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Environmentalists see uncertainty in new US approach to climate deal

The environmental movement responded cautiously Wednesday to State Department envoy Todd Stern's roadmap for clinching a new United Nations climate deal that would avoid binding carbon reduction targets in favor of voluntary limits.

Representatives from two environmental groups stressed Stern's approach was expected and may succeed in securing a deal in Paris late next year. But they questioned whether enough will be done after 2020 by the international community to reduce emissions and avoid catastrophic global warming.

Study: Natural gas surge won't slow global warming

WASHINGTON (AP) — Cheap and plentiful natural gas isn't quite a bridge to a brighter energy future as claimed and won't slow global warming, a new study projects.

Abundant natural gas in the United States has been displacing coal, which produces more of the chief global warming gas carbon dioxide.

EPA approves new weed killer for engineered crops

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency has approved a new version of a popular weed killer to be used on genetically modified corn and soybeans.

The EPA said Wednesday that it will allow the use of a 2,4-D weed killer called Enlist Duo, a new version of the popular herbicide used since the 1940s. It is designed to be used with genetically modified corn and soybeans approved by the Agriculture Department last month.

Small business group presses EPA against water rule

The Hill

The National Federation of Independent Business, a coalition of small businesses, is pressing the Environmental Protection Agency to revoke its proposed Waters of the United States rule, contending it would expand regulated water flows and devalue land for farms and businesses, The Hill reports.

State Department Photo

Stern: U.S. won't seek binding carbon cuts in climate talks

The U.S. wants a new United Nations climate deal next year that allows countries to set their own climate emissions cuts, State Department climate envoy Todd Stern said Tuesday, in his most expansive comments yet on the upcoming negotiations.

Stern's speech at Yale University largely confirmed reports that the Obama administration will back the so-called "name and shame" plan suggested by New Zealand that stresses voluntary commitments, combined with mandatory reporting and transparency.

Such a plan would also take the administration off the hook to submit a final deal to the Senate, where it would face substantial opposition.

Court hears water dispute between Kansas, Nebraska

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Tuesday considered how to resolve a long-running legal fight between Kansas and Nebraska over the use of water from the Republican River.

The justices appeared to agree with recommendations of a special master who found that Nebraska should pay $3.7 million in damages to Kansas for using more than its legal share of the river's water in 2005 and 2006.

Magnitude 7.4 offshore quake hits Central America

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — A magnitude 7.4 underwater earthquake off the Pacific coast of El Salvador shook several Central American countries late Monday.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries and no tsunami warnings. But power outages were reported in El Salvador, and Nicaragua put out an internal alert, announcing that schools would be closed on Tuesday.

With their mark on Earth, humans may name era, too

WASHINGTON (AP) — People are changing Earth so much, warming and polluting it, that many scientists are turning to a new way to describe the time we live in. They're calling it the Anthropocene — the age of humans.

Though most non-experts don't realize it, science calls the past 12,000 years the Holocene, Greek for "entirely recent." But the way humans and their industries are altering the planet, especially its climate, has caused an increasing number of scientists to use the word Anthropocene to better describe when and where we are.

Ryan: Humans might not be cause of climate change

KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) — The planet has faced climate change forever and humans' pollution might not be to blame for shifts, Republican U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan said Monday during a debate against his Democratic challenger.

Ryan, favored to win re-election to his seat representing GOP-leaning southern Wisconsin, faced off against businessman Rob Zerban for an hourlong forum that touched on world events, domestic politics and the economy. One of the sharpest differences came when the moderator asked each candidate if he thought human activity is to blame for changes to the planet's climate.

Wildlife groups sue for wolverine protections

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A coalition of advocacy groups on Monday challenged the government's denial of federal protections for the snow-loving wolverine, filing a lawsuit that contends officials ignored evidence a warming climate will eliminate denning areas for the so-called "mountain devil."

An estimated 250 to 300 wolverines survive in the Lower 48 states. The elusive but ferocious members of the weasel family raise their young in deep mountain snowfields that many scientists say could be at risk of disappearing as the climate changes.


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