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News broke Wednesday that the Obama administration may propose a “politically binding” climate agreement at upcoming United Nations talks that would bypass the U.S. Senate, where the climate accord negotiated in Kyoto in 1997 famously went to die. The outcry among conservative members of Congress was immediate. House science committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) called it evidence that Obama “is willing to ignore the rule of law to get what he wants."
According to fellow columnist Nuray Mert, “millet,” a word used a lot by President-elect Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, could mean “people.” That would make Turkey a People’s Republic like China. Since I recently spent two weeks there, I can tell you that the two countries are actually quite similar.
At Scientific American, Angel Hsu & William Miao argue that despite the release of new soil pollution data in December and a subsequent report in March, details about the state of China’s soil are little clearer than when earlier findings were labeled state secrets.
On March 17, the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Ministry of Land and Resources released the first-ever results of a nationwide soil pollution survey that took place from 2005 to 2013. International media have commended the release, which revealed startling statistics such as one-fifth of arable land is polluted and contaminated with inorganic chemicals like cadmium, nickel and arsenic. On the surface, it seems, soil pollution, which was once a “state secret,” is no longer.
Over the past year, you have probably seen numerous news stories detailing Beijing's and other Chinese cities' attempts to grapple with air pollution, as well as those pointing out that New Delhi actually has worse air pollution than Beijing. In fact, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 13 of the 20 dirtiest cities in the world are in India. In both countries, some blame has been put on food vendors cooking in open-air and others have pointed to emissions from industrial pollution, but certainly the power and road transport sectors are significantly contributing towards air pollution; but what are those shares exactly?

In today’s installment of Map Monday, I wanted to focus on air pollution as mapped by Hsu et al and The Atlantic.
Air quality has gotten worse over the last decade, and for more people. The 2014 Environmental Performance Index (EPI), a biennial global ranking that compares countries on high-priority environmental issues, shows that over the last decade, the number of people breathing unsafe air has risen by 606 million and now totals 1.78 billion. That’s one quarter of the global population.
On June 2, the Obama administration unveiled its proposal for the nation’s first-ever regulations on carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants. It’s a bold and potentially groundbreaking move that has environmentalists, public health advocates, and power plant operators mobilizing their supporters or mounting their defenses.

Professor Dan Esty appeared on the Colbert Report June 3, 2014, to discuss President Obama's Clean Power Plan. The plan includes new rules for existing coal-fired power plants that would cut emissions by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.


A picture is worth a thousand words. Nowhere is this statement more pertinent than the environmental movement, which has relied on data presentations, iconic images, and visuals to provide definition and reality to some of the world's most significant and influential phenomena. The visualizations described below -- and presented in the infographic -- signify striking environmental data presentations and images that have left, and continue to leave, an indelible mark on our planet.



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