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.
You may have read recent reports about huge changes in sea level, inspired by new research from James Hansen, NASA’s former Chief Climate Scientist, at Columbia University. Sea level rise represents one of the most worrying aspects of global warming, potentially displacing millions of people along coasts, low river valleys, deltas and islands.
People cannot engage in something they cannot see or feel. We need concrete reasons to care and act. In this way, climate change presents a threefold intangible challenge:
Flooding is a well-known natural hazard along the US coastline. Nearly 40% of the US population resides in its coastal counties.
As the world warms, animals and plants will shift their ranges to keep pace with their favoured climate. While the changing distributions of species can tell us how climate change is affecting the natural world, it may also have a direct impact on us.
An international scientific report commissioned by the UK government says the risks of climate change are comparable to those posed by nuclear conflict.
Wouldn’t it be great if scientists could make their minds up? One minute they’re telling us our planet is warming up due to human activity and we run the risk of potentially devastating environmental change.
One of the most dramatic features of recent climate change is the decline of summer Arctic sea ice. The impacts of this summer ice loss on northern society, on Arctic ecosystems, and the climate both locally and further afield, are already being felt.
The G7 nations, at the week’s summit in Germany, have called for “a decarbonization of the global economy over the course of this century”. Of course, this group of nations is among those most heavily in favor of strong climate action, but the opportunities for climate-friendly growth are everywhere.
The article in The Australian by Liberal Democrat senator David Leyonjhelm highlighted some very good points about wind turbine noise and its effect on people living near them. People are complaining of a range of health related problems and are attributing them to wind turbines. The question is: what is the cause of these health problems?
New report says a successful outcome at this year’s Paris climate talks will be far more likely if the world takes note of how China is reducing emissions. The pace of change in China’s energy policy means that the targets it has set for cutting greenhouse gases (GHGs) are likely to be achieved sooner than expected, according to a new study.
Eminent group urges governments to make the massive research investment that would enable the world to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy by 2025. The vision is simple, the cost would be eye-watering, and the result could stop the growing threat from burning fossil fuels in its tracks.
National and international studies have shown that the Earth is warming, and with this warming, other changes are occurring, such as an increasing incidence of heat waves, heavy downpours and rising sea levels.
The Indian Ocean can be an angry and sometimes lethal neighbour, but those who live beside it are now learning how to prepare for its next onslaught.
Trillions of dollars need to be redirected into building low-carbon economies to avoid serious climate change, the UN warns.
What will the weather be like next week, next season, or by the end of the century? In the absence of a second Earth to use in an experiment, global weather and climate model simulations are the only tools we have to answer these questions.
The goal of international climate negotiations is “to avoid dangerous atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases”. In 2010, Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change formally recognised the “long term goal” of the convention was to hold the increase in global average warming to below 2C above pre-industrial levels.
Antarctica’s glaciers have been making headlines during the past year, and not in a good way. Whether it’s a massive ice shelf facing imminent risk of collapse, glaciers in the West Antarctic past the point of no return, or new threats to East Antarctic ice, it’s all been rather gloomy.
Economic links with China help Pakistan tap into enormous solar energy potential that can provide clean power to boost production and reduce poverty. One of the world’s largest solar plants has been opened in Pakistan with the aim of supplying clean, reliable energy and helping alleviate the country’s chronic power shortages.
In 1900, humans travelled a total of just 0.2 trillion km by vehicle, nearly all by train. By 1950, people travelled a total of 3.3 trillion km, and by 2010, the annual total was over 40 trillion km – or over 133,000 round trips to the sun. That’s an average of nearly 6,000 km per person each year. About half of all travel was by car, and 12% was by air.
California is undergoing a record-setting drought that began in 2012, the worst in at least 1,200 years. It can be seen in many ways: most of the freshwater reservoirs are drying up, crops are wilting in the fields and groundwater is rapidly depleting.
Climate change is affecting all regions of the globe. But some places, such as Africa, are more vulnerable to climate change’s devastating effects than others. This is particularly true because of the continent’s very high dependency on agriculture.
People living across the US have lived through some odd weather in the past year. It’s been unusually warm and dry in the western US, while the East had a very cold and snowy winter. Meanwhile, scientists have been seeing Pacific marine species in places they’re not normally found and a huge spike in hungry, stranded sea lion pups on California shores.
São Paulo’s ongoing water crisis has left many of the city’s 20m or more residents without tap water for days on end. Brazil’s largest metropolis is into its third month of water rationing, and some citizens have even taken to drilling through their basements to reach groundwater.
Climate-friendly boost for global energy mix as scientists say solar power alone could now meet the needs of California five times over.
The biggest extinction ever known on Earth resulted from oceans turned acid by CO2, the main gas driving human-caused climate change today.
Inside a sprawling single-story office building in Bedford, Mass., in a secret room known as the Growth Hall, the future of solar power is cooking at more than 2,500 °F.
Fish accustomed to shallow northern waters will search in vain for cooler depths as climate change warms the seas where they thrive.
An increasingly water-stressed world takes a new look at desalination. It seems simple enough: Take the salt out of water so it’s drinkable. But it’s far more complex than it appears at first glance. It’s also increasingly crucial in a world where freshwater resources are progressively strained by population growth, development, droughts, climate change and more.
If you want to know what we have to do to avoid catastrophic climate change, 17 of the world’s leading climate scientists have worked out a simple but challenging solution: the world, they say, must turn by mid-century into a zero-carbon society.
The researchers say their act-now, save-future-costs model not only demonstrates the dangers of underestimating the cost of future climate change, but is the first one to emerge from a purely market-based approach. The considerations do not have to be based on moral judgements about sustainability and the wellbeing of future generations.
California’s byzantine water system and crushing drought are leading farmers to extraordinary measures as they try to keep themselves from running dry. On a warm March afternoon, farmer Cannon Michael walks alongside wheat fields adjacent to his house in Los Banos, in California’s Central Valley. Most of these fields won’t be watered again this year.
Scientists believe they may have found how to safeguard a staple tropical crop, on which hundreds of millions of people depend, from the depredations of climate change. They have discovered − through conventional breeding rather than genetic modification − 30 new “lines” (varieties) of beans that will thrive in the higher temperatures expected later this century.
If you’re younger than 30, you’ve never experienced a month in which the average surface temperature of the Earth was below average. Each month, the US National Climatic Data Center calculates Earth’s average surface temperature using temperature measurements that cover the Earth’s surface.
Senior Chinese official warns that climate-related temperature rises could seriously affect the country’s harvests and major infrastructure projects.
New technologies are about to disrupt the traditional energy market in a big way. What if you could sit at home and use your smartphone to buy energy directly from the wind farm down the road or the solar panels on the local school roof? After all, you can already control your heating from your phone and set your washing machine going from your tablet...
Florida is a coastal state. Nearly 80% of its 20 million residents live near the coast on land just a few feet above sea level, and over a hundred million tourists visit the beaches and stay in beach-front hotels every year.
You never forget the first time you see an iceberg. But, in truth, the first iceberg you see is likely to be small. Most icebergs that make it far enough north from Antarctica to where they are danger to shipping are sometimes many years old and at the end of their lives. They are small fragments of what once left the continent.
The urge to solve humankind’s energy-generating problems is felt by innovators around the planet. Before the Internet and its open sourcing of knowledge, lone inventors tried to single-handedly save us from our dependence on dirty fuels. And long before hippies saw the dawning of an Age of Aquarius, a few individuals discovered that water is a key to independence.
Texas is known for cheap and plentiful energy resources, but they’re usually of the dirty, fossil fuel–based variety. That reputation is changing. Texans can now buy renewable energy packages that are as cheap as or cheaper than the coal- or natural gas–based alternatives.
After years of bitter disappointment, things look different now. Sure, U.S. state houses and Congress are a denier-dominated mess, the big Paris conference is already being written off, and the on-the-ground evidence is looking bleak. But after years of cynicism, I see elements of a sea change in urgency and attitude on climate.
At first glance, asking whether global warming results in more snow may seem like a silly question because obviously, if it gets warm enough, there is no snow. Consequently, deniers of climate change have used recent snow dumps to cast doubt on a warming climate from human influences. Yet they could not be more wrong.
The announcement that a pioneering wave farm off Perth has started generating electricity is an exciting and welcome development. The project, developed by Fremantle-based Carnegie Wave Energy, features two buoys, 11 m in diameter, below the sea surface (with a third to follow).
Cities may only occupy about 2% of the world’s habitable land, but they are big drivers of global climate change. Cities are usually hotter than rural areas, and get referred to in the jargon as “urban heat islands.”
One of our closest animal relatives is at risk of being wiped out as changing rainfall patterns threaten to destroy its Central African habitat. Central Africa in particular, and the continent in general, is likely to be severely affected by climate change.
In April 2015, we will mark the five-year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The accident released millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, causing extensive impacts on the marine ecosystem, wildlife habitat, and the fishing and tourism industries in Louisiana and other Gulf states.
It can be tempting to think that people who disagree with you are mad, bad or simply stupid. However, not only are such judgements usually wrong, but telling people that they are stupid is unlikely to convince them of the merit of your own view.
International scientists say global warming could double the frequency of the extreme La Niña weather phenomenon that triggers floods and hurricanes.
China has now overtaken the European Union as the largest new market for solar power as the industry becomes one of the fastest growing in the world.
In this red state, publicly owned utilities provide electricity to all 1.8 million people. Here's how Nebraska took its energy out of corporate hands and made it affordable for everyday residents.
Over the past five years the world has seen a dramatic fall in the cost of solar energy, particularly rooftop solar panels or solar photovoltaic power. It is now a real alternative and considerable player in the power markets.
According to the pundits and techno-prophets who dominate the media, the future of transportation is all figured out for us. Cheaper gas prices mean we can still count on our private cars to take us everywhere we want to go. The only big change down the road will be driverless autos, which will make long hours behind the wheel less boring and more productive.
Worldwide field trials show that just one degree of warming could slash wheat yields by 42 million tonnes and cause devastating shortages of this vital staple food.
When you ask yourself what the biggest unanswered scientific questions are, “how did sea levels change over the past 100 years?” is unlikely to appear at the top of your list. After all, haven’t we already figured that out? It turns out that obtaining a complete picture of how our oceans have been changing is not a simple task, yet is vital for making future projections.
Scientists in the US estimate that economic damage caused by CO2 could be six times higher than the value used to guide current energy regulations.
The most detailed study yet of the Greenland ice sheet illustrates the complex process that is causing billions of tonnes to melt ever year.
Increasing oil production but falling demand is creating big problems for the fossil fuel industry as some investors are now turning away from the sector.
2014 has been confirmed as Australia’s third-hottest year, capping off a record-breaking decade, according to the Bureau of Meteorology’s annual climate statement, released today.
Chemicals are all around us. They are crucial in all manner of industries, from agriculture to food to cosmetics. Most people give little thought to how these chemicals are made – and certainly very few would consider the chemical industry as a contributor to our society’s dependence on oil. But it is.
Increased production from US fracking operations is a major reason for the drop in oil prices, but there are warnings that the industry now faces a crisis.
Scientists report that many cities near the coasts of the US should prepare for daily flooding at high tide by mid-century because of rising sea levels.
The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) has announced that 2014 was the hottest year in more than 120 years of record-keeping — by far. NOAA is expected to make a similar call in a couple of weeks and so is NASA.
Emissions from planes are a major clause of climate change, yet they remain unregulated. Can they be curbed in time to protect the planet?
A few years ago, the Mexican government pinpointed a promising method for reducing carbon dioxide emissions: Encourage Mexicans to trade in their old refrigerators, air conditioners, light bulbs and the like for more up-to-date models. But how to pay for the program, while making it affordable for poor households?
Climate change is going to affect every city on the planet in some way—but not necessarily in the same way. For those cities already adapting to it, strong, decisive action may spell the difference between surviving global warming and succumbing to it. Five cities that are steeling themselves…and five that are fooling themselves.
In tropical developing countries, effective coastal management must acknowledge the widespread dependence of poor and politically weak communities on the use of fish for food. Acknowledging this dependence on artisanal fisheries is pivotal to reconciling the largely separate agendas for food security and biodiversity conservation.
India’s contribution to global carbon emissions was only 7% last year, yet there are fears being expressed in the western world that rapid population growth and development will mean this vast country will soon be a major polluter − like its neighbour, China.
The urbanization of our population has major implications for climate change. The sheer volume of all this growth in highly concentrated areas, combined with the corresponding growth in carbon emissions, requires that our cities be able to adapt and evolve more quickly than ever before.The good news is: they can.
At the top of the world, it’s time to get ready for a new future. In the winter of 2013–14, hundreds of milk-white birds with luminous yellow eyes and wingspans of up to 5 feet descended on beaches, farmers’ fields, city parks and airport runways throughout southern Canada and the United States.
As extremes of heat increasingly threaten to become the norm, scientists have invented a new way to reflect sunlight and beam heat away from buildings straight back into space.
In the wake of a Missouri grand jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, it can be difficult to imagine a place where law enforcement and a racially diverse population work together productively in the United States.
For several years now climatologists have puzzled over an apparent conundrum: why is Antarctic sea ice continuing to expand, albeit at the relatively slow rate of about one to two percent per decade, while Arctic sea ice has been declining rapidly?
When we design cities like ecosystems, they have the potential to address many of our most pressing issues. Of all the things people build, cities are the most important.
There is no shortage of shouting and dire warnings about the state of the climate and our need to phase out fossil fuels. But there is a more silent revolution happening too — in micropower.
The European Union, nervous about Russia cutting off gas supplies and keen to cut emissions by developing renewable energy sources, aims to link all its 28 member states to one electricity grid.
Researchers tracking the movements of seals in the North Sea reveal that “artificial reefs” created by wind farms and pipelines are becoming attractive as foraging grounds on fishing expeditions.
The United States, the world’s biggest historical emitter of greenhouse gases, has pledged to cut emissions by 26-28% by 2025 relative to 2005 levels, while China, the current biggest emitter, has promised to peak its emissions by no later than 2030.
A new book argues that death threats and abuse illustrate how climate change messengers are being demonised in a way that is without parallel in the history of science.
Warnings within the world of high finance are coming thick and fast that the increasingly urgent need to combat climate change means investors could lose heavily by sinking funds into coal, oil and gas.
When it comes to providing jobs and money to towns and cities, not all renewable energy is created equal. At last month’s People’s Climate March, among the most popular signs were ones supporting renewable energy like wind and solar as the best way to avoid a climate catastrophe.
Through burning fossil fuels, humans are rapidly driving up levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which in turn is raising global temperatures.