Once again, the summer and fall of 2018 in the Northern Hemisphere has brought us an epidemic of major wildfires. These burn forests, houses and other structures, displace thousands of people and animals, and cause major disruptions in people’s lives.
As temperatures rise, wildfires may get worse in areas that already experience them and become more prevalent in areas where they’re not yet a big risk, a new study warns.
As the price of renewable energy drops and storage technologies mature, hydrogen fuel is drawing fresh attention. Perhaps, finally, hydrogen’s moment has arrived. Japan is planning to use the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games to showcase its vision for a hydrogen society and has invested US$348 million in establishing hydrogen refueling stations and other infrastructure. Germany has launched the world’s first hydrogen-powered trains...
A lazy buzz phrase – ‘Is this the new normal?’ – has been doing the rounds as extreme climate events have been piling up over the past year. To which the riposte should be: it’s worse than that – we’re on the road to even more frequent, more extreme events than we saw this year.
New research digs into how links between economic development, technology, politics, and decision-making affect actions people are willing to take against climate change.
Will taxing meat products based on their carbon footprint reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve public health? The answer is maybe, but not notably — and it will come with significant costs.
The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been called a “deafening” alarm and an “ear-splitting wake-up call” about the need for sweeping climate action. But will one more scientific report move countries to dramatically cut emissions?
The burning of unwanted gas associated with oil production—called “flaring”—remains the most carbon-intensive part of producing oil, according to a new analysis.
I was recently sent a slick piece of fossil-fuel-propaganda that was mostly full of half-truths to tell a lie. If nothing else, it does make one listen to arguments on possible needed limits to free speech. However, limiting access for venues of speech is a slippery slope, but so is damaging the public with untruths. Is it OK to tell lies for financial gain that harms the public?
The price of beer could double under unchecked climate change, as droughts and extreme temperatures cause barley yields to drop. That’s one conclusion of research we recently published in Nature Plants.
Museums, archaeological sites and historical buildings are rarely included in conversations about climate change, which tend to focus on the wider impact and global threats to our contemporary world. Yet these threats impact everything, from local cultural practices to iconic sites of outstanding universal value. In light of this, it’s worth exploring the relationship between our heritage and the changing global climate in more detail.
Cyclone Winston struck Fiji on February 20, 2016, leaving a trail of destruction. Winston was a Category 5 cyclone (the strongest rating) with reported wind speeds of almost 300 km per hour. This made it among the strongest cyclones ever to make landfall globally, and the and the strongest recorded in the Southern Hemisphere.
As part of the Paris Agreement on climate change, the international community committed in 2015 to limit rising global temperatures to “well below” 2C by the end of the 21st century and to “pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5C”.
Persistent weather conditions, including dry and wet spells, that have increased in the United States may be a result of rapid Arctic warming, according to a new study.
Exposure to air pollution has a staggering effect on human health. It is thought to cause around 7m premature deaths each year worldwide, with around 40,000 occurring in Britain.
Two generations of Australians, Generations X and Y, say climate change is their number one cause for concern, according to a new report. Contrary to stereotypes of young generations being narcissistic or complacent, researchers say both groups are united in concerns about the future of the environment.
Shortly after Hurricane Helene formed off the coast of West Africa on September 7, it did something unusual. Instead of following most hurricanes westward across the Atlantic, Helene turned north towards the UK and Ireland. Now downgraded to an “ex-hurricane”, Storm Helene is nonetheless expected to bring strong winds across much of England and Wales when it hits on September 17.
“Drain the swamp” has long meant getting rid of something distasteful. Actually, the world needs more swamps – and bogs, fens, marshes and other types of wetlands.
The cold, remote Arctic Ocean and its surrounding marginal seas have experienced climate change at a rate not seen at lower latitudes. Warming air, land and sea temperatures, and large declines in seasonal Arctic sea ice cover are all symptoms of the changing Arctic climate. Although these changes are occurring in relatively remote locations, there is growing evidence to link Arctic sea ice retreat to increasingly erratic weather patterns over the northern hemisphere.
This summer, wildfires erupted in California, torrential rains flooded parts of Japan, and record-breaking temperatures led to a number of heat-related deaths around the globe. Disasters like these are augmented by climate change, and scientists say extreme weather like this will increase and worsen as climate change accelerates. And it’s impacting our mental health.
Hurricane Harvey, with its historical amount of rainfall over Texas, followed by a string of Hurricanes Irma, Jose and Katia in the North Atlantic basin in 2017, has triggered longstanding questions about any linkage between hurricanes and climate. Can we really blame these recent hurricanes on climate changes? Or are they simply a coincidence of nature happening once every few decades, similar to the triple of Hurricanes Beulah, Chloe and Doria back in 1967?
Renewable energy is increasingly inevitable, and those that dominate the markets in these new technologies will likely have the most influence over the development patterns of the future. As other major powers find themselves in climate denial or atrophy, China may well boost its power and status by becoming the global energy leader of tomorrow.
The Turnbull government’s flagship energy plan, the National Energy Guarantee, was intended to end a decade-long stalemate on energy and climate policy in Australia. Ironically, since its unveiling in October 2017, the debate has heightened considerably, with the result that the government has now walked away from the emissions-reduction component of the policy.
In Colombia’s coffee-producing region of Risaralda, small trees run along the sharp incline of the Andes Mountains, carefully tended in tidy rows. Thousands of green coffee berries turn brilliant red as they ripen, ready to be harvested by hand. The steep hills here prevent mechanized techniques.
To cool the world and also boost plant growth, geo-engineered crops might do the trick. But if they work by dimming the sunlight, the plants will suffer. Proposals to tackle climate change that rely on geo-engineered crops show neatly the double bind that can await remedies which try to do too much.
A climate scientist talks to a psychologist about coping with the crushing stress related to climate change. Here’s what he learned.
We developed a new prediction system we call PROCAST (PROabilistic foreCAST), and used it to predict the natural variability of the climate system. This refers to how the climate varies naturally from warm to cool phases that last a few years at a time, and is separate from the long-term trend of anthropogenic global warming. PROCAST predicts a warm phase for the next few years.
Local people collect water from a muddy waterhole in 2006 in San Marcos Tlacoyalco. The Tehuacan Valley South-East of Mexico City has long experienced severe water shortages. Drought and climate change have contributed to this but recent industrial growth has also strained the very limited ground water resource. Water resources in the area are largely based on a weekly delivery by truck as well as collecting water from small pools known as Jagueys.
Now it's so hot in Europe that dogs are having to wear shoes. While a nice sunny day may seem like the perfect time for a stroll with your pet pooch, Swiss police are urging dog owners to cover their pets' paws.
Global warming isn’t the cause of slowdown in a huge circulation pattern in the Atlantic Ocean, which is, in fact, part of regular, decades-long cycle that will affect temperatures in coming decades, according to a new study.
A more strategic approach to urban growth can ensure our cities maintain adequate green space and become low-carbon, efficient and affordable.
New research asks a big question: Is there such a thing as a sustainable civilization, perhaps one that lies far beyond our own galaxy? Or are all civilizations doomed to destroy themselves?
More people than ever are acutely aware that rising levels of carbon dioxide (CO₂) in the atmosphere are accelerating climate change and global warming.
Every March, glacier “watchers” take to the skies to photograph snow and ice clinging to high peaks along the length of New Zealand’s Southern Alps.
I am afraid my message is going to be controversial. You see, I think there are deep problems with the standard climate change narrative, which has equated "green" with carbon reduction.
Australia is a continent defined by extremes, and recent decades have seen some extraordinary climate events. But droughts, floods, heatwaves, and fires have battered Australia for millennia. Are recent extreme events really worse than those in the past?
The targets set in the Paris Agreement on climate change are ambitious but necessary. Failure to meet them will lead to widespread drought, disease and desperation in some of the world’s poorest regions.
Almost every climate scientist agrees human-caused climate change is a major global threat. Yet, despite efforts over the past 30 years to do something about it, emissions keep increasing.
Scientists have known for a long time that as climate change started to heat up the Earth, its effects would be most pronounced in the Arctic.
Megacities are on the rise. There are currently 47 such areas around the globe, each housing more than 10 million residents.
Transforming U.S. energy systems away from coal and toward clean renewable energy was once a vision touted mainly by environmentalists.
Many projections suggest that burning fossil fuels and the resulting climate change will make it harder to grow enough food for everyone in the coming decades.
The ocean currents that help warm the Atlantic coasts of Europe and North America have significantly slowed since the 1800s and are at their weakest in 1600 years, according to new research my colleagues and I have conducted.
In 2016, more renewable energy was added to the global grid than ever before, and at a lower cost. A global energy revolution is clearly underway. What catalysed this transformation?
Far from protecting U.S. interests, the tariffs are bound to stifle the current solar boom, destroying American jobs and dragging down clean energy innovation. As economists who research climate and energy policies that can foster a greener North American economy, we argue the government should instead create targeted subsidies that support innovation and lower costs across the supply chain.
Science fiction writers can’t seem to agree on the rules of time travel. Sometimes, as in Doctor Who, characters can travel in time and affect small events without appearing to alter the grand course of history.
Land degradation can take many forms, but always entails a serious disruption of a healthy balance between five key ecosystem functions.
On Campbell Island in the Southern Ocean, some 400 miles south of New Zealand, is a single Sitka spruce. More than 170 miles from any other tree, it is often credited as the “world’s loneliest tree”.
You don’t need a supercomputer to predict how the weather above your head is likely to change over the next few hours – this has been known across cultures for millennia. By keeping an eye on the skies above you, and knowing a little about how clouds form, you can predict whether rain is on the way.
If recent trends continue for another two years, the global share of electricity from renewables excluding hydropower will overtake nuclear for the first time.
Imagine then an enlightened “quantitative easing” transferring resources not to banks, but to mobilise a rapid transformation in energy infrastructure, retrofitting existing buildings, decarbonising transport and constructing zero-carbon power stations.
For every 10 degrees north from the equator you move, spring arrives about four days earlier than it did a decade ago, a new study suggests.
In the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, nearly every country on Earth pledged to keeping global temperatures “well below” 2C above pre-industrial levels and to “pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5C”.
Much of the public discussion about climate science consists of a stream of assertions. The climate is changing or it isn’t; carbon dioxide causes global warming or it doesn’t; humans are partly responsible or they are not; scientists have a rigorous process of peer review or they don’t, and so on.
The seas will continue to rise for 300 years. That’s the conclusion of a new study, published in Nature Communications, which projects how much the sea level will rise under varying degrees of success in tackling climate change right up to the year 2300.
Agroforestry could play an important role in mitigating climate change because it sequesters more atmospheric carbon in plant parts and soil than conventional farming, report researchers.
Imagine a world where every country has not only complied with the Paris climate agreement but has moved away from fossil fuels entirely. How would such a change affect global politics?
Over the last 30 years, floods have killed more than 500,000 people globally, and displaced about 650m more. In a paper published by the Centre for Economic Performance, we examined why so many people are hit by devastating floods.
Most of us have a range of white goods (refrigerators, washing machines, etc.) in our homes. These white goods provide a host of benefits, but they also have significant environmental impacts, and it’s important to consider these when using and choosing white goods.
For the first time, the European Union generated more electricity from wind, solar and biomass than from coal in 2017, according to new analysis from two thinktanks.
Forest owners at greater risk of illegally cutting trees on their land prefer to join conservation programs that allow sustainable timber harvesting, a new study suggests.
In tumultuous times, art can and must express the turmoil and help us process what’s going on.
Many cities which endure cold winters are adapting district heating schemes to keep people warm without the use of fossil fuels.
Planting more urban forests is a simple way not only to improve the health of a city’s people, but to make them wealthier too.
The need to cut emissions from the energy sector has motivated the use of hydro, solar and wind power, and the development of more efficient buildings that consume less energy.
A new water-based air-conditioning system cools air to as low as 18 degrees Celsius (about 64 degrees Fahrenheit) without using energy-intensive compressors and environmentally harmful chemical refrigerants.
Recently, National Geographic published an article called “This Tiny Country Feeds the World,” where the author extolled the innovations of a small European country that has managed to become a global powerhouse in agriculture and technology—the Netherlands.
If you read or listen to almost any article about climate change, it’s likely the story refers in some way to the “2 degrees Celsius limit.” The story often mentions greatly increased risks if the climate exceeds 2°C and even “catastrophic” impacts to our world if we warm more than the target.
When fires, floods and other major disruptions alter natural areas, our first instinct is to restore what’s lost. But moving forward may mean leaving some treasured things behind.
The Trump administration, and its allies in Congress, are fighting a losing war. They continue to press forward for the development of oil, gas, and coal when the rest of the world understands the implication of that folly. Global warming is the most pressing issue for our time.
A program of one of the five largest supermarket chains in South Africa, drove increased adoption of environmental practices at the farm level, a new study of the store’s supply chain indicates.
Last night I cooked my family a delicious pasta dinner using biogas energy. This morning we all had eggs cooked on biogas. I’m not sure what’s for dinner tonight, but I know what will provide the energy for cooking
Damage from extreme weather events during 2017 racked up the biggest-ever bills for the U.S. Most of these events involved conditions that align intuitively with global warming: heat records, drought, wildfires, coastal flooding, hurricane damage and heavy rainfall.
Climate change will not affect every place equally. Here’s what seven regions in the bull’s eye are doing about it now.
Many scientists have found evidence that climate change is amplifying the impacts of hurricanes. For example, several studies just published in December 2017 conclude that human-induced climate change made rainfall during Hurricane Harvey more intense. But climate change is not the only factor making hurricanes more damaging.
To maintain our capacity to address climate change, we need to recognize and address the trauma it creates.
On June 3 2017, two days after President Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate accord, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi exchanged a hug with French President Emmanuel Macron during an official visit to Paris.
Ever since the ancient Greeks speculated a continent must exist in the south polar regions to balance those in the north, has been popularly described as remote and extreme.
Many observers of China’s escalating global program of foreign investment and infrastructure development are crossing their fingers and hoping for the best.
Even before this year’s devastating hurricane season, the team of demographers I work with at Penn State and the Puerto Rico Institute of Statistics had predicted that the population of Puerto Rico would decline over the next few decades.
The election of the sixth Labour-led government heralds a new direction for climate change policy in New Zealand. As part of the new government’s 100-day priority plan, it pledged to set a target of carbon neutrality by 2050 and to establish the mechanisms to phase out fossil fuels.
Remember the movie “Moneyball”? The Oakland A’s are struggling, financially and on the baseball field.Then they introduce an innovative system for figuring out which players will improve team performance.
Under the 2015 Paris Agreement, nations pledged to keep the average global temperature rise to below 2C above pre-industrial levels and to take efforts to narrow that increase to 1.5C.
The latest UN Climate Change Conference since the 2015 Paris Agreement is taking place in Bonn between November 6-17 – and the world will be watching.
In August 2016, a third of the residents of the North Island township Havelock North fell acutely ill with gastroenteritis after their water was contaminated with campylobacter.
Humans are probably contributing more methane to the atmosphere through fossil fuel use and extraction than scientists previously believed, report researchers.
More than 95% of people still eat meat and don’t like being told that it is wrong and bad for the planet to do so. But it is now well established that meat production is responsible for a substantial proportion of human greenhouse gas emissions, not to mention issues around animal welfare.
Around the globe, about 815 million people – 11 percent of the world’s population – went hungry in 2016, according to the latest data from the United Nations. This was the first increase in more than 15 years.
Melting of Antarctica’s ice can trigger rapid warming on the other side of the planet, according to our new research which details how just such an abrupt climate event happened 30,000 years ago, in which the North Atlantic region warmed dramatically.
Beef gets a bad press, environmentally speaking. We’re bombarded with reports highlighting its high carbon footprint accompanied by images of belching cows and devastated rainforests.
Some aspects of climate change could benefit certain forms of agriculture in the Northeastern United States, new research suggests—though the researchers caution that there are many variables in the future scenario they envision.
Microbes in permafrost that eat sun-weakened carbon and convert it into carbon dioxide may be providing a major pathway for the greenhouse gas to enter the atmosphere, new research suggests.
When asked about major threats to their country, Europeans are more likely than Americans to cite global climate change, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey.
Robert Jay Lifton was born 91 years ago. Living through the catastrophes of the 20th century — world war, tyrannical regimes, genocide, the nuclear bomb, terrorism — he grappled with their terrible impact on human beings. His work as a psychiatrist, historian and public intellectual forged his reputation as one of the world’s foremost thinkers.
Researchers have found at least eight occurrences of iron penetrating the Pacific Ocean, with each occurrence likely associated with global climate change over thousands of years.
A 12-year “hurricane drought” during which no major hurricanes formed in the Atlantic ended dramatically in 2017. The devastating impacts of Harvey, Irma, Jose and Maria across the United States and the Caribbean provide tragic reminders of the catastrophic risks we face on our coasts.
Solar has become the world’s favourite new type of electricity generation, according to global data showing that more solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity is being installed than any other generation technology.
A new study outlines some of the effects that climate change will have on northern cities with cold climates, including in Europe and the North America.
There has been no let up since Hurricane Harvey dumped record-breaking rains on the Houston area of Texas. Hurricane Irma lashed parts of the Caribbean and Cuba and devastated the Florida Keys and the state’s west coast.