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Science/Environment

Latest Features

Largest Solar Plant in the World Goes Through Last Test Before Opening

The largest solar plant in the world - in California’s Mojave Desert - goes through its last test before opening, after a debate that pitted renewable energy against a threatened tortoise.

Tesla Unveils 90-Second Battery Swap Technology

Palo Alto based electric car maker Tesla has announced a service that will swap out a battery in less than two minutes.

In Search of the Bacterial Garden of Eden

Now that scientists are starting to get a handle on what kinds of microbes live in the human body and, roughly, how those populations differ from one individual to another, a key question will be whether there is such a thing as an “ideal” microbiome.



More From KQED News

New Privacy Agreement Marks Historic Moment in Bioethics

A new agreement between the family of Henrietta Lacks and the National Institutes of Health marks a historic moment, but leaves questions unresolved.

A Year After Richmond Refinery Fire, Community Air Monitors Still Not Working

Inadequate air monitoring systems near the Bay Area's five refineries remain a big concern for local communities.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Turns Back on Baby Peregrines?

A group instrumental in the recovery of peregrine falcons in California is now battling the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.





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The California Report

Anti-Fracking Activists in California Take Fight to County Ballots

Opponents of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, have pushed for a statewide moratorium on the controversial oil production technique. But those efforts haven't gotten far, so now, activists are taking the fight to the local level. KQED Science reporter Lauren Sommer tells us about several California counties where voters will decide the future of fracking in November

State Proposes Fines to Crack Down on Water Wasters

Despite the fact we're in the thick of the worst drought since the 1970s, the state has been relying on Californians to cut back water use voluntarily. Now the Water Resources Control Board is proposing fines of up to $500 on people who water their lawn, sidewalks or cars too often, or with hoses that can't shut off at the nozzle.

NASA Again Halts Launch of CO2-Monitoring Satellite

For the second time, NASA has had to scrub an attempt to put a new carbon-tracking satellite into space. Tuesday's try for the Orbiting Carbon Observatory, dubbed OCO-2, was aborted at 2:56am with less than one minute before launch. OCO-2 is designed to circle Earth from pole to pole, mapping CO2 behavior on a grid similar to the globe's lines of longitude. KQED Science Editor Craig Miller joins us from Vandenberg Air Force Base.



Forum With Michael Krasny

Water Wasters May Face $500-per-day Fine

California residents who overwater their lawns or hose down their cars without a shut-off nozzle may soon face a $500-per-day fine. The State Water Resources Control Board proposed new regulations on Wednesday to crack down on excess water use. The board is set to consider the proposal on July 15. We discuss the drought and proposed fines.

Imported Seafood May Be Cheaper, But What's the Catch?

In his new book "American Catch," author Paul Greenberg reveals how the U.S. imports about 90 percent of the seafood we eat, even though we control more ocean than any other country in the world. Why is some of the best seafood caught in U.S. waters ending up on dinner tables in Asia? What are the implications for the environment and the future of U.S. fisheries? What can consumers do to change what seems like a crazy equation of exchanging our fish for lower-quality seafood from Asia?

Coping with California's Record Drought

"Make it a Quickie." That's the slogan for the San Francisco water agency's new ad campaign promoting shorter showers, a response to the ongoing drought crisis. But a recent state survey suggests Californians aren't yet heeding Gov. Jerry Brown's call to conserve. State residents have reduced water use by just 5 percent, substantially less than the 20 percent Brown has requested. For Bay Area residents, the number is only 2 percent. Is voluntary conservation enough, especially if the drought continues into the next year?