Getting climate change under control is a formidable, multifaceted challenge. Analysis by my colleagues and me suggests that staying within safe warming levels now requires removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Around the world, 1.1 billion people have no electricity and 2.9 billion can’t cook with “clean” energy. The international community has big aspirations to tackle this challenge, and its focus is on sustainable energy.
Since the February blackouts in South Australia, the Australian government has increased its interest in carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS).
On Tuesday, March 28, President Trump traveled to the Environmental Protection Agency to sign an executive order rolling back a number of climate-related regulations that have taken effect over the past eight years.
There are a number of available low-carbon technologies to generate electricity. But are they really better than fossil fuels and nuclear power?
A key question amid the consternation over the current state of Australia’s east coast energy market has been how much renewable energy capacity to build, and how fast.
The electric grid is an amazing integrated system of machines spanning an entire continent.
Chemists have engineered a molecule that uses light or electricity to convert carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide.
Donald Trump wants to restrict or even abolish the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
In some political circles, hostility to climate policy has become a way of showing off one’s conservative credentials. But a suggestion for pricing carbon, grounded in classic conservative principles, has now emerged in the United States.
A group of former Republican officials (including James A. Baker, Henry Paulson, George P. Shultz, Marty Feldstein and Greg Mankiw) is proposing a carbon tax starting the tax at $40 per ton, that would gradually increase.
After opposing a Washington state carbon tax in November, climate justice advocates are setting the stage for a more thorough initiative to address both climate change and inequality.
Some commentators seem to be worried that our electricity networks are facing an impending voltage crisis, citing fears that renewables (rooftop solar panels in particular) will threaten the quality of our power supply.
Following a campaign by the coal industry, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has argued for new coal-fired power stations in Australia. But these plants would be more expensive than renewables and carry a huge liability through the carbon emissions they produce.
Last year we found that the growth in global fossil fuel emissions have stalled over the past three years.
There is huge potential for using electric vehicles to tackle climate change, give us cleaner air and grow the green economy.
Forget about oil or gas – you should be worrying about the less discussed but far more concerning fact that the world is running out of clean, drinkable water.
A major opportunity for avoiding climate change’s worst impacts lies in reducing methane emissions, particularly from food production, according to a pair of new studies.
Gene Takle, professor of agronomy and geological and atmospheric sciences at Iowa State University, says tall wind turbines disbursed throughout a field create air turbulence that may help plants by affecting variables such as temperature and carbon dioxide concentrations.
Methane concentrations in the atmosphere are growing faster than any time in the past 20 years. The increase is largely driven by the growth in food production, according to the Global Methane Budget released today.
Detroit-area resident Shamayim Harris bought more than 10 properties on her block. She’s now converting them into sustainable community spaces for education, wellness, and economic development.
While much of the media focus at this month’s climate meeting in Marrakech (COP22) was on US President-elect Donald Trump, there were signs that several countries have begun the long-term planning needed to avoid dangerous climate change.
It seems almost certain that US President-elect Donald Trump will walk away from the Paris climate agreement next year. In the absence of US leadership, the question is: who will step up?
The Paris climate agreement has now officially come into force. Although Donald Trump and other climate change deniers have vowed to abandon it, most have hailed the agreement as a huge success and a significant milestone in our quest to limit the effects of global climate change.
The election of Donald Trump as president of the United States is bad news for the global environment. He has made it clear that he will not implement the steps required to meet the pledges to reduce emissions as part of the agreement reached in Paris at the end of 2015.
Since the 1980s, air pollution has increased worldwide, but it has increased at a much faster pace in regions close to the equator.
Iceland is about to tap into water as hot as lava. Several kilometres below ground, a drilling rig named Thor will soon penetrate the area around a magma chamber, where molten rock from the inner Earth heats up water that has seeped through the seafloor.
Solar power in India will be cheaper than imported coal by 2020, but replacing the subcontinent’s fossil fuels with renewable energy is an enormous task.
The pre-industrial atmosphere contained more particles, and so brighter clouds, than we previously thought. This is the latest finding of the CLOUD experiment, a collaboration between around 80 scientists at the CERN particle physics lab near Geneva.
Ever since the 1973 oil embargo, U.S. energy policy has sought to replace petroleum-based transportation fuels with alternatives. One prominent option is using biofuels, such as ethanol in place of gasoline and biodiesel instead of ordinary diesel.
The far-reaching Paris Agreement on tackling climate change is close to taking effect − but how just how effective it may prove is far from clear.
Just as people pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels, the land also absorbs some of those emissions.
As the country pushes ahead with renewable energy goals, the challenges facing the grid are substantial, but not insurmountable, according to energy experts.
Each kilo (about 2 pounds, 3 ounces) of homegrown veggies can cut greenhouse gas emissions by two kilograms, research shows.
Earlier this summer, I found myself in the middle of a lively debate because of my work on climate change and the ethics of having children.
Energy experts say global investment patterns show a spectacular shift, with renewables on the rise and support for fossil fuels in sharp decline.
New analysis shows the cost of energy from renewables is already lower on average than from fossil fuels, and will soon be even cheaper.
The Aliso Canyon leak in California earlier this year focused public attention on methane emissions from the oil and gas industry.
Six years ago, Phoenix lay burning in the sun one day. It was 110 degrees Fahrenheit and I was the only person foolish enough to be out walking instead of moving by air-conditioned car. Arriving hot and parched at a bookstore, I opened the doors to be greeted by a blast of arctic air.
Power companies that take initiative now can position themselves for a bright future in tomorrow’s clean energy economy
Analysts say cuts in emissions will need to increase sixfold if the powerful G20 nations are to meet the climate challenge on reducing greenhouse gases.
What is so refreshing about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals is that they recognise the inherent tension between economic development and the ecology of our planet.
Halting tree-felling and land clearance is not enough to save tropical rainforests without programmes of forest restoration in degraded areas, scientists say.
Since the 1950s, U.S. nuclear power has commanded immense taxpayer and customer subsidy based on promises of economic and environmental benefits. Many of these promises are unfulfilled, but new ones take their place. More subsidies follow.
Electrifying transportation is one of the most promising ways to significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, but so-called range anxiety – concern about being stranded with an uncharged car battery – remains a barrier to electric vehicle adoption.
In June, California utility Pacific Gas and Electric announced plans for phasing out its Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, located on the central California coast.
Currently planned gas production expansion in Appalachia would make meeting U.S. climate goals impossible
Warning that humans may already have emitted enough carbon dioxide to undermine the 1.5°C temperature rise threshold agreed by 195 nations last December.
Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) recently started the process of shutting down the Diablo Canyon generation facility, the last active nuclear power plant in California.
Scientists believe that simple land management techniques can increase the rate at which carbon is absorbed from the atmosphere and stored in soils.
Degraded tropical forests throughout the world could be effectively restored by using a simple and inexpensive technique to speed up natural regeneration.
The problem the world faces is that many of the resources that are truly threatened are the renewable ones, not, as so often assumed, the non-renewables.
Political hurdles and low prices have made carbon pricing a low-impact affair. But there’s still hope it can help limit climate change. Earth’s atmosphere has long served as a free dump for carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases generated by humans.
Forests take up 25 to 30 percent of human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide—a strong greenhouse gas—and therefore are considered to play a crucial role in mitigating the speed and magnitude of climate change.
Global climate change, driven by human emissions of greenhouse gases, is already affecting the planet, with more heatwaves, droughts, wildfires and floods, and accelerating sea-level rise.
Falling costs mean that power generated by offshore wind farms is becoming increasingly competitive with other fuels – and that’s good news for the climate.Offshore
The Paris climate agreement saw countries pledge to limit global warming to well below 2℃, and to aim to keep it within 1.5℃. The problem is that countries' current emissions targets are not enough to meet these goals.
Even though Iowa is typically associated with red state politics, everyone there seems to agree that wind power makes economic sense for one of the windiest states in the country.
This week’s decision by four Australian Catholic orders to divest fully from fossil fuels can be interpreted as a direct response to the encyclical on the environment, issued by Pope Francis almost exactly a year ago.
The solar panels of about 40,000 Massachusetts households and community groups cut electricity prices for all of the approximately three million electricity ratepayers in the state, even those without the panels, also called photovoltaics (PV) systems.
We seriously need to do something about CO2 emissions. Besides shifting to renewable energy sources and increasing energy efficiency, we need to start putting some of the CO2 away before it reaches the atmosphere.
The daily ebb and flow of the tides promise a renewable energy bonanza for countries such as Canada and the UK that have shallow seas and a steep tidal range.
Scientists have found a way to increase the energy cows take in from feed, while reducing the vast amounts of the greenhouse gas methane they pump out of the other end.
Among climate change activists, solutions usually center on a transition to renewable energy. There may be differences over whether this would be best accomplished by a carbon tax, bigger subsidies for wind and solar power, divestment from fossil fuel companies
Global demand for energy is increasing by the hour as developing countries move toward industrialization. Experts estimate that by the year 2050, worldwide demand for electricity may reach 30 terawatts (TW). For perspective, one terawatt is roughly equal to the power of 1.3 billion horses.
One of the places machine learning is turning out to be the most beneficial is in the environmental sciences, which have generated huge amounts of information from monitoring Earth’s various systems — underground aquifers, the warming climate or animal migration, for example.
From creating transparent wood for solar panels or windows to turning carbon dioxide and plant waste into plastic bottles, scientists are finding ingenious ways to sidestep fossil fuels.
It’s not just the planet that benefits from reductions in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that intensify global warming.
Historic change heralded as investors are told they face losing their money if they continue to back the fossil fuel industry that is causing disastrous global warming.
As obesity levels soar, cutting the vast amount of food we waste could have a major impact on reducing the effects of climate change, as well as alleviating world hunger.
New research by the European Commission suggests that energy efficiency can become a “niche” market that will attract investors away from fossil fuels.
Few product launches in recent memory have captured as much attention as last week’s unveiling of the Tesla Model 3 electric vehicle (EV), Tesla’s first vehicle pitched at the mass market.
Every time you flush your toilet or drain the bath, you’re losing something surprisingly valuable: heat. It takes a lot of energy to warm up the water in the first place, and vast amounts of this energy simply disappear down and is lost in the environment.
Much of the U.S. was built around the automobile, with greater distances to be covered than in places like Europe, making Americans' daily lifestyles higher in energy than elsewhere.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory this week said that rooftop solar panels have the potential to generate nearly 40 percent of electricity in the U.S. But what about the cost of going solar?
Many hundreds of planned coal-fired power plants in Asia will probably be shelved as economies slow and climate change and air pollution worsen.
High in the mountains of Veracruz, Mexico, a small cooperative is “farming carbon” — practicing agriculture in a way that fights climate change while simultaneously meeting human needs.
As four reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power plant suffered catastrophic cooling failures and exploded in March 2011, the world watched in disbelief. For Japan, this was not just the
World trade regulations have been invoked by the US to challenge India’s ambitious programme to expand massively its renewable energy capacity and provide local jobs.
Nuclear power is dead. Long live nuclear power. Nuclear power is the only way forward. Nuclear power is a red herring. Nuclear power is too dangerous. Nuclear power is the safest power source around. Nuclear is nothing. Nuclear is everything.
Attempts to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it safely are all potentially costly gambles with the current technology, scientists say.
Pension funds, insurance companies and other investors who manage trillions of dollars have an enormous opportunity to change the future by investing in clean energy.
Physics can impose a bracing clarity on the normally murky world of politics. It can make things simple. Not easy, but simple. We have to attack this problem from both ends, going after supply as well as demand.
As the sun sets on the small Indonesian island of Sumba, Danga Beru Haba begins weaving under the glow of a single incandescent lightbulb, the only one in her home. Although she is tired from working dawn to dusk in the fields surrounding her village of Kampung Kalihi, the sarong she is weaving to sell locally will provide extra...
Science can now make energy by building immense wind turbine blades and filtering carbon from the air, but the challenge is commercial viability.
By many accounts, the spread of solar power is unstoppable. Costs continue to fall at a blistering pace, solutions to give consumers a solar-powered home without needing to connect to the grid for back-up power are emerging, and even the
When you cut and burn a tropical forest, you’re left with a barren plain of cracked red mud, incapable of supporting life – the opposite of the teeming, hyperdiverse array of life that was destroyed. Once the trees are gone, the nutrients wash away and the soil degrades into a dense, brick-like layer so hardened that plant roots can’t get through it.
The international community has been negotiating on climate change since 1989, but the Paris Agreement marks a real step forward. It aims to accelerate a move away from fossil fuels to mitigate global warming and to help vulnerable countries adapt to the effects of climate change, and reflects a clear recognition of the urgency of the task.
Despite robust global economic growth over the past two years, worldwide carbon emissions from fossil fuels grew very little in 2014, and might even fall this year.
There has been a rapid decline in the costs of solar and wind power, to such an extent that both technologies are now cheaper than nuclear or coal. This development will radically transform global electricity generation networks.
The UK could reduce its emissions by converting farmland to absorb more carbon dioxide − but risks increasing climate change effects abroad.
There’s a curious paradox at the heart of climate change. Despite scientists asserting the need for urgent action and the widespread acceptance of the reality of climate change by people worldwide, it is a subject that we tend not to talk about with friends, family or colleagues.
A slowing economy and falling energy demand, plus concerns over air pollution, spur Beijing to halt new coal mines and close hundreds of existing operations.
How did we get to where we are now? “Free range” capitalism could be the explanation for climate change, and needs taming, says one writer.
The Paris agreement was a diplomatic triumph. The nations of the world spoke with one voice of their desire to limit the damage of climate change. But there is a distinct disconnect between the ambition and the action required to achieve that goal.
Despite what the doubters say, a low-carbon economy is not only possible, it makes economic sense.
The UN climate talks in Paris have ended with an agreement between 195 countries to tackle global warming. The climate deal is at once both historic, important – and inadequate. From whether it is enough to avoid dangerous climate change to unexpected wins for vulnerable nations, here are five things to help understand what was just agreed at COP21.
Climate science has been instrumental in developing the ambitious carbon emission reduction targets negotiated at the recent climate talks in Paris. At the same time, the kinds of actions needed to avert the worst effects of climate change demand new ways of engaging that go far beyond science and formal diplomacy.