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Pam Frost Gorder – New genus of bacteria found living inside hydraulic fracturing wells

Researchers analyzing the genomes of microorganisms living in shale oil and gas wells have found evidence of sustainable ecosystems taking hold there—populated in part by a never-before-seen genus of bacteria they have dubbed “Frackibacter.” The new genus is one of the 31 microbial members found living inside two separate fracturing wells, Ohio State University researchers and their colleagues report in …

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As World Burns, Richest Nations Can’t Decide When to End Fossil Fuel Handouts

Despite ambitious pledges, global energy ministers could not agree on a target date to phase out billions in subsidies to dirty energy The world’s richest nations have failed to agree on a deadline to phase out fossil fuels subsidies—a commitment energy ministers made in 2009—stirring new fears over the impact of the hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars that go …

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Good news on rain forests: they bounce back strong, storing more carbon than thought

When you cut and burn a tropical forest, you’re left with a barren plain of cracked red mud, incapable of supporting life – the opposite of the teeming, hyperdiverse array of life that was destroyed. Once the trees are gone, the nutrients wash away and the soil degrades into a dense, brick-like layer so hardened that plant roots can’t get …

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Look What We’ve Done: Human-Made Epoch of Nightmares Is Here

There’s no question about it. A new epoch—the Anthropocene—has begun. So says an international group of geoscientists, in a paper published Friday in the journal Science. They point to waste disposal, fossil fuel combustion, increased fertilizer use, the testing and dropping of nuclear weapons, deforestation, and more as evidence that human activity has pushed the Earth into the new age …

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Humans began altering natural world 6,000 years ago

Scientists have found an abrupt change about 6,000 years ago in how terrestrial plant and animal species coexisted, right about the time human populations were ballooning and agriculture was spreading around the world. The findings suggest that human activity had reached a tipping point where hunting and farming were impacting the natural world in irreversible ways — changes that have …