Tag Archives: Air quality

Winds kick up century previous volcanic ash in Alaska


Whereas western U.S. states had been affected by hazy purple skies from wildfires, Alaska on Monday was coping with an air high quality downside born a century in the past

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Whereas western U.S. states had been affected by hazy purple skies from wildfires, Alaska was coping with an air high quality downside born a century in the past.

Sturdy southerly winds picked up free ash from a 1912 volcanic eruption, sending an ash cloud about 4,000 ft (1,219 meters) into the sky on Monday.

There have been no studies of ashfall in close by communities close to Katmai Nationwide Park, well-known as the situation the place brown bears stand within the Brooks River and catch salmon, however pilots had been warned in regards to the cloud as a result of the ash can stall engines.

“Mainly these kinds of occasions occur each spring and fall when sturdy winds choose up ash from the 1912 Novarupta eruption,” mentioned Kristi Wallace, a U.S. Geological Survey geologist on the Alaska Volcano Observatory.

The three-day eruption, one of many world’s largest, started June 6, 1912, and despatched ash as excessive as 100,000 ft (30,480 meters) above the Katmai area, positioned about 250 miles (402 kilometers) southwest of Anchorage. The USGS estimates 3.6 cubic miles (15 cubic kilometers) of magma was erupted, about 30 instances what spewed from Mount St. Helens in Washington state 40 years in the past.

The Novarupta eruption was essentially the most highly effective of the 20th century and ranks among the many largest in recorded historical past.

The ash was deposited in what’s now often known as the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. “Nearly 600 ft (183 meters) of ash on the market that’s not vegetated,” Wallace mentioned.

Cloudy skies obscured satellite tv for pc imagery on Monday, however a pilot flying at about 20,000 ft (6,096 meters) first reported the ash cloud, Wallace mentioned.

That was confirmed by a pilot flying at about 2,000 ft (610 meters).

The observatory issued a press release alerting those that this was not a brand new eruption from one of many seven volcanos within the Katmai area, however simply excessive winds kicking up the Novarupta ash.

“We all know that what’s getting kicked up isn’t simply glacial mud, mineral mud that you may see just about in all places else in Alaska,” Wallace mentioned. “These sorts of mud storms occur in all places. However once they occur there, we all know that the fabric that’s being picked up is predominantly volcanic ash.”

The winds had been solely about 30 mph (48 kph), mentioned Michael Kutz, a meteorologist on the Nationwide Climate Service workplace in Anchorage. The cloud moved north from the Katmai area, and so they had no studies of ashfall.

Widespread rains Tuesday within the Bristol Bay area prompted the cancellation of ash advisories, Kutz mentioned.


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EU high official proposes new 2030 goal to cut back emissions


The European Fee president is proposing to cut back Europe’s complete greenhouse emissions by 55% by 2030, a lot larger than the present objective of 40%

BRUSSELS — The European Union’s high official on Wednesday proposed a extra formidable goal for reducing greenhouse emissions in Europe, setting a discount objective of 55% by 2030, considerably larger than the present goal of 40%.

Talking within the European Parliament, EU Fee President Ursula Von der Leyen stated the brand new goal will probably be “an excessive amount of for some and never sufficient for others,” however ought to assist the 27-nation bloc obtain local weather neutrality by 2050.

“Our financial system and business can handle this, they usually need it, too,” Von der Leyen stated as she set out her priorities for the yr forward in her first State of the Union deal with to EU lawmakers.

EU leaders agreed final yr to make the bloc’s financial system carbon impartial by the center of the century.

Von der Leyen added that she needs 37% of the €750 billion coronavirus restoration fund adopted by EU nations this summer time to be spent on environmental aims, and that 30% of the fund ought to be raised by “inexperienced” bonds, whose proceeds are supposed to have a optimistic affect on the setting.

The EU additionally plans to dedicate 1 / 4 of its price range to tackling local weather change and to work to shift 1 trillion euros ($1.1 trillion) in funding towards making the EU’s financial system extra environmentally pleasant over the following 10 years.

Based on the EU, its greenhouse gasoline emissions already decreased by 23% between 1990 and 2018, with the financial system rising by 61% in that interval.

World leaders agreed 5 years in the past in Paris to maintain world warming beneath 3.6 levels Fahrenheit, ideally not more than 2.7 F by the tip of the century. Scientists say nations will miss each of these targets by a large margin except drastic steps are taken to start reducing greenhouse gasoline emissions.


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LEADING OFF: M’s-Giants shift due to fires, Hamels debut


The Mariners and Giants play at Oracle Park after their two-game collection in Seattle was postponed due to poor air high quality brought on by the West Coast wildfires

A have a look at what’s occurring across the majors in the present day:


The Mariners and Giants play at Oracle Park after their two-game collection in Seattle was postponed due to poor air high quality brought on by the West Coast wildfires. The groups will now play twice in San Francisco.

Forecasters are calling for smoke to achieve very unhealthy ranges in Western Washington by a minimum of Thursday. There have been smoky skies within the Bay Space, too, however the air high quality has remained OK.

The Mariners and Oakland break up a doubleheader Monday in Seattle. The smoke stage reached a stage of very unhealthy on the air high quality index, even with the roof closed at T-Cell Park.

“I’m a wholesome 22-year-old. I shouldn’t be gasping for air or lacking oxygen. I’ll go away it at that,” stated Jesús Luzardo, who began the opener for the A’s.


The wait is over for left-hander Cole Hamels, who’s poised to come back off the 45-day injured checklist and pitch for the primary time as a member of the Braves.

After signing a one-year contract with Atlanta in December, Hamels arrived at spring coaching with a sore shoulder. Then, he developed triceps tendinitis throughout summer time camp.

The rehab, in the end, is completed and he’ll begin in opposition to Baltimore at Camden Yards. And at a very good time for a group that is main the NL East regardless of a number of accidents to its pitching employees.

“Now it’s only a matter of being round these guys. That’s the factor you miss probably the most,” Hamels stated. “I used to be capable of watch them play, however you’re not capable of rejoice with them.”

The 36-year-old Hamels has designs of carrying the Braves into the playoffs and deep into the postseason. Pitching is what he does finest, and the four-time All-Star hasn’t carried out it competitively since final September.

“It’s one thing that I do know I like to do,” he stated, “and I’m excited to have the ability to do it in a Braves uniform.”


NL East foes Jacob deGrom (4-1, 1.67 ERA) and Aaron Nola (5-3, 2.40) are set to face off for the second time in 10 days after hardly ever sharing the mound throughout their careers. In simply their second profession matchup on Sept. 6, the Mets pounded Nola and the Phillies 14-1, though Nola was solely charged with three earned runs.

DeGrom goes into this recreation at Residents Financial institution Park possible get three extra begins this season to cement his case for a 3rd consecutive NL Cy Younger Award. He entered Tuesday with the NL’s finest ERA and tied for second in strikeouts behind the Reds’ Trevor Bauer.


Yankees slugger Aaron Decide may come off the injured checklist and return to the lineup to face the Blue Jays within the Bronx.

Decide missed two weeks in late August with a strained calf, was activated, performed one recreation after which went again on the IL. The All-Star proper fielder was off to a giant begin this season with 9 dwelling runs and 20 RBIs in 18 video games.

Gerrit Cole (5-3) begins for New York and Tanner Roark (2-1) for the Blue Jays within the race for second place within the AL East. At 99-55 lifetime, Cole appears to be like to affix Justin Verlander, Roy Oswalt and Mark Mulder as the one pitchers since 2000 to achieve 100 wins in 203 or fewer appearances.


Extra AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports activities


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Students push universities to stop investing in fossil fuels


NEW HAVEN, Conn. —
Students alarmed by climate change are stepping up pressure on universities to pull investments from fossil fuel industries, an effort that is gaining traction at prestigious schools like Georgetown, Harvard and Yale.

The push that is underway at hundreds of schools began nearly a decade ago, and student activists increasingly have learned from one another’s tactics and moved to act amid worsening predictions about the effects of climate change on the planet.

Georgetown University’s board of directors announced this month that it will end private investments in coal, oil and gas companies within the next decade, and some faculty at Harvard have called for a similar shift. There were sit-ins and demonstrations last week at dozens of schools, including Gonzaga University, the University of Wisconsin, University of Pittsburgh and Cornell University.

Several dozen schools have stopped investing at least partially in fossil fuels, but there is debate over how much the move slows the effects of climate change or affects the bottom line of companies like Chevron and Exxon Mobil.

Many schools have defended their investments, citing a duty to preserve and grow the income they receive from donations, while touting efforts to use investments as leverage to engage energy companies, find solutions for climate change through research and make campuses carbon neutral by not causing any net increases in heat-trapping carbon dioxide.

For student activists, it’s about taking a moral and political stand.

At Yale University, which has a $30.3 billion endowment, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Senate on Thursday will discuss the university’s ethical obligations regarding fossil fuel investments. It became a big issue partly due to a widely covered student protest that disrupted a November football game between Harvard and Yale.

“Yale has to take it seriously. We forced them to take it seriously. The faculty discussions are evidence of that,” said Ben Levin, a student leader with the Yale Endowment Justice Coalition. “They’re also evidence of the fact that the faculty are incredibly concerned because they don’t want to be working for a university that’s on the wrong side of the most pressing issue of our time.”

Yale says it has supported shareholder resolutions calling for companies to reveal what they’re doing to address climate change and asked endowment managers not to invest in companies that fail to take steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but student activists want a clean break.

The campus actions are part of a broader push for insurers, pension funds and governments worldwide to end fossil fuel investments.

Environmentalist and author Bill McKibben, a leader of the movement to stop such investments, said students have played a huge role.

“They’ve kept it up through two generations of undergraduates. Administrators hoped they’d graduate and that would be the end of the pressure, but instead it keeps building,” said McKibben, a scholar in residence at Middlebury College, which announced last year it would divest its $1.1 billion endowment from fossil fuels.

Student government leaders from the Big Ten Conference called last month for their 14 schools to begin divesting from fossil fuels, passing a resolution that cited the conclusion of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that greenhouse gas emissions are driving climate change.

A challenge for institutions is the prevalence of investments in index funds, which makes it difficult to separate out the roughly 4 percent of energy stocks in such funds, said John Jurewitz, a lecturer in economics at Pomona College. Colleges pulling their investments also wouldn’t likely hurt oil companies, which have their own internal cash flows, he said.

“It’s mainly a political statement about what the university is willing to invest in,” Jurewitz said. “It may be a worthwhile statement if you believe it will help get the ball rolling toward getting some realistic, meaningful policy like a carbon tax or cap and trade, something that will put a price on the carbon in some practical way.”

The Independent Petroleum Association of America has pushed back with its own campaign, arguing divestment would cost university endowments millions a year with little impact on carbon emissions.

At Harvard, which has a $40.9 billion endowment, President Lawrence Bacow said he would take a faculty motion to the Harvard Corporation, the university’s executive board. In the past, administrators have outlined steps Harvard is taking to address climate change while arguing that ending fossil fuel investments wouldn’t have a big effect and that it makes little sense to sever ties with energy companies that heat and light the campus.

Connor Chung, a first-year student and organizer for Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard, said the group hopes the university will reconsider.

“At the end of the day, our goal is environmental justice,” he said. “Divestment is our tactic for getting there, but it’s not going to work unless we have a broader movement around the country and around the world of students demanding that their institutions end their complicity in the climate crisis.”

A group of Harvard students also want to stop investments in prisons and companies that contract with them. They sued Wednesday, arguing the school is violating state law by investing in an industry they describe as “present-day slavery.” Harvard officials didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment on the lawsuit.

At George Washington University, sophomore Izy Carney said a student campaign has taken inspiration from the activism of students elsewhere, including in the University of California system, which announced a plan to end fossil fuel investments in 2019.

After hearing from student activists, George Washington’s board of trustees announced a task force this month on managing environmental responsibility. But it did not mention divestment as a possibility.

Carney, a member of Sunrise GW, a student group dedicated to fighting climate change, said they would keep up the pressure.

“Right now, it sounds like profits is what our university is after,” Carney said. “We just want to make sure our school is doing everything it can to make sure it is not contributing to the climate crisis.”


Associated Press writer Alanna Durkin Richer in Boston contributed to this report.


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As wildfires get worse, smoke spreads, stokes health worries


PARADISE, Calif. —
First came the flames, a raging firestorm propelled by 50 mph (80 kph) wind gusts that incinerated Kelsey Norton’s house and killed 85 people in her community.

Then came the smoke — not just from the forest but also from some 14,000 houses and their contents that burned, generating a thick plume that enshrouded portions of Northern California for weeks and left Norton gasping.

And since the fire, more than a year now, it has been sickness: repeated respiratory infections that sap Norton’s strength, interfere with her work and leave the 30-year-old cardiac care nurse worried about future health problems.

“I don’t want to have cancer in my 50s because I inhaled smoke in my 30s,” she said.

The immediate toll of lives and property lost when a fire tore through the Sierra Nevada foothills town of Paradise, California in November 2018 is well documented. Still unknown is the long-term impact of the intense smoke exposure suffered by the tragedy’s survivors and the hundreds of thousands of people living in communities downwind of the blaze.

Increasingly intense wildfires are scorching forests from across the Western U.S. to Australia and stoking concern among residents and health professionals about long-term health impacts from smoke exposure.

The issue has far-reaching implications as climate change turns some regions of the globe drier and more prone to fires that send up smoke plumes that can travel thousands of miles and affect millions of people.

The unprecedented fires burning across Australia offer the most recent example as they blanket major cities with dangerous air pollution. Smoke from those fires, which started burning in September, by this week had spread across more than 7.7 million square miles (20 million square kilometers) and drifted across the Pacific Ocean to reach South America, according to the United Nation’s meteorological agency and the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service.

Th e fires have torched more than 2,000 houses and killed at least 26 people. Authorities ordered new evacuations in New South Wales and the neighboring state of Victoria as rising temperatures and erratic winds on Friday threatened to fan dozens of blazes still burning out of control.

Both states issued hazardous air quality warnings for affected areas and said people with health problems should consider relocating until the smoke clears.

Compounding the danger, experts and firefighters say, is the proliferation of construction materials and household items made from petroleum-based plastics, ranging from plumbing pipes to exterior siding. Those burn hotter and generate smoke more toxic than wood does, exposing people to numerous hazardous chemicals.

Researchers and health officials are confident more people will get sick and many will die as regions such as the U.S. West see bigger, more intense wildfires.

An estimated 20,000 premature deaths now occur annually in the U.S. due to chronic wildfire smoke exposure. That’s expected to double by the end of the century, according to scientists funded by NASA, as tens of millions of people get exposed to massive “smoke waves” emanating from blazes in Western states.

But while those forecasts help illustrate the profound impacts of a warming climate, they can’t predict which fires will prove deadly and which individuals will develop lung ailments or other illnesses.

One of relatively few long-term studies on the issue is under way at the California National Primate Research Center. Fifty rhesus monkeys living in outdoor pens year-round were exposed to a prolonged period of wildfire smoke as infants in 2008. They’ve developed lungs 20% smaller than another group of monkeys born a year later, researchers found.

“It’s the closest animal model to replicate what happens with kids,” said Lisa Miller, the center’s associate director of research.

The difference first showed up when the animals were adolescents, and has continued as they’ve matured. It’s impossible for the untrained eye to distinguish the smoke-exposed monkeys from hundreds of others that share their pens, but Miller’s team next plans to investigate how the decreased lung function affects activity levels of the monkeys.

As the animals age, any diseases they develop and how they die would give clues into the fate of humans heavily exposed to smoke.

Studies of wildland firefighters also give insights into the risks of smoke inhalation. They’ve shown significantly higher rates of lung cancer and death from heart disease, said Michael Kleinman, who researches the health effects of air pollution and is a professor of environmental toxicology at the University of California, Irvine.

Firefighters get much higher and more frequent doses of smoke, but Kleinman said a proportional increase in illnesses could be expected among the general public exposed to wildfire smoke across California and the West.

“It’s safe to say there will probably more effects at the long-term level,” Kleinman said. “Especially if those events happened over a longer period of time or more repeatedly, there will be cumulative damage to the lung and heart which eventually will lead to chronic disease.”

As she fled with her boyfriend ahead of the fire that destroyed Paradise on the morning of Nov. 8, 2018, Norton said the smoke was so thick “it was like midnight.”

A few days later, she went back to work at a hospital in Chico, about 15 miles (24 kilometers) miles from Paradise. But smoke from the still-burning fire had made it inside the facility.

There weren’t enough face masks to go around so Norton said she went without one for several days.

Initially she felt just a bit wheezy, as she had during the last major fire in the area about a decade earlier. But two weeks later she came down with a respiratory infection that brought fever and severe congestion.

When that finally cleared, she got another, then another — eight or nine infections in all over the past year.

“I just want to break this cycle of sickness,” she said.

Norton says she never smoked, nor did her parents, and never had any respiratory issues prior to the fire. She missed so much work in the months after the fire that she got a warning from a supervisor.

To try to keep from getting sick, she rinses out her sinuses regularly and takes antihistamines to reduce inflammation in her airways. She also avoids large gatherings, including skipping office parties and two weddings, out of fear that she could pick up a virus. She tries to eat healthy and reduce stress by seeing a counselor.

Norton has been to a pulmonologist and two ear nose and throat doctors to little avail, and has been referred to a sinus specialist at Stanford University for further testing.

The pulmonologist who initially treated her, Dinesh Verma, said he sees a “direct correlation” between Norton’s smoke exposure and her subsequent health struggles.

“The logical explanation definitely would be that intense smoke, basically chemical exposure, did damage the airways to the extent that they’re now more susceptible” to infection, Verma said.

Verma said virtually all of his hundreds of patients from Chico and Paradise had complications after the fire that required them to be hospitalized or treated.

Most had preexisting conditions such as asthma and needed only a trigger to send them into a downward spiral. Predicting what will happen with otherwise-healthy patients like Norton is more difficult, he said.

Norton is among about 9,000 people who responded to a health survey as part of a long-term health study of smoke exposure in Paradise and other California communities. The work is led by researchers at the University of California, Davis, who plan to track the lung health of a small number of those respondents in coming years by measuring their breathing capacity.

They’re also collaborating with Williams at the primate center to see if the decline seen in the rhesus monkeys has parallels for human infants.

Dr. Nicholas Kenyon, a pulmonologist involved in the effort, said determining the health effects of smoke is increasingly urgent given the region’s burgeoning population and more frequent fires due to climate change.

“We’ve got the population affected right now, but it’s not going to be isolated to us. This is going to be the entire West,” Kenyon said. “Nobody’s been really inhaling this kind of stuff from structures until now.”

Another participant in the UC Davis study, 64-year-old Elizabeth Watling, lives in Chico and remained there through the fire so she could look after her 94-year-old aunt. She recalls smoke so thick that it left a layer of ash all over town, gray and light as snow. The air remained heavily polluted until it rained more than two weeks later.

When she gardens or does other outdoor activities, Watling wears a mask because her throat has become so easily irritated by dust. She fiddles with it often, taking the mask on and off to talk, and wonders how effective it will be since she can fit her fingers through gaps along her cheeks.

The health issues Watling blames on the smoke are less severe than Norton’s — a scratchy throat that won’t go away, coughs that linger, shortness of breath.

She expected those to go away but they haven’t. Watling now figures that, given her age, she won’t ever fully recover and the smoke could shave years off her life.

“I don’t think the news is good for me,” she said.


Follow Matthew Brown on Twitter: @MatthewBrownAP


The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.


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Massive Tech’s eco-pledges aren’t slowing its pursuit of Massive Oil


Worker activism and outdoors strain have pushed massive tech firms like Amazon, Microsoft and Google into promising to slash their carbon emissions. However there’s one other factor these tech giants aren’t slicing: Their rising enterprise ties to the oil and gasoline business.

When Microsoft held an all-staff assembly in September, an worker requested CEO Satya Nadella if it was moral for the corporate to be promoting its cloud computing companies to fossil gasoline firms, in response to two different Microsoft staff who described the trade on situation they not be named. Such partnerships, the employee instructed Nadella, have been accelerating the oil firms’ greenhouse gasoline emissions.

Microsoft and different tech giants have been competing with each other to strike profitable partnerships with ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, BP and different vitality companies, in lots of circumstances supplying them not simply with distant information storage but in addition synthetic intelligence instruments for pinpointing higher drilling spots or dashing up refinery manufacturing.

The oil and gasoline business is spending roughly $20 billion every year on cloud companies, which accounts for about 10% of the whole cloud market, in response to Vivek Chidambaram, a managing director of Accenture’s vitality consultancy. It isn’t but clear whether or not the extraction business is getting its cash’s value, though specialists stay bullish concerning the utility of superior expertise to grease and gasoline exploration.

Nadella sought to assuage worker issues on the September 12 assembly, first by reiterating Microsoft’s inside efforts on environmental sustainability, in response to the employees, who requested for anonymity as a result of they feared retaliation for talking about an inside assembly. The staff mentioned Nadella additionally defended Microsoft’s vitality companions, stating their investments in researching and creating extra sustainable vitality manufacturing strategies.

“There is not any fossil gasoline CEO who sits there and says, ‘You realize, I am simply gonna deny local weather change,'” Nadella mentioned, in response to the staff’ transcript of his remarks. “If something, they’re all saying, ‘Allow us to have, in actual fact, the regulation, the pricing mechanisms that get us to this future.'”

Microsoft mentioned in an emailed assertion Tuesday that it’s “centered on serving to firms of all types develop into extra environment friendly, together with vitality firms.” It declined to touch upon Nadella’s remarks, which have been a part of a recurrently scheduled “all-hands” gathering wherein the CEO welcomes questions on a spread of matters.

Lower than every week after that trade and days earlier than a deliberate worldwide protest over local weather change , Microsoft introduced one more main deal for its Azure cloud computing platform — this time with Chevron and oilfield companies big Schlumberger. The timing of the announcement forward of the local weather protest and United Nations local weather motion conferences angered some environmentally-minded Microsoft staff and caught the eye of outsiders.

“It’s unconscionable that amid international local weather protests, tech giants like Microsoft are asserting main partnerships with Massive Oil,” mentioned Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, in a tweet that coincided with the September 20 international local weather strike . “We should maintain them accountable, demand they break ties with the fossil gasoline business, and transfer quickly to sustainable vitality.”

Echoing that message was a small group of Microsoft staff who carried cardboard indicators to a lunchtime protest that day exterior of Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington. “No Azure For Oil,” mentioned one of many indicators.

After months of worker activism, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos mentioned he was pushing his firm to the forefront on sustainability, committing it to have 100% of its vitality use come from photo voltaic panels and different renewable vitality by 2030. However he additionally defended Amazon’s work with the oil and gasoline business , arguing that “we have to assist them as a substitute of vilify them.”

Some specialists say AI and cloud companies might truly play a job in curbing emissions.

Denying cloud computing companies to the oil and gasoline business would do little to handle the larger downside of the world’s ongoing dependence on fossil fuels, mentioned Aseem Prakash, director of the Heart for Environmental Politics on the College of Washington.

“We’d not wish to collapse the fossil gasoline business,” Prakash mentioned. “We’d desire a tender touchdown.”

If something, he mentioned, an oil firm’s shift to a different firm’s cloud platform could have some environmental advantages as a result of it’s extra environment friendly than working its digital operations by itself servers. Driving down prices might additionally assist open the door to investments in different, much less polluting strategies for producing vitality.

It is much less clear whether or not AI is mitigating air pollution or worsening it. Of their pitches to work with oil and gasoline firms, cloud suppliers resembling Amazon and Microsoft have boasted of superior machine-learning instruments that may sift by big troves of geologic and seismic information to assist make choices about the place to extract sources. IDC oil analyst Gaurav Verma mentioned AI is a important expertise for oil and gasoline firms that wish to study from that information to review oil reservoirs or predict when upkeep is required on a pipeline.

Earlier this 12 months, ExxonMobil struck a deal to faucet into Microsoft’s expertise to capitalize on the shale oil growth in Texas and New Mexico. Microsoft has mentioned that real-time information collected from a area spanning a whole bunch of miles would allow ExxonMobil “to make quicker and higher choices” on drilling and effectively completion and help manufacturing development by as a lot as 50,000 oil-equivalent barrels per day by 2025.

An unsigned assertion from Microsoft’s protesting staff mentioned they have been “made complicit” by the corporate’s position in warming the planet.

“Microsoft makes tens of millions of {dollars} in income by serving to fossil gasoline firms extract extra oil,” the assertion mentioned.

Nevertheless it’s not clear if tech giants are literally serving to that a lot — partly as a result of they could be overstating their very own position in remodeling Massive Oil with AI.

“The sundae they’re promoting is the cloud,” mentioned Chidambaram, the Accenture analyst. “The cherries they’re placing on it’s the analytics.”

Chidambaram mentioned that is as a result of oil industries are nonetheless cagey about sharing what they find out about underground reserves and don’t need third events analyzing that information.

Chidambaram mentioned in the long term, nonetheless, AI might truly assist meet local weather targets. For instance, machines that may seize higher information and shortly analyze it might additionally assist detect and cut back the leakage of methane from wells and pipelines, a major contributor to greenhouse gasoline emissions.

“Knowledge can be utilized in some ways,” he mentioned. “It is about the way it’s getting used.”


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Air assessments OK after France chemical plant fireplace, officers say


French authorities say assessments present the air high quality in and across the metropolis of Rouen is regular regardless of a powerful irritating odor from an enormous fireplace at a chemical plant.

Regional prefect Pierre-Andre Durand stated Saturday that authorities ordered a freeze on native agricultural manufacturing and gross sales as a precaution whereas awaiting additional check outcomes.

Colleges had been closed attributable to Thursday’s fireplace however are scheduled to reopen Monday after thorough cleansing.

The fireplace was extinguished Thursday evening after burning for practically 24 hours. The lubricant plant is among the many highest-risk industrial websites in Europe.

Rouen prosecutor Pascal Prache says the investigation of the fireplace has been expanded to cowl any potential hurt to individuals following considerations over attainable well being dangers.


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‘I desire a future’: International youth protests urge local weather motion


Younger folks afraid for his or her futures protested across the globe Friday to implore leaders to deal with local weather change, turning out by the tons of of hundreds to insist that the warming world cannot wait any longer.

Marches, rallies and demonstrations have been held from Canberra to Kabul and Cape City to New York. Greater than 100,000 turned out in Berlin.

Days earlier than a U.N. local weather summit of world leaders, the “International Local weather Strike” occasions have been as small as two dozen activists in Seoul utilizing LED flashlights to ship Morse code messages and as massive as mass demonstrations in Australia that organizers estimated have been the nation’s largest because the Iraq Conflict started in 2003.

“You might be main the best way within the pressing race towards the local weather disaster,” U.N. Secretary Normal António Guterres wrote in a message to the younger protesters on Twitter. “You might be on the best aspect of historical past. Hold pushing us to do the best factor.”

In New York, the place public colleges excused college students with parental permission, tens of hundreds of largely younger folks marched by decrease Manhattan, briefly shutting down some streets.

“Sorry I am unable to clear my room, I am busy saving the world,” one protester’s signal declared.

1000’s marched to the Capitol in Washington, together with 15-year-old highschool sophomore A.J. Conermann.

“Principally, our earth is dying, and if we do not do one thing about it, we die,” Conermann mentioned.

1000’s packed the streets round Seattle’s Metropolis Corridor, following a march the place tech staff from Amazon and Google joined college students demanding an finish to fossil gasoline use.

Demonstrations got here in smaller cities as effectively. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who lately deserted his climate-focused presidential run, addressed a rally in Spokane, and a crowd chanted contained in the rotunda of the state Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin.

“It is actually unbelievable and actually startling to know the way little time we’ve to reverse the harm,” mentioned Maris Maslow-Shields, a highschool scholar from Santa Rosa, California, who marched in San Francisco.

In Paris, youngsters and children as younger as 10 traded lecture rooms for the streets. Marie-Lou Sahai, 15, skipped college as a result of “the one solution to make folks hear is to protest.”

The demonstrations have been partly impressed by the activism of Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, who has staged weekly “Fridays for Future” demonstrations for a 12 months, urging world leaders to step up efforts towards local weather change.

“It is such a victory,” Thunberg advised The Related Press in an interview in New York. “I might by no means have predicted or believed that this was going to occur, and so quick — and solely in 15 months.”

Thunberg spoke at a rally later Friday and was anticipated to take part in a U.N. Youth Local weather Summit on Saturday and communicate on the U.N. Local weather Motion Summit with international leaders on Monday.

“They’ve this chance to do one thing, and they need to take that,” she mentioned. “And in any other case, they need to really feel ashamed.”

The world has warmed about 1 diploma Celsius (1.eight Fahrenheit) since earlier than the Industrial Revolution, and scientists have attributed greater than 90 % of the rise to emissions of heat-trapping gases from fuel-burning and different human exercise.

Scientists have warned that international warming will topic Earth to rising seas and extra warmth waves, droughts, storms and flooding, a few of which have already manifested themselves.

Local weather change has made record-breaking warmth twice as doubtless as record-setting chilly temperatures over the previous 20 years within the contiguous U.S., in keeping with Nationwide Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration knowledge.

Nations around the globe recommitted at a 2015 summit in Paris to carry warming to lower than 2 levels Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) greater than pre-industrial-era ranges by the tip of this century, and so they added a extra formidable purpose of limiting the rise to 1.5 C (2.7F).

However U.S. President Donald Trump subsequently introduced that he would withdraw the U.S. from the settlement, which he mentioned benefited different nations on the expense of American companies and taxpayers.

Trump referred to as international warming a “hoax” earlier than changing into president. He has since mentioned he is “not denying local weather change” however is just not satisfied it is man-made or everlasting.

New York protester Pearl Seidman, 13, hoped the demonstration would inform the Trump administration “that if they cannot be adults, we will be adults. As a result of somebody must do it.” At the very least one Trump supporter waved a big “Trump 2020” flag because the demonstrators marched in Manhattan.

In Florida, highschool college students shouted “Miami is below assault” in Miami Seaside, the place some fearful about shedding their houses to rising water. On the West Coast, student-led protests drew in some Google and Amazon staff.

Amazon, which ships greater than 10 billion objects a 12 months, vowed Thursday to chop its use of fossil fuels, and Google CEO Sundar Pichai advised the Monetary Instances in a narrative printed Friday that eliminating the corporate’s carbon emissions by 2030 didn’t appear “unreasonable.”

Friday’s demonstrations began in Australia, the place organizers estimated 300,000 protesters marched in 110 cities and cities, together with Sydney and the nationwide capital, Canberra. Demonstrators referred to as for his or her nation, the world’s largest exporter of coal and liquid pure fuel, to take extra drastic motion to scale back greenhouse fuel emissions.

Performing Prime Minister Michael McCormack — filling in whereas Prime Minister Scott Morrison was on a state go to to the USA — mentioned Australia was already taking motion to chop emissions. McCormack referred to as the local weather rallies “a disruption” that ought to have been held on a weekend to keep away from inconveniences.

Many center colleges in largely coal-reliant Poland gave college students the break day so they might take part within the rallies in Warsaw and different cities. President Andrzej Duda joined college college students choosing up trash in a forest. German police mentioned greater than 100,000 folks gathered in entrance of Berlin’s landmark Brandenburg Gate, close to the place Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Cupboard thrashed out the ultimate particulars of a 54 billion euro ($60 billion) plan to curb Germany’s greenhouse fuel emissions .

1000’s of schoolchildren and their grownup supporters demonstrated in London exterior the British Parliament. The British authorities mentioned it endorsed the protesters’ message however didn’t condone skipping college — a stance that didn’t sit effectively with a number of the younger protesters.

“If politicians have been taking the suitable motion we want and had been taking this motion a very long time in the past when it was acknowledged the world was altering in a unfavourable manner, then I might not need to be skipping college,” mentioned Jessica Ahmed, a 16-year-old London scholar.

In Helsinki, the Finnish capital, a person dressed as Santa Claus stood exterior parliament holding an indication: “My home is on hearth, my reindeer cannot swim.”

Smaller protests came about in Asia, together with in Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Hong Kong and India. Within the Afghan capital of Kabul, an armored personnel service was deployed to guard about 100 younger folks as they marched, led by a gaggle of a number of younger ladies carrying a banner emblazoned with “Fridays for Future.”

“We all know warfare can kill a gaggle of individuals,” mentioned Fardeen Barakzai, one of many organizers. “The issue in Afghanistan is our leaders are combating for energy, however the true energy is in nature.”


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Examine finds air air pollution reaches placenta throughout being pregnant


A brand new research suggests when a pregnant lady breathes in air air pollution, it will probably journey past her lungs to the placenta that guards her fetus.

Air pollution composed of tiny particles from automobile exhaust, manufacturing unit smokestacks and different sources is harmful to everybody’s well being, and through being pregnant it has been linked to untimely births and low beginning weight. However scientists do not perceive why, one thing that might have an effect on care for girls in extremely polluted areas. One idea is that the particles lodge in mother’s lungs and set off doubtlessly dangerous irritation.

Tuesday, Belgian researchers reported one other chance, that any danger is likely to be extra direct.

A novel scanning approach noticed a kind of particle air pollution — sootlike black carbon — on placentas donated by 28 new moms, they reported in Nature Communications.

The placenta nourishes a growing fetus and tries to dam damaging substances within the mom’s bloodstream. The Hasselt College workforce discovered the particles amassed on the aspect of the placenta closest to the fetus, close to the place the umbilical wire emerges.

That is not proof the soot truly crossed the placenta to achieve the fetus — or that it is liable for any ailing results, cautioned Dr. Yoel Sadovsky of the College of Pittsburgh Medical Middle, a number one placenta professional who wasn’t concerned with the brand new analysis.

And it is a small research.

Nonetheless, “simply discovering it on the placenta is vital,” Sadovsky stated. “The following query can be how a lot of those black carbon particles must be there to trigger harm.”

Scientists already had some clues from animal research that particles might attain the placenta, however Tuesday’s research is a primary with human placentas. The Belgian researchers developed a approach to scan placenta samples utilizing ultra-short pulses from a laser that made the black carbon particles flash a brilliant white mild, so that they may very well be measured.

The researchers included placentas from 10 moms who lived in areas with excessive air pollution and 10 others from low areas. The upper the publicity to air pollution, the extra particles the researchers counted within the placentas.

“Because the fetal organs are below full improvement, this may need some well being dangers,” stated Hasselt atmosphere and public well being specialist Tim Nawrot, the research’s senior writer. He’s doing further analysis to attempt to inform.


The Related Press Well being and Science Division receives assist from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Division of Science Training. The AP is solely liable for all content material. 


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Rising program places air high quality specialists on wildfires


Among the many tons of of firefighters, plane and engines dispatched to struggle a latest wildfire in northern Arizona had been two girls whose focus wasn’t on flames. Their concern was smoke.

Due to the well being hazards from wildfires spewing smoke into the ambiance, Congress earlier this yr mentioned all top-tier federal groups battling wildland blazes ought to have no less than one specialist assigned to observe smoke.

The smoke itself will be extra problematic than the flames that produce it. Smoke that poured into Seeley Lake, Montana, from a close-by wildfire in 2017 received so unhealthy that well being officers warned residents to go away or discover elsewhere to sleep at night time when smoke is at its worst.

Different locations have opened respite facilities or arrange air filtration programs in buildings to provide folks a spot to go when it is too smoky. Fireplace crews time prescribed burns in order that smoke disperses throughout the day or they ignite bigger sections so smoke is not lingering for days.

The demand from companies managing the wildfires is so nice that not each request for air useful resource advisers will be stuffed.

“There is a rising consciousness of those positions and the significance of conveying that data,” mentioned Pete Lahm, an air useful resource specialist with the U.S. Forest Service who trains and dispatches the advisers. “I do not assume that significance was the focus or the information was the identical three or 4 years in the past. It is grown leaps and bounds.”

The advisers come from numerous companies. Carolyn Kelly, a smoke administration discipline coordinator for the Washington Division of Pure Sources, and Anita Thompson, a trainee from the Apache-Sitgreaves Nationwide Forest in japanese Arizona, spent a couple of days in Flagstaff on a wildfire that burned greater than three sq. miles (eight sq. kilometers).

The 2 checked out smoke fashions, climate patterns, hearth conduct, humidity and particulates to gauge the air high quality. They checked everlasting screens and arrange others round city the place smoke can be anticipated to funnel by way of drainages or settle in low-lying areas.

The info is transmitted by way of satellite tv for pc, permitting them to verify the readings on their telephones or computer systems. Every morning, they produced a color-coded smoke forecast that coated three days and was despatched out to the general public.

“The extra data we are able to get out, the higher selections that individuals could make to keep away from the smoke, to get work achieved when the smoke is at least impactful portion of the day,” Kelly mentioned.

Lahm has about 95 air useful resource advisers he can ship out throughout the nation for 2 weeks at a time on fires. He is coaching about two dozen others to assist fill the demand. Many of the requests come from states within the U.S. West, with California and Oregon topping the listing, and grew from 55 in 2016 to 105 in 2017 and 110 final yr.

Patricia Grantham, supervisor on the Klamath Nationwide Forest in northern California and Oregon, mentioned the communities there have come to count on a smoke forecast.

“They’re very a lot in tune,” she mentioned. “I work with very hearth savvy communities; they’ve been by way of it lots.”

When Lahm is brief on advisers, he tries extending assignments by per week or utilizing one adviser for a number of fires in the identical space. Nonetheless, he says he often can not fill all of the requests when wildfires are raging throughout the nation. The associated fee for the specialists falls to no matter company is managing the hearth.

Whereas Kelly and Thompson by no means discovered the smoke to be detrimental to anybody’s well being in Flagstaff, residents discovered it bothersome. Microscopic particles within the smoke can set off respiration issues, complications, chest ache and coronary heart assaults. Kids, the aged and folks with lung illness or coronary heart hassle are most in danger .

Kim Meehl mentioned her house east of Flagstaff reeked of smoke but it surely was extra tolerable than some fires the U.S. Forest Service purposefully units.

Linda Romero and her husband had been amongst these on alert to evacuate because the wildfire in a mountain go was burning most intensely. Her resolution for coping with the smoke: “Be wise and take precautions, keep inside.”

Coconino County in northern Arizona is planning to purchase a dumpster-like container that incinerates tree trunks and branches left from tasks to skinny dense stands as a substitute of burning them in piles to chop down on smoke.

However the actuality resides within the forest comes with the chance of fireplace and smoke.

“We attempt to inform that story however I additionally empathize with individuals who transfer to this space for clear air and expertise well being issues due to a few of the smoke generated by way of fires,” mentioned Coconino Nationwide Forest Supervisor Laura Jo West. “It is laborious figuring out that.”


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