Abstracts: Wind Energy, Bright Nights, and More

A roundup of science news from around the web — and around the world.

• Due to declines in coal consumption, China and India are set to exceed the carbon emission reduction goals outlined in the Paris climate agreement several years earlier than anticipated. The two countries’ reductions might even be enough to counterbalance the impact of Trump’s reversal of the previous administration’s climate policies. (Inside Climate News)

A typical wind turbine stands 70 meters tall, but researchers are aiming to build one 7 times as high.

Visual by Imagevixen/Getty

• We’re finally getting closer to understanding “bright nights” — nearly day-like levels of light during nighttime hours described in many historical accounts dating to Ancient Rome. Researchers at York University have released a study that found that zonal waves in the Earth’s atmosphere might have caused these strange phenomena. (New York Times)

• With six members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS having resigned just over a week ago, leaders from the Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus are demanding that President Trump eliminate proposed budget cuts to HIV/AIDS programs and take other measures to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic. (STAT News)

• Yams are a staple food for Nigerians and are vital to the country’s economy, but the crop has been under threat due to a high prevalence of disease perpetuated by the way in which it is traditionally grown. Now scientists have developed a new technology that produces disease-free, high-yielding seed yams, which could help reverse the crisis. (NPR)

• Researchers at the University of Virginia are leading efforts to construct the world’s largest wind turbine, which, at 500 meters tall, would exceed the height of the Empire State Building. As larger wind turbines are more cost-effective and energy efficient, the team hopes to revolutionize offshore wind energy. (Scientific American)

• Under the leadership of newly-elected president Emmanuel Macron, France has pledged to end all new oil and gas exploration in the fall as part of the country’s transition away from fossil fuel energy. (The Independent)

• A new analysis on the incidence and impact of firearm deaths and injuries among children in the United States was recently published in the journal Pediatrics. The report, dubbed the most comprehensive of its kind to date, found that nearly 1,300 children in the United States ages 17 and under die each year from gunshot wounds. (Science News)

• Reports of Lyme Disease have been increasing at an alarmingly high rate in the United States since the 1990s, especially in the Northeast, mid-Atlantic and upper Midwest. The trend is expected to continue as the impacts of climate change worsen, and this summer is shaping up to be a particularly dangerous one for Lyme Disease. (Vox)

• And finally, while archeologists have long known that indigenous societies made “plastic” water bottles out of bitumen, a recent study published in Environmental Health found that the production of these bottles might have had toxic effects on the health of ancient Californians. (Wired)

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