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Climate Change

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Lebanon is the most water-rich country in the Middle East, but its farming communities are struggling to keep their soil from drying. The small town of Harf Beit Hasna, up on a mountain in the north, has long survived by creating ponds to hold rain water. It relies on them completely to water their crops because the government never connected the town to the water system or provided other basic services. In the past, the pools were enough to grow profitable crops and livestock. But with rain dwindling, families struggle to grow enough to survive.

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A quick study by two scientists calculates that climate change made Hurricane Ian 10% rainier than it would have been if there were no such thing as global warming. Thursday's analysis, which was not peer reviewed, is based on 20 computer simulations of a world with no climate change from the burning of coal, oil and natural gas. Scientists then compared those scenarios to what was playing out in real time with Hurricane Ian. The authors compared the highest rainfall rates over three hours.

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President Joe Biden has told visiting leaders from more than a dozen Pacific Island countries that the U.S. is committed to bolstering its presence in their region and becoming a more collaborative partner as they face the “existential threat” of climate change. The president on Thursday addressed the leaders who gathered in Washington for a summit as the White House looks to improve relations in the Pacific amid heightened U.S. concern about China’s growing economic and military influence. Biden hosted the leaders for a dinner at the White House on Thursday evening.

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As new estimates come in it becomes increasingly likely that the damaged Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea will spew more climate-changing methane into the atmosphere than any previous known single event. The leaks, which are being called an act of sabotage, highlight the problem of large methane escapes elsewhere around the globe. Levels of the gas are rising in the atmosphere, warming the Earth to higher temperatures.

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Oregon is set to become the first state in the nation to cover certain climate change expenses under its Medicaid program. State health officials say the low-income health plan will cover devices such as air conditioners, air filters and generators for people with medical conditions who live in areas where a weather emergency has been declared. The measure is included in Oregon's renewed Medicaid waiver. Oregon will pay for it with $1 billion in new federal funding. Under the waiver, the state will also become the first to keep children continuously enrolled in Medicaid until age 6.

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This Thanksgiving, your pumpkin pie might have a lower carbon footprint. Farmers in central Illinois who supply 85% of the world's canned pumpkin are adopting regenerative techniques to reduce emissions, attract bees and other pollinators and improve soil health. The effort is backed by Libby's, which is owned by Nestle. It's one of several big companies that have started regenerative farming programs in the last few years, including General Mills, PepsiCo and Walmart. Arohi Sharma, who studies regenerative farming for the Natural Resources Defense Council, says companies see drought and other impacts from climate change and know they must act.

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President Joe Biden is hosting Pacific Island leaders for a two-day summit as the U.S. looks to counter China’s influence in the region. Pacific Island leaders see a more pressing concern in addressing problems caused by climate change. The leaders kicked off the summit by meeting with Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday and are set to meet with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other U.S. officials. Biden will address the leaders Thursday at the State Department and host them at the White House for dinner. Among those participating are leaders from Fiji, the Marshall Islands, the Solomon Islands, French Polynesia and New Caledonia.

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A Danish official says the Nord Stream gas leaks in the Baltic Sea could emit the equivalent of one third of Denmark’s total annual greenhouse gas emissions. That would also be five times the amount of the potent greenhouse gas as was emitted during the Aliso Canyon well disaster in California in 2015-2016. A chemical engineer estimated the amount will turn out to be less, but still double what escaped at Aliso Canyon. Methane is a very potent greenhouse gas, able to warm the atmosphere 82.5 times more than carbon dioxide.

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Pakistan’s foreign minister is recommending cooperation with the Taliban even though many U.S. officials say Afghanistan’s ruling faction have proved unworthy of it. Pakistan’s top diplomat, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, tells The Associated Press that the international community should work with the Taliban, not around them, when it comes to combatting foreign extremist groups and Afghanistan's economic and humanitarian crises. Zardari attended the U.N. General Assembly in New York last week and visited Washington to try to draw more world attention and assistance to unprecedented flooding that has one-third of Pakistan underwater.

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Hurricane Ian is quickly gaining monstrous strength as it moves over oceans partly heated up by climate change, just like 30 other Atlantic tropical storms since 2017 that became much more powerful in less than a day. This turbocharging of storms is likely to become even more frequent as the world gets warmer, scientists say. After getting 67% stronger in less than 22 hours from Monday to Tuesday, Ian is bearing down as a likely Category 4 hurricane that threatens to deliver a potential nightmare storm-surge to the Tampa Bay and southwest Florida regions. Ian’s so-called rapid intensification occurred after it traveled over Caribbean waters that are about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius) warmer than normal.

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Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is warning of economic calamity if climate change is not addressed with immediate government intervention. She says the increasing frequency and severity of natural disasters could create devastating short-term supply reductions of everyday goods that could cause prices to skyrocket. She spoke during a visit to North Carolina, which is home to several tight races in the upcoming midterm elections. On the trip, Yellen pitched the benefits of Democrats’ new climate, health and tax law, the so-called Inflation Reduction Act, that will spend $375 billion over the next decade on climate-related investments. Combined with last year’s bipartisan infrastructure law, the investments total more than $430 billion.

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Pakistan’s new prime minister stepped onto the U.N. podium to spin a tale of floods and climate change. Shahbaz Sharif began: “As I stand here today to tell the story of my country ...” At its core, that was what every world leader was here to do during the past week. One after another, they took the fleeting opportunity to craft a story about their nation and the world. They hoped the tales would make others sit up and listen. Some did it better than others.

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The Asian Development Bank says it is devoting at least $14 billion through 2025 to help ease a worsening food crisis in the Asia-Pacific. The development lender said it plans a comprehensive program of support to help the 1.1 billion people in the region who lack healthy diets due to poverty and soaring food prices. It also aims to improve long-term food security by strengthening farming and food supplies to cope with climate change and loss of biodiversity. The ADB said the funds will go to both existing and new projects spanning farming, food production and distribution, water resources management and social supports.

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It’s been over a century since a major storm like Hurricane Ian has struck the Tampa Bay area, which blossomed from a few hundred thousand people in 1921 to more than 3 million today. Many of these people live in low-lying neighborhoods that are highly susceptible to storm surge and flooding they have rarely before experienced, which some experts say could be worsened by the effects of climate change. The problem confronting the region is that storms approaching from the south, as Hurricane Ian is on track to do, push huge volumes of water up into shallow Tampa Bay and are likely to inundate homes and businesses with up to 10 feet of storm surge.

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Hurricane Ian is strengthening rapidly in the Caribbean as it passes over the ultra-warm waters of the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. The National Hurricane Center had predicted the system would rapidly intensify from a tropical storm to at least a category 4 hurricane in less than 72 hours.

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The Carlyle Group, one of the world’s top private equity firms, which portrays itself as a climate leader, published a first of its kind emissions risk declaration this year. But something was missing - due to what it called a different business model, it did not include its largest oil and gas assets in the disclosure. Carlyle has a business relationship with NGP, a $10.4 billion fund of fossil fuel investments set to account for almost half of Carlyle profits this year. Critics say it has a responsibility to be transparent about its role in climate change.

LONDON — On a blustery November day last year, Britain's future king stood before world leaders to deliver a rallying cry that they should "act with all despatch, and decisively” to confront a common enemy.

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Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. wants to “reintroduce the Philippines” to the world. He has ambitious plans for his nation on the international stage and at home. That is, if the twin specters of pandemic and climate change can be overcome or at least managed. And if he can get past the legacies of two people: his predecessor, and his father. He also wants to strengthen ties with both the United States and China. That's a delicate balancing act for the Southeast Asian nation. Marcos spoke in an AP interview on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.

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