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Sierra magazine
Up to Speed: Two Months, One Page

It's not just the Pacific Ocean that has a massive gyre of floating plastic waste. The Atlantic has one too. And the Indian Ocean.

Researchers glimpse an endangered right whale giving birth off Florida's northeastern coast-within miles of the U.S. Navy's planned undersea warfare training range.

Off the coast of Argentina, 308 right whales have been found dead, most of them calves younger than three months. No one knows the cause.

With the support of the United States, the International Whaling Commission introduces a plan that would authorize continued but limited whaling by Japan, Norway, and Iceland for 10 years.

Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano produces carbon emissions at the same rate as a small European country but prevents millions of tons of emissions by grounding 100,000 airline flights.

Out of the 163 countries ranked in Yale University's Environmental Performance Index, the United States slides to 63, from 39 last year. Top scorer: Iceland.

The EPA finalizes new fuel-economy rules, requiring a 42 percent improvement in car gas mileage, to 35.5 mpg, by 2016.

Despite a gross operating profit of $52 billion in 2009, ExxonMobil paid no U.S. income tax, reports Forbes. This item has been corrected.

Kuwaiti scientists predict that worldwide "peak oil" production will be reached in 2014.

Glacier National Park loses two more glaciers.

Thawing permafrost in the Arctic is releasing large amounts of laughing gas, a potent greenhouse gas.

North Dakota's Red River has a "10-year flood"—for the fourth time in five years.

March and April are the hottest on record.

Less than a third of TV weather forecasters believe that climate change is caused by human activity.

Houston, we have 113 problems: That's the number of the city's chemical plants found to be potential terrorist targets.

A Chinese freighter loaded with Australian coal plows into the Great Barrier Reef.

A six-foot species of monitor lizard with a double penis is discovered in the Philippines.

The EPA and the Energy Department revamp the application process for products seeking Energy Star certification after a bogus gas-powered alarm clock is granted the program's seal of approval.

Los Angeles has more Energy Star–labeled buildings than any other city. It also has the country's worst ozone pollution.

Green-themed Avatar becomes the highest-grossing film ever.

Brazil presses ahead with the Belo Monte dam in the Amazon, which will flood 200 square miles of rainforest and force the relocation of 12,000 indigenous people. —Paul Rauber


 

Photos and illustrations, left column, from top: iStockphoto/esseffe, iStockphoto/scottdunlap; right column, from top: iStockphoto/Adventure_Photo, iStockphoto/AlasdairJames, courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

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