Dramatic images of out-of-control wildfires in western North American forests have appeared on our television and computer screens with increasing regularity in recent decades, while costs of fire suppression have soared.
A huge glacier in the frozen wastes of East Antarctica, a region previously thought stable, could melt much faster than expected, scientists say.
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.
Temperatures in the Middle East and North Africa could reach unbearably high levels that would make some regions uninhabitable and increase the pressures of climate refugees.
We’re not even halfway through the year but already you may have heard talk of 2016 being the hottest on record. But how can scientists be so sure we’re going to beat the previous record, set just last year?
The plan for Louisville includes tree-planting targets and cool roofing and paving goals for different neighborhoods. In all, an additional 450,000 trees are recommended.
Sea-level rise, erosion and coastal flooding are some of the greatest challenges facing humanity from climate change.
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.
Marine life faces increased threats as researchers warn that warmer waters caused by climate change could seriously reduce the levels of oxygen in the world’s seas.
Scientists warn that the current pleasures of warmer weather will pall for US citizens as climate change brings extreme temperature rises and unhealthy levels of atmospheric ozone.
Researchers warn that many of Africa’s antelope species are at greater risk of extinction as climate change adds to the survival challenges they already face.
"Weather patterns in recent decades have been a poor source of motivation for Americans to demand policies to combat the climate change problem," says Megan Mullin. "But without serious efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, year-round climates ultimately will become much less pleasant."
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.
Research in China shows that the changing monsoon pattern in East Asia and heavier rainfall is having a detrimental effect on the yield and quality of tea.
It’s not just the planet that benefits from reductions in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that intensify global warming.
Scientists say that storms carrying desperately-needed water to California are being diverted by a band of high pressure that coincides with rainfall and temperature extremes.
The effect of the sea absorbing increased carbon dioxide in the air has damaging consequences for the noisy snapping shrimp and marine life in coastal rock pools.
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.
Global average sea level has risen by about 17 cm between 1900 and 2005. This is a much faster rate than in the previous 3,000 years. The sea level changes for several reasons, including rising temperatures as fossil fuel
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.
Many regions of the United States are struggling with water shortages. Large areas of the West are contending with moderate to severe drought, while California is now in the fifth year of one of the most extreme droughts in its history. Even non-arid regions, such as the Southeast, are not exempt from water shortages.
New research illustrates that reactions of people, plants and animals to the changing climate are a key factor in unravelling the complexities of global warming.
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?
Antarctica is already feeling the heat of climate change, with rapid melting and retreat of glaciers over recent decades. Ice mass loss from Antarctica and Greenland contributes about 20% to the current rate of global sea level rise.
Many hundreds of planned coal-fired power plants in Asia will probably be shelved as economies slow and climate change and air pollution worsen.
New research warns that more than 13 million American citizens could be at risk of being forced to move away from vulnerable coastal zones because of sea level rise.
As we write, the much-cherished Great Barrier Reef is experiencing the devastating effects of coral bleaching. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has declared severe coral bleaching underway on the reefs north of Cooktown.
Global temperatures for February showed a disturbing and unprecedented upward spike. It was 1.35℃ warmer than the average February during the usual baseline period of 1951-1980, according to NASA data.
Fossil fuel use will have to fall twice as fast as predicted if global warming is to be kept within the 2°C limit agreed internationally as being the point of no return, researchers say.
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.
"While the effects have been most pronounced in the West, our analysis shows virtually all US forests are now experiencing change and are vulnerable to future declines," says James Clark.
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
California has experienced, over the past few years, its most severe drought on record. In response to worsening conditions, Governor Jerry Brown announced the first ever statewide mandatory reduction in urban water use in April 2015. This calls on Californians
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.
Much has been written about the challenge of achieving the targets set out in the Paris climate agreement, which calls for global warming to be held well below 2℃ and ideally within 1.5℃ of pre-industrial temperatures.
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.
It was Charles Darwin, almost 200 years ago, who first asked how it could be that coral reefs could flourish in relatively barren parts of the Pacific Ocean. This conundrum subsequently became known as Darwin’s Paradox.
Scientists say that forecasts of a world food shortage need not prove as disastrous as previously thought if humans learn to use water more effectively.
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.
Global sea level rose faster in the 20th century than in any of the 27 previous centuries, a new analysis shows.
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.
It’s mid-February and along Britain’s south coast gilt-head bream are drifting from the open sea into the estuaries. Meanwhile, thousands of little egrets are preparing to fly to continental Europe for breeding season, though a few hundred
Antarctica and Greenland may be two of the most remote places on Earth but what happens in both these vast landscapes can significantly impact on human activity further afield.
One of the big problems with the world’s heavy carbon emissions is that they are driving up the levels of carbon dioxide in our oceans, which is making them more acidic.
We don’t have to know exactly how high the sea might rise to start doing something about it.Climate scientists have recently been outraged by job losses within CSIRO. Sixty climate jobs are likely to be lost.
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.
It’s official: 2015 was the warmest year on record. But those global temperature records only date back to 1850 and become increasingly uncertain the further back you go
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.
Southern Africa has been experiencing high temperatures in recent months. In October, Zimbabwe experienced a heatwave with temperatures in Kariba reaching 45°C.
Despite what the doubters say, a low-carbon economy is not only possible, it makes economic sense.
As recently as 6,000 years ago the Sahara was green and fertile. We’ve found evidence of large rivers crossing the region, lined by flourishing settlements. Then suddenly things changed. Trees died and the land dried up. Soil blew away or turned into sand and those rivers were no more. In just a few centuries, the Sahara was transformed from a region similar to modern South Africa into the desert we know today.
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.
At the Paris climate summit, delegates have struck an agreement that calls for the world to “hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2℃ above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5℃”.
The Paris climate conference will set nations against each other, and kick off huge arguments over economic policies, green regulations and even personal lifestyle choices. But one thing isn’t up for debate: the evidence for climate change is unequivocal.
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.
Discussions at the Paris climate talks took place within incredibly narrow parameters. In fact, it would not be too great an exaggeration to say that the summit’s main purpose is to send the private sector a message about which way it should steer its future investments.
The world’s soils could be a key ally in the fight to limit global warming to 2℃, thanks to their ability to store carbon and keep greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere.
Coal, oil and gas sectors warned that trillions of dollars of assets could be stranded if a global agreement on limiting climate change is reached at the UN summit in Paris.
The idea that global warming has “stopped” is a contrarian talking point that dates back to at least 2006. This framing was first created on blogs, then picked up by segments of the media – and it ultimately found entry into the scientific literature itself.
New research warns that rising temperatures are reducing the mountain snow on which billions of people in lowland areas depend for their water supply.
Buddhist leaders are urging global leaders to cooperate with compassion and wisdom and reach an ambitious and effective climate agreement at the 21st Session of the Conference of Parties (COP21) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris.
The quest is on to develop new technology that can tap the intense heat deep below the Earth’s surface and supply the whole world with electricity.
If political leaders around the world are serious about gender equality, they must also get serious about climate change.
The cost of solar energy continues to fall, so it is no surprise that more people are adopting solar. This rapid growth of rooftop solar, however, has led many electric utilities to try to apply the brakes.
French wine lovers have always taken their soil very seriously. But now the country’s government has introduced fresh reasons for the rest of the world to pay attention to their terroir.
The world is watching as refugees flood into a Europe unprepared for the new arrivals. Conflict and social unrest due in part to climate stress – including induced food shortages and social conflict – have prompted migrants to search for new homes and new opportunities. To ecologists, however, this comes as no surprise.
Ask people what they know about Antarctica and they usually mention cold, snow and ice. In fact, there’s so much ice on Antarctica that if it all melted into the ocean, average sea level around the entire world would rise about 200 feet, roughly the height of a 20-story building.
This week, scientists registered their concern that super-warm conditions are building to a point where corals are severely threatened across the tropical Indian, Pacific and Atlantic oceans. They did so after seeing corals lose colour across the three major ocean basins – a sign of a truly momentous global change.
If we can convince people that climate change is real and important, then surely they will act: this intuitive idea underlies many efforts to communicate climate change to the public.
Scientists report that the great oceanic “lung” is again breathing in vast amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere – but can’t say why or whether it will last.
There are two extremes in the debate over capitalism’s role in our present climate change problem. On the one hand, some people see climate change as the outcome of a consumerist market system run rampant. In the end, the result will be a call to replace capitalism with a new system that will correct our present ills with regulations to curb market excesses.
Ethiopia and Morocco praised for pledges on reducing greenhouse gases that are far more ambitious than those of China and Canada.
Wide-ranging survey shows that many of North America’s bird species could be left with nowhere to go as climate change drastically affects their habitats.
As humans become an urban species researchers find evidence that cities with more green space are best for human wellbeing.
Massive solar power stations are being built in the world’s “sun belts” − with the US and India competing to have the largest in the world.
Democrats (myself included) enjoy ridiculing Republicans who deny the scientific consensus behind climate change. But we then deny the inconvenient truth behind our own preferred climate policies: they will have regressive impacts on the poor and middle class.
There are many ongoing signs that the planet is heating up, even “on fire.” In the western region of North America, the prolonged drought has led to high temperatures and many wildfires, from Canada and the Northwest earlier this summer to California more recently.