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August 20 News: Small Temperature Increases Having ‘Negative Impacts’ On Developing Countries, Concludes Study

Small increases in temperature may have reduced the industrial and agricultural production of poor countries, according to a study by US economists. [Guardian]

Higher temperatures may also have contributed to political instability in these countries — defined as those with below-median per capita income, adjusted for the purchasing power of the country’s currency — according to the study published in the American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics last month. In contrast, rich countries have so far shown no measurable economic or political consequences resulting from temperature change.

“Temperature fluctuations can have large negative impacts on poor countries,” said Benjamin Olken, an economics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and one of the authors of the study.

According to the Climate Prediction Center, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, El Niño conditions are likely to develop over the Pacific in August or September, which should affect global weather before the end of the year. This may drive food prices up further if it causes floods or further drought. [New Scientist]

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Senior Whitehall officials from 10 government departments and agencies attended exclusive “training courses” laid on by Shell over two days at its London headquarters, according to documents released by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) following a freedom of information request. [Guardian]

Regional railroad operator RailAmerica told Port of Grays Harbor commissioners Tuesday that it is shelving current plans to build a coal storage and export facility at the port’s Terminal 3 in Hoquiam. [Seattle Times]

Rainstorms that pounded the Midwest Thursday provided relief to farmers hit hard by the worst drought in 56 years, but agriculture experts say it wasn’t enough to mitigate the lasting devastation to corn and soybean crops this summer. [Christian Science Monitor]

Part and parcel of his administration’s NY-Sun initiative to foster solar and renewable energy development and growth across the state, Gov. Cuomo enacted legislation that introduces statewide tax credits for power purchase agreements (PPAs) and solar energy equipment, sales tax exemptions for commercial solar equipment, and an extension of the real property tax abatement for solar power installations in New York City. [CleanTechnica]

French authorities are fighting wildfires, keeping an eye on isolated elderly populations and advising people to drink fluids as temperatures soar in the country. [Associated Press]