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Updated: 38 min 9 sec ago

Trump U.N. pick Craft says climate change a threat to planet

6 hours 40 min ago

Speaking before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Washington, Kelly Craft - currently U.S. ambassador to Canada - also said fossil fuels were partly to blame. In 2017, Craft said she believed "both sides of the science" on climate change. "Climate change needs to be addressed as it poses real risk to our planet.


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Himalayan glaciers melting far faster this century - study

6 hours 41 min ago

Himalayan glaciers have been melting twice as fast since the start of this century, underscoring the threat the climate crisis poses to water supplies for hundreds of millions of people across Asia, according to a study published on Wednesday. Scientists have long been trying to establish how quickly rising global temperatures caused by the burning of coal, oil and gas are eating away at the region's icebound landscapes, sometimes referred to as Earth's third pole. "This is the clearest picture yet of how fast Himalayan glaciers are melting over this time interval, and why," lead author Joshua Maurer, a PhD candidate at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, said in a statement.


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Trump U.N. pick Craft says climate change a threat to planet

6 hours 45 min ago

Speaking before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Washington, Kelly Craft - currently U.S. ambassador to Canada - also said fossil fuels were partly to blame. In 2017, Craft said she believed "both sides of the science" on climate change. "Climate change needs to be addressed as it poses real risk to our planet.


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Trump's UN envoy nominee defends climate record

7 hours 42 min ago

President Donald Trump's nominee to be the next U.S. envoy to the United Nations on Wednesday defended her record on climate change, saying it is a "real risk to our planet" that must be addressed. Kelly Knight Craft told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that she believes human behavior has contributed to climate change and she'll push countries deal with it. "I acknowledge there is a vast amount of science regarding climate change and the tools and the role that humans have played in climate change," she said.


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NHS accused of 'burying' damning child cancer report after patients unnecessarily 'died in agony'

7 hours 45 min ago

NHS bosses have been accused of “burying” a damning report into child cancer services commissioned following complaints that patients were “dying in agony”. Completed in 2015, the document highlights failings at the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, one of the UK’s flagship cancer organisations. It found that, despite being supposedly a centre of excellence, children admitted for cancer treatment were routinely transferred between hospitals to get the care they needed. Compiled by Professor Mike Stephens, the report was commissioned after a coroner found “astonishing” failures in the care of a two-year-old girl, Alice Mason, leading to her suffering irreversible brain damage and dying in 2011. It recommended a radical shake-up of the Marsden’s services. The document was never made public, however, and yesterday (Wednesday) the former NHS medical director for London, Dr Andy Mitchell, accused the head of NHS England, Simon Stevens, and Cally Palmer, England’s National Cancer Director, of suppressing its publication. Ms Palmer is also the chief executive of the Royal Marsden. Dr Mitchell told the Health Service Journal (HJS): “I can’t imagine any other individuals having the power and influence to be able to stop this report moving forward.” NHS England has denied that its then medical director, Sir Bruce Keogh, was improperly leaned on and said the report remained unpublished because it made “implausible suggestions” which would have forced children with cancer to travel further for care. But Gareth Mason, Alice’s father, said: “To write a report, shelve it and not debate it, that is a cover-up [and] it has left children since Alice and danger, and the Marsden won’t acknowledge that. “There is a clear need for a debate. “Why are they so frightened to talk about this.” The controversy surrounds the performance of a so-called “shared care system”, with the Marsden’s Sutton site forming part of a network for South London, Surrey, Sussex and Kent. Critics say the format meant children were transferred between sites more regularly and than they should have been, and were put in danger because information was not properly shared. Rosalind and Gareth Mason criticised the report's surpression Credit: Heathcliff O'Malley In 2009 eight-year-old Daniel Strong suffered unnecessary agony in the final weeks of his life because of “disorganisation” in South London’s cancer services, according to his parents, who also criticised the decision not to publish the report. The document recommended that a smaller number of better equipped paediatric oncology units should replace the existing format. HSJ reported it had seen emails between NHS England staff in 2016 speculating that the “supposed “cover-up”” may become the story in itself”. One reportedly included the phrase: “There is the potential for this to blow up in our faces.” A spokesman for NHS England said last night: “The draft report from four years ago made implausible suggestions that would have meant the closure of world class children’s cancer services and forced thousands of families to travel considerable distances to access care. “What’s more, services at the Royal Marsden have since been independently inspected and assessed as providing both safe and outstanding cancer care. “The independent cancer taskforce also looked at these issues and as a result there is now an open consultation underway where different clinical opinions can be put forward for further consideration.” A spokesman for the Royal Marsden said patient safety incidents are currently “among the lowest in the country”. He added: ““All paediatric cancer centres across the country work with a number of shared care units to manage patient care. Very sadly, two serious incidents occurred in 2009 and 2011 both as a result of the management of shared care pathways between units and the centre.”


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Nuclear weapons: experts alarmed by new Pentagon 'war-fighting' doctrine

7 hours 48 min ago

US joint chiefs of staff posted then removed paper that suggests nuclear weapons could ‘create conditions for decisive results’North Korean ballistic missiles. The document said nuclear weapons could ‘create conditions for decisive results and the restoration of strategic stability’. Photograph: STR/AFP/Getty ImagesThe Pentagon believes using nuclear weapons could “create conditions for decisive results and the restoration of strategic stability”, according to a new nuclear doctrine adopted by the US joint chiefs of staff last week.The document, entitled Nuclear Operations, was published on 11 June, and was the first such doctrine paper for 14 years. Arms control experts say it marks a shift in US military thinking towards the idea of fighting and winning a nuclear war – which they believe is a highly dangerous mindset.“Using nuclear weapons could create conditions for decisive results and the restoration of strategic stability,” the joint chiefs’ document says. “Specifically, the use of a nuclear weapon will fundamentally change the scope of a battle and create conditions that affect how commanders will prevail in conflict.”At the start of a chapter on nuclear planning and targeting, the document quotes a cold war theorist, Herman Kahn, as saying: “My guess is that nuclear weapons will be used sometime in the next hundred years, but that their use is much more likely to be small and limited than widespread and unconstrained.”Kahn was a controversial figure. He argued that a nuclear war could be “winnable” and is reported to have provided part of the inspiration for Stanley Kubrick’s film Dr Strangelove.The Nuclear Operations document was taken down from the Pentagon online site after a week, and is now only available through a restricted access electronic library. But before it was withdrawn it was downloaded by Steven Aftergood, who directs the project on government secrecy for the Federation of American Scientists.It is unclear why the document was withdrawn from public access and the Pentagon has not yet responded to a request for comment.Aftergood said the new document “is very much conceived as a war-fighting doctrine – not simply a deterrence doctrine, and that’s unsettling”.He pointed out that, as an operational document by the joint chiefs rather than a policy documents, its role is to plan for worst-case scenarios. But Aftergood added: “That kind of thinking itself can be hazardous. It can make that sort of eventuality more likely instead of deterring it.”Alexandra Bell, a former state department arms control official said: “This seems to be another instance of this administration being both tone-deaf and disorganised.”Bell, now senior policy director at the Centre for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, added: “Posting a document about nuclear operations and then promptly deleting it shows a lack of messaging discipline and a lack of strategy. Further, at a time of rising nuclear tensions, casually postulating about the potential upsides of a nuclear attack is obtuse in the extreme.”The doctrine has been published in the wake of the Trump administration’s withdrawal from two nuclear agreements: the 2015 joint comprehensive programme of action with Iran, and the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty with Russia. The administration is also sceptical about a third: the New Start accord that limits US and Russian forces strategic nuclear weapons and delivery systems, which is due to expire in 2021.Meanwhile, the US and Russia are engaged in multibillion-dollar nuclear weapon modernisation programmes. As part of the US programme, the Trump administration is developing a low-yield ballistic missile, which arms control advocates have said risks lowering the nuclear threshold, making conceivable that a nuclear war could be “limited”, rather than inevitably lead to a global cataclysm.The last nuclear operations doctrine, published during the George W Bush administration in 2005, also caused alarm. It envisaged pre-emptive nuclear strikes and the use of the US nuclear arsenal against all weapons of mass destruction, not just nuclear.The Obama administration did not publish a nuclear operations doctrine but in its 2010 nuclear posture review it sought to downgrade the role of nuclear weapons in US military planning.It renounced the Bush-era plan to build nuclear “bunker-buster” bombs, and ruled out nuclear attack against non-nuclear-weapon states, but it did not go as far towards disarmament as arms control activists had wanted or expected.


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Survey sees biggest US honeybee winter die-off yet

7 hours 56 min ago

The annual nationwide survey by the Bee Informed Partnership found 37.7% of honeybee colonies died this past winter, nearly 9 percentage points higher than the average winter loss. The survey of nearly 4,700 beekeepers managing more than 300,000 colonies goes back 13 years and is conducted by bee experts at the University of Maryland, Auburn University and several other colleges. Beekeepers had been seeing fewer winter colony losses in recent years until now, said Maryland's Dennis vanEngelsdorp, president of the bee partnership and co-author of Wednesday's survey.


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Old spy images reveal Himalayan glaciers are melting fast

8 hours 4 min ago

Cold War era spy satellite images are showing scientists that glaciers on the Himalayas are now melting about twice as fast as they used to. The Asian mountain range, which includes Mount Everest, has been losing ice at a rate of about 1% a year since 2000, according to a study Wednesday in the journal Science Advances . "The amount of ice (lost) is scary but what is much more scary is the doubling of the melt rate," said Josh Maurer, a glacier researcher at Columbia University's Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory and lead author of the study.


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Declassified spy photos show rapid melting of colossal glaciers

8 hours 8 min ago

Metal canisters filled with top-secret satellite photos plummeted from space and then parachuted over the Pacific Ocean during the '70s and '80s. A U.S. Air Force plane would swoop down on cue and snag the classified material, ferrying the images safely back to land.   The spy satellite missions, run by the National Reconnaissance Office, sought to capture wide-ranging views of what transpired around the globe. In all, they photographed some 877 million square miles of Earth. The black and white photos, now declassified, have great scientific value: They reveal the accelerated melting of the colossal Himalayan glaciers — home to the third largest ice sheets on the planet.  In new research published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances, earth scientists used this Cold War-era imagery to conclude that ice melt in the Himalayas has doubled since the year 2000, compared to the quarter-century prior. "We have imagery from the 1970s that shows what the glaciers were like back then," said Joshua Maurer, lead author of the study and a Ph.D. candidate at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. A retired massive HEXAGON KH-9 reconnaissance satellite. Image: National Museum of the U.S. Air Force But since 2000, temperatures in the region, home to the highest elevations on Earth, have risen by 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (or 1 degree Celsius). That's enough to amplify ice melt, especially at the lower portions of glaciers which are already prone to melting.  "It's a region that's very vulnerable to climate change," added Maurer. The spy images further underscore the reality of accelerated glacier melt around the planet. Each year, Earth is now losing the equivalent of three times the amount of ice in the European Alps. In Montana in the mid-1800s, there were an estimated 150 sizable glaciers in what is now Glacier National Park. Today, there are just 26 glaciers large enough to be counted.  Photograph reels were dropped from the white pods labeled "film recovery." Image: National Reconnaissance Office In short, Earth is feeling the effects of accelerating climate change. "We’re not trying to figure out whether the glaciers will melt in the future," said Alex Gardner, a NASA glaciologist who had no role in the study. "We're just trying to find out how much and how fast." Using the spy photos, Maurer looked at around 650 Himalayan glaciers and converted them into 3D imagery to create an improved idea of what the glaciers looked like, some 40 years ago. In recent decades, the loss of ice is stark, and temperature increases are the conspicuous, repeatedly observed link.  "We know there is a very strong link between temperature changes and glacier melt," said Gardner. "Every single glacier region on Earth is losing mass." These days, the National Reconnaissance Office no longer needs to drop literal photographic reels from hundreds of miles above. Satellites now directly transmit data to Earth. And this satellite imagery, generally speaking, is invaluable. It's impossible to get a grip on glacier melt and trends without eyes in space. "It takes days to trek up through the glaciers carrying scientific equipment," noted Maurer, who visited the Himalayas a couple of years ago. What's more, many important glaciers are in politically unstable regions and the extreme, disorienting conditions at high altitude make it difficult to even measure one glaciated area, he explained.  SEE ALSO: CO2 just hit an all-time record. But that’s not the worst of it. Even in the best case scenarios — should civilization collectively slash its accelerating carbon emissions — the greater Himalayan region is expected to lose a third of its ice by century's end — but it's likely this number will be considerably more. Such ice loss doesn't bode well for the hundreds of millions that depend on Himalayan glaciers for their water and livelihoods.   For now, scientists will watch the melt — using today's (fortunately) unclassified satellite images. "The ice loss will continue to accelerate," said Maurer. WATCH: Meet Katie Bouman, one of the scientists who helped capture the first black hole image


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Momentum builds for EU leaders to agree carbon neutral 2050 pledge at summit

8 hours 16 min ago

A push by Germany, France and other EU nations for the bloc to go carbon neutral by mid-century looks likely to be endorsed by EU leaders on Thursday, despite resistance from eastern European nations worried it could cost jobs. A majority of the European Union's 28 members have signed up to the lofty target ahead of the two-day summit of EU leaders - hoping to lead by example at this year's U.N. climate talks in September abandoned by U.S. President Donald Trump. Months of youth climate protests and bleak warnings from U.N. scientists helped propel Green parties to their strongest showing yet in May's European Parliament elections.


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Watchdogs issue warning about NASA’s SLS moon rocket plan, but Boeing CEO stays the course

8 hours 26 min ago

The federal government’s watchdog agency says getting NASA’s heavy-lift Space Launch System rocket off the ground is likely to take longer and cost more than the space agency says it will. Any issues that crop up in the months ahead could push the first uncrewed SLS launch, known as Artemis 1, from its planned mid-2020 timetable to mid-2021, the Government Accountability Office said in a study issued today. What’s more, the GAO says NASA has been shifting costs forward to make it look as if expenses for the first launch have grown by $1 billion, when the actual adjusted cost… Read More


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New York nears passage of aggressive law to fight climate change

8 hours 29 min ago

New York state lawmakers could pass as early as Wednesday one of the nation's most ambitious plans to slow climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050. The New York measure, which the Assembly in the state capital Albany was expected to approve Wednesday after the Senate passed it on Tuesday, mandates reducing emissions by 85% from 1990 levels by 2050, and offsetting the remaining 15%, making the state carbon neutral. "I want New York to have the most aggressive climate change program in the United States of America," Governor Andrew Cuomo told public radio WCNY in Syracuse after he reached an agreement with legislators on the bill's language.


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Donald Trump Jr. Mocks Biden's Cancer Cure Promise Just Before His Dad Makes Same Vow

8 hours 37 min ago

During a rally in Orlando, Florida, he made fun of Biden's promise to cure cancer, either not knowing or caring that the former VP's son died of the disease.


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New York nears passage of aggressive law to fight climate change

8 hours 38 min ago

New York state lawmakers could pass as early as Wednesday one of the nation's most ambitious plans to slow climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050. The New York measure, which the Assembly in the state capital Albany was expected to approve Wednesday after the Senate passed it on Tuesday, mandates reducing emissions by 85% from 1990 levels by 2050, and offsetting the remaining 15%, making the state carbon neutral. "I want New York to have the most aggressive climate change program in the United States of America," Governor Andrew Cuomo told public radio WCNY in Syracuse after he reached an agreement with legislators on the bill's language.


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YouTube Is Considering Changes to Kids Content After Criticism

8 hours 45 min ago

(Bloomberg) -- YouTube is considering more changes to how content for kids shows up on the world’s largest video site as criticism mounts that it’s unsafe for children.YouTube, owned by Alphabet Inc.’s Google, is debating changes involving kids’ content, according to a person familiar with the discussions. The Wall Street Journal earlier reported that the company was mulling moving all videos for children to its separate YouTube Kids app. Such a drastic change is unlikely, according to the person, who asked not to be identified discussing in-house company deliberations.The Google unit has long positioned itself as a neutral platform that lets anyone upload and watch whatever videos they want. But now the site is struggling to convince parents and advertisers that it can protect children from violent, upsetting and harmful content. On Monday, Bloomberg reported that children who use YouTube’s main site far outnumber those who stick to the safer, vetted YouTube Kids app.YouTube has already made tweaks to the platform as it tries to create a safer site for children. The company banned comments on thousands of videos featuring kids after predators were found to be using the comment section to flag parts of the videos showing activities that could be twisted to be construed as sexual.“We consider lots of ideas for improving YouTube and some remain just that -- ideas,” a YouTube spokeswoman said in an email. “Others, we develop and launch, like our restrictions to minors live streaming or updated hate speech policy.”YouTube only recently made “responsible growth” its core metric, after years of focusing on engagement, even after employees flagged harmful and misleading videos to executives, Bloomberg reported earlier this year.Major advertisers have frozen YouTube spending at various times out of fear their ads will be shown next to harmful videos. Still, the video site remains, with Facebook Inc. and Instagram, among the most popular places to advertise online.To contact the reporters on this story: Gerrit De Vynck in New York at gdevynck@bloomberg.net;Lucas Shaw in Los Angeles at lshaw31@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at jward56@bloomberg.net, Andrew Pollack, Robin AjelloFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


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US sets back efforts to fight climate change in favour of supporting coal industry

9 hours 21 min ago

The Trump administration has finalised its Affordable Clean Energy rule, drastically setting back efforts to stop climate change in favour of supporting the coal industry.The rule is a direct rebuttal of Barack Obama’s 2015 Clean Power Plan, the first federal regulations to protect against carbon pollution for existing power plants.The new rule requires the US power sector to cut its 2030 carbon emissions 35 per cent over 2005 levels. This requirement is less than half of what experts say is needed to avoid catastrophic warming.Andrew Wheeler, the Environmental Protection Agency administrator and a former coal lobbyist, announced the final version of the rule on Wednesday. His speech named US achievements in environmental progress that exist because of regulations set in place to stop climate change as reasons to halt further regulation.The new rule is backed by the coal industry, which has been an anchor in Donald Trump’s presidency, supporting him wholly in an effort to save the environmentally destructive industry from economic decline.Rolling Stone today revealed that the president has been supported by a group called the Trump Leadership Council since the summer of 2016, when business leaders, described by critics as extreme and, for the most part, climate deniers, met to discuss what it would take to achieve a Trump presidency. They have advised him since.In a statement issued following the rule’s finalisation, the Sierra Club called it “a deadly rollback and an illegal giveaway to the coal industry that EPA previously estimated could result in up to 1,400 pollution related deaths every year”.“Trump and Wheeler are pushing a plan that will lead to thousands of deaths while ignoring the public’s demands for aggressive climate action, just so a handful of wealthy coal executives can make a little more money,” Michael Brune, the executive director of the Club, said. “This is an immoral and an illegal attack on clean air, clean energy, and the health of the public, and it shows just how heartless the Trump administration is when it comes to appeasing its polluter allies.”Varshini Prakash, co-founder and executive director of Sunrise Movement, said the finalisation "killed one of the last remaining pieces of legislation to protect my generation from climate disaster"."It is clearer than ever before: the fossil fuel billionaires and the lobbyists and politicians they employ are dead set on burning every last inch of our earth," she continued. "Without a doubt, this is a dark time in American history, but I am hopeful because an army of young people is rising up in every corner of the US to demand a Green New Deal, protect the health of our families, and create millions of good jobs. This is more fuel for our movement that is growing stronger every day."Though Mr Wheeler made the announcement of the ACE’s finalisation in front of coal miners in hard hats, it’s unclear whether the effort will be enough to substantially help the dying industry.


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Experimental drug, first of its kind, may delay Type 1 diabetes

9 hours 32 min ago

A new drug may delay the onset of insulin-dependent Type 1 diabetes in those who are at high risk for the autoimmune disease, according to the results of a trial published in New England Journal of Medicine. “This is the first time we have showed that immune therapy can delay progression to Type 1 diabetes,” Dr. Kevan Herold, a professor of Immunobiology and Internal Medicine at the Yale School of Medicine, and lead researcher for the trial, said in a statement. The drug trial was conducted on people ages 8 to 49 at high risk for Type 1 diabetes.


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2 things we believe: Chernobyl was catastrophic, and we need nuclear power more than ever

9 hours 35 min ago

The HBO series shows we’re not going to have another Chernobyl. By far the biggest threat to human safety in power production is from climate change.


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Trump administration completes rollback of Obama anti-coal plan

9 hours 37 min ago

The power sector is expected to have reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 13 percent in 2019 compared to 2005 levels, according to official statistics. Trump announced in 2017 his plans to kill the Clean Power Plan that had been introduced two years earlier by then-president Barack Obama but had been put on hold by the Supreme Court. The Environment Protection Agency has been working since then on its replacement, known as the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule, which had to pass a period of public comment.


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