Pope to issue 2015 edict on climate change guaranteed to anger deniers

He has been called the “superman pope”, and it would be hard to deny that Pope Francis has had a good December. Cited by President Barack Obama as a key player in the thawing relations between the US and Cuba , the Argentinian pontiff followed that by lecturing his cardinals on the need to clean up Vatican politics . But can Francis achieve a feat that has so far eluded secular powers and inspire decisive action on climate change?

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Dark snow: The troubling phenomenon that is accelerating glacier melting

When American geologist Ulyana Horodyskyj set up a mini weather station at 5,800m on Mount Himlung, on the Nepal-Tibet border, she looked east towards Everest and was shocked. The world's highest glacier, Khumbu, was turning visibly darker as particles of fine dust, blown by fierce winds, settled on the bright, fresh snow. "One-week-old snow was turning black and brown before my eyes," she said.

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Indonesian forest fires feed 'brown cloud' of pollution choking Asia's cities

High above the vast Indonesian island of Sumatra, satellites identify hundreds of plumes of smoke drifting over the oil palm plantations and rainforests. They look harmless as the monsoon winds sweep them north and east towards Singapore, Malaysia and deep into Cambodia, Laos and Thailand. But at ground level, south-east Asian cities have been choking for weeks, wreathed in an acrid, stinking blanket of half-burned vegetation mixed with industrial pollution, car exhaust fumes and ash.

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China and India's 'water grabs' endangering ecology in the Himalayas

More than 400 hydroelectric schemes are planned in the mountain region, which could be a disaster for the environment

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Vegan hippy scientist hopes to save Africa by decoding 'orphan crop' genomes

Howard-Yana Shapiro, a scientist with the Mars confectionery company, will make the information free to boost harvests

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Experts: Millions will starve to death as climate change accelerates

Millions of people could become destitute in Africa and Asia as staple foods more than double in price by 2050 as a result of extreme temperatures, floods and droughts that will transform the way the world farms.

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Proponents of hurricane suppression technology seek more research, funds

Devastating tropical storms of the kind that battered the US last week could be weakened and rendered less deadly using a simple and cheap technology based on a surprising component – old car tyres.

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