The Science of Sustainability

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Aboard the Tugnacious With Dr. Doom

Aboard the Tugnacious With Dr. Doom

The scientist dubbed “Dr. Doom” for his dire pronouncements about California's Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is retiring after 33 years working on the troubled ecosystem that's central to California's water supply.

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Struggling Herring Make a Tiny Appearance

Struggling Herring Make a Tiny Appearance

Not that long ago California’s herring population came perilously close to collapse. While their numbers are increasing, herring in the Bay are still struggling to return to their once prolific numbers.

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Sierra Club Director: Time to Take Climate Action to the Streets

Sierra Club Director: Time to Take Climate Action to the Streets

For the first time in the Sierra Club's 120-year history, its national head was arrested for an act of civil disobedience. It signals a new, more aggressive stance for the organization spawned by John Muir.

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On the Elephant Seal Dating Scene, It’s All About Bravado

On the Elephant Seal Dating Scene, It’s All About Bravado

They may sound like faulty plumbing, but male northern elephant seals have a unique communication system that's all about reputation.

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San Francisco a Test Case for Coping with Rising Seas

San Francisco a Test Case for Coping with Rising Seas

Under a strategy known as "managed retreat," San Francisco gets ready to let the ocean reclaim a cherished stretch of Pacific coastline.

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Who Gets the Cash for Energy Upgrades from Prop 39?

Who Gets the Cash for Energy Upgrades from Prop 39?

In November, California voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition 39, closing a corporate tax loophole and using the savings to create the largest state energy efficiency initiative in the country. Now the debate over how to use the money begins.

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In Historic Gold Country, Old Mines Get New Life

In Historic Gold Country, Old Mines Get New Life

It's not the frenzy of 1849, but gold mining is quietly making a comeback in California. While some communities are concerned about the environmental costs, others see the chance for a "greener" gold rush.

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Climate Threat to Dams Overlooked by Regulators

Climate Threat to Dams Overlooked by Regulators

Hydropower provides a good chunk of California's electricity. It relies on a balance of heavy snow in the winter and heavy runoff in the spring. Climate change threatens to throw that balance out of whack, a problem the government isn't examining.

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Stanford Investigates the Hits that Cause Concussions

Stanford Investigates the Hits that Cause Concussions

It's no secret that concussions are endemic in American football at every level, from peewees to the pros, but little is known about the hits that cause them. Stanford University is searching for answers.

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Think Tiny: The Science of New Year's Resolutions

Think Tiny: The Science of New Year's Resolutions

Want to keep a New Year's resolution? One Stanford researcher says to give up on lofty goals. Instead, focus on tiny habits.

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Scientists More Outspoken on Exteme Weather-Climate Links

Scientists More Outspoken on Exteme Weather-Climate Links

One of the giants of climate science talks about extreme weather…and trashes California's plan to cut emissions.

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California Prepares First Fracking Regulations, Joining Nationwide Debate

California Prepares First Fracking Regulations, Joining Nationwide Debate

The controversial drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing has created an oil and gas boom around the country – and that’s left state governments grappling with how to regulate it. Now, California is wading into that fight.

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With Large Oil Reserve, California Faces Fracking Debate

With Large Oil Reserve, California Faces Fracking Debate

The new oil-and-gas boom that’s sweeping the country may be coming to California. With it comes the controversy over the drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing – or fracking.

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Growing Pains for California's Electric Car Charging Network

Growing Pains for California's Electric Car Charging Network

KQED Science explores the growing pains of building an electric car charging network and the fledgling new industry rising up to meet the challenge.

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The Great Cancer Cell Mix Up

The Great Cancer Cell Mix Up

Under a microscope many cancer cells look the same. And since cell lines used in cancer research are anonymous, often shared informally between labs, the only way to definitively know where they came from is with DNA. But many scientists don't do this.

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What Are Richmond Residents Breathing?

What Are Richmond Residents Breathing?

Chevron's Aug. 6 fire re-ignited questions many Richmond residents have asked for years. What does it mean to live next to the largest refinery on the West Coast? What are people living in the city breathing?

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Cap-and-Trade 101: How California's Carbon Market Works

Cap-and-Trade 101: How California's Carbon Market Works

This week, California rolls out the heavy artillery in its attack on climate change with a program called “cap-and-trade.” It’s like a stock exchange for carbon emissions, where the state’s biggest polluters have to buy the right to emit greenhouse gases. It’s the most ambitious climate change policy in the country, but not everyone is happy with it.

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Looming Trade War Shakes Up U.S. Solar Industry

Looming Trade War Shakes Up U.S. Solar Industry

Federal officials have put trade tariffs on Chinese solar panels. American solar companies are split on whether it will be good or bad for the industry.

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In Livermore, Still Waiting on Nuclear Fusion

In Livermore, Still Waiting on Nuclear Fusion

The National Ignition Facility in Livermore, California, has been called a modern-day moon-shot, a project of "revolutionary science," and "the mother of all boondoggles." NIF, as it's known, is a five-billion dollar, taxpayer-funded super laser project whose goal is to create nuclear fusion – a tiny star – inside a laboratory. But so far, that hasn't happened.

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China Tries Greening from the Ground Up

China Tries Greening from the Ground Up

Green building and sustainable design are a trend in California, but nowhere is the urgency greater than in China, where hundreds of millions of people are moving to cities in pursuit of a better life.

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