Noteworthy News

California's plastic-bag ban put on hold by ballot referendum

Opponents of a ban on single-use plastic bags in grocery stores have qualified a referendum on the law, delaying its July 1 effective date until voters act on the measure in November 2016, the California secretary of state’s office said last Tuesday.

High levels of benzene found in fracking waste water

Hoping to better understand the health effects of oil fracking, the state in 2013 ordered oil companies to test the chemical-laden waste water extracted from wells.

Data culled from the first year of those tests found significant concentrations of the human carcinogen benzene in this so-called "flowback fluid."

Huge solar farm opens in California: Enough energy for 160,000 homes

About 4,000 acres of shiny black solar panels stretch across Riverside County near Joshua Tree National Park, where on Monday U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell dedicated one of the largest photovoltaic solar energy farms in the world.

L.A. Basin methane emissions found up to 61% higher than estimates

A new study that used a mountaintop sensor to measure air pollution in the Los Angeles Basin found emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, are up to 61% higher than government estimates.

2014 officially the hottest year on record

The numbers are in. The year 2014 – after shattering temperature records that had stood for hundreds of years across virtually all of Europe, and roasting parts of South America, China and Russia – was the hottest on record, with global temperatures 1.24F (0.69C) higher than the 20th-century average, US government scientists said on Friday.

State puts limits on a pesticide used for strawberries, other crops

California farmers must restrict their use of a tear gas-like pesticide applied to strawberries and other crops under new rules designed to protect farmworkers and people who live, work and go to school near agricultural fields.

Restored Forests Breathe Life Into Efforts Against Climate Change

LA VIRGEN, Costa Rica — Over just a few decades in the mid-20th century, this small country chopped down a majority of its ancient forests. But after a huge conservation push and a wave of forest regrowth, trees now blanket more than half of Costa Rica.

Natural Gas: Abundance of Supply and Debate

MEAD, Colo. — Natural gas is the Rorschach test of energy policy. Depending on one’s point of view, it can be either an essential tool for meeting the challenge of climate change or another dirty fossil fuel that will speed the planet down the path to calamitous warming.

Nuclear: Carbon Free, but Not Free of Unease

Next week, if all goes as planned, the 42-year-old nuclear reactor at the Vermont Yankee generating station will be shut down for the last time. The steam turbine at the plant, which at its peak could make enough electricity for about half a million homes with virtually no greenhouse gas emissions, will grind to a halt.

Los Angeles, City of Water

LOS ANGELES is the nation’s water archvillain, according to public perception, notorious for its usurpation of water hundreds of miles away to slake the thirst of its ever-expanding population. As a character in “Chinatown,” the noirish 1974 film starring Jack Nicholson that churns through the city’s water history, puts it, “Either you bring the water to L.A., or you bring L.A. to the water.”

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