The Eco News Roundup brings stories and commentary about issues related to climate change, renewable energy and the environment.

TransCanada Pipeline Explodes in West Virginia

A newly installed TransCanada natural gas pipeline exploded early Thursday in the remote Nixon Ridge area of Marshall County in West Virginia.

No injuries were reported but flames and smoke from the blast could be seen as far as 20 miles away, residents told local media. Area police told CBS News the fire was “very large—if you can see it from your house, evacuate.”

How Climate Change Ignites Wildfires From California to South Africa

The link between climate change and more frequent, severe wildfires is well-known, but two new studies published in Geophysical Research Letters this month provided more insight into exactly how warming temperatures are increasing fire risk around the world.

In fire-weary California, urbanization and global warming are increasing ground temperature along the southern coast, decreasing cloud cover and increasing the risk of wildfires.

Meanwhile, in the Mediterranean and temperate parts of the Southern Hemisphere, it’s what comes out of the clouds that causes the problems: Lightning-ignited fires are on the rise and likely to keep rising with global temperatures.

Climate change has turned Peru’s glacial lake into a deadly flood timebomb

Nestled beneath the imposing white peaks of two glaciers in Peru’s Cordillera Blanca, the aquamarine Lake Palcacocha is as calm as a millpond. But despite its placid appearance it has become a deadly threat to tens of thousands people living beneath it as a result of global warming.

A handful of residents of Huaraz, the city below the lake, can recall its destructive power. In 1941 a chunk of ice broke away from the glacier in an earthquake, tumbling into the lake. The impact caused a flood wave which sent an avalanche of mud and boulders cascading down the mountain, killing about 1,800 people when it reached the city.

Today the lake is even more potentially dangerous, swollen with glacial meltwater like an almost-overflowing bathtub. A temperature rise of 0.5-0.8C between the 1970s and the 2000s has seen a third of Peru’s ice caps vanish in the last four decades.

The city’s population has grown too. With more than 150,000 inhabitants, today Huaraz is about 15 times larger than it was during the last deadly landslide.

Meet America’s new climate normal: towns that flood when it isn’t raining

It isn’t raining when I arrive in Shorecrest, and there isn’t a storm offshore; the day is as clear and as blue as the filigree on a porcelain plate. But the streets are still full of water. I watch as a woman wades ankle deep across Tenth Avenue. She has gathered her long russet-colored skirt in her right hand, and in her left she holds a pair of Jesus sandals. When she reaches the bus stop, she sits and puts her shoes on.

“We get flooded with just about every high tide,” the woman tells me. “And if the moon is big it’s worse.”

All along the east coast, from Portland, Maine, to Key West, “sunny day flooding” is increasingly frequent. Many places in the Sunshine State are so low lying that high tide – when coupled with something as innocuous as a full moon – can cause the streets to brim with water. Sometimes the tide simply rises above the seawalls and starts to spill into the roadways; in other cases it enters the neighborhood through the storm-water infrastructure belowground. The very pipes designed to reduce flooding by ushering rain out instead give salt water a chance to work its way in

Premature Birth Rates Drop in California After Coal and Oil Plants Shut Down

Shutting down power plants that burn fossil fuels can almost immediately reduce the risk of premature birth in pregnant women living nearby, according to research published Tuesday.

Researchers scrutinized records of more than 57,000 births by mothers who lived close to eight coal- and oil-fired plants across California in the year before the facilities were shut down, and in the year after, when the air was cleaner.

The study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, found that the rate of premature births dropped from 7 to 5.1 percent after the plants were shuttered, between 2001 and 2011. The most significant declines came among African American and Asian women. Preterm birth can be associated with lifelong health complications.

Credit Rating Agency Issues Warning On Climate Change To Cities

One of the largest credit rating agencies in the country is warning U.S. cities and states to prepare for the effects of climate change or risk being downgraded.

In a new report, Moody’s Investor Services Inc. explains how it assesses the credit risks to a city or state that’s being impacted by climate change — whether that impact be a short-term “climate shock” like a wildfire, hurricane or drought, or a longer-term “incremental climate trend” like rising sea levels or increased temperatures.

Also taken into consideration: “[communities] preparedness for such shocks and their activities in respect of adapting to climate trends,” the report says.

Hundreds of fish species will be forced to migrate north to escape effects of climate change

Hundreds of species of fish and shellfish will be forced to migrate northwards to escape the effects of climate change, putting global fisheries at risk.

Sea creatures are highly sensitive to the temperature of water,and if it gets too warm they will often shift to areas that suit them better.

Fishermen in the UK and around the world have already reported changes in the types and quantities of fish they are hauling up from the depths.

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2. The earth is our home, not our trash can.
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