Environment

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

The United States and 19 other countries on Monday promised to work toward doubling their spending over five years to support "clean energy" research.

At the same time, 28 private investors, including Microsoft's Bill Gates, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Amazon's Jeff Bezos, pledged their own money to help build private businesses based on that public research.

There's a building in Mountain View, Calif., where energy-saving technologies of the future are being tried on for size.

Step inside, and the first thing you notice is the building is dead quiet: no noisy air whooshing through louvers.

That's because the building uses passive cooling instead of traditional air conditioning. Cool ground water passes through a system of small tubes running below the ceiling.

Leaders from around the world are converging on Paris for the 2015 U.N. Climate Change Conference. The two-week event is designed to allow countries the chance to come to an agreement on stifling climate change.

Below are 10 questions and answers that should better prepare you for the conference and what to expect during and after its completion.

Click the audio link at the top of this page to listen to "Heating Up," NPR's special on climate change, hosted by Ari Shapiro. Share it, download it, take it with you.

Nearly 150 world leaders are gathered near Paris for what is being billed as a last-chance summit to avoid catastrophic climate change.

NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports that this is the biggest diplomatic meeting in France since 1948. She filed this report for our Newscast unit:

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The ground is shaking near Cushing, Okla., home to the largest commercial crude oil storage center in North America.

This little patch of prairie in northwestern Oklahoma is one of the most important places in the U.S. energy market.

Oklahoma is on track to have a record year of earthquakes — more than 5,000 have already been recorded. And those quakes appear to endanger the very industry that created them.

Delegates from nearly 200 nations are in Paris to negotiate a new agreement to curb global warming.

The first such meeting took place 18 years ago in Kyoto, Japan — a conference that produced the first international treaty aimed at slowing climate change. That attempt failed.

Scientists say the planet is closer than ever to a climate catastrophe. So this time, the climatocracy has devised a radically new approach, requesting all countries to come up with voluntary limits on greenhouse gasses. The new plan also offers poorer countries cash to help offset their costs.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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MICHEL MARTIN: One of the casualties of the drought that may not come to mind immediately - the California soundscape. Bernie Krause is one person who appreciates these sounds. He's a soundscape ecologist.

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Almost Out of Time

Nov 29, 2015

Back in the 1970s, NASA scientist James Hansen was one of the first to recognize the dangerous impacts that rising levels of greenhouse gas emissions could have on the earth’s climate. Now this climate scientist has become an activist in the climate movement, lending his scientific voice to calls for urgent action. On the eve of the UN’s Paris climate summit, he tells host Steve Curwood that emissions reductions need to be much steeper than those being discussed. (published November 27, 2015)

Paving the Path to Paris with Gold

Nov 29, 2015

Around the world, both public and private sources are promising to fund action on climate change, and help vulnerable nations adapt to and mitigate the effects of global warming. An important source of support is the World Bank. Living on Earth’s Helen Palmer spoke with Rachel Kyte, the Bank’s Special Envoy for Climate Change, about the sources and aims of the available finance. (published November 27, 2015)

Each year, Americans travel across the country to share feasts with family and friends, and all of this consumption comes at a cost to the climate. The Allegheny Front's Lou Blouin investigates the carbon footprint of Thanksgiving. (published November 27, 2015)

Beyond the Headlines

Nov 29, 2015

In this week’s trip beyond the headlines, Peter Dykstra tells host Steve Curwood about some of the things he’s thankful for: US parks and the 35th anniversary of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, the destruction of chemical weapons, and the Freedom of Information Act, which has helped improve government transparency over climate and environmental issues. (published November 27, 2015)

Living on Earth: November 27, 2015

Nov 29, 2015

Almost Out of Time / Paving the Path to Paris with Gold / What is the Carbon Footprint of a Typical Thanksgiving? / Beyond the Headlines / What We’re Fighting For Now Is Each Other

What We’re Fighting For Now Is Each Other

Nov 29, 2015

Wen Stephenson was a moderate liberal and a journalist with NPR before an epiphany about global warming changed everything. Wen speaks with host Steve Curwood about his journey into the climate movement, and his new book about activists on the frontlines of the fight for climate justice. (published November 27, 2015)

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

While others are thinking about the holidays, in Florida November is the beginning of citrus season. Grower Jeff Schorner sells citrus fruit gift boxes by mail order and at his store, Al's Family Farm in Fort Pierce.

"We began our harvest about three weeks ago," he says. "And we'll harvest all the way about until the beginning of June." Right now, it's navel oranges. Next come tangerines, ruby red grapefruit and the popular honeybell tangelos.

The rate of deforestation in Brazil has increased by 16 percent over the past year, the country's Environment Ministry announced.

Brazil has often declared progress in reducing the rate of deforestation in the Amazon, but the government's own figures, released Thursday, show the challenges still facing the country.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Conjuring images of a dystopia, the shroud of bad air blanketing New Delhi in recent weeks has intensified global pressure on India to curb its greenhouse gas emissions.

India will arrive at the climate change summit in Paris next week as the third biggest generator of fossil fuel pollution blamed for warming the planet, after China and the U.S.

Half of India's emissions come from burning coal. A visit to the coal-rich northeastern Indian state of Jharkhand reveals how this stands to get even worse.

Copyright 2015 Prairie Public Broadcasting. To see more, visit http://www.prairiepublic.org/radio/.

Got cranberries? How about squash and pumpkin pie? These favorites would not be as bountiful without bees and other wild pollinators.

Honey bees were first imported into the American colonies by early European settlers, who recognized their value in producing fruits and other crops.

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Ever been caught telling different stories to different people? It's awkward.

Dow AgroSciences, which sells seeds and pesticides to farmers, made
contradictory claims to different parts of the U.S. government about its latest herbicide. The Environmental Protection Agency just found out, and now wants to cancel Dow's legal right to sell the product.

Copyright 2015 North Country Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/.

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