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International Update Volume 42, Issue 36

AMAZON RAINFOREST MORE SUSCEPTIBLE TO DROUGHT

Brazil

The Amazon rainforest may be more susceptible to drought than previously believed, according to a new study. The impacts of a 2005 drought persisted significantly longer than scientists had previously believed, raising questions about the forest's ability to cope with climate change. The research is based on satellite data and analysis of rainfall observations, measuring characteristics of the forest including water content in leaves and the overall structure of the canopy, to look at the response of the rainforest to the 2005 drought, the worst on record at the time.

COAL MAY EQUAL OIL IN TEN YEARS

China, EU, India

Coal will catch up to oil as the world's leading energy source by 2022, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Economic and population growth in developing countries is largely fueling the push, which will significantly increase carbon emissions. The report came as the European Union acknowledged that it had not been able to fund a single project to capture and store CO2, and earlier this year the IEA announced that, without a major move away from coal as an energy source, average global temperatures could rise by as much as 6C above pre-industrial levels by 2100.

OUTDOOR AIR POLLUTION FASTEST GROWING CAUSE OF DEATH

China, India

A car boom in India and China has caused outdoor air pollution, along with obesity, to become the world's fastest growing causes of death, according to a study published by Lancet. A record 3.2 million people died from air pollution in 2010, compared with 800,000 in 2000, ranking it for the first time in the top ten list of killer diseases. Most of the air pollution in Asia that killed 2.1 million people prematurely in 2010 was from cars and trucks, with construction and industry being major causes as well.