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Super Typhoon Strikes Land, Air Pollution and Infertility, an Elk Gets Its Bounce on
Our top picks: today's environmental news and best #greenreads.

Batten down the … everything: One of the strongest typhoons in history collided with the Philippines this morning, carrying with it wind gusts of 235 mph (Katrina topped out at 215 mph) and putting millions at risk. Since 1969, just three other storms have churned with comparable intensity. In the Philippines, they’re calling it Super Typhoon Yolanda, though you may also see it referred to as Super Typhoon Haiyan. (FYI: A typhoon is the same weather event as a hurricane or a cyclone, it just depends on where in the world it’s taking place.) So far, hundreds of thousands have evacuated and at least four people have died. New York Times, Climate Central

A barren land: A report in China this week linked increased levels of air pollution to weakened reproductive health. Separately, a sperm bank in Shanghai confirmed that only one-third of its supply of tiny swimmers met the World Health Organization's standards for quality. Officials have long known that roughly 12.5 percent of China’s childbearing population is infertile (though no studies have been done to link this percentage to air pollution). Huffington Post

Everybody chill: You may have read some articles reporting that a GIANT ISLAND OF TSUNAMI DEBRIS IS HEADING RIGHT FOR US. Well, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration would like you to know that’s a bunch of baloney. First of all, the debris from the 2011 Japanese tsunami is mostly tiny, disparate pieces of refuse, not one solid hunk of mayhem. Secondly, while there surely are millions of tons of the stuff out there, it’s so spread out you might not even be able to see it when flying over in a plane. Thirdly, NOAA isn’t entirely sure where the debris is heading. So let’s all just take a deep breath. Los Angeles Times

Here goes nothing: Japan has yet another reason to be afraid of the tsunami’s legacy this week, as engineers at the Fukushima nuclear power plant begin the hazardous process of removing nuclear fuel rods from one of the wrecked reactor buildings. This is an extremely delicate process, but one necessary to continue cleaning up the environmental disaster. Given the many mishaps and mishandlings we’ve seen from Fukushima so far, you’ll have to forgive us for keeping our fingers crossed. BBC

Here goes nothing, part II: World governments will meet again next week for U.N. climate talks in Warsaw, Poland, but the outlook for progress is already looking dim. After economic concerns stymied aggressive action in 2009, world leaders will review a more modest proposal that’s unlikely to halt rising global temperatures. Many think even this weakened measure will be too much to agree on. Reuters

Slap on the wrist: The Department of Transportation fined ExxonMobil $2.7 million fine this week for last March's ruptured pipeline and oil spill in Mayflower, Arkansas. Exxon also received news that Montana and the U.S. Department of the Interior will be filing suit against it for a spill in the Yellowstone River two years ago and the botched cleanup effort afterwards. The suit is in addition to the $3.4 million Exxon already owes in state and federal fines. But what’s a few million here and there to a company that made $45 billion last year in profit? Grist

DAILY DISTRACTION

Elk on a trampoline: Historic typhoons, nuclear contamination, breathing in infertility … I admit today’s roundup was not a happy place. But that’s why I like to end on videos like this elk hoofing it up on a trampoline. Will it hold world governments to the fire and inspire action over climate change? Of course not. But it might just alleviate your despair for the next few minutes. Huffington Post

OTHER HEADLINES

One-Fifth of All Known Hydrothermal Vents Are Threatened by Deep-Sea Mining Southern Fried Science

California Mercury Water Contamination Will Worsen with Climate Change: Study Huffington Post

More Asteroid Strikes Are Likely, Scientists Say New York Times

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