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When climate diplomats from the world’s leading nations gathered in 1997 to negotiate a round of emissions cuts in Kyoto, Japan, carbon emissions had risen to some 35 billion tonnes and the global surface temperature was roughly 0.7°C above the average of the late 19th century.

IN 1988, when world leaders convened their first global conference on climate change in Toronto, the earth’s average temperature was a bit more than half a degree Celsius above the average of the last two decades of the 19th century, according to measurements by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Read more: Cold response to global warming measures

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Contact with plastic dramatically increases corals’ risk of disease.

Plastic wraps around a spawning coral. Credit: Lalita Putchim

Coral reefs around the world face an existential threat from overfishing, climate change, nutrient runoff, and ocean acidification. Now researchers have added another hazard to the list: plastic waste. In a survey of reefs in the Asia-Pacific region, marine biologists found that contact with plastic garbage increased corals’ risk of disease from 4 to 89% (Science 2018, DOI: 10.1126/science.aar3320).

Read more: Plastic waste threatens coral reefs

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The sun peeks through a canopy of trees Oct. 18, 2008, on Skyline Drive in Shenandoah Park, Va. (Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images)

Widespread use of a futuristic energy technology to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere would create severe environmental problems, scientists argue in a new critique, casting doubt on one potential method of helping humanity escape the worst effects of climate change.

Read more: It’s the big new idea for stopping climate change — but it has huge environmental problems of its...

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