Environment

Alberta, Canada, has the third largest oil reserves in the world, but the potentially lucrative oil sands business faces serious economic challenges, including low oil prices and a lack of pipelines to move the crude to market. Some people are concerned about the future of the business, and environmental critics are looking for ways to keep the oil in the ground.

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Ford has just announced a $4-and-a-half billion investment in electric vehicles. And the company wants to be known for more than making cars, so Ford is also moving into ridesharing services, trying to compete with companies like Uber.

For anyone paying attention, it's no secret there's a lot of weird stuff going on in the oceans right now. We've got a monster El Nino looming in the Pacific. Ocean acidification is prompting hand wringing among oyster lovers. Migrating fish populations have caused tensions between countries over fishing rights.

Royal Dutch Shell says it plans to cut 2,800 jobs after it completes the takeover of the BG Group.

The news comes on the same day that China gave the deal the final go-ahead.

NPR's Jeff Brady reports for our Newscast unit:

"The cut of 2,800 positions accounts for about 3 percent of Shell and BG's combined global workforce.

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Canada has the world's third-largest oil reserve, and it's worth hundreds of billions of dollars. Nearly all of that crude is contained in Alberta's oil sands. Getting the oil from underground and into your car requires an extraordinary mining effort that has significant effects on the environment and is expensive.

In a world concerned about climate change and in which oil prices have plummeted, the oil sands industry faces an uncertain future.

Living on Earth: December 11, 2015

Dec 13, 2015

Historic Climate Agreement Reached in Paris / Indigenous Peoples Fight for Their Rights at COP21 / Financing Forests to Cut Down on Carbon / Canada’s Bottom-up Approach to Cutting Carbon / Poetic Plea for the Marshall Islands

Historic Climate Agreement Reached in Paris

Dec 13, 2015

After working arduously for two weeks, COP21 delegates have adopted the ambitious Paris Agreement. Secretary of State John Kerry, White House Science Advisor John Holdren and Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo weigh in on the importance of these climate commitments and of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, rather than the earlier target of 2 degrees. Host Steve Curwood speaks with World Resources Institute Global Climate Director Jennifer Morgan about the contents of the final Paris Agreement. (published December 11, 2015)

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Representatives from 196 nations made a historic pact Saturday, agreeing to adopt green energy sources, cut down on climate change emissions and limit the rise of global temperatures — while also cooperating to cope with the impact of unavoidable climate change.

The deal still needs to be adopted by individual governments — but the acceptance by the diplomats gathered in Paris has been hailed as "transformative."

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Some common chemicals ingested during pregnancy could be associated with obesity in offspring, according to a new study.

One promising carrot-and-stick method to cutting emissions is to put a price on them with a carbon tax or cap-and-trade system. Following the recent change of government, Canada is increasingly adopting carbon pricing within and beyond its borders. Host Steve Curwood talks with Quebec Environment Minister David Huertel about the provinces’ and country’s growing carbon policies. (published December 11, 2015)

Climate Talks: The 11th Hour

Dec 12, 2015

At the UN climate summit COP21, negotiators are working round the clock to reach an agreement, and an ambitious one at that. Secretary of State John Kerry, White House Science Advisor John Holdren and Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo weigh in on the importance of these climate commitments and of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, rather than the 2 degrees usually discussed.

Poetic Plea for the Marshall Islands

Dec 12, 2015

The Marshall Islands are extremely vulnerable to the effects of climate change, but some still call it home. Poet Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner describes life on the island and the rising seas that threaten it, and performs her poem “Tell Them”. (published December 11, 2015)

Living on Earth: December 11, 2015

Dec 12, 2015

Climate Talks: The 11th Hour / Indigenous Peoples Refuse COP21 Disenfranchisement / Financing Forests to Cut Down on Carbon / Canada’s Bottom-up Approach to Cutting Carbon / Poetic Plea for the Marshall Islands

Indigenous nations and peoples from across the globe converged on Paris for the climate negotiations to demand climate justice and inclusion in the COP21 text. Climate change disproportionately affects indigenous people, and they believe that some climate solutions undermine their livelihoods and violate their rights. Living on Earth’s Emmett FitzGerald reports on indigenous demonstrations at the COP21 in Paris. (published December 11, 2015)

Financing Forests to Cut Down on Carbon

Dec 12, 2015

The REDD program aims to restore tropical forests to offset carbon emissions and buy time for humanity to green economies. REDD has seen some limited small scale implementation, but it’s still unclear whether REDD reforms will incentivize climate innovation and achieve meaningful emissions reductions or deliver vital cashflow to small farmers and indigenous people. Host Steve Curwood reports on this lingering uncertainty. (published December 11, 2015)

In what supporters are calling a historic achievement, 196 nations attending the COP21 climate meetings outside Paris voted to adopt an agreement Saturday that covers both developed and developing countries. Their respective governments will now need to adopt the deal.

Draft of Final U.N. Climate Deal Reached

Dec 12, 2015
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Today was supposed to be the last day of the U.N. Climate Summit. Representatives from nearly 200 countries are continuing their negotiations now in overtime. Our ALL THINGS CONSIDERED co-host, Ari Shapiro, is in Paris covering the summit.

Climate change can affect everything from air and ocean temperatures to weather and disease. In Senegal, one man has made it his mission to connect communities with information that might affect their distant future but also their immediate reality.

To Go Green, Bars Try To Reuse Their Booze

Dec 11, 2015

You probably don't waste a whole lot of wine or booze in your own home. But bars and restaurants throw out alcohol all the time.

The booze, wine and beer left behind in customers' drinks have to be discarded per food safety law, of course.

But what about the wine bottles designated for serving by the glass? Those dregs often go right down the drain.

With a historic, planetwide pact on the line, hundreds of diplomats in Paris are preparing to extend the U.N. climate change conference into Saturday.

The deadline to reach consensus on a climate deal was supposed to be midnight Friday. But conference leader Laurent Fabius, the French foreign minister, said there wouldn't be a finished text — let alone full approval — until Saturday morning.

Even as negotiators struggled this week at the Paris summit on climate change, Senate Republicans held a subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill to challenge the underlying science. They called it "Data or Dogma?"

Is renewable energy worth the cost? This question is central to the debates in Paris over how to address climate change. Though the conundrum has no simple answer, in South Africa the verdict is in.

Renewable energy arrived in South Africa as a green luxury. But this year, wind and solar farms turned out to be economy-saving necessities.

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