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.
What we believe and how we act don’t always stack up. Recently, in considering what it means to live in a post-truth world, I had cause to examine my understanding of how the world works and my actions on sustainability.
The rainfall from Harvey has now exceeded the amount from the previous record-bearer, Tropical Storm Amelia in 1978.
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.”
Most of the world could switch to 100% renewable energy by 2050, creating millions of jobs, saving millions of lives that would otherwise be lost to air pollution, and avoiding 1.5℃ of warming.
The largest wildfire ever recorded in Greenland was recently spotted close to the west coast town of Sisimiut, not far from Disko Island where I research retreating glaciers.
By virtue of its size, elevation and currently frozen state, Greenland has the potential to cause large and rapid increases to sea level as it melts.
When utility executives make decisions about building new power plants, a lot rides on their choices.
By continuing to delay significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, we risk handing young people alive today a bill of up to US$535 trillion.
Solarpunk imagines a sustainable future, and what it might be like to live in it. Solarpunk’s optimism towards the future is the first concept that needs complicating here.
Our worry is that putting too much emphasis on the climate overlooks the role of political and socio-economic factors in determining a community’s vulnerability to environmental stress.
Multiple lines of evidence are now telling us a convincing story that boreal fires are changing — they are getting bigger, larger. And if this continues, there is a good chance that...
One of the largest icebergs ever recorded has just broken away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica.
In the year 2100, 2 billion people—about one-fifth of the world’s population—could become refugees due to rising ocean levels.
Urban Canadians are feeling the impact of climate change. Flooding in Quebec this spring damaged nearly 1,900 homes in 126 municipalities, causing widespread psychological distress.
Using energy stored in the batteries of electric vehicles to power large buildings not only provides electricity for the building, but also increases the lifespan of the vehicle batteries, new research shows.
People who report working to save energy in their own lives may be less likely to support government action on energy-use reduction and sustainability, a new study suggests.
President Donald Trump’s decision to exit the Paris climate agreement reaffirmed what was already clear
There are those who say the climate has always changed, and that carbon dioxide levels have always fluctuated.
There are so many ways we can slow and stop the burning of fossil fuels in the United States. But we need to get to work.
A new report indicates that almost half of native California salmon, steelhead, and trout species are on track to be extinct in the next 50 years.
2016-17 has been a great year for Australian farmers, with record production, exports and profits. These records have been driven largely by good weather, in particular a wet winter in 2016, which led to exceptional yields for major crops
The federal government recently announced that it is giving recycling company ResourceCo a loan of A$30 million to build two waste-to-fuel plants producing “solid waste fuel”.
Ingenuity in laboratories worldwide is harnessing microbes, water and hot air to produce different types of renewable energy from greenhouse gas.
The planet is on course to breach the internationally agreed warming limit of 1.5°C within 10 years, according to new research from Australia.
A new study provides evidence that humans are capable of radically altering the world around us, and offers hope in the face of climate change.
Much of the public and scientific discussion around a slowdown, or hiatus, in the rate of global warming has been misguided, says prominent climatologist.
Deadly heat stress is projected to affect hundreds of millions more people each year under relatively little additional climate warming.
Socially and politically, 2016 was a momentous year for Britain. It was also a record breaking year for energy and the environment, but thankfully for all the right reasons.
The US Environmental Protection Agency recently enacted regulations to reduce methane emissions from oil and natural gas production.
The hottest year on record was 2016. It was also the year scientists advised that Earth’s citizens were now living in the Anthropocene Epoch.