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The IPCC Tells Me What's What, a Hornet Gives Me Nightmares, a Chicken Just Sold Me a Mercedes
Our top picks: today's environmental news and best #greenreads.

Bring on the IPCC: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its fifth report today on the science of climate change. And boy is it a doozy. After reviewing all the available scientific literature, the consortium of scientists concludes, with 95 percent certainty, that humans are responsible for “more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951-2010.” This is an important shift in wording from the last report in 2007 and not only because the percentage of likelihood has risen from 90 percent. The last iteration focused on our responsibility for greenhouse gases—and this time the report discusses our blame for rising temperatures. So, even though we have helped cool the planet with all those aerosols sprayed into the atmosphere, global temps are still going up, thanks to our burning of fossil fuels. We’ve really outdone ourselves. Click through for more in-depth analysis. (And pretty charts!) Guardian

Dude, only 95 percent?: To understand what 95 percent confidence means, you have to understand how scientists view uncertainty. Ask astronomers if the sun will come up tomorrow and, even though they’re pretty damn sure it will, they might be remiss to say so with 100 percent confidence. All scientists can do is gather evidence, study facts, and draw the best conclusions possible. For additional perspective, we are also 95 percent certain cigarettes cause lung cancer. And scientists are even more certain about climate change than they are about whether it’s healthy to take vitamins. And to think, you popped three of those this morning! Associated Press

Don’t mess with … climate change?: I’ll admit, Texas is one of the last places I’d go looking for supporters of climate science, but a new study by the Yale Project suggests that this is an unfair characterization of the Lone Star State. In fact, 70 percent of Texans accept that climate change is happening, and more than 50 percent think it’s time for local and federal government to do something about it. (Less than half believe humans are causing climate change, but hey, let’s take what we can get.) Huffington Post

Samurai, with stingers: In Japan, there’s a particularly nasty hornet the size of a human thumb that pillages honeybee colonies with brutal efficiency—the large hornets simply cut the honeybees in half (watch one massacre ensue in this crazy intense and terrifying video). The bees’ only defense is to swarm the hornets individually and beat their wings in unison in order to raise the temperature of the fray. This literally cook the hornets alive. (Yeah, don’t mess with nature.) Anyway, the Asian giant hornets have moved into China and will likely keep spreading, colonizing new territories where bees haven’t evolved defenses against their invasions. Oh, did I mention they kill humans, too? Quartz

Johnny Rebel: The sewers of Columbia, South Carolina, are teeming with … cancer-causing industrial chemicals. (You thought I was going to say alligators, didn’t you? Don’t worry. They’ve got those, too.) Worst of all, some of the toxins that have been dumped underground are polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs—compounds that were outlawed by the federal government over three decades ago. According to Larry Brazell, the director of the East Richland Public Service District, “Whoever is doing this has got to be an idiot.” You said it, Lar. The State

Release the goats!: Two invasive plant species, buckthorn and honeysuckle, have overrun the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center in Milwaukee. (That’s right, a nature center name after Schlitz.) Anyway, these guys aren’t like the weeds crowding your tomato plants. These species grow so fast and so tall, they now tower over the local plant life and discourage native birds and animals from settling in. To combat them, Audubon has called for backup: a platoon of 90 ravenous goats. But how long will it take the hooved munchers to mow down 180 acres? Eh. ‘Bout two weeks. Treehugger

DAILY DISTRACTION

Chickenhead: I promise, this is the only luxury car commercial you’ll watch today that’ll teach you something amazing about chicken biology. (Presuming there’s anything left to learn after this insightful AAAS panel.) Intrigued? That’s what I thought. Grist

OTHER HEADLINES

Levels of Banned Flame Retardants Drop in Women San Francisco Chronicle

The Wound That Won’t Heal: Idaho’s Phosphate Problem Indian Country

Obama Nominee for Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in Jeopardy with Scott’s ‘No’ Bloomberg

Keystone XL Pipeline Threatens Vulnerable Species, Report Says Politico

Tips: @OnEarthMag (tag it #greenreads)

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Though there are several varieties of aerosols, previous research has shown that two types -- sulfates and black carbon -- play an especially critical role in regulating climate change. Both are products of human activity. Sulfates, which come primarily from the burning of coal and oil, scatter incoming solar radiation and have a net cooling effect on climate. Over the past three decades, the United States and European countries have passed a series of laws that have reduced sulfate emissions by 50 percent. While improving air quality and aiding public health, the result has been less atmospheric cooling from sulfates. At the same time, black carbon emissions have steadily risen, largely because of increasing emissions from Asia. Black carbon -- small, soot-like particles produced by industrial processes and the combustion of diesel and biofuels -- absorb incoming solar radiation and have a strong warming influence on the atmosphere Who knew the solution to global warming was to put sulfur back in gasoline, and to burn more sulfured coal and oil!!!!!