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You’d scream, too, if you were this close to a collapsing iceberg

iceberg

Climate change is melting ice at both ends of the planet -- just ask the researchers who published two papers in May saying that a major expanses of Antarctic ice are now undergoing a "continuous and rapid retreat" and may have "passed the point of no return."

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Be a patriot, eat less beef

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Shutterstock

As Josh Harkinson noted this week, cows are the United States' single biggest source of methane -- a potent gas that has 105 times the heat-trapping ability of carbon dioxide. That's one major reason why beef's greenhouse gas footprint is far higher than that of most other sources of protein, according to an EWG study. (Though it's consumed at a fraction of the rate of beef or chicken, lamb is by far the most carbon intensive of the major meats, according to EWG, since the animal's smaller body produces meat less efficiently but still produces a lot of methane.)

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And EWG's estimate of beef's impact may actually be on the conservative side: A study released this week found the greenhouse gases associated with beef to be even higher.

Read more: Climate & Energy, Food

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It takes HOW much water to make Greek yogurt?!

greek yogurt
anali02170

California is experiencing one of its driest years in the past half millennium. It also happens to also be the country's leading dairy supplier. With profits surpassing $7 billion in 2012, the California dairy industry is far and away the most valuable sector of the state's enormous agricultural bounty. Unfortunately, as the chart below shows, dairy products use a whole lot of water.

Read more: Climate & Energy, Food

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It takes how much water to grow an almond?!

Click to embiggen.
Click to embiggen.

California, supplier of nearly half of all U.S. fruits, veggies, and nuts, is on track to experience the driest year in the past half millennium. Farms use about 80 percent of the state's "developed water," or water that's moved from its natural source to other areas via pipes and aqueducts.

As the maps above show, much of California's agriculture is concentrated in the parts of the state that the drought has hit the hardest. For example: Monterey County, which is currently enduring an "exceptional drought," according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, grew nearly half of America's lettuce and broccoli in 2012.

When it comes to water use, not all plants are created equal. Here's how much water some of California's major crops require:

Read more: Climate & Energy, Food

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Beyond a reasonable drought: California’s dry spell could be the worst in 500 years

Drought-afflicted cornfield
Shutterstock

The Golden State is in the midst of a three-year drought -- and scientists believe that this year may end up being the driest in the last half millennium, according to University of California-Berkeley professor B. Lynn Ingram. Californians are scared, with good reason: Fire danger in the state is high, and drinking-water supplies are low.

But the drought will have repercussions outside the state's borders, as well. California produces a good chunk of the nation's food: half of all our fruits and vegetables, along with a significant amount of dairy and wine.

So how will this historically dry period affect Californians -- and the rest of us? Here are a few important facts to keep in mind:

Read more: Climate & Energy

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The Gates Foundation’s hypocritical investments

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clappstar

With an endowment larger than all but four of the world's largest hedge funds, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is easily one of the most powerful charities in the world. According to its website, the organization “works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives." So how do the investments of the foundation's $36 billion investing arm, the Gates Foundation Trust, match up to its mission? We dug into the group's recently released 2012 tax returns to find out.

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