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Sierra magazine
Up to Speed: Two Months, One Page

The summer of 2009 is the second hottest on record worldwide, only a tenth of a degree cooler than the all-time high, set in 1998.

Two German freighters inaugurate commercial use of the Northeast Passage, sailing from Siberia to Rotterdam through ice-free Arctic waters.

The Arctic is warmer than it's been in 2,000 years.

Only 57 percent of Americans believe there is solid evidence that the earth is warming, down from 77 percent in 2006.

The United States seeks to end international trade in polar bear parts. Until 2008, when polar bears were declared an endangered species, it was the world's largest importer of polar bear skins and trophies.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes the designation of 128 million acres of Alaska coastline as critical habitat for polar bears.

The president of the low-lying Maldives islands holds a cabinet meeting underwater.

In Sweden, labels in grocery stores and restaurants now inform consumers of the carbon footprint of their lingonberry jam and pannkakor.

A German geothermal plant apparently sets off an earthquake.

The U.S. company First Solar will build the world's largest solar-power plant—in China.

Public outcry scotched a plan to power a 36,000-acre wind farm in West Texas with 240 Chinese-built turbines.

The project's backers will now build the turbines in the United States. The World Bank's Clean Technology Fund is financing a new coal-fired power plant in Gujarat, India, that will likely be the largest new contributor of greenhouse gases in the world.

The World Bank says that developing nations will need $100 billion a year for the next 40 years to deal with the effects of global warming.

Saudi Arabia asks for financial assistance should global demand for oil decrease.

Russia is preparing to host the 2014 Winter Olympic Games by logging large areas of Sochi National Park.

U.S. carbon emissions peaked in 2007 and have fallen 9 percent since then.

Australians John and Helen Taylor set a new hypermiling record, getting an average of 67.9 mpg while driving their Volkswagen Jetta TDI 9,505 miles to visit the 48 contiguous states.

The EPA proposes requiring U.S. coal plants and other large facilities to slash their greenhouse-gas emissions and reduce their toxic air pollution.

The Obama administration releases the first $21 million of $1.4 billion in stimulus money for capturing and storing CO2 from industrial facilities.

Bill Gates pledges $120 million to promote sustainable farming in Africa.

George Soros says he'll invest $1 billion in clean-energy technology.

Environmental fugitive Larkin Baggett is captured in Florida after confronting federal officers with an assault rifle.

The EPA moves to deny a permit to the Spruce No. 1 Mine in West Virginia, which would have been the country's largest mountaintop-removal operation.

Under the nation's first mandatory composting program, San Franciscans must now separate what will rot from what will not, or pay a fine. The city aims to produce zero waste by 2020.

Lost hikers really do walk in circles. —Paul Rauber


 

Photos and illustrations, left column, from top: iStockphoto/SD619, iStockphoto/Hartoworld, iStockphoto/Kayann;
right column, top: iStockphoto/N-L

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