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Whodunnit in the Ozone, Tar Sands Takes a Detour, All Aboard the Shark-Cam!
Our top picks: today's environmental news and best #greenreads.

Hole patrol: Scientists have detected a new type of hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) and three new chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in the ozone layer, representing the first increase in emissions of these human-made gases since the 1990s. No one is quite sure where the gases are coming from, as all gases of this category became illegal in the 1980s in an effort to shrink the hole in the ozone layer. (An unspoken agreement to abandon 80s hairstyles, and the CFC-laden hairspray they required, has also helped.) The mystery gases are present in very small concentrations, but scientists are still eager to find the source because CFCs can be thousands of times more powerful than CO2 at trapping heat in the atmosphere. Reuters

Bright minds think alike?: The House of Representatives passed a bipartisan energy bill last week that basically everybody loves. The Energy Efficiency Improvement Act consists of numerous “small bore” items that aim to reduce electricity consumption at federal agencies and improve efficiency in commercial tenant spaces. Liberals get to help the environment; conservatives get to help the bottom line. Now, if we could just have a serious conversation about light bulbs … Grist

Just five more minutes, Mom!: Each little cell in your body has a “clock” inside it, which is why the first workday of Daylight Saving Time always makes you an extra Grumpy Gus. Well, plants have internal clocks, too. And scientists are learning how to hack into these mechanisms in an effort to engineer faster growing biofuels and crops that may be more resistant to climate change. The Week

Domino effect: A new report released last Thursday evaluated to what degree climate change threatens America’s infrastructure and found that the biggest danger is “cascading system failures.” In other words, it’s not that any one system or region is vulnerable, but that they all are. As we saw with Hurricane Katrina, the storm cut power to a region, which affected the ability of oil pipelines to function, which meant refineries couldn’t refine, and gas prices rose nationwide as a result. Climate change threatens to bring the same brand of disasters, whether we’re talking about heat waves, sea level rise, or more frequent superstorms. Huffington Post

Hot ham water: Iowa’s pork industry generates 5 billion gallons of hog manure each year (!), and it's plum out of ways to get rid of the swine swill. The factory farms have already pumped as much into the soil as they possibly can, and now manure runs off into streams and rivers. In fact, the state’s water is now so full of nitrates, they’ve warned children not to drink it. (And for a longer take on this pigsty, check out our cover story “Hog Wild.”) WNYC

Coming and going: Even as President Obama weighs the environmental impact of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, Canada just approved a plan that will put a whole heckuva lot of tar sands oil on the market. By reversing the flow of an existing Enbridge pipeline, our neighbors to the north will now start shipping tar sands bitumen from western Canada across the northern United States all the way to Quebec City and Montreal, where refineries currently rely on overseas oil. So, more opportunity to turn tar sands into greenhouse gasses and more opportunity for pipeline oil spills … lovely. New York Times


Sharks dweebs: Scientists recently attached cameras to the fins of sharks to see what those dudes get up to in an average day. What they found surprised them. Smaller sharks appear to band together and swim around in a group, possibly as protection against larger, predatory sharks (just like you did with your friends in junior high). And most surprisingly, what species the sharks were didn't matter—hammerhead, tiger, sandbar, prickly—all joined up to avoid the bullies. Bonus: Shark-cam footage. Los Angeles Times


Over Two Million Comments Filed Against the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline Huffington Post

Weekend Reads: More Problems with Plastic, a Hemlock’s Eulogy, Ranchers + Grizzlies 4-Eva! OnEarth

At Night, the Ocean Cleanses Smoggy Air, Study Suggests Los Angeles Times

Obama to Designate Monument in Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands in California Washington Post

Tips: @OnEarthMag (tag it #greenreads)

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Well done Oil companies. You've managed to find a way to pollute in a brand new arena. Oil spills and carbon dioxide, and now this. It's just a race, with you, to see how fast you can kill the planet.