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An international treaty signed in 1987 officially halted production and use of chemicals that deplete the atmosphere’s critical ozone layer. But new research finds a troubling rise in emissions of a banned chemical that is being routinely used in factories in northeast China.

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The composition of the world’s plankton has changed significantly since before the Industrial Revolution, with zooplankton communities shifting poleward by an average 374 miles as a result of warming ocean temperatures. The findings, published in the journal Nature, show the widespread impact climate change is having on marine ecosystems.

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A Texas family’s ranch has been found to be one of the most contaminated coal ash sites in the country. Environmental groups say the pollution — and the ranchers’ bitter legal battle to stop it — is a stark example of the nation’s ongoing coal ash crisis.

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One of the United States’ largest utilities, Xcel Energy Inc., announced it will close its remaining coal-fired power plants in the Upper Midwest a decade ahead of schedule and add 3,000 megawatts of new solar capacity by 2030, E&E News reported. It is the latest step in the utility’s plan to provide 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2050.

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Rising temperatures have sped up the melting of West Antarctica’s ice fivefold in the past 25 years, resulting in a quarter of the region’s glaciers being classified as unstable, according to a new study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

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The Cocos Keeling Islands, a remote archipelago in the Indian Ocean, are covered with an estimated 414 million pieces of plastic pollution, weighing 238 tons, according to a new study published in the journal Scientific Reports. The islands are home to fewer than 600 people and sit 1,300 miles off the northwest coast of Australia. The plastic buildup, scientists argue, is emblematic of just how much plastic waste is circulating in the world’s oceans.

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In an interview with Yale Environment 360, energy researcher Tony Reames discusses the growing energy divide between rich and poor in the U.S. and the urgent need to provide low-income communities with better access to affordable clean energy technologies.

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The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere hit 415.39 parts per million (ppm) over the weekend — the highest level seen in some 3 million years, before humans existed, according to scientists at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. CO2 levels are now rising 3 ppm each year, up from an average 2.5 ppm over the last decade, the scientists said.

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Climate change is causing old trees in northern China’s permafrost forests to grow faster, likely thanks to warmer soil temperatures, according to recent research. Older larch trees grew more from 2005 to 2014 than in the preceding 40 years. And the oldest trees, often 400-plus years, grew more rapidly than at any time in the past three centuries.

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From 1962 to 1971, the American military sprayed vast areas of Vietnam with Agent Orange, leaving dioxin contamination that has severely affected the health of three generations of Vietnamese. Now, the U.S. and Vietnamese governments have joined together in a massive cleanup project.

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