is researching ways to do its part and lower greenhouse gas emissions. One option is investing more into the development and integration of alternative fuels. Biofuels made from vegetable oil, corn and even household garbage are all very real possibilities.

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Turning Sunlight into Fuel

In one hour, the Earth receives enough energy from the sun to meet all of mankind’s energy needs for one year. Yet the world uses little more than one percent of the sun’s energy for our electricity needs. A major obstacle to being able to tap into the full potential of solar energy is that it is intermittent—we cannot get a steady supply of solar energy because the sun doesn’t always shine.

In order for renewable energy to take hold on the scale necessary to help combat climate change, an efficient and economical way to store the sun’s energy is needed for times when the sun doesn’t shine. But even when that technology becomes available, we will still need to find a way to use renewable energy to power the transportation sector, one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions.

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European union could require new homes to have electric car chargers

Starting in 2019, all new or refurbished homes and apartment buildings in Europe will be required to have electric vehicle recharging stations built on the premises, according to a draft directive from the European Union.

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Energy hijacking pathway found within photosynthesis

In a study led by Dr Jenny Zhang, a Research Associate at St John's, academics have found an unexpected performance-destructive pathway within Photosystem II, an enzyme at the heart of oxygenic photosynthesis, and one that is also being used to inspire new approaches to renewable fuel production.

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Climate Change Has Doubled Western U.S. Forest Fires

A new study says that human-induced climate change has doubled the area affected by forest fires in the U.S. West over the last 30 years. According to the study, since 1984 heightened temperatures and resulting aridity have caused fires to spread across an additional 16,000 square miles than they otherwise would have—an area larger than the states of Massachusetts and Connecticut combined. The authors warn that further warming will increase fire exponentially in coming decades. 

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To Help Bees, Skip Herbicides and Pesticides, Keep Lawns Naturally Diverse

Declining populations of pollinators is a major concern to ecologists because bees, butterflies and other insects play a critical role in supporting healthy ecosystems. Now a new study from urban ecologists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst suggests that when urban and suburban lawns are left untreated with herbicides, they provide a diversity of “spontaneous” flowers such as dandelions and clover that offer nectar and pollen to bees and other pollinators. 

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Scotland to Generate Some of World's First Kite-Driven Power in 2017

The United Kingdom will begin harnessing energy from kites flying 450 meters above ground as early as next year. Developed by UK-based Kite Power Solutions, the system is composed of two 40-meter wide kites that rise and fall in tandem, spooling a tether line to turn a turbine.

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Bees Are Declared Endangered for the First Time in the U.S.

For the first time in history, a group of bees in the U.S. will be protected under the Endangered Species Act, following a recent announcement from wildlife officials.

The group of bees, who are commonly known as yellow-faced bees because of the markings on their faces, are endemic only to the Hawaiian islands. While there are dozens of species, scientists identified several of them who are at risk of extinction and have been calling for their protection for years.

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